Thursday Newsletter

March 22, 2018

MARCH 22, 2018


We have a very qualified English teacher to take over 4th quarter for all 6th, 7th and 8th grade English classes as well as one 8th grade literature class and homeroom. Mrs. Norma Overberg will begin after spring break; she has worked her whole adult life in education in the Archdiocese, most recently retiring from teaching 9th grade English and having been a principal at St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon.   If the name sounds familiar, yes, you’re right Ms. Overberg is grandparent to Norah, Isabella and William, (and, of course, Rosie).  She is full of energy and enthusiasm and ready to begin right after spring break.  Ms. Overberg will be able to continue through our SMOS English curriculum to insure that no learning has been lost in this transition.

Many thanks to Anna Marie Bushlack, mom of Sean and Audrey, who brought her many years of experience in workshop writing and playwriting to our middle school students for the week of March 5th.

Many thanks to Julie Collignon Bradshaw, soon-to-be-school parent and already SMOS grad, who brought her many years of teaching high school literature/English to our Middle Schoolers.  With Ms. Bradshaw, students have continued journaling, worked on pronouns, begun portfolio projects, finished reading Flowers For Algernon and begun The Chosen and much, much more.

The students and I are indebted to each of these experienced teachers for sharing their gifts and energies so that our middle school students might continue to think and learn as SMOS students.

And some more good news from middle school

Traditionally, Mr. Adams (7th and 8th Literature and Religion), does a Shakespeare unit with his 7th graders. This year they studied Shakespeare’s Hamlet.   As a final project they worked in small groups to create exhibit boards on Hamlet; these will be on display in Faith Hall during Conferences.

In order to get to the point of their final projects besides reading/listening to Hamlet, the 7th graders tried their own hands at writing sonnets and worked collaboratively with a partner to write soliloquies for some of those characters for whom Shakespeare did not write a soliloquy.   The students wrote biographies for the main characters, found and displayed pictures from various productions as well as doing a bit of research on the Old Globe Theater.  In the process of their Hamlet projects they also learned about and used the Freytag pyramid.  Mr. Adams, an award-winning play-write, has prepared our 7th graders well for falling in love with Shakespeare or, at the very least, for future high school and college studies of Shakespeare.



The SMOS Service Corps is still holding a book drive for kids in Belize! The drive will last through April 11. Please bring new or gently used books that you think the kids will enjoy. All grade school-level books in English or Spanish are appreciated. Bring your contributions to your homeroom or to the main office. The books will be distributed to students and families and used by our sister school, St. Martin De Porres, in Belize City.



Somewhere in the recesses of your oldest or only child’s backpack you will find the Dragon Raffle tickets for the 2017-2018 school year. 

First the good news:  the prizes are significant and truly yours to keep (no expectation that you hand it back to SMOS).

Second the not-so-good news: Dragon Raffle is a $100.00 per family requirement.  It is on the financial agreement that you signed when you registered/re-registered your child for the 2017-18 school year last spring. 

For many of our families, the $100.00 is an easy donation, for others much less easy.  Whichever best describes your family we try to give you plenty of lead time so that you can maybe sell some of those tickets to family members over Easter or to work peers (you probably bought something for their child!) or to financially plan to cover the cost yourself.

Please remember that the Dragon Raffle tickets are a MUST and that we are not allowed to release 4th quarter grades or end-of-year records if the $100.00 has not come in.  What you don’t want to do is end up “buying” those raffle tickets after the Parish and School Picnic and, most importantly, after the drawing for the prizes.



(The following are just those April events not on the printed school calendar.)

April 10 at 10:00am – the 100th day of 2018 – Archbishop Carlson will celebrate Mass with our students.   If you are able, we would love to have you join us.


April 15 our 2nd graders and their parents will enjoy an afternoon together as they retreat from the busy-ness of the weekend to talk and pray together in preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Communion.


April 18 is the big day for our 4th graders as they travel to Jeff City to see up close how and where our state government works. They are especially lucky to get to spend time with Representative Peter Merideth (SMOS grad and soon-to-be-school parent).  He will bring government to life for our 4th graders.


April 20 is our annual St. Louis Dancing Classrooms performance.  All are invited, but especially we encourage parents of our 5th graders to come watch as their children “cut a rug.”


April 21 is PTA sponsored Trivia Night.  See the packet in your child’s backpack for information about Trivia Night and how to sign up through WeShare.


April 24 and 25 are special days for our 7th and 8th graders as they retreat from everyday school work to pray and laugh and prepare together with those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.


April 28 is the Mother/Son event being held this year at the Wild Carrot.  More details to come soon.


ATTN all coaches of SPRING SPORTS - for the first time ever we can include your teams in the 2017-2018 YEARBOOK due to a later deadline. Please take photos of your respective teams and get them to the yearbook team either via Facebook or email DEADLINE for photos April 6th.
ATTN ALL PARENTS especially class of 2018
We are looking for yearbook messages to your favorite dragon or an advertisement for your business. Please see old yearbooks for ideas & inspiration. You provide jpeg file of photo and text and we will create your message or send us a jpeg of your message created. The deadline for submission is Friday, April 6, 2018. All 8th grade families receive a $5.00 discount on pricing. Checks made payable to SMOS PTA - yearbook message in Memo line. Send your photos, messages or advertisements to
1/8 page $25.00 (Business Card Size)
1/4 page $50.00
1/2 page $75.00
Full page $100.00
Thank you for your support - SMOS PTA generously provides a yearbook for every student and faculty member each year - we try to raise funds to help with these costs to the PTA.




First, I want to focus on our move from traditional grading to standards-based grading.

Traditional grading is what you grew up with, what we have used at SMOS for 100 years, literally for 100 years.  Standards-based grading is just that grading that is grounded in the standards as defined by a school’s curricula.  It is not dependent on averages over the course of a quarter but rather attempts to communicate a student’s accomplished level of knowledge and/or skill based on the curriculum.  Where traditional grading uses letter grades often attached to averaged percentages, standards-based grading often uses numbers 4 – 1 to indicate a student’s level of proficiency.  And, much more.

Your children’s teachers and I have been researching, reading, listening to presenters and working towards the transition to standards-based grading for two years.  Some of us – the lead team – meet weekly, all of us converse at faculty meetings.

Now it’s your turn.  Come join me in an explanation of the standards-based grading that we will employ for the 2018-19 school year and beyond.  I have slated presentations for different days and different times in order to meet the varying needs of our families.

Meetings are:

April 16 at 7:00pm in the cafeteria

April 17 at 8:00am in the cafeteria

April 19 at 4:00pm in the cafeteria


Although we have not yet finalized our 2018-2019 school year calendar, we know for sure that we will begin school on August 20, 2018.  As is our tradition the first two days will be 12:15 dismissals.  Weather-permitting we will move directly into 3:00 dismissal.  Preschool and Kindergartners will split that first week.

Preschool/ Kindergartners whose last name begin with A – L attend on 20th, 22nd & 24th

Preschool/ Kindergartners whose last name begin with M – Z attend on 21st, 23rd, & 24th



Palm Sunday Mass begins at 9:30 at school with a procession to church, Mass to follow.

Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper begins at 7:00pm; all first communicants and their families are invited.  All servers are invited to dress out and sit together.

Good Friday services will begin at 7:00pm

Easter Vigil Mass will begin at 8:00pm with the lighting of the fire.

Easter Sunday Masses are 8:00am and 10:00am.

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