Thursday Newsletter

October 12, 2017

October 12, 2017



SMOS parents! The library team wanted to give a HUGE thank you for your incredible kindness and generosity at the book fair this week. We are overwhelmed by your willingness to support our school library! Did you know that we recently polled the students and teachers on what titles/authors/subjects they would like to see in our library? Thanks to you and your families we will be able to provide so many of their requests, as well as continue to transform our library into a space that encourages and loves reading.
We cannot wait to find out our total profit and fill you in on our plans for the library! We couldn't have done it without your generosity -- thank you.
Angela Faul
Kasye Moss
Sara Arunski


Of course the thanks is from all of us at SMOS to Angela, Kayse and Sara.  They did a marvelous job with the Book Fair and will go even beyond that with their plans for and work already done in the library.  Dawn Nemanick gave many years to our children’s library and when her time came to pass it on, she made a wonderful choice in this terrific trio.



This week for all intents and purposes was just an ordinary week, maybe the first all year. But nothing around here is just ordinary, and so. . .

Our 7th graders went to the downtown library, some had not seen it since its renovations of a few years, some had never seen it.  Besides a tour of the library, they enjoyed some Scottish folk music as part of their Scottish arts. 

The 7th graders have already been studying Scottish poet Robert Burns’ anti-British rule approach to poetic writing as compared with Black American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s anti-Jim Crow laws approach to powerful poetic writing. The students will, of course, put their pens to paper and write some poetry of their own but not until they have practiced speaking to the rhythm of hip hop to set the mood.  The poetry is led by local professor MK Stallings.
New this year added to Scottish Arts partnership is an art element.   Our 7th graders enjoyed an art class led by textile artist Jessi Cerutti who taught them how to make felt from raw wool.  They are working with our art teacher, Ms. Bodell, to turn that textile into a work of art.
The original piece to the Scottish Arts partnership work is music. This year our 7th graders will get to work with world famous, Brian McNeal.
The 7th graders will celebrate their work with their Scottish Arts partners by sharing and, if truth be told, showing off a bit at the concert on November 9 at 1:00.  All are welcome to join us in our school gym.
The opportunity to be immersed in Scottish arts is the result of the work of Diane McCullough and the Scottish Partnership for the Arts organization.

We took advantage of the ordinariness of the week and the mild temperatures to practice our first evacuation/fire drill this year.  Most often the first practice is a bit noisy.   The children know it is a practice and some tend to take it less than seriously.  Not the case this year!  Our middle schoolers led the school in very quietly evacuating their building to stand quietly in straight lines in their assigned spots.  They set the tone and others followed – I was proud and pleased with all of our students.

In the case of an evacuation, the children know to go directly outside to the Play Space and line-up as they do for arrival and dismissal.  Unlike arrival and dismissal where they typically clump up, they did actually line up which made taking attendance fast and efficient – a necessity should there ever be a real need for evacuation.
As with arrival and dismissal for evacuations we tuck our kindergartners between middle school and first grade.  In the case of an evacuation, we tuck our preschoolers between 5th and 4th grades. 

And in this ordinary week, our middle schoolers shared Mass on Wednesday.  Mrs. Merideth, parish choir director and former SMOS music teacher, guides the music at our middle school Masses.  It was great today. 

Thematically, the music reminded us that we have all been called to make significant changes in our world.  Mr. Adams’ 8th graders chose the music with the anniversary of Vatican II in mind.  A choir of 20 or so middle schoolers led the singing while 20 or more musicians played along on violins, guitars, banjos, flutes, and drums.  It was great fun.
Fr. O’Toole, always the historian, made understandable references to the Vatican II council. (History for our students; “I remember when” for many of us older folk.)  It is obvious that Fr. O’Toole relishes these middle school masses – his homilies are right on target for young adolescents.  Mr. Unverferth’s 8th graders borrowed on Fr. O’Toole’s message of being grateful by creating a Wall of Gratitude.

For an ordinary week, it has been, as always, a bit extraordinary. 



Are you ready?  Have your children made any calls to grandparents and beyond?  Speaking as a grandparent, I am always thrilled when once again my grandkids call or email with a “sponsor my school request” even more so when it’s SMOS!

Please remember that the Walk-A-Thon supports our day to day operating costs – that which your tuition does not cover.  Our operating costs are almost entirely taken up with personnel.  Your child’s mile or 10 miles or 20 miles is a loud applause to his or her teachers.  At St. Margaret of Scotland we support many curricula pieces not, commonly found at other schools – all of that costs money, more than your tuition covers (especially those families with 2 or more children at school).

World Languages – Spanish from preschool to 8 or French or Russian at 6th.
Music choices in middle school and violin as a choice in the preschool or K.
Teen Outreach Program
A plethora of technology: laptops and desktops, Kindles and iPads, SmartBoards and Google Classroom.
Dancing Classrooms, Scottish Partnership for the Arts, SMART, Living Museum, Eco-Act, Montessori preschool, coding in 5th – 7th grades, Art@SMOS

Any one of the above is worthy of applause together they earn a standing ovation!

Encourage your children to make a few calls and walk a mile or 10 or 20 not just for that day off school but for all those days in school.



I must admit that I am still reeling from the Centennial Mass and celebration – we were just talking the yummy food yesterday and the music again today!

Centennial shirts/sweatshirts are still available on WeShare for another week or so.  A flier will come home next week, but you can go on WeShare and make your choices.  Remember that all the Centennial clothing is “in-uniform.”  PS: I am loving the gold t-shirts on the children.



A bit of history: before we built Purcell Hall and when we had 100 fewer students much thought and planning had taken place to accommodate our growth.  Included in that thought and planning were conversations with our neighbors and a hired traffic study to professionally understand and plan for our flow of traffic and our parking.  It was expensive, it was time-consuming but, most importantly, it was useful. 

For many reasons we no longer use Lawrence as a drop-off in the morning or a pick-up in the afternoons. 

Dropping off and picking up on Lawrence puts your child at risk, and adds one more distraction for those children who walk. Thus putting them at risk.
Dropping off and picking up on Lawrence blocks the flow of traffic for neighborhood folk who need to get to work or to their schools.  Being a large school – larger than we’ve been in half a century – it is absolutely necessary that we take into consideration our neighbors.

The drive through from Castleman to Shaw is safe and faster than it seems.

Drop-off using the drive through from start to finish is 20 minutes with individual drivers taking no more than 5 minutes to get from Castleman to Shaw having safely dropped off their child(ren) and seen them safely into the hands of an adult. 

On the rare occasions when there is a traffic jam at Shaw, we hold the tardy bell so that no child whose parents are following our procedures is penalized.

Pick-up begins at 3:00 and is finished at 3:15 although it typically lasts only 13 minutes from start to finish.  Yes, we time it often!  The longest wait is for those who arrive before or exactly at 3:00. 
Whether at arrival or dismissal, there are multiple teachers outside whose sole job in those 15 – 20 minutes is to keep your children safe. 

We watch each child get out of or enter a car, and know to whom the child has been released. 
Other teachers are charged with having their backs to the flow of traffic so that their eyes on the children who have already arrived or are waiting for their rides. 

As an urban school who takes great pride in being dead smack in the middle of the city, we also take great care to insure your child’s safety.  Help us keep your child safe by handing your child off to or picking your child up from our caring arms.   Thank you.



Our 8th grade is doing a costume drive to support the annual Coats and Costumes event sponsored by the SMOS St. Vincent DePaul Society.  If you have any new or gently used costumes that you would like to donate please send them to school with your child or place them in the collection bin in the vestibule at church.  All sizes are needed but we are particularly in need of larger sizes. The costume drive will run from now until Friday, October 20.  All contributions will go to families in our area and surrounding areas. We are hoping to make lots of kids happy this Halloween.

Thank you!



Our 6th graders leave for 4 days away at Camp Sherwood Forest on Monday!  After having breakfast with their parents at 8:00 in the cafeteria that morning.
October 19th at 3:00 on the parking lot – boy scouts will be selling popcorn (cash or checks only).
October 20th – the first gathering of the SMOS Youth Group.
October 24th – is all school photo day; forms are in each of your children’s backpacks today.  Children dress out of uniform; tennis shoes remain a must as many will have PE that day.
October 26 at 7:00pm in Purcell Hall – Being Smart About SMART for parents of middle schoolers.  Note: Middle School SMART is very different from 4th and 5th grade precursor to SMART.
October 27 ends the first quarter; report cards for 1st through 8th students will be published on Fast Direct by November 1st. 
October 31, 1:30pm outdoors in our Play Space -  Halloween Fest sponsored by our 8th grade.  (If it is raining we will move into the gym.)  All are invited.
November 1 – We will begin the day at church with Mass for all students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. 
November 1st and 2nd -  Parent (all grades)  – Student (3rd -8th) – Teacher Conferences.  Have you responded to Ms. Stephens Fast Direct request for conference times? The Conference schedule for preschool through 5th will be sent home when it is completed.  Note: Middle school does not have scheduled times.

Please note that there is no SMOS Aftercare on November 1st so that ALL teachers can attend to meeting with parents for conferences.

November 2 and 3 – no school (Art Scope in Tower Grove Park offers camps that match our days off school.)

Last Chance - Winter Sports Sign-ups close Saturday October 14th!

Basketball (1st – 8th) and Chess (K – 8th) registrations are still open but will CLOSE on Saturday October 14th!  You can access the sign-up webpage by either clicking on the link ( or by the SMOS school site and clicking Athletics and then Athletic News.   Each team will be filled based on a first come, first served basis.  Please do not delay in registering your children. 
The current registration fee for basketball is $95 per child (3rd – 8th) and $70 per child (1st and 2nd).    
The current registration fee for chess is $95 per child.    
For more information or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the SMOS AA at

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