Thursday Newsletter

Thursday Newsletter

October 26, 2017



We will celebrate Halloween on October 31st.  Children, and their teachers, may come in costume or their favorite play clothes.  Families are invited to make a per child donation for the out-of-uniform on Halloween.  All donations will go through Catholic Relief Services towards disaster relief in Puerto Rico. 

Some costume rules:

No masks, we must be able to see and recognize the student – face paint and hair coloring done at home is OK, but must be back to natural color on Monday .
No weapons, partially because we don’t bring weapons to school, partially because such items are inevitably broken or lost, and partially because weapons ultimately call out to be used as weapons.
Oversized costumes may have to be taken off and set aside during classes.

We have classes on the 31st, as well as parties, as well as our 8th grade sponsored Halloween Fest at 1:30.  Stop by anytime and join the festivities.  Non-SMOS siblings are invited to the Halloween Fest to play games and purchase snacks.



I usually save my unabashed, full throttle bragging for the spring when students begin to earn awards and recognition for a year’s worth of hard work.  But I listen to the news and I am reminded daily of the line from our prayer of St. Margaret, in reference to Queen Margaret of Scotland: “a woman of leadership and hope in a confusing world.”  She certainly was that in Scotland in the 1000s, but we, her namesake, carry on her legacy in 2017 as we are called to be children and adults of leadership and hope as we traverse these confusing times – times of natural disasters and human-made disasters. 

And so, I think we need a bit of bragging, a bit of hope, a bit of celebrating being SMOS.

SMOS Entrepreneurs

Several weeks ago two of our students set up a lemonade stand with proceeds going towards St. Vincent DePaul.  They initiated this endeavor on their own because generosity is what we learn at SMOS.
Through most of 1st quarter two more of our students organized a raffle for their classmates.  Tickets to the raffle were earned by bringing in either a non-perishable food item for St. Vincent DePaul or a clean empty container for the shelter who serves lunches to homeless people.  The empty container allows some food to be taken with them for a meal later in the day.  Raffle prizes were donated by the initiators of this event – such amazing enthusiasm for generosity.

Faculty In the Spotlight

Over the course of the last five years, Mr. Adams, middle school Lit and Religion, has written, had published and produced two plays: In the Shadow of a Dream and Golden Land.  Both plays when produced in New York earned awards.  Congratulations, Mr. Adams.
After 33 years at St. Margaret of Scotland School, Ms. Wucher, middle school English, will retire at the end of this year.  In those years, she has developed an English curriculum that drives learning that is heralded in our high schools, initiated student portfolios that we now use from preschool to eighth grade, and coached our trophy winning speech team.  Ms. Wucher, enjoy the year that closes a long and fruitful career.

Standardized Test Scores Over the Top

Standardized test scores are not the last word on a student’s or a school’s academic accomplishments and yet they do provide an objective, outside-our-little-domain evaluation of curriculum and instruction.  Our 8th graders are our compasses – their whole class scores tell us if we are on the right path to learning.  Their composite score at the 88%ile names them as scoring higher than 87 percent of all 8th grade classes in the nation taking the Iowa Assessment.  The 96%ile in language arts is a stunning applause of their hard work and their teachers’ excellence in teaching.  The 82%ile in math, although not quite the language arts score, is nonetheless worthy of accolade.  That 82%ile illustrates not only their growth as mathematical thinkers but also the non-stop effort that our teachers have put into improving our math curriculum and instruction.  Although no other whole class hit the 88%ile, all of our classes remained in the top quartile of the nation.  Congratulations students and teachers!

For more information on standardized test scores join me at 7:00pm on November 7.
Parents will receive their children’s scores at Conferences.

St. Margaret of Scotland Walk-A-Thon

Could we have asked for more beautiful weather!  The only thing better than the weather was the smiles on children’s faces as they walked and jogged their laps enjoying each other’s company.  Their energy and enthusiasm was unstoppable – they laughed and played and cheered each other on as they walked and walked and walked. 

Our three top walkers began at 9:00 walking together and ended at 2:00 still walking in each other’s good company, having rested together and competed not against but with one another.  Congratulations to

Tim        Greta           Otto 

for 48 laps, 24 miles, stopped only by the clock – they would have walked further had we allowed them.  Admiration and congratulations for the spirit of comradery over competition, for the spirit of friendship that crossed grade and gender lines, for your obvious display of SMOS spirit.

Name on the plaque: we have two plaques proudly displayed in the cafeteria carrying the names of the top walker(s) in the 4th – 8th grades and the top walker(s) in the preschool – 3rd grade.

Top walkers in 4th – 8th: Tim, Greta and Otto
Top walkers in preschool – 3rd grade, having walked 22 laps/11 miles are: Margaret and Oscar 

There must have been some very tired children by the evening of October 14 and a somewhat worn out path in Tower Grove Park.  Our children walked 2,433 laps with each other crossing grade and gender barriers.  28 children were among our top walkers – those who filled a card (20 laps):

The classes with the greatest participation are:

Ms. Kavanaugh’s 5th grade: 22 of her 25 students participated!

Ms. Cullmann’s 1st grade: 21 of her 25 students participated!

Huge thank you and congratulations to Ms. Penilla, Ms. Reitenbach and Ms. Stephens whose work before, during, and after the Walk-A-Thon made the day such a huge success.
Thank you and congratulations to our teachers and parents who volunteered throughout the day keeping our children safe and well fed.

Final congratulations goes to our students 65% of our school came out for the Walk-A-Thon to make memories, friendships and tired feet.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t forget to get those pledges in.  As much fun as the Walk-A-Thon is, it is also an essential fund-raiser for the school helping to cover the everyday costs of salaries and other essential expenses.

Children who bring in $50.00 in pledges will get a Centennial key chain.
For every $100.00 in pledges a child gets a ticket for the drawings:

Target gift card ($25.00 each)
Amazon gift card ($25.00 each)
Ices Plain and Fancy gift cards

For every $20,000.00 the parents and grandparents, friends and parishioners send in we all get a day off school!



A peak into November

November 1st is All Saints Day: in our Catholic tradition it is a day of celebrating those holy men and women who now reside with God having dedicated their time on earth to doing God’s will as they generously gave themselves to serving the needs of others.  We celebrate this day with Mass.

Ms. Finnegan’s 6th grade will host the November 1st Mass for all students in preschool through 8th grade (tired or not!).

November 1st:

Classes all day after returning from Mass
Conferences as scheduled from 4:00 – 8:00pm

Parents of preschoolers through 2nd are asked not to bring their children so that focused and, sometimes, confidential conferences with the teacher can be held.  With only 15 minutes, focus is essential.
Parents of 3rd – 8th graders are asked to bring their child about whom the conference is being held.  S/he will use his or her portfolio to guide the conference.
Conferences for preschool through 5th are scheduled. Teachers will do their best to remain on schedule. 
Conferences for middle school students and their parents are held in the gym so that parents can meet with as many of the teachers as they wish.
Specials teachers will not be at conferences; if you wish to speak with any of them please contact them through Fast Direct and make an appointment.  This would include: Ms. Calza, Ms. Bowman, Ms. Zegarra-Ballon, Mr. Larsen, Ms. Unverfeth, Mr. Ranek, and Ms. Bodell. 

November 2nd

No school
Conferences from 1:00pm – 7:00pm

November 3rd: no school
November 7: PTA meets at 7:00pm at school, parents always welcomed.
November 8: Middle school Mass planned by Mrs. Kuppinger’s 7th grade

5th grade parent breakfast at 8:00am in cafeteria.

November 9:

Scottish Partnership for the Arts concert in the gym at 1:00, all are invited.
Parents invited to meet about standardized testing, 7:00pm at school

November 10: Mass planned by Ms. Puckett’s 3rd grade
November 11: FEAST DAY ON FLAD

We will celebrate the Feast of St. Margaret of Scotland at 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday. We will continue the celebration out onto Flad Ave and into the Church Hall, with fun, food, and fellowship, including delicious food from Favazza’s and entertainment. All are welcome!
Sign-up on the parish website on WeShare (  This is a great event to celebrate our community and meet friends old and new!

November 12: First Reconciliation at 1:00pm
November 16:

Mass at 8:00am planned by Ms. Wucher’s 7th grade; all grades attend
Centennial Essay contest winners announced
All day celebration of our patron saint and 100 years of faith and learning

November 17: no all school Mass
November 22: possible no school depending Walk-A-Thon pledges collected.


TOMORROW, OCTOBER 27th is the last day to order for Square One!
Three Easy Ways to Order:
1. Online:
2. Phone: 888-332-3294
3. Paper Order Form on the back of your child’s custom catalog
Remember, your child’s access code is located on his or her catalog.
*All orders shipped to the school, and will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas.*
Thank you for helping to support our art program and create lasting keepsakes from your child’s artistic achievements!



We have been given a stack of tickets to Saturday nights’ SLU women’s soccer game. The game will be held October 28 at 7:00pm at Herman Stadium.  If you are interested in tickets stop by the school office or fast direct Jennifer Shearer in the office requesting that she send tickets home with your child.  We have enough tickets for your whole team and then some.


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