Moving Forward and Renewing Our Commitment to
Quality Catholic Education
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I begin my message to you today with an update on transformations for the 2015-2016 school year. As you know, our Middle School program will be changing and growing in its student population and in its educational staff. We are very excited with the new teachers coming on board and the opportunity we have to raise our academics and social/emotional skills of our students.
Mrs. Ramthun will be taking over the Science program for grades 4th through 8th. She will step out of the 6th grade homeroom position and focus strictly on Science. Mr. Smith will teach Religion for grades 7 and 8. He will also instruct Social Studies for the Middle School.
Ms. Saaty will assume the 6th grade homeroom position and will team teach leveled Math for the Middle School. She will also teach Religion for grade 6. Mrs. Reed will team teach leveled Math, lead our Middle School writing program and instruct specific technology classes. At this time the candidate for the third homeroom position for Middle School has not been selected. I will continue to interview, focusing on strengths in Language Arts.
- I am hiring three new teachers for our Middle School program (Please refer to their short biographies below for specifics of the first two.) Each teacher brings a skill-set and qualifications appropriate for the position. As well, the current teachers in Middle School will be shifting their teaching responsibilities to better fit their talents.
Positive aspects of Advisories
- Next year our 6th, 7th and 8th graders will begin each day with an advisory period. (There will be no block scheduling moving forward.) An advisory is an organized group of one adult, the advisor, and a small group of students that serves as the students' first gathering of the day. Advisory programs are based on the belief that students need the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with adult educators, and that doing so benefits students in a variety of ways.
All Middle School teachers will have an advisory period and lessons will be created for each grade level in the areas of academics, social components and Christian service. Specifics will be shared at the beginning of the school year.
- Guarantee that every student belongs to a peer group providing small learning communities.
- Helps every student find ways of being successful within the academic and social options the school provides.
- Advisory offers emotional support for students during adolescence.
- Strengthen student/teacher relationships.
- Advocates of advisory programs see a direct link between a student’s emotional and social experience and academic achievement.
- Advisory promotes self-esteem. It provides peer recognition in an accepting environment, offsetting peer pressure and negative responses from peers in other areas.
- Each teacher is directly responsible for certain students, and each student is directly responsible to a particular teacher.
- I am also excited to share with you the multiple elective class options available for Middle School students next year. We will meet as a Middle School faculty and talk with students about their thoughts, but will definitely offer, Creative Writing, in which students will have the opportunity to be published in an online magazine, Book Club, Art, Yearbook, Band and Music.
As you can see our Middle School is going to be enhanced next year and filled with new activities and opportunities for our students to achieve academically, socially and emotionally.
My name is Suzanne Saaty (Say-ah-tee) and I am very excited to be joining such a positive and uplifting community as your new 6th grade Homeroom and Middle School Math teacher. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Education with a Math Emphasis. I am certified to teach K-8 Math and truly enjoy this vocation of teaching.
I have been teaching 4th and 5th grade math at Kennedy Powell Elementary here in Temple, and each year, my classes have been the top achieving math students in the district. We have been recognized every year because of our test scores for the state and for TISD. However, the chance to join a Catholic School was an opportunity I could not pass up, and something I feel called to do.
My philosophy is that every child can excel in math and it should be a subject they truly enjoy. By incorporating technology, interactive lessons, and hands-on learning materials, I have seen vast improvements in my students’ grasp of mathematics, and I look forward to sharing this with the students at SMCS. Go Falcons!
My name is Deborah Reed and I will be teaching Math and Writing for the upcoming school year. I am a member of St. Mary’s Church and a strong supporter of Catholic education. Several years ago, I taught second grade at St. Mary’s and am returning after teaching Math and Science in the public school system. I have taught or tutored math on all levels for the past thirty years. I am a published author and have had over fifty short stories/magazine articles published, two of which are Pushcart Prize nominees. I currently have six novels under the name D L Reed on Amazon and am writing the seventh. I look forward to teaching the wonderful students at St. Mary’s.
Grade 5 News
- We will also investigate the opportunities of each Middle School grade to attend an overnight program in Science, Social Studies or Religion. These programs will be planned and shared with parents before the beginning of the school year.
I have begun accepting applications for interviews for the 5th grade position. I will inform the school community when a qualified candidate has been chosen.
All Grade Levels
- My next area of news is for our lower grades. Mrs. Phillips, our fifth grade teacher, is a resident of Georgetown. She has been given the opportunity to accept a position at St. Helen's Catholic School in Georgetown as their third grade teacher. This is wonderful news for Mrs. Phillips as her niece attends St. Helens and she would be close to home and family. We are sad to see her leave but wish her all the best and thank you for her service and dedication to St. Mary’s Catholic School.
The AR program is associated with a number of benefits and advantages. For one, the software contains a built-in formula that suggests book titles to students that could interest them based on their individual reading levels and progress. As a result, students struggle less with books above their reading comprehension levels and are able to enjoy reading at their own individual levels—indirectly improving students’ attitudes about reading and encouraging them to read more frequently.
After students have finished reading an assigned book, they can then take a quiz based on the book’s material and content. The purpose of the quizzes is to evaluate whether a student is able to comprehend a book and to assess the student’s vocabulary skills. Prior to taking any quizzes, students can be provided with special bookmarks that feature vocabulary from certain books so students can use these tools throughout their reading.
Additionally, the Accelerated Reader Program has been shown to help students prepare for college and future careers, and has the potential of turning students into lifelong readers and learners.
- All students in grade one through eight will begin the Accelerated Reader program. Accelerated Reader is a computerized reading management program that helps teachers motivate students to read and improve their reading skills. Students select books on their reading level, read the book and take an independent comprehension test on the computer. Each book is worth a certain number of points based on its length and reading level. Students get a percentage of these points based on how many of the test questions they get right. The program tracks their progress over the course of the school year.
- All grades will be implementing updated Social Studies books and Religion books. As well, our Pre-K will be implementing a new comprehensive program entitled Scholastic Big Day. This all encompassing curriculum ensures Kindergarten readiness by building a solid foundation socially and academically.
- Lastly, all grade levels will begin a formal writing progam. Teachers will be trained appropriately on the chosen program to ensure smooth implementation and student success.
God bless you for your continued support of St. Mary’s Catholic School. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have questions.
A Smile From Father Steve
"God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.”
The Mission of St. Mary's Catholic School is the commitment to academic excellence, and the spiritual development of our students toward a life of prayer, service and love.
Rooted in Tradition: Educating for the Future
St Mary’s Catholic School is to prepare students to excel in High School, as well as to shine as a light for Christ in the world by using their unique God given potential, doing all in the spirit of our Blessed Mother.
Philosophy of Education of St. Mary’s Catholic School:
Webelieve that each child is loved by God and uniquely created for a sublime purpose. Therefore, we must help our students to love God and neighbor with a whole heart; to think, judge, and act with right reason; and to use their education to better embrace Catholic teachings and the example of Christ.
To accomplish this aim, the school strives to create a Christian atmosphere of care and concern in which all children may grow toward their full potential spiritually, morally, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. The very nature of the child requires a coordinated education, which is the product of a cooperative effort by home, church, and school. It is through this harmonious partnership that the aim of Catholic education is achieved.
We believe that the “effective Catholic School must call its pupils to the conviction that people are more important than material gain, that justice is more important than success, that love is more important than esteem, and that collaboration unites while competition divides. The truly successful Catholic School student is not necessarily one who is successful in every endeavor, but one who accepts Christian responsibility for fulfillment of personal potential and shares these gifts with others.” (Texas Catholic Conference Education Department)
Goals of Catholic Education:
·The school promotes a community of believers and active learners in the spirit of Jesus Christ to become responsible citizens in today’s society.
·The school provides instructional leadership and maintains an effective and efficient program of studies.
·The purpose, design, and implementation of the curriculum represent the school mission that is shared by teachers, parents, and students.
Why choose Catholic schools?
·The Catholic school climate, mission, and purpose positively impact student achievement and attendance (Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993).
·A faith-based orientation builds coherence and integration of schools and school community (Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993).
·Students demonstrate higher academic achievement in Catholic schools (Coleman, Hoffer, & Kilgore, 1982; Sander, 1996).
·Graduates of Catholic high schools are more likely to vote and earn higher wages (Dee, 2005; Neal, 1997).
·Catholic schools tend to produce graduates who are more civically engaged, more tolerant of diverse views, and more committed to service as adults (Campbell, 2001; Wolf, Greene, Kleitz, & Thalhammer, 2001).
· Call the school to make an appointment to take a tour today!