In compliance with Governor Cuomo’s NY PAUSE mandate,

St. Mary School will continue Distance Learning through the end of the school year.

4/17/2020,2:50 PM
Message from the Principal

Hello, Dear SMS Parents,

 And welcome back to our continuation of distance learning! We hope you had a wonderful Easter and break!

 I’d like to thank our incredible faculty and staff for their work throughout the holiday – some of you even had a visit from the “Teacher Bunny” with new work and academic packets (a welcomed break from chocolate)!

As you already know, Governor Cuomo has extended the “New York Pause” through May 15th, which means that we’ll be continuing our distance learning at least through that time. We know that it can be difficult to balance your own work at home with the children’s needs, and we thank you for your efforts and support.

 I want to remind you that – when the going gets tough – we are here to help in any way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our social worker, Marta Elias is also always available and is a wonderful resource for parents and children alike. She may be reached at 716-331-1569 or at socialwork@stmaryschoolswormville.org .

Finally, many thanks to Mike Millich, who has forwarded a guideline regarding internet safety during this period of time when we are all online more than ever before. Please see the attachment for details.

Together, we will persevere and THRIVE!!

 God bless you all for your continued team effort!!

 Mary Jo

April 8, 2020  View on Facebook by clicking here: Video Message from Mrs. Aiken

March 31, 2020, 3:09 PM 

Message from the Principal

Dear SMS Parents,

 Thank you for your participation in the Distance Learning Survey that we sent out last week. Your input and concerns are important to us, just as is our goal of offering continued curriculum-based learning and growth for your children. Results of the survey have helped us to know where we need to make changes, and where we can continue to do what we are doing.

 Parents, students, and teachers alike are all adapting to a new mode of classroom activity. We know that we are all in this together!

We recognize that we cannot be all things to all people, so we are going to keep the methods that seem to be working, especially in Montessori through Grade 2 and Grades 6 through 8, and make changes where we think they will most benefit our students and accommodate to our families. Grade 3 through 5 will be making changes in work and assignment levels, and Grades 6 through 8 will make minor adjustments that enable classes to be more productive.

 For our upper levels, Grades 3-8, teaching sessions will be pre-recorded and enable students to view and participate on their own schedules. Scheduled live sessions will provide “check-in” opportunities for our students. Teachers will endeavor to post in advance all assignments for the week, to better enable students to parse their time.

 For all students, all assignments will be noted on the Google Classroom “To Do” list. Please be sure that your child is accessing it for a reminder of what is required and what is completed.

 We request your patience as we make our adjustments, some taking place this week, and the remainder being implemented by next week.

 We have discussed grading on the elementary level and been in touch with other schools in determining our best and preferred approach to assessment during this final trimester of the year, and will be implementing a Pass/Fail approach. “Passing” for the trimester will be based upon the completion of assignments and a 70% or higher accuracy on those assignments. For large projects (such as the Middle School term papers), a rubric outlining proficiency levels will be provided. Few tests, if any, will be given.

 If you or your child struggle in any way with lessons and/or meetings, please contact your child’s teacher or me and together we will attempt to address your concerns.

 Please feel free to access and review the survey results by clicking on the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-5J8QYHNM7/

 

We hope to grow in the “Just Right” categories for all of us!

 Best wishes to all! Stay home and stay safe!

 Mary Jo Aiken

3/27/2020, 3:05 PM
Message from the Principal
Good afternoon, SMS Parents!
We’ve completed our first full week of distance learning, and are now 14 days into our “shutdown” with no apparent cases of COVID-19 originating or having spread from school. That’s great news and augurs well for continued good health, now that we are being more vigilant in our social distancing.
Distance learning goes both ways and we’d like to garner your feedback regarding our work and your children’s work. Please access the link below for a 2-minute (or less) survey that will help us to better serve you and our students:
Our faculty continues to meet daily to share and discuss our methods and experiences. Out of that, we’ve determined some tips for being prepared for distance learning that we’d like to share with you:
Tips for DIstance Learning:
1).  Be up, dressed and breakfasted before the 9:00 a.m. session begins.
2).  Be sure to not have food or drink near the Chromebooks during our 20-minute        
      sessions.
3).  Find a quiet space to work: bedrooms are great, as long as you’re not in bed! Sitting 
      up — even on the floor — with a backrest really helps maintain focus. If you’re able to 
      sit at table or desk, that’s even better!
4).  Take frequent stretch breaks — Ms. Young has some great (and fun!) exercise videos 
       ready for you!
5).  Be sure to make time and take time to get fresh air outside during this wonderful 
      spring weather!
6).  Talk to your teachers! Let them know if you are having a problem finishing work! 
       We’ve built two 1-hour breaks into your day, but we need to know how you’re doing!
 
We hope these recommendations will help in the weeks ahead as we all become more comfortable with distance learning!
Be assured that as news of our status after April 19th unfolds, we’ll be updating you with anticipated changes to our school schedule. There are many activities that we may be called upon to postpone, but we have every intention of continuing to celebrate our students in every possible way!
Let’s have a St. Mary School Spirit Day to celebrate our SMS Family on Monday, March 30th! Let’s ALL wear SMS spiritwear/PE shirt/royal blue to show our school pride! It won’t even cost $1.00 😉 
God bless you and keep you safe and healthy in the palm of His hand!
Mary Jo

3/20/2020, 3:50 PM

Message from the Principal

Good Afternoon, Parents!

 We’re truckin’ along, addressing “glitches” but generally making distance learning a reality!

 If you’re having ANY problems connecting, Mrs. Federowicz has recommended the following:

  • Be sure your internet bandwidth is maximized by checking in with your provider. For most folks, that’s going to be Spectrum at 1-844-488-8395
  • If possible, “hard wire” your Chromebook to your internet router. To do this, you’ll need the following items:

o   An Ethernet cable link; click on Ethernet cable link

o   A Chromebook adapter for the Ethernet cable; click on Here’s the adapter

 Other Notes

Effective Monday, we’ll all be working from home, so please continue to contact us at our email addresses. Please do not “text” your teachers. We’ll all endeavor to get back with you within 24 hours of your communication.

  • For technical assistance, you can speak live with Mrs. Federowicz on school days from 10-11 a.m. and noon – 1 p.m. at https://zoom.us/j/715858461
  • All NYS Proficiency tests have been suspended.
  • Please keep checking us on Facebook and our website – There’s still lots happening at SMS and at home! We love your pictures and comments!

 Above all, be safe, and know that we will endeavor to make this unprecedented time, one filled with learning and continued growth for all our children!

God bless you! We love you all!
Mary Jo

3/16/2020, 3:12 PM
Message from the Principal

Good afternoon, Saint Mary School Parents,

This is our latest update regarding the closure of the school and our preparations for online learning.
As you probably already know, ALL schools in Erie County will remain closed until April 20th. We’ll be reassessing our ability to re-open on April 20th in early April. In the meantime, we can only confirm that all school activities will be cancelled or postponed until after April 20th.
As I indicated in my letter to you last Friday, we have prepared for online learning for our Montessori K-8 students, and even distance learning for our Montessori 3 and 4 year old children. To that end, we will be distributing Chromebooks and classroom materials for each student this Wednesday from the school cafeteria. To limit exposures, we ask you to remain in your car outside the cafeteria door, A7, and we will bring your child’s materials to your car. If you have a Montessori student, continue on to the Parish Center door, B1, and teachers will bring your child’s materials to your car, also. We ask that you come at one of the following times:
If you last name begins with A-F: Come to the cafeteria door between 9 and 10 a.m.
If your last name begins with G-M: Come to the cafeteria door between 10 and 11 a.m.
If you last name begins with N-S: Come to the cafeteria door between 11 and 12 noon
If you last name begins with T-Z: Come to the cafeteria door between noon and 1 p.m.
Directions and schedules for online classes will  be distributed at that time, and also emailed to each family. 
Please read through the instruction pack that we include.
Classes will begin on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.
The school building is shutting down, effective Thursday at 2:30 p.m., and will remain closed through April 20th. 
We’ll stay in touch and keep you updated as we approach this challenge one  step at a time.
Thank you for  your effort and support as we work together to help our children continue to grow and learn in the most protected possible environment.
God bless you! Stay safe!
Mary Jo Aiken

3/15/2020, 1:23 PM

Message from the Principal
As you probably have already heard,  Erie County and the Erie County Department of Health have closed all schools TOMORROW – Monday, March 16. We, or course will remain in compliance with all DOH mandates, and take additional precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  I’d like to emphasize that – at this juncture – no faculty, staff or students have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. We hope to keep that the case, and will be contacting you regarding the potential for ongoing closure of the school. I’ll be in touch with you again within 24 hours to update you on further actions that we intend to take for the sake of protecting all those in our school and faith community. 
Mary Jo Aiken, Principal, St. Mary School Swormville