April 27, 2020

April 27, 2020

St. Michael’s is excited to announce Mrs. Maria Elena Iturralde as the new K-4 Spanish teacher, beginning fall of 2020. Mrs. Iturralde graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Elementary Education (Bilingual), and is a veteran teacher with over twenty years of experience. She previously taught PreK-5th grade Spanish at Castle Hill, and brings a diverse skill set, having worked as an early literacy coach, and an interpreter for the City of Tucson Municipal Courts. We are delighted to have her expertise on staff, and look forward to welcoming her to our community in the fall.

As we say hello to Mrs. Iturralde, we will be saying goodbye to Mrs. Redhouse, who has been teaching at St. Michael’s for the last seven years. For those of you who do not know, Mrs. Redhouse is a Grammy Nominated Native American jazz vocalist and musician, and performs regularly around town and throughout the southwest. We thank her for her good work, and wish her the best in her next adventures.

We are heading into the homestretch! As we move into these last three weeks of remote learning, there are some exciting things to look forward to:

  • Art Expo Online – Ms. Allen and Mrs. Faltico have finished scanning student work and are preparing for the online show, tentatively scheduled for May 15th.
  • Soar with the Eagles Award – we are gathering teacher videos and putting a montage together to celebrate our K-8 Eagle Award winners, to be presented the last week of school (May 18th-21st).
  • Teacher Appreciation Week – May 4th-8th
  • End of Year Class Parties – be on the look out for more information from your child’s classroom teacher regarding end of year celebrations.


  • There will not be any additional assignments or projects given after May 15th
  • Students may continue to submit work through Thursday, May 21st.
  • Summer work packets and reading lists will be provided digitally the last week of school
  • School devices must be returned to the classroom teacher the week of May 18th

I couldn’t resist sharing the following video with you. For those of you who are having to participate in work meetings via Zoom or conference calls, this should all look very familiar!


You are doing an amazing job! Thank you for helping us make this a positive, successful experience for our kids.

Warm Regards,
Ms. Hart
Division Director – Lower School K-4

3rd Trimester Grades

April 17, 2020

Believe it or not, it’s half time! We have officially completed the first four weeks of distance learning, and only have four more weeks to go. As we move into these last few weeks together, I want to share some important information with you regarding end of year grades, and provide you with a more accurate timeline.

Teachers will not be assigning additional online work beyond May 15th. Students will be given the following week (18th-21st) to continue to submit assignments, turn in projects, and tie up any loose ends. The final day for students to submit work will be May 21st.

End of year class parties will take place between May 18th-21st. Be on the lookout for additional information from your child’s classroom teacher. We’ve got a lot of great things in store to celebrate and honor our amazing students, and all they have accomplished this year.

We will be grading with leniency this 3rd trimester. Students will not receive a grade lower than their 2nd trimester scores, however, they have every opportunity to raise their grades! We know how hard our students are working, and we recognize the demands that our families have been facing during this COVID-19 era. Therefore, we hope that this more lenient grading system will reduce anxiety and stress, and help our students remain focused on learning, performing their best, and finishing strong.

We have some fun school spirit days planned! The following dates will be posted on google classroom pages:

Wednesday April 22 – Crazy Hat Day
Wednesday April 29 – Pajama Day
Wednesday May 6 – St. Michael’s Uniform Day
Wednesday May 13 – Share Your Favorite Book Day

I’m excited to announce that our fabulous art teachers, Ms. Allen (K-4) and Mrs. Faltico (5-8), will be putting together a virtual Art Expo! We just couldn’t resist showing off the amazing work our kids have done this year. We hope to have the virtual show available for everyone to see by May 15th.

The Presidio is hoping to offer a camp in June (as long as they don’t have to cancel). Check out their flyer for more information.

Thank you again for your partnership and your support. We greatly appreciate everything you are doing to make remote learning a positive, successful experience.

Warm Regards,
Mandy Hart
Division Director – Lower School K-4

Happy Easter! No School 9-13

April 8, 2020

On behalf of the Lower School faculty and staff, we wish you and your family a wonderful Easter! Please note, there is no school tomorrow, (Thursday 4.9), through Monday (4.13). Classes will resume Tuesday, April 14th. I think all of us are looking forward to stepping away from devices for a bit, and spending quality time with family. I look forward to hearing from the kids via Zoom on Tuesday about their adventures over break.

Thank you for sending in so many joyous pictures of our kids spreading love and cheer throughout the community. The Kindness Rock challenge was a huge success! Thanks for encouraging your child to participate.

Warm Regards,
Mandy Hart
Division Director – Lower School K-4


Holy Week

April 5, 2020

There were a lot of things I wanted to accomplish during this Lenten season; engage in daily scripture readings and purposeful prayer, develop a consistent exercise routine, and take time each day to be grateful for the gifts in my life. I must admit, COVID-19 has been quite a distraction, and I’ve found myself thinking more about social distancing and making runs to the grocery store than I have about the meaning of Lent. As we begin Holy Week, I encourage you to take time every day to give thanks for the wonderful talents, gifts, and blessings in your life. Despite what social media would have us believe, there is so much to be thankful for. St. Michael’s is definitely on my list!

This week will be a short week due to Easter Break. There will be no school Thursday – Monday (4.9-4.13). On behalf of the lower school faculty and staff, we wish you and your family a wonderful Easter.

Challenge Success (CS), a non-profit organization at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, has provided guidance to schools across the nation regarding student well being and engagement with learning. I had the privilege of speaking with the founders of CS at the National Association of Independent Schools conferences in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. CS recently posted an interesting article that encourages families to use this unprecedented time to “make strong family relationships” a priority and “broaden your definition of learning.” To access the article, click here.

Keep sending in those kindness rock pictures! They are really looking beautiful, and so creative!

Warm regards,
Mandy Hart
Division Director – Lower School

Kindness Rock Challenge!

April 1, 2020

Lower School is sending good vibes, hugs, and love your way today! Check out the great encouragement posters our teachers made with you in mind.

Kindess Rock Challenge!
I’d like to challenge your family to participate in an activity that’s completely fun, therapeutic, and will leave our neighborhoods and the Tucson community feeling loved and cared for. From April 1 – April 12 (Easter), pick out a plain old rock from your yard, paint it, write an encouraging word or phrase on it (or just paint a picture) and place it in your neighborhood where someone will be able to see it. Everyone could use a random act of kindness right about now! Maybe there is an elderly neighbor who lives down the street that could use some cheer, or maybe you’ll find the perfect spot to leave your rock for someone else to find while walking with your family. There is no wrong way to go about it! Here are some simple instructions to participate:

1. Pick a rock from your yard, preferably one that fits in your hand and isn’t too heavy
2. Paint your rock using acrylic paint and include an inspirational message/word/picture
3. Write “Keep it, share it, or leave it for another” on the back (sharpies work great!)
4. Seal it (if possible) with Mod Podge or nail polish (clear coat)
5. Take a picture of your rock and email me at mhart@stmichael.net
6. Find the perfect spot for your rock in your neighborhood!

I hope you will participate! We will be posting rock pictures on our FB page over the next two weeks. Here are the two rocks my mom and I painted today. Can’t wait to see your rock creations. Happy painting!

Warm Regards,
Mandy Hart
Division Director – Lower School (K-4)