Last Week

May 17, 2020

Dear St. Michael’s Lower School Families,

As our school year comes to a close this week, I can’t help but feel an enormous sense of pride in our students, teachers, parents, and in our St. Michael’s community. We have experienced amazing achievements together while demonstrating kindness, resiliency, dedication, and grit. Having remained in constant contact with educators across the country during this time, it is clear that St. Michael’s has continued to advance with exquisite skill and integrity, while remaining committed to our mission. Congratulations on a job well done!

Art Expo
Congratulations to all our Eagles on their amazing artwork! Thanks to Ms. Allen and Mrs. Faltico for making this all possible. The artwork is beautiful, creative, and fun. You can access it here, or via the school website. Special thanks to Mr. Zach Rebert for putting together such an organized digital display.

End of Year Celebrations
For those grades participating in the drive thru celebrations (K,1,2,4) please know that we will be implementing safety protocols for social distancing. Teachers will be wearing masks, and we kindly ask that families remain inside their cars at all times. Please enter from the light at Wilmot and 5th, and drive around to the front of the school where we will have teachers and staff ready to guide you through the process. Please make sure your child has their digital device (iPad or Chromebook) and school materials/belongings ready to hand to the teacher. In return, students will be receiving their art portfolios, summer packets, reading lists, and additional items from their classroom teacher. Here is the schedule for the upcoming week:

Monday 5.18
Kindergarten 9:00-10:00
Fourth Grade 10:00-11:00
4A 10:00
4B 10:30
First Grade 11:00-12:00

Tuesday 5.19
Second Grade

Wednesday (5.20) & Thursday (5.21)
Third Grade – you must schedule your appointment with Mr. Gould or Ms. Stalkfleet via Sign Up Genius. Please see their class blogs for further details.

The last official day of school is Thursday, May 21st. No late work will be accepted after this day.

The K-8 Soar with the Eagles Award Ceremony will be presented online this Wednesday, after 11:00 a.m., via Google Classrooms. I am so proud of our students, and am excited to see this video montage.

2020-2021 School Year
Please see the most recent letter from our Head of School (Brendan Sullivan) here.
The letter includes a parent survey, which you can also access here.

Second Grade
As Mr. Sullivan mentioned in his letter, we will be moving to one second grade this fall. Enrollment, and financial constraints due to COVID-19, were the driving factors in this decision. Our school, like all independent schools, will be facing a year of recovery for the upcoming 20-21 school year. Knowing this, we had to look at making sound, fiscally responsible decisions in order to keep these changes temporary and not permanent. We are committed to building enrollment in our second grade, and will hire another teacher to work with Mrs. O’Meara for the 21-22 school year. In the meantime, I look for this to be a rewarding, and exciting year for our second grade students.

A special thanks to Mrs. Julie O’Shell for her great work this year in 2A! She has been an amazing teacher and an excellent colleague. Thankfully, we aren’t saying goodbye to Mrs. O’Shell, as she has elected to remain on the substitute teacher list. Thank you Mrs. O’Shell!! You will hold a special place in the hearts of this 2A class.

We will be saying goodbye to Ms. Tracy Walrath this year, who has been the teaching assistant in Mrs. Sanders’ KA class for the past two years. We wish her the very best as she transitions into overseeing her massage therapy business full time. Mrs. Julia Rebert will act as the sole teaching assistant for both kindergarten classes this fall.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we are thrilled to welcome Mrs. Maria Elena Iturralde as the K-4 Spanish teacher this fall. She comes to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as some new and innovative ideas. At the same time, we will be saying goodbye to Mrs. Mary Redhouse, who has been at St. Michael’s for seven years. Thank you for your service Mrs. Redhouse!

Thank you
St. Michaels is a strong, compassionate, and tight-knit community. Our school thrived during this unprecedented time because we continued to support one another, and remained determined to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students through excellence and innovation. We have shown strength and resolve, and our school has become stronger and more tenacious than ever. Thank you for your partnership and for your support of St. Michael’s.

As we move into the summer months, and begin to fine tune the upcoming school year, I will continue to keep you apprised of any new information and guidance we receive. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns. I am always happy to talk with you, and am here to support you in any way I can.

Thank you, once again, for a wonderful school year! I hope to see you this week at the drive thru celebrations, or the third grade classroom check outs.

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

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day to all our wonderful moms! My siblings and I made Belgian Waffles for our mom this morning, complete with bananas, blueberries, maple syrup, pecans, chocolate chips, and last but not least – whipped cream! It’s a family tradition, and one of my absolute favorite days of the year. I hope each of you felt loved and appreciated today. You certainly deserve it!

Believe it or not, we’ve made it to the final week of remote learning. Bravo! Cheers! Way to Go! I am so proud of our school. The success we’ve achieved during distance learning is reflective of our amazing parent-teacher-student relationships, and our ability to stay the course and continue to advance academically, regardless of COVID-19 setbacks. We have continued to learn new subject matter, evaluate achievement, and connect with classmates and teachers every single day. Although there is always room for improvement, I think it’s safe to say – well done St. Michael’s!

This Friday (5.15) will be the last day of class Zoom meetings and assignments. Your child will have until next Thursday (5.21) to tie up any loose ends and submit lingering assignments. Final grades will be mailed to you in early June.

Soar with the Eagle Awards will be announced by the end of this week via your child’s classroom teacher. We will be posting a more formal awards ceremony (albeit digital) next week. Students will receive their award at the end of year check out, or drive thru celebration.

Speaking of end of year check outs (or drive thru celebrations), all digital devices and borrowed learning materials will need to be returned the last week of school. Please follow guidelines from your child’s classroom teacher. Students will also receive summer work packets, reading lists, and art portfolios during check out.

Have a wonderful week. Let’s finish strong!

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

Teacher Appreciation Week

May 3, 2020

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” – Forest E. Witcraft (teacher/scholar)

I hope this post finds all of you healthy, and feeling motivated to finish strong as we enter the last two weeks of remote learning. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I’d like to dedicate this post to our amazing classroom teachers.

As the lower school head, I have the good fortune to witness great teaching in action every day. It’s an exclusive look into the hard work and dedication that goes into designing challenging lessons and implementing effective instruction on a daily basis. There is no denying the high expectations and academic strength our teachers bring, but what impresses me the most, day in and day out, is the emphasis our teachers place on building and maintaining positive relationships with students. Trust, integrity, responsibility, cooperation, collaboration, compassion, empathy, commitment – these are the hallmarks of the teacher/student relationship at St. Michael’s. These relationships are powerful, and are the key to student success, tenacity, fortitude, and ability to persevere. I am so grateful to be part of such a dedicated, caring, and positive team. Cheers to our teachers!

Lastly, on behalf of all lower school staff, I’d like to thank you, our parents, for your support during this transition to distance learning. You have helped make this a meaningful and successful experience for our students. We can’t thank you enough!

Have a wonderful week.

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