6424 South Kenneth Avenue Chicago Illinois 60629 Phone 773.767.6160 Fax 773.767.7077 office@stmarystaroftheseaschool.org Office Hours: 7:30AM-3:30PM (and by appointment) Extended Day: 6:45AM-7:45AM and 3:00PM-6:00PM
6424 South Kenneth Avenue Chicago Illinois 60629Phone 773.767.6160   Fax 773.767.7077office@stmarystaroftheseaschool.org Office Hours: 7:30AM-3:30PM (and by appointment)Extended Day: 6:45AM-7:45AM and 3:00PM-6:00PM

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St. Mary Star of the Sea School - Principals Newsletter

June 3, 2021

 

Dear Families,

 

As we draw a close to the 2020-2021 school year, we wish the best to a few of our teachers: Ms. Pabello, Mrs. Zaragoza. And Mrs. Zaworski. Saying good bye is always hard, but after 21 years it is nearly impossible... Ms. Bobko we wish you success in your new academic endeavors.

 

Our summer program has a hand full of openings and starts this Monday. Class size is limited to 10 per class. The children must still wear a mask, but we are able to use the classrooms and provide meals – both breakfast and lunch. Please call the office to register @ 773.767.6160.

 

Summer office hours begin tomorrow. They are Monday through Friday 8-2. If you need to meet with myself or either of the office ladies, outside of these times, please call for an appointment.

 

There still are many left over school supply kits from this year. If you are interested in purchasing one for $25, please come directly to the school office. Kits do not include wipes, paper towels, nor Kleenex.

 

Lastly, thank you - parents for all the support, prayers, and trust you lent to myself and the staff this year. It was a journey none of us anticipated nor navigated previously. Despite the loss of traditions and activities, there were many lessons learned and new ideas gained. It was truly an example of when God closes a door, he opens a window of opportunity. We just need to be receptive.

 

I would like to close with a prayer for all of the children and your families for a safe summer...

 

Dear Parents and Students,

Take time to have hope, you are a child of God.

Let's put ourselves into the hands of the Lord, and pray that God will bless us and our families during the wonderful months of summer.

May we all help make our home a place of relaxation, joy, love, peace and safety. ... We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

 

Stay well,

Mrs. Usauskas

May 27, 2021

 

Dear Families,

 

Congrats to the class of 2021. Tonight, is their night! These students have accumulated over $34,000 in scholarships for continued Catholic Education. We wish you well – may God continue to bless you and your families in your continued endeavors.

 

There was a typo on the academic calendar for 20-21. The last day of school is Thursday, June 3. The children will leave the building at 11:30. Sorry for the confusion.

 

If you have a uniform with many days of wear still in it, please consider donating it to the school. Many times, we have transfer children or student who just went through a growth spurt and need a replacement piece. We ask that you wash it and if the size is not visible – please put a tag stating its size.

 

Children are expected in complete uniform on the first day of school – August 17th. Please look in the handbook found on the SMS website for details. Haircuts, two toned hair, shoes, make up, belts, socks, and jewelry are often compliance issues. Please look these items over carefully so that we are all on the same page with school policy.

 

We have left over school supply kits from this year. If you are interested in purchasing one for $25 cash only, please come directly to the school office. Kits are on first come, first served basis. Don’t delay. Kits do not include wipes, paper towels, nor Kleenex.

 

Lastly, our summer program has changed to a face to face venue. The children must still wear a mask, but we are able to use the classrooms and provide meals – both breakfast and lunch. The Grab and Go program will also begin on June 7th.Your June calendar has all the details.

 

Our summer office hours are Monday through Friday 8-2 beginning June 7th. If you need to meet with myself or either of the office ladies, outside of these times, please call for an appointment.

 

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

May 20, 2021

 

Hello,

 

With just two weeks of school remaining, I ask that we all remember to adhere to protocol and safety measures. Despite what the governor has suggested regarding masks, we are continuing to wear them in school as well as adhere to social distancing. The OCS has requested we continue to follow the CDC guidelines that were established in the fall. Please reinforce this procedure with your children.

 

If you have business in the school, we ask that you be ‘buzzed’ by the office before entering. Lately there have been situations whereby people have entered as someone exited the building and no one was aware of their presence. This was a source of frustration for both the parents and office that could have easily been avoided.

 

Tuesday and Wednesday, next week, are our Walk-A-Thon and Field Day’s. I am aware many of you have completed your fundraising goals for 20-21. Please recall, we lowered the fee by $25 per family which added to our deficit. If at possible, making the $10 donation will help us as we look to purchase new religion and language arts books for the fall.

 

I am waiting for confirmation on having a COVID Vaccination Bus be assigned one day in the new two weeks outside of the school. As you are aware, children 12 and older may receive the vaccine. I am hopeful we will be able to provide the convenience of having this service for you and our community. Students must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Lastly, children who have qualified for Title I services in the 20-21 academic year, may sign up for fine arts and dance this summer. Class schedules are not yet available, but I can inform you they days are Monday – Thursday – June 7 – 24. The sessions will fall between the hours of 8:30 – 12:30. Please call the office if you are interested in having your child(ren) enrolled in these lessons.

 

Enjoy our summer like weather weekend!

Mrs. U.

May 13, 2021

 

Spring Greetings to all our families,

 

Last week there was an application form for our summer program. Please, if you are interested in having your child participate, send it in ASAP. We only have two staff members facilitating the program and as such space is truly limited.

 

We are looking for a structure for the e-learning students for 2021-2022. The preferable practice is to provide a face to face education. The Office of Catholic Schools and St. Mary’s has proven we can do this safely and will continue to do so. If your child is currently an e-learner and has a documented medical need to remain as one, could you send me a quick note stating so. We are investigating our options and will relay them to you as they unfold. As previously mentioned, it will not be simultaneous learning with the SMS teacher, as formatted this year. Most likely, it will involve a third-party vendor such as Catapult.

 

Mr. Gula, our beloved band instructor is looking for the 3rd graders to begin lessons this summer. If your child expressed interest from the meeting that took place introducing them to the variety of instruments in band – please do not hesitate to call the office or email me for further details.

 

The students will be participating in the walk-a-thon as well as field days on the 25th and 26tth. All students will be outside – no matter the pledge level.

 

Lastly, do you know any families with a preschool aged child? The cost of preschool in Illinois is ranked 9th (out of 10) in the United Stated States for highest cost – an average of $12,795. Tuition for one child is only $5425! This is a faith filled education with a licensed teacher and aid. Best practices are implanted throughout a creative play and academic program. Please refer them and receive a $500 discount off your tuition.

 

Stay well,

 

Mrs. U.

May 6, 2021

 

Good Day St. Mary Families,

 

Congratulations are in order for three of our Middle School children. The students completed city wide with hundreds of other children in an essay contest entitled “2021 Do the Write Thing Challenge, Stop the Violence.” The following students were selected as one of the top one hundred finalists: Grade 7: Angelina Luevano, and Grade 8 Alicia Raymond and Julian Velazquez. Congrats! On June 8th, the city will release the names of the top two finalists to go on to the national competition.

 

Friday, May 7th, marks the beginning of our 8th grade journey to commencement with our annual Class Day celebration. During this celebration the student will receive their school ribbon identifying then as a potential graduate. Please keep the class of 2021 in your prayers as they begin their matriculation to high school.

 

Looking for a Mother’s Day gift? St. Mary’s annual flower and vegetable sale is this weekend in the rectory garage. The children will be going on Friday – May 7th with their class. If you wish to get all your flowers for your baskets and vegetables for your garden plan to stop by Saturday from 8am-noon.

 

Our annual summative assessment begins this Monday, May 10. In place of the ACT ASPIRE test, the students will be taking the spring iReady test. Please see the green envelope for a letter further explaining this action.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all who have provided care to someone this past year, moms, grandmothers, and aunts.

 

Blessings,

 

Mrs. U.

April 29, 2021

 

Hello St. Mary Families,

 

It is feeling like summer as I write this update with 80 plus degrees out my window! We still have volumes to accomplish before summer break, so I begin.

 

I am looking for one or two more parents to go to Springfield on Monday the 17th to lobby for an extension of the Tax Credit program. We will also be asking Governor Pritzker not to cut the percentages allowed for donors. If you have been the recipient, are currently one, or on the waitlist – please seriously consider joining us. We need to make our message heard. We need this program to survive. Many of our children will leave St. Mary’s if it is not in place. Do not let the sun set on this program.

 

Congratulations to our band students who participated in the Archdiocesan Solo Contest held, Saturday, April 17th. Receiving an excellent rating (silver medal) was Adrian Ramos in grade 6. Two students received Gold medals – a superior rating. They were Alexa Munoz – grade 7 and Louise Dzik in 8th grade. Great work, we are very proud of you!

 

Next year, SMS plans to reopen for face to face learning. The teachers will be in their classrooms facilitating lessons. They will not be simultaneously conducting e-learning lessons. I state this so that you could plan according. Please, if your intentions are to have your child be taught by our staff they must be enrolled in the school program.

 

Lastly, I can not encourage you any more strongly than I have previously. If you anticipate the need for financial assistance, you MUST apply through FACTS. The Office of Catholic Schools reviews these applications and will advise the amount of money your family may be eligible for if funding prevails. Do not put this task off! Once the funds are depleted, they are gone.

 

Stay well,

 

Mrs. U.

April 22, 2021

 

Dear Parents,

 

Don’t let this important scholarship program drift off into the sunset!

 

Under the “Invest in Kids” program, a state tax credit is available to individuals or businesses for donations made to authorized organizations. Those organizations then use the money to fund tuition scholarships for eligible students to attend a school of their choice.

 

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, says Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proposed nearly cutting the credit for the “Invest in Kids” program in half, from a 75% to a 40% credit, calling it a corporate loophole that should be closed.

 

The program was launched for an initial period of just five years. As we enter the sunset period of this program, families need to push back on the Governor’s proposed budget cuts, which would weaken the program and potentially harm fundraising.

 

Please write your state representative and inform them of the need for this program. The office can assist you in identifying to whom you should direct your correspondence.

 

We are looking for recipients of tax credit scholarships, both Big Shoulders and Empower IL, to lobby in Springfield during the month of May. I ideally need 5 adults to carpool for the day trip at a date to be selected at the groups’ convenience. Please contact me if you are interested and can support this endeavor.

 

I would also ask if your family is currently or will be the recipient of a tax credit scholarship next year, to have your child(ren) make a poster, write a letter, or create a short video stating its importance to their attending St. Mary Star of the Sea School. Please have these testimonials to the school office by May 3rd.

 

Blessings,

 

Mrs. U.

April 15, 2021

 

Hello again!

 

It seems like ages since I wrote you my weekly update. First and foremost, I wish to thank Mrs. Evans and Ms. Bobko for the outstanding job in keeping the school up to date and running smoothly. The teachers and students continued in true St. Mary fashion by adhering to their studies and classroom protocol. How blessed we are to have such a magnificent learning community.

 

This is an important time of the year for all families interested in applying for financial aid for 2021-22. NOW is the time to apply on Facts Grant and Aid. Decisions for awards are being made over the next few weeks. If you prolong applying, there may not be funding left to give. Please don’t delay.

 

We will be hosting an e-learning summer program for the younger students in June. Details will be released shortly. The dates of the program are Monday – Thursday, June 7-24th. Subjects include reading, math, fine arts, and possibly dance.

 

St. Rita High School is offering bridge – COVID catch up classes. The classes are for 6th , 7th, and 8th graders who may need extra help in English, reading, and math. For more information and cost, please check the link https://www.stritahs.com/ccc

 

Last, as we begin preparations for the 2021-2022 school year, the question arises whether or not families wish to have the school supplies purchased in kits for their children. We have assorted grade levels left over from this year and can be purchased while they last. Please contact the school office for pricing and reserving your kit(s).

 

Blessings,

 

Mrs. U.

During Mrs. U's recovery, the update is being supplied by Ms. Roberta Bobko and Mrs. Rose Evans... 

 

April 1, 2021

 

Easter Greetings St. Mary’s Families,

 

We wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and your families Blessed Easter. We hope you all have a relaxing, fun, and healthy Easter break. We are looking forward to Mrs. Usauskas returning to us after break as well!

 

We would like to ask all of our e-learning families to take some time over the break to review the elearning contract that was signed when your child/children started e-learning. This contract was created to be sure that everyone was doing their part and taking responsibility for the decision to enroll your child in e-learning. While we don’t mind supplying copies of the work in an emergency situation, the amount of printing we are doing for e-learning is becoming overwhelming. If you don’t have the required technology at home, (printers, scanners, computers etc.) we would encourage you to consider returning to the classroom. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in following e-learning protocols.

 

Finally, because of the situation we have been enduring since last March, the Archdiocese of Chicago has decided to forgo ASPIRE testing this year. This is a decision that has been made in many school districts both private and public. IAR testing will be taking place for students who receive tax credit scholarships, but there won’t be any formal standardized testing this year.

 

Happy Easter to all!

 

Ms. Bobko & Mrs. Evans

During Mrs. U's recovery, the update is being supplied by Ms. Roberta Bobko and Mrs. Rose Evans... 

 

March 25, 2021

 

Greetings St. Mary’s Parents and Families,

 

We just wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that this Sunday is Palm Sunday. We continue on our Lenten journey to the holiest week of the year. This is a good time to talk as a family about the sacrifices those we love have made for us, and how we can sacrifice to help others. We know that Catholic education is a sacrifice. We know how much you give up to give your children a faith based education. We are grateful for this as well as the other sacrifices you make for your children.

 

Easter Break begins next Thursday, 4/1, at 3:00 P.M. Please take some time to relax and enjoy this additional time with your family. As always, do everything you can to stay safe and healthy!

 

Have a wonderful weekend,

 

Ms. Bobko & Mrs. Evans

During Mrs. U's recovery, the update is being supplied by Ms. Roberta Bobko and Mrs. Rose Evans... 

 

March 18, 2021

 

 

Greeting St. Mary’s Families,

 

Once again, we would like to leave you with some reminders for the coming day and weeks. Please remember to check the website and the green envelope for more information.

  • Please be sure to mark your calendars for Pizza Day next Thursday, March 25th. If your child didn’t order a pizza, please be sure to send them to school with lunch. All students should bring a drink;
  • Please be sure your child doesn’t need to have any supplies replenished. We can’t share this year, so it’s important to make sure the students have everything they need to be successful the rest of the trimester;
  • Please check uniforms as well. Students should not be wearing gym shoes to school on a daily basis. Please consult the handbook online if you have questions about the uniform;
  • Be sure to check the latest Covid travel guidelines for the City of Chicago before planning Spring Break travel. These are the same guidelines used by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Quarantines will be required for certain destinations https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/emergency-travel-order.html; and
  • Spring Break starts April 2nd. We return to school on April 12th.

 

Have a wonderful weekend! Warmer weather is right around the corner! 

 

Ms. Bobko & Mrs. Evans

During Mrs. U's recovery, the update is being supplied by Ms. Roberta Bobko and Mrs. Rose Evans... 

 

March 11, 2021

 

Dear St. Mary’s Families,

 

As we “spring forward” to the end of another week, we wanted to leave you with some friendly reminders for the coming days!

 

  • Don’t forget to submit your re-registration paperwork. Some grades are filling up quickly!
  • Tomorrow, March 12th is an 11:30 dismissal. Please be sure your child/children are picked up on time as our extended day program is at capacity for Friday afternoon. Only those students who have already pre-registered to stay in extended day on Friday will be allowed to attend.
  • Don’t forget we officially spring forward this Sunday. Be sure to set your clock ahead 1 hour before you go to sleep Saturday night.
  • Wednesday, March 17th will be a dress down day for St. Patrick’s Day. Students can wear jeans and gym shoes along with a t-shirt or sweatshirt that is either green, or celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. Please be sure all clothing is school appropriate.
  • All parents should have received a link to take the 5 Essential Questions Survey. Taking this survey is important because it allows us the opportunity to see your feedback and use that to plan for the future. If you have not received the link from your child’s teacher, you can access the survey by going to https://survey.5- essentials.org/archchicago/survey/parent/login/
  • Students who receive any type of tax credit scholarship will be taking their IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) next week. While all tax credit scholarship recipients will be tested, we are still awaiting directions for testing the e-learners. In person learners will be tested starting Monday. We will keep you updated when we find out the process that will be used for testing e-learners.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. We will do the best we can to get you the answers you need. Thank you for all you do for your children!

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Ms. Bobko & Mrs. Evans

During Mrs. U's recovery, the update is being supplied by Ms. Roberta Bobko and Mrs. Rose Evans... 

 

March 4, 2021

 

Greetings St. Mary’s Families,

 

As we begin a new month we reflect on another season of change. Days are getting longer, the sunshine is getting warmer, and signs of Spring are everywhere. The students are hard at work learning and growing more everyday. We thank God for all these gifts, and we anxiously await the opportunity to once again share them with family and friends.

 

As we continue moving through the season of Lent, students in grade 3-8 will be receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation on Monday, March 8th. School wide Stations of the Cross will begin Thursday, March 11th and take place every Thursday through March 26th. The Stations will be conducted by teachers from each grade level over the P.A. While we won’t be able to celebrate the Stations in Church, we feel it’s important to do what we can to recognize and reflect on this most important season in our Church.

 

Please don’t forget to re-register your child/children for the 2021-2022 school year. An accurate idea of how many children we will have is crucial for planning and budgeting. Don’t miss out on our next reregistration raffle and a chance to win $200.00 off of next year’s tuition. Anyone wishing to receive a Tax Credit Scholarship for St. Mary’s must be reregistered to claim the scholarship.

 

As always, our “Green Envelope” has updated forms and reminders for the week. Many of them are time sensitive, so please be sure to check it out. Lunch forms for April are due Monday, March 8th.

 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We would be happy to help you or your child in any way we can.

 

Thank you for all you do for your children!

 

Ms. Bobko & Mrs. Evans

During Mrs. U's recovery, the update is being supplied by Ms. Roberta Bobko and Mrs. Rose Evans... 

 

February 25, 2021

 

Good Morning Parents,

 

As the first full week of Lent comes to an end, we have spent much time talking about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We are reflecting on different ways we can work together to help those who are most in need. We also continue to pray for the speedy recovery of Mrs. Usauskas. She is moving along in her recovery and she's pushing to return to school as soon as possible. She misses the students (and staff) dearly. Since Mrs. Usauskas is currently unavailable, please direct any questions or concerns to Mrs. Evans or Ms. Bobko.

 

Tomorrow, February 26th, is our 2nd Trimester Parent Teacher Conference. Just like the 1st trimester, conferences will be held via Zoom. There is no school tomorrow due to conferences.

 

Please see the green envelope for next month’s calendar. There is also important information for 2nd grade families and for any other students who will be making their First Holy Communion this year.

 

We hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is something we can do to assist your child or your family.

 

 

Have a Blessed Weekend,

 

Ms. Bobko & Mrs. Evans

February 18, 2021

 

Good Morning Parents,

 

Some of you may have heard, I had serious heart surgery this week. I was lucky in that I was tested when I was, preventing permanent damage. I will be working from the side lines. As soon as I am able I will be back at SMS. I hope it won’t be a long absence, but due to the gravity of the ailment, I must listen carefully to my body. Please keep my family in your prayers as they assist me in my recovery. I will miss seeing your children each day.

 

Over the next few weeks the children will be continuing to honor the Lenten promises. Ask them about what they pledged to God in all three areas of almsgiving, prayers, and fasting.

 

When you receive a link to the CCC survey, please take a moment to complete. I appreciate your feedback.

 

Feel free to reach out to Mrs. Evans, our assistant principal or Ms. Bobko, our testing coordinator for assistance in my absence.

 

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

February 11, 2021

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

I hope you have had the opportunity to view some of the press our school has been given. The media has focused on our school because of our success with COVID protocol and our iReady scores being above the National norm! Today the school was featured in the Chicago Tribune and has also been on Telemundo, ABC 7, NBC 5, and WMAQ.

 

We are very excited to also inform you that one of our students, Samantha Raymond will be the Friday forecaster next week 2/19. She will appear via Zoom with WGN’s Paul Conrad at approximately 6:25 AM. We are very proud of you Samantha.

 

Please remember that the deadline to reserve your child’s seat for the 2021-2022 school year is next week Friday, the 19th. We are happy that there has been a heavy volume of calls regarding transferring students to SMS. There are several grades that are near or at capacity if everyone returns… please do not hesitate to reregister.

 

If there is a financial reason that makes it difficult to reregister, please call to discuss your personal situation. At this time, per OCS, we are proceeding as if all students will be in school next year – God willing!

 

Lastly, Mrs. Chabot is making a final request for the return of your family’s Free and Reduced Lunch Applications. Remember, you can put your name on it and write “NO THANK YOU” if you do not wish to complete the form. The most important part of this activity is the closer we get to 100% returned the better we stand to receive financial grant assistance.

 

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

February 4, 2021

 

Dear Parents,

 

As Catholic Schools’ Week draws to a close, I want to thank you for entrusting the care, education, and faith life formation of your children with us. Each one of our students is precious and truly a gift from God. I hope you continue to enjoy each day as a family. Children grow so fast and leave the nest to pursue careers and families of their own. God bless you all.

 

We are awaiting an official statement from the OCS on when and how spring sports may resume. As soon as I learn of the parameters, I will surely reach out to our sports association.

 

The 8 th graders will be Confirmed this Saturday at 10 AM and 1 PM. Each will be live streamed on the Church’s Face Book site. We invite all to join us.

 

Parents, please, if you are picking your child up early due to medical appointments or unexpected routine interruptions – call the office as soon as you realize this. There is quite the disruption in the classroom and office each time this occurs without notice. The student needs to pack up and interrupts the lesson. If the teacher knows ahead of time – the back pack can be ready and all that is needed is their coat. Forms needing to be prepared are also ready. Most early dismissals occur at the end of the day when the office ladies are preparing communications for the teachers and families. It is a very busy time in the office. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

 

Next week there is a 1 PM dismissal on Wednesday. We also are not in session on Friday 2/12 due to a system wide professional development for the teachers. Monday, 2/15 is a federal holiday – President’s Day. The school will be closed.

 

Just a reminder. Face to face learning and e-learning are trimester long decisions. Students may not switch back and forth due to family emergencies or weather. We will do out best to inform you if the severity of the weather warrants everyone to pivot to eLearning.

 

Lastly, I hope you were able to catch the news on NBC / Telemundo on Tuesday. Mary Ann Ahern interviewed Ms. Bobko regarding our above national norm testing scores on the iReady exams. The Archdiocese as a whole also preformed well. There is a link for you to catch the broadcast. I encourage you to take a look! Thank you, Ms. Bobko!

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

 January 28, 2021

 

Happy Catholic Schools Week,

 

On Sunday we will begin our annual celebration of living and learning our faith in our school. I appreciate the sacrifices you make to send the children to St. Mary’s. Our teachers and staff are proud of the partnership we have in educating your children in heart, mind, and spirituality.

 

Please check out the flyers in this week’s green envelope on the activities for each day. Each one was devised with the e-learners in mind. I hope all students enjoy the upcoming week.

 

Mrs. Navarro and Fr. Roger are looking for helpers in packing and delivering the food items collected for the pantry at St. Gall. It is a once, every other week task, accomplished with a little muscle and a SUV style vehicle. Round trip with packaging and delivery – it is a two-hour venture. If you believe you can assist, you would receive $25 off your fundraising fee. Please reach out to Mrs. Navarro for further information.

 

Your children may have told about a new face at St. Mary’s. His name is Mr. Bob Leone. Mr. Leone is a certified teacher who assigned to us from the Archdiocese to help during the pandemic. We are pleased to have his assistance in a variety of tasks with the classroom. Welcome!

 

The second trimester is quickly drawing to end. Please mark your calendars – Parent conferences are to be held via ZOOM on Friday, February 26 from 11 AM to 6 PM. 

 

Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday 2/2 SMFA meeting via ZOOM @ 7 PM
  •  Friday 2/5 Preordered Subway Fun Lunch – No hot lunch available
  •  Saturday 2/6 Confirmation live feed on parish Face Book site. 10 AM and 1 PM
  •  Friday 2/12 Staff Professional Development – No School
  •  Monday 2/14 President’s Day – No School
  •  Thursday 2/25 Home Run Inn Pizza Day
  •  Friday 2/26 Teacher Conferences – 11- 6PM No School 

Re-registration is now open for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

 January 21, 2021

 

Good day parents,

 

Regrettably, I must inform you of the passing of Mrs. Lane’s father to eternal life. The services are to be held on Sunday and Monday. A flyer will be included with the specific details in this week’s green envelope.

 

My Bad! I have Catholic Schools’ Week starting this Sunday. It commences one week later on the 31st. I will be preparing a document outlining the festivities for the week in 1/28’s green envelope. Stay tuned!

 

It was exciting to see our children back in school on Tuesday. Please remember that if you have consistent computer and connectivity issues – Face to Face learning should be your other option. Letter grades are being given for core subjects and it is unfortunate that work is missing. If a child is an e-learner, as a parent you have accepted responsibility to ensuring work is submitted. As I walked about the classrooms – I say many with black screens, partial faces and names, and have received calls about students zipping in and out. If they are not in compliance, they are being marked absent. Please help us – help your child.

 

Re-registration for next the 2021-2022 school year has begun. Please note if you are going to accept a Tax Credit Scholarship, whether it be from Big Shoulders or Empower IL, your child must be re-registered. Forms can be found in the green envelope. I also encourage you to fill out the Facts Financial application as soon as you are able to be eligible for aid in 2021-2022.

 

Please continue to pray for peace in our nation and here in Chicago. We have many families still suffering the effects of COVID – both physically and financially.

 

Dear God,

 

I pray You will be put in Your rightful position in this country. Give the leaders of this nation the wisdom and integrity to lead our nation in the best direction. Give each one discernment I pray, when making decisions or drawing up the legislation and laws that they pass. And may the decisions that they reach be Godly and wise.

 

As the days become increasingly dark in our country, I pray that the light of Your love will shine on this land. May peace reign in our nation and protect us from those that would seek our downfall, I pray.

 

I really thank You that you have placed me in this land. Thank You, Lord, for my country. In Jesus' name,

 

Amen.

 

If you need assistance with anything, in Spanish or in English – do not hesitate to contact the school office @ 773.767.6160.

 

 

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

 January 14, 2021

 

Winter Greetings,

 

A Winter Prayer

 

Lord: In the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and wind can pierce remind us of the warmth of your love. In the midst of Winter, when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early remind us that in the darkness your light still shines. remind us that Easter is but a short time away.

 

This is a very important update as we are implementing some changes to our e-learning program. After much discussion with the teachers regarding accountability and focus the following guidelines are to be followed effective – Tuesday – January 19th:

 

  • At home learners are to be in uniform as are the face to face learners. Either manner of learning is school. No blankets, toys, or stuffed animals should be within reach;
  • All children are to be seen with the ENTIRE face, ENTIRE name, and for the ENTIRE time. There are no exceptions. Students will be given a 5-minute warning to comply – or they will be marked absent for the class; and
  • The children often need work printed. If you do not have a printer, calling the school to accomplish this task is an option. You will be allowed to pick up the assignment from the table in the lobby.

 

I realize most of our families are working diligently to enforce protocol with our e-learners. Unfortunately, there is a significant number of families in each grade level that consumes so much of the teacher’s time trying to coordinate lessons. This should be the easy part!

 

Remember – all children are to enter at their assigned doorway. All will be dismissed from the church lot at 3 PM.

 

Just a reminder – every Wednesday is a 1 PM dismissal beginning 1/20.

 

When classes resume on the 19th, lunch and breakfast will be provided to all children.

 

 

Stay well,

 

Mrs. U.

 January 7, 2021

 

Happy New Year!

 

Hopefully, you had time to relax and enjoy your family. My holiday was very low key, but the best part was my time with my grandson!

 

I have some important dates and activities to announce.

 

  • This Saturday there is a 10 AM Zoom meeting at the following link:

https://zoom.us/j/95772032388?pwd=TWcrVDFvcm9ON2s0WEEyUk1HTUwvZz09

 

We will be hosting a kick off to the Tax Credit Scholarship (TCS). Some important elected officials have promised to attend. Your presence will show them how much we need to continue this program. There are only two years left! Be sure to wear St. Mary spirit wear and sign in with the school’s name. For example:

 

Mrs. Usauskas St. Mary Star of Sea

 

Immediately following this meeting, there will be a short workshop on the application process for both the Big Shoulders and Empower IL TCS.

 

Application dates for Big Shoulders TCS is Tuesday January 12th at 8 AM. Empower IL is Wednesday, January 13th at 6:30 PM.

  • There are only two more Grab and Go days left. Next week Monday and Thursday from 10 – 1 PM.
  • Please, check out your child’s uniform. When they return on the 19th – they are expected to be in full attire

At this time the fundraising fee remains at $200. You may use one of the following events to help you attain this goal:

 

Some dates to remember:

  • Fish Rush (only 25 raffles!);
  • Queen of Hearts; and
  • SMART

 

Lastly, you will notice Mrs. Zaworski attending the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade ZOOM classes. She is slowly transitioning back into her role as the 5th grade homeroom and reading teacher. Please send her a warn welcome back to SMS.

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U....

December 17, 2020

 

Merry Christmas to all!

 

This will be my last update until the new year – so I would like to wish you all the joy and spirit that the Christmas season brings to us. The children have been preparing their hearts for the coming of baby Jesus throughout Advent. I hope you have a special day – despite the difficulties the virus presents to us.

 

The Grab and GO program will take a one week break after tomorrow. The program will resume:

  • Monday and Wednesday – December 28th and 30th 10AM – 1 PM; and
  • Beginning January 4th – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10 AM – 1 PM

Please take advantage of this food giveaway program. Thank you, Mrs. Chabot and Ms. Dawn, for facilitating it for our families.

 

Please remember if you travel, you need to be back in your home by January 4th in order for your children to return to school on the 19th. The office of Catholic schools follows the IDPH guidelines that call for a 14-day quarantine after travel. Let’s help keep one another safe and healthy.

 

The Tax Credit application days are quickly approaching:

  • Big Shoulders is on Tuesday, January 12th at 8AM; and
  • Empower Illinois is on Wednesday, January 13th at 7PM (registration begins at 6:30 PM).

Mark your calendars today.

 

Some dates to remember:

  • January 4 – 15th: All students will be in remote classes. Please follow the schedule set by your teachers; 
  • January 18th – No School, MLK Jr. Day;
  • January 22nd – Graduation Pictures (students will receive dress code/ hair style restrictions/ clean shaven faces); and
  • January 24th – Catholic Schools Week begins.

 

Be well in the New Year!

Mrs. U.

 

December 10, 2020

 

Good Sunny Day,

 

We finally have some sunshine, but I hear some snow is around the corner. YUCK! It is December, however.

 

It is official, for those who may have heard. Our tuition for the 2021-2022 school year will remain the same. There will be no increase in fee either. We understand many of you have experienced economic hardships due to the pandemic and are doing our best on this end. Registration will begin at the end of January. We ask you to reply promptly so that we may prepare accordingly.

 

Please remember that for the first two weeks in January we will be doing remote learning. The students are scheduled to return on Tuesday, January 19th.

 

The school is partnering with FSP to provide Grab n Go lunches and breakfasts. These meals are available at the main entrance from 12:30 – 2:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. You don’t need to enter the building – just tell the office you are there to pick up food.

 

Due to the pandemic, there will be no Christmas program this year. We hope to present the children’s musical talent at a later date.

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

 

December 4, 2020

 

Dear Parents,

 

We are in the holy season of Advent in our church. Advent means ‘coming’ in Latin. It is the time and preparation of the coming of Jesus into the world. As we prepare our homes for Christmas, so should we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. Helping our children learn to patiently and quietly await his arrival helps keep the focus on the real meaning of the holy day and not just presents.

 

Please put these two dates on your calendar –

 

January 12, 2021 @ 8 AM and January 13, 2021 @ 6:30 PM

The Tax Credit Scholarship programs from Big Shoulders and Empower IL will open their applications. You must be ready and prompt in order to have an opportunity for these scholarships. They are time stamped. More to come…

 

Have you heard? The Office of Catholic Schools purchased air purifiers for us from Home Depot. Each classroom is equipped with machines that are fully capable of handling the room size. This is not only helpful now during the pandemic – but will be very helpful when we return for our children who suffer from asthma.

 

Don’t forget we have meals to go on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:30 – 2:30.

 

Stay well,

Mrs. U.

 

November 20, 2020 

 

Happy Friday, 

 

Without the children here, I truly lost track of what day it was. I apologize for the late nature of this update. 

 

As you know our Parent-Teacher conferences are Tuesday. If you did not secure a time with your teacher(s), please do so today. This is accomplished directly with them. All conferences will be held via ZOOM. 

 

Second graders should have completed the sacrament of Reconciliation. If not, there will be a makeup date in December. Please watch for this. 

 

Tomorrow’s retreat for the Confirmandi is postponed. Mrs. Navarro will let us know when it is rescheduled. 

 

Registration begins today for the 8th grader students will wish to test at a Catholic High School. Please consider this option for your child. The success rate of students graduating from a Catholic High School matriculating to college is unbelievable. Mrs. Evans can help you with the procedure. There are some changes due to the pandemic. 

 

If you missed it – the Turkey Trot is postponed to spring. This is a fun event for the children and we sincerely hope the virus gives us a break by then. 

 

Lastly, next week is Thanksgiving. I am so very grateful for all of you and your children. All of you are what makes our school special. I hope you listen to the safety guideline the health officials suggest and enjoy the holiday as best you can. I am spending the day with my husband – foregoing the traditional big family feast with extended loved ones. I hope you remain safe and well. 

 

Today, Dear God, 

I want to say, 

How thankful I am in every way. 

 

You've made me special, 

Smart and strong, 

With family and friends 

To help me along. 

 

Thank you for blessings, 

big and small, 

From my home to my safety 

You provide it all. 

Thanksgiving is the perfect time 

To say thank you and to share 

The love and mercy that you give 

With people everywhere. 

 

God, help me to remember to be thankful 

For your love and presence 

Not just on Thanksgiving 

But on each and every day. 

 

Amen 

 

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving, 

Mrs. Usauskas

Virtual Learning Notice Letter 

Subject: Pivoting School to Virtual Learning 

Dear Mary Star of the Sea Parents and Guardians 

I am writing to inform you that our school is currently experiencing several staff/student illnesses and absences. Some are unrelated to COVID-19, but we do and have several  staff members who are in quarantine due to exposure to the virus and four cohorts that  have pivoted to e-Learning because of the virus. At this time, no students are believed  to have had close contact to any of the suspected cases. We will certainly let you know  immediately if we determine otherwise.  

As a result and out of an abundance of caution, we will pivot the school from in-person to virtual until Monday, Nov. 30th. Your child’s teacher will be in contact with you ahead of school on Monday with more information about virtual learning.

As a reminder, prolonged close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected  person for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24 hour period. Those who had brief,  casual contact with an infected individual are not considered at great risk of  transmission. As always, everyone should monitor their health and stay at home if they  develop symptoms. Anyone who develops severe symptoms should seek health care  immediately. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (temperature higher than 100.4 degrees  Fahrenheit), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache,  new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. If  you or your child develop symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your health care  provider to discuss evaluation and testing. 

For severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent  pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or difficulty waking, or bluish lips or face  please seek the closest emergency department or call 9-1-1 immediately. 

As per our safety protocols, individuals who are sick with or exhibiting symptoms of  COVID-19 must stay home and away from others for at least 10 days since their  symptoms first appeared and at least one day (24 hours) with no fever (without the use  of fever-reducing medications) and improved symptoms, whichever is longer. 

The school will use this time to deep clean the entire McGuire building. We ask that you  use this time to stay home and keep connected via ZOOM.The health and wellness of our staff and students are the highest priority of Mary Star of  the Sea. We will continue to follow local, state and national guidelines as we ensure  proper protocols and preventive measures are in place for the health and safety of our  staff and students. For any additional COVID-19 questions or support, please visit your  local department of health website for the most reliable information.  

As a faith community, we are doing our best to respond with compassion and prayer to  everyone affected by the COVID-19 around the world, particularly those who do not  have access to health care and community support. Please keep our community in your  prayers and know that we are praying for you. 

God Bless You and please stay well,  

Mrs. Candice M. Usauskas

 November 12, 2020

 

TURKEY TROT CANCELLED!

 

Dear Parents,

 

Due to COVID Concerns, the Turkey Trot will be held – hopefully – come spring. If you have sent in a pledge, the money will be returned. We will be holding a Home Run Inn pizza day for lunch. Forms will be coming home very soon.

 

By now you should have signed up through each of your child’s homeroom teachers for a parent conference. Conferences are being held via ZOOM and it is your responsibility to sign up for each child with their teacher/advisor. If there is any questions or problems – call the office. The two ladies are wizards at problem solving.

 

Honor Roll will be held on Monday November 30th via ZOOM. If you do not log in with your family name, you will not be admitted. Parents who use their child’s iPhone or simply Samsung etc. will not be admitted. This is for the safety and security of those involved. The link will be distributed that morning.

 

Surveys regarding the use of extended day during the two-week remote learning after Christmas are due Tuesday 11/24. Please take the time to complete if applicable.

 

Students in grade 8 wishing to take the Catholic High School placement exam – must register. In years past this was not a requirement. Some of the schools are offering an online test. Please check with the Catholic School you are considering for details.

 

Stay safe and well,

Mrs. U.

COMMUNICATION ENVELOPE

2021 - 2022

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