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

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
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