A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

Now that Halloween is in our rearview mirror we are headed towards Thanksgiving.  Please watch your email for information from your room parent regarding our annual Thanksgiving Basket donations.

In last week’s newsletter, I shared that I would present our school discipline policy this week.  Please note that you can find that policy below this letter.  You will also find a link to the parent presentation that Jodee Blanco shared with our parents in September. 

While we are on the topic of school discipline, I encourage parents to remember that we are diligently working to foster good habits and provide engaging lessons that promote positive choices and kind and thoughtful behavior among all our students.   I also recommend prudence for all parents if you are participating in classroom “chats” or any other social media platforms involving other school parents.  Speaking and sharing information regarding children other than your own can become divisive, can be misunderstood, and can lead to an environment where others feel excluded and judged.  We are not a private school…We are a Catholic school where we support one another in difficult times and celebrate one another in good times.  Should you have concerns, the most effective plan of action is to speak with your child’s teacher.  It is easy to get caught up in the “talk” when we are part of a small community.  So, let’s keep that “talk” positive and productive and focused on the accomplishments of your own beautiful children.    

As always, I thank you for your support and continued prayers!  I thank God every day for this wonderful school, and you are all a big reason that it is so amazing!

Blessings,

Francie Moss

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

Many thanks for all the trust and support you have showto us over the past week The SMA community is truly one of empathy and compassion. We will continue to remain vigilant and committed to the safety of our students and staff.

This is an exciting week for our school community. On Friday we will celebrate All Saints Day (a bit early) by dressing up as our favorite saints. We will gather in the parish hall at 10:45 to learn some interesting facts about the lives of the saints. We will then proceed out of the hall to Girard to begin our annual “Saints Parade” led by our music teacher Mrs. Andersen and myself. Parents are welcome to join us as we walk around the block and back into the church to begin Mass. We are so appreciative to our Friday Mass security officer and SDPD for their presence to ensure our safety as we share our faith with our neighbors in “The Village”.

The fun will continue into the evening as we celebrate our annual “Family Fun Night”! We are so excited to be bringing this event back into the junior yard. Our Dads Club will be grilling hamburgers and hot dogs outside of the parish hall. Also in the parish hall, our 7th grade Spanish class will be selling some treats. All cash donations for these treats will go directly to Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated by the community of Ponce that I visited this past summer with Dr. Amador. Back in the junior yard there will be music, dancing, games, a Haunted Trail, and tons of fun with an energetic DJ and his crew. We cannot forget the opportunity for some lucky students to throa pie at the face of a teacher, the principal or even our own Fr. Pat! Don’t miss out on the raffle for this memorable experience. Special thanks to Celia Helliar and her PTO team, as well as classroom parents for all of their work on this, much loved, event! See you, thiFriday for some family fun from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

I have been able to acquire a copy of the talk that the anti-bullying speaker, Jodee Blanco shared with some of our parents in September. Please watch for that video in next weeknewsletter.

As we continue with our preparations for our accreditation visit next school year, I ask that you please review the revision of our Schoolwide Learning Expectations that can be founbelow this message. If you have any input, please feel free to let me know. These expectations are to be concise and measurable, while aligning with our school Mission Statement. Thank you for taking the time for checking them out.

Blessings,

Francie Moss

Click here for Spanish

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

Greetings to all during this very busy week! Please join me in thanking our very own Senora Pina, her students, and their parents for what promises to be a wonderful “Taco Fest” tomorrow. We are all looking forward to this special treat celebrating a culture rich in traditions!

This Sunday is Holy Rosary Sunday, SMA will acknowledge this special day with a Living Rosary on Tuesday, October 11 at 9:30 a.m. in the church. All are welcome to join us.

A quick reminder that this coming weekend is a 3-day weekend. Because of the long weekend, there will be no extended cub care this Friday. We will still be holding our after-school chess class. Parents will need to pick up their children immediately following the conclusion of chess class at 1:45.

Blessings,

Francie Moss

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

Happy Wednesday to all our SMA families! There are several activities coming our way in the next week.

This Friday, the Diocese of San Diego’s Superintendent of Schools will be visiting Stella Maris. We are honored to welcome Mrs. Leticia Oseguera to our campus. I will be meeting with her

around to visit our classrooms. We are also looking forward to our weekly school Mass at 11:20. We will begin attending with our school “buddies” next week The students are so excited about this. Parents are always welcome to attend.

Please plan on joining us for our first Gala meeting on Monday, October 3 at 2:00 in the gym. Many hands will make for lighter work!!! Meet some amazing people, make new friends and help our school celebrate with a successful event. Tuesday, October 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, will be our annual Blessing of the Animals. You are welcome to bring your pets to the junior yard by 8:00 am to have Fr. Pat give them special blessings. All pets must be leashed or in carriers for the comfort and safety of our furry friends and our students. Please plan on taking pets home following the blessing. We love all our fur babies but are not able to keep them at school for the entire day.

We will begin our new hot lunch program on Tuesday, October 11. We have decided to work with a program called Enjoyables. We will be offering healthy, homemade children on Tuesdays-Thursdays. Please watch next week’s newsletter for menus, ordering and payment information. Our current program will end this Thursday. Unfortunately, we will have one week without a school lunch option. There is always Jersey Mikes!

Jodee Blanco’s Nugget for the Week…

How to Be a Rescuer and Not a Bystander

“A bystander is a person who sees someone being hurt in a bullying circle and stands by and doesn’t help. A rescuer is the opposite of a bystander. There are three steps to being a rescuer. One, tell the bullies to stop or say to the victim “Hey I have something really important to tell you!” Two, take the victim’s hand and guide him or her out of the bullying circle. Three, make friends with the victim and ask them to play with you.”

The concept of a “rescuer” is critical. So often, we adults will tell kids not to be a bystander, but we don’t tell them what to be. Role playing can be an effective way of practicing this concept.

Have an amazing week!

Blessings,

Francie Moss

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

It is difficult to believe that we are well into our first trimester of the school year! As always, we continue to examine every program here at SMA to strive to best fit the needs of our students, staff, and parents. Please note a couple “adjustments” to our staffing… We have made some slight changes to our Spanish program. Senora Pina will remain teaching our TK-4th grade Spanish classes while Dr. Amador will remain teaching 5th-8th graders as well as all heritage speakers within those grades. I am pleased to share with you Sra. Pina has accepted the challenge of accepting the position of Director of Cultural Appreciation for SMA. She will be concentrating on special events and celebrations such as up upcoming Taco Fest, Dia de los Muertos and other wonderful celebrations throughout the year. Many thanks for your continued support as we strive to make SMA even better than it already is.

Our athletics program is alive and flourishing! Many thanks to Coach “D” for her tireless efforts with organizing teams, lining up coaches and bringing the “Girls on the Run” program to SMA. Thank you, Mrs. Norris and Mrs. Mann, for facilitating this amazing opportunity for so many of our girls. Thank you to Mrs. Flores and Mr. Anderson for our running club and cross country which is a huge success as well. How about our fantastic volleyball program with our dedicated coaches? What a blessing! We absolutely cannot forget to mention Mr. Erikson and his afterschool Kickball/Bat ball program. SMA may be small…but we are MIGHTY! Go Monarchs!

Please note that I am currently working with a security company to provide one uniformed security guard to patrol the perimeter of the church while our students, staff and parents attend Mass each Friday. It is my hope to begin the service this Friday. I am in the process of reviewing the contract and finalizing the details. We will no longer be closing and locking the doors to the church. The sunlight and fresh air will be flowing in with the Holy Spirit!

Jodee Blanco’s “Nugget” for the week…

It is important for children to know the difference between tattling and telling. In her presentation, Jodee stressed that…

Tattling Hurts

Telling Helps

If you tell on someone just to get them back and in trouble, that is considered Tattling. This doesn’t necessarily help the situation and can escalate the problem. But if you tell an adult about a challenge you are experiencing with a classmate or other student to create a Plan of Action to help all persons involved…that is considered Telling. Telling focuses on the reasons for the behaviors and how to help the child who has been hurt and the child that chose the hurtful behavior.

My apologies for such a lengthy message today. There are just so many amazing things going on at our wonderful school!

Blessings,

Francie Moss

Click here for Spanish

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

We had a wonderful and inspiring beginning to our week as we welcomed author, Jodee Blanco, to our campus. We are so blessed that we were able to schedule her here for the entire day. She visited with our students, held a teacher presentation in the afternoon and met with a group of approximately 40 parents in the evening. For the next several weeks, I will be sharing short snippets of Jodee’s presentation in my Principal’s Message. You can also access additional information via her website jodeeblanco.com.

Jodee’s Nugget for this week…

Bullying is almost never personal. It is because the bully is hurting. Taking the time to act with truth and compassion will help both the recipient and the bully. Jodee reminds us that inside our spirit/soul is a tiny voice (the voice of God). If we listen to it we can change the world or someone’s life. We are also encouraged to remember that the definition of bullying is not the mean things that are said and done, but the kind actions that are not shown or acted upon.

After spending the day with Jodee I decided to schedule a follow-up meeting with her to provide input to our new “Safe School Environment/ Anti Bullying Protocol. When the document is completed, she will edit it for me and then I will publish it to all of you. I am dedicated to continuing to assist all of our students and staff feel emotionally safe and confident on and off of our campus.

Please mark your calendars for this Sunday’s 9:00 Parish/SMA Family Mass. If your child attends in Mass uniform, please have them find me after Mass for a free dree coupon for the following week! This Sunday also happens to be Catechetical Sunday. All teachers of religion will be recognized for their commitment and dedication to our Catholic faith. It would be wonderful to have several of our families present at Mass to acknowledge them.

One final note…

As of October 3, we will no longer be working with Choice Lunch for our school lunch program. I am currently working on another option which will hopefully begin October 11. I will keep you all updated in the days to come.

Blessings,

Francie Moss

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

I hope this message finds you all remaining as cool as possible through this very hot weather we are experiencing. We are trying our best to keep your children cool and hydrated. It would be a tremendous help if you could send your child to school with a water bottle filled with cold water. We are adding an additional water bottle filling station to the senior yard to keep up with the demand. You may notice that your child is a bit more tired or grumpy at the end of the school day. We are seeing this as well. The heat is taking its toll on everyone. Keeping sweatshirts at home is also helpful. Our students love wearing their sweatshirts even if it is 90 degrees outside!

Please mark your calendars for Monday, September 12 at 5:30 PM. Nationally recognized speaker and New York Times bester selling author on child behavior and bullying, Jodee Blanco will be speaking to our parents in the parish hall. Ms. Blanco will be working with our students throughout the day and with our teachers after school. She is a wealth of information and a delightful speaker. I am confident you will learn from her while being entertained as well. Please note that the evening presentation is for adults only. I hope to see many of you take advantage of this great opportunity. It will only be offered at a limited number of schools within the diocese. What a blessing to have Jodee here on our campus!

A final note…please refer to our Safety Funding Report below this message. We are ready to move ahead with securing the alley between the senior yard and the sports court. This will not affect the drop-off and pick-up procedures. It will just make our campus even safer for our students during the school day.

Stay cool…the chillier days are coming!

Blessings,

Francie Moss

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Parents,

We made it through our first week of full days! Top that off with Back-to-School nights and that measures up to a very busy week! It was wonderful seeing so many of you on Wednesday and Thursday evening. For those of you that could not join us for our annual Back-to-School Night, I will provide a brief recap of my message from the evening.

After welcoming our new families and introducing our amazing teachers I shared that one of our primary points of focus this school year is the physical and social/emotional safety of our students and staff while they are on our campus.

  • Physical Safety

Parents on Patrol Program

Interested parents can sign-up to assist us in monitoring the streets and sidewalks around our campus for 15 minutes before or after school when our gates are open.

So far, we have 5 parent volunteers. This is a great way to accumulate service hours and walk around our beautiful school, all while keeping our children safe. If you are interested in volunteering one or more shifts per week, please contact me I can sign you up.

ALICE Active Shooter Response Training

SMA will be hosting a 2-day training on how to respond in an active shooter situation. The training will take place on November 21 and 22. Myself and coach D will be in attendance along with other administrators from other schools and law enforcement personnel.

Music Class Location

Music classes for TK-8′ 11 will be held in the art/Spanish classroom or the gym. They will no longer be held in the parish hall.

Senior Yard Alley Gates

We are awaiting the final estimate for the cost of chain link gates to secure the alley between the senior yard and sports court during the school day. This work will begin as soon as possible.

New Windows

The total amount of funds raised for safety from last year’s Gala is $103,235. Once we raise 1/2 of this cost we will begin the process of replacing the aged windows in the junior and senior yards.

**Important Note: Please refer to the School Safety Funding and Updates report in the weekly newsletter beginning today and continuing throughout the remainder of this school year.

  • Social/Emotional Safety

At Stella Maris Academy, we lead with “Truth and Compassion “in disciplinary situations. We recognize that we are not perfect, but we try our best take the opinions and feelings of all parties involved into consideration when c01mseling, problem-solving, and follow through with consequences. (Draft from proposed SMA Discipline Protocol)

Uniforms

Uniforms create an environment of social safety and security with an emphasis on the importance of rule following within a community. Please refer to the Parent handbook for guidelines. Most importantly…please help us enforce these regulations by supporting uniform requests or recommendations made by teachers and staff.

Unkind Choices…inappropriate Behavior…Hurtful Words or Actions…Bullying

Unfortunately, we have all experienced situations involving these types of behaviors.

This summer I reviewed several different discipline and anti­bullying policies.

Additionally, I have been working with a New York Times best selling author and nationally recognized speaker Jodee Blanco to develop a discipline and anti-bullying protocol for SMA. This is not an easy task because bullies come in all shapes, sizes and ages(children-adults). A situation that happens in 1st grade would, more than likely, be handled differently than a similar situation that happens in 811• grade. Jodee will be on our campus working with our students, teachers, and parents on September 12.

The parent presentation will take place at 5:30-7:00 PM. Jodee will provide feedback regarding the final phase of our Stella Maris Academy Discipline Protocol during her visit. I will then distribute the document to parents.

My apologies for the lengthy message today. Hopefully it is helpful and assists us all with being on the “same page” when it comes to all forms of safety.

Blessings,

Francie Moss

A Message from Our Principal

Dear Parents,

What a wonderful start to our first week of full days! I am so grateful to be back on campus with the children and my amazing staff. I thank you all for the prayers during my Covid experience. With the exception of a little fatigue I am feeling great and am good to go!

I am looking forward to seeing you all either tonight (TK-5th grades) or tomorrow night(6th-8th grades) for our annual Back-to School Nights. We will begin in the parish hall promptly at 6p.m. then head over to the classrooms following my brief presentation. I will be roaming around the yards to answer any questions you may have or just to visit and reconnect following our summer break. Once again, welcome back to another great SMA school year!

Blessings,

Francie Moss