A Message from the Principal

Dear Parents,

It is that time of the school year when restless students see summertime coming quickly and adults are ready for a break as well. This happens annually, without Distance Learning in the mix. Teachers are planning creative activities and lessons for the upcoming final week of school.

I’d like to take this opportunity to once again, thank all of our families for your support, diligence and patience during this time of uncertainty. I couldn’t be prouder of our students, parents, faculty and staff for all that we have accomplished over the past several weeks. We have exceeded expectations by staying focused on providing rigorous academics, communicating often with our families, making ourselves available to assist struggling students and overwhelmed parents. All the while remaining positive and hopeful for a return to our lives as we once knew them.

I encourage all of you to watch my video message this Friday afternoon for additional, important information regarding our plans for our August 19 reopening of the new school year as well as the end of this school year procedures.

Blessings,
Francie Moss

A Message from the Principal

Dear Parents,

As this school year continues to wind down, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your patience, understanding and support of our teachers and administration during this time of uncertainty. We continue to strive to provide the highest quality of education possible for your children while adding some enjoyable and creative ways to have some fun as well. As our eighth graders prepare to graduate, we are finding new ways to make lasting memories for them. Thank you to all of the teachers for the diligence and hours upon hours of work that they have put into planning and “Zooming” with their students.

Now that the end of this school year is in sight, we are making plans on how to safely and responsibly return our students ‘personal belongings to them, along with yearbooks and report cards. We have designated Friday, June 5th as the day for distributing these items. All belongings will be placed in a bag with your family name on it. Bags will be arranged on tables in the junior and senior yards. We will assign times for pick-up corresponding to the first letter of your last name. We ask that you please return any textbooks or library books at this time as well. If you borrowed a Chromebook to assist your family with the distant learning process, please return it to the office. Additional information regarding pick-up times will be sent out in the coming weeks.

I am looking forward to celebrating our eighth graders throughout the next couple of weeks. We are so proud of how they have all handled these past several weeks. The days to come are in celebration of all of the work they have put forth to become a graduate and soon-to-be alumnus of Stella Maris Academy. SMA All the Way!!!

Blessings,

Francie Moss

A Letter from Fr. Pat

Dear SMA Community,

I pray daily for all of you in this time and thank you for helping to face these challenging times together. May God bless and protect us in facing this pandemic. We have been proactive in trying to meet the needs of our parish and school community for the long term. It begins with the heroic efforts of our parish and school staff. I am grateful for the amazing efforts of our staff and families in implementing the distance learning that began two days after the decision to suspend on-site gathering.

As you may know, in order to alleviate the financial devastation for our parishes and schools which the virus has produced, most of our parishes have applied and received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program under the Cares Act. The goal of these loans is to stabilize our parishes and schools and to preserve the jobs of our employees until the tremendous shortfalls caused by the stay-at-home effort abate.

For our schools, the loan funds will be spent immediately for payroll, benefit and other forgiveness eligible costs during the next eight weeks. It is vital that these funds be used in the following ways: providing funds for any budget shortfall for the current year that exists, the establishment of a reserve fund designed to enable the school to meet the economic and/or enrollment challenges that will come over the next school year, and finally, individualized financial assistance to school families who have been impacted by the pandemic and need tuition reductions.

As I began this letter with the idea that we are in this together, it also reminds us that we are together with others beyond our own parish and school community. To that end, we will be sharing a portion of our funds beyond the PPP with some of our more challenged Catholic schools in the diocese. This is a tangible sign of our unity in mission and ministry.

Please know that your commitment to this effort is so appreciated. Our witness to faithfulness amidst the challenges posed by this pandemic will bear great fruit for our families and community in the long term. I pray that all will be blessed with Eternal Easter joy in this time of challenge.

All my best in Christ,
Rev. Patrick J. Mulcahy

A Message from the Principal

Dear Parents,

Happy May to one and all! It feels like spring is finally upon us. What a great opportunity to spend time outside in our yards or safely on our beaches and trails. We began this month with a beautiful school Mass last Friday honoring Mary. The May Crowning definitely looked different than in past years. Many thanks to all of the families that stopped by the junior yard to drop off flowers and to Fr. Pat, Fr. Joe and Deacon Jim for assisting us in our celebration.

Our teachers and students continue to work diligently each day as we inch closer to our final days of this school year. Last week I explained the procedure we will be following for TK-5th grade report cards. This week I will be addressing our middle school reporting procedure. I am pleased to announce that we will be utilizing the same report cards that have been distributed in the first two trimesters of this school year. Teachers and students have been working to cover as much curriculum as possible during these past weeks of distance learning. Some of our teachers have even reported to have covered more material than in past years. I encourage parents and students to continue to check School Speak on a regular basis to keep up-to-date on grades in all classes. Please remember that teachers hold regular office hours to assist students that have questions and to address parent questions as well.

In next week’s newsletter I will be addressing the upcoming end of the school year plans for collecting textbooks and school materials as well as distribution of student personal effects and yearbooks.

In closing, please take the time to read a letter from our pastor, Fr. Pat that is included in this week’s newsletter. Have a wonderful week!

Blessings,
Francie Moss

A Message from our Principal

Dear Parents,

As we continue our Distance Learning journey together I will continue to keep you informed and as up-to-date as possible on new information and upcoming events. I apologize for the length of this message, but there is so much to share with you!

This week I will attempt to clarify the end-of-trimester/year grading procedures for TK-5th grades. These grades are utilizing the Standard Referenced Report Cards. Teachers are still teaching standards that are required to be covered at each respective grade level. Therefore, the same report cards that you are familiar with will continue to be used. All standards that are covered will be assessed and then reported out to you. If, for any reason, a standard is not assessed or a student has not completed work that enables the teacher to authentically access the standard an NE(not evaluated) will be assigned. Rest assured that your children are benefitting from creative and engaging lessons from their teachers. I have witnessed so many successful lessons first hand. When planning, teachers are constantly revisiting the standards yet to be addressed. In next week’s newsletter, I will address the middle school reporting procedures. Additionally, I will be sharing our plan to get your child’s personal belongings, report card and yearbook to them during the first week of June. Many thanks again for your patience, support and cooperation.

We continue to celebrate our Students of the Month! This wonderful tradition has been on “hold” until we got things settled down a bit. We have made some necessary adjustments to get all virtues covered so as not to neglect the importance of any of them. During the weeks of May 4 and May 18, part of a Zoom meeting will be designated by your child’s teacher to recognize students to be honored for exhibiting specific virtues. There will be two students recognized each week. Week of May 4th…Cooperation and Service and week of May 18th…Stewardship and Gratitude. At the end of each of these weeks a special Zoom meeting will be held for myself, recognized students, their families and classroom teachers to share our feelings of gratitude and appreciation. It may not be the same as in person, but we can still express our sincere love for these wonderful examples of Christian leadership.

I am pleased and excited to share information regarding this Friday’s school Mass and May Crowning. Remembering this month of May as a celebration of Mary as the mother of Jesus, we will continue the tradition of a May Crowning. I will be present in the junior yard from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. with the gate on Kline Street open for any families desiring to bring flowers and place them by our Blessed Mother. Once you do so, please exit out the side gate nearest the kindergarten classroom to allow for social distancing protocol. I also ask that masks be worn during your visit. Please note that unfortunately, this is not an opportunity for gathering to visit with friends you have missed, but a way for us to show our solidarity in prayer during these difficult times. Mary is truly a role model of faith and strength when faced with the trials that life offers us. At 11:00 I will bring your flowers over to the church for Mass. I strongly encourage you to watch the Mass as it is Live Streamed at 11:20 on Mary Star Of the Sea Parish FB page. Following the Mass, it will be uploaded to the parish and school websites. If you have a statue of Mary at home, please participate by presenting flowers to her or even a mini May Crowning of your own as we do so at the beginning of Mass. At the end of Mass Fr. Pat will lead us in a Prayer of Reconsecration to Mary. Please see the prayer directly following this message. I will have additional copies in the junior yard along with complimentary rosaries (while supplies last) on Friday. Many thanks to Fr. Pat and all of his support to continue to minister to our students and families during these past several weeks. we are truly blessed to have him here.

Continued thanks for your support. Please know how very much you are all loved and appreciated!

Blessings,
Francie Moss

Stella Maris Academy Students Win Second Place at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair

Morgan Brady and Sofia Ayesta-Hollstein, Stella Maris Academy eighth grade students, each took home second place for their science fair projects at this year’s 66th Annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. The science fair was scheduled for the week of March 10th-15th, but shortly after the students’ set-up their projects, the event was postponed as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with some of the competition being completed by video.

Sofia’s award-winning project, “The New Water Solution”, was entered in the division of Engineering: Materials & Bioengineering with her question, “Does solar-desalinated water negatively impact the growth of plants?”. After outlining her hypothesis, variables and procedures, Sofia graphed her results and conclusions. Sofia’s mom, Veronica, said the judges were very impressed that Sofia’s “project could be easily replicated to help bring clean water to other communities worldwide”.

Morgan’s award-winning project, “Why is there Extra Light in our Skies?”, was entered in the Earth and Planetary Science division where Morgan outlined the problem and purpose of her project, the hypothesis, her research and procedures, along with data analysis, conclusions and the significance of her work.

“Sofia and I are both excited to have received these awards!,” said Morgan. Mrs. Adrienne Jones the students’ teacher said, “The girls worked diligently on their projects starting in October. I am so proud of their conscientious and assiduous efforts.” Morgan and Sofia were two of over 880 students who submitted projects to be screened into the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, with over 700 students who were recommended to participate in the Fair. Over 250 judges decided the awards in sixteen different categories of projects on the following criteria: by project displays, by interviewing students, and/or reading notebooks and display boards and, if submitted, viewing student-made videos.

In addition to winning second place at the Science Fair, Morgan received several other awards for her project. Last week, Morgan presented her project to the San Diego County Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association and the Astronomy Association via a Zoom meeting, with approximately 60 people attending. Sandy Brady, Morgan’s mom said, “the associations said that Morgan did a great job in her presentation and in responding to follow-up questions. We are super proud of her, and she is very excited.” Morgan received first place and $100 from The Dark Sky Association competition; fourth place and $75 from the San Diego Astronomy Association competition; and, an Honorable Mention from the Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society.

Stella Maris Academy, the parish school of Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church, is a transitional-kindergarten through 8th grade co-educational Catholic school in the Village of La Jolla. Children at Stella Maris thrive in a warm and welcoming, friendly and safe environment. For nearly 75 years we have provided academic excellence in a nurturing environment by our talented and dedicated staff. For more information, or questions about enrollment, please call 858-454-2461.

 

A Message from the Principal

Dear Parents,

Alleluia! He is Risen! Welcome back one and all! I hope “re-entry” went well for everyone. The much needed break was definitely a nice opportunity to “recharge”. As we continue on this distance learning journey, I encourage you to remain consistent with daily routines, remembering that there will be some days that are more difficult to navigate than others. Be gentle to yourself, your children and their teachers. This is not easy for anyone. I caution all of us to be careful not to compare classes, teachers and distant learning programs within our own school or different schools. Classes have their own personalities and learning styles that best fit them. Therefore, no two teachers will follow the exact same instructional strategies. To compare a junior yard class experience to a senior yard class experience is like comparing apples and oranges. Additionally, school sites are unique in their own ways as well. Programs and procedures that work well for one school may prove completely ineffective in another. I urge you, as always, to keep an open line of communication with your child’s teacher. Please know that they are there to assist you with any questions or concerns that you may have. I am also available for you as well. Beginning next week, all teachers will be offering “office hour/half hour Zoom meetings” each week for parents to attend to get assistance or clarification on class work or procedures. My goal is to attend as many of these meetings as possible so that I can also answer any questions you may have for me as well. Please note that these meetings are not mandatory. They are an additional form of communication that we are making available to all of our parents to provide support to you during these stressful times. It has been a joy seeing the smiling faces at the Zoom class meetings. Please know how much we miss you and your children. I look forward to the day we can all return to our wonderful school and the joyful sound of children’s voices fill the air once again.

Blessings,
Francie Moss

Principal Mrs. Francie Moss Shares Distance Learning Successes on National TV

Stella Maris Academy’s principal, Mrs. Francie Moss will appear as a guest on The Dr. Phil Show one day next week (date to be determined), as one of a panel of educators from schools across the country to talk about the impact of distance learning and best practices as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Mrs. Moss will also be a guest on The Dr. Phil Podcast that will be available for viewing, tomorrow, April 14, 2020.

As a result of COVID-19, schools and families all over the world have encountered a variety of challenges as many parents are now working from home, and their children are also learning from home. Stella Maris Academy had prepared weeks in advance for the possibility of the temporary school closure due to the pandemic, and only experienced two school days down time. During the TV Show and Podcast, Mrs. Moss provides insight on how Stella Maris Academy handled the transition and provides advise for other schools and families.

Mrs. Moss said, “It was an honor to give the world a glimpse of the exceptional educational experience Stella Maris Academy provides to its students.” The Dr. Phil TV program airs during the week of April 20th-24th at 3:00pm PST, on San Diego’s KFMB station, Channel 8. The Podcast airs Tuesday, April 14th and can be viewed at DrPhil.com.

Stella Maris Academy, the parish school of Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, is transitional-kindergarten through 8th grade co-educational school in the Village of La Jolla. Children at Stella Maris thrive in a warm and welcoming, friendly and safe environment. For nearly 75 years the school has provided academic excellence in a nurturing environment by a talented and dedicated staff.

 

 

 

A Message from the Principal

Dear Parents,

The time has come to take a step back from this crazy “race” that we have “sprinted” into. I pray that these next 11 days of being away and “unplugged” will find us returning refreshed and ready to find the sustainable “pace” that we need to finish whatever the remainder of this school year has in store for us.

I encourage you to continue praying and reflecting on the daily Stations of the Cross that I am emailing to you each day as well as viewing the Holy Week masses and services from our parish website. Although we may not be together, physically…we CAN remain together in prayer.

I wish you God’s peace and strength as I send you all a “virtual” hug and my prayers!

Holy Week Blessings,
Francie Moss

A Note from Father Pat

Greetings to our SMA Family,

I feel the blessings of God amidst this tumult. No, I am not immune or naïve about the pain and challenges we face. I am just blessed to witness amazing acts of grace every day in the people with whom I work and pray and live. All of you give me hope by your witness. That word is so prominent throughout the Easter readings and it becomes incarnate in you by your selfless living out of the core message that defines us as a parish, as a school, as a community.

Thank you all for your sacrifices and your service. To our parents, thank you for your cooperation and support amidst this unprecedented time. To our faculty and staff, thank you for your heroic work in bringing some sense of normalcy into the lives of our children. I know that you sacrifice much out of love for your kids and it is does not go unnoticed or unappreciated by me and so many others. You are an incredible blessing to all of us. To our students, I hope and pray you feel and respond to the love of God being shown to you through the witness of your parents and teachers and others. You, too, can witness by your attentiveness, your enthusiasm, and your appreciation of others through all of this. We are in this TOGETHER.

Please know of my prayers and support for all of you. When this is behind us, we will look back and focus on many things. Most of all, I will focus on the grace of God shown to me by your witness. Peace and blessings be with you.

Blessed Assurance in Christ,
Fr. Pat