Posted

This post will be updated regularly as the local COVID-19 situation develops.


Click here for the 5/1/20 3 p.m. athletics update

Dear Thunder Athletes

Please read the following note from Mr. Pete Schneider, Executive Director of the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association.

I understand this is disappointing news, and we were especially looking forward to seeing our seniors participate this spring. As a former athlete and the father of two athletes, I can definitely sympathize with you.

As an entire school community, we want to wish the very best to all our Thunder athletes and, in particular, our seniors. We are proud of the way you have represented our school community both on and off the field, and I look forward to celebrating your accomplishments later this month at our virtual Athletic Awards event.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any help with anything in the future.

Mr. James Pernick, Athletic Director

___________________________

Dear Families:

Earlier today Governor Cuomo officially closed New York State schools for the remainder of the academic year. While we had hoped to return to the athletic fields this spring, the Governor’s announcement will officially result in the cancellation of all spring sport seasons for the MMHSAA. While we will continue to prepare for the fall season, we want to thank all the seniors who will not be able to compete this spring for their commitment to their school teams and wish them the best as they prepare for the next phase of their lives. God Bless and stay safe.

Pete Schneider, Executive Director
Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association
716-810-1040


Click here for the 5/1/20 3 p.m. update

Dear MSM Families,

Today, Governor Cuomo announced that school buildings in New York State would stay closed for the remainder of the academic year. As a result, Mount St. Mary will remain
in building closure, and all academic classes will continue virtually through the end of the school year.

Although we may have had a hunch that this news would come, the official announcement today hit me particularly hard. I miss seeing our students daily — their palpable energy, curiosity and laughter bring joy to my role as principal. It is simply not the same in this remote environment, even though I can see their faces on a computer screen or read written words on an email. I imagine you, too, have many emotions hearing this news today. However, from the very beginning of this crisis, we have been guided by the principle that the health and safety of all in our community and their loved ones continues to be our first priority. We all want to be sure that when we can see each other again, it is in such a way that feels like we are certain in the safety of our being together.

We will remain physically apart this school year, but we remain connected virtually as best we can. We will continue to teach and learn remotely, with our wonderful and dedicated teachers spending time with students every school day. Most importantly, we are deeply connected to each other in our hearts and in the Spirit. We are a strong, tight-knit community, supporting each other in prayer, helping those in need, and reaching out to those who are alone — the things that set us apart as Mounties.

I know today’s news hits our beloved seniors and their families the hardest. Because our building cannot reopen in time for our Commencement Weekend, we will be celebrating the milestones of Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation  differently this year. Please watch for a letter from me early next week, in which I will outline the special plans we will put in place to make May 30 and May 31 very special days for the Class of 2020 and those who love them.

I am attaching an additional letter from the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association that announces the cancellation of the spring sports season. How disappointed we are that we cannot witness the amazing talent and teamwork of our Thunder spring athletes. We cannot wait to be on the sidelines again cheering you on. For our senior athletes, we wish we had the opportunity to see you play again in the Mount St. Mary uniform, and we look forward to celebrating your Mount careers at our virtual Athletic Awards night.

For the artists among us, thank you for continuing to inspire us with your song, dance, and creative talents. We are saddened that we cannot see you on our stage again this school year to perform in person, but we trust that throughout these remaining weeks of school, we will find ways to celebrate the arts and how important they are to all of us in bringing light in a difficult time.

May God bless each of you and your families. I pray for the gift of peace for all of us in this uncertain time. Know that your Mount St. Mary family is thinking of you and holding you in prayer. Together we will finish the school year strong.

Sincerely,

Katherine Spillman, Principal


Click here for the 4/24/20 3 p.m. update for senior parents

Dear Class of 2020 and their Families,

You are receiving two letters today: one that is addressed to the entire school community with academic updates, but also a special letter to your class that addresses some specific thoughts as we look forward to celebrating your remaining time with us as students.

Please know that my heart aches, as I realize you had dreams of what these final days would look like, and now they have been transformed unexpectedly by this ongoing public health crisis. Yet, at the same time, my heart is filled with gratitude for the gift of each of you during this time. I have witnessed you rising to the challenge of tackling on-line learning, finding creative ways to deepen connection through group text messages and lingering on Google Hangout sessions just to check-in, and celebrating each other’s college acceptances, etc. Despite great sadness, you continue to focus on goodness and caring for each other. This example carries all of us forward in this difficult time. I believe now more than ever that you are young women ready to be leaders in our community wherever your next steps take you.

I realize that there are many questions about what will happen to our treasured Mount senior traditions, and please know that as a school, we are going to honor these traditions as best we can in this new reality. We want to celebrate your athletic and academic accomplishments; we rejoice in hearing about college acceptances and scholarship awards; we want you to look back on these days and feel that your Mount high school experience has had meaningful closure.

In this time of COVID-19, we continue to lean on our public health officials to give us guidance, and therefore at this moment, I cannot determine when we will be able to gather to celebrate. However, I can share with you our school plans at this moment:

  1. A special evening that becomes prom experience: Student leaders are working with Ms. Ferby and our school life team to brainstorm many ideas around a special evening, hopefully, held this summer if we can ensure the safety of those who attend. If we are unable to hold something this summer 2020, we plan to celebrate a prom event for you as young alumnae.
  2. Please keep Sunday, May 31st on your family calendar! Our Mount St. Mary community will still honor our graduating seniors this day in some fashion if we are unable to hold our traditional ceremony on this date. We know how you have been looking forward to this date on the calendar and we will celebrate you in a special way! This date is an important part of providing meaningful closure and celebration. Given that graduation and Baccalaureate Mass are such beautiful, long-held traditions in our community, if we have to postpone these traditional formal ceremonies per health guidance, we will find a date in the future to ensure that the Class of 2020 has this experience. As soon as we know when we can host a public gathering, we will be able to share more information with you.
  3. The Graduation Dress – next week we will be sending out a survey to seniors that asks each student to provide a status of where her plans are with finding her white dress. We realize that the public health crisis has prevented students from traditional shopping, arranging alterations, etc. The May 1st deadline for dress approval needs to be flexible. We are exploring creative options to provide for students that may have difficulty finding a dress.

I realize that not having good solid answers at this time is increasingly difficult for families and I thank you for your patience in discerning the best, most safe path forward as we honor our Class of 2020. Do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with questions. Please know of my continued prayers for your family during this time and how I look forward to seeing you again to celebrate this special time.

Blessings,

Katherine Spillman, Principal


Click here for the 4/24/20 3 p.m. update

Dear Mount Students and Families:

As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, I hope that your family is safe and doing all right. Please know that all of us at Mount miss our students tremendously and we look forward to seeing them as soon as we possibly can.
With the resumption of distance learning after Easter vacation, we have some updates to share regarding our plans for the remainder of the fourth quarter and the end of the school year. Due to the continued uncertainty regarding the public health crisis, there are still several decisions that we are unable to finalize at this time and future correspondence will keep families updated. For now, here are some important updates:

  • Fourth Quarter Classes – Distance learning for all students will continue at least through Friday, May 15th, as per the current guidelines established by New York State. Students are reminded to fill out the Google Attendance form daily at 8:00 am.
    • In order to assist students with time management, all teachers are providing students with “A Week at a Glance” on Mondays, which sketch out content and assignments for classes.
    • Teachers will continue to utilize Google Hangout or other on-line meet opportunities to provide instruction, discussion and extra help throughout the week.
    • The Class of 2020’s last class day will remain Wednesday, May 20th, as it was on the original school calendar.
  • Canceling of June Regents Exams – As you may have read, New York State has made the decision to not have the June Regents exams. A student who is enrolled in a course that was scheduled to end with a Regents exam will earn course credit by passing the course (successful completion of four quarters of study). She is exempt from taking a Regents exam. Students (in the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021) who were seeking the Regents diploma with Advanced Designation are still on track to do so if they have met all other requirements.

With the news of the cancellation of the State exams and our reflection on the continued impact of COVID-19 in transforming our learning environment, we have decided to alter our other final assessment plans as well:

  • Final Exams Scheduled for May and June: Whether we return to the school building before the end of the year or not, Mount St. Mary Academy has made the decision to cancel all in-house final assessments. This cancellation affects the Class of 2020 (senior class) for the week of May 25th and all exams that had been planned for the other classes during the weeks of June 15th and June 22nd. As a result, all final course grades will be calculated with the four quarters (and with the midterm exam if given). For semester courses, each quarter will count for 50% of a student’s overall grade. There will be no cumulative final assessment for any course.
  • This new policy does not apply to AP Exams (will take place online in mid-May). Students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses are receiving important information from their teachers with details of how these exams will proceed. For students taking college courses through Niagara University (NUStep) or Hilbert College, teachers will inform students of plans as we learn more from the respective colleges about their expectations for final assessments.

This decision to cancel final assessments was carefully made due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Recognition that families are dealing with COVID-19 related illness
  • Every family situation is unique and each has different stressors that make adequate preparation for cumulative assessments difficult: some families have parents who are essential workers; some students are caring for younger siblings; some families have multiple children pursuing distance learning; some students need to work to provide extra income for the family during this fragile economic time, etc.
  • Potential inequities in each student’s distance learning environment.
  • The challenge of protecting the integrity of exams in an online environment.

With the absence of final cumulative assessments, this allows our teachers and students to dig deep into this fourth quarter with their study. With the remaining weeks of the school year, our teachers plan to work with students on continuing to develop key skills and master the concepts necessary to ensure our students find success in the next level. Collaboration among our teaching cohort is paramount. Students are expected to
remain active in their learning as this fourth quarter carries key weight in determining academic success.

We realize that this new on-line learning environment has been a challenge for some students in our community. We encourage struggling students to reach out to their individual teachers if a particular class is causing hardship. The partnership between teacher and student is more important than ever during this time. Our guidance counselors are also able to provide support for families that are seeking additional help.

This upcoming Sunday we hear proclaimed the Gospel passage (Luke 24:13-35) commonly known as the “Road to Emmaus.” Two disciples are walking along the road, deeply discouraged by all that has occurred surrounding Jesus’ death. The Resurrected Jesus appears to them, although the disciples do not recognize Him initially. In these uncertain times, we are like these disciples, wondering what is happening, and it can be difficult to find much hope. However, our faith reminds us that Jesus is with us every step of the way. I am filled with renewed hope when I witness the dedication of our students and teachers to forge ahead together when things are challenging. In a special way we pray for our senior class that they know that we walk with them on these steps of their last days as Mount students.

As always, feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Blessings,

Katherine Spillman, Principal


Click here for the 4/17/20 3 p.m. update

Dear MSM Students and Families:

I hope that you and your family had a blessed Easter and remain in good health. Here are some
updates as we restart distance learning this coming Monday, April 20th:

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the official pause in New York State through
    Friday, May 15, 2020. Our distance learning model will continue, beginning again on this Monday, April 20th.
  • Students are reminded to start each school day with the daily attendance check-in. A
    reminder of the attendance policy during building closure:

    • A Google Attendance Form will be sent out daily at 8 a.m. by Ms. Cassandra Ferby. (Your daughter must fill this out daily.) The form will have Last Name, First Name, and Advisory number. There is an expectation that students must complete the Google Attendance form by 8:30 a.m. daily. If a student is ill, please call our Main office line and leave a detailed message of her symptoms at 716-877-1358 ext.160
  • With building closure still in place and no public gatherings permitted, the following events will not take place as previously planned.
    • Gemtones Coffeehouse – Friday, May 8
    • MSM Spring Concert – Tuesday, May 12th (We will celebrate Mr. John Hathaway’s retirement in Fall 2020)
    • Senior/Junior Prom at the Statler – Friday, May 15th
  • Our faculty continue to work tirelessly to prepare lessons and deliver important content to students through distance learning. Students are encouraged to use each teacher’s “ Week at a Glance” (shared every Monday) to appropriately structure their academic time during the week. Students are reminded of the importance of the fourth quarter and the
    expectation to complete work with effort and care. Monday, May 11th is the midpoint of the fourth quarter.
  • MSM Service Requirement: A reminder that the Class of 2020 service hours are due on Friday, May 1st, 2020 and for all other classes, the service must be completed by Friday, June 5th, 2020. These hours are entered through the Mobile Serve digital app. A reflection paper is to be turned into the student’s religion teacher (ebuchala@msmacademy.org; msaltarelli@msmacademy.org)
  • The College Board has rescheduled the AP exams previously scheduled for the first two weeks of May. The exams will now be May 11-May 22 and completely online. The College Board has sent students, teachers, and AP coordinators information on the reformatted exam. Updates will continue to be provided as they are released. Information can be found on the College Board website: https://apcoronavirusupdates.collegeboard.org/students

I speak on behalf of our entire faculty and staff in stating how much we miss seeing our students at school. We continue to hope for a return to face-to-face learning, but in the meantime, I trust that our community will continue to rise to the challenge of this unprecedented time and forge ahead with learning and support of each other.

Sincerely,

Katherine Spillman, Principal


Click here for the 4/7/20 4 p.m. update

Dear MSM Students and Families:

I’m writing to you in advance of our Easter vacation, a much-needed rest for our community from this unexpected and unprecedented change to distance learning. I would like to share some updates with you:

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended school closures in New York State to April 29, 2020. We have been told that he will reevaluate this in two weeks, and we will communicate with you again if there is further extension of building closure. Our distance learning model will continue, beginning again on Monday, April 20th after Easter vacation. Students are reminded to start each school day with the daily attendance check-in via Google Form.
  • The NYS Board of Regents has announced today the cancellation of all Regents exams scheduled for June, with Regents credit being given for successful completion of the course. Given that MSM is already in the process of phasing out Regents exams as the final assessment tool, this news impacts only our current senior and junior classes. In the coming weeks, our teachers will advise all students about final assessment plans.
  • We realize that many families are eager to know about any potential postponement to Commencement weekend activities and other events, such as Junior/Senior Prom and Awards Night. Please know that we will communicate with you about these and other important milestones as we receive more information on a possible back-to-school date.
  • Our Easter break runs from this Thursday, April 9 through Sunday, April 19th, 2020. It is important that our students and faculty have a break that is restful and offers them a chance to recharge. No new work will be assigned to students over break and no new content taught. Please take this time to disconnect from electronics, spend time with those you love, and safely enjoy the outdoors, while respecting social distancing guidelines.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to our families, who have been supportive of our move to distance learning and who have helped their daughters along the way. Thank you to our dedicated and talented faculty, who have worked tirelessly to provide engaging lessons, offered individual assistance when needed, and created a virtual learning environment that is keeping student learning on track.

I have a special message for our students: Your can-do spirit, your willingness to work differently, and your resiliency have made me proud to be your principal. Together, we have done great things during a very challenging time.

My wish for each of you at Easter is that you experience the true joy of this holy season and that the light of our Risen Savior shines upon you.

Sincerely,

Katherine Spillman, Principal


Click here for the 3/20/20 8 p.m. update

Today, the College Board released a statement that, as a response to the COVID 19-related school closures, the Advanced Placement (AP) exams will be migrated to 45-minute online exams that students will be able to take at home. The College Board has educators working on preparing information on what those exams will look like, i.e. what type(s) of question they will include.

Teachers have also been advised that the content will be pared down in light of the early-March school closures. For many subjects, this means eliminating the last unit or two. Information about the exam format, exam date(s), and content-reduction is due to be posted on the AP Central website by April 3, 2020.

Additionally, the College Board will be offering free, live AP review sessions daily for students beginning on March 25. This schedule will also be posted on the AP Central website.

Schools and teachers have just received this information as of today, March 20, 2020. Please know that our teachers will reflect on how these changes will impact our classes and students and create a way to move forward. There is still much to be figured out and we will continue to update our community as we are updated by the College Board. For now, rest assured that our AP teachers will continue with their distance-learning plans and will continue to provide the best support possible for our students.


Click here for the 3/16/20 7 p.m. update

Dear Mount St. Mary Academy Students and their families:

As we prepare to move to remote learning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th, we would like to provide you with some specific supports we have put in place to support your daughter in this new academic learning environment.

Daily Check-In Reminders

  • All students are reminded that they ​must​ fill out the daily Google Form sent via email by Ms. Ferby at​ 8:00 am​, turning it in no later than 8:30 am. This is our daily attendance for the entire building. If a student is sick, the parents/ guardian needs to call the main office per usual school policy. Please consult with previous correspondence for more detail.
  • As a reminder, all students need to check email daily and complete coursework within set deadlines as outlined by their teachers.

Guidance Department

The Guidance/Counseling Department is committed to continuing to provide social, emotional and personal counseling to our students.

Availability During Building Closure

Our school counselors, Mrs. Karen Reisch (students A- L; ​kreisch@msmsacademy.org​) and Mrs. Maroshick (students M-Z; ​smaroshick@msmacademy.org​) will be available to speak with any student or parent via email or Zoom digital conference during regular school hours: 7:45 am-3:00 pm. Students or parents should email their counselor when they would like to set up a meeting time.

Ms. Cannon, our school social worker, will be available on Mondays from 7:30 am-12:00 pm and Tuesdays 7:45 am-3:00 pm through Zoom digital conference. Please email Ms. Cannon (ccannon@msmacademy.org​) if you would like to set up a Zoom time to meet.

If there is a crisis situation that occurs outside of these hours, you should contact Spectrum Cares at (716) 882-4357 where there are trained counselors available 24 hours per day/ 7 days a week to assist with crisis situations.

Supporting Students in These Unprecedented Times

This change in our school routine and anxiety around COVID-19 can cause stress for students and parents. We encourage you to reach out to our support team during this time of transition where we will continue to be a support to families or are able to refer you to community resources for additional assistance.

Throughout this public health crisis, we will continue to send articles and information pieces that address the mental health needs of students and communities during an infectious disease outbreak. These can be good conversation starters for your family:

Course Scheduling for 2020-2021

Counselors are currently meeting with the Class of 2022 (current sophomores) to do course selections for next school year (2020-2021). Sophomores may screenshot their requested courses to their counselor this week (March 17- 20) and counselors will be in touch with them via email to discuss.

The Class of 2023 (current freshmen) will be notified via email when they can start to submit their course requests.

Academic Learning Support

Ms. Catherine Suchan will be available online every weekday between the hours of 8:00 am and 2:00pm. She is encouraging students to communicate with her over Google Hangouts (​https://hangouts.google.com/​) for direct help with assignments. This platform allows for group or individual discussion and can be archived for later reference.

If necessary, Ms. Suchan is available for video tutoring sessions on an as-needed basis. Students can schedule these sessions over messaging via Google Hangouts. Google Meet will be utilized for video communication.

Ms. Suchan and Ms. McGrath will be working in collaboration with all teachers to support students with specific academic needs.

Additional resources will be available for students on Google Classroom.

Remote Learning Academic Plan

All teachers have finalized their distance learning plans. Most faculty are relying on the tools included in Google Suite such as email, Google Classroom, Drive, Meet (Hangouts), and Chat to communicate and conduct class remotely. Teachers will reach out to individual classes as their work becomes available and will include the ways that students can reach out if individual assistance is needed.

It is critical that students understand that learning continues even if we are not in the physical school building. It is expected that they are active participants in their coursework. At this time, our plan is to have our third quarter grades still close on March 31st and therefore this quarter will be a hybrid of in-person and remote learning.

Our School Life leadership team will be working with our teachers to troubleshoot any issues that arise. Students should reach out to their teachers and school counselors with any specific academic concerns as a starting place.

Advanced Placement Exams

The College Board recognizes that many schools throughout the nation are affected by building closure and is establishing parameters for pushing back original testing dates. Mrs. Reisch, as our school AP Coordinator, will be receiving announcements soon from the College Board regarding these measures and will communicate with our community any new updates. In the meantime, our AP students are urged to keep up with coursework set out by faculty and certainly will provide as many resources as possible to prepare for the upcoming exams.

An uncommon quiet fell on our school this afternoon as we turned off student Fobs, teachers carried out stacks of textbooks and resources, and we all moved fully into building closure. Together we will get through this and please know that in this time of uncertainty, our continuity of care of our young women continues.

Wishing you a peaceful night,

Katherine Spillman, Principal


Click here for the 3/15/20 7:30 p.m. update

Dear Mount St. Mary Academy students and their families:

I have a brief update to share tonight regarding our school’s continued response to COVID-19. Mount St. Mary Academy has extended building closure from Monday, March 16th to an intended school return on Monday, April 20th.

As we have throughout the unfolding of this public crisis, we have relied on the counsel of public health officials and our partners in education. This evening, the Kenmore-Tonawanda school district announced that, in accordance with the Erie County Executive’s recommendation, people avoid large gatherings of more than fifty people, and in light of the declaration of multiple States of Emergency, all Erie County school districts have closed schools until April 20, 2020.

New updates:

  • Remote learning begins on Tuesday, March 17th and will run every weekday through Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.
  • This Friday, March 20th is now a required remote learning school day for students. Previously this was a professional day for faculty (now moved to tomorrow – Monday,
    March 16th).
  • Easter vacation will run as planned: Thursday, April 9 – Sunday, April 19, 2020. No daily new remote learning will happen during this time.
  • Unfortunately with the extension of the building closure, the following community events have been added to our previous list of events postponed:
    *Serve Club day of service at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy – Friday, March 27 *The ACT prep course – March 17, 19, and 26, 2020
    *National Honor Society Induction- Tuesday, April 7, 2020 evening
    *Spring athletics – suspended until Monday, April 20th for now.

As a reminder from previous correspondence:

  • Tomorrow, Monday, March 16th, there will be no school for students. If a student needs to pick up materials that she will need for remote learning, she may enter the building only between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm on Monday March 16th. When a student arrives, she must sign in outside of the Main Office as well as sign out when she is finished gathering her things. Teachers are not available to students during this time, as they are finalizing their remote learning plans.
  • Remote learning officially begins on Tuesday, March 17th. Students are expected to be active participants in their remote learning classes and complete work as assigned by their teachers.
  • Daily attendance will be taken online, as per the directions shared with students and parents, beginning on Tuesday, March 17 at 8:00 a.m.

Important Reminders:

  • With building closure: only essential school personnel are allowed in the building. The main office will not be physically open. Phone messages and email correspondence are the best way to get in touch with school representatives (school leadership, faculty, and staff)
  • All co-curriculars now cease (field trips, sports practices, clubs, etc) both on- and offsite until our building closure ends.

We will be sending correspondence tomorrow to all students and families to share important guidance information both for academic and counseling support as we navigate these challenging times. We will also outline additional community support resources. ​Students​: please continue to check Google Classroom and email for updates and reach out to your teachers with any questions.

In times of uncertainty, may we trust in Jesus’ frequent reminder: ​Be not afraid​. May the Blessed Mother enfold us with her protection and keep us all safe.

May God bless you,

Katherine Spillman, Principal


Click here for the 3/14/20 6 p.m. update

Dear MSM Families:

I am writing to notify you that there will be no classes for students on Monday, March 16. As of 2 p.m. that day and through Sunday, March 29th, our building will be closed in response to health experts’ recommendations on how we can help lessen the spread of COVID-19. Let me be clear: no member of the MSM community has tested positive for the virus, but out of an abundance of caution and based on guidance from health care experts, we have decided this is the best course of action. 

As I’ve described in messages to you over the past week, MSM faculty members have been preparing for this possibility, and I believe we are well-prepared to begin remote learning.

Here are the specifics:

  • On Monday, March 16th, there will be no school for students. Co-curriculars (clubs, sports practices, etc.) will not meet. Faculty will have professional time to finalize learning plans. Teachers will not be available to students during this planning time.
  • If a student needs to pick up materials that she will need for remote learning, she may enter the building only between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm on Monday, March 16th. Remote learning officially begins on Tuesday, March 17th.
  • As of 2:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16, the building will be closed to everyone other than essential building personnel.
  • We move to official building closure on Tuesday, March 17th. Online learning will begin for students on this day and students are expected to be active participants in their remote learning classes and complete work as assigned by their teachers.
  • With building closure:  all co-curriculars cease (field trips, sports practices, clubs, etc) both on- and offsite until our building closure ends.
  • Daily attendance will be taken online, as per the directions shared with students and parents, beginning on Tuesday, March 17 at 8:00 a.m.
  • We will reevaluate the situation and communicate with families as the March 29th date approaches. An extension of building closure (and therefore remote learning) is possible.

We realize that our building closure necessitates postponing and potentially cancelling many of our favorite MSM traditions, such as Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Daughter Mass and Brunch, and fine arts performances. We recognize how disappointing this is to many, especially our seniors and their families, and we are doing our best to figure out how to reschedule if possible.

Regarding our academic plan:

Our teachers briefed our students on their individual plans for remote academic learning on this past Friday, March 13th, and remote learning will commence on Tuesday, March 17th. Our Google Apps for Education suite provides a wonderful set of tools for learning: teachers will be utilizing Classroom and supplementing with additional online tools to guide instruction. Students have brought hardcover textbooks home this past Friday for classes that require usage and also will utilize the online textbooks for other classes. Our teachers regularly adjust and update their teaching plans based on student feedback and interest. We know they will continue this practice in our new online environment. Our school life team will be supporting our teachers in this new endeavor, ensuring that all of us — students and teachers alike — are getting the academic support needed. We believe in seeking innovative ways to educate, and this will happen even when we are physically unable to be in the building together. 

Attached to this message is a list of additional resources our families may wish to access if necessary. Please know that our school leadership team will be available to answer your questions via email and that we will do our very best to respond to you in a timely manner.

This situation is, of course, unique to our school community, and at times like this it’s important that we act thoughtfully, with kindness, and with the understanding that we are all doing the best we can for one another. We recognize that these changes are stressful for our students, and we want you to know that their well-being continues to be a top priority for us. We thank our parents, our students, and our dedicated faculty for working together to make the best of a very difficult situation. Let’s all hold each other in prayer and look forward to a return to face-to-face learning and the vibrant MSM community we all know and love.

May God bless you,

Katherine Spillman

Principal

 

Resources about COVID-19 for Mount St. Mary students and families:

Information about COVID-19:

If your home does not have wifi:

Please contact Spectrum 1-844-488-8395 for possible temporary assistance.


Click here for the 3/13/20 3:30 p.m. update

In the event of a building closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Mount St. Mary will be engaging in online coursework to ensure student learning continues. Your daughter’s teachers have talked with her today about how this different modality will look for her specific classes. We’ve encouraged students to bring home textbooks, school-issued devices, chargers, and anything else needed to do schoolwork.

One of the requirements New York State has is that we continue to collect and monitor student attendance daily. To that end, we have developed a plan to gather this information electronically, should we face a building closure.

Included is the policy we will ask students to follow if our building does close and we are forced to move to an online learning environment. We have explained this process to your daughter, but if you or your daughter has any questions, please contact me.

Attendance policy during building closure:

  • A Google Attendance Form will be sent out daily at 8:00am by Ms. Cassandra Ferby (Your daughter must fill this out daily.)

  • The form will have Last Name, First Name, Grade number. 

  • There is an expectation that students must complete the Google Attendance form by  8:30am daily. 

  • If a student is ill, please call our Main office line and leave a detailed message of her symptoms at 716-877-1358 ext.160


Click here for the 3/13/20 9 a.m. update

Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and based upon recommendations made by the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District, Mount St. Mary will be canceling all school-sponsored travel outside of the eight counties of Western New York. This will affect all student travel and field trips effective immediately. What this now means: the school-sponsored softball trip to Pigeon Forge, TN over April break is therefore cancelled. Please reach out to our Athletic Director, Jim Pernick as the coaches are determining next steps. Our school had previously announced that the Academy Scholars trips to California (March) and New York City (April) would not run as planned. Additionally the international trip to France over April Break will also not run as scheduled.

In addition, Ken-Ton has suspended all public gatherings that include more than 50 people. With this new health guideline, the following events will not take place as planned. Event coordinators and club moderators are looking at next steps and any updates will be sent as soon as possible.

  • Father-Daughter dance (Thursday, March 19)
  • Mother-Daughter mass and brunch (Sunday, March 22)
  • Spring Drama sleepover (March 20-21)
  • Spring Drama Production (March 27-28)
  • Sweets and Treats concert (Sunday, March 29)

We have postponed our signature fundraising event, Chrysalis, that was scheduled for Saturday, March 14. This event is being rescheduled for a date in June 2020.

Spring athletics guidelines will be forthcoming as our athletic director is working with Monsignor Martin league for their guidance. Please be on the lookout for future communication. Per health guidelines, spectators are currently not able to attend sport competitions for now.

Regarding our academic plan should we face a building closure: Students will be speaking with their teachers today about how remote learning will continue. Students have been asked to bring their iPad home with a charger today (Friday, March 13, 2020). Also students will be bringing home textbooks if possible today per individual teacher direction. Our dedicated faculty are crafting innovative ways to allow learning to continue to happen even if we are unable to be physically in the building together. More will be communicated as our plans develop.


Click here for the 3/12/20 11:30 a.m. update

Dear MSM Families:

Our school community continues to monitor the situation unfolding with the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We receive regular updates and briefings from the NYS Department of Health, the NYS Department of Education, and the Erie County Health Department and are in communication with our sister and brother schools in the Diocese. I’m emailing to provide you with an update on how Mount St. Mary is preparing for the possibility of the spread of this virus and information on how you can partner with us in our efforts to ensure the safety of our MSM community.

The first and most important thing our families can do is to keep their daughters home if they are sick, especially if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms (fever or chills, body aches, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, feeling very tired, shortness of breath, or cough). For specifics about the coronavirus and how to prepare, the Eric County Health Department provides this helpful link. If your daughter does become ill with flu-like symptoms, we ask you to stay in contact with us.

The health and safety of all in our school community is a top concern for us. We want you to know that we will follow NYS protocols and communicate with you if we become aware that a member of our school community is infected with COVID-19. Similar to our snow day protocol, an email and text message will be sent out notifying families of any building closure with more information to follow. We honor all Mount community members’ privacy.

With student safety in mind and the recent travel restrictions from the federal government, we are rescheduling the international, school-sponsored travel that had been planned for over the Easter break. Families affected will be receiving specific updates as we work with the travel company. At this point, domestic, school sponsored travel is being decided on a trip-by-trip basis. We have made the difficult decision to postpone our California trip that was scheduled for this weekend. With such a fluid situation, we are deciding about upcoming domestic travel.

As for our academic plan going forward, the entire faculty are proactively working on teaching plans that allow for continued learning if we need to follow health guidelines and close our school building for an undetermined length of time. We recognize that, if needed, remote learning will present challenges, but our team is committed to adapting and educating our students in this different modality.

We know that the situation with COVID-19 is changing constantly. I encourage you to reach out to me directly or to our School Nurse, Ms. Mary Elsaesser, RN, directly with any questions or concerns you may have.

Best wishes,

Katherine Spillman, Principal

Click here for more information about community resources available for families during this time.

Connect with us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Twitter
Visit Us
Follow Me
Instagram