Family Letter on Catholic Social Justice

Dear Families,

 

Over the past year, we have undoubtedly struggled as a nation in our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, our communities and country have also experienced significant social, racial, and political turmoil. The divisions within our society seem to be growing at time when we need to focus on loving and supporting our neighbor. When watching the news or reading the paper, it is evident that the spread of hate within our communities is on the rise.

 

Our Catholic faith calls us not only to be messengers, spreading the Good News of the Gospel, but also to act upon these teachings and truly live the Gospel message. It has become increasingly apparent our attention must focus on the way our students perceive their communities and the world, through the vision and mission of our faith. Our priority in helping students know and love Christ must also be to manifest this love in their interactions with others.

 

The tenets of Catholicism have a strong basis in the fundamental understanding of the value and dignity of each person. As we see polarization and discord within our society, it is important for students to discuss and understand the world through the lens of Catholic Social Justice.  This is why Catholic Academies and Parish Schools are continuing the process of strengthening our incorporation of Catholic Social Justice into their religion curriculum. Catholic Academy and Parish School leaders have already engaged in professional learning over the summer on leading school communities in difficult conversations focused on equity, justice, race, and tolerance. Our leaders are the starting point for changes within the school community and are the foundation with which we will be able to support staff as well as student development

 

The Catholic Social Justice Curriculum focuses on living the Gospel message, to create a just society considering the trials of modern times. There are several focuses of Catholic Social Teaching including the principles of solidarity, the rights of workers, life, and dignity of the human person, call to family and community, rights and responsibilities, and options for the poor and vulnerable. Each of these themes is rooted in the value of human life and the need to pursue justice and peace throughout the world. Catholic Social Teaching addresses issues of inequality and injustice, by helping students learn about the problem at hand, yet encourages them to consider their role and impact on the world. 

 

To encourage conversations within the classroom, teachers will be provided with suggested texts and activities, which introduce topics in an age-appropriate manner. These lessons will tie into religion, social studies, and language arts standards. The following are example from various grade levels describing the types of lessons that will be incorporated as well as cross-curricular ties.

  • Kindergarten students will learn about how holidays are celebrated in other cultures. This theme, based on the teaching of solidarity encourages students to embrace other cultures, identifying similarities across the globe, as well as tying into a social studies standard of learning about other cultures.
  • Grade 2 students will read a story about a young boy with different physical abilities and discuss what makes them unique. This theme reinforces the social studies standard that describes how communities are strengthened by the diversity of its members.
  • Grade 4 students, in a study of the rights of workers, will investigate the importance of farms on food supply as well as the workers that contribute to this. Discussions of farming and farm workers has strong ties to the grade 4 social studies standard which looks at the impact of the farming industry on New York State.
  • Grade 6 studentswill be building on their understanding of world religions by studying the function of holidays for different religious groups, the connections between celebrations, and the historical context of religious development. This will emphasize the social studies curriculum of origins of world religions.
  • Grade 8 students study the Reconstruction era in the context of challenges freed African Americans faced as part of their social studies curriculum. In continuation of the conversations of injustice, students will also look at slavery through reading and interpreting an African folktale.

Catholic Social Teaching is already a strong part of religion classes and will continue to encourage students to focus on caring for others through their faith. When we consider Catholic education, our goal must be the formation of saints and scholars, in that order. As such, faith development and living the Gospel message must be at the forefront of all that we do.

 

It is our hope to engage students at all grade levels with the intent of developing deeper conversations as students mature. Students may explore the same topic over the years, gaining a greater understanding and appreciation, as they get older with the overarching goal of developing a generation of servant leaders. We strive to graduate students who are globally focused, community oriented, and civically responsible. We want our graduates to be prepared to bring the words of the Gospel into the world, sharing the message of Christ in their words and actions.

 

Through the strengthening of our religion curriculum, we are committed to encouraging our students to grow in their faith. I pray for your continued support and commitment to helping your child along their journey of faith.

 

In Christ,

Thomas Chadzutko

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.

Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services

Principal Newsletter 9.20.21

 

Following the Core Four

The health and safety of our students and staff is our utmost concern. As you saw from an earlier email, we had our first confirmed case of Covid-19. It is important that we continue to follow the Core Four: mask wearing, maintaining a safe distance, practicing healthy hand hygiene, and staying home if your child is sick. If your child is a sick, a doctor’s note is required for safe return to school. If you decide to keep your child home, please inform the office by calling 718-793-2086 or emailing Ms. Hinkson at rhinkson@olmercyca.com.

Please mark your calendars for Monday, September 27th at 6:30pm for a follow-up meeting to review the re-opening plan and provide you with any necessary updates related to our response to Covid-19. Topics included: teacher and student vaccination, travel policy, and quarantine procedures will be much of the meeting. A revised re-opening plan will also be sent in advance of the meeting.

A Zoom link will be emailed on Friday, September 24, 2021. 

Thank you for your partnership in keeping our students and staff safe.

i-Ready

I am excited to share that our Kindergarten through 8th grade is continuing to implement Mathematics and Reading program called i-Ready. Students in Grades K-8 will begin to take their diagnostic exams at the end of this week. Our Kindergarten students will take their diagnostic exam in early October.

What is i-Ready?

i-Ready is an online program that will help us determine your child’s strengths and areas for growth, personalize their learning, and monitor their progress throughout the school year. i-Ready allows us to meet your child where they are and provides us with data to inform instruction.

The i-Ready Diagnostic that students will begin to take next week (Week of September 20th) is an adaptive assessment that adjusts its questions to suit your child’s needs. Each item a student receives is based on their answer to the previous question. For example, a series of correct answers will result in slightly harder questions, while a series of incorrect answers will yield slightly easier ones. The purpose of this is not to give your child a score or grade but to determine how to best support their learning.

What can I do to help?

To help prepare your child for the i-Ready Diagnostic, encourage them to:

  •   Get a good night’s sleep and eat a full breakfast each day 
  •   Try their best on each question and try not to rush.
  •   Try not to worry about questions to which they do not know the answers—remind them that it is expected that they will only get about half of the questions correct.
  •   Be respectful of other students who take longer to finish.

What happens next?

The i-Ready Diagnostic will provide results that help us as a school identify your child’s strengths and determine the next steps for instruction. I look forward to sharing these results with you throughout the year and providing a learning experience that will engage your child while teaching important skills and concepts.

If you have any questions about i-Ready, please do not hesitate to contact me or the school. You can also learn more about i-Ready by visiting i-ReadyCentral.com/FamilyCenter.

 

OLMCA Monthly Family Masses (Grades K-8)

 

OLMCA is excited to share that Family Masses have returned. Masses for the first Sundays in October 2021 – June 2022 at the 10:30am Mass. Each grade will host a Mass throughout the school year. More information to follow this week.

FACTS Student Information System

We’re excited to announce our new school management system – FACTS SIS (Student Information System). We have now set up the FACTS Family Portal – a private and secure online platform that will allow you to see academic information specific to your children while protecting their information from others. All you need is an internet-capable device to view information such as Attendance, Daily Grades, Transcripts, Discipline Issues, School calendar, and Tuition Accounts. This replaces OptionC. Please have patience with us as we learn the system.

Please note that the Family Portal is needed to see your child’s academic information in Grades K-8. For any questions, please contact Ms. Hinkson at rhinkson@olmercyca.com.

 

Principal Newsletter 9/13/21

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We are very happy with a successful start to this new school year. We recognize the excitement and the stressors to both parents and students in adjusting to the new school year and want to make the following IMPORTANT REMINDERS based on observations from last week’s drop-off and dismissal procedures. 

As iterated several times in our Reopening Plan 2021-2022 provided to all of you:    

Parents and guardians must wear masks when picking up students. Parents are

encouraged to wait in their car until the classes dismiss or observe social distancing policies and not congregate on walkways, church steps, grass, sidewalk, or courtyard.

We trust this email reminder clarifies the Academy’s position and parental responsibilities on mask wearing and social distancing and thus ensure a continued courteous and safe environment. 

Please mark your calendars for Monday, September 27th at 6:30pm for a follow-up meeting to review the re-opening plan and provide you with any necessary updates related to our response to Covid-19.

Parking Hazards

We are asking for your help during drop off and pickup. There has been an increase in illegal parking and many of our neighbors have called to complain. Safety is our number one priority at OLMCA, and we do not want to see any of our students hurt, or worse.

What can you do to help?

Please Do Not: 

  • Double park
  • Block driveways of our neighbors
  • Park in no parking zones 
  • Block crosswalks
  • Block school entrances 
  • Honk your horn repeatedly
  • Drive aggressively 
  • Drive fast

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your input is always appreciated, and we would love to hear any feedback from the parents. Thank you for keeping the area around OLMCA safe for our students.

FACTS Student Information System

 We’re excited to announce our new school management system – FACTS SIS (Student Information System). We have now set up the FACTS Family Portal – a private and secure online platform that will allow you to see academic information specific to your children while protecting their information from others. All you need is an internet-capable device to view information such as Attendance, Daily Grades, Transcripts, Discipline Issues, School calendar, and Tuition Accounts. This replaces OptionC. Please have patience with us as we learn the system.

FACTS Family Portal Login Instructions

  • Click on “Parent Log In” at the top, then “FACTS Family Portal.”
  • If you already have an account, enter district code, username, and password and click Login.
  • Create New Family Portal Account if you have not set this up yet
  • Enter the email address that you gave when registering your child, and our District Code

Our District Code is OLMCA-NY

  • You will receive an email from SIS Customer Support containing a link that will allow you to create your username and password.  For security purposes, the link will remain active for six hours.
  • Please click on the link.  A Change/Create Password screen will open.  You may use the default username provided, or create a new username.  Then type in your desired password into the Password field and Confirm Field
  • Click on the Save Username and/or Password button
  • Close the window.
  • Log into FACTS Family Portal as instructed above

To see a video that explains this process please click the link below:https://vimeo.com/152634570. Please note the password for the video is Portal 

Please note that the Family Portal is needed to see who your child’s academic information in Grades K-8. For any questions, please contact Ms. Hinkson at rhinkson@olmercyca.com.

Summer Office Hours

The office will be closed from:

Thursday, July 1st-Monday, July 12th

Friday, July 30th-Monday, August 16th 

The office is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and  Thursdays from 9am-12pm. 

 

Principal Newsletter 6.22.21

 

‘Twas the night before summer vacation and you can hear the happy voices of our youngest learners singing farewell to their teachers and classmates to our older students making plans for summer vacation. It is hard to believe that the 2020-2021 school year is coming to an end. It’s been quite a year filled with ups and downs as we navigated schooling during a pandemic. While wearing masks and social distancing became the norm, our students continued to thrive academically and as kind and caring individuals. 

 

It is always important to count your blessings and I learned more this school year than ever. We had many moments to be grateful for including welcoming our new pastor and having an in-person graduation ceremony at the church. It has been the biggest blessing that Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy was able to remain open for the duration of the year. That is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, parents, and most importantly our students. 

 

As we draw to a close in our school year, the faculty and staff are proud of our families’ support this year for in-person learning. Moreover, we are excited that almost all of you have re- enrolled and added younger siblings for the 2021-2022 school year. 

 

At this time, we are assessing our classroom and faculty needs in anticipation of a full re- opening in September 2021.  Part of this process entails waiting for NYSDOH and Diocesan directives. We anticipate these decisions to be made towards the end of July. At that time, we will apprise all of you accordingly and give you the opportunity to meet your new teacher, classmates and parents.

You will receive an email with a draft calendar for 2021-2022 school year. We send an updated calendar each month, but these have the most important dates for you to be aware of. We hope to have Back to School night in-person this year, but if that is not possible, we will send you information about virtual sessions.

The school offices will be open on various days over the summer, please refer to the calendar on the website for hours. We will be in touch throughout the summer as things progress. 

On behalf of the OLMCA community, we wish you a happy, healthy, safe, and enjoyable summer vacation. 

 

 

Race for Education Update 5.21.21

We are headed into the home stretch/week of the Race For Education. Thanks to all our wonderful families we have sprinted past our initial goal of $15,000.  Let’s keep up pace and momentum to finish even stronger! It’s not too late to qualify for 2 dress down passes if you bring in your sponsor donations ($25 minimum) by Monday, May 24th! 

Be sure to share the Giving Zone link with your family and friends! Here is the link: https://www.givingzone.com/z/ssdkyNyJ5a/ 

Please sign up here to volunteer or donate water: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0d4baca62da1fa7-race

The top 3 classes (in no particular order) that are currently in the lead for 100% participation and  the prize of Tossing Buckets of water on Teachers and staff are:  Grade 4, Grade, 3, and Grade 2.  Keep those sponsorships coming in and be the class to win the honor and the pizza party!!

Principal Newsletter 5.18.21

 

Governor Cuomo’s Announcement

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that NYS will adopt the new CDC guidelines for Masks and Social Distance for fully vaccinated individuals. Please Note: At this time, Schools are exempt from these new CDC guidelines so the Mask Policy and Social Distance Protocols remain in place for all schools.

Full information can be found at

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-york-state-adopt-new-cdc-guidance-mask-use-and-social-distancing

OLMCA’s Talent Show

OLMCA students sure have talent! Join us for a fun event on Thursday, May 20th at 7pm to see our students sing, dance, and more! This event is sure to inspire all to learn a new talent. Hosted by OLMCA’s 7th Grade, you are in for a wonderful night! 

Financial Aid

Financial aid applications for students in Grades K-8, who attend a Brooklyn or Queens School or Academy has begun. Once you have registered for next year, you can apply online for a Diocesan scholarship. Families who apply during the first round are the only ones eligible for the maximum scholarship. For more information, please visit: www.futuresineducation.org.

Scholarship Deadlines: New families: May 31, 2021

3K for All Registration

 

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy is excited to share that we will be offering the free 3K for All program through the Department of Education. We will have one (1) full day 3K classroom with a maximum of 15 students in September 2021. Ms. Alyssa Loscalzo will be our 3K for All teacher.

We will still have an OLMCA tuition-based Nursery classroom in September. Ms. Debbie Loscalzo will remain as our Nursery teacher.

You can apply for 3K for All at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy by visiting the website at: https://www.myschools.nyc/en/Our school code is QADQ.

Race for Education

Many thanks to all those who have helped make a great start for our 14th Annual Race for Education! Thanks to your generosity we are more than 95% of the way toward our goal of $15,000 to fund new purchases for our Parish Hall’s lighting and audio. Congratulations to Lucas Holloway, Oscar Espinosa, Noah Edmond, and Morgan Dougherty for leading the way with the most paid sponsorships so far! 

Just a few reminders: the next early return day is Monday, May 24th. Return your sponsorship form with a minimum paid donation of $25 and receive 2 NUT cards!!  Please remember to return sponsorships as soon as possible. If you returned a pledge sheet, please begin to collect payments and send in as well. Remember every little bit helps!  Our goal is to have every student return at least 1 sponsorship!

We have a new incentive!! 

The first class that has 100% fundraising participation will get to dump buckets of freezing cold ice water over teachers and staff of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy on the race day!

Be sure to share the Giving Zone link with your family and friends! Here is the link: https://www.givingzone.com/z/ssdkyNyJ5a/ 

Please sign up here to volunteer or donate water: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0d4baca62da1fa7-race

Thank you all for your continued generosity and support. Looking forward to fun race days!

Step-Up and Graduation Dates

The revised June calendar will be sent home next week. The last day of school is Friday, June 23rd. Please be aware that the Diocese has mandated 12:30pm dismissals starting on Thursday, June 17th. Please make a note of these important milestone events for Nursery, PreK, Kindergarten, and 8th Grade.

Nursery

Thursday, June 17th

Ms. Debbie at 9am

Ms. Alyssa at 10:15am

Pre-Kindergarten

Friday, June 18th

Mrs. Keenan at 9am

Ms. Josephine at 10am

Ms. Alyssa at 11am

Mrs. Orlov at 12pm

*Mrs. Orlov’s PreK Remote on Thursday, June 17th at 11:30am

Kindergarten

Tuesday, June 22

9am and 10:15am

8th Grade

Friday, June 11th at 6pm

Race for Education Update 5.13.21

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Many thanks to all those who have helped make a great start for our 14th Annual Race for Education! Thanks to your generosity we are more than 75% of the way toward our goal of $15,000 to fund new purchases for our Parish Hall’s lighting and audio. Congratulations to Lucas Holloway, Oscar Espinosa, Noah Edmond, and Morgan Dougherty for leading the way with the most paid sponsorships so far! 

Just a few reminders: the next early return day is Monday, May 24th. Return your sponsorship form with a minimum paid donation of $25 and receive 2 NUT cards!!  Please remember to return sponsorships as soon as possible. If you returned a pledge sheet, please begin to collect payments and send in as well. Remember every little bit helps!  Our goal is to have every student return at least 1 sponsorship!

We have a new incentive!! 

The first class that has 100% fundraising participation will get to dump buckets of freezing cold ice water over teachers and staff of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy on the race day!

We are also looking for volunteers to help organize both the morning of the Race as well as the days before.  We will be sending home more information the week of May 17th. 

Be sure to share the Giving Zone link with your family and friends! Here is the link: https://www.givingzone.com/z/ssdkyNyJ5a/

Thank you all for your continued generosity and support. Looking forward to fun race days!