iReady Introduction for Parents

I am excited to share that Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy is implementing a Math and Reading program called i-Ready in Grades K-8. Below, you will find information about the program and how we will be using it in the classroom. Grades 1-8 will begin to take their initial assessment this week and Kindergarten will take their initial assessment towards the end of the month.

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 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.
  • i-Ready Instruction provides students with lessons based on their individual strengths and areas for growth. These lessons are interactive and provide strategic supports to keep your child engaged as they learn.

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 the day of the assessment.
  • Try their best on each question and try not to rush.
  • Try not to worry about questions they do not know—remind them that it is expected they will get only about half of the questions correct.
  • Be respectful of other students who take longer to finish.
  • Use paper and pencil to show work for math questions.

To support your child’s learning in Online Instruction, you can:

  • Discuss your child’s progress on their i-Ready
  • Celebrate your child’s learning and growth.
  • Encourage them to use i-Ready at home.
    • They will need access to a computer or iPad®, internet, and their login information. To check if your system meets i-Ready system requirements, please visit to run a system check.

Thank you for your continued support and for being a partner in your child’s learning! I look forward to sharing i-Ready information with you throughout the year. 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

Letter from the Superintendent 10.5.20

We have just completed the first month of the new academic year. It has been a totally different beginning for so many. There are some children that have fully returned to the classroom setting, other children that have opted for remote learning and still others that have been afforded a hybrid model. No matter what type of classroom setting your son or daughter is participating in, they have returned to their Catholic Academy or Parish School.

As you know, the re-opening of the Catholic Academy and Parish School was not an easy feat. One thing for sure, the Pastors, Principals, Board of Directors, Faculty, and Staff worked tirelessly during the summer months of July and August, in preparation for school opening.  On September 9, 2020, you witnessed first-hand all of the extraordinary efforts, put into place, to keep your child(ren) safe.

Efforts to maintain a safe and healthy environment are essential, as we now move into the month of October. In is imperative that everyone work together to ensure that the Core 4 remain in place, in each and every Catholic Academy and Parish School, within the Diocese of Brooklyn.

  • Social Distancing
  • Wearing Masks
  • Stay Home if Sick
  • Healthy Hygiene – Washing of the Hands

In addition, we ask that you also be mindful of the following:

  • Completing of the Daily Health Questionnaire
  • Daily Temperature Check

It is very important for you to keep your child(ren) home, if they are sick, or if you answer “yes” to any of the questions on the daily health questionnaire. This action will continue to keep everyone within the Catholic Academy/Parish School communities safe and healthy.

As we begin the month of October, one which is dedicated to the Rosary and our Blessed Mother, let us together pray for peace, health and safety:

God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation; grant we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.

Let us continue to pray for each other and for all of our children.


Thomas Chadzutko

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.

Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services

Principal Newsletter 10.1.20

Happy October! I hope that you and your family are enjoying the crisp autumn weather. October is always a memorable month. We have many exciting events ahead of us including Confirmation for the Class of 2021, Unity Day, All Saints Pageant, and a socially distanced day of Halloween activities!

A Parent Meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 5th at 6:30PM. The meeting should last for about 45 minutes. A Zoom link will be emailed on Monday morning. The meeting will be an overview of the past month. The meeting will be recorded and emailed if you are unable to attend.

Please note that TerraNova testing has moved to November for all Diocesan schools.

Protocols for when a Student is Ill During the School Day

Please additional clarification from the Diocese and Department of Health if a student becomes sick during the school day.

Any individual who exhibits COVID-like symptoms which potentially include, but are not limited to, the following during the school day must be immediately isolated and sent home according to the established protocols and according to the best judgment and discretion of the school nurse

  • Fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion/runny nose
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

Return to School

Any individual who is sent home ill is required to submit medical clearance signed by a licensed NYS Medical Professional clearly stating the individual can return to school, and either indicate a diagnosis, or that the illness was not COVID-related. There are no exceptions to this requirement. 

The medical clearance must be emailed to Ms. Hinkson at

If a COVID test is administered according to doctor recommendation, students must remain home while awaiting results, and a copy of the negative COVID test result should accompany the medical clearance letter.

Protocols for when Students are Kept Home from School Due to Illness

Any individual who calls out ill is required to submit medical clearance signed by a licensed NYS Medical Professional clearly stating the individual can return to school, and either indicate a diagnosis, or that the illness was not COVID-related. There are no exceptions to this requirement. 

The medical clearance must be emailed to Ms. Hinkson at

If a COVID test is administered according to doctor recommendation, students must remain home while awaiting results, and a copy of the negative COVID test result should accompany the medical clearance letter.

Wall of Fame

Wall of Fame will begin on Thursday, October 1st. Students in Grades 1-8 have the opportunity participate each month. Students that receive Wall of Fame will earn a dress-down pass and a special prize.

To earn Wall of Fame, students must:

  • Be prepared for class
  • No unexcused lateness
  • No unexcused absences
  • No missing homework assignments
  • Classwork is complete
  • No uniform violations
  • No detention/disciplinary issues

Reminders from DOH




As you have heard from Mayor DeBlasio there is a spike in COVID -19 cases within certain zip codes within NYC. A memo was sent from the NYC DOHMH to all schools located within those zip codes about compliance with all safety and health codes, compliance inspections and penalty for non-compliance.


 The eight ZIP codes are:

  • 11204 (Bensonhurst/Mapleton)
  • 11210 (Flatlands/Midwood)
  • 11219 (Borough Park)
  • 11223 (Gravesend/Homecrest)
  • 11229 (Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay)
  • 11230 (Midwood)
  • 11415 (Kew Gardens)
  • 11691 (Edgemere/Far Rockaway)


This is an opportunity for OLMCA to review the school’s safety and health protocols with the faculty, staff, students, and parents and to ensure that everyone understands and continues to follow the health and safety protocols and guidelines.


You can help keep your school community safe and healthy by following these important “Core Four” actions to prevent COVID-19 transmission: 

  • Stay home if sick: Monitor your health and stay home if you are sick except for getting essential medical care (including COVID-19 testing) and other essential needs.
  • Physical distancing: Stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not members of your household.
  • Wear a face covering: Protect those around you. Wearing a face covering helps reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially if you are sick and do not have symptoms. For more information about face coverings, visit and look for “FAQ About Face Coverings.”
  • Practice healthy hand hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; clean frequently touched surfaces regularly; avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; and cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hands.


Mask Reminder

Thank you for helping to make the first full week a tremendous success. We are so happy to have the students back in the building. While the new protocols have been an adjustment for all, we have been pleased with how quicky everyone is adapting.


I do need to call to your attention the importance of wearing proper face coverings. Face masks with vents are not permitted. Students that come to school wearing a mask with a vent will be provided a mask. Please see additional information from the CDC here:


Students that continuously violate the mask policy will not be permitted to attend classes.


Thank you in advance for your cooperation to this manner.



Mask Reminders


Students are required to wear face coverings when in the school building and maintain appropriate social/physical distancing. Students should bring an appropriate face covering from home. The school will have surgical masks available for students as needed.


Faculty and Staff shall be required to wear masks. Masks will be provided to all staff members by the individual school. Choosing to wear a mask of their own is equally acceptable. In addition, face shields will be provided upon request, but they are not to be used in lieu of a mask.


All visitors to the school for any reason will always be required to wear a face covering while on school grounds or in the school building.


All masks for faculty, staff, and students are subject to approval by the principal and Office of the Superintendent of Schools. Masks should be plain and free of any objectionable statements or support for any group, product, political view, and so on, other than the name of their Parish School or Catholic Academy.

Non-disposable mask should be washed daily.


NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at PK – Grade 12 schools during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (July 13, 2020 )recommends that if face coverings are to be worn by all individuals at all times, students should be allowed to remove their face coverings during meals, while outside in the fresh air, and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance.

CDC recognizes that wearing cloth face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a cloth face covering may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a cloth face covering or to reduce the risk of COVID-19

spreading if it is not possible to wear one.


Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:

  • Children younger than 2 years old.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious.
  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

Appropriate and consistent use of cloth face coverings may be challenging for some students, teachers, and staff, including:

  • Younger students, such as those in early elementary school.
  • Students, teachers, and staff with severe asthma or other breathing difficulties.
  • Students, teachers, and staff with special educational or healthcare needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, and sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.


Clear Face Coverings or Face Shields


Teachers and staff who may consider using clear face coverings or face shields include;

  • Those who interact with students or staff who are deaf or hard of hearing, per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Actexternal icon
  • Teachers of young students learning to read
  • Teachers of students in English as a second language classes
  • Teachers of students with disabilities

Face shields are not to be used for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness for source control.


Practical Recommendations


  • Include cloth face coverings on school supply lists and provide cloth face coverings as needed to students, teachers, staff, or visitors who do not have them available.


  • Include clear face coverings on school supply lists for teachers and staff who regularly interact with students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students learning to read, students with disabilities, and those who rely on lip reading as a part of learning, such as students who are English Language Learners.


  • Ensure that students and staff are aware of the correct use of cloth face coverings, including wearing cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth and securely around the face.



  • Ensure that students, teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize their hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before putting on a cloth face covering.


  • Ensure that students, teachers, and staff are aware that they should not touch their cloth face coverings while wearing them and, if they do, they should wash their hands before and after with soap and water or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).


  • Ensure teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before and after helping a student put on or adjust a cloth face covering.


  • Ensure that all students and staff are aware that cloth face coverings should not be worn if they are wet. A wet cloth face covering may make it difficult to breathe.


  • Ensure that all students and staff are aware that they should never share or swap cloth face coverings.



  • Students’ cloth face coverings should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping. Students’ face coverings may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.


  • Cloth face coverings should be stored in a space designated for each student that is separate from others when not being worn (e.g., in individually labeled containers or bags, personal lockers, or cubbies).


  • Cloth face coverings should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.


  • Students and schools should consider having additional cloth face coverings available for students, teachers, and staff in case a back-up cloth face covering is needed during the day and to facilitate every day washing of cloth face coverings.


Principal Newsletter 9/15/20

Thank you for your help in creating a smooth transition back to school. While I understand that we have new procedures for drop-off and pick-up, I kindly ask that you review the following:

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. Students must immediately vacate school premises. Students are not permitted to loiter or talk to their classmates, nor play and congregate on any part of the church property, i.e., steps, courtyard, back lawn, front lawn, garage area, rectory, etc. after dismissal.

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.


Parent volunteers are highly encouraged and very much needed. Since we have many events coming up, we want to make sure that you are Virtus trained. To volunteer at OLMCA and to attend field trips, parents must complete a free VIRTUS training and a volunteer orientation. In accordance with Diocesan policy, no parent will be allowed to volunteer for events or attend a field trip without VIRTUS training

We try to protect our children from harm. One of the greatest harms that can befall a child is a betrayal from adults who are supposed to watch over them. All adults working with students in our school are required to attend one VIRTUS workshop. This includes lunch duty and chaperoning trips! This workshop will inform and help the adults to protect our children from sexual abuse. Every parent, guardian or anyone who cares about children would benefit from the information in this workshop.

You need to register online at:

All classes are virtual! This is the best time to do it!

When you get to the website, click on “Registration” (on the left side of the homepage). Then, click on “Begin Registration Process”. Select “Brooklyn NY Diocese” on the drop down menu. Create a User ID and a password for yourself. Put in your personal info. Select our school (Our Lady of Mercy, Forest Hills) from the drop down menu. Check off your role (as many as apply). Answer the questions, then pick the session you will attend, and click “Complete Registration”.

If you have completed Virtus Training in the past, you do not have to do it again! If you have completed the training and have not sent a copy of your certificate to the office, please do so.

If you do not register online, you will not be credited for attending the session.

***You are not considered registered until you have confirmed your registration online.***

Please note:

  • This workshop is not for children. You may not bring them to the workshop.
  • You must be on time for the workshop and attend the entire session in order to receive credit for it.
  • If you are unable to attend the workshop here, you may register for one of the other workshops in our area by going to
  • This training is mandated by our diocese for all who work with children including lunch volunteers, chaperones, class mothers, etc. Please help us comply with the mandate.

How to Cope With Anxiety During The COVID-19 Pandemic

How to Cope With Anxiety During The COVID-19 Pandemic



Feelings of anxiety and fear are normal during a health pandemic. We are all learning daily that this illness coronavirus (COVID-19) has not only affected you and your family but others globally.


Watching television, and social media you may see people in a state of panic. Long lines at grocery stores, and observing empty shelves for our basic needs.


Individuals are willing to do whatever it takes to protect themselves and their families during this health crisis. There are ways that you can cope and ease your anxiety surrounding the coronavirus.

Practicing good self-care, is essential to decrease your level of anxiety, and can help manage your mental health. Taking steps such as eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and engaging in activities that are fun. Whether it be binge watching on Netflix or Dancing to your favorite song.


It is known that anxiety may arise during a pandemic. Social self-care can also be a way to cope with your anxiety to ensure that it does not get worse. Social self-care involves having a supportive network of people you can turn to, someone to talk to for guidance or uplifting.


Parents and children who continue facing high levels of anxiety and helplessness should consider seeking professional help. Professional help, can be seeking a licensed therapist or mental health professional that can help manage your emotions and fears.


It is important that families learn  and practice how to manage their anxiety to maintain a healthy lifestyle during these times of uncertainty.



Jackie Sekunda, School Counselor, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy