Dear Parents and Guardians of St. Mary School,
St. Mary School administration and faculty are committed to teach and model Gospel values to encourage students to live their lives as a reflection of Christ. The philosophy of the school strives to recognize and respect the dignity of each person and to offer a positive, Christ-centered, safe learning environment.
Our goal is to make your child’s educational experience both meaningful and productive. To accomplish that goal, every family must be informed of school policies and procedures. This handbook serves as the primary reference source for questions about the operation of St. Mary School.
We ask that you read the handbook thoroughly. Of course, should you still have questions after referring to this handbook, the staff and I are available to assist you.
Mrs. Judy Riegelnegg
The Vision for the Department for Catholic Schools is to promote and to sustain Catholic Schools of unparalleled quality, which integrate faith into every aspect of life and culture, producing graduates who continually strive for human and Christian perfection.
St. Mary School exists to develop in the student complete Christian formation, integrating their faith with life itself. The faculty strives to assist the student to become who God wishes him/her to be. It is our aim to teach Christian values, ideals, and purposes so that through these, the students will be able to commit themselves more fully to the service of God through their neighbor.
St. Mary School, in accordance with the philosophy that education exists to empower the individual, strives to create an academic environment based on commitment to faith, family, and community.
The commitment centers on an integration of spiritual growth with academic skill development. By teaching and modeling the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith, the faculty hopes to empower students to live their beliefs and create a better world in which to live. By providing students with a board academic curriculum designed for a changing technological world, the faculty also hopes to encourage students to become thinkers of logic and vision.
Through this commitment to spiritual truth and academic achievement, the students, parents, and faculty of St. Mary School form an alliance, dedicating themselves to faith, family, and community.
St. Mary School is dedicated to the intellectual and Christian development of each student. The faculty strives to assist the students to become who God wishes them to become by touching the mind, heart, and spirit of each child. It is our mission to teach Catholic values and encourage academic achievement, thus giving the students to better serve God and their neighbor.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredits St. Mary School. Middle States accreditation is an expression of confidence in St. Mary School mission, goals and objectives,3 performance and resources and validates publicly the excellence in education. The Middle States Evaluation is an ongoing process requiring the submission of updated plans every three years. After ten years the school is re-evaluated for continued accreditation. We were reaccredited in May, 2012.
Catechetics is the center of the Catholic school. A conscious effort is made to create a Christ-centered atmosphere by stressing Christian values and morality in the classroom as well as throughout the school. A conscious effort is made to integrate catechetics into every aspect of the school curriculum.
Our belief in Jesus has drawn us to this school community. Our beliefs are expressed in and strengthened by daily communal prayer. Students develop skills and a love for the Church’s daily worship. Prayer is an integral part of the day with morning, before meals, and ending day prayers.
An introduction each morning briefly sketches the saint or feast of the day or some aspect of the liturgical season. Attention is also given to the seasons of the year, to the anniversaries of historical figures and peacemakers of our time, and to the civil holidays that have significance for our children.
Faith experiences are an integral part of catechetics. Opportunities for Eucharistic Liturgies, Reconciliation, Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and other Catholic prayers, classroom prayer and service to others are to be included. Community is at the heart of Catholic education, not simply as a concept to be learned, but as a reality to be lived. Each grade integrates service projects for the parish, school, and local communities.
The principal, in conjunction with the Pastor and the Catechetical Administrator, work with the teachers in the religious development and sacramental preparation of the students. Parent Preparation Programs for Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation are held during the year. These are parish programs and involve all eligible children and parents of the parish.
St. Mary School admits students of any race or national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to all students formally accepted into the school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race or national or ethnic origin in the administration of our educational policies, admission policies, athletic or other school administered programs. Children who are not Catholic are expected to participate in religion classes and to attend all religious functions of the school/church.
A student entering kindergarten must be five years of age by September 1. Official certificates of birth and baptism, as well as the child’s social security number, are required at the time of registration. Those registering for grades 1-8 must fulfill the age requirement for the desired grade and acquire academic and health records from the previous school. Grade level and academic group determinations are made on the basis of school records. Immunization records must be complete before any child may enter school. The requirements are as follows:
- 2 dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine or history of disease
- 4 doses of diphtheria* (one dose must be on or after the fourth birthday)
- 3 doses of polio
- 2 doses of measles**
- 2 doses of mumps**
- 1 dose of rubella (German Measles)**
- 3 doses of hepatitis B
*Usually given as DTP or DTaP or DT orTd
**Usually given as MMR
Children Entering 7th Grade need the following:
- 1 dose of tetanus, diptheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap)
- 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV)
These requirements allow for medical reasons and religious beliefs. If your child is exempt from immunizations, he/she may be removed from school during an outbreak. Please contact the PA Dept of Heath for more information at 1877-PA HEALTH.
Regular attendance at school is a major factor in determining academic success. Students who are absent for more than thirty days during the academic year may be denied academic promotion.
Absences from school are defined as either Excused or Unexcused according to Guidelines from the Pennsylvania School Code. Excused absences include illness, quarantine, impassable roads, recognized religious holidays, and urgent reasons, such as a death in the family or a court appearance. The state guidelines also permit an Excused Absence for Educational Trips if a request is sent to the school prior to the dates of the trip. If no prior notice is received, the absence is classified as Unexcused.
Parents should call the school office each day that a child is absent from school. Give the child’s name, 5 homeroom teacher, and reason for absence. Unless the absence will be for an extended period of time, please make arrangements with another child to have assignments brought home.
Upon returning to school from an absence, a student must submit a written excuse to his/her homeroom teacher as required by state law. If this excuse is not submitted within three days following the absence, the absence will be classified as Unexcused.
A written excuse should be given to the teacher/principal for the following reasons:
- Following an absence
- Excused from gym class
- Permission for out of school appointments (child is expected to return when possible)
- Attending funerals
- Change of plans in leaving school (bus, ride or walk)
- Early Dismissal
- After school activities
According to the Pennsylvania School Code, Section 1332, “The absence of any pupil who remains out of school with or without his parent’s permission, and is not absent because of illness or for other urgent reasons, as defined in the School Code, shall be unexcused. Such absence will be recorded as ‘unlawful-unexcused’ for a pupil who is under the compulsory attendance age.” Section 1333, “Any such child who has been absent three days, or their equivalent, during the term of compulsory attendance, without lawful excuse…shall be given written notice. If, after such notice is given, attendance is again violated by the person, such person shall be liable… for referral to the magistrate.”
Parents and guardians of students who acquire excessive absences may be required to provide documentation from a physician indicating that the absences are relating to an existing medical condition.
All sport programs are the responsibility of the Pastor/Principal. The Athletic Director is accountable to the Pastor/Principal. Coaches are selected by the Athletic Director and approved by Pastor/Principal and serve on a volunteer basis. The Diocesan Guidelines for Elementary Catholic Schools Sports programs guides the policies. Parent interest and willingness to serve on the Athletic Association are vital to the continued success of the program, but all school associations are under the supervision of the principal.
The students purchase lunch credits. Any denomination can be applied to their lunch account for example, daily, weekly or monthly. Lunch credits are carried over from week to week until all money has been spent. Students can choose from the main entree, chef salad, grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Milk is available for purchase ala-carte. Checks are to be made payable to St. Mary’s School, enclosed in a sealed envelope with their name and room number. One check can be issued for a family, please indicate how the lunch credits are to be divided. Each student has their own lunch account. Payments can be submitted to the office or given to their homeroom teacher. All lunches are served with a vegetable, choice of fruit and a variety of flavored and unflavored milk. Please send a letter to the attention of Michelle Seng with any food allergies. Emergency contact information and Epi-pens are kept on file in the cafeteria. Lactose intolerant students will be offered lactose free milk.
The menu can change without notice during inclement weather and two-hour delays. No alternates are offered on two-hour delays. Please check the school web-site during inclement weather for menu changes. Please contact Michelle Seng, Food Service Director (412-684-1112) with any questions.
Parents are strongly urged to mark their children’s personal belongings with their names. Since children do not readily claim lost items, proper identification helps us to find the owner and save parents the cost of replacement. The lost-and-found area is located on the ground level in the stairwell by room 17. Parents and children are encouraged to look for lost clothing items there. Other lost items, such as glasses, watches and purses, if found, are to be turned in to the office. Items that are not claimed by the end of each school year are donated to charity.
Discipline is the key to good conduct and to respecting the rights of others and is essential to learning. Classroom standards and expectations for student behavior vary according to age and are determined by the individual teacher. If behavior warrants action, a student may be issued detention by any member of the faculty. Depending on the severity, this detention may be served either during recess or after school hours. If the detention is after school, parents are responsible for transportation. In the event of a serious act of misbehavior or repeated acts of misbehavior, a student may serve either an in-school or out-of-school suspension. If misconduct continues, a student may be asked to leave the school. These decisions rest with the administration and may be necessary for the benefit of the total program.
Parents/Guardians should make every effort to schedule appointments at a time that school is not in session. However, if a child must have an early dismissal, he/she must have a written note for the principal’s approval. For these dismissals, parents or an authorized adult must meet the child at the office and sign him/her out at the authorized time. Children who arrive later than 10:30 am will be marked absent in the morning. Children who leave school before 12:00 pm will be marked absent for the afternoon. Stipulations:
- Early dismissal is permitted when the student has a note written by a parent/guardian explaining the reason for the request.
- All students must present a note to the homeroom teacher who will submit it to the office.
- The parent/guardian must come to the office to sign out the child.
- Students who are dismissed early are responsible for making up any work that will be missed.
Emergency Cards: At the beginning of each school year, parents are required to complete a Student Emergency Card. It is imperative that the school be able to reach you to inform you of illness or an emergency situation. It is also important to list the names of others who can be contacted should you be unavailable. Please keep the card updated by notifying the office.
Emergency Closings and Delays: If inclement weather or some other emergency requires that the school be delayed or closed, this information will be announced on KDKA, WTAE, and WPXI television stations. Because of the number of public districts represented in our school, it is important that you listen for an announcement that identifies St. Mary School, Glenshaw. PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE SCHOOL OR RECTORY FOR THIS INFORMATION.
Busing is the responsibility of your local school district; therefore you must listen to their announcement and follow their directives for cancellations and delays. If your district cancels and we do not, there will be no bus service provided. Likewise, if we are on a two- hour delay and your district is running on a regular schedule, your child will be bused at the regular time. Please note that supervision of the classrooms may not be available when this occurs.
Emergency Dismissals: In the event that we would be required to dismiss school early, that information will be announced on the same stations noted above. Children will be dismissed as parents/guardians are notified and transportation is arranged.
St. Mary School offers an after school program for parents who need child care. The afternoon extended days are available from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm for a fee. This service is available on a monthly basis (full time or part time). Parents should contact the school office for the fee schedule and contact person if they plan to use the service.
Every class is permitted two field trips during the year. Each student must have a signed permission slip before he/she is permitted to participate. Transportation, in accordance with diocesan directives, is provided by bus, and a fee is charged to cover costs.
The Diocesan policy for funding elementary Catholic schools calls for each school to have fundraising activities to generate a minimum of 10% of their total operating budget. This enables us to keep tuition rates at 60% of the total cost. School parents are expected to participate in these fundraising activities to the best of their ability through monetary donations, purchases and/or volunteer work. Click here for more information about our program and how it works.
A reasonable amount of homework, according to grade level, is of great educational value and so is assigned every day. Assignments are not always written. Study and memory work are frequently assigned. Homework is assigned on a regular basis to:
- Enrich school experiences
- Provide practice and review
- Develop good study habits
- Teach responsibility
- Foster originality
Parents can assist students with home assignments in the following ways:
- Provide a quiet spot away from the television, telephone, or other distracting elements
- Check to see what was accomplished during the designated study time regarding completeness, neatness, and correctness
- Be willing to listen to reading, spelling, and math facts and to explain procedures, but never do the assignment
- Consult the teacher if the child uses the excuse “no homework” too often
If for some reason the child cannot complete an assignment, the parent should inform the teacher by written note stating the reason. Arrangements should be made as soon as possible to make up incomplete assignments. The Diocese recommends the following time schedule for home study:
- Primary (levels 1-3) 10-30 minutes
- Intermediate (levels 4-5) 40-50 minutes
- Upper Elementary (levels 6-8) 60-90 minutes
In case of a student’s absence, requests for homework should be made before 2:00 pm. Failure to return homework assignments on the day they are due will affect the student’s overall grade.
The school library is open from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm Monday through Friday. Lost or damaged books must be paid for.
If your child is missing an article, the lost and found box is located on the lower level of the school by room 17.
The PTG sponsors parties for special occasions during the school year. No other instructional time should be used for these events without the principal’s permission. In the event that a parent/guardian wants to send in a birthday treat for the class, a note should be sent to the homeroom teacher the day before the treat will be sent to school. Please keep the treats simple.
Please do not send party invitations to school to be distributed for your child’s birthday. This may cause hurt feelings among the students who are not invited. The only exception to this is if every boy or every girl or all students in your child’s room are invited.
If the principal is not present in the school building, two teachers and the secretary are designated to handle any emergency or situation that arises concerning the children.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act gives full rights to each parent, unless the school has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, States’ statute or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation or custody that specifically revokes these rights. Such an order is to be on file in the school and those persons responsible for the child(ren) are to be informed of the circumstances. Every effort is made to keep the non-custodial parent appraised of the progress of the child(ren) through reports, report cards and parent/teacher conferences.
Scholarship monies are available for eligible families. The Private School Aid Service (PSAS) application is used. These applications are assessed by an independent evaluator. This one application is used for Scholastic Opportunities Scholarships and the Bishop’s Education Fund and must be filed by March 15th. Application forms are available in the school’s office.
Eligible families may also apply for grants from the school’s St. John Neumann Tuition Assistance Fund. Applications must be requested from the school office and returned by April 15th.
Please notify the school office if there is a change of address, phone numbers, or changes in the emergency numbers where you can be reached during the day in case of accident or illness. Also please inform the office if there is any known situation affecting your child’s physical or mental well-being so that we may work together in the best interest of your child.
Assemblies: Assemblies are held for the children throughout the school year. The assemblies are planned in conjunction with the principal, the faculty, or the PTG with a focus on education.
Altar Servers: Students in grades 5 through 8 have the privilege of serving on the altar. Students who choose to participate are expected to fulfill their assigned responsibilities and be on time for serving.
Athletic Program: The athletic program is part of the educational program offered by St. Mary School. Therefore, the code of conduct established for the students applies to both participants and spectators at athletic events. Before a student may practice for participation in any sport, a permission form must be signed by the parent/guardian and physician each year indicating that the student may participate. Permission forms and physical forms are distributed to the parents for the student’s participation in basketball, football, cross country, cheerleading, soccer, and volleyball. All student athletes are expected to maintain at least a C average in every subject and to follow the school’s discipline code.
Band: Band instruction is available at the school for a fee for interested students in grades 4 through 8. The Diocesan Program determines the monthly fee. The instruments are rented with the option to buy. Small group lessons are provided one period a week. A meeting is held each year to provide more information to interested students and their parents. The band students provide both a Christmas and spring concert for the student body.
Basketball, Football, Cross Country, Cheerleading, Soccer and Volleyball: Basketball is offered to all students in grades 3 through 8, with separate boys’ and girls’ developmental, junior varsity and varsity teams. Football is offered to boys in grades 3 through 8. Cross Country is open to all students in grades 5 through 8. Cheerleading is open to all girls in grades 4 through 8. Soccer is open to all students in grades 3 through 8. Volleyball is open to girls in grades 5 through 8. Fundraising for all teams is provided through the concerted efforts of the athletes’ parents and the Athletic Association of St. Mary School.
Children’s Music Ministry: Both boys and girls have the opportunity to join the Children’s Choir or Handbell Choir. Students in these groups share their talents at our weekly school liturgies and other events throughout the year.
Drama: Drama is another activity that fosters the fine arts program of the school. A fee is required for participation. Students provide a play for the student body twice a year, usually at Christmas and in the spring.
Forensics: A program that is offered to students in grades 5 through 8 is Forensics. The art of public speaking is one in which students acquire greater self-confidence and poise. Students compete in forensics meets several times throughout the year.
Scouts: Students can be active participants in the scouting program sponsored by the school. The activities provided instill within the students a strong sense of volunteerism to the community.
Student Council: The organizational goal as the Student Council is to foster school spirit through student planning and implementation of school activities. They also raise money for charitable causes such as the Chimbote missions and the local food bank. Students in grades 6 and 7 must write an essay and receive endorsement from four teachers in order to be eligible for Student Council. After the students present their speeches to the middle school students, elections are held for the offices of president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Representatives from each grade are also selected by the homerooms.
The supplies needed by the students vary at each grade level and are determined by the needs of the subject. The supply list is provided to each family at the end of each school year. Teachers will inform students of additional needs during the first week of school. You can find a listing for each grade level here.
Children are not permitted to use the telephone, including cell phones, except for emergencies. If an absolute need emerges, the office personnel will make the phone call home.
St. Mary School participates in Pennsylvania’s Act 195/90 whereby the state purchases textbooks and instructional materials of non-religious items. A parent form with permission to have their child use these books is kept on file in the school office. All books are to be covered at all times.
Students are responsible for the condition of the books given to them at the beginning of the year. Students will be required to pay for the book if it is damaged or lost. Books taken to and from school are to be placed in a book bag.
It is important that we know the ordinary means by which each child arrives and departs daily. A note is to be sent when a change is necessary. For reasons of safety and insurance, each child is to ride his/her assigned bus.
Bus: Students who live more than a 1.5 mile radius from St. Mary School are eligible to be bused to the school. Those who live along a route that has been declared “hazardous” are also eligible for busing. The Board of Education Transportation Division determines “hazardous route” claims. The student transportation policies and procedures of the local educational agencies responsible for busing students are applicable to all students in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Students are expected to maintain appropriate behavior while in route on the bus. If the bus driver/company recommends that a student be removed from the bus, the principal will support it. This will result in the student losing bus privileges. The student/parent will then be responsible to make other arrangements for transportation.
Students are expected to remain in their seats at all times. This insures their safety and the safety of others. If improper conduct occurs, the driver prepares a report which is sent home to alert the parents to the problem. If the behavior persists, the bus company has the right to ask the school district to suspend the student’s privilege of riding the bus, temporarily or permanently. The following bus rules are to be obeyed:
- Remain seated at all times until the correct stop has been reached
- If the driver has assigned seats, these seat assignments are to be honored
- Keep head, hands and feet inside the bus
- In vehicles where seat belts are available, use them properly
- Do not ask to ride a bus other than the one to which you have been assigned or ask the driver to let you off at another stop; Only the Department of Transportation can authorize such changes
- Observe the same conduct as in the classroom; Talking is permitted, but loud talking, etc. may distract the driver, prevent students from hearing instructions, or prevent the driver from hearing signals from emergency vehicles
- Be courteous; use no profane language
- Do not eat, drink, or chew gum on the bus
- Keep the bus clean
- Cooperate with the driver
- Do not put anything out the window of the bus
- Do not be destructive
- The driver is in charge; Any directives of the bus driver in addition to the above are to be followed
Car Riders: At dismissal students riding cars are dismissed shortly before the bus riders. Those picking children up by car should get in the pick-up lane. Do not leave your car unattended in the pick-up lane as this creates an unsafe condition.
When a student transfers to another school, parents should notify the school office as soon as possible. A Request for a Transfer of Records should be obtained from the new school and forwarded to the school office. Academic records will not be forwarded until all financial obligations to the school have been met.
Parents who register a student in the school enter into a contractual obligation with the school. This obligation may be fulfilled in several ways, but full payment is due by the end of November. Parents are reminded that the operational budget of the school is dependent on timely fulfillment of this obligation. Parents whose tuition is in arrears will receive a notice indicating the past due amount. Registration for the next school year and transfers of academic records will not be processed if there is an outstanding balance. It is diocesan policy that no student be readmitted to a new school year if there is an outstanding tuition from the previous year. In addition to tuition, each family is assessed a certain amount to meet their responsibility of raising 10% of the total cost of the school through fundraising. Again, this assessment fee is due by the end of February. Catholic non-parishioners who belong to a diocesan Catholic church must submit a Pastor Verification Form to the school office in order to receive the affiliated rate.
The help of volunteers is always needed in the school and at school-sponsored events. Please consider using some of your time and talent to help enhance our quality school. The possibilities are endless. At St. Mary School parents play an integral role in the education of their children Through the Parent Teacher Guild, athletics, fundraising activities, homeroom parents, playground/lunchroom monitors and field trip Chaperones. This partnership is invaluable to the success of our school. Please read about Protecting God’s Children, if you do NOT have this you may NOT volunteer in our school.
St. Mary School offers a strong traditional curriculum. In the “Continuous Growth Program” of the diocese, students advance through a defined curriculum according to their individual needs and abilities. In addition to meeting all the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the curriculum gives special attention to the integration of Gospel values.
Curriculum guide lines for all subjects are utilized by the Catholic elementary schools and provided through the Department of Catholic Schools. The guidelines endeavor to give continuity to the teaching/learning process and are geared to meet the individual needs of students and to guide the teaching/learning process.
Catechetics/Religious Formation: The Catholic Church recognizes parents/guardians as the primary educators of their children. The role of the parish school is to supplement and complement the role of the parent. In the school, a formal catechetical program is taught daily. Goals and objectives are constant and consistent to enhance the spiritual formation and moral development of all students. A genuine, personal relationship with God and the response of worship and service are ultimate goals of the religious instruction. Liturgical and personal prayer are outcomes of the guidance and religious instruction provided. Opportunities for communal, as well as personal prayer are a daily priority. Careful planning and programming ensure a broad and deep understanding of authentic Church Doctrine. A variety of materials and resources are used to foster both spiritual growth and moral development.
Language Arts: The philosophy inherent in the Language Arts curriculum is one of continuous growth which recognizes and nurtures the God-given potential and learning style of the individual. Language as communication enables one to become more perceptive through listening, observing and feeling. Language, as a skill, provides one with the important tools to speak fluently, to read and comprehend, to compose, to write legibly and to spell correctly. The continuous development of vocabulary is also an important phase of skill development.
Students in grades K-5 center on an integrated approach to language arts, developing the necessary skills essential for success, including phonetics. Students in grades 6-8 learn an appreciation of literature with skillful authors who vicariously open new worlds of adventure. Having developed a love of good literature, the aesthetic element overflows into the students’ personal, oral and written expression.
Mathematics: The mathematics curriculum is designed to help students meet the mathematical needs of the present and future, to provide practice in logical reasoning, and to develop the ability to find patterns and recognize structure in mathematics. Basic facts are taught in the lower grades, and concepts are taught sequentially. In the primary grades, students are introduced to many ideas that lay the foundation to an understanding of algebra. Algebraic topics are taught at all levels. When students reach the middle school, teachers promote problem-solving skills and an exploratory inquisitiveness to assure critical thinking skills. A full year of algebra is taught in the eighth grade.
Social Studies: The Social Studies curriculum begins in kindergarten with an introduction to community helpers. It progresses in the primary grades to the study of family and friends, and later encompasses a more in-depth study of the community. Beginning in fourth grade, the curriculum focuses on the study of the United States land regions and Pennsylvania history. At the fifth grade level, both United States history through the Civil War and a study of the United States geographical regions are studies. Sixth grade students study World Cultures and World Geography with an emphasis on the countries of the Eastern Hemisphere. Seventh grade studies United States history to the Reconstruction and eighth grade studies United States history beginning with the Reconstruction to the modern day. Map and geography skills are taught at all levels. Social Studies prepares students for the future by instilling the importance of a value-oriented life perspective.
Spanish: Language students learn the sounds and syntax of the language and work toward proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. A variety of materials and methods are used for instruction in our Spanish program. Most students qualify for year two of Spanish in high school.
Science: The science curriculum focuses on an inquiry-based process and fosters collaborative learning. Science education strengthens life skills such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, team cooperation, use of technology, and the value of life-long learning. Students become scientists as they learn to understand and use the scientific method to organize ways to solve problems, and to seek the answers to the wonders of God’s world.
The middle school students study the basics of earth, physical, and life science and participate in hands-on lab experiences. In addition, they present a researched project each year.
Physical Education: Physical education is a vital component of the curriculum. Recognizing the value of teaching students to establish healthy active lives and develop skills needed for present and future leisure, the Fit for Life curriculum guidelines have been adopted.
The Fit for Life Curriculum assists students in identifying their physical strengths and weaknesses and encourages students to build on their strengths to achieve personal goals. Students learn to follow rules and to respect the rights of others through games and physical activity. Learning to channel energies constructively helps students perform successfully in life.
Health: The Health for Success curriculum places holistic emphasis on wellness, fitness, behaviors, and skills for healthy, active living. Education and health for children are inextricably intertwined. Students then have the benefit of sustained learning for reducing health-risk behaviors and enhancing health promoting behaviors.
Fine Arts: The Fine Arts program is vital to all students. Students have the opportunity to deepen their awareness of God’s gift of creation and to respond creatively to the beauty and goodness of the world through music, art and drama, Instruction in the Arts contributes to the development of the whole person; promotes individual expression; allows experimentation with diverse materials and elements; enables exploration and appreciation of the works of other students, major artists and musicians; develops an awareness and sensitivity toward the environment and finally promotes a deeper understanding of heritage and culture.
The Fine Arts curriculum provides a holistic approach to education that incorporates many aspects of the core curriculum and can be integrated into the total educational experience.
Computer: Computer instruction is essential in today’s educational process. This instruction includes computer awareness and computer literacy. When this instruction and awareness are mastered, the computer becomes a basic tool for teaching logical thinking and problem-solving, creative writing, communication, the handling of information, and many other aspects of the curriculum.
The teacher develops an awareness of values such as relationships, collaboration, ethical conduct, responsibility and creative expression.
The following services are offered through the Intermediate Unit:
Act 89 Services: Intermediate Unit personnel work with and provide support to students in remedial math and reading. These teachers, in collaboration with the classroom teacher, identify educational needs and design educational interventions and strategies to help a child succeed.
Counseling: A certified counselor provides individual and small group counseling sessions to children in grades K-8. Children are referred by parents, principal, teachers and through self-referral. Individual counseling requires parent permission.
Student Assistance Program: The Student Assistance Program (E-SAP) is mandated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Act 211 of 1990. It is a comprehensive program of prevention, intervention, and support for students in grades K-12. The members of the Team are the principal and faculty members of the school who have received special training through Approved Agencies. The program exists in order to promote the growth and development of the child. The team members work with students who are experiencing behavior difficulties which impact their social, emotional, and educational progress. Referrals for the program are made by faculty and/or parents. Once a referral has been received by the Team, classroom teachers are asked to complete a form which helps identify the behaviors. The Team then makes informed assumptions as to what is needed to help the student, conveys this information to classroom teachers, parents/guardians and evaluates the results. If necessary, after consultation with parents, appropriate referrals are made to outside agencies. Team members must maintain all information regarding students and their families under safeguard of privacy and confidentiality. Access is limited to those who have a legitimate educational interest.
All newsletters are posted online and emailed to each family. They can be sent home in a hard copy upon request. Any information or fliers, etc. that a parent may want to distribute must be submitted by Tuesday at 8:30 am in WORD format to both the principal and secretary.
Any questions concerning your child should be directed to the teacher. Please call the school office and the teacher will be notified to contact you. Positive communication between teacher and parent is vital to our total educational program. Parents are asked not to call teachers at their homes. Parents are informed of the student’s progress and other school information as follows:
- Interim Reports
- Quarterly report cards
- Parent/student/teacher conferences
- Conferences on request
- Conduct referrals
If you wish to set up a conference with the principal or a teacher, you should either send in a note or call the school to schedule an appointment.
Teachers should not be called at home. If a teacher needs to be contacted, please call the school office and leave a message for the teacher. The message will then be forwarded to them. In the case of an emergency or need, you will be contacted. If you cannot be reached, we will use the numbers provided on the emergency card.
Introduction: St. Mary School administration and faculty are committed to teach and model Gospel values to encourage students to live their lives as a reflection of Christ. The philosophy of the school strives to recognize and respect the dignity of each person and to offer a positive, Christ-centered, safe learning environment based on the Social Teachings of the Church. Discipline is considered an element of moral guidance not as a form of punishment.
Every teacher and staff member shares the responsibility to model appropriate behavior and to support the structure necessary for learning self-discipline. Students are encouraged to assume responsibility for their actions, develop self-control, and accept responsibility and consequences for inappropriate behavior.
A Christ-centered school environment fosters the following behaviors:
- Recognizing and fostering the uniqueness and dignity of each individual
- Nurturing respect in all relationships involving school and parish community
- Developing a sense of rights and responsibilities and commitment to the entire school and parish community
Social skills, both interpersonal and intrapersonal, are taught, modeled, practiced, and infused into the daily life and experience of the school family.
Guiding Principles: The following seven principles are the basis of Catholic Social Teachings and are the principles that guide us in all of our interactions.
- We believe in the life and dignity of the human person; Each person is sacred
- We believe we are called to family, community, and participation; It is our duty to support each other by our actions
- We believe that we have rights and responsibilities; Every person has the fundamental right to life and responsibility to and for one another
- We believe that we have an obligation to the poor and vulnerable; We are called to put the rights of others before our own
- We believe that we are called to care for God’s creation; We are all stewards of the earth
- We believe that solidarity is our call; We are one family regardless of our differences
- We believe that workers have rights and that work has dignity; Work is a form of participating in God’s creation
Expectations: As a matter of safety, students are expected to behave in the following manner:
- To walk quietly through the halls
- To use proper language at all times
- To follow the dress code for school days and dress up/down days
- To respect school property and the property of other students
- To have a note from their parent/guardian if they change their mode of school transportation
In the Classroom:
- To follow the classroom rules of each teacher
- To be responsible for submitting homework on time and making up assignments missed within a reasonable amount of time
- To have a respectful attitude toward teachers and one another
- To be responsible for appropriate supplies
- To be honest in all communications
- To use computers and school equipment appropriately
- Not to chew gum
- Not to remain in or enter a classroom at any time without a teacher or designated adult present
- Not to re-enter the building unless for an emergency
- To display good sportsmanship and exercise self-control
- To play in assigned areas only
- To stay on school grounds at all times
- To obey the directives of playground monitors, courteously and promptly.
- To remain seated until finished eating and the “recess” bell rings
- To clean up, pick up all papers, scraps of food, etc., and dispose of them properly
- To obey cafeteria supervisors at all times
- To follow dismissal procedures
- To walk to assigned place to wait until bus or car ride arrives
- At athletic events and assemblies
- To practice good sportsmanship as spectators and participants
- To show respect towards coaches, referees, and visiting teams
- To maintain an appropriate silence during special performances
- To behave responsibly off school property (If the principal is made aware of misconduct off school property of a child recognized to be a student in St. Mary School, parents may be contacted; however, it is important to note that the school is not responsible for students’ actions that occur off school property)
- The principal will forward disciplinary notices given by public school bus drivers to parents to support the disciplinary report of the bus driver
The discipline code spells out the regulations of the school and the manner in which these will be enforced. It will also indicate whether the infractions are punishable by admonition, detention, suspension, expulsion or some other penalty. All disciplinary action will be documented and kept on file for the year.
As often as possible, every attempt will be made to eliminate or diffuse a potentially negative situation. Attempting to change negative situations could eliminate the need for disciplinary action.
Students must take seriously their obligation to develop lifelong habits of self-control and concern for the well-being of others. Home and school will work together to help students to learn and live the qualities of responsible behavior. A student who chooses to disrupt the good order of the school or to violate a policy or regulation will have to accept the consequences of these irresponsible choices. Appropriate discipline is within the discretion of the teacher and/or the principal. Accountability for uncooperative or disruptive unsafe behavior will take the following forms:
- Actions which violate the law, threaten or cause harm to other students or staff members, disrupt or impede the welfare and progress of the school community, or bring discredit to the school will not be tolerated
- If a student persists in violating basic obligations of courtesy, consideration, respect, cooperation, or safety, a Principal/Teacher/Parent/Student conference will be scheduled
- All subsequent discipline, counseling, consultation and corrective action plans will be reviewed as positive home-school efforts to help the student improve behavior
- If these cooperative efforts of parents and school staff prove ineffective, the student will be asked to leave the school
- When detention is scheduled, parents will be notified; Students will be dismissed from detention to a parent or responsible adult
- Most suspensions will be held in school; The student will work alone the full day under the supervision of the principal
- Expulsion is viewed as a radical action at which point the school is saying that the student’s interest would be better served in another environment, or that the student’s behavior is a serious threat to the school community or both
- In order to provide a school wide discipline plan, consequences will be given in accordance to the Disciplinary Referral Form
- The following list, which is not intended to be exhaustive, will be handled by the classroom teacher or by the administration if necessary:
- Disregard of specific classroom rules
- Disrespecting the rights and property of others
- Disruption of learning
- Use of profane language and gestures
- Dress code violations
- Gum chewing
- Major violations will be handled by the administration with the assistance of the pastor and the teacher; Major violations will require a meeting with the parent/guardian at which time an appropriate consequence will be determined
- Major violations include but are not limited to:
- Vandalism or theft regarding any school/personal property. (Parents are liable for damages)
- Possession of matches, lighters, alcohol, drugs, weapons, obscene pictures/magazines
- Serious injury to another
- Blatant defiance of an authority figure (faculty member or other duly appointed adult)
Consequences: Please be aware that any disrespect, destructive act, or inappropriate behavior will be dealt with accordingly. If an individual student does not meet his/her personal responsibility for good conduct, the school may discipline the student.
The severity or repetitive nature of non-compliance to the above expectations will determine the appropriate consequences. To remediate unacceptable behavior, the following actions may be taken:
- Teacher/student conference to develop a plan for remediation
- Notification to parents
- Administrative referral
- Referral to the E-SAP Team
- School service required
- Loss of recess
- Denial of participation in school activities, including sports
- School probation
The following behaviors will result in immediate administrative referrals and can result in referrals to law enforcement or other government agencies:
SUBSTANCE ABUSE: St. Mary School is a drug free, alcohol free school. The possession, use, sale, distribution, and/or intent of distribution of any illegal or controlled mood-altering medication, chemical and/or alcoholic substance are strictly forbidden on school property. Violation of this policy will result in immediate expulsion from St. Mary School, notification of municipal authorities, and referral of student(s) to the appropriate drug and/or alcohol agency.
TOBACCO/SMOKING: St. Mary School is a smoke free building. Act 1988-168 prohibits the use of tobacco on school property, including school buses. The possession and/or use of tobacco by any student will result in an immediate five-day in-school suspension.
WEAPONS: Weapons will not be brought onto school property, including, but not limited to, the school building, outdoor areas, playground, outdoor facilities, school buses and/or to any school related activities/events. A weapon shall include but not be limited to any type of knife, cutting instrument, firearms, laser light pens, or any other tool, instrument, or implement capable of inflicting bodily injury. A person in possession of a weapon also violates state criminal statutes. Violations of this policy will result in immediate expulsion from St. Mary School and notification of municipal authorities.
ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT: iPods, iPads, cell phones, laser pointers, cameras, laptops, and any other computerized equipment are not permitted to be brought to school.
Uniform codes are established to promote the academic atmosphere of school and to lessen the distraction of students. The spirit of our Dress Code promotes modesty and neatness as well. Students in violation of the Dress Code will receive written warnings to be signed by the parent/guardian. Three violations will result in a lunch detention.
- Solid navy blue or khaki jumper or skirt, pleated or A-lined preferred for grades 6-8 no shorter than 4” above the knee
- Solid navy blue or khaki dress pants/cords
- Solid navy blue or khaki Bermuda/walking shorts – (seasonal only – dates determined by the Principal)
- Solid navy blue sweat suits – (for kindergarten only)
- Solid white, navy blue, or light blue blouses, oxford shirt, or polo shirt – must have a collar
- Solid white or navy blue turtlenecks
- Solid white or blue ribbed turtleneck sweaters
- Solid navy blue or khaki dress pants/cords – no cargo pants permitted
- Solid navy blue or khaki walking shorts – (seasonal only – (dates determined by the Principal)
- Solid navy blue sweat suits – (for kindergarten only)
- Solid White, navy blue, or light blue oxford shirt, or polo shirt – must have a collar
- Solid White or navy blue turtlenecks
- Black or brown belt – for grades 6-8 – Worn on Liturgy Days
- Sturdy dark-colored school shoes with heels not exceeding 2”
- (No “athletic looking” are permitted)
- Uggs and Timberline boots –worn during winter season only
- Navy blue or white socks, knee socks, nylons or tights
- Tennis shoes may be worn with school shorts, skorts, or jeans only
- Kindergartners may wear tennis shoes all year round
Optional Clothing Items:
- Solid navy blue or white sweater – cardigan, crew neck, V-neck, or sleeveless vest only
- Solid navy blue or white school sweat shirt
- (The only acceptable logo: “St. Mary School”)
Dress For Special Occasions:
Every Friday and holy day is designated as “dress uniform” days because of attendance at the Holy Mass. The uniform for these days is as follows:
- Uniform jumper or skirt, blouse or oxford shirt, and school shoes
- Uniform slacks may be worn when the temperature falls below 32 degrees
- Solid white socks must be ABOVE the ankle
- Solid-colored Oxford shirt with tie, dress pants, and school shoes
Physical Education Dress Code:
- St. Mary logo t-shirt
- Athletic Association t-shirt
- Plain white or blue t-shirt
- Navy or black shorts
- Navy or black sweatpants
- Clean athletic shoes
Dress Down Days:
- Jeans, cargo pants/shorts, capris
- Appropriate shirt or sweatshirt
- Tennis shoes
- Condor attire is always permitted to be worn on dress down days
Miscellaneous Dress Code Reminders:
- On occasion there may be exceptions to the dress code as indicated above. However, the following items are to be strictly adhered to:
- Shirts/blouses of any style MUST always be tucked in
- Low, scooped necklines, halter-tops and thin-strapped tops are not permitted
- Clogs, sandals, slides, or flip-flops are not allowed
- Jogging/sweat suits are not acceptable (except for kindergarten)
- Excessive jewelry and large dangling earrings are not permitted
- Simple hair accessories are acceptable
- No excessive makeup
- Clear nail polish only may be worn
- Inappropriate printing or advertisements on t-shirts and sweatshirts is unacceptable
- Jean shorts are never permitted
- No hip huggers
- Socks must be visible above the shoes, especially the tennis shoes
- Hair must be kept neat and trim; Hair below the shirt collar is considered too long for boys
- Basketball shorts are not acceptable attire at any time
- Cargo pants are acceptable on Dress Down days only
*Schoolbelles, a uniform company located at 4721 McKnight Rd B-125, Pittsburgh, PA 15237, is an endorsed company, which provides all acceptable clothing items for our school. They are also on our list of vendors on the weekly Scrip form found here. You can also order online at www.Schoolbelles.com. Our school number is 2171.
Teachers are to encourage students to meet their responsibilities enumerated in school handbook:
- Be accountable for their actions at all times
- Respect the rights of others, including the right to learn in an environment that is orderly and disciplined
- Recognize that all administrators, teachers and monitors assume the authority of parent/guardians to all student during school hours and at all school functions
- Attend school regularly and punctually
- Maintain habits of neatness and personal cleanliness; adhere to the dress code
- Be prompt, thorough and neat in the completion of class work and homework
- Obey all school regulations
- Respect personal property, school property, and the property of others
- While attending school
- While arriving at or departing from school
- While on school property for any reason
- While riding school buses or vans
- While attending any school related functions, e.g. sports events, field trips, assemblies, skating parties, church activities, community programs, Brownies/Girl Scouts, after school practices, etc.
The safety of any student on school property after school hours is the responsibility of the adult leader. Order within any educational setting permits learning to progress, as it should. A disciplined person and a disciplined atmosphere promotes:
- Individual and group learning
- Development of self control
- Expected individual and group social behavior
- Self respect and respect of others
- Making right choices and accepting consequences of choices
- Good listening
- Recognizes one’s rights and the rights of others
- Pride in self and in one’s work
- The implementation of Christian principles of community, charity, kindness, justice, good sportsmanship, etc.
- An emphasis on doing one’s best
St. Mary School realizes that the foundation for all of the above is taught and caught, in the home. With this in mind the student is expected to display proper behavior at all times.
This guideline is established to ensure understanding and application of St. Mary School Internet Use Policy. St. Mary School reserves the right to amend these guidelines at any time. It is understood that the administration of St. Mary School will inform parents/guardians of any changes made in these Guidelines via the school’s newsletter. Students’ parents and/or guardians are required to review these guidelines with their child(ren). This guideline includes, but is not limited to, the following areas:
- Information and news from a wide variety of sources and research institutions
- Public domain and shareware software of all types
- Discussion groups
- Access to any educational institutions and libraries
- Be polite when sending written messages to others
- Appropriate language is expected in all messages
- Anything pertaining to illegal activity is expressly forbidden
- Do not reveal access information, personal or otherwise
- Do not disrupt others’ use of the internet access
- All users should remember that deleted materials can be retrieved
Unacceptable Actions, which are not inclusive:
- Placing unlawful information on the Internet
- Using the Internet for non-school related activities
- Sending messages that are likely to result in loss of the recipients work or systems
- Using the Internet for commercial purposes
- Using the Internet for political lobbying that does not support the expressed philosophy and tenets of the Catholic Church
- Sending or receiving copyrighted material without permission.
- Using Internet access to send or retrieve pornographic material, inappropriate file text, files dangerous to the integrity of the system, violent or threatening material or messages
- Circumventing security measures on school or remote computers or networks
- Falsifying one’s identity
Illness: It is often difficult to decide if your child should stay home from school when complaining of illness. An objective sign is an elevated temperature. It is recommended that a child be kept home from school until the temperature has remained normal (below 100°) for 24 hours. If a child has a temperature of 100° or more, skin rash, diarrhea/vomiting, strep throat, or evidence of lice, the child will be sent home. Parents are asked to use discretion in sending their children to school if they display any of these symptoms. Please inform the school office if your child becomes sick with a contagious illness. Notes will be sent home with the other children to warn parents of contact and incubation of communicable diseases.
Accident and Injury: In the case of accident or illness at school, parents are contacted to take the child home, to the doctor, or hospital. It is important for your child’s safety and comfort, as well as the effective operation of the office, that emergency information needed to locate parents is available for each child and that this information is kept up-to-date by parents. Parents of children who have any type of physical disorder should contact the principal, school nurse, or teachers to make them aware of the problem. All cases of head lice should be reported immediately.
Medication: Whenever possible, medicine is to be given at home, and parents are to request the physician to adjust the schedule for administration so that it can be given before and after school hours. If medicine must be administered at school, the following guidelines apply:
- The medication must be delivered to the school by a responsible adult along with a physician’s written request for distribution by school personnel
- Medication brought to school must be in a container labeled by a pharmacist or doctor
- The label must include the student’s name, the name of the physician, date of prescription, dosage, and frequency of administration
- Parents must sign an Indemnity Agreement which has been prepared by the Legal Office and distributed through the school office
Fire Drills: Fire drills are held monthly. Exit directions, which are posted in prominent places in each room, are to be followed. No one (teacher, student or other personnel) may remain in the building during fire drills. When the students hear the bell, they are to leave the room quickly and quietly in single file. Students remain outside until summoned back to class. Students are to remain in absolute silence during all fire drills. Misconduct of any nature is to be reported to the principal.
Weather Emergency Drills: Weather emergency drills are practiced twice a year. Teachers follow the policy governing weather emergencies for student safety. Students must maintain silence at all times during a weather emergency drill.
Visitors: For security reasons, anyone entering t. Mary School is to report to the office immediately regardless of the purpose of the visit. For the safety of all students, a visitor’s badge must be worn. Communication with teachers and students will be handled by the school office and will be done in a manner that does not disrupt the educational process in the school.
Any articles or items to be left for a student will be left in the school office. This will eliminate any unnecessary interruptions to classes and instruction. At no time is a parent/guardian to go to the classroom unless permission has been given by the principal or teacher.
Playground: Every school day, weather permitting, the students enjoy an outside break supervised by a staff member and volunteer monitors. Organized play is encouraged. Rough games, water guns, throwing snowballs and frisbees are not permitted. Students are never to leave the playground area without the permission and the knowledge of the playground monitor. In case of illness or accident, the student is to report to the school office.
Lunch monitors have the responsibility of enforcing rules. They are to be obeyed and treated respectfully. When the bell rings to end the playground session, the students will be brought to their classrooms in an orderly manner. If inclement weather makes it necessary to stay indoors at lunchtime, classroom rules are to be observed:
- Stay in seat
- Engage in quiet activities
School Nurse: One school nurse is assigned to St. Mary School each year and is present in the building one and a half days per week. She is available in any emergency situation. The responsibilities of the school nurse include:
- Keeping updated health records for all students
- Screening students for hearing—grades K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 7th
- Assuring the completion of a physical examination before entrance to school and in the 6th grade
- Screening students for vision—yearly
- Scoliosis screening—grade 7
- Recording height and weight for students—yearly
- Recording required immunizations (Seventh grade: Hepatitis B and 1 dose chicken pox vaccine)
Dentist: The Dentist makes routine visits to our school and is responsible for maintaining all dental records. The Pennsylvania School Health Law requires dental examinations for students entering grades K, 3rd and 7th. These grades were selected because they represent critical periods of growth and development in a child’s life.
We recommend that your family dentist do these examinations. School dental health evaluations will be provided for students who do not furnish proof of a private dental examination within the last six months. These forms are given out to the students before school ends so that appointments can be scheduled over the summer.
Bullying must not be tolerated during the school day nor during any school sponsored activities on or off the school grounds. Bullying destroys respect for the dignity of the student, undermines the Christian atmosphere of the school, and deprives the student of a safe and caring learning environment.
This bullying policy is to be applied to Kindergarten through Grade Eight at St. Mary’s School. It addresses bullying and does not replace any policies that deal with individual student misconduct or behavior. Student behavior is already addressed in the “Expectations of the Student” section of Parent/Student Handbook.
Definition of Bullying:
“Bullying” is defined as any overt acts by a student or a group of students directed against another student with the intent to ridicule, harass, humiliate, or intimidate the other student while on school grounds, at a school sponsored activity, or on a school bus that is severe, persistent, or ongoing. Bullying includes but is not limited to, physical intimidation or assault, extortion, oral or written threats, teasing and putdowns, name calling, threatening looks, gestures or actions, cruel rumors, false accusations, and social isolation.
Consequences and Interventions:
When an incident of bullying is reported, the incident is then investigated. Once the investigation is complete, the school principal shall determine the consequences for the individual(s) on a case-by-case, age appropriate basis. Bullying can take many forms and can vary dramatically in how serious it is, and what impact it has on the victim and other students. Accordingly, there is no one prescribed response to verified acts of bullying. While conduct that rises to the level of “bullying,” as defined above, will generally warrant disciplinary action against the student responsible for bullying, whether and to what extent to impose disciplinary action is a matter for the professional discretion of the principal. It is the goal of the administration, faculty, and staff to have the child achieve redemption, learn, and stop the bullying. It is a violation for any student to engage in the bullying of another student in the school setting. Students in violation of the bullying policy will be subject to CONFIDENTIAL disciplinary action.
When acts of bullying are verified and a disciplinary response is warranted, students are subject to the full range of disciplinary consequences. (Punitive action may include the loss of recess, detention, in-school suspension, suspension at home, and expulsion. An in school/out of school suspension given as a result of bullying shall be reported to the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools, Office of Catholic Schools. Parents of all disciplined children will be notified of the consequences.)