January 25, 2021
Dear St. Mary’s Community,
None of us imagined what 2020 would be like, although we could easily predict the responses of our community when faced with new and unprecedented challenges. Our teachers’ embraced the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis and found new ways to teach. We know that this “new normal” won’t last forever, but are so thankful that our community has shown great care in following safety protocols. I am happy to report that faculty and staff will have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at school in the coming weeks.
Throughout this challenging year, we have remained incredibly committed to our students and their well-being. We remain focused on joyful learning, individualized instruction, a strong faith foundation, and our mission – “To Provide Quality Academic Programs in an Environment Fostering Respect for Faith, Family, Others, and Self.” Our students see the “St. Mary’s Way” modeled to them by peers and faculty alike. They know the importance of doing the right thing.
I want to share just a few of the amazing highlights of the year as we celebrate the success of our school. Student enrollment has hit record numbers - up 15% from this time last year. Our new faculty members are bringing incredible experience, enthusiasm and passion for our vision. Strong teacher-student and peer relationships have been forged this year, even from a “social distance”. The strength and depth of these relationships have helped to buoy us in this unique time.
As I walk the campus I have been pleased to see numerous examples of learning happening in the coolest places. At the rock garden students were keeping beat on the drums, I could hear a Bible story being told to our students in the outside Chapel, junior scientists were conducting science experiments on the carpool benches, students spread out in the hallway working on their chrome books, live book reports being told in the rotunda, our Early Childhood students acting out a play, learning how to take turns on the trikes and role playing the playhouse.
In the classrooms students are learning creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Teachers know the importance of educating their students to be curious learners, risk takers and doers. Students are developing a strong academic foundation and are taught with a “growth mindset” approach, allowing students to dream big, make and learn from mistakes and work hard to achieve their goals. Throughout our curriculum teachers encourage problem solving and independent thinking through the use of class discussion, teachable moments and individual attention.
Our Board of Directors are our governing body to hold in trust the integrity of the school and to uphold our mission, goals and objectives. They are responsible for maintaining the financial integrity and stability of St. Mary’s for the present and the future. With our projected enrollment growth next year, we will add additional kindergarten and third grade classrooms. This will allow us to explore the opportunity of building expansion for classroom growth.
With dedicated planning, budgeting and forecasting, St. Mary’s faces economic challenges with confidence and resilience. We know that any crisis can have short and long-term consequences and that is why I, along with the Board of Directors, have been diligent about preserving St. Mary’s financial stability. With excellent planning and foresight, we operate each year with some surplus in our budgets and have worked hard to be financially ready for times like this. We are Oklahomans, and will be ready to weather any storm that may blow our way.
Our ongoing Annual Fund campaign has had its most successful year yet. We look forward to sharing more details as the campaign wraps up in the coming months, but are happy to report the number of unique gifts to the Annual Fund has doubled from last year, and Leadership Circle level gifts have increased by 36% so far this year.
We hosted our first golf tournament in the fall, which was a terrific success. We look forward to continuing that new tradition for years to come.
I am also thrilled to announce that St. Mary’s School received a $8,000 grant from the Kirkpatrick Foundation in December of 2020. This grant will allow us to build an outdoor stage on our campus, which will be enjoyed by students this year and for years to come.
As we look to the rest of this school year, I am eagerly anticipating grade-level programs for all of our students, the science fair, and our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders performance of Matilda, which will be performed on our new outdoor stage.
Faculty and staff are also excited to enjoy Beau Geste in a new way this spring. Our last Beau Geste was one of the last times we were able to gather as a school community, and we had an incredible night of fun and laughter supporting our school. Although Beau Geste will look different this year, we are just as enthusiastic about the opportunity to come together for one great mission. Our teachers are creating new and unique teacher experiences for this event, and we are excited to share those with you in the coming weeks.
I feel privileged to lead such an exciting and vibrant school, which offers great opportunities to young people. Thank you for partnering with us in educating your child. Childhood is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one shot at it. It is wonderful to be in a community like St. Mary’s that helps children grow, without growing up too quickly.
Each of your children are dearly known, and deeply loved. It is an honor to walk alongside you as we all endeavor to Challenge the Mind, Inspire the Soul, and Build Character for each child that comes through our doors.
Head of School
We are currently accepting applications for all grade levels for the 2022-23 school year! Our admissions office is eager to connect with your family as you make your school decisions for the upcoming school year. To start the admissions process, please complete our online inquiry form or call 405-341-9541.