On November 5, third grade at The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle kicked off their inaugural planning of the Journey North Tulip Project, Lanham, Maryland, planted their red emperor tulips. It was an overcast day, but temperatures were in the upper sixties. The garden is surrounded by a fence to keep the garden safe from deer and other wildlife.
According to the website, “Each fall, people across the Northern Hemisphere plant Red Emperor tulip bulbs in Journey North Test Gardens to help monitor seasonal change in a scientific way. In the spring, when the plants emerge and bloom, test gardeners report their data to the maps. One garden at a time, the relationship between climate, geography and the greening of spring is revealed.
Local climate affects where, when, and how plants grow. Over time, the timing of plant growth can be used as an indicator of climate change. Everyone who participates in this international tulip test garden project contributes valuable information to a long-term database.”
We will be posting updated but you can check the progress on http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tulip/
In preparation for her presentation at the Teaching Exceptional Learners Conference, Mrs. Abigail S. Greer has published an article for the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). Mrs. Greer is a certified school counselor and is in her third year as our principal at The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle. She lives locally in Bowie, Maryland.
Inclusion Education- We Are Called
October 24, 2014
By Abigail Greer
When preparing for this article, I conceptualized that currently we are in the middle of the journey of Catholic inclusive education. We are working toward meeting the needs of students, but are a far cry from being able to educate all students who wish to have an education in our Catholic schools.
For the historical perspective on this topic, I turned to my grandmother to ask about her sister. My great-aunt, Margaret, was born in 1933, the youngest of five and with Downs Syndrome. I called my grandmother to ask permission to share the story of the sibling I presumed was not educated in the Catholic schools. I was met with a pause, and then a fact that altered my theory on where we are on our journey.
From 1940-1949, Margaret attended Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Massachusetts, the same school her siblings attended for first grade through eighth grade. So much for the “amazing strides” I had assumed we had made in the past 70 years in inclusion. According to my grandmother, Margaret was there because the Sisters took care of her. She learned reading and socialization. There was no option to go onto a Catholic high school.
Last year, I sat on a task force facing the same situation my great-grandparents did in 1949: What happens to a Catholic school student who has been educated with her peers up until eighth grade? In the Archdiocese of Washington, two young ladies with Downs Syndrome were faced with graduations from their Catholic grade schools and not a single high school program ready to meet their needs. The answer was a newly-resurrected special inclusion program. This answer took form thanks to prioritization and dedication on the part of a local Catholic high school. Aunt Margaret did not continue her education in any capacity. While their outcomes are different, the question (and lack of options) was the same a year ago as it was 65 years ago.
I do not want to discount the advancements we have made as institutions, as dioceses, and as a society in the realms of inclusion education. I know that research and best practices have molded a new generation of practitioners to help instruction. We now have diagnoses, medications, therapies, specialists, and groups. Personally, in my decade in Catholic education, I have seen the success of students with traumatic brain injuries, debilitating/fatal medical conditions, autism, dyslexia, sensory processing disorders, expressive and receptive language deficits, depression, attention-deficit; the list goes on and on. I’m not sure all of these students would have been greeted with the same welcome arms as my Aunt Margaret. I know I have been fortunate as a teacher, counselor, and administrator to work with students with many different needs.
Inclusion sends a message to the community that we support all stages of life. As Catholic schools, we are charged to prepare scholars, citizens, and saints.
Abigail Sarah Greer is principal at The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle in Lanham, Maryland and will present sessions during the NCEA Teaching Exceptional Learners Conference in Austin, Texas. Join your colleagues February 12-14, 2015 to hear more from Ms. Greer and other nationally renowned speakers.
For more information about the wonderful work being done at The Academy of Saint Matthias, click http://www.stmatthias.org/school/.
For information about the NCEA Teaching Exceptional Learners Conference, click http://www.ncea.org/events/teaching-exceptional-learners-conference-0.
You may view the original site of the article by clicking the link below:
The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle is proud to announce that they are the recipient of the October grant from the Catholic Business Network of Prince George’s County.
The grant will be used to bring the Maryland Agricultural Education Association’s mobile science lab to the campus for a visit this spring. The lab involves students participating in small-group, hands-on lessons specifically related to the science of Maryland!
The mobile science lab made two trips to Saint Matthias during the 2012-2013 school year.
Each year, Saint Matthias holds a subscription raffle to support the school. While many schools use a long list of ongoing fundraisers (wrapping paper, candles, etc.), this is our only large-scale fundraiser. Saint Matthias has always proudly served a diverse student population. As we continue to meet the needs of our community, we are in need of your support. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the school, or you may mail in your order form.
Please help support Saint Matthias!
Why Saint Matthias?
In 2013, Trina Coyle won the Archdiocese of Washington Golden Apple. Trina and her husband moved from Bowie, Maryland to Delaware after her retirement. Last winter, she shared in our newsletter about her reasons for spending her career teaching at Saint Matthias. In celebration of her special visit today, here is the text of her January 2014 article.
Catholic Schools Week 2014 was the first time in a very long time that I was not a part of the celebration, which I have to say, felt a little strange! For years, I was a part of the planning and preparing as the celebration drew near. In June 2013, I retired from teaching and in September moved to Lewes, Delaware. For 32 years, Saint Matthias was my home away from home. I say this because working at Saint Matthias was not just a job. It was like being a part of a family; a family of teachers, parents, and students working together. We celebrated success together and helped one another if someone needed support. Being at Saint Matthias for so many years enabled me to watch little Pre-K babies grow into teenagers ready to go off to high school. It brought me such joy when they came back as high school or college students and even adults to let us know how they were doing! My students are “my kids” and boy were there a lot of kids over the years! You all hold a special place in my heart. I feel blessed to have been a part of the caring community at Saint Matthias. It’s hard to stay away, I have already come to visit. For me Saint Matthias will always be a home , a safe place, and a joyful institution. Someone once described Saint Matthias as a hidden gem and it truly is. So here’s to Saint Matthias and all the wonderful people that help make it the gem that it is.
—Mrs. Trina Coyle
As I walked through the parking lot on Monday at dismissal, I got a chance to speak to some of parents. The word that kept coming up was COMMUNITY. After last Saturday’s successful Fall Festival, we were all still riding the high of a wonderful day of fundraising and fun. Our students had enjoyed time together, but so had our parents, extended families, community members and maybe even a few prospective students.
Our 8th grade students raised funds for their graduation and 8th grade trip. Our 6th graders sold goods to raise money for a memorial for a classmate who died from brain cancer this summer. Service to our school and to such wonderful, student-drive causes were all around us.
Huge thanks to the H.S.A. and Mrs. Richards for putting together a day where our preschoolers all the way up to our alumni had fun! My hour in the dunk tank was one where I laughed and cheered (yes, and froze a bit!).
At Saint Matthias, we are a community.
The Fall Festival at Saint Matthias is Saturday, October 4th from 10am-2pm. There will be food, fun, games, and prizes! The activities include a community yard sale, a dunk tank, and a photo booth. Vendors are also on site. Come enjoy the great annual event!
9473 Annapolis Road- Lanham, MD 20706
Congrats to the winner of our September Facebook “Like and Share” contest, Carmen.
Each Monday, we will showcase a different member of our Saint Matthias family. Mrs. Vivian Richards is our director of development, enrollment, admissions, you name it- she does it! This is her 11th year at The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle. A native of Washington, D.C., Mrs. Richards is bilingual and the mother of a Saint Matthias alumna.
1. Tell us a little bit about you.
My family is from Puerto Rico, where I spent a number of years growing up. I was educated in both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking settings, so I know the value of global education. I love animals, especially dogs (at one point I had five!). I’m an avid sports fan and love cheering on the Redskins, Capitals, and Orioles. In the summer of 2013, I married my longtime friend and high school sweetheart- some of you may know me as Ms. Mason- it’s still the same happy, fun, me!
2. What is your favorite memory from being in school?
In high school, I was on the debate team. We had competitions against other high schools. There were six of us on the team. I loved, even then, writing an argument and fighting for what was right. I get to do this now as I work to make sure as many families as possible can be a part of our Saint Matthias family.
3. Where is your ideal vacation spot?
There are so many! I guess right now my ideal, most favorite would be on any island with clear water, good weather, white sand, and palm trees!
4. What is a special skill or talent we may not know you have?
I love to sing! I was a member of my church and youth group choir.
5. Why Saint Matthias?
Because it’s awesome! Saint Matthias has such a sense of family and belongingness. This place is where children thrive, and I get to witness that everyday. I’m honored to be a part of this process, and to get to help students and families.