The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle is holding a food drive this week, with a goal of bringing in over 700 non-perishable food items to stock the shelves at the St. Matthias food pantry. As of today, the students and staff have brought in over 400 items. If each member of our community brings in two more items, we will earn a dress-down day for Monday! Any donations can be dropped off at the school on Friday. The Parish food pantry collects donations year-round and they can be dropped off at the church office.
While our goal is a fun one, giving is at the heart of this week. Each Friday, members of the community surrounding Saint Matthias are able to receive a bag of non-perishable food. The parish food bank has also helped members of the school community who have fallen on hard times.
Saint Matthias was featured on the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Facebook page as a part of the “Food Drive Frenzy” to showcase the work of schools to feed those in need this holiday season.
Service is a key part of the work of students at Saint Matthias. This fall, they cooked and served dinner to students at the Catholic Students Center at the University of Maryland. This January they will collect coats for Catholic Charities. Last school year, students worked to support the Latin American Youth Center, Cross Catholic Outreach, Home Away Dog Rescue, the American Diabetes Association, and other local, national, and global organizations.
Educator and Author Donalyn Miller met today with teachers at The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle. Miller, author of “The Book Whisperer” and “Reading in the Wild” shared her passion for student-driven reading choices with the staff, which is emulating her philosophy. Miller is a former elementary teacher who currently works for Scholastic to promote reading choices.
The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle utilized the choice reading in three classes last year: 3rd grade, 7th grade and 8th grade. Two of the classes, currently in 4th and 8th grade, scored in the top 15% of the nation in Reading as of their fall assessment. As a school community, 80% of all Saint Matthias students were assessed at or above grade level in reading this fall The school made a 29% gain in reading scores during the 2013-2014 school year. The program has now expanded to other grades.
Middle school students at Saint Matthias utilize the Edmodo website to share and exchange reading ideas. This online educational component started as a summer reading program and has continued in to the academic year because of the participation and success. Teachers are also a part of this secure, online community of readers, sharing their young adult book reviews. Students in lower grades also had choice-driven summer assignments designed to engage in a conversation about books and learning.
Throughout the school, teachers post outside their classroom what book they are currently reading. Saint Matthias also has two separate library spaces, one designed for preschool to third grade, and one for fourth to eighth grade students. Each classroom also has a library of reading choices for students. With a BYOD program, students are able to access text in whatever way they feel most comfortable.
The Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle is a preK-8th grade Catholic school located in Lanham, Maryland. With a 90% acceptance rate into local Catholic High Schools, Saint Matthias prides itself on its honest, academic product. They are a Responsive Classroom school. For more information, contact Vivian Richards, Director of Admissions firstname.lastname@example.org (301) 577-9412
The Book Fair is coming to a close. The live fair has ended, but you can still order online until November 22nd. You can order online at http://onlinebookfairs.scholastic.com/default.aspx?f=3335461 This is a fundraiser for our school. Thank you for your support.
Students at Saint Matthias wish to thank the Veterans in our families, school, parish and community for their service!
A reflection by Trinity (5th grade), Jacob (4th grade) and Noeme (3rd grade)
On Friday, November 7th 2014, the third, fourth and fifth grade students from Saint Matthias went to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.. We went to learn about the cultures of Native Americans.
There were great Native American dancers. The show was called “Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers.” There was a dance-off with Native American brothers. The dancers were from South Carolina, Idaho, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa. Students from our school were able to get on stage and the dancers taught us moves from their dance.
After the dance show and lunch, we were able to explore the exhibits.
We learned about Native American pottery. We learned that the paintings on it were symbols and they used special tools to get the shape of the pot without cracking it.
We also saw a snow digging truck and learned more from a video. We saw a jacket, hat, gloves, and a scarf inside the truck. We learned the truck made it easier for Native Americans to move snow- it was faster than a shovel! Animals would also dig in the snow to help!
We would recommend this museum for parents, students kindergarten age and up, people who like history, grandparents, and our principal. We would all go back again to visit and see more.
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.
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