This was not your normal trip to Annapolis… On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, Saint Matthias fourth graders attended Advocacy Day in Annapolis, Maryland. During this time, they were able to hear speakers share with students from across the state, including Maryland Governor Hogan, Archbishop Lori, and Archdiocese of Washington Superintendent Kelly Branaman. Our students joined over 700 private school students from across the state to take part in this historic day. Not only were students wowed by the history around them, they also had an opportunity to be a part of the legislative process. Students shared with delegates and representatives how the Tax Credit bill would help all schools. Students also got to sit and watch the delegates at work on the senate floor.
Saint Matthias was mentioned in the Catholic Standard article about the day! http://www.cathstan.org/Content/News/News/Article/Students-rally-in-Annapolis-for-the-Maryland-Education-Credit/2/2/6520
On Friday, February 27, Saint Matthias hosted teachers from five other Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools for a workshop about responding to student misbehavior. The workshop was run by the Responsive Classroom program. During this time, teachers were able to collaborate and brainstorm how to best help students when their needs are not being met. Teachers shared their insight into working with wonderful students during difficult times in the past.
As life long learners, each year the staff of Saint Matthias participates in Professional Development internally, locally, and nationally. Their next professional development day will be in March at the Archdiocese of Washington Spring 2015 Regional Engagement Day. During this day, three of our teachers (Mrs. Greer, Mrs. Norris, and Ms. Kelly) will be featured presenters. Look for a post sharing all our fun and learning from this day, too!
Saint Matthias has been using the Responsive Classroom program for almost a decade. Studies out of The University of Virginia support the academic successes that students find when their social and emotional needs are put first in a classroom. To learn more about Responsive Classroom, please visit http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/
Students from Mrs. Beal’s kindergarten class practiced their public speaking and presented their research as a part of a project for their African American history month work. Below is a video of their final products. Using creativity and personal expression, students shared what they had learned in multiple presentations throughout the day, including an audience of their “big buddies” and their parents.
Great work, Kindergarten scholars!
Today, we welcomed back Curtis Bennett to share with our students about his current position at the Aquarium. He also shared with students advice on seeking out great educational opportunities and some of his favorite St. Matthias memories.
Hi, I’m Curtis Bennett, I work in the field of Environmental Science as a Conservation Project Manager at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. I work with students and community members throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, engaging them in habitat restoration projects and local conservation efforts. I also work to make Baltimore a more environmentally friendly city. In May 2014 I earned my Master’s of Science Degree from the University of Delaware in Wildlife Ecology, specifically studying river otter populations in New Jersey. In Fall 2009 I earned my Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Science and Policy (concentrating in Wildlife Ecology and Management) from the University of Maryland, College Park. I am also 2005 a graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland.
Life is all about the journey and throughout my life I’ve been very blessed with a variety of educational opportunities and career experiences. However I definitely recognize that all of this would have never happened without a good start and a quality educational foundation. You might not believe it, but back in 1997, as a 10 year old in 5th grade, I received that important educational start at St. Matthias the Apostle School. I immediately felt welcomed by my fellow classmates, teachers, faculty and staff. Over the course of my four years at St. Matthias, I learned so much and it goes well beyond the Math, English and Science classroom curriculum. The teachers did an extraordinary job imparting life lessons and skills such as the importance of a strong work ethic, determination and perseverance through life’s obstacles and challenges. I feel as though my teachers here saw my potential and as a result they pushed me so that I too could see what I was capable of achieving. For this and so many other things I am truly forever grateful. I’m very happy to say that many of the teachers who had such a profound impact on my life will be recognized in March 2015, as they have been selected for induction into the St. Matthias Hall of Fame! Thank you St. Matthias for all that you have done for me and I’ll always remember my experiences within your walls.
This morning, the Saint Matthias school community gathered together to mark the start of the season of Lent with an Ash Wednesday service. Father Jordan shared with the students a bit about this history of showing our repenting for our sins. Ashes were distributed to all. As usual, Father Jordan asked the students many questions, both as a large group, and then to individuals on their way out the door. Our PreK class is especially excited when they spend time with their friend Father Jordan, and ended with them each sharing a High-Five.
Ash Wednesday Prayer
Father in Heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness and the gift of Your light. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
On Friday, February 13, 2015, students from Saint Matthias created “Birthday Bags” for distribution at the parish food pantry. The service project allows those in need to have the necessary supplies to celebrate family birthdays. During the days leading up to this project, students shared their family histories of birthdays, discussed favorite traditions, and prepared cards to be included in the bags. All supplies were donated by Saint Matthias families.
The 3rd grade students were in charge of the shopping. Many commented on newly-learned empathy for their parents when it comes to completing a list and bagging groceries.
Birthday bags were assembled as “families.” Families are made-up of one eighth grade leader and then one to two students in each other grade. The groups are consistent throughout the year, helping all students get to know each other better.
The final products was almost 30 bags to be handed out to those in need.
Each fall, students, teachers and families from Saint Matthias participate in a food drive to support the parish food pantry. Open Friday mornings, the pantry supplies non-perishable food to families in the community in need.
On Friday, February 13, 2015, students at Saint Matthias met as their “families” to celebrate the works of African American authors and illustrators as a part of the African American Read-In. Saint Matthias participates in the event annually. This is the first time the focus has been on two specific authors: Jerry Pinkney and Nina Crews.
This learning and awareness activity is hosted nationally by the Black Caucus of NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and NCTE.
This is just one of the many adventures in learning that students participate in during Black history month. Serving students from more than a dozen countries, lessons in cultural diversity happen naturally throughout the year.
To learn more about the NCTW African American Read-In, visit http://www.ncte.org/aari
To learn more about Jerry Pinkney: http://www.jerrypinkneystudio.com/
To learn more about Nina Crews: http://ninacrews.com/