Discover St. Mary's

Discover St. Mary's
A Day In The Life
The Academic Details

Student Life-Social, Emotional & Spiritual

Understanding who you are and having the self-confidence to adhere to those decisions isn’t something we take for granted at St. Mary’s School. We guide each student to develop their personal belief system and to be comfortable expressing their opinions.

It’s all part of understanding that we’re an essential part of how the world improves. We have various programs offered to fully enhance the student's life on campus.

Social

Marco Camargo is our All School Student Activities Coordinator and is responsible for a multitude of student-related activities, including ASB, School Assemblies, Community Enrichment and Service Learning. 

The Associated Student Body is responsible for various student activities from Socials, House competitions, Pep Rallies, Movie Nights, and major assemblies.  Socials provide an opportunity for middle school students to gather to dance, eat, play games, and enjoy each other’s company in a themed setting. House competitions involve middle school being placed in one of four houses – Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa where they compete for ‘house points’ to emerge as the overall champion. Pep rallies provide a chance for the school to gather to celebrate that season’s sports teams and past accomplishments. The school is decked out in blue and gold and filled with Falcon Pride! Movie nights are for the lower school to come and watch a movie together and participate in activities related to the movie. 

We also host several major assemblies from Cancer Awareness to Community Candy Canes, to a Tribute to Leadership. The Cancer Awareness Assembly is part of a larger cancer awareness month where in October, we take time to acknowledge and support those affected by and/or living with some form of cancer. Our assembly at the end of the month culminates with speakers addressing the ongoing quest for cures and members of the school and community who donate 8 inches of their hair to support those who have lost their hair as a result of cancer treatments.  Community Candy Canes involves the school looking inwards and outwards towards the community at large to support various causes that aim to support many aspects of life from pet and food shelters to veteran’s needs, to name a few. A Tribute to Leadership is a celebration of all of the accomplishments of our ASB for that calendar year and how they implemented their theme which focuses on creating World-sized hearts. World-class minds.

Community Enrichment is a program that strives to provide lower school students with opportunities to not only learn about but also practice IB Learner Profiles. Themes such as Caring, Communicating, Risk-Taking, Open-mindedness, Principled and Reflective to name a few get reinforced through the reading of children’s storybooks with similar themes, followed by Hopes and Dreams discussions, and setting goals for the year. 

Community is also structured to address additional themes of Service, Spirit, and Buddy times. Through Service themed communities, students will apply the lessons learned and the goals they set in service activities that support the school, community, and world at large. Through Spirit themed communities, students learn more about St. Mary’s school culture and history in order to build more FALCON PRIDE. Through Buddy themed communities, lower school students get paired up with their buddies in another lower school grade to model and exercise their World-sized hearts through activities to getting to know one another and make connections with another grade. 

The Community program is woven with Pastor Mark’s Christian and Dr. Anderson’s Character Enrichment Programs, with the specific focus of building World-Sized Hearts and in partnership with Carrie Zulanas, building World-Class Minds. The four of us each develop, promote, and support programs, academics, events, faculty and staff that further our school’s mission of World-sized hearts. World-class minds.

Service Learning program involves students from EEP to Grade 8getting involved in St. Mary’s, the neighboring communities, and the world at large. They do this through a robust IB curriculum that gives them learning experiences that expose them to environmental, local, social, political and a variety of other causes. In addition to academics, students throughout the year have opportunities to serve whether it be donating their hair in the Cancer Awareness Assembly or raising awareness for those impacted by cancer to participating in the Community Candy Canes campaign where students identify a cause to sponsor, set a goal and strive to make a difference in the month of December. At other times throughout the year, students develop empathy by engaging in various drives that provide food, clothing, books, funds that support shelters and organizations in need.  


Social Emotional Learning

St. Mary’s is committed to growing world-sized hearts. Recognizing that social-emotional skills need to be taught, praised, and practiced. Dr. Anderson visits each lower school classroom about 9 times per year to teach those skills. Students are taught about self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills. To review specific topics that will be covered by grade level click on the following link.

Character Enrichment Program Grades K-5

Dr. Anderson collaborates with teachers throughout the school year to reinforce the social-emotional skills being addressed during some of our units of inquiry. For example, Junior Kindergarten students use belly breathing and calm down jars during their Peace Unit, Grade 4 students discuss creative expressions of emotion during their How We Express Ourselves unit, and Grade 5 students work on creating digital footprints they can be proud of.

World-Sized Hearts Challenge
The World-Sized Hearts Challenge is part of our Community, Christian and Character Enrichment programs where we strive to build world-sized hearts through learning, promoting, modeling and acknowledging good behavior. 

The World-Sized Hearts Shout Out Challenge comprises of faculty and staff “catching students being kind,” where small to large acts of kindness get noticed and reported to Dr. Anderson. She writes a personal card home acknowledging the student and for what act of kindness they did.

During Community, the class where the student(s) was/were caught being kind gets acknowledged and then the after community they return back to their classroom to celebrate the individual(s) that were recognized. The challenge is to earn 25 (in honor of our school’s 25 years!) hearts to earn a special treat party hosted by Mr. Camargo! The goal of this program is to establish a culture of compassion, empathy and pride at St. Mary’s. 

Podcasts
New this year from both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Koch, Center 4 Learning, are creating a parenting podcast.  Listen to “Parenting in the Trenches" the newest podcast with the link below. If there is a topic that interests you, feel free to send us your ideas at carmen.anderson@smaa.org.
 
In an effort to show students just how committed we are to growing world-sized hearts Dr. Anderson has paired up with teachers, faculty and staff to “catch students being kind.” We are always on the lookout for those students who go above and beyond, without being asked, to help others. Some students that are observed doing a good deed may receive a quick note to let them know they were caught being kind.
 
Several times throughout the year therapy dogs and their owners are invited to campus for our Canine Connections program. This is an optional activity students can participate in during recess to de-stress during the academic day. Dogs and their handlers are present on the field and sit in a specified area waiting for belly rubs, paw shakes and to show just how much unconditional love they have to offer.
 
Dr. Anderson regularly meets with students, faculty, staff and parents to address the emotional needs of this community. Please stop by to say hello and introduce yourself. 

Parenting in the Trenches Podcast

Spiritual

Chapels are a weekly time for St. Mary’s students, faculty and staff to come together to learn stories of the Bible and how they relate to the designated IB Attitude or Learner Profile. Chapel themes are formulated around an age-appropriate children’s story from the Bible. Christian Enrichment classroom time provides opportunities for developing learning and understanding of Chapel.


Learning and Support Teams

List of 2 items.

  • School Counseling

    Dr. Carmen Anderson, School Counselor

    School counseling is a service provided by St. Mary’s as part of its commitment to developing well-rounded, confident children. The school counselor is available to meet with children individually or in a group and also with parents. The purpose of these sessions is to provide guidance on topics with which school aged students sometimes struggle. The school counselor also collaborates regularly with faculty and staff toward this aim.

    Sessions may be scheduled by teachers, staff, parents, and/or students.

    Please feel free to contact the school counselor with any questions at 949-448-9027, ext. 334 or via e-mail at carmen.anderson@smaa.org 
  • Center for Learning

    Learning and support services are available to assist students in meeting St. Mary’s academic expectations. The Center for Learning provides research-based solutions for academic, processing, and organizational needs.  In addition, Center for Learning staff works closely with teachers and administrators at St. Mary’s in order to help students to realize their potential.

    Since 2003, the Center for Learning has continued to pursue the goal of affecting positive change in students’ academic performance, study habits, and overall self-confidence. Thanks to a generous donation from the Hausman Foundation, the Center for Learning created a learning laboratory complete with assistive technology available to all of our students. 

    Goals of the Center for Learning:
    • Collaborate with administrators and teachers consistently to assist students
    • Identify issues early in order to prevents students from feeling unsuccessful
    • Recommend and provide early intervention strategies for home and school
    • Provide support for appropriate classroom accommodations for students  (i.e. extended time for tests).
    • Help students better understand their individual learning style
    • Provide additional communication between school and home with regard to student progress
    • Work  with teachers to differentiate instruction in order to support students with different learning styles
    • Provide on-campus educational therapy on a fee-for-service basis, both for those students who will benefit from enrichment in an area of talent and for those students who are in need of support in one or more areas.
    • The Center for Learning is able to utilize neuropsychological/psycho-educational assessment results to develop an individual learning plan for students. 
    • The Center for Learning is able to conduct neuropsychological/psycho-educational assessments on a fee for service basis.
    More information is available on the C4L website https://c4l.net/