Dear St. Mary’s Catholic school community,

The subject of this letter is the school’s progress this past week and look ahead at the school’s future.  I believe in transparency and letting you know as much as possible what’s going on at your school, whether you are a parent, grandparent, alumni or other community member and supporter.  I hope I can succinctly communicate what is going on, what is in progress, and why decisions are made. 

It seems desirable that community members should have the opportunity to speak to me about topics they feel strongly about, even ones they may disagree with the school and its policies about.  I do not want to hear what people think they are supposed to agree with, but rather what they actually believe about things important to them.  This is where an honest dialogue can take place, and feedback can make an impact on policies and decisions.  

I want to make sure the values of the community members and the school align as much as possible within reason and with prudence, while first adhering to the Catholic faith and its Christian teachings.  It is part of that teaching that a person must always obey the certain judgment of his or her conscience.  However, it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about things to be done or things already done.  This can happen when we as humans take little trouble to find out what is true and good, such as God’s commandments and teachings, or when we do not turn our hearts towards God, lack charity, or when we are enslaved to our passions. Let us pray God guide us to an always more correct and error free judgment in matters of moral conscience, that we may live with pure hearts and consciences before the Lord.

With that said, please email me with anything that is of concern or in need of action or resolution, anything that is bothering you that you need to bring to me to deal with. You can email me anytime but I will respond during the weekdays at tvail-stm@eupschools.org.

Let me then speak about this week.  The application for up to $45,000 or so of pre-k and after school funding went through and is awaiting processing.  There is no guarantee how much we will receive, but it could very well be substantial.  This is a big boost for our program, which with the right staff and space, and with enough students, could be doubled into two pre-K classes, if things continue at this rate.  As mentioned in the previous letter, the condition for these funds is to have registered students within 3 months of receipt, and so I would ask prayers that we have everything in place in time.  We have two pre-k aide candidates, and several applicants for the pre-K position.  One candidate is a current teacher who is considering the director / main teacher position, but we would ask for prayers that this is the right move and if it is God’s will that the Lord sends someone to take over her class.  

The volunteer list including the when, where, what, how and how often of the task will be posted shortly.  It is a large undertaking to gather information on what volunteer needs we have and to compile them.  HASA will be supporting me in this task and a task list will be sent out to the community for signup.

One important volunteer type is committee membership.   The committees are essential for accreditation.  Currently, only HASA is active and has had meetings.  There are not more than a few potential members for all the other committees.  Thus, we don’t have what we need to proceed with accreditation yet, and accreditation is due in April.  The details of committee membership will also be included in the volunteer document, so please look out for that if you are interested.

Lastly, I wanted to recognize the ongoing contribution of volunteer parents, grandparents, and other community members who have stepped forward in helping out the school to operate well while understaffed.  May God reward you for your service and sacrifice, and all the value you bring to St. Mary’s.

While starting the pre-K, restaffing the school and filling the classes is in the foreground, we have been peeking at the seemingly distant Fall of 2022 semester.  The demand and need for a high school has been established, and so talks about how to supply and serve that need have been ongoing.  Recently, resource planning and potential suitable teachers have been a consideration, as well as the building and space for the high school.  It seems that if anything it would be humble; the class sizes small and combined, the teachers few, and the space small and temporarily fitted for a high school.  The best candidate for a space would be the building at St. Joseph’s where faith formation classes are currently held on Sundays.  Currently it is merely in an analysis and pre-planning stage, but things could and should develop rapidly once we have sufficient resources and more sure enrollment.  The program would be classical and Catholic, a program to match the potential and genius of incoming freshmen students.
 
Let us turn our minds and hearts to the Lord in prayer, that He provides all that we truly need, and that cooperate with His Holy will,
In Christ,
Tim Vail