Dear Parents,

God’s Spirit rests on me.

God has anointed me;

To bring glad tidings to the poor, to prisoners, liberty.

To open blinded eyes, to heed the captives cries,

To herald Mercy, Joy and Peace:

A time of Jubilee

This 2015 – 2016 school year, Pope Francis will open the year of “Mercy, a Year of Jubilee”.  The above words of sacred scripture allow us to see the blessing we are – each and every one of us.  Gifted by God’s grace, we each have the capacity to bring these words to fulfillment.  Embracing this year of Jubilee and the value of Mercy, will clearly be a sign to all of the very presence of God!  Just think … a vibrant community of people who choose to herald God’s Mercy … what hope the Saint Helena School Community will be … to one another; our Parish; our World!  With these words of hope, together, as one Family, one Heart and one Faith, we will begin the 2015 – 2016 school year!

While children are not visible during these summer months, they are never far from our thoughts and plans!  This summer the following improvements were made though the kindness of Msgr. Nicolo:

  • New hallway flooring in the K – 3rd Grade Wing – involving the removal of asbestos
  • Two new copy machines for Teacher and Office Use
  • Two new cherry teacher desks
  • Five new cherry bookcases for classroom use
  • New classroom desks and chairs for 4C
  • Re- painting of classrooms and hallways
  • New flooring by the elevator and a corrective expansion joint in the main hallway
  • New Computer Server
  • Software licenses for all the new computers

Clearly, we are all incredibly grateful to Msgr. Nicolo for his continued generosity.

The Home and School Association is a tremendous gift to Saint Helena School – as you know they provide activities during the school year in which we gather in Faith, in Friendship and in Fun!  These events provide revenue for school use – last year, twenty new laptops arrived for the children to use – word has it that yet another surprise may be arriving before the start of school!  Yeah!  I’ll keep you posted on all of the happenings!  Wow, are we blessed!!

From the revenue of our May Fair, held on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 also sponsored by the Home and School, we were able to purchase $4500.00 dollars of STEM equipment for classroom use from Pre K through Grade 8!  Our Home and School Association, under the direction of the Home and School Board makes possible dreams to make SHS the leading educational institution that it is!!

This year we joyfully await our third Middle States Reaccreditation.  During the 2014 – 2015 our teachers implemented the findings of their summer research of the writing process into their classes.  They also prepared professional presentations of their research and shared them at our monthly Faculty Meetings.  These presentations were also videotaped.  Our Middle States event will open with a Liturgy   at 5:00 PM of October 25, 2015.  All will be invited to attend, please, mark that date!!   Reaccreditation is a tremendous amount of work, however, knowing our children will be the direct recipients of all that is gleaned through this project, these efforts are incredibly valuable to our school faculty.  On Monday, October 26, 2015, our teachers will provide a colloquium to other area educators, sharing all gleaned from these endeavors.    Our children will be involved in a variety of events during this process.  We’ll keep you posted on all of the events of this process.

I am happy to present our faculty for th3 2015 – 2016 academic year:

Pre K 3 – Miss Katy Bauer

Teacher Aid  – Mrs. Helen Davidson

Pre K 4F – Mrs. Barbara FitzPatrick

Pre K 4 Aid – Mrs. Susan Hughes

Pre K 4 S – Steve Smith

Pre K 4 S Aid – Mrs. Heidi Krebs

Kindergarten – Mrs. Janet Gallo

KG Aid – Miss Maura Gifford

Kindergarten – Mrs. Edie Woods

KW Aid – Mrs. Janet Esposito

Grade 1 – Miss Denise Britt

Grade 1 – Mrs. Robin Melvin

Grade 2 – Mrs. Sharon Halferty

Grade 2 – Mrs. Maria McLaughlin

Grade 3 – Mrs. Joanne Owsiany

Grade 3 – Mrs. Paula Purcell

Grade 4 – Mrs. Lori Venezia

Grade 4 – Mrs. Leslie Calabro

Grade 5 – Miss Kate Mullin

Grade 5 – Mrs. Janet Smith

Grade 6 – Mrs. Kathy Bonner (Math: 6, 7, 8; ELA: 6; Religion 8) Grade 6 – Mrs. Becky Wagner (ELA: 6, 7; Religion: 6. 8)
Grade 7 – Mrs. Denise R. Britt ( Social Studies7, 8; Science 7) Grade 7 – Mrs. Kerri Sepich (Religion: 7; Social Studies: 6; ELA:7)
Grade 8 – Mrs. Colette Dougherty (Math: 6, 7, 8; ELA: 8; Religion: 6) Grade 8 – Mrs. Rene Ryan (Science:  6, 8; ELA 8)
Mrs. Karen Holder- Homeroom combined

      6,7,8  (Study Skills 6-8; Honors Math 4-8)

Mrs. Jackie Hoy – Voice and Piano Lessons
Mr. George Gillin – Computer (K-8); Current

      Events (7, 8)

Mrs. Maria Sturla – Spanish (5-8)
Physical Education Mrs. Nancy Manno – Library
Mrs. Jennifer Lau – General Music, Chorus,


Mrs. Dana Leeds – Dance


Mr. Pat O’Shea – Percussion Lessons Mr. Ed Stimson – Instrumental Music Lessons:   Brass, Woodwinds
Mrs. Phyllis Cissone – Secretary


Sister Cathe Shoulberg, RSM – Principal


I would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome several of our faculty members to their new positions:   Mrs. Heidi Krebs to the aid in Pre K 4S; Mrs. Kerri Sepich whom we welcomed last March in sixth grade will move to the 7th Grade Homeroom position; and, our newest faculty member, Mrs. Helen Davidson, who will be the Pre K 3 classroom aid!  A graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s, Emmitsburg, comes to us with invaluable experience!  We are delighted to welcome Helen!

The richness of our faculty is a treasured gift!  Together with you, our families, we will strive to continue to be the very best we can be for our SHS children.  On Friday, August 28, our faculty will be gathering for our first In-service day for this school year.  Our day will be spent with Sister Marie Michele, RSM, in the morning followed by an afternoon of practicalities for the school year.

Your prayers will be greatly appreciated as we work together to be the best we can be for our most important gift, your children!

As we go into year two of using My Student’s Progress, a web based software service that allows parents online access to their student’s grades from any computer with a connection to the internet.  Our hope is that the glitches we incurred have been worked through, enabling report cards, attendance, scheduling of parent conferences to be approached in a smooth and comfortable fashion.   We will begin to put this in full use no later than October 1, 2015.  It is important that once you are notified that the system upload is completed, parents will access and implement your log in.  Please, don’t wait until “report card time” to begin to use the system!

Opening School Information

On their first day of school, children in Grades 1 through 8 will meet in the school-yard with last year’s teacher at 8:15 AM.  They will then proceed with that teacher.  Once assembled in the classroom, they will be directed to their new teacher.

 New children to our school (Grades 1 – 8) need to come inside to the office and will be directed to their respective homerooms.

The following is our opening schedule:

Tuesday – September 8

Pre K and Kindergarten Orientation

Parents and Students attend these sessions.  As there are more than one session for each grade, you will be given your time to arrive via email by mid-August from your child’s teacher. 

Wednesday – September 9

Students in Grades 1 – 4 Report:  Regular 3:00 P.M. Dismissal

In-service for Teachers of Grades 5 – 8; CARES begins

The CARES Program, (our extended day program), will begin this afternoon, September 9, from 3:00 – 6:00.  For those families who have registered for CARES, a letter will follow with more information.  If anyone needs to register for CARES, please do so by calling Sister Cathe at the school office.

Thursday – September 10

Students in Grades 5 – 8:  Regular 3:00 P.M. Dismissal

In-service for Teachers of Grades Pre K – Grade 4

 Friday—September 11

Grades 1 – 8 Report to School:  Regular 3:00 PM Dismissal


Monday—September 14

Pre K and Kindergarten students report as well as students in Grades 1 – 8.

 Children in Pre K, Kindergarten and First Grade need to wear a name tag with their means of transportation for the first two weeks of school.  This is a huge help for everyone.

 Thursday, September 17

**Meeting for all school volunteers:    7:00 PM in the School Library

Friday, September 18

**Meeting for all school volunteers:    9:15 AM in the School Library

** Due to the importance of this meeting, this year we are having two sessions with the expectation that you can choose, according to your schedules, to attend a session.

 Monday, September 21, 6:30 PM

 Our “Back to School Night” will be held this evening.   We ask that everyone arrive as promptly as possible at 6:30 PM.  This is a very full evening, it is important for everyone to be on time.    Please mark your calendar now so each child will be represented at this important meeting.

 Tuesday, September 22

9:00 – Opening liturgy and celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy

This is our annual “Blessing of School Bag Liturgy” for K through 8th and their families and friends.  We will celebrate “Mercy Day” at this Liturgy.  It will also be an opportunity for our school children to have a special birthday celebration for Msgr. Nicolo.  Please plan to join us for this liturgy.  We will place our dreams and desires before God and ask God’s favor on our school year and parish community.

 Monday, September 28

Eighth Grade Parents’ meeting at 7:00 PM to review the High School process

Wednesday, September 30, 6:30 PM Social and Recreation Center

Mandated from the Office of Catholic Education:  Meeting for Volunteers including Coaches who have not yet received training in the Virtus Program Protecting God’s Children. All volunteers MUST go through this program.  It needs only to be completed one time.  Your verification form needs to be returned to school.

You have received several reminders regarding mandated clearances. This school year this policy is strictly enforced – you may not even accompany students on a field trip unless all clearances have been submitted to school!  If you have any confusion about these poilicies, they will be again attached to this email.  Please read them carefully and obtain the clearances NOW so that they are ready for September!

Again, these policies are put into place solely for the protection of your child/children!

Miscellaneous Reminders

Last school year we had a record number of children who repeatedly were late for school.  This year, we ask that you work diligently to have your children at school on time.  That means that Children in Grades K through 8 are expected in the front schoolyard each day no later than 8:15 A.M when we gather for the Pledge of Allegiance.  Pre K children need to be here at 9:00 AM!  For K to 8 children, if you are bringing your child to school by private car, please take into consideration the amount of morning traffic when making plans.  If a child is not with their class when we say the Pledge of Allegiance at 8:15 they will be marked late for school.  We certainly understand unavoidable emergencies surface, however, when the same children are late each day it doesn’t seem to be due to emergency circumstances.  Just a thought, when it is time for High School, we do in fact receive calls from each school questioning why repeated lateness and absence occur!

Our yearly calendar is on the web-site:  www.sainthelenaschool.org.  It is important that you review the calendar frequently so you are aware of any updates, busing information for early dismissal days, and school happenings. Continuing our commitment to “go green” we will communicate via email throughout the year.  Individual teachers will also communicate via email as well.

It is important that each family check email regularly so everyone is aware of school happenings.  This is the responsibility of each family.   The weekly “E-mail Blast” will be sent every Wednesday morning.   If you do not receive a “Wednesday Blast” let the school office know ASAP so that we can remedy that situation.  This email will be used to communicate pertinent school/parish information.  We are unable to send information that does not involve our school and parish.

At “Back to School Night” a hard copy of the Parent Handbook will be distributed.  This is combined with the school directory.  The Handbook is also available on line. Policies in the Handbook need to be thoroughly reviewed by each family, as the expectations of the school will be clearly voiced in this instrument.  In October, you will be asked to sign a form indicating that you have read and will uphold school policies as described in the Parent Handbook.

For each child’s protection and safety, STUDENT CELL PHONES are not permitted in school.   We ask everyone to comply with this regulation.  May I ask for your help in making sure your child/children follow all school directives?

Pre-school children will wear play clothes to school each day.  All children (grades K-8) may wear summer school uniforms on their first day of school.  Children may wear the summer uniform until Oct. 13, and then from April 13 to the end of school.  Please make sure that all items of clothing are clearly marked with the child’s name.

If you have any questions, or if I can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me at the School Office, (610-279-3345) or the Convent, (610-272-1383).

As members of the St. Helena Community who believe and live the Gospel mandate to be followers of Jesus, we each have a serious obligation to do all in our power to be People of Peace.  We will strive to actively work to provide justice, equality and mercy not only to one another here in Blue Bell ~ but to our world.  Remembering that we are indeed human and not perfect, we will do our utmost to merge our efforts on God’s behalf to give our children the tools to make the dream of a compassionate, caring planet, a reality for all Humankind.

Enjoy these remaining summer days.  Be assured that every day I ask God, our loving Parent; Jesus, our Friend and Companion; and the Holy Spirit, who empowers us with love; to bless and protect you and your family.  God’s abundant blessings!

Sister Cathe Shoulberg, RSM