The Real Cost of Education

Did you know that the cost to educate each student at Mother Seton School is $6442 per child? Yet, our tuition is set at $4950. That means before tuition assistance is even granted, each student receives a $1492 subsidy.

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We could raise tuition to cover the actual costs, but Mother Seton School is committed to honoring the legacy of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, not just in words but in action. She believed all children should have access to Catholic education if their families so desired, regardless of financial means. We strive to make that possible for families today, which is why we have the lowest tuition in Frederick County.

chelsie-cropIt is only through the generosity of our donors we are able to continue to offer an affordable and incredible school experience, one in which our students excel academically, are encouraged to develop a deeper spiritual understanding and connection with their faith, and are appreciated for all their gifts and talents. This is why the Annual Giving Appeal is so important. It helps to bridge the difference between the true cost of education here at Mother Seton School and our tuition rate. Your gift to the Annual Giving Appeal allows us to remain accessible to more children without compromising our innovative curriculum or diminishing our outstanding fine arts program. It provides us the opportunity to reach more families and allows our students to thrive in a school environment that respects and treasures the whole child.

Joseph-Layla.3x2.jpgDuring this season of giving, we ask you to think about what it means to have your child educated at Mother Seton School and to prayerfully consider making a gift to the Annual Giving Appeal. We understand and appreciate the financial sacrifice many of you already make in sending your child here, but even a small gift–$5, $10, $25–would go a long way toward making sure the spirit of Mother Seton will continue to live on for future generations.

 

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Mother Seton School: A Community of Service

13-14 CSW_Logo_Circle_CMYKWe have noted previously that MSS is indeed a community of Faith and Knowledge. Realizing that, like parents and grandparents, our teachers are committed to helping students not only learn the basic tenets of the faith, but also put their faith into practice. The action of putting our faith in practice can be seen throughout our school through a spirit of service and dedication to helping others. Without our Faith and Knowledge about God, our community of Service would have little meaning.

The bible has many notations regarding service. The gospel passage, Mark 10:45,  says “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The primary lesson this passage is telling us is that each of us must strive to do as Jesus did: serve others.

If you look at MSS’s track record regarding service to others you would find it remarkable. The following are just a few examples of how the students help others:

  • In September there is a school-wide food drive for the Seton Center which provides services for people in need.
  • Kindergarten visits the elderly at St. Joseph’s Ministries (formerly St. Catherines Nursinc Center & the Villa at St. Michael) during the school year to show them their Halloween costumes, sing Christmas carols, and more!
  • K5PP-butter3One of the beloved examples of service at MSS is having older students partner with younger students (Prayer Partners) to pray with throughout the year, as well as work together on a variety of service activities. For example at Christmas, Grade 5 partnered with Kindergarten to create blankets for the Linus project that provides blankets to children facing surgery.
  • In another Advent Project, Grade 7 collected stocking stuffer items and made homemade cards for the children at John’s Hopkins Children Center, while 6th graders collected items for the Catoctin Pregnancy Center.
  • Putting faith into practice in the lower grades also includes making cards for people in nursing homes during the school year and collecting new items at Christmas time for families in need.VMY-hochschild-roberts-haller-EFB-PhyllisKelly-clever-Cropped
  • Vincentian Marian Youth: Seton Council (VMY) is comprised of Middle School members (Grades 6-8), who form teams of 4-5 students lead by an adult sponsor to work at service sites of their choice one or two times monthly outside of school hours.
  • Throughout the year, students in Grades 4 -8 take turns cleaning the cafeteria to prepare for the next lunch wave which includes and wiping tables, sweeping areas under the table so that it is ready for the younger students that follow them.
  • Among our in-house students services, we also have a tech crew, stage crew, chair crew, and safety patrol (who help younger students get to their buses, hold doors and so on) that are from our Middle School! Recently, we have trained 7th– and 8th-grade students as Ambassadors for special events which are coming soon.
  • All 8th-graders are required to make contact with a non-profit organization(s) to perform 5 hours of service learning by April 1, 2015.

An important part of our service learning is to also take time and help our students understand why they are called to serve and the spirit in which they should work to help one another. This is a wonderful tool for helping them to live the Golden Rule, also. These are some examples of service projects at MSS for this school year! Thinking of others, as Jesus did is a key trait that we want to develop in our children.

In conclusion to this Catholic Schools Week Theme, MSS truly is a Community of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Together as a school of wonderful teachers and staff working with parents and grandparents we will continue to foster these lessons into our children’s character!

Mother Seton School: A Community of Knowledge

DSCN6158The mission of Mother Seton School states that as a community of knowledge, our goal is to inspire students to strive for academic excellence. As an educational institution, we offer a variety of resources for children begin the journey of learning that will prepare them for high school and beyond. All learners begin with what they know and build on this foundation working with our dedicated and well prepared teachers who give our children tools needed to succeed. With these thoughts in mind note the following:

  • As an accredited school, we offer the core classes of Religion, Math, Science, Technology, Social Studies, Language Arts (reading/literature, English grammar, application and writing; vocabulary/spelling), and Physical Education. Our teachers are committed to assisting each child in meeting grade level benchmarks. 
  • We are very fortunate to offer our students quality special programs in the areas of technology, music, band, art, Spanish and library. Technology is integrated in all curriculum areas. Most recently, Chromebooks were added to our technology classes. Through the Penny Power fundraiser, we were able to purchase a  classroom Chromebook “lab” and cart that can be moved to any classroom and used in a variety of subject areas.
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    Our Chorus produces, directs, and performs at our Christmas Program

    Added to these are student activities and clubs that include: Art Angels, Chorus, Liturgy Chorus, Tech Crew, Instrumental Music and Band, Healthy Eating Club, Engineering Club, Science Club, STEM Club, Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY), Spanish Club, Student Council, Yearbook, Seton Scribblers Club, and a Book Club. We also have an after-school program that offers our students time to do homework and work collaboratively playing in a variety of educational games!

  • For students in need of academic support and/or enrichment, we are blessed to have the Mother Seton Learning Center. This program provides academic/social and consultative support, including speech and language services, support for English Language Learners, service and school-based learning plans, and enrichment opportunities to challenge our more advanced students. At this time over 70 of our students currently visit the Learning Center for support and enrichment.
  • A variety of educational contests are offered during the year that include Geography and Spelling Bees; contests that vary from writing assignments, art, music, and physical education.
Two of our 3rd-graders who won their classroom Spelling Bee.

Two of our 3rd-graders who won their classroom Spelling Bee.

In addition to the student learning community, our teachers are committed to being members of a professional learning community. Teachers and classroom assistants meet on a regular basis to learn about and discuss educational trends which can enhance what is happening in the classroom.

Mother Seton School is a community committed to growing in faith and knowledge. By partnering with the parents and grandparents we can work together to make sure our children succeed through these elementary and middle school years. As mentioned last week, we can not only put our faith into practice, but  together we can do our best to instill in our children the skills they need that will carry them onto higher learning in high school, college and beyond!

 

Mother Seton School: A Community of Faith

praying-girls-massWe all know that Faith does not just happen. Somehow, usually in our childhood, our parents or perhaps our grandparents spoke to us often about God. They were wonderful role models for us and made sure we got to church as a family. If we were lucky, we went to a Catholic or Christian school where the teachings of Jesus Christ were incorporated into our daily lessons. We learned eventually that Faith was believing without seeing! We trusted, as we do today, that God knows all things and is with us every step of the way.

At Mother Seton School, we offer a Faith-filled environment for our students through our Catholic teachings and modeling what it means to be a Christian. From the early beginnings, Mother Seton taught children about the faith. Her example of her devotion to God will never go unnoticed! The fact that Mother Seton is the first American-born Saint and started the first Catholic free school for girls, St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School, here in Emmitsburg makes us ever more aware that our primary purpose is to carry on the teaching of the Faith to our children as she did. All of us who work at Mother Seton School partner with you, the parents and grandparents, in instilling a foundation of faith that will last a lifetime for our children.

In Vatican City, November 14, 2014, Pope Francis talked about our Faith as not mere words that we say but the example we give. Journalist Ann Schneible writes:

“Addressing the children who filled the chapel at the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis said that – in an age dominated by images and cellphones – the faithful must rely on example, rather than words, to transmit the faith to young ones. As he looked out onto the young congregation comprised predominantly of children from a Roman parish, Pope Francis said it was as though he was looking at ‘a promise,’ and at ‘the world that will be.’ With this in mind, he asked: ‘what do we leave’ these children, who are our future. He then asked if the children are taught ‘to walk in love and in truth,’ or if we merely ‘teach them with words, while our lives take another direction?’ ‘It is our responsibility to look out for children!’ the Pope said, stressing that these ‘little plants’ cannot be ignored.”

gifts-mass“We all have a responsibility to give the best that we have “to children, and the best that we have is the faith,” the Pope said. However, this transformation of faith must be accompanied by example.

There is no question that teaching and giving example regarding our Faith is key in the formation of our children at Mother Seton School. We are fortunate that we can have activities that promote our Faith through daily morning prayer, religion classes, school Masses, promoting service projects to help others, living the Golden Rule (Luke 6:27),  and so on. All of this assists in creating a Christ-centered atmosphere, which is what our school is all about.

As noted in our Parent/Student Handbook, Mother Seton School affirms the truth that the goal of all Catholic education is salvation in Jesus Christ. Faculty and staff strive to clearly and fully transmit the message of the Gospel as reflected in the life of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

We all know that Faith does not just happen. Together we can continue to build on the gift of our legacy and live the core beliefs of our mission. Truly, the greatest gift we have as the New Year begins is our Faith.

Welcome Back to School!

1st-Day-School-welcome-SrMegIt’s a gorgeous day in the Catoctin Mountains, a perfect start to a brand new school year!

We are excited to begin a new chapter in the history of Mother Seton School and to share in the legacy that our Patron Saint left us. You are probably familiar with our mission statement, which the students recite every morning during prayer and announcements:

The mission of Mother Seton Catholic School, a vibrant, Christ-centered community, is to inspire students to strive for academic excellence and dedicate their lives to love and serve Christ in the tradition of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Vincent de Paul.

We’d also like to take a moment to share the Core Values of Vincentian-Setonian Education, which are the guiding principles by which we strive to educate the students of Mother Seton School.

Vincentian-Setonian Education is…

Holistic

Seeks to nurture the students in a holistic fashion; educates the heart as well as the head; forms the spirit, the mind and the body; embraces a global perspective

Integrated

Blends the human and the spiritual, the abstract and the practical, the professional and the personal, the simple and the complex

Creative

Finds new or renewed ways to meet changing needs of successive generations of students, while maintaining a clear “sense of the possible”

Flexible

Adapts traditional methods to the needs of the non-traditional student

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Places quality at the heart of:

Teaching: the teacher is not only competent but efficient, dedicated, and real–“all those virtues required of the students.”

Methodology: the method employed is active, challenging, goal-oriented, and fosters tools and attitudes of life-long learning

Person Oriented

Reflects relationships marked by humility and simplicity, in which all administration, faculty, staff, and, most importantly, students are respected and valued.

Collaborative

Collaborates rather than competes with co-workers, organizations, parents, and other educational institutions

Focused

Believes that its mission is none other than a participation in the mission of the Church: the service of Christ in those who are poor. As such it strives to integrate this vision into the educational process and to keep the primacy of it alive among all those who share in this common mission.

Changing of the Guard

On April 1st, a letter from Sr. JoAnne Goecke, D.C. went home in the Tuesday folders. Even though it was April Fools Day, this was not a joke! Sister JoAnne will be transitioning to a new mission next school year and we will be welcoming a new principal–Sister Brenda Monahan, D.C. Sr. Brenda comes to us from the Diocese of Birmingham, where she is the Director of Beacons of Hope, Inc., which serves four Catholic school communities in that area. She has extensive experience working within Catholic schools, both as a teacher and as an administrator. She will be here for a brief visit in mid-April, and we hope to be able to to schedule a meet-and-greet so that parents may stop by and say hello before the school year begins.

Sister JoAnne looks back fondly on her time here, as she expressed in her letter:

I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for God’s loving Providence over Mother Seton School during my time here since 2006.  During these 8 years, I have experienced a vibrancy of faith and a commitment to mission among all in the MSS family that is second to none. When any member of our school family experienced family, personal, or economic stress  I have seen the impossible happen through persevering prayer, sincere compassion, and a can do spirit among our faculty, parents, Board, benefactors, and volunteers.

I have been blessed to work with a strong, well prepared faculty and staff who love their work, love the children they serve, and give generously of their time and many talents. Special projects and clubs abound, and students are enriched thanks to their creativity and planning. Their dedication is reflected in the way our students excel academically and mature spiritually, holding true to the spirit of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we have seen the Learning Center develop and grow to provide a wide variety of services previously not available to our children.  Our Technology Committee has seen to it that we advance with the times, providing IT access to students in any location in the school, training in newer technologies, and opening doors to the vast teaching and learning resources available through the web  and assistive technology for special needs.

Thanks to the skills and commitment of Advancement and Finance staff, these offices have come of age, utilizing the best means to support the mission of MSS and establishing highly professional offices to better serve the needs of our families and the community.   Continued attention to the facility has been possible thanks to staff and the Facility Committee’s commitment to responsible stewardship of the beautiful school plan that we inherited from those who have gone before us, especially, Sr. Mary Catherine Conway and all responsible for constructing the new wing.

I could go on and on. In a word, God has been good to us and for this I am truly grateful. 

As we prepare for this changing of the guard, let us keep Sr. JoAnne, Sr. Brenda, and the entire Mother Seton School community in our prayers.

The Annual Appeal (a.k.a. “Why should I give you more money?”)

AA15-logoWe are knee-deep in the Annual Appeal. By now, you’ve received the mailing and the emails, all of which express (we hope) just how important your contribution to the Annual Appeal is. And perhaps you have already made your donation.

But if you haven’t, and if you are wondering why we ask for a contribution from our families in addition to the tuition and fees that you already pay, allow us to take a moment to explain:

What is the Annual Appeal?

The Annual Appeal, also known as an Annual Fund, is comprised of contributions made directly to the school and which go towards off-setting our operating expenses. We have the most affordable tuition in the area at approximately $4950 per child (in comparison, consider that St. John’s Regional in Frederick costs $6600-$9000 for one child, depending on grade level), because we hold true to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s mission to make Catholic education accessible to all regardless of financial means. But because we try to keep tuition costs low, that means tuition alone does not cover the cost per pupil to run the school, which is $6642 per student per year. So we seek other means to close the gap.

Why is it so important for families to contribute?

We apply for many grants throughout the year that cover the cost of some of our programs and equipment. For example, it was a technology grant that we were awarded that made it possible to institute mobile laptop computing for the classrooms. One of the things that most foundations require as part of the application process is that we show significant participation in our Annual Appeal from our current families, faculty, and staff. They want to see that our community demonstrates a vested interest in the school. The amount donated is not important; but to be able to show 100% participation is. So even if it’s just a dollar that you can spare, please help us by participating.

I already gave money to the H.S.A. Doesn’t that count?

We are so thankful to our Home and School Association (H.S.A.) for their efforts in raising money for our school. The fundraisers they hold, including the Raffle and Vera Bradley Bingo, generate proceeds that are used to supplement field trips, purchase extra classroom materials, sponsor First Eucharist and Graduation celebrations, and pay for special programs throughout the year. Proceeds raised by the H.S.A. go directly to the school, but do not go towards our operating expenses. Without the H.S.A., our students wouldn’t have many of the fun and educational opportunities they do, and without the Annual Appeal, we would not have the funds we require to continue operating the school.

You’ve convinced me. But I lost my giving envelope. How do I make sure that my contribution counts?

We have several ways that you can make a gift to the Annual Appeal:

  • Send a check in to the school in an envelope marked “Annual Appeal”
  • Visit the following link: http://www.bit.ly/MSSGive or click on the button below.
  • Click on the “Support MSS” tab on our website

If you wish, your donation can remain anonymous. However, if you do choose anonymity, please let Jennifer in the Advancement Office (jbuchheister(at)mothersetonschool.org) know that you made a contribution so we can count you towards our Family Participation goal.

Thank you for choosing Mother Seton School for your children, and thank you for the support you continue to give each year!

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