Message from the President
On behalf of The Home and School Association Board, welcome to a new school year and thank you for being part of our school community.
I want to extend a special welcome to our new parents and families. I sure wish I could spend time with you, learning about your family and listening to how you’re adjusting to our school. Rest assured, we were all new families once and we know how it feels during those early days that first year. We are a large school community with nearly 450 families and the size can feel intimidating at times. Please know that I, along with the officers of the HSA and the greater school community are here for you, especially during these uncertain times.
And to our returning families - I am so happy you’re back. I miss seeing all of the familiar faces at drop off, extended day and gatherings and look forward to a time when we can all be together again.
Let me provide a bit of background about the HSA and what we do. The HSA is a parent-led association structured to support the parish and school by:
Hosting community-building events;
Organizing hundreds of parent volunteers through the Families in Service (FIS) program; and
Raising critical funds to offset the operating expenses of the school.
Regarding FIS, in previous years, parents received an online catalog with a detailed listing of volunteer opportunities and were required to fulfill a specific number of volunteer “shares” or agree to pay a monetary fee. Due to the Basilica School of Saint Mary’s health and safety guidelines for 2020-2021, the FIS Program will operate differently this year.
For the coming school year, volunteer opportunities will be announced on an as needed basis rather than through an online catalog. Families who volunteer for these specified needs will be granted up to 10 total shares which will be credited toward their 2021-2022 FIS balance. While families will not be required to meet an annual FIS program requirement, we ask that everyone make a good faith effort to help - we can’t keep our school great without you.
Our parents have always demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteerism and we trust that commitment will not change even without annual FIS program requirements in place. In the coming months, we ask that you respond early and often when a call goes out for volunteers. The opportunities to help may look different but the need is the same.
The events this year are going to look a LOT different but we are working hard to re-imagine them in new and creative ways. For example, this live streamed event was supposed to be an in-person social to meet faculty and staff in early September and to give you an opportunity to connect with old friends and meet new ones. But here we are, in an empty gym, being streamed into your homes. Let’s talk a little bit more about specific events we have planned and what they will look like.
Saturday, November 14: Family Fun Night - Mother Son Outdoor Scavenger Hunt a Virtual Father/Daughter dance
Saturday, December 5th: Christmas tree, wreath, and garland sales with a “Masks and Mittens” Christmas festival featuring a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus
Saturday, January 23: Trivia Night
Saturday, April 17: Season 2 of Dancing with the Saints Auction and Gala
Finally, I want to talk about the importance of the Annual Fund. You may or may not know that tuition alone does not cover the operating costs of the school. The HSA provides a minimum of $100,000 to help offset the operating costs. Anything above and beyond the $100k pays for teacher enrichment, classroom enhancements, new iPads and last year we invested in a state of the art sound system in the gym so (in a regular year) mass on Friday and student assemblies are audible for everyone. These important improvements can be made because of your generosity.
By providing parents a flexible option to send their children to school, there have been added expenses and we have been asked to raise $125k for the Annual Fund alone. This will help defray additional costs associated with operating a school, both in person and virtually, during a pandemic! Please consider a gift in an amount that is comfortable for your family. We typically get about 50% participation - I’m asking you and I’d be thrilled to see 100%.
The HSA Board will meet with Mr. Cinalli and Fr. Hathaway monthly, and these meetings are open to all parents. We invite you to attend! It is a great way to understand what the HSA, in partnership with all school parents, does to support our school, and to know where help is needed and how we can be involved as parents.
The HSA Board and I look forward to seeing you all throughout the year at school. God bless and we look forward to another excellent school year!