FEBRUARY 20, 2017 | CONTACT: mesa@sistersofmercy.org
When Will This Stop?
   An Excerpt of a Statement from the Institute of the
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas on the Parkland, Florida, School Shooting

Today, with our deepest grief, sympathy and love, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas unite in prayer for those in Parkland, Florida— the victims, the families and the witnesses whose sense of safety in their schools has been irrevocably broken. 

However, we acknowledge that our prayer alone is not enough. Our faith and Mercy tradition call us to unceasingly decry the industries, systems, and culture that enable this terrible hate and violence. 

Since we, and the entire country, were outraged following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, there have been hundreds more school shootings, an average of one every week, leaving 129 dead and more than 200 injured. Even just one incident would have been too many – six so far in 2018 that have resulted in injury or death in less than 45 days speaks to a problem that is far too common. When will this stop?
Changes to 529 Savings Plans Benefit Prospective Catholic School Families
A new fact sheet jointly issued by the National Catholic Education Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is a great marketing resource for parents considering a Catholic education for their children. Thanks to changes in the tax code, families can use 529 college savings plans to pay for Catholic school from elementary school onward. You are encouraged to download the fact sheet, post it on your website and insert it in materials you provide to parents.
  School Profile:
Our Lady Academy
This week, we continue with our series of brief school profiles with Our Lady Academy of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Our goal for these profiles is to support learning from one another. So if you see something you want to know more about, get in touch with that school community! All MESA education ministries are listed here: http://mercyedu.org/educational-ministries.
Mississippi's only all-girl Catholic high school, Our Lady Academy is located in the picturesque coastal town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where it has operated since 1971. OLA is a college preparatory school, serving young women in grades 7-12, with a student body of close to 300 students. OLA is staffed by the religious Sisters of Mercy and dedicated lay professionals, and boasts numerous accreditation seals to its name.

Learn more about the school by visiting its website and following it on Facebook. Here's a lovely photo site with highlights from last school year.
The school's motto is "Be it known to all who enter here that JESUS is the reason for this school. He is the unseen yet ever-present teacher in its classes. He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students." The 47-year-old school prides itself on teaching Catholic Christian doctrine, morals, and values, all the while promoting academic excellence, encouraging students to give service to others, and challenging them to achieve their God-given potential as young ladies in their local and world communities. OLA alumnae are educators, government officials, authors, physicians, lawyers, and corporate professionals. 
The school is known for its stellar academic record and small class sizes. Close to 60 percent of teachers there have master's degrees, and the school offers AP courses in English, history, biology, calculus and psychology. Last year's graduates set new records in scholarship earnings and ACT schools. On average, 2017 graduates received $125,417 in scholarship. The average ACT score was 25.65. The teacher-student ratio for last year was 1:13. The school has a current opening for a Spanish teacher for the 2018-2019 school year. Check the listing in the employment section of this newsletter for details.
  Good News & Great Opportunities
  •  All high school students interested in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are cordially invited to submit an essay to this year’s Tolkien and Lewis High School Essay Contest. The deadline is March 1, 2018.
  • It's #LoveTeaching Week. Check out the hashtag all over social media and join in by describing why you love your work. 
  • CatholicBrain.com is offering 40 days of Lent programs and resources for grades PreK-8. Sign up here.
  • Barnes & Noble is sponsoring the My Favorite Teacher Contest for middle and high school students. Write an essay, poem, or letter on how a teacher has influenced your life. Entries due by March 2
  • MTV and Get Schooled launched We are the Dream Campaign to support undocumented students seeking higher education.
Lenten Reflections 2018

Remember to check the Sisters of Mercy blog tomorrow for an update to the Lenten Reflection series on The Last Seven Words of Jesus. The blog is updated each Wednesday, and each reflection posted will come with a PDF for sharing in school communities and elsewhere.
What Was the Best Advice You Got When You Started Teaching?

In each issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership, there's a "Tell Me About" column that publishes a collection of brief contributions from readers describing their experiences related to that issue's theme. For an upcoming issue, the publisher wants to know what's the best advice you got when you first started teaching. Contribute a 100- to 200-word response here by Feb. 27, 2018.
Educational Resources on Extractivism
Extractivism is a short-sighted model of development that exploits natural resources on a massive scale. The practice creates significant profits in the short term, but often results in minimal benefits for the communities where these resources are found. 

The Institute Justice Team, working with the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-religious Working Group on Extractive Industries, has prepared several new educational resources on extractive industries. Check them out and share.
     Updated Job Listings

Our Ministry Openings webpage contains links to the employment pages of MESA schools. Visit regularly to stay up to date. Please forward this message to anyone in your network who might be interested.

Do you have an opportunity you'd like to highlight in an upcoming issue of MESA Flash? Email mesa@sistersofmercy.org.
MESA Leadership Forum

March 1, 2018
8 am - 3 pm
Atlanta, GA
  “Partners in Mercy”

Leadership Academy
July 23-24, 2018
Baltimore, MD
 You are encouraged to send in information that you'd like to share through the MESA Flash. We'd love to share your good news, photos from your schools, along with tips and practical suggestions from which others in the community can learn. Email us at mesa@sistersofmercy.org.