The OLMA Overview -- March 21, 2020
Greetings from the Coyle household! I hope this week's OLMA Overview finds you feeling healthy and happy despite our social distancing constraints. I could not be more proud of our students, faculty, and staff, and school families for the efforts you've made to embrace OLMA's Online Learning Program and stay connected. 

To the many parents who have contacted me this week, thank you for your positivity and support. You are a huge reason that things are going so well. Thanks also to my faculty and staff with a special shout out to Ms. Valore, who is the architect of our Online Learning Program. I am in awe of what you've accomplished but not surprised. You are what makes OLMA work. Your passion and dedication to our students are more evident than ever. While some of you are newcomers to the technology we are using, you've risen to the challenge and done it well. 

To my students, thank you for your patience, resilience, and love of learning. I've been observing classes all week. What I am seeing and hearing makes my heart happy. You are interacting as you would in the classroom. You are asking questions, participating in class, and enjoying the time together, even if it is via a computer screen. I know this is a big adjustment to make, but you are killing it. Please continue communicating with your teachers. Take advantage of their office hours. Whatever you need, we are here for you. 

I hope you will all take some time this weekend to relax and reconnect with one another and your families. Remember to check-in on your friends over the phone or on Facetime. Enjoy your families. It's rare for mine to be in the same place at the same time for more than a few hours. Now is a great time to put the computer away for a while and play cards or a board game, have dinner together, watch a movie, or just sit and talk. Despite social distancing, Covid-19 is bringing us closer to some of the people who matter the most. Take care of yourselves and each other. 

Watch for a video preview of next week from me tomorrow. In the meantime, be well. -- Mrs. Coyle
Open communications is key to the success of any faculty -- in the classroom or online. OLMA is blessed to have an incredible group of talented teachers who are passionate about their work and want nothing more than to see their students succeed. Led by Mrs. Coyle and Ms. Valore, OLMA faculty met virtually on Wednesday to share ideas and experiences and brainstorm solutions. Superheroes, indeed.
ONLINE LEARNING AND COVID-19 INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
An Online Learning Program and Covid-19 Information page is now live on the OLMA website. It provides a central location for academic information, response plans, and links to important resources and tips. You can access it from the OLMA.ORG homepage (top toolbar) or under the NEWS tab. CLICK HERE to take a look. Please check back often as we will continue adding updates as we get them. Thanks.
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: MEET AVA MELLO
CLASS OF 2023
For OLMA freshman, Ava Mello, online learning feels like business as usual. "I'm loving it," said Ava. "With Zoom, I can actually see my teacher and classmates, so it feels like a regular class. Academically, we haven't missed a beat." 

Ava is set up at a desk in her bedroom, and everything is squared away. "I am an organizer, so I have a board on my wall where I write all of my classes and assignments for the day," she said. "I cross them off as I go, so I always know what's next and what's left." 

These days, OLMA feels more like home than ever, but Ava said it felt that way from day one. "When I shadowed, I saw the connection between the girls and with their teachers," she said. "Everyone was comfortable and laid back. Messy hair was okay. The girls were real, and with no boys, there was no drama."

Ava's favorite hobbies include soccer and art. "I've played soccer since I was three years old," she said. "I played for OLMA last fall and really liked being part of the team. I made lots of new friends, and many of them are juniors. It's normal to have friends of all ages at OLMA. That's part of what makes it a sisterhood."

Looking back on the year so far, Ava says that Bravery Training has helped her. "If this had happened at the beginning of the school year, my camera would probably be turned off during class," she said. "Not now. The camera is on, and I'm okay. It's perfectly fine." 

Ava misses seeing everyone in the hallways and at lunch but is enjoying the extra time with her family. "I spent some time outside the other day with my brother and sister," she said. "We normally don't get to do a lot of that. This whole situation is giving us a chance to pause, take a step back, and focus on what's most important. I'm grateful for that."
TEACHER FEATURE: MEET MRS. CALLAHAN
A newcomer to OLMA, Mrs. Stephanie Callahan is living her dream of teaching high school and can't imagine doing it anywhere else. A teacher for more nearly 20 years, Mrs. Callahan spent most of this time teaching elementary and middle-school students. "I loved it, but I've always wanted to get experience teaching at the high school level," she said. "When I heard there was an opening at OLMA I knew I had to check it out."

While Mrs. Callahan has taught many different subjects, Math is her passion. She is currently teaching two levels of Algebra I, Geometry, and both honors and college prep Pre-Calculus. "It's a challenge, but I love it," said Mrs. Callahan. "Everyone is incredibly supportive at OLMA. The administration, my fellow teachers, and my students are kind and helpful. We learn a lot from each other."

That's especially true right now as OLMA finishes up week one of it's Online Learning Program. "As a teacher, I feel so fortunate to be part of OLMA, " she said. "While many schools may be struggling, we were ready to go on Monday thanks to the training we received last week and the program we have in place. We are also lucky to be using Zoom. It's fantastic and has many features that make it great for teaching Math. I have a virtual whiteboard and can upload graphs and then make them interactive. It also has a chat feature that the girls use to post answers to problems. That makes it easy for me to see who needs help without calling it out to the entire class. Just as we do in a regular classroom, the girls can stay after for extra instruction, or meet with me during virtual office hours."

While Mrs. Callahan would prefer to be back on campus, she's encouraged by the progress her students made this week. "It's kind of fun," she said. "We're all a little out of our comfort zones, but that's okay. So far, so good."
URGENT NEED FOR BLOOD
Right now, the American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations, like ours, during this coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving  blood platelets  or  AB Elite plasma .

Donating is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood or platelets. The American Red Cross has implemented additional precautions to ensure safety of its donors and staff.

This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients fighting cancer.  One of the most important things we can do to ensure that we don’t have another health care crisis on top of coronavirus is to give now. CLICK HERE to find out more and schedule your appointment today.
OLMA ADMISSIONS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
OLMA Admissions is open for business. Our staff is operating remotely, but eager to answer your questions and tell you more about
our school.

For students and families of the Class of 2024, watch for more information coming soon about Accepted Students Saturday and Summer Enrichment Courses and Camps. We can't wait to welcome you to the family.

In the meantime, if we can help in any way, please email mrs.kinkade@olmanj.org. Be well and we'll talk soon!
TWENTY WEEKS OF WINS!
The one and only fundraiser run by the Daughters of Mercy each year is their 20-week Calendar Raffle. Tickets are $20 each and include more than 20 chances to win, as well as a seat at the annual Pasta Dinner where the grand prize drawing takes place. Please show your support to the founders of our school by purchasing at least one ticket per family. For tickets, email Sister Margaret at sr.margaret@olmanj.org.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Easter Break -- April 9-19

OLMA Prom -- April 30

Accepted Students Saturday -- May 2

Spring Fes t -- May 2

Green & Gold Club Golf Outing -- May 8

Color Run -- May 9

Alumnae Softball Game -- May 9

OLMA Cheer Team Tryouts -- May 14-17


We hope you enjoy the OLMA Overview. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Mrs. Kinkade at 856.697.2008, ext. 140, or email her at: mrs.kinkade@olmanj.org