May 6, 2020
 
Dear St. Martin’s Families,
 
I hope this finds you and your families safe and healthy. In this seventh week of distance learning, I could not be prouder of our community’s continued resilience and creativity as we support our Mustang learners. Through it all, our goal has been to ensure educational continuity consistent with our mission and to provide the responsiveness that distinguishes SMES. I have appreciated hearing from many of you at virtual coffees and over email, as well as reading your feedback on our Remote Learning Feedback Form .
 
As we continue our remote learning while monitoring the State’s guidelines and timelines for social distancing, I wanted to reach out to you to share some helpful updates and news:
 
Remainder of 2019-20
Based on today’s announcement from the State School Superintendent, St. Martin’s remote learning will continue for the remainder of the academic year, which ends on Wednesday, June 3. Teachers will continue to evolve their approaches over this next stretch to ensure educational continuity and connection. While our goal is to engage your children, we also want to be responsive to those in our community – families, students, and teachers – as they balance work and family life. To this end, in addition to Memorial Day (May 25), we will not have remote learning on Friday, May 15 and Friday, May 22 . Please enjoy these long weekends with your loved ones.
 
We are mindful that the end of the year for our young students is an important and often bittersweet time for closure. This year will be no exception. Rest assured, we are planning some celebratory activities for our students and a revised Graduation for our 11 eighth graders who deserve a meaningful send-off. They are a class that embodies the heart of SMES.
 
2020-21 School Year
Like all of you, we are eager to welcome our Mustangs back to 375 Benfield Road! We are actively planning to begin the 2020-21 school year in-person on September 8 for preschool through middle school. There is reason to believe it will be different than what we are accustomed, with a transition back into physical school requiring heightened focus on health and safety per guidance and best practices, flexibility, and use of time.

Over the summer, we will invest in refining and expanding our remote learning approaches in case campus use becomes limited again during the coming school year. Rest assured that on September 8 and each day thereafter, SMES will be prepared to deliver the supportive education we all value. Some insight into the factors our administration is exploring in its scenarios for the fall can be found in this article . In all scenarios, the overall health and well-being for our student and staff community will remain our top priority.
 
Keeping your children at our school is one of our highest priorities. We value each of them and believe in the continuity and value of our program. Moreover, we have no intention of allowing COVID-19 to impact any student’s opportunity to stay at St. Martin’s. To discuss questions or concerns you may have about your financial commitment to SMES, please contact me and Janet Mosher, Director of Finance and Operations ( jmosher@stmartinsmd.org ).
 
Other Updates
  • Many of know that after five positive and productive years as Director of Admissions, Kelly Danahy has been transitioning out of the role these last months as Kira Dickson has been preparing to assume this role effective May 15. Kelly’s gifts to SMES have been many, and for so many Mustangs, Kelly was the first person to greet them (and you!) with her infectious smile and affection for SMES. Please join in thanking Kelly for the heart and passion she has brought to our School!
  • Melissa Barrett has been hired as the School’s new Science Teacher. A graduate of Elon University, Melissa is a former Chesapeake Bay Foundation teacher and has a prior connection with SMES through CBF. We are excited about Melissa’s passion for inquiry-based and hands-on learning. She and her two young sons join us from Key School.
  • Teacher Appreciation Week has been a wild success so far! Our PA has brought some big smiles to our teachers’ homes with “We Love Our Teachers” signs, and another treat is in store for tomorrow. Thank you! As we honor our devoted teachers this week, we are also appealing to support them and the School during this time of need. We are filled with gratitude for the generosity shown to our #Mustang Strong Campaign nearing $13,000! This effort will continue through Friday with more inspiring videos and messages about our teachers. Any level of support will be appreciated! Please click HERE to give.
 
We are nearing the end of a school year that none of us will forget. Together we have overcome the distance and have kept learning and our community’s well-being the priority. The 2020-21 academic year is just four months away and will be here before we know it. We will be ready to see our Mustangs again!
 
Faithfully,
 
Jamey Hein
Head of School