A Message from the P3 - Grade 5 Principal - Steven Kelnhofer

Dear Parents,

I recently heard the quote, ”The chance of a lifetime is closer than you think,” and it reminded me of St. Theresa’s “little way”.  She wrote, “What matters in life is not great deeds, but doing little deeds with great love.”  Is she too saying, “The chance of a lifetime is closer than we think?”

While reflecting upon last year and looking ahead to the upcoming school year, I am filled with excitement about the opportunities for our children and our school community.  With planning nearly complete, I would like to provide you a summary at the elementary level and what you can plan to see in the upcoming year.

Curriculum & Instruction:

We have worked hard to update our elementary curriculum over the past 5 years.  We currently use Math Expressions for our math curriculum, Lucy Calkins Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop for writing, Project Lead The Way (PLTW) for science and TCI for social studies.  

  1. Math Expressions is about looking beyond numbers to understand how and why they work and using thoughtful strategies and approach to solving problems.
  2. Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop helps teachers address each child’s individual learning needs, while teaching strategies students will learn to use outside the workshop.  This workshop also supports small-group work by learning as a community to bring all students together.
  3. PLTW program empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. As students engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering and biomedical science, they become creative and collaborative problem solvers ready to take on any challenge.  
  4. TCI programs bring learning alive and achieve consistent and positive classroom results.  TCI’s curriculum has been specially curated to meet standards, create engagements in lessons and help students better understand the content through hands-on and experiential exercises.

Last year, we charted the scaffolding of our content and standards in math, reading, writing, social studies, science and religion.  Our next goal is to align technology standards with the above content areas. This mapping exercise will guide us to reach all students with proper standards for them to be successful for their next grade level.   


The elementary level uses the state’s Forward exam for all students in grades three – five.  After researching several options, we have decided to also include MAPs (Measures of Academic Progress) testing for all students in grades two – eight.  These two assessments will provide teachers with data necessary to evaluate student progress and adjust instruction to meet the individual needs of the student (in real time) and for administrators to gauge necessary curricular adjustments to ensure students are achieving at a high level.  This data is important to evaluate all students who need added support, are at grade level and are ready for advanced curriculum.

Cohesion of Faculty/Staff:

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve been blessed to lead and work alongside the very best community of teachers.  Each of them is special to SMSA and bring their talent, faith, knowledge, positive energy and love to school.  Our focus has been on consistency at each grade level including learning strategies, grading and planning.

A personal “shout out” to my fabulous teaching team, “Keep up your outstanding work and positive energy as we continue our growth mindset for everyone in the building!”


Student Services Department:

The Student Services department has been evolving in great ways.  This three person elementary team (Mrs. Zangl, Mrs. Driedric and Mrs. Saunders) are focused on intervention and enrichment strategies for students, both in and out of the classroom. As a team, we continue to research and implement ways to reach every student at SMSA.  

Ms. Anderson and Ms. Fictum are our school counselors.  They do an incredible job reaching our students, offering them growth and development opportunities as a whole as well as individualized sessions as needed.  They will be helping us move towards a positive behavior intervention system by the 2019-2020 school year.


Culture & Community:

Dr. Shively and I are working with teachers to continue to use the language of Love and Logic while incorporating our Core Values with students both in and out of the classroom.  This coming year, you will detect a Love and Logic poster along with a Core Value poster hanging on the wall inside each classroom.  Our Core Values are Faith, Learning, Respect, Leadership, Community and Responsibility.  I can’t wait to see these come “off the wall” and move into small “chances of a lifetime” actions by all who enter the building!

Love and Logic posters state the following messages:

  1. I will treat you with respect, so you will know how to treat me.
  2. Feel free to do anything that doesn’t cause a problem for anyone else in the room.  
  3. If you cause a problem, I’ll ask you to solve it.
  4. If you can’t solve the problem, or choose not to, I will do something.
  5. What I do, will depend on the special person, and the special situation.
  6. If you feel something is unfair, whisper to me “I’m not sure that’s fair, “ and we will talk.

Feel free to hang these sentences in your home somewhere and help your child/children know the language they will be hearing.  As I share with my staff, “practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent”.


We are excited about the direction of SMSA and that YOU are a part of it.  The “chance of a lifetime” is closer than you think.  Together, we can accomplish our school mission for our children, with the little deeds we do with great love.

God Bless,

Steven Kelnhofer

P3 – Grade 5 SMSA Principal


Stay tuned for a Message from our System President, Kelly Norton, in the August 30th edition.

A Message from the Campus Ministry Director - Kollin Petrie '07
Do you want to be a leader? Are you up for the challenge of following Christ and making a difference in the SMSA community and beyond?
SMSA Campus Ministry offers opportunities for middle and high school students to take leadership roles in the Liturgy, Peer Ministry, Sacred Music and Service.  We are now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Check out the links below to learn more details about each role and to submit your application.

To view the Campus Ministry Student Leadership roles description, please click here.

To fill out the Campus Ministry Student Leadership Application, please click here.


2018-2019 High School Service Requirements

Please click here to view the updated version of the Service Requirements for High School students.

News & Updates

Handbook updates for High School Parents from Dr. Julie Shively, Grades 6-12 Principal

Dear High School Parents,


It’s difficult to believe that we’re already a week into August!  Fall athletic practices are or will soon begin, and I know you are beginning to shop for school.  With that in mind, I would like to update you on a few changes that should positively impact your child’s day at SMSA.


The last eLedger updated you on academic changes we are implementing to help your child succeed.  These changes will bring consistency to instruction and help teachers better engage your child in the learning process.  This week, I would like to explain two non-academic changes that will also bring consistency and better engage your child in their learning.  Both are based on multiple discussions with my parent advisory groups, other parents, students and teachers.


The first policy concerns student cell phone use during the school day.  Last year, students were permitted to have their phones in class but could not use them unless specifically permitted by the classroom teacher for instructional purposes.  What I observed is that this policy was difficult to monitor and unevenly enforced, creating tension with both the teachers and students. Phones have become an extension of students’ hands and they automatically check and reply to their multiple social media communication during class.  In doing so, however, they disengage from the instruction and learning suffers. If a teacher “catches” them, often the first response is that another student wasn’t caught – probably true. The teachers and staff hope to eliminate the issue while re-engaging the students with the classroom community by disengaging them from their virtual community during class. In order to do this, we will instruct students to leave their phones in their lockers during instructional time, including study hall. Students may still access their phones during passing and their lunch time. Because we have increased the amount of tablets and laptops in the building for student use, the need to access phones for classroom instruction, assignments or review is eliminated.


The second policy change is a clarification of the dress code policy.  When I read the policy last year, I was confused regarding what tops/shirts the students could wear with the multiple outer combinations.  Because I was not clear, the staff and students were not clear, leading to inconsistent applications of the dress code. This was particularly true when students wore a piece of clothing underneath the fleece vest.  In talking with the parent advisory group, l learned, the original intent of the dress code. Now, I can clarify the language so the application will match the intent, while not imposing a significant financial burden on you.  In short, the Lands’ End SMSA polo (long or short sleeve) or oxford shirts are still the expected tops for the students. When they wear any SMSA vest, cardigan, or fleece that fully unzips or unbuttons, they may only wear a polo or oxford underneath.  This allows students to unzip/unbutton these outer garments while remaining in dress code.  If students wear an SMSA crew neck pullover sweater, v-neck pullover sweater, ½ or ¾ zip sweater or fleece, they may wear a blue, black, or white t-shirt underneath in lieu of the polo or oxford.  I am not changing the slacks requirement (slim fit or skinny pants are okay, skin-tight is not) and I am eliminating the ban on Crocs!


We sincerely hope that these updates and clarifications of student policies will help engage students more fully in their learning and bring consistency to their daily lives.If you have any questions regarding these policy alterations, please do not hesitate to contact me or Mr. Smith, Director of Student Life.


Updates for Middle School Parents from Dr. Julie Shively, Grades 6-12 Principal

Dear Middle School Parents,
The close of summer is upon us, and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing the halls filled with our students again!
In anticipation of their return, I would like to inform you of some changes to your child’s school day and schedule. We understand that the middle level years are unique. The young students are children when they enter sixth grade and teens when they leave for high school. We want to value both their uniqueness while pushing them to be ready for the next level; what a balancing act!
To highlight middle school as unique, we first separated their student handbook from the high school student handbook. While there will be a number of overlaps, for example with the dress code and school day expectations, their academics are different, as are some of the consequences. We are in the process of finalizing the MS Student Handbook for sharing, but wanted to let you know so you can look for it on the website. The only two changes we made to the high school and middle school dress code expectations is that students can only wear either a polo or oxford underneath a vest or a cardigan that zips or buttons – no t-shirts. They may also wear Crocs, which I know will make a lot of young people happy!
A significant separation of middle school from high school and elementary school is in the area of academics. Although last year the students’ classes met the minute requirements, I was not happy with how scheduling played out in your child’s daily life. Because electives were split into one, two or three days per week, some sections met more often than others, depending on whether the students had Friday off, an early release or a Mass day. In order to make classes meet more consistently, they needed to meet five days a week. However, because of the increased number of electives (see below) we could not fit them all into the traditional quarters. Voila! We changed the four terms into six and created trimesters! Now, all electives fit into your child’s schedule and they meet five days per week!
Speaking of additional electives, we heard you asking for World Languages in the middle school. However, we also needed to increase staff in the area of Theology. To fulfill both needs with one teacher, we shifted Ms. Petrie from teaching High School Theology to teaching eighth grade students Spanish and the seventh grade Theology, thus relieving Mr. McGalloway from teaching one grade of Theology, while exposing those who asked to learn about Spanish to do so. Ms. Horn is teaching German to those eighth graders who requested that language. This does not replace high school Spanish or German, but our hope is to expand the program to do so in the next few years, and include seventh grade as well.
I am also very excited to announce that all the middle school students will have a trimester for them to learn the engineering design process through a STEM curriculum. This is possible because of the switch to trimesters!
Lastly, I heard the concern that students were not mixed throughout their classes. Because we are aligning the middle and high school bell schedule and students have varying Math classes and different elective requests, the students will be more mixed in their classes! Ms. Fictum and I are in the final stages of scheduling the students, and will have them ready for the Open House later this month.
Needless to say, I am excited with the direction of the academics as we value student need for exploration into different electives, while keeping their schedules more consistent throughout the week.


NFL Sports Blitz Sweepstakes

Reminder!  NFL Sports Blitz Sweepstakes cards are due back no later than August 29th.  They can be returned to the Scrip Office anytime during Scrip business hours, or brought to our Open House on August 29th.  Need more cards!?  Additional sweepstakes cards are available at the Scrip Office during Scrip business hours.

Rules and Prize Information:
Your card purchase automatically enters you into a weekly NFL Sweepstakes for the entire season, and is loaded with great discounts including the Bucks, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and several Fond du Lac restaurants!  If your weekly randomly selected teams score the highest (or lowest score) among all other SMSA competitors, you instantly win a CASH prize!  Over $2,550 will be given away in cash prizes among our SMSA community over the NFL regular season.

Additionally, prizes will be awarded to the top student sellers and the class that sells the most cards will be awarded a special class trip.

This fundraiser replaces the long-standing SMSA magazine drive and is intended to get our students involved in supporting the development efforts of the school.  Proceeds will be distributed to the Athletic Booster Club (who purchases uniforms, athletic equipment, sponsors athletic buses for tournaments, etc), Parents of Performing Arts (who purchase equipment for our performing arts programs, support performances, etc), and also the Annual Fund (which bridges that gap between tuition and the operational costs of the school).  By having our students involved in fundraising, they too, are learning about the importance and impact of their efforts on the school.


August Family Packet

Watch your mailbox for the August Family packet.  This packet includes information on parking/busing, physician forms, emergency contact information, etc.  Please note, some of the included forms need to be turned in before school starts at our Open Campus event on Wednesday, August 29th.


School Supply List

Please visit the links below for your child(s) grade level.

P3 & K4 click here

K-2nd grade click here

3rd-5th grade click here

6th-8th grade click here

High School click here


Gym Uniforms

Gym uniforms are available for purchase at Hoppers Silk Screening (77 North Main Street).
K – grade 5 families, please purchase the blue SMSA gym shirt from Hoppers, you do not have to purchase the black SMSA gym shorts, you may provide your own black shorts.
Grades 6 – 12 families, please purchase the blue SMSA gym shirt and black SMSA gym shorts from Hoppers.

My Stop Online Bus Tracking App

The Fond du Lac School District, along with Johnson Bus Company, is excited to introduce and implement My Stop. My Stop is a GPS tracking app available for students that are eligible for busing and who ride the bus through the Johnson Bus Company.  My Stop can be downloaded to your iPhone or android device.

The My Stop app displays the school bus’ location on a map, as well as the estimated time of arrival to a specific student’s bus stop.  The location of the bus is automatically updated every few seconds.

Please click here to view a power point presentation to view how to download this app to your device.

For more information on this app, please click here.


Swing Fore Springs and Summer Fling - Thank You!-

A HUGE thank you to all of our volunteers, participants and everyone who took part in the silent auction.  You all make such a difference for our school and Catholic community.

With your support, we were able to raise a record $65,000 net profit (a 20% increase over last year).  We also achieved a new record attendance with 260 golfers and another 60 additional dinner guests!

Important Upcoming Dates

Uniform Exchange - August 9th

The Uniform Exchange will be held today, August 9th, from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Holy Family Parish Hall (271 Fourth Street Way).

Contact Mary Jaeger at mjaeger1111@charter.net or 920-960-7635 with any questions.


Life on the Ledge Event - August 17th

All incoming 6th graders, 9th graders and any new middle and high school students to SMSA are encouraged to join us Friday, August 17th at SMSA!  See your classrooms, meet your classmates, teachers and unpack supplies into your locker.  All students and parents will receive free admission to the football game vs Markesan that evening.

Excited to see you at SMSA for this wonderful event!

New high school students and 9th graders – 5 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

6th grade students – 5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.


Solemnity of the Dedication of the Chapel - August 20th

Save the date! On Monday, August 20th, we will be hosting our dedication to our Chapel of St. Mary: Our Lady of the Ledge.  This is an annual event held each year to celebrate the day our Chapel was first dedicated.  We encourage our SMSA community to join us in celebrating this joyous occasion.


FREE Catholic Herald Subscriptions for 2nd Grade Families - Deadline August 23rd

From now until August 23rd, the Milwaukee Catholic Herald invites families of 2nd graders to receive a free, one year, print and online subscription to their weekly newspaper.

For more information and/or to take advantage of this offer, please click here.


Jazz Band and Vocal Jazz Auditions - August 27th & August 29th

Vocal Jazz and Jazz Band Auditions are open to students in grades 9-12.  Please click here for more information on audition times and to download your appropriate sheet music.

Hope to see you there!


Open Campus- August 29th

All families/students should plan to attend our Open Campus event on Wednesday, August 29th, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.  Drop off your school supplies, meet your teachers, set up lunch accounts and turn in required forms.  This event is a great way to ensure the first day of school runs smoothly.


Costa Rica Spanish/Service Trip - deadline September 5th

There are 21 students and three parents signed up for the COSTA RICA SPANISH/SERVICE TRIP. Fundraising opportunities for this trip are on the way and there is still time to sign up if you would like to go. The deadline to sign up is September 5th!

Sign up today if you are intending to go, so you can get the full discount, please click here.
Please click here to view available payment plans.


Junior Ledger Basketball Club - September 11th

Fall is quickly approaching and that means it’s almost time for Junior Ledger Basketball time!

Please click here for information to register for the JLBC!


Scrip Summer Hours

What is SCRIP?

SCRIP is gift card fundraising.  When you join the St. Mary’s Springs Academy SCRIP program, you’ll be purchasing gift cards and gift certificates that are used just like cash.  You can use SCRIP to purchase everyday expenses like groceries, gas, clothing and other essentials. With every purchase, you earn tuition credit and revenue for SMSA.  A portion of the rebates you earn go into your SCRIP account and are used to offset your tuition costs at SMSA or any tuition-based school.  The remaining rebates are used to offset the operating costs of the System, thus SCRIP is a major fundraiser for SMSA.

Please contact Chris Gilles at cgilles@smsacademy.com with any questions regarding Scrip!


Scrip summer hours until August 17th:
Monday & Wednesday: 8 am – noon
Tuesday & Thursday: noon – 4 pm
Friday: Closed