Message from the President
A new academic year dawns upon us, and promises of a schooling season filled with learning moments lie ahead. Let us walk together this year, heeding the advice of the apostle Paul to the Colossians (2:2-3) when he writes: "My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." As we begin the 2023-2024 academic year, may we embrace open minds and soft hearts to the wonders of the Lord through an SMA education.
This past May, the SMA School Board Inc. approved our transitional strategic directives for St. Mary’s Academy, as we move forward with strong faith and sound future over the next two years. The overarching and reflective framework of Preparing the Way: A Culture of Community Leadership highlights three core pillars here at St. Mary’s Academy – Learning, Faith and Service. I look forward to sharing and unpacking our strategic directives together with our community stakeholders, as we pave the way towards a visionary 2025-2030 plan.
Over the summer, our Foundation Board Inc. mobilized our dedicated facilities team, who were hard at work to ensure our students have a safe and maintained building. The third and final phase of the windows project was completed, the restoration work has begun on our Mother Mary and Blessed Baby Jesus statue thanks to the help of grant funds, and our campus canopy received attention to manage the Dutch Elm disease identified on some of our trees.
We are so pleased to welcome close to 70 new Grade 7 students who will begin their St. Mary’s Academy journey together with us this September. In total, we will have 139 new students joining the SMA family this year. In the true spirit of our SNJM roots and SMA sisterhood, we eagerly anticipate our work together.
For the 97 of our Grade 12 students, this year will be their final one, and they will bid adieu to the familiar hallways, faces, and moments of 550 Wellington Crescent. As they walk through the rituals of saying goodbye, we reflect on their growth and development throughout their time with us here at SMA, and take comfort in knowing that the foundations they have formed here with us will prepare them for a fruitful life ahead.
A heartfelt welcome is extended to all our families and students, whether joining us for the first time or returning. As our students set forth on this new academic year, may they find joy in connecting with friends, embracing new challenges, and growing in wisdom and faith. Whether a student is stepping into a familiar classroom or exploring new horizons, know that the SMA community is here to support you every step of the way. We look forward to witnessing the remarkable contributions you will make to our school's legacy of Learning, Faith and Service.
Message from Senior Leadership Team
We extend a warm welcome to everyone as we begin a new school year. We are blessed to be a part of your daughter’s educational and personal journey.
A new school year resonates with fresh beginnings, the anticipation of new experiences and untold adventures on the horizon. Throughout the year, your daughter will set new goals, develop a deeper sense of her own gifts, and discern how to share those gifts with others. We look forward to witnessing her celebrate her accomplishments as she continues her journey with confidence, resilience, and hope.
This year, our school community is called to respond to the question “Where do I Belong?”. This question will permeate all areas of school life and will guide us all to reflect and to articulate who we are as a community, as People of God, and how we live in community with one another.
It is our goal to work in partnership with students and their families, our faculty, and our extended staff to create an innovative and challenging learning environment. Working with the best interests of our students at heart is foundational to our team. As we uphold the legacy of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, we strive to share the gifts given to us by God. Our sincere appreciation to families for allowing us all to share those gifts with your daughter. We look forward to welcoming you all to celebrate our school community at events throughout the coming year.
We encourage you to take the time to review the first 14 pages of your daughter's SMA agenda, which she will receive on her first day of school. It contains general school information, important policies and protocols, academic programming overviews, assessment and reporting information and items pertaining to school life. We also encourage you to read this Newsletter and familiarize yourself with the information.
September promises to be a busy and invigorating month and the upcoming school year promises to be filled with many blessings for us all. Welcome to all as we begin a new school year together filled with promise and growth.
Together in the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary,
Michelle Klus, Carol-Ann Swayzie, Lorne Hess
Theme for the 2023-2024 School Year
Every school year we embrace a guiding theme that is rooted in faith and presented in the form of a question. This year our theme is: Where Do I Belong?
Throughout the school year, our classrooms, clubs, and activities will be platforms for exploration of the theme. Through prayer, events, and personal reflection, we will collectively and individually seek answers to the question. The question applies to all of us, from all faith traditions. Our exploration will not only involve asking the question but also reflecting on our actions and seeking wisdom from those around us. As we strive to grow in our faith, we may find that the central question leads to even more and deeper inquiry.
The theme is beautifully complemented by a Bible verse from Matthew 18:20:
"Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."
This verse encapsulates the spirit of unity and faith that will guide us through the year, reminding us that we are never alone in our quest for understanding and belonging.
New Student Orientation Session
Wednesday, September 6
Students from grades 7 to 12 who are new to St. Mary’s Academy will participate in the orientation session. Orientation begins with a warm SMA welcome in Alumnae Hall. Uniforms are not required. Please do not bring school supplies.
8:40 AM to 9:00 AM: Arrival and sign-in. Students enter through Alumnae Hall doors.
9:00 AM: Welcome in Alumnae Hall.
9:15 AM: Students meet with their teachers.
10:00 AM to 12:30 PM: Students participate in orientation tours and a Mission and Charism Community session.
12:30 PM: Departure. Students will exit through Alumnae Hall doors.
*Note: the Corner Store will be open from noon until 1:30 PM (see ‘Corner Store’ heading below)
First Day of Classes
Thursday, September 7
Students will find their homeroom allocation posted in the Sheila Chipman Atrium (posted at 7:30 AM)
Opening exercises begin in homerooms at 8:35 AM
Day 1 of the school day cycle
Please refer to the heading below regarding drop-off and pick-up zones and traffic flow on our grounds.
Click here for our handbook with important information about our policies and protocols, academic programming, assessments, evaluations and reporting, and school life. This handbook is also found in the front section of the Student Agenda.
Student Agenda, Lockers and Locks
The student agenda, lockers and locks will be distributed on the first day of classes. The agenda includes the school calendar, general school information, policies and protocols, and student information. All student locks are issued by the school. If returning students have lost their lock and require a new one, the cost for a lock is $8 and can be purchased from Mrs. Ross at the 10:30 AM break during the first week of classes.
School Supply List
Teachers assign textbooks to students and each assigned textbook is the responsibility of the student. In June 2024, students are responsible for returning assigned textbooks. In the event a textbook is not returned, a replacement fee is required.
Drop-off/Pick-up Zones and Traffic Flow
Ensuring the safety of pedestrians and maintaining a smooth flow of traffic are important at SMA. As our grounds can become quite busy, it's essential to pay close attention to the designated drop-off and pick-up zones to guarantee student safety. We kindly ask you to refer to the second and third images on our campus webpage at www.smamb.ca/about/campus, and familiarize yourself with our ‘drop-off and pick-up’ zones. Please remember that our grounds are a no-idle zone (turn your vehicle off when you are waiting).
Important General Information
Call SMA’s Reception office at 204-477-0244. A complete list of faculty and staff is found on our website at www.smamb.ca/contact.
Reception and School Office Hours
Reception Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
School Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
The school calendar is found on our website at www.smamb.ca/events/calendar. The calendar lists assessments, exams, deadlines, activities, events etc. for students and parents. It also shows the day of the school day cycle. The calendar is downloadable to smart devices.
Browse our online campus map at the following address, www.smamb.ca/about/campus. Hover over the red areas for an explanation of the location.
PowerSchool is our online student information system for attendance, assignments and marks. On Orientation Day on September 6 all new students will receive a letter with login information (both student and parent login information). A link to PowerSchool is located along the top red bar of our website www.smamb.ca.
SMA publishes a bulletin daily for students. The bulletin provides information relating to classes, faith life, clubs, activities, sports etc. The bulletin is found in PowerSchool. Access to PowerSchool is found along the top red bar of our website, www.smamb.ca.
Throughout the school year, SMA emails a Communiqué to parents and students on the last day of each school week. Important information is in this communication. Be sure to check your email and if you do not receive the Communiqué, contact Mrs. Jill Boulet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-477-0244.
In addition to this newsletter, SMA publishes a newsletter in the fall, winter and spring. The newsletter highlights learning, clubs, athletics, events and more. It is emailed to parents and is also found on our website at www.smamb.ca/news/newsletter.
Purchasing SMA’s Uniform
SMA’s student uniform is sold online at www.topmarks.ca. Find out more information about online ordering on our website at www.smamb.ca/student-life/school-uniform. Our Corner Store sells gently used uniforms. The Corner Store will be open on Wednesday, September 6 from Noon to 1:30 PM.
The Corner Store sells SMA branded merchandise, gently used uniforms, and treats. Debit and credit are the preferred methods of payment. The Store is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the lunch hour (12:30 PM to 1:30 PM). The Store is also open during the New Student Orientation on September 6 from Noon to 1:30 PM.
Academy Bistro provides SMA’s cafeteria service. Academy Bistro will be open on the first day of classes. Menu and online ordering are available at www.academybistro.ca. Students are encouraged to pre-order their lunch online to guarantee items. Hours of operation are 9 AM to 1:30 PM every school day. Please contact Academy Bistro at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to purchase a gift card.
SMA on Social Media
Important Upcoming Dates
Celebration of the New School Year
Friday, September 8 at 2:00 PM in Alumnae Hall
Our community will gather to celebrate the new school year with Mass of the Holy Spirit. Full winter uniform is required. Parents are welcome.
Tuesday, September 12
Parent Welcome and Information Session
Tuesday, September 12 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Further details will be published in the weekly Communiqué.
Grade 12 Reflection Day
Wednesday, September 20
Flames High School Hockey
Grade 9 to 12 students who are interested in trying out for the Flames High School Hockey team are invited to tryouts in September. There will be a meeting for all interested students once school begins, more information will be provided in early September.
On-ice Tryouts take place at the hockey for all centre as follows:
- Tuesday, September 12 at 4:30 PM
- Thursday, September 14 at 4:30 PM
- Monday, September 18 at 4:30 PM
- Wednesday, September 20 at 4:30 PM
Anyone with questions is asked to contact Ms. Nicole McGlenen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flames Prep Hockey
SMA's Flames Prep Hockey Team started their pre-season training camp on August 8th.
Following is their game schedule for the month of September:
- September 14 to 17: The Prep team will be in Ontario for the Stoney Creek tournament
- Saturday, September 23: The Prep team will travel to Pilot Mound for regular season game
- September 27 to October 1: The Prep team will be in British Columbia for their first Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) Showcase Tournament weekend
Anyone with questions is asked to contact team manager, Mrs. Carol-Ann Swayzie, at email@example.com.
St. Mary’s Academy’s Flames Cross Country team is training. The following practices are scheduled:
- Saturday, August 26 at 10 AM: at Westview Park (aka Garbage Hill). Meet at the south entrance.
- Tuesday, August 29 at 9 AM: at SMA
- Thursday, August 31 at 9 AM: at SMA
- Click here to see the schedule for September onward.
Cross Country is open to all students from grades 7 to 12 regardless of experience or skill level. Anyone with questions is asked to contact Mr. Demetro Danyluk, Athletic Director & Cross Country Coach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Parents’ Guild
All parents and caregivers of SMA students are members of the Parents' Guild and are encouraged to be active participants. The Parents’ Guild organizes activities and events throughout the year to provide services, host events and activities, raise funds, and give parents, students and staff the opportunity to come together as a community. Parent volunteers are an integral part of SMA and add to the vibrancy of our community. All volunteer time commitments, small or large, make an important difference. There is a wide range of volunteer opportunities that fit different talents and availability. Volunteer participation is welcome and encouraged whether it is for roles with set times and tasks, or for a particular event or activity.
Find out more about the Parents’ Guild at
SMA is pleased to be in our second year of offering a partnership program with the Manitoba Conservatory of Music & Arts (MCMA). This partnership provides an opportunity for SMA students to receive individual music lessons from highly qualified MCMA instructors conveniently on our school campus.
How does it work?
- We offer lessons in voice, violin, piano (classical or contemporary), guitar, and ukulele. Other instruments may be added if there is enough interest.
- Lessons will take place after school from 3:45-6:45 at St. Mary’s Academy, from October to June, with no lessons during Christmas Break or Spring Break.
- MCMA supports and encourages performances for students at recitals and in the community through their Music Equals program, an outreach arm of the MCMA. SMA students are invited to participate in their performance opportunities.
- Registrations may be accepted throughout the academic year according to availability.
More information and how to register will be emailed to families in the weekly Communique early in September.
Bring Your Own Device
In our technologically advanced world, integrating technology into the classroom is vital for students to develop digital literacy skills and adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape. Recognizing this importance, SMA is implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy starting September 2023 for grades 7 and 8, with future integration across all grade levels. This policy empowers students to use their own laptops or tablets which will enhance their learning experience and promote interactive and collaborative learning. By embracing BYOD, we aim to foster a more dynamic and engaging educational environment, equipping students with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital age.
Kendra Lê, English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, emphasizes the significance of BYOD, stating, “Having students bring in their own devices will allow them to interact with, and navigate, different Learning Management Systems such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive daily. This will build the student’s comfort level with technology by learning to store and access documents in the cloud. In addition, it will promote greater participation in the classroom with the ability for anonymous polling and the sharing of documents. The learning will also become student-driven with more opportunities to collaborate. Students can create and design projects using web-based sites such as Minecraft, Twine, and ThingLink and other sites like Edpuzzle, Actively Learn, and Nearpod. This will greatly enhance the classroom experience and scaffold learning for students.”
Nicole McGlenen, Science and Social Studies teacher concurs, “Integrating technology within the classroom will enhance the student’s ability to work creatively and collaboratively in engaging and immersive learning environments. Technology in our classrooms allows for hands on cross curricular learning activities while teaching students safe technology use.”
Two grade 7 students, Chloe Render and Vivenne Siwak, who will be immersed in BYOD in their grade 8 year, express their positive views on this advancement. Chloe states, “I really prefer online work than paper copy because it helps me stay more focused and organized. Also, I think it will really help save the number of trees we are wasting.” Vivenne adds, “I like doing online work more than paper work because its very efficient, you can take the work anywhere and you can do it anywhere, it’s easier to keep track of everything, and it makes it easier to review and study.”
No software needs to be purchased as access to the full suite of Microsoft Office 365 apps will be provided by the school using the students' school Microsoft Office 365 account.
In September, teachers will communicate guidelines and policies to grade 7 and 8 students regarding the use of devices in the classroom to ensure they are being used for educational purposes. SMA will provide training to students to ensure that devices are used effectively to enhance the learning experience. SMA’s Information Technology department will be available to provide advice or assistance on any technology issue related to BYOD onboarding, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and Office 365 accounts. However, the IT department will not be responsible for troubleshooting or repairing hardware issues.
SMA is thrilled to embrace BYOD. Integrating technology into the classroom opens endless possibilities for engaging and collaborative learning experiences. With students using their own devices, we are empowering them to enhance their digital skills and thrive in the digital age. We are eager to embark on this digitally infused educational journey with our students.
From the Advancement and Alumnae Office
Homecoming is quickly approaching on Saturday, September 16. Homecoming is a much loved annual gathering that brings together alumnae and all of the SMA community. Details are as follows:
Commemorative Years Brunch: Doors open at 9:30 AM, brunch from 10 AM to Noon
SMA welcomes and celebrates the following classes for reunions: Classes of 2013, 2003, 1998, 1993, 1988, 1983, 1978, 1973, 1968, 1963 all alumnae from 1963 and earlier. Also welcome are Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and current and former staff.
Brunch is catered by The Gates on Roblin. Tickets are $40.00 each and available at www.smamb.ca/events/homecoming. Former faculty and staff receive a reduced ticket price, to purchase your ticket please contact Alexis Wolbaum '12 at 204-560-6923 or email@example.com.
Alumnae Association Annual General Meeting: 11:45 AM in Alumnae Hall | All alumnae are welcome
Mass: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM in Alumnae Hall | Everyone welcome
Touring and Tea: 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM | Everyone welcome
Visit booths at the Service Fair with local organizations in attendance, participate in a scavenger hunt around the school, catch-up with fellow alumnae and teachers and enjoy tea and light snacks.
Anyone with questions about Homecoming is asked to contact Ms. Alexis Wolbaum '12 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-560-6923.
Homecoming 2022: Class of 1957 - 65th Reunion
Marian Awards Gala
At St. Mary’s Academy Foundation, our purpose is to raise funds to help enhance your child’s educational experience while at SMA. This upcoming October, the Foundation will be holding its largest fundraising initiative, and we are looking forward to seeing you all at the Marian Awards Gala www.smamb.ca/events/marian-awards. The Gala will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2023 at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Marian Award recognizes alumnae and friends who model service and excellence in all facets of their daily lives. This year we are pleased to honour Connie Magalhaes. Funds raised from this special evening will go to enhance innovative teaching and learning for young women at SMA, and support our sustainability as a forward-thinking school for young women. The introduction of new technology, along with upgrading existing technology will ensure learning opportunities to promote creative hands-on learning for our students.
This evening is sure to bring in funds to support the much-needed enhancements to our young leaders learning experiences, and it will also be a wonderful opportunity for parents to meet and mingle with each other and the St. Mary’s Academy community.
If you should have any questions about the Marian Awards Gala or the Foundation, please contact Kaylene Kessler, Advancement Manager, at email@example.com.