Saint Mary’s School of Sagada
August 8, 2010

Dear Parents, Students, Alumni, and Friends:

I am glad to be back after a sojourn into Calauan, Laguna, where I spent over two weeks observing and training public school teachers and administrators in ways to better deliver educational services to students. The Oscar M. Lopez Dayap Elementary School (OMLDES) was only created in November 2009, to service the children of relocated families coming from squatter areas. So far, around 5,000 families are now residing in the NHA Resettlement Site in Calauan, Laguna. The relocation site contains relocated families from the Pasig River clean-up, the Marikina and Pasig victims of Typhoon Ondoy and Peping, and others from the Makati area. Another thousand families are expected to be relocated within the next two months through the initiatives of the ABS-CBN Foundation headed by Gina Lopez.

A week before I arrived, there were only 8 teachers assigned to 1,800 students in this newly established school. Class sizes reached as much as 120 students in each section. Each teacher taught double shifts in teaching, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, with only one hour lunch break. By the time we arrived on July 19, 6 more teachers were hired, thus lowering class sizes to atmost 80 students in each section, although teachers still taught 11 hours per day. My objective was to find creative ways and means to address the huge class size and alleviate the teaching overload of teachers, until the proper staffing can be stabilized in accordance to DepEd guidelines. Secondly, as envisioned by Gina Lopez, OMLDES needs to be developed into model school which can serve as a template for delivering quality education in the entire nation despite all the adversities. It was a challenge I could not refuse. The challenges faced by SMS, Ambasing ES, and Betty Go-Belmonte ES are “peanuts” compared to those of OLMDES.

I accepted the challenge to prove that the strategies I used into developing SMS and the other model elementary schools like Betty Go can work, given the proper support from the private sector like ABSCBN Foundation, the Peace Corps, and other philanthropic organizations, plus the positive attitude and willingness of teachers and community members. I and other volunteers like Daniel Thalkar and his Peace Corps colleagues have given and will continue to render our services for free. Consulting for OMLDES is my counterpart for the blessings given by ABS-CBN Foundation to SMS, AES, Sagada, and now the entire Mountain Province.

Meanwhile, other ABS-CBN assisted projects in store include the English Institute Follow-Up Seminar this coming August 28-30, to be hosted at SMS. We expect up to 69 Mountain Province teachers who attended the institute last summer to participate in the follow-up sessions in English proficiency in oral communication. A second event would be the Festival of Arts, to be held the third week of October, a joint endeavor of DepEd Mountain Province Division, SMS, and ABS-CBN. Finally, in the summer of 2011, the 2nd Summer English Institute is scheduled to address written proficiency in addition to oral communication in English for Mountain Province elementary school teachers. With the advent of SMS being #1 in NAT for high schools in the Mountain Province, we hope to share our blessings with our colleagues in a common endeavor to make Mountain Province # 1 in the nation (at least in English!).

Thanks to Mrs. Lite and the faculty and staff for looking after the school during my absence, everything went smoothly.


Our students hurdled through the 1st Quarter exams on Thursday and Friday, August 5 & 6. The faculty is currently on task checking papers in order to have report cards for distribution by next week.

For Deacon Andres Pasian, our school chaplain, August 6, 2010 will forever be embedded in his life
history, as he was ordained on this date as a priest in Otucan, Bauko. (I guess we’ll have to stop calling him “Deacon” and start addressing him as “Padi!” Members of our faculty were able to catch up with the celebrations in Bauko after the last exam last Friday. Padi Pasian is back to work this week, sporting a new cropped hair cut, without a tonsure. Congratulations Padi! I’d like to invite the whole SMS family, including the parents, to join us this coming Friday, August 13 (is this an ominous date?) for the school mass at 7:30, which will be his first Eucharistic celebration for the school as chaplain.

Congratulations also to the parents who took time during the parent-teacher-student conferences.
Unfortunately, attendance among parents of students in higher level students (3rd & 4th Year) was low, compared to those in 1st and 2nd Year. Moreover, those who attended are the parents who regularly attend school functions. Does anyone have any suggestions to get these absentee parents to get involved in the lives of their children?

Four 5th Year and nine 4th Year students took the UPCAT exam in Bontoc on Saturday, August 7. Other seniors have deferred taking the exam until next year. Please note that successful passers of entrance exams to UP, BSU, SLU and other universities may defer enrollment for two years.

The Kindergarten Family Fun Day was held this past Sunday, August 8, at the school theater. In spite of the gloomy weather, the attendance was wonderful. Everyone enjoyed the parent-child games and, of course, the sumptuous array of pot-luck dishes. Thank you SMS Kindergarten parents, and thank you for the work you did two weeks ago during your YCAP day!


The 2nd School Dance will be held this coming Friday, August 13, starting at 4:00 p.m. As this is
intended to be a parent/child dance, only parents and/or designated adult guardians will be allowed to attend this affair. Non-SMS students, younger siblings, cousins, and friends are not invited. We would like to enlist your cooperation on this matter to prevent the recurrence of last year’s tragic incident, whereby a non-SMSer used our school dance to secure permission to leave her home with disastrous consequences. An invitation has been sent out. Parents and/or guardians need to confirm their attendance through the confirmation slip to be submitted by Friday morning.

The format of the school dance will be as follows:
4:00 p.m. SMS students must be on campus at this time. Potluck items may be stored in the homerooms.
5:00 p.m. Program presentations will commence thereafter in the auditorium. Parents are welcome as part of the audience. Parent-Child Dances will follow.
6:00 p.m. Potluck dinner in the homerooms. (Everyone is expected to bring a little extra to share with others in their homerooms. Please bring your own utensils).
7:00 – 9:00 2nd Quarter PTA meeting in the Library. School Dance for students continues in the auditorium.
9:00 p.m. End of Dance; parents need to escort their children home. For those concerned, please arrange for your own transportation.

Instead of scheduling a separate meeting later in the quarter, the PTA officers have scheduled the 2nd Quarter PTA simultaneously with the school dance. The agenda includes future PTA plans, the results of the Board Meeting, and more specifically, the plans for the PTA YCAP day which is scheduled on August 14.

Other Important Dates:

August 20-21 (Fri-Sat)           Dap-ay Launching and Intramurals
August 23 (Monday)              Ninoy Aquino Day (no classes)
August 23 (Monday)              Assessment Workshop for SMS Teachers
August 28-30 (Sat-Monday)   English Institute Follow Up Seminar in oral communication in                         English for public elementary school teachers in Western    Mountain Province
August 30 (Monday)              National Heroes Day (no classes)

P.S. Our condolences to the Killip family for the untimely demise of Francis Killip (SMS Class 68), one of the strongest supporters of his alma mater. Our thoughts and prayers go with him as he joins his Creator. We miss you Francis and thank you for all you’ve done!

Dennis G. Faustino

Nemia Lite
Assistant Principal

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