Saint Mary’s School of Sagada
July 23, 2010

Dear Parents, Students, Alumni, and Friends:

Greetings of peace from St. Mary’s School!

Sir Fau, our principal, is in Calauan, Laguna, to conduct a two-week training for elementary school teachers in the resettlement area of ABS-CBN Foundation there. Mr. Daniel Thalkar, the Peace Corps Volunteer assigned in Sagada, and Mr. Daniel Ambasing, our PE teacher here in SMSS, are with him. They went there to help design a scheme which the school will follow to be able to teach the pupils more effectively. The average number of pupils in a class is one hundred twenty in that school. We believe that through them, SMSS will have an impact to more lives. The team is expected to be back in Sagada on August 2. For the past years, SMSS had been working with ABS-CBN Foundation in training teachers with the goal of laying down models which others can follow such as the Betty Go Belomonte Elementary School experience, the English Summer Institute and the Ambasing Elementary School experiment. These outreach activities are parallel with our motto: “Adi tako bokodan di gawis” (Let us share what is good).

Tim Boulton, a Biology Teacher of International School of Manila, visited SMSS last July 9 (Friday). He observed our science teachers in the morning, had a talk with them in the afternoon regarding his best practices as a teacher in Biology and then conducted a two-hour workshop to all teachers in the evening regarding assessment practices in line with Understanding by Design or UbD. With his workshop, the faculty members have a clearer vision now of how assessments will be done to measure knowledge, understanding, application and dispositions for self-learning. We had a wonderful time with him and he promised to be back next year to conduct a formal training for our teachers. We are truly blessed to have him.

Last week we had the parent-teacher-student (PTS) conferences for the first quarter. As we know, the PTS conferences here in our school happen three weeks before the exam to give the students time to assess and possibly raise their grades for the quarter. We have a different format this quarter. The students and the parents gathered in the auditorium for a workshop before they went to their homerooms. In the workshop, the freshmen said that first year high school is very different from elementary because the subjects are more challenging. They have to be more focused in their studies rather than spending most of their time playing. The sophomores want to be given more freedom but the parents said that they have to earn it by assuming more responsibilities. The juniors went over the NAT results last year together with their parents which they compared with their current grades. The seniors and 5th year students received a copy of their grades since they were in first year, the NAT result when they were in second year and the result of the interest test conducted by the guidance office. They are required to use the data in filling out the career worksheet given to them. Parents, it is important for you to complete this with your child. Please sit down with them and talk about their career plans. Please accomplish the form and submit it to the guidance office together with the interest test result. For the parents who were not able to come last week, please make an appointment through the school’s mobile number 09199854083.

The stakeholders of St. Mary’s School had a busy day last Saturday, July 17. In the morning, the fund raising group of the Student Financial Assistance Committee had a meeting on how to raise funds for the tuition fee of academic scholars and financial grantees of the school. The team is chaired by Mrs. Nellie Pit-og, the vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees. The task of the fund raising group was later expanded to include raising funds not only for the scholarships but for the school in general. It is now the Board’s Financial Committee which is to be chaired by the incumbent chairman, Mrs. Pit-og. She also heads the sub-committee on student financial assistance. Engineer Rufino Bomasang chairs the sub-committee on faculty chair to cover the positions of the librarian, guidance counselor, chaplain and science and math curriculum director. Engineer Virgilio Bucat, on the other hand, is in-charge of the marketing and asset development. The officers of the local chapter of the alumni association convened immediately after the board meeting.

The board approved the following joint proposals of the Finance Committee and Student Financial Assistance Committee:
  • The financial assistance program of the school, in form of academic scholarships and financial grants, will be applicable to qualified 5th Year students, to be administered in accordance with the guidelines and procedures established by the Student Financial Assistance Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees.
Rationale: As Board Policy on age requirement for graduation at SMS takes effect this school year, students taking the 5th Year program should have access to financial assistance given to lower year levels. Academic scholars, including back door scholars, who maintain the required grades, can thus avail of the same scholarships as in prior years. Likewise, those who comply with the conditions and requirements for financial grants will also be eligible.
  • Recipients of direct financial assistance from the school, in forms of academic scholarships and financial grants, will reimburse the school the amount of financial assistance received during their tenure at SMS, if they withdraw from the school. The principal, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, shall exercise the discretion to determine and accept the validity of the reasons for withdrawal, and make recommendations to the Board for a policy waiver on the policy.
Rationale: Academic scholarships are granted to those who rank in the top ten of the scholarship exam. Likewise, financial grants are awarded to those who demonstrate academic potential and financial need. Since funds are limited, applicants are ranked and prioritized. Whenever a student avails of financial assistance, someone on the list is displaced and precluded from receiving financial assistance.

In granting scholarships and financial grants, the school makes a commitment to financially support the applicant until he/she finishes the program. Corollary to this, students and their parents should also live up to their commitment to the school, by abiding with the school’s rules and regulations, and more importantly, by accepting its programs and activities. Should the student/parents breach this agreement, it is justifiable to charge the parents for whatever financial assistance that they have received from the school.

Possible Scenarios for waivers:

  • Students are asked by the school to withdraw for disciplinary reasons
  • Students are asked by the school to withdraw for unsatisfactory academic performance
  • Students lose their scholarships or financial grants due to discipline or unsatisfactory academic performance, and do not have the financial means to stay on at SMS.
  • Prolonged illness
A contract stating the terms and conditions of the financial assistance will be signed by the student, the parent, and the school, starting and effective this current school year.

The subject area teachers per year level convened this week to determine if we are giving too much homework to our students. We plotted the activities for the past week and we found out that the number of assignments given is reasonable. Their major assessments are usually given two to four weeks ahead of time but it seems the students do it only the day before the due date. We appeal then to the parents to monitor the study habits of their children.

In preparation for the exams on August 5-6, there will be a moratorium of all school extra-curricular activities starting on Saturday, July 24. The library and the computer lab will be open on July 24 and 31 for those who need to research and encode their papers.

To avoid surcharges, I would like to remind the parents to visit the school regarding your children’s tuition and other fees. The business office is open from 7:25 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday.


The following article is written by Jenny Dalnesa Calang-ad Bicarme, our guidance counselor. She is from Demang, Sagada and an alumna of SMS, Class ’97. She graduated from Benguet State University with a degree of BSE major in Guidance and Psychology in 2001. She is married to Joel Bicarme of Isabela and they are blessed with a son.

Thinking about my everyday routine struck me with the realization that I am guilty with. It may be simple but it means a lot.

We wake up early and rush into accomplishing things. We are always preoccupied with all the things that need to be done. We have household chores to finish, we have to run an errand, we have to do this and that before leaving the house… and yes, our school homework is still on the table.

We have lots of things to attend to. We also have our so called social obligations that are taking most of our time. We budget our time into accomplishing all things that we think needs our attention the most. We seem to be very busy and always running out of time. And we always forget to allot time to the most important thing that we should prioritize.

We can work for hours; we can be with our friends for not just a single hour; we can tend to our personal things for as long as we want. But have we ever realized that we seldom give time to pray and talk to God? We seldom thank Him for all the things that He is doing in our life; for giving us another day to live, for His guidance, for His protection and His providence of our needs. For all the things we consider simple but are deemed impossible without Him.

We seem not to realize that He is always with us even during times that we are happy and feeling fulfilled. We tend to ignore His presence at times that we are feeling complete. But in the contrary, we seek Him and call His name at times that we are feeling down and deserted. We call on Him when we feel weak and in need of help and protection.

Haven’t we realized how unfair we are? Let’s not wait for any misfortune to happen before we talk to the Almighty. Let us spend some time with Him everyday just like the ways we spend time in all the things we have to do. He is ever faithful to us, never leaving us even if we keep on ignoring Him.

Let’s keep our faith strong. GOD BLESS EVERYONE!!!

Jenny Dalnesa C. Bicarme

  • First Quarter Exams (August 5-6) -- Moratorium on all school activities starting July 24.
  • 2nd School Dance (August 13) from 4:00 – 9:00. Details will be published later.
  • HS PTA YCAP (Saturday, August 14)
  • Ninoy Aquino Day on Friday, August 20
  • Dap-ay Launching and Intramurals on August 20-21
  • National Heroes Day on Monday, August 30
  • Summer English Institute Follow-Up Workshop for Mountain Province teachers (August 28-30)
Matago-tago tako am-in!

Assistant Principal

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