Updates - April 2018

4/25/18 - Good News: Madison Selectmen Vote to Negotiate with OLM re: Island Avenue School

Dear OLM Community,


Thank you to all the families who joined us last night, and to all of the people who have supported us over the past few months. We are truly blessed to have your support.


Prospect for a Long-Term Location

Last night, the Madison Board of Selectmen voted to open formal discussions with OLM about the lease of Island Avenue School. The Board of Selectmen has appointed a two Selectmen negotiating committee to represent its interests in negotiations with OLM. These negotiations will likely take place over the next few weeks.


We are incredibly excited about this prospect for a long-term location for OLM Prep. We will share further updates on these negotiations as they become final and public.


Prospect for an Interim Location

As some of you know, Island Avenue School will not be available until the 2019-2020 school year. We are currently exploring a temporary location for our school during this interim year – 2018-2019 – while Island Avenue School is unavailable. We hope to announce the temporary location in the next few weeks.


As always, we will keep you updated with developments as we learn them.

Peace be with you.


The OLM Strong Team

4/19/18 - Tuesday 4/24: Madison Selectmen to Consider Lease to OLM Prep. Come to Support OLM!

Good Evening OLM Community,


In our search for a location for the future OLM Prep, we have proposed to lease Island Avenue Elementary School from the Town of Madison


At its meeting on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 PM, the Madison Board of Selectmen will be considering this lease.


The Board of Selectmen needs to hear that their constituents – you, the parents – support OLM Prep’s proposal to lease the school.


We need you to show your support for keeping the OLM School legacy in Madison. We urge you to voice your support – which you can do in a few different ways:


1.  Contact the Board of Selectmen (contact information can be found here).


2.  Attend the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 PM.


We hope to see you on Tuesday evening.


--- 

Blessings,

The OLM Strong Team


4/18/18 - Location, Hiring & Enrollment/Tuition

Dear OLM Community,


Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for OLM Prep. We appreciate all the feedback you’ve shared with us about the progress we’ve made, and where we should go next.


At our Parent Forum on March 28th, we shared that we’re continuing our work to keep Catholic education in Madison by forming an independent school. We’d like to give some progress updates.


Location

We are exploring several options in Madison to secure a building for the 2018-2019 school year and beyond. As many of you know, the Board of Selectmen in Madison has agreed to work with OLM Strong to find a local resolution. OLM Prep has submitted a proposal to the town to lease Island Avenue School.


We are hoping that a discussion of the proposed lease will be on the agenda for the next Board of Selectmen meeting, scheduled for 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 24. If discussion of the lease is on the agenda – which will be released tomorrow – we ask that parents attend the meeting to voice their support. We will be sure to let you know once the agenda has been confirmed.


Hiring Efforts

The OLM Strong School Board has formed a Hiring Committee charged with interviewing and recommending to the Board a candidate for principal. Members of the Hiring Committee include two superintendents who are currently serving in other, local towns.


The Board finalized and posted the job description for the principal’s position, officially kicking off the hiring process.


Enrollment and Tuition

In the next few weeks, we will begin the enrollment process for Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory Academy. We understand that all of this recent upheaval has been difficult for families, so we are offering a per-child tuition credit of up to $500 dollars. This credit is available only if you have already applied and put down a deposit at a different school for the 2018-19 academic year. 


School Board Updates

In addition to forming a Hiring Committee to begin the process of hiring a new principal, the School Board has formed other committees to advance the work of the school, including:

  • Finance Committee,
  • Curriculum Committee, and
  • Strategic Planning Committee.

We look forward to continuing to communicate progress as it develops. Please reach out with any questions, concerns or ideas.


Keep the Faith,


The OLM Strong Team

4/9/18 - Location Update: Madison Board Of Selectmen Vote Unanimously To Find Resolution For OLM

Good afternoon OLM Strong Community,


This morning the Madison Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to work with us to find a resolution for OLM Preparatory Academy in Madison. The standing room only meeting was a demonstration of the community’s support for our efforts to keep the school in town. Thank you for showing up and making your voices heard. It really did make a difference.


What’s next? The Board of Selectmen has received our proposal to lease Island Avenue School and needs to vote on it.  We hope that the vote happens at  their next meeting on April 23rd.


We are encouraged by today’s commitment from the Board of Selectmen to work with us, but our work is far from done. We will keep you informed as discussions with town officials continue but, in the meantime, please call or email your selectmen to let them know you want to keep OLM in Madison and support the current proposal.  You can find their contact information here.


We are thankful for God’s grace and for your support.

--- 

Blessings,

The OLM Strong Team

4/5/18 - Show Your Support– Madison School Location Available, Being Discussed by Board of Selectmen

Good Evening OLM Strong Community,


As we’ve shared with you, one of our priorities is to secure a location for the new school, Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory Academy (OLM Prep). We’re excited to share with you that we have a strong contender.


We have been considering our options, among them the Island Avenue Elementary School property, owned by the Town of Madison. The town had previously decided to close Island Avenue Elementary School. We have submitted an offer to the town to lease the school property as the new home for OLM Prep.


Now, it’s up to the town to consider offer. The Board of Selectmen will be discussing our proposal at its meeting on Monday, April 9 at 8:00 AM. More information about the meeting can be found here.


The Board of Selectmen needs to hear from you, their constituents, about this decision. We need your help to demonstrate to them that the community wants to keep OLM in Madison.


We urge you to show your support. You can do this in a few different ways.


1)  Contact the Board of Selectmen (contact information can be found here).


2)  Attend the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, April 9 at 8:00 AM.


If you have any questions, please reach out to us at olmstrong@gmail.com


Thank you for your continued support.

--- 

Blessings,

The OLM Strong Team

4/4/18 - New School Name and a Strong Financial Plan

Hello OLM Community,


First, we would like to say that we feel incredibly blessed to have your continued support. This community is one of the many reasons we are fighting to keep our school in Madison. Thank you for your hard work and your kind, supportive words along the way.


Second, we have another exciting announcement: our new school name. Based on parent input, the school will be called Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory Academy. Along with this new name, we also have a new school logo (pic above) that emphasizes our commitment to education founded on Catholic principles.


As we embark on this journey towards the new school, we are carefully planning for the future, including a robust curriculum – which we shared last week – and a comprehensive financial plan. Our financial mission is to make Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory Academy a long-term, financially sustainable school. As part of that mission, we are also committed to transparency around our finances.


To create financial stability, we have taken the following important first steps:


  • Established an initial Board of Directors and Officers of the OLM Strong Foundation;
  • Applied for non-profit status (501(c)(3)) for the OLM Strong Foundation;  
  • Formalized a legal structure to raise funds for and operate the school;
  • Raised $1.3 million dollars for school operations;
  • Opened a bank account for the OLM Strong Foundation with an initial deposit to establish and operate the school; and,
  • Created an accurate, detailed budget to clearly delineate costs and revenue of the school’s operation.

As you can see, we are making progress, and we want you to know how much we appreciate your continued support.  To see what we’ve accomplished so far, visit www.olmstrong.com.


If you have any questions, please reach out to us at olmstrong@gmail.com


We hope you’ll share this information with others in the community, too, and we look forward to updating you on the progress we’re making as we move forward.


Let’s keep working together to make OLM Prep the best in Catholic education.

--- 

Blessings,

The OLM Strong Team

Updates - March 2018

3/29/18 - School Name and Curriculum Announced at OLM Strong Parent Forum

Hello OLM Strong Community,


Last night at the OLM Strong Parent Forum, we gathered as a group to announce exciting new developments in our work to save our school. We know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting the results of these efforts over the last few weeks so we are thrilled to relay our progress, including our new school name, Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory Academy, and a detailed curriculum plan that will position our school as a leader in Catholic education. 


For those who were unable to join us last night, here are some highlights:

Our curricular mission is “To mold children into kind, thoughtful, and creative innovators, who have a thirst for knowledge and can synthesize their learning while spreading their Catholic faith.”


Our plans for the curriculum include a focus on:

  • God at the center of everything
  • Creating a rigorous academic culture
  • Educating the WHOLE CHILD: mind, body and spirit.
  • Exceeding the standards outlines by the National Association of Private Catholic Schools and Independent Schools, Common Core, and more.

The curriculum plans include an outline for each subject, which are summarize below. To see a full breakdown of OLM Preparatory Academy plans for each subject, view the full presentation from the Parent Forum attached here.

  • Religion integrated into all disciplines, with God at the center of everything
  • Technology will be a focus for teachers and a tool for students using Google and Apple technologies in the classroom
  • Coding curriculum will be taught to Pre-K – 8 and interwoven with math and engineering
  • Engineering curriculum will be hands-on and exceed technology and engineering association standards
  • Math will serve as a base and will be interwoven with other subjects
  • Science curriculum will exceed standards and will be project and inquiry based
  • English Language Arts curriculum will teach literacy as a base, bringing in different genres as well as scripture to enhance learning
  • Social Studies curriculum will focus on analysis and understanding, incorporating learning from Catholic history and histories around the world
  • Foreign Language will be taught a minimum of four days a week, striving for Spanish fluency by middle school
  • Arts education integrated into the classrooms, with a focus on drawing and painting
  • Music education with band, orchestral instruments and choir
  • PE/Health curriculum incorporating anatomy and nutrition, and including traditional sports and individual workouts

We will be sharing more news, including an update on our financial plan and perhaps most important, an update on where we stand with a location for the school. We are making progress.


As always, we appreciate your support. We hope you’ll share this information with others in the community too. Let’s work together to make OLM Prep the best in Catholic education. 


Also attached you will find a Donation Pledge Form for the OLM Strong Foundation.


We want to hear from you. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at olmstrong@gmail.com


Have a blessed Holy Week and keep the faith! 


Blessings,


The OLM Strong School Team

3/28/18 - Parent Forum

Hello Parents and Supporters of Our Lady of Mercy School in Madison,


TONIGHT, we are hosting an OLM Strong Parent Forum at the Guilford Community Center (32 Church Street, Guilford). Thank you so much for sticking with us while we continue to explore new options for our school. We’ve come a long way, and we still have some work to do. But the future of Our Lady of Mercy School in Madison is promising, and we’ve got some exciting updates to share with you tonight.


We will announce:

  • Curriculum outline
  • Our comprehensive business plan
  • Plans for a building
  • Teacher and administrative hiring process

When:  6:00 PM, TONIGHT

Where:   Guilford Community Center

32 Church Street, Guilford


We appreciate your continued support, and all the time and effort you’ve put into this cause. We look forward to seeing you tonight.  


Blessings,


The OLM Strong Team


Click below to view the power point presentation.

3/15/18 - Exciting News!

Hello Parents and Supports of Our Lady of Mercy School in Madison,


As many of you know, we’ve been working to find a way forward for Catholic education in the Town of Madison. If you’re getting this email, you agree that the decision to close OLM was the wrong decision for the community, and the wrong decision for sustaining Catholic education in our town.


So, we’re fighting back. Right now, we’ve got some exciting things underway to keep a Catholic school in Madison. Starting with this email, you’ll be hearing from us more and more frequently, via email, our website, Facebook, Twitter, and, soon enough, in person.


That’s right, we plan to ramp up our activities and to show strong support from the OLM community.


Keep your eyes out for more announcements from us, and make sure you stay involved.

Website: https://olmstrong.com/

Twitter: @olm_strong

Facebook: OLM Strong

Petition: https://www.change.org/p/archdiocese-of-hartford-save-our-lady-of-mercy-school-olm-in-madison-ct


Many Thanks,


The OLM Strong Team

3/5/18 - OLMStrong Response to Archbishop Letter

Dear OLM Families & Friends,


Please find our response to the Archbishop letter that was send out this weekend to the OLM families and distributed in the church bulletins.


#OLMStrong

3/5/18 - Contact Update & Mass

Hello Everyone,


As we transition into becoming an independent Catholic school, we want to make sure that our process is as transparent as possible. We need lots of help, and REALLY want everyone's input.

Please submit only ONE FORM PER PERSON (Ex: Wife fills out form; then husband fills out another form). We need to know who wants to help with what, and how to contact individual people. 


Click on link below:

https://goo.gl/forms/oeHGxLAUvEQsrLfY2

Most importantly, we do not have all of the contact information for everyone at OLM, in its alumni network, and/or its supporters, so please post this survey on your social media, or email it to people you think we are missing!


Also, on March 11, 2018, OLM families, alumnae, and supporters are invited to join us at the 8:00am mass at Our Lady of Grace Monastery in North Guilford.  For many of us, this transition has brought us much strife, but we have hope too.  We need God's grace now more than ever.  


Please consider attending mass with us at this very special place to pray that God' will is done and that His Holy Spirit will comfort and strengthen us during this tumultuous time.  All are welcome.


Thank you very much. And may God's will be done, and His Holy Spirit be upon you all.


"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." - Matthew 18:20  


#OLMStrong

3/2/18 - Update / Petition

Dear OLM Families and Friends,


Thank you for all of the support and encouragement that we have received from many of you with regards to our efforts to save our school.  We are excited to see that so many of you understand and endorse our movement to ensure the viability and strengthening of Catholic schools on the shoreline.  As such, we will continue to share additional details and updates about our mission.


As our outreach continues, we wanted to inform you about the petition that we have started and ask that you share it with all your friends, family members and everyone who is interested in saving our school #OLMSTRONG.


Link to the petition is here:  https://www.change.org/p/archdiocese-of-hartford-save-our-lady-of-mercy-school-olm-in-madison-ct


In addition, we wanted to give you an update on the expanded membership of the OLMStrong Vision Committee  and inform you that our team continues to grow, and right now spans 20+ individuals that are trying to preserve and protect Our Lady of Mercy School.

Many of these individuals are former OLM Board and Vision Committee members as well as current and former parents of the OLM students.


Our efforts are continuing and we will provide additional updates with more news in upcoming days.


#OLMStrong

Updates - February 2018

2/22/18 - It has been done, It can be done and It will be done!

Dear OLM Families & Friends,


OLM Strong remains committed to working with the entire Catholic community to forge ahead with its “New Path to Preserve Catholic Education” by establishing an independent Catholic school in the Madison/Guilford area.  This path is a new and exciting way to transform, solidify and invigorate Catholic education for generations.


We urge everyone to check out this 2013 PBS segment about the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s choice to have 21 parish/diocese schools go independent, managed by a non-profit organization, Faith in the Future.  By March 2017, instead of the schools losing $6,000,000/year, they had modest surplus, and fundraising had increased from $12,600,000 in 2012 to $19,400,000 in 2016  (http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Op-Ed--A-Brighter-Future-for-Area-s-Catholic-Schools.html?soid=1115492688902&aid=8IdmNFOIrCo).


It has been done, can be done and will be done.


Our resolve remains undeterred and strong…#OLMStrong!

2/20/18 - Over 1mil Raised - Thank You!

Dear OLM Family and Friends,


We have some exciting news to share!

As we discussed at the OLMStrong Parent Forum on Feb 7th, we were confident that we would be able to raise funds through private donations to help secure the future of an independent catholic school in the Guilford/Madison area. The pledges we have received so far have exceed our initial goal of $500,000 and are in excess of $1,000,000 and we are receiving more pledges of support on a daily basis. This overwhelming response confirms our position that there is both a significant desire and backing for a local catholic elementary school serving our community.


We plan on holding another parent forum in mid March and will share a detailed update on the  academic, financial and business plans. More to come on this and other events that are being planned.


Thank you to all for your continued support and prayers as we work together to build a new and sustainable model for elementary catholic education.


OLM Stronger than ever!


#OLMStrong

2/16/18 - OLMStronger than Ever

OLM Families & Friends,


While we fully understand that the communication from Sister Jacqueline Marie as revealed and communicated by the pastors may dampen the spirits of some of you about the possibility of OLM Strong’s efforts, we remain united and forward-focused on ensuring that OLM has a vibrant future.


“OLM Strong” is not merely a catchy slogan. It represents the true essence of the OLM community of students, parents and alumni who seek nothing more than to continue, strengthen and grow our Catholic education along the shoreline.


Remember that it was through the determination and efforts of Vision Committee members, who are now part of the OLM Strong movement, that we previously secured a six-year extension from the Sisters of Mercy. We feel that we will have the same results when we are able to directly present our plans for a new path to preserve Catholic education to the Sisters of Mercy. OLM Strong intends to continue to approach the Sisters of Mercy locally and build on our previous positive discussions about OLM’s future in the near future and beyond.


Be assured, we are not going anywhere. 


OLM Strong is viable as a stand-alone Catholic educational institution.


OLM Strong will continue to assemble professional plans and concrete steps to PRESERVING Catholic education in Madison.


OLM Strong will continue to seek improved dialog with our local Sisters of Mercy, pastors and the Archbishop. There must be a solution that reflects our faith, enhances our parish relationships and places the highest value on the best interest of our children and community.


#OLMStrong...now, more than ever.

2/15/18 - Time for change in Catholic Education

Families & Friends,


Although we originally said we didn't see the need to respond to the "FAQ's" that the pastors sent out last week after the parent forum,  we realized we should set the record straight and clarify for full transparency our answers as well. 


Be informed. 


Know the Truth.


Click on the link below for Response Document


#OLMStrong Vision Committee 

2/14/18 - Update

Hello OLMStrong Family & Friends, 

 

We wanted to inform you all that the OLMStrong Vision Committee met on Monday and we are moving forward as planned. In the world we live in today, we need more Catholic education than ever before.  We have spoken to the Catholic sponsorship and are now going to schedule a meeting with the Archdiocese of Hartford. We have also received significant financial pledges. Sub-committees are in the process of being formed. Please be on the lookout for an email from one of our vision team members.  


In the meantime, please keep reaching out and advocating on behalf of #OLMStrong and send your messages to the Archdiocese of Hartford and Archbishop Blair to keep our school open.   


Here's a message from one of our OLM Parents who Tweeted to Archbishop Blair, "Your Grace, we, the Parents of Our Lady of Mercy school in Madison, CT, would like to as you to please hear us out. You haven't been given the full/correct information about our school. We can help make Catholic education stronger on the shoreline. #OLMStrong".  And most importantly, please pray for us.  His grace will help us succeed in our mission to revitalize Catholic education.


Just in case you missed it, here are two greats articles on our Parent Forum #OLMStrong.  


https://www.zip06.com/news/20180213/our-lady-of-mercy-community-rallies-to-keep-school-in-madison 


http://www.shorelinetimes.com/news/olm-parents-seek-to-create-independent-catholic-school-branford-not/article_c232a588-691e-5d48-b155-46b06a376529.html   


#OLMStrong Vision Committee

2/7/18 - Parent Forum

Thanks to all the families who came out last night to support the #OLMStrong effort. 


We had over 100 people at the meeting and the community energized this movement beyond our expectations.  


We are excited about the community resolve in maintaining the OLM tradition of educational excellence and Catholic education in our communities. Also, special thanks to the first selectman of Madison and Guilford for their support. 


Our goal is, and has always been, to construct a path forward which solidifies the success of Catholic education along the shoreline.  Based upon all data that we have collected over the last 2 years, we are confident that our suggested plan for OLM gives Catholic shoreline education the best chance to not only survive, but, more importantly, thrive. 


We don’t believe it is constructive to get into a back and forth with the pastors as this will distract from our focus on forging ahead. However we thought it would be useful to stress that all the financial detail that was provided in the update has been considered in our business plan for the go-forward position and we are happy to clarify any information presented in today’s communication from the pastors.   


#OLMStrong