It is the mission of St. Mary School of Milford, Connecticut, to provide a nurturing and challenging environment which encourages children from prekindergarten through eighth grade to grow in faith and knowledge. The school integrates Catholic beliefs with a strong academic curriculum. The goal of the school is to prepare its students to become citizens who live the message of Jesus by serving others.
"Live the Message of Jesus"
The purpose of Saint Mary School is to educate the whole child through programs encompassing the development of the students. We provide a strong moral fabric that students will carry with them through the rest of their lives. This enables students to become contributing members of the school, parish, and community.
St. Mary School recognizes the individuality of each student and strives to develop a well-rounded Christian personality. This will be reflected in a wholesome attitude and a respect for self and others as exemplified by Jesus in the Gospel.
As a staff, we believe in a gospel-rooted educational environment, where students experience Christian community service, and are encouraged to integrate faith and Christian values into their daily lives, which provides them with a healthy attitude which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
To that end, we strive to work in cooperation with parents to develop a climate of Catholic educational excellence and a curriculum that is relevant to daily life.
St. Mary School is a Catholic elementary school, under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Hartford, serving Milford and surrounding towns since 1961.
In 1960, the pastor of St Mary Parish, the late Rev. Joseph F Collonan, responded to the needs of the Catholic population of the City of Milford by initiating the building of St. Mary School. Within a year, an eighteen-room school building was constructed. After securing the services of the Sisters of Mercy and providing a Convent for them, St. Mary School opened in September 1961 with 252 students enrolled in Grade 1-3. Each succeeding year saw the addition of an advanced grade until 1966, when the school was a fully functioning Grade 1 through 8 school that graduated its first class in June, 1967. Later, the school added a Kindergarten class.
During 1970’s, a part-time physical education teacher was added to the staff. In 1986, an art teacher was hired for the first time and a music teacher in 1987. Responding to the needs of the parents of our community, the late 1980’s saw the addition of a preschool program. An extended day after school program was established during the same time to help of working parents. Reflecting the need to teach students the technological skills they would need in the 21st century, a computer teacher was added to the staff in the 1990’s. In 1996, the kindergarten program became full day. In 2004 a Child Study Consultant was added to the staff to help classroom teachers with teaching strategies necessary to help individuals experiencing difficulties. In 2007 a full day option for our four year old preschoolers was added. At present, grade 6 through 8 are departmentalized to utilize the expertise of the teachers and to better prepare the students for high school.
In the area of technology, the entire building was wired and connected to the internet in 2003. In the summer of 2007, a state of the art computer lab and server were installed. This enabled the entire staff to communicate by email, thus improving teacher/parent communication. By 2009 all classrooms were equipped with new computers and the school began to fully implement electronic grade books for the teachers and electronic report cards. Also in 2007, the school contracted to use University Program (name changed to “Global Academics” in 2009) to provide ongoing teacher inservice in the area of technology integration.
Foreign Language was first introduced in the school in 1996 when the eighth graders began taking Latin. Spanish was incorporated in the primary grades in 2001 and extended to Grade 7 in 2004 and Grade 8 in 2011. Math classes in grades 7 and 8 will be grouped by ability with some in each grade taking pre-algebra and some taking algebra. Literature is taught to the advanced Language Art students in grades 7 and 8. Although a Science Room was in place, it was improved in 2000 with plumbing and increased electrical access. Lab tables and equipment were also provided to give opportunities for students to do experiments, dissections and other hands-on activities. St. Mary School has consistently adapted and updated its curriculum and program to meet the needs of its students and community following the guidance provided by the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools. In 2007, the school began to utilize the new curriculum guidelines of the archdiocese, including criterion and referenced based assessment.
Over the years there has also been an expansion in the school’s offering of extracurricular activities and intramural sports. We are now able to offer more than 40 extracurricular activities annually. The gymnasium floor was replaced with new state-of-the-art flooring, and other improvements to the plant have been made to enhance such activities. Smartboards are in every classroom, iPads were purchased for use in the lower grades, and Chromebooks are now used in the upper grades. Another noteworthy addition is the vast expansion of our prekindergarten program. We have had such significant demand that beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, we opened a second full-time prekindergarten 4 class, and will have over 50 graduating prekindergarten four students in 2023.
The Convent, where the Sisters once resided, is now used as our prekindergarten, and also houses the offices of our Director of Marketing and Enrollment, and Prekindergarten Director. Today the prekindergarten offers many program offerings including part-time and full-time classes.
Over the years staffing has changed from a school completely staffed by Religious to, in 1995, a school completely staffed by the laity, including a lay principal in 1991. The teaching staff today includes 21 full-time classroom teachers, 3 part-time classroom teachers, 5 specials teachers, and 7 teachers' aides. In our Resource and Learning Center, we have both Reading and Math Specialists who are able to screen and work with students who may have additional educational needs. We also have a full-time school nurse that is provided by the Milford Health Department, as well as a School Therapist available to help and work with students.
Early in its history, the students of St. Mary were provided the option of hot lunch by volunteer parents of the Home School Association. By 2004 an outside caterer was contracted to prepare daily meals. In 2012 online ordering was introduced, and meals were provided by local restaurants & served by parent volunteers. Today, we have an in-school caterer, who both cooks and serves up hot lunch daily. Parents are able to login to their individual accounts and order from a vast array of hot lunch options. Every day students have the option of ordering a hot lunch entree, a sandwich, a salad, or a fruit and yogurt parfait. Additionally, snacks are offered for sale daily!
Parents play an important role at St. Mary School. Through an active and vibrant Home and School Association, parents volunteer in countless ways such as room parents, lunchroom volunteers, and for events such as our Carnival, Elf Store, Breakfast with Santa, Trunk or Treat, Father-Daughter Dance, Pie and Cookie Sales, and more! In the area of fundraising, the H.S.A. currently raises over $110,000 yearly to help offset the cost of tuition.
Security is constantly being improved here on campus. Under the guidance of the Milford Police and Fire Departments, our school works vigorously to keep maintain a safe learning environment. New locks, closed circuit television, use of two way radios, practice drills, and ongoing training are just some of the steps being taken. All doors are locked during school hours with a call box and video surveillance. All staff must wear identification and use pass keys, while visitors must sign in and wear security badges.
In 2023, we engaged the services of a security consultant to further bolster security. This has resulted in almost $100,000 in improvements made to security in 2023 alone!
The Development Committee of St. Mary School initiated an Annual Fund in 1998 to offset expenses and fund enrichment programs. More recently referred to as Advancement, this included special gift giving, auctions and the revitalization of the school database to include alumni, former parents, benefactors and other friends of the school. An endowment fund has now been established.
In 2022 and 2023, we revitalized Advancement further to include ways of engaging our current school community meaningfully through non-fundraising social events. We also implemented new fundraisers directly benefiting the school and annual appeal, including a restaurant week, new monthly restaurant nights,
In 2013, the school hired a Marketing and Advancement Director, now known as the Director of Marketing and Enrollment, Mrs. April Bryant. She implemented numerous and significant changes that helped the school to grow immeasurably. When she retired in 2022, Mrs. Emily Lucibello, a local lawyer and school parent, was hired in this position. Under the leadership of Deacon Dominic Corraro, and through the work of these two Directors, enrollment has increased every year, with 2023-2024 welcoming over 400 students - far more than enrollment has been in almost 20 years!
In 2009, the Archdiocese of Hartford, through a grant from a generous patron, contracted Catholic Alumni Partnership to work with our school. By 2010, through CAP, we have been able to update our alumni data base and greatly improve our communication with and identification of alumni and other potential donors.
In 2010, the Finance Council of St. Mary Parish began to work closely with the Board’s Budget Committee in order to ensure that sound business and financial practices were being employed, as well as ensure that those practices were in line with the Archdiocesan Chancery and Office of Catholic Schools policies and procedures, and to make recommendations to the Principal and Pastor as to how those practices can be strengthened. The secondary, but perhaps equally important bi-product of this new relationship will be to strengthen the bond between the school and parish.