Friday, March 31, 2017

Skype in the Classroom

On March 21st,  Mrs. Lynn Curello and the members of her Business and Personal Finance class spent thirty-five minutes skyping with Jean Chatzky, a finance expert who has her own podcast titled "Her Money" and is often a guest of the Today Show.

Students asked questions such as "How much should we be saving with a part-time high school job?" and "What spending mistakes should teens look out for during high school and college?" Ms. Chatzky was very interesting and helpful in her responses and students were very excited about having the opportunity to speak with her.

We are finding that Skype is a wonderful tool to use in the classroom and the technology opens the world to our students through new experiences.  On April 19, we will have our Exploring the Universe class and Astronomy club students skyping with Brother Bob Macke, the Curator of the Meteorite collection at the Vatican Observatory in Rome.

Tech Tigers Win!

Congratulations to our TechTiger Robotics' team whose alliance came in first place at the New England Waterbury District FIRST robotic event on March 5.  It took careful planning and work to rise to this level!  They are prepared for their next competition in Hartford, CT on April 1st and 2nd.  Then, a few days later, leave for the New England District Championship, April 5 - 8 in New Hampshire.  Good luck ladies!!

Girls in STEM

We will be bringing a group of Mercy students to the Microsoft store at the Westfarms Mall next week, to participate in a local DigiGirlz event being held there.  We are pleased to take advantage of the opportunity to expose our young women to career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and practice coding.  I recently viewed Microsoft's video introducing their new campaign #MakeWhatsNext, to bring more girls into STEM fields.  After I watched the video, I thought to myself, "This is what we do at Mercy - it's who we ARE!" Helping young women achieve their dreams.  

See if you agree!  

NCWIT Award Winners

NCWIT is the National Center for Women and Information Technology which is an organization of more than 700 universities, coporations, non-profits and government organizations that works to increase women's participation in computing and technology.

All three young women are active members of the TechTigers team and participate in many other school activities.

Upcoming Events:

  • April 10 - 17 - Spring Break, classes resume April 18
  • April 22 - Mercy Color Craze - Register to run a 5K and join in                   the fun!
  • April 26 - Crowning of Our Lady

Friday, December 2, 2016

Library Club and Junior Classical League Skype Event

On November 3rd two of our clubs joined forces to host a Skype event with author Lesley Livingston.  Ms. Livingston is the author of Young Adult novel, The Valiant.   Students had the opportunity to hear about the research and writing process as well as ask questions and gain insight into the publishing world.


Members of the Astronomy clubs of Mercy and Xavier came together on the evening of Friday, November 18 to take in the night sky.  Using flashlights and car headlights, members walked to a field behind Xavier away from the city lights.  The evening was clear and the temps not too cold as students used binoculars and a telescope to get closer looks at the planet Mars and various star formations.  This is an event that all agreed, should be repeated.

Video/Announcement Board

One of the new advancements that has come with the renovation of the cafeteria is our new media board.  Daily announcements are projected each day during the lunch periods.  The hope is that the board will also be used for large group video viewing and skype events.  Be sure to take a look when you are at Mercy for one of our many events!

Fake News

We have been hearing a great deal recently about the growing presence of “Fake News” in places like Facebook and Twitter.  It is important that our students develop a critical eye as they search the web for information.  A recent posting by Common Sense Media,
 is helpful by suggesting questions students can ask in order to discern which news stories are indeed true and which fabricated.  Common Sense Media is a non-profit organization which I have found useful with its review of educational applications and informational articles.  Click Here to view the article.

Upcoming Events:

December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Modified Schedule for School Mass

December 8 & 9 – Mercy/Xavier Drama Production, The Crucible

December 10 – Middletown Exchange Concert at Mercy, 7:00 p.m.

December 14 – Mercy Winter Concert, 7:00 p.m.

December 19 – PJs for Peace collection – If a student brings in a $5 donation or Pajamas for a homeless teenage girl she may wear her own PJs that day. 

Christmas Break – Wednesday, December 21 thru to Monday, January 2nd.  Classes resume Tuesday, January 3rd

Have a Blessed Christmas and Joy-filled New Year.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dedication of New Spaces

On Thursday, October 27, we celebrated the completion of our newly renovated spaces.  Bishop Cote came to preside over the dedication of those spaces with the celebration of Mass and blessing of the new rooms.

The first space completed was the new and improved weight room which supports all our Mercy athletes.

Next is the Tiger Den where students are able to study before and after school and collaborate on class projects.

There are two walls lined with outlets and shelving to allow for the charging of student devices, a much needed improvement!

Above is the original "old gym" or "multipurpose room" from which we were able to create....

A new multipurpose room AND....

A beautiful music room which will allow for Skype events and music recording!

The newly renovated cafeteria is beautiful and has also been equipped with charging shelves and a 2 X 2 media screen!

One other improvement that cannot be seen but is felt is the installation of air conditioning in the Auditorium as well as the Tiger Den, Cafeteria, Multipurpose Room and Music Room.

We are grateful for all who contributed to make these renovations possible.  


Mercy has purchased a school subscription to Grammarly, an online grammar checker.  It checks for adherence to grammar rules, contextual spelling mistakes and plagiarism.

Students who wish to use Grammarly need only go to the following website and use their Mercy e-mail account to create their Grammarly account.

Grammarly Account Creation

Students may upload documents at the Grammarly website for review OR they may download the Grammarly application onto their devices.  

For students with Windows devices, Grammarly may be downloaded as an "add-in" to Word and Outlook programs.  For those with Apple machines, Grammarly can be used as an application only.

Please use this very valuable resource and if any student has a question, just see me for assistance.

Open House

If you know of anyone with daughters in the middle grades, please invite them to attend our Open House which is taking place this Sunday, November 6, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Grandparents Day

I will just end with a few pictures from Grandparents Day, held here on Tuesday, November 1st, which was also All Saints Day.  What a wonderful way to initiate use of our new spaces!

Upcoming Events:
  • November 4:   Walk-a-Thon
  • November 11:  Veterans Day - No Classes
  • November 12:  Class of 2021 Entrance Exam - 8:00 a.m.
  • November 15:  National Honor Society Induction Ceremony
  • November 21:  Thanksgiving Pie Baking - 5:30 p.m.
  • November 23 - 27:   Thanksgiving Break

Monday, October 3, 2016

Opening of School Technology Resources

What a great start to the year!   Our entire student body is utilizing Office 365, accessing teacher webpages at Edline and parents can now check their daughter’s grades online on a regular basis.  Students are also utilizing the expanded resources that come from online textbooks and websites.

Office 365

Each student at Mercy receives an Office 365 account with her admission.  With this account comes their school e-mail address as well as five free downloads of Office 2016 for their school and home devices.  Office 2016 includes:  Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Skype, Publisher and One Drive. 

To access this resource, students need only sign in to  using their school e-mail address and ID#.  The online applications for Office 365 and the link to download the Office Suite is there.  If any students have any questions concerning Office 365, they should see me to assist with the set-up.

Michael DePalma from Microsoft with teachers learning about Windows 10.


Each student and parent also have Edline accounts which allow them to access teacher, club and activity webpages.  Teachers use Edline to post homework, test and quiz notices and items that might have been distributed in class.  Many teachers post their PowerPoint presentations that have been used in class so that students may review them. They also are able to post website links that could be helpful to students.

Sample Edline page - teacher Lynn Curello's Technology Fundamentals class page

If any student or parent has not yet activated their Edline account, please contact the main office or e-mail me at and we will send you your activation code.

Grade Access – MMS

This year we have expanded what is available to parents at the MMS Parent Portal.  When parents go to the list of their daughter’s courses, they can now click on that course and see the itemized list of assignments with grades earned for that class as well as the current average.  We are very excited about the increase in information that can now be shared through this portal. 

Directions for creating your parent account to sign in to the MMS Parent Portal can be found on page 16 of the Student-Parent Handbook  You will also find there, the dates throughout the quarter when teachers will have updated their gradebooks. The next grade posting date is Friday, October 7.

Online Textbooks

With more students bringing devices each year, the options for textbooks have expanded.  The number of ebooks that are now in use across the curriculum has grown.   This year we switched to a new vendor for textbook purchases, K12 Direct.   New to the process was the ability for students to create accounts and have the courses they were registered for appear with the needed textbooks.  There is also now an e-library where students go to obtain the information needed to access their digital textbooks. 

Students are now accessing digital materials smoothly and I am hearing reports of an appreciation for the added resources that come from the online texts.  Subjects such as Mathematics and the Languages in particular are enjoying the added video, audio and practice components that come with their texts.


Our School Counselors have been meeting with students and taking time in classrooms to make sure all have started the school year in a strong way.  They also make sure that students are utilizing the program Naviance to assist in their career planning and college application process.  

Important information regarding how parents might also log in and use this program to assist their daughter in the college search process can be found at the Mercy website:  

Upcoming Events:

October 6 – Retreat Day
October 7 – Special Schedule for Walk-a-thon Kick-off
October 10 – Columbus Day – No School
October 14 – Faculty In-service Day – No School
October 18 – Senior Class Trip
October 19 – PSAT Testing Day
October 22 – Yellow Rose Auction - Click Here for Ticket Info
October 27 – Dedication of New Spaces – Special Schedule
October 29 – Junior Ring Dance – 8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Interstellar Space Travel

Mercy women do not stop learning, even during the Spring Break!  On Tuesday, April 19, members of the Mercy Astronomy Club attended the Wesleyan University Sturm Lecture featuring Dr. Mae Jemison.  Her lecture was entitled:  “Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential”.  Dr. Jemison is a medical doctor and the first African-American woman in space. 

Her most recent project is the 100 Year Starship  .  This organization promotes the realization of human interstellar travel within the next 100 years.  Her inspirational address emphasized the need for collaboration among all disciplines to make that type of travel a reality.  Planning for a trip that would take lifetimes means answering questions like:  What will they wear? What will they eat? What would be the social/political implications? Faith implications? She also related the fact that humans will benefit in the present through this planning for the future.

Figen Agis '17 with Dr. Mae Jemison


On Thursday, April 28, eleven Mercy students from Mrs. Lynn Curello’s Computer Applications and Technology Fundamentals classes, attended the DigiGirlz event hosted at the Microsoft Store in the Westfarms Mall.  The featured speaker at the event was Ashley Stone, business owner and entrepreneur.  Ms. Stone spoke with students about finding their passion in life and following it.  She encouraged them to be open to the possibilities and opportunities that are presented to them as they pursue their careers.  

Ms. Stone’s business is Beauty Entourage.   She spoke with students not only about her company, which provides hair stylists and make-up artists who will travel to you for your special event, but also about the building of the website and app which enhanced her business and services. 

The next activity of the day was led by Mr. Michael DePalma of Microsoft.  Mr. DePalma led the students in an "Hour of Code" activity which saw them writing code to move an avatar through obstacles and levels of play  

The day was a great mix of learning technological skills as well as seeing an example of how those skills can be used in their lives.

Upcoming Events

  • AP exams will be administered from Monday, May 2nd to Thursday, May 12.

  • Ascension Thursday Mass will be celebrated on May 5th.  This will also be the last Mass during the school day for the Class of 2016. 

  • Progress Reports will be posted online on Wednesday, May 11th after 3 p.m.

  • The Spring Concert will take place on Wednesday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m.

  • The Annual Mercy Art Show will take place from May 2nd to May 20th.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tech Tigers Award Winners!

The weekend of March 4-6 our Tech Tigers Robotics Team found themselves at Wilby High School in Waterbury competing at the FIRST 2016 Waterbury District Event.  Nearly 40 schools from Connecticut and Massachusetts participated with our own Tech Tigers winning the Entrepreneurship Award which recognizes their very fine business plan. Congratulations!

To see the Hartford Courant article on the weekend competition click here:  Tech Tigers

Find pictures of the event below:

Useful Educational Applications/Websites

As more of our students are bringing their own device to use in class, students were surveyed to see what apps they found most helpful for their work.  I would like to share with you some of those applications that they find useful as well as some others that come highly recommended.

Quizlet:  One of the most used applications at Mercy this year has to be the app “Quizlet”.  Quizlet enables students to create electronic flashcards and then finds many creative ways for students to study them!  Click here for Quizlet

OneNote: Students receive OneNote as part of the Office 365 Suite that they have free access to here at Mercy.  Students may also download the OneNote application for free so that it is available across their many devices!  In OneNote, students create digital notebooks where they can take notes, save pictures, powerpoints and webpages.  Click here for OneNote

Khan Academy: Many of our students noted their use of Khan Academy as a place where they go for reinforcement of information they learned in class.  It is a site with short tutorial videos in all subject areas and is a helpful resource for students at all levels.  Khan has also begun to offer SAT prep assistance, partnering with the College Board.  Click here for Khan Academy

Desmos:  Students mentioned that they used this graphing calculator application. Click here for Desmos.  Another interesting app that might be helpful in mathematics is Geogebra.  Click here for Geogebra

Myhomework:  For students who need help in keeping organized, we had students state that they were using this planner app which helps students to keep track of homework.  Click here for myhomework.  Another planner application that is recommended is mystudylife. Click here for mystudylife.

Easybib:  To assist with the writing of bibliographies, some of our students are using Easybib. Click here for Easybib.  Also helpful with the writing of papers is Grammarly, which reviews student papers for any grammatical errors.  Students can find the link to sign in to our school Grammarly account here:  Edline.

Upcoming Events:

Mother – Daughter Mass and Brunch Sunday, April 10.  For more information and to register, click the link here:  

Class of 2018 Ring Measurements will take place on Wednesday, April 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Progress Reports will be posted online on Wednesday, April 13 after 3:00 p.m

Spring Break:  There will be no classes April 18 to April 22nd.

Senior Prom is Friday, April 29 from 6:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.  There will be no classes for Seniors on that day.  The Junior Prom will be the following day on Saturday, April 30 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Astronomy Club Trip 

On February 24 -28 I traveled with Ms. Gianna Iannucci, Mercy science teacher and twelve members of the Mercy High School Astronomy club to Tucson, Arizona.  Tucson and the surrounding area is known as a prime spot for star-gazing and is the location of the University of Arizona and the Vatican Observatory.  We were privileged to meet with Vatican astronomers and also experience some of the culture of the area.  

Traveling with us was Patricia Bellm, the Co-Director of the Science and Religion Initiative of the Institute for Church Life at   University of Notre Dame.  Ms. Iannucci and I met Mrs. Bellm at a summer institute we attended with Ms. Jean Pepitone, at Notre Dame in the Summer of 2015.  At that summer institute contacts were made, which enabled us to plan this trip where students experienced first hand the relationship between science and faith.

Following are some pictures of our days in Arizona:

Day One:  We visited Flandrau Planetarium and explored the University of Arizona campus.

Day Two:  We visited the Mission San Xavier del Bac and then did some star gazing with the telescope and then binoculars at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Day Three:  Meeting with Dr. Brenda Frye, astronomer, of the University of Arizona, Skyping with Mrs. Bachenheimer's Physics class back home and tour of the Mirror Lab.

Day Four:  We visited the Mineral Exhibit at the Flandrau Planetarium, toured the University of Arizona with their admissions office and Skyped with Fr. John Braverman, SJ, who teaches at the St. Joseph's University in Pennsylvania. In the evening we attended Mass at the University's Newman Center and met with Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ and Vatican astronomers at the office of the Vatican Observatory.  We shared pizza and visited the remote viewing room for the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope and Skyped with Fr. Boyle at the Vatican Observatory on Mt. Graham. We then did some star gazing using the Steward Observatory telescope with the assistance of Vatican astronomers Fr. Paul Gabor, SJ and Fr. Chris Corbally, SJ.  What a night!


Picture of Jupiter through the telescope!