Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find that we have answered your most frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact us, as we are happy assist you directly.



Does St. Mary’s have a school handbook?

Yes. It is located on the left side our “Apply to St. Mary’s” page.


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What time do classes start and end?

St. Mary's School of Piscataway is in session from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on full days and from 8:00 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. on early dismissal days. The main entrance doors open at 7:45 a.m. Students should enter the building through the main entrance and report to their homeroom.


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What is the best way to find out what’s going on at my child’s school?

Please visit our Parent’s Corner. There you will find our latest communications, which are specifically for parents/guardians.


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What is your absence policy?

When a student is absent from school, a parent must call the office by 9:00 a.m. each day of the absence. Please notify the school immediately of all infectious or communicable diseases.

Parents/Guardians must send a written note communicating the reason for the absence to the homeroom teacher. You must do this immediately upon return to school. Parents must sign the note and in addition, specify the dates of the absence. We require a doctor’s note for student absences of three days or more.

When a student has been absent from school, it is the responsibility of the parent (primary grades) or the student to personally check with teachers to determine the work the student has missed during the absence.

You may arrange to obtain class assignments and homework by contacting the school office before 9:00 a.m. for pickup between 3:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.  A sibling, friend, or another student may obtain the assignments for the student who is absent.


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What is your tardiness policy?

Punctuality is of the utmost importance in child training. The school day begins at 8:00 a.m. Teachers will mark students not in their classroom seat and ready to start the day when the 8:00 a.m. bell rings  tardy. 

* Carpool drivers arriving after 8:00 a.m. must park in a designated parking space in the school parking lot, enter the building through the main entrance, escort the student(s) to the office, and sign the student(s) in to school. At no time should you park vehicles directly in front of the school.


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What is your early dismissal policy?

For the protection of all, we do not permit students to leave school grounds during school hours unless a parent or designated adult has signed them out in the office.

In the event that it becomes necessary for a student to leave school before the regular dismissal time, parents must submit a written request, stating the reason, to the office. We will not grant any child early dismissal after 3:00 p.m. on full days or 11:45 a.m. on early dismissal days. The parent or designated adult must come into the office and sign the child out. We do not permit the parent or designated adult to go to the classroom. A school official will escort the child to the school office.

If the child returns to school during the same school day, the parent or designated adult and the child must report to the office. The adult must sign the child back in before the child can return to class.


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Does St. Mary’s have an enrollment cancellation policy?

Parents agree that in signing the yearly Financial Agreement that the financial obligation is for the entire academic year. If there is withdrawal/termination of enrollment on the part of the parent, St. Mary’s School will warrant consideration for release of financial obligations or refund only in extreme circumstances. St. Mary’s will not refund or release you from financial obligation for any quarter, or portion thereof, in which your child has been enrolled. We require prior written notification to the principal for all withdrawals.


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What if my child has special learning needs?

St. Mary’s School of Piscataway has a philosophy of inclusion for all children whose parents wish for them to receive a Catholic School education provided the school is able to meet the child’s educational needs with reasonable accommodations. This philosophy is consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church in viewing children with learning differences as children of God and members of the Church.

We require parents of children with learning differences to work collaboratively with the administration and the Student Assistance Team. This includes providing the school with the child’s educational, physical, and psychological testing results, reports, and recommendations, and allowing school personnel to consult with outside professionals regarding recommendations. We ask that parents work with the administration and the Student Assistance Team to locate funding and resources to provide appropriate accommodations.


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What is St. Mary’s stance on class work and homework?

Students need to complete class work assignments in the manner and by the date assigned by the teacher. It is the responsibility of the student to take home all class work papers in order that parents may be aware of their child's progress.

Homework is an essential part of the learning process. Therefore, homework is part of the academic evaluation of the students. The completion and subsequent submission of homework assignments is the responsibility of each student. Teachers assign homework as a reinforcement or extension of the daily program. Students need to complete homework assignments in the manner and by the date assigned by the teacher. It is the parent’s responsibility to supervise their child's homework. As the child becomes older, the major responsibility should shift to the child. Yet even with older children, we expect  some parental supervision. Parents should emphasize that study and reading are as essential as written work.


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What are the recommended homework time allotments?

  • Kindergarten: 15 minutes (Monday through Thursday)
  • Grades 1 & 2: 30 minutes (Monday through Thursday)
  • Grades 3: 45 minutes (Monday through Thursday)
  • Grades 4 - 5: 60 minutes (Monday through Thursday)
  • Grades 6, 7, & 8: 60 - 90 minutes (Monday through Thursday, possibly Saturday)

See our student handbook for more details.


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How is grading and distribution of report cards handled by St. Mary’s?

During the school year, we issue report cards quarterly to keep parents informed of their child's achievement. Teachers base each student's grade (appearing on the report card) on the student's daily performance, class work, homework, quizzes, tests, projects, reports, and class participation.
We distribute report cards for the 1st Quarter during the parent/teacher conference. For the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Quarters, we distribute them through the weekly family envelope.

Kindergarten students receive a report card in January and at the close of the school year.

Parents must sign and return report card envelopes to the school office by the date requested. The signature on the report card envelope serves only as an acknowledgment to the school that the parent has reviewed the report card.


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What is St. Mary’s Grading System?

The Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Washington has adopted a uniform grading system for use in all Catholic elementary schools.

Academic Subjects (Grades 4-8)

Special Area Subjects (Grades 4-8) 
All Subjects (Grades K-3)

A = 100 –93(Superior)
B = 92 – 85 (Above Average)
C = 84 – 77 (Average)
D = 76 – 70 (Below Average)
F = Below 70 (Failing)
* with accommodations
E = Excellent
G = Good
S = Satisfactory
I = Improvement Needed
U = Unsatisfactory 
* with accommodations

Kindergarten

+ progressing satisfactorily
- needs more time
* see comments


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What is the St. Mary’s dress code?

We expect students to be well groomed and attired in approved clothing at all times. We expect all students in kindergarten through grade eight to be in full uniform each school day (except special days announced through the Weekly Family Envelope). Uniforms must be neat, clean, and in good repair. It is the responsibility of the parents to see that their child conforms to the dress code. No student may change clothes during the school day or for after-school activities.

Clothing:

  • All clothing must be the proper size, fit for the child, and worn correctly.
    • No oversized or tight clothing
  • Students must tuck shirts and button blouses at all times.
    • Students must wear the shirt/ blouse so that the belt or waistband is visible.
  • Hems in girls’ skirts and jumpers must touch the middle of the knee.
  • We require all girls to purchase a jumper or skirt.
  • Students may not wear colored and/or printed T-shirts or undergarments under the uniform.
  • We do not permit students to wear jackets in the school building.
    • Students may only wear St. Mary’s regulation sweaters or regulation P.E. sweatshirt

Hair:

  • Both boys and girls must have neat hairstyles and may not have hair, which hangs in or obscures the face.
  • Boys' hair must be above and not touch the shirt collar.
  • We do not permit extreme hairstyles, such as change of natural hair color, bleaching, hair shaving, cutting stripes, etc.
  • Head coverings of any kind are not part of the uniform.
  • Scrunchies, hair clips, etc. must be in the hair, not worn on wrists.

For Girls:

  • We do not permit students to wear cosmetics, lip-gloss, colored Chapstick, nail polish, nail ornamentation, or artificial nails.
  • Jewelry should be limited to a watch and a simple cross or holy medal on a single narrow silver or gold chain.
  • Girls may wear one ring on each hand.
  • We do not permit visible tattoos or body piercings.
    • Exception: Pierced ears
  • Girls may wear one small post earring in each ear only.

For Boys:

  • Jewelry should be limited to a watch and a simple cross or holy medal on a single narrow silver or gold chain.
  • Boys may wear one ring on each hand.
  • We do not permit visible tattoos or body piercings.
  • We do not permit boys to wear earrings.

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Do we have school today?

St. Mary's follows the Prince George's Public School's decisions during inclement weather.

Parents can listen to local radio or television station broadcasts or subscribe to School's Out, free of charge, to receive e-mail alerts for weather related emergencies. To subscribe, go to their website and click on “Sign UP”. Scroll down to Maryland and click on Prince George's County Public Schools.  Enter the phone number notices are to be sent to.

Exceptions:  When St. Mary's School is scheduled for a 12:15 p.m. dismissal the following will be in effect: 

  • If PG County Public Schools are open two hours late, St. Mary's School will be closed.
  • If PG County Public Schools are open one hour late, St. Mary's School will open one hour late and still dismiss at 12:15 p.m.
  • If PG County Schools have a previously scheduled teacher in-service/no school for student's day during a weather related emergency, St. Mary's School will follow the announcement of the Archdiocese of Washington.

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