Kelly Burke » Posts


An Easter Message from Fr. Donald Baker

An important Easter Message from Fr. Baker for our students, families, faculty and staff. Happy Easter, everyone!

A Message from our Pastor Fr. Donald Baker

Good afternoon, St. Stephen of Hungary School Parents, I am pleased to send to you a video message that Fr. Baker has prepared for you to send you greetings and to address some of the upcoming events that we will be missing due to our lockdown conditions.  Fr. Baker speaks specifically to First Communion and Confirmation events, but I think you will appreciate hearing from him on these and other questions. If you have not subscribed to this page, please do so, and you will automatically receive an email when there is a new posting. I hope that you are enjoying having some sunshine today, though we cannot get out and enjoy it as much as we would like.   Take special care, Kelly Burke

Morning Prayers - March 25, 2020

Join Ms. Burke and Lily for morning prayers on the Solemnity of the Annunciation

Morning Prayer for Monday, March 23, 2020

Join Ms. Burke and Moe for morning prayer for our first day of "Home Learning" School.

A special message for our St. Stephen of Hungary School Students from Fr. Baker

Fr. Baker has a special message for our students as they get ready to "go back to school" tomorrow. Parents, please subscribe to this page so that you and your families will receive regular messages from Ms. Burke and Fr. Baker in the upcoming weeks.

Corona Virus Mike Deegan Letter - 03-06-20

Dear St. Stephen of Hungary Parents,
As mentioned in our March 5th Parents Page, our faculty and staff are seeing some anxiety among our students around the coronavirus, along with misinformation.  Rumors are rampant - and sometimes the students themselves are the ones spreading them - but all the same, it can be tremendously frightening for our students to hear such misinformation.
Today, we received a letter from our Superintendent, Mr. Michael Deegan, with updates on Archdiocesan policies and with a valuable and important resource about how to speak with your children about the coronavirus.  Please read the attached letter, and then scroll down through the letter to reach the resource for parents.  I think you will find it helpful.
We spoke about this at our faculty meeting today, and we are providing some additional resources to our teachers, so they can be prepared to speak with students about their fears, answer their questions, and help them determine fact from fiction.  Anything that we can do to give our children some sense of control over this situation will help them cope and will alleviate their anxiety.
Our faculty also spent time working out how they will continue their instruction on a web-based platform should we have to close school for any length of time. There is no immediate need to close school; however, we want to be prepared.
We continue to maintain our daily schedule, and will do so until we have reason to do otherwise.  Please encourage your children to wash their hands frequently, please keep your children home if they have a fever or are ill, and please respond promptly if we call you to retrieve your child from school due to a fever or illness.  These are good habits, regardless of the coronavirus, but they are especially important now.
Have a good weekend and enjoy your time with your families,
Kelly Burke 


Dear St. Stephen of Hungary Parents,
I have had many inquiries in recent days about how the school will handle a potential Coronavirus outbreak, the options we will have for instruction, and how we are treating students who have recently travelled to a contagious zone. Parents are concerned - understandably - and as a principal, these types of issues receive a great deal of consideration and planning long before the event happens, as someone who has lived most of her life in a "hurricane zone", can attest to.
St. Stephen of Hungary School is one of the largest school systems in New York, and we have the added advantage of the expertise of our Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office.  They are in communication with civil authorities and healthcare experts to monitor the situation, make preparations and guide decisions for our schools.  
Attached to this post is a communication from our Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Michael Deegan to our faculty and families.  This letter not only contains information about monitoring the situation, but also contains specific guidelines for children who have recently travelled internationally, effective March 2, 2020. Mr. Deegan's letter also contains valuable information for families made available to us by the Department of Health.  Please read this carefully.
As the situation evolves and new information becomes available, we will communicate with you quickly.  If you do not receive communication, you can rest assured that we are monitoring the situation, but have no new news to pass on to you.  This does not mean that we are not making plans.
It is important with young children that we remain vigilante and err on the side of caution, without letting our own fears escalate the natural anxiety that children feel when they are around worried parents.  Children pick up on everything, so please be careful about what you communicate to them, even inadvertently.
There are many things about this virus that we cannot control.  Let's concentrate on the parts that we can control and on supporting our children and their classmates.
Kelly Burke

End of second quarter letter

Dear Parents,

It’s that time of year again!

We have ended the second quarter of school - our school year is half over - and it is time for report cards to be distributed.  Second quarter report cards are always an important assessment period, as students usually hit their “learning stride” around the middle to end of 2nd quarter and we can really see them at their best.

For students who are learning, growing and reaching their potential, the mid-year goal becomes helping them to sustain their efforts through the balance of the school year.  

And for students who are experiencing difficulties with their learning, this is a prime time for parents, teachers and students to work together on a plan to address those difficulties - while there is still plenty of time left in the school year to see improvement.

Most parents have a pretty firm grasp of how to interpret a traditional report card, as we all experienced receiving report cards in our youth; however, the addition of reporting student progress on subject area standards is relatively new for most of today’s parents, and they can be a bit confusing.

One of the most common questions that teachers and principals receive at report card time is, “How can my child make a 94 in Math (or any other subject area), and make a “2” on the majority of their Math standards?”  This is a fair question and the answer lies in understanding that grades (numerical or letter) reflect a child’s progress within a specific period of time (quarter), while standards are assessed over a period of the entire school year.  

A standard reflects a specific skill in a subject area that is introduced and taught at some point in the school year - and often, throughout the school year.  Standards are specific to each grade level, and serve as a foundation for the next grade level, so it is important that students attain a degree of mastery of the skills contained in the standard in order to be “on grade level”.  Standards are ranked from 1 - 4, and the goal is for a student to achieve a level 3 or higher, which is the “proficient” level or higher by the end of the school year.

Common sense tells us that not every skill can be learned - or even introduced - in the first quarter of the school year, and for that reason, standards that have not been introduced by report card time either don’t appear on the report card or the assessment is left blank.  It would not be fair to a student to assess them for a skill that has not been introduced! Rest assured that teachers have an instructional plan that will introduce the standard at the appropriate time, and then you will see an assessment score for that standard.

Other standards are introduced earlier in the year, and more instruction to further develop that skill takes place throughout the school year.  Depending upon the complexity of the standard (skill), the student may receive a “2” in the first quarter on a skill, which means the skill is new and the student is developing the skill.  This may be exactly where the student should be at report card time, and in this case, a “2” is not a meant to be a negative assessment.  As the standard continues to be taught throughout the school year, and the student continues to achieve mastery, you will see their score improve to a “3”, or even a “4”.

So how exactly does a student score a 94 in Math and still score a “2” on a Math standard?

If your child’s teacher has introduced a new standard and your child has successfully completed what they have been asked to do during the quarter - good grades on classwork, homework, quizzes and tests - they could receive a 94, which reflects their mastery of what they have been taught within that quarter.  Your child did well that quarter and received a 94 for their efforts - good job!

But standards are not “quarter based”, they are “school-year based”, and there is more work to be done - more instruction to carry out - before your child can be expected to reach proficiency or higher score (3 or 4) on that Math standard.  Your child’s teacher has a plan for how this standard will be further developed and as long as your child continues to keep up their efforts, we can expect that they will reach the proficiency level by the end of the school year.

Do teachers ever give a score of 4 (the highest level) for a standard early in the school year?  

Absolutely, they do.  If a student demonstrates the highest level of mastery on a standard right from the moment it is introduced, then the teacher will reflect that in their assessment score.  Scoring on standards reflects exactly where a student falls in relation to mastery of the score at any given point. It is not something they “earn”, it is something they “demonstrate”.  

So how is a parent to know when to be concerned about standards assessment scores?  In general, a score of 2, 3 or 4 is no cause for alarm, unless you hear directly from the teacher otherwise.  A score of 1 generally means that the skill has been introduced and your child may be struggling with this skill (though that is not always the case).  If your child has several scores of “1”, you may want to reach out to your child’s teacher to get more information about where the teacher expects your child to score at this time.  If there is a problem, you can discuss ways to address the problem, and if there isn’t a problem, it will put your mind at ease.

In the field of education, assessment measures are in a bit of a state of flux, and the Archdiocese of New York is no exception.  Having quarterly grades and standards assessment is a bit of a hybrid and can be confusing, but the goal is provide you with information about your child so that we can keep your child on track towards reaching their full potential and achieving mastery.  It may be a “too much information”, but it is all generated to help your child succeed.

And that is what we all want, indeed.


Kelly Burke