From the Desk of Christopher Pitek, Head of School
Welcome to an insider’s view of NativityMiguel Buffalo. This newsletter is the first edition of the quarterly newsletter that will be delivered electronically in October, January, March, and June each year. We hope that this newsletter will be a source for you to gather our latest news and experience what our students are engaged in while giving you a glimpse of the impact of your support.
Whether you have sponsored or attended an event, made a donation to our annual fund, or volunteered your time with our students or around our campus, your efforts allow us to focus on our students. The truth is, we could not do what we do without all of you!
We look forward to providing you with updates on everything from academics to student accolades, to ways you can support our work. Do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in touring the school, volunteering to help or would like to learn more about us. Thank you for your continued support!
It Begins with Our Team
Our model at NativityMiguel Buffalo is one of service. Our team, both teachers and administrative staff, are dedicated to fulfilling the school’s mission of providing an exceptional education to our students. We have been blessed to welcome Mrs. Jenelle Tarr as our dedicated school principal this year. Mrs. Tarr brings a wealth of experience to NativityMiguel Buffalo and has been a great addition to our team thus far. We are thrilled to share a little about her.
Questions and Answers with: Mrs. Jenelle Tarr, Principal
Q: Why did you choose education as your career path?
Jenelle Tarr: The answer is simple, education is an equalizer, enabling those who would not have opportunities to thrive. For me, education is personal, it changed the circumstances I was born into and has provided me with the life that I used to dream of. Not only did receiving an education change my life, but the opportunity to give back and serve through education has also transformed my life.
Over the years, my journey in education has brought me opportunities beyond what I could have imagined when I was first studying to be a teacher at the University of Buffalo, each of which has led to my growth. I have been blessed with many wonderful opportunities that have shaped me into the educator I am today, ranging from ten years as a Social Studies teacher, an Instructional Coach, a Curriculum Coordinator, a High School Programs Coordinator, and an Assistant Principal.
Q: What should we know about you?
Jenelle Tarr: I am a servant leader who has embraced the gravity of the task that I have been charged with. Our shared beliefs and collective action as educators, parents, and community members impact our students, and to help foster the incredible impact we can have I will seek out opportunities to engage in transparent conversations that ask all stakeholders to share their feedback. I will never ask anyone to do something that I would not do. I look forward to building relationships and creating an environment where all teachers and students can take risks and dare to dream big.
Q: What valuable lessons have you learned through experience?
Jenelle Tarr: You will find that I am a lifelong learner and I value the power of reflective practice. I ask many questions and I listen more than I speak so that I can gain insights into how we can use everyone’s strengths to continue to grow. My firsthand experience has taught me that to truly impact student success, you must never lose sight of the importance of investing in students and those who impact their lives.
Q: Can you give us a glimpse into what has shaped you into the educator you are?
Jenelle Tarr: Through God’s grace, educators were placed into my life that shaped me, that built connections with me and loved me. It wasn’t the lessons and homework that transformed my life, it was that others cared for and invested in me, they held me up until I was strong enough to stand on my own. Others blessed me, and I look forward to sharing those same gifts with everyone at NativityMiguel Middle School! I am honored to serve as the principal of NativityMiguel Middle School. It is truly a privilege to be part of a community that values relationships, connections, faith, and education.
Opening Day 2023
The opening of school on Friday, September 8th was remarkable for us this year in that we welcomed all students (both boys and girls) to the same campus for the first time in our NativityMiguel Buffalo’s history. The building at 24 Hastings was abuzz with excitement as the students adjusted to the new normal of sharing one building while maintaining single gender education and classrooms. The boys in the St. Augustine Division have settled in on the first floor while the girls in the St. Monica Division have made the 2nd floor their new home. Both sets of students have access to the cafeteria, gym and support services at different points in their day.
“I think what I like most about this set up is that all of our students have access to the same amenities and opportunities, while we have maintained our commitment to single gender education,” said Chris Pitek, Head of School. “Another benefit is that all staff are now on one campus, and we have come together as a community to collaborate as professionals.”
As the semester progresses, the students will see the addition of enrichment programming, in addition to their traditional academic classes. Stay tuned for updates in a future edition!
Welcome St. Monica’s Division
We welcomed the new and returning students from St. Monica’s Division to the Hastings Campus for a Back to School Bash on Tuesday, August 29. During their half day visit, the girls toured their new campus; met their principal, teachers, and classmates; and engaged in some fun activities. The goal of the event was to allow the girls to acclimate to their new surroundings in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Based on their response so far, our mission was accomplished. We look forward to the exciting opportunities ahead.
Our First Meet and Greet with Families
On Monday, September 18, we hosted our first annual Meet the Teachers Night for our NativityMiguel Buffalo families. The evening began with an introduction from Head of School Chris Pitek and Principal Jenelle Tarr, as well as presentations from our in-school social worker program team, graduate support office, and our main office. Parents and students attended the core content classes following the student’s daily schedule. During the classroom sessions that parents and students attended, teachers reviewed the class syllabus and plans for the year among other details.
Caring for the Whole Student
In 2022, NativityMiguel Buffalo welcomed the addition of an in-school social worker to our team thanks to the generous funding provided by the Mother Cabrini Foundation. In collaboration with Catholic Charities, the program allows our students to have access to an onsite social worker four days per week, and new this year, to a mental health counselor two days per week.
The program capped off last year on May 3 with Raising Heroes, a family friendly event with TED Talk speaker Nate Turner, as well as his close friend, Dr. Willie Underwood. The event featured obstacle courses, games, face painting, balloon animals, free Chiavettas chicken dinners, door prizes and more. It was an event to remember for our families.
As the school year moves on, the program will start SEL (social emotional learning) classroom presentations. October’s presentation will focus on emotional awareness with November’s discussion centering on effective communication. November will also feature a cultural event for our students. This event was a huge success last year with the St. Monica’s Division as it allowed our girls to show off their culture in their own individual, creative way. We look forward to expanding the event to the boys this year.
The St. Augustine Boys are Off and Running!
Fall is here and that means the arrival of cross-country season for our St. Augustine boys. The boys had their first three of five meets for the season each of the past few weeks at Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo. Led by their Coach Lenny Coppola, the boys are focused on their training and improving their form. We look forward to following their progress through the remainder of the season.
Onward and Upward
June 16, 2023 was a rite of passage for our 8th grade students as they received their diplomas and graduated from NativityMiguel Buffalo. Many of the students gave speeches about their experience with us and what their education has meant for their future. The students are now attending high school at Canisius, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Bishop Timon, Buffalo Seminary and Nardin Academy.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023! We look forward to hearing about their accomplishments in high school and beyond!
A Note of Thanks
In the spirit of the Nativity School model, we are proud to offer a private education to our students without the barrier of the price tag. Our work is made possible through the generous support of our event sponsors and our annual fund donors.
Thank you to 2023’s top level event sponsors.
Scholars Awards Banquet
Top Scholar: Habib Family
Gold Star: Try-It Distributing, Inc., Attea Family, Sevenson Environmental Services, Robert & Tammy Laughlin, Pete & Kim Augustine, Ed Killeen
Honor Roll: Christopher & Jill Marks, Niagara Frontier Orthopaedic Supplies, Life Storage, Jim & Mary Beth Basil, Uniland Development Company, Michaelene McFarlane, M&T Bank
Read the event recap and view all sponsors.
Junior Board Golf Tournament
Presenting Sponsor: Linde
Beverage Cart Sponsor: Sevenson Environmental Services Inc.
Golf Cart Sponsor: Kinley Contractors
Fairway Sponsors: Hodgson Russ and Arric Corp.
Read the event recap and view all sponsors.
Junior Board Meat Raffle
Round Sponsors: Mader Construction Company, Inc.; Johnson Fastener Corporation; Hodgson Russ; Joe Basil Chevrolet; Sandhill Investment Management; The Martin Group; Arric Corp; Try-It Distributing
Read the event recap.
Annual Fund 2023-24 is underway. Our first mailing will be in mailboxes shortly. Visit our webpage to make an online donation. We appreciate your support!
Your Feedback Is Needed
We’re on the cusp of celebrating 20 years in the NativityMiguel model! September 5, 2024, will mark our 20th anniversary welcoming students to our school and we want your feedback on how you think we should celebrate! An all-years reunion? Create a yearbook outlining our history? Create a time capsule? All of the above? Take our survey and let us know what you think!