I pray you are well and that you are finding some semblance of peace during these trying times. I am so thankful for your overwhelming support as we have undertaken this transition. I am also grateful for the way you have helped to create a home environment where our students can learn despite your own responsibilities, concerns and needs. I am so thankful for the students’ resilience and monumental efforts.
At this time, to remain consistent with the federal and local guidelines, we are extending our distance learning protocols through May 1. We will continue to monitor the public health guidelines as we make decisions through the spring semester.
Because we have been and will continue to adhere to our distance learning protocols for the foreseeable future, I want to take this opportunity to share our intentionality about SJC’s platform and some specific facets of our effort. Central to our implementation and pedagogy has been the mental and physical health of your children as we continue to provide the curriculum. We considered the routine of having virtual live lessons all day that would put our students seated in front of a screen for upwards of six hours. In addition, from what we have learned in the past several weeks, that routine does not give our students the time to finish the work that has been assigned to them – which leads to more screen time and sitting.
Our focus has been on structure and flexibility. We have strived to strike a balance with synchronous (online/in-person) and asynchronous (student-driven) lessons and learning experiences. The number of synchronous lessons varies by teacher. This helps us focus on the question “What has the student learned?” rather than “What has the teacher taught?” Based on our research and the dialogue I have had with school administrators across the country, this is the model that is most prevalent. In fact, today I participated in an email exchange with nine other Lasallian high schools across the east coast, and we are all using a similar model.
The interactions and opportunities for learning and growth are remarkable. From the continuation of our Cadet Corps homerooms to build leadership qualities, to the discussion threads in religion classes, virtual class meetings, virtual STEM opportunities, online assessments and more, our faculty are utilizing all the EdTech resources they have at their fingertips, and they will continue to find ways to connect with students to touch their hearts, empower them and enliven their minds.
Other important Information:
In addition, as has been communicated already to students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, the exam weeks in May have been cancelled. The College Board is working to create modified examinations that will be given online. More information on this change will be disseminated by the College Board and AP Program on April 3.
Lastly, I would like to reiterate that students who have remaining service hour requirements will not be responsible for completing those hours. More information about the fourth quarter will be provided as time progresses, and next Monday, I will be offering more guidance about spring break and the needs of students and families. I recognize the extraordinary and unchartered challenges that the weeks ahead will present, and I pray for the health and safety of all members of the St. John’s community; every day, I miss seeing the students and faculty filling the halls and classrooms at SJC, and once again, I am thankful for the effort and energy that is shining through during our time apart.
Live Jesus in our hearts!