Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy Information (Grades K-8)

Dear Academy Families,

 

Every day, we are hearing about new issues and developments.  On Friday August 7th, all schools in NYS were officially informed that schools were given permission to open in September 2020 within the state requirements from New York State.

 

The Diocese of Brooklyn acknowledges that families might not be ready to send their child(ren) to a brick and mortar building and to address the needs of those families, Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy was created. The Diocese has created a Diocesan-wide distance learning program, where a specific group of teachers will focus exclusively on the development of an academically rigorous, Christ-centered remote learning program. Just like St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy, Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy will be following NYS learning standards and grade-level appropriate curriculum. The Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy principal will be in direct communication with our school, and the faculty will be in constant communication with the families of the participating students.

 

Please see the following documents for more information: Family letter introducing Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy, a Frequently Asked Questions handout, and a copy of the Academy’s concept paper.

 

If you are choosing distance learning, through the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Academy please fill out the following form no later than Tuesday August 18th.

 

Of course if you have any questions please feel free to be in touch. 

SFDS Summer Update #3- Reopening Plans

Dear Academy Community, 

Thank you for your patience and support as we put together an all-encompassing Back to School Reopening Plan for St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy. We believe we are better together, stronger together and we are confident that we can provide an excellent education while safeguarding each member of our community including our students, staff, and family members. 

In accordance with the most recent guidelines and recommendations issued by the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Education Department, the Diocese of Brooklyn Logistics and Planning Task Force, and the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools of the NYSED, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy has developed its Reopening Plan for Fall 2020. This plan is based on the best information available to us at the time of its release, and will periodically be revised and updated as necessary both prior to the start of the school year and throughout the school year. You can access the plan, along with other back to school information by clicking here. 

In developing our reopening plan, the school considered the feedback from parents and faculty, as well as the and recommendations from the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Education Department, the Diocese of Brooklyn Logistics and Planning Task Force, and the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools of the NYSED. We fully recognize there are many differing views on how and when schools should reopen, and those differing views are shared by our parents, students, and teachers as well. There are those who wish to return to in person teaching and learning immediately, and those who prefer at this time to remain fully remote. Our plan seeks to accommodate the needs of all with our community as we eventually move towards a full and safe return in the near future. At this time we see St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy opening up to about 75% of our students each day. 

Within a few weeks after launching our remote learning in March, we began to contemplate what reopening of schools would look like. There were many uncertainties then and still now around public health policies and requirements. Given the constraints under which we will need to operate, we believe our hybrid/cohort design will best optimize the health and safety of our school communities and the learning of our students. Below are key aspects of this design.

Nursery-Grade 2: Our Nursery students will run a 5 day half-day schedule as previously scheduled with no more than 15 students in a classroom.

Our Pre-K through Second Graders will be in school each day and will be in a room with no more than 15 other classmates. Each class will have a teacher and an aide-who will be responsible for the in-person instruction. The teacher and aide will split time between the two groups in each class. With the teacher spending the majority of their time instructing the students especially in the subject areas of Phonic Instruction, ELA and Math while the teacher’s aide will spend most of their time reinforcing what has been taught by the teacher.

We will be using the Learning Management System called Seesaw to help prepare students for remote instruction in case the school or cohort has to close down for a time. Seesaw will be used regularly for assignment submission so that students become familiar with the platform and the ease of submitting work through it. Our foundational skills program, FUNdations, will have interactive phonics work assigned using SeeSaw. Similarly, students may be asked to keep a journal and respond to math tasks using the Seesaw program.

Our English Language Arts program, Wit & Wisdom, will be taught through a program called InSync. Your child’s teacher will work with a Great Minds teacher to deliver core knowledge instruction on a daily basis, whether at school, or if necessary virtually at home.

Students will also be assigned an email address through Google. This Gmail address will be an integral component to accessing the educational apps we use this school year.

Grades 3-4: Our third-fourth Graders will also attend school each day. Our third and fourth graders will be using the large spaces that are available in our school. This includes the Small Hall and the Gym. In both grade levels we will have the entire grade level in the large space.  The teachers on the grade level will team teach. 

Team teaching involves a group of instructors working purposefully, regularly, and cooperatively to help a group of students of any age learn. The two teachers together will set goals for a course, design a syllabus, prepare individual lesson plans, teach students, and evaluate the results.

Team teaching means that one teacher will be the lead teacher while the other teacher supports instruction.  In other words, one teacher actively teaches while the other assists, gives individual help as needed, or observes.

Students know there’s a teacher available to answer their questions or give help in the moment. Also, an observing teacher may collect information about how a student responds to different teaching approaches or about attention and behavior. That kind of data is valuable for IESP teams and for  behavior intervention plans. It also allows teachers to discreetly address issues as they come up.

We will be using the Learning Management System called Google Classroom to help prepare students for remote instruction in case the school or cohort has to close down for a time. Google Classroom will be used regularly for assignment submission so that students become familiar with the platform and the ease of submitting work through it.

As in the past each child will use an iPad throughout the day of instruction. Students in the school building will follow their usual schedule. All classes other than Physical Education outside will take place in the cohort’s homeroom. 

Grades 5-8: Our 5th-8th graders will be going hybrid with one day in and the next day at home for remote learning. For our junior high school students, minimizing transitions and movement is more challenging because of the number of different courses offered and the student composition of each class. Fortunately, our older students will be better able to independently practice social distancing. Students will have A and B week schedules that will look slightly different depending on the week. See schedule below.

We will be using the Learning Management System called Google Classroom to help prepare students for remote instruction in case the school or cohort has to close down for a time. Google Classroom will be used regularly for assignment submission so that students become familiar with the platform and the ease of submitting work through it.

Students who are home will live stream all their core subjects using the Meeting OWL camera and Google Meet (Religion, Math, Science, SS, ELA, etc.) For special classes work will be given via Google Classroom for those students who are at home. Students in the school building will follow their usual schedule. All classes other than Physical Education outside will take place in the cohort’s homeroom. 

Families will find out what group their student is in no later than September 2nd. We will make sure that siblings (brothers and sisters) are in the same group across grade levels (grades 5-8)

We have added several new safety measures and layers of protection to our reopening plan and thus have pushed out our start date to allow for small-class student orientation for grades Kindergarten through 8. 

On September 9th, 10th, and 11th students will attend school on a modified schedule (8:00am-12:00pm) as we teach and familiarize them with new safety procedures and protocols. Students in Grade 3 and Group 1 in Grades 5-8 will attend September 9th, students in Grade 4 and Group 2 in Grades 5-8  will attend September 10th, and on September 11th all students in Kindergarten-2nd grade will attend. All students K-8 will begin normally scheduled classes on September 14th. Nursery and Pre-K will start on Monday September 14th. Pre-K will attend half day in-school until Monday, September 21.

At this time the use of the NYC Yellow Bus Service is unknown. 

While we are sharing this plan with you now, please understand that it is a working document that may need to be adjusted as we navigate through this uncharted territory together. We continue to follow the guidelines from Governor Cuomo, the New York Department of Education, the Diocese of Brooklyn, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. However with  all that being said we believe that the framework of this plan will be in place come September 9th. We are set to revisit our plan at the end of September/Beginning of October and based on the information given to us by the State, City, and Diocese make a decision on how to move forward come October 13th (Tuesday after Columbus Day). 

Detailed in this plan are approaches for in-person learning (Grades Nursery-Grade 4) and Hybrid Learning (Grades 5-8) and distance learning K-8. Both options will be available each trimester and families will have the opportunity to switch learning platforms after each trimester. We request you make your decision of either in-person or distance learning for the first trimester by Tuesday, August 18th. If you are choosing distance learning, through the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Academy please fill out the following form. It is important to note, should state or local regulations require a school closure, all students will shift to distance learning.  

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Academy (Distance Learning): During these uncertain times, parents may choose the option of Distance Learning for their child. The Diocese of Brooklyn is fully committed and prepared to provide instruction online which will meet the high standards of a St. Francis de Sales Catholic education.

The distance learning virtual school is being developed to meet the academic, social and faith-based needs of students in Kindergarten through grade 8. This virtual school will be open to all students currently enrolled in Catholic Academies and Parish Schools of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The teaching staff will be comprised of Catholic School teachers from various Catholic Academies and Parish Schools, qualified and trained in Catholic teachings, who are ready to work with and meet the needs of all students.

Students will be provided with instructional opportunities to work and explore together. The instructional program will be developed to provide authentic learning tasks, directly connected to grade-specific curriculum, with a built-in assessment component for students to demonstrate and present evidence of their learning.

For more information on the Distance Learning Option please look at our reopening plan (pg 20-24) For a list of FAQ about the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Academy please click here.

The form to sign up for 100% Remote Learning can be found by clicking here. 

Town Hall Sessions: Over the next few weeks you will have the chance to join our Town Hall sessions, where any questions and concerns you may still have can be addressed in an open forum setting. Zoom invitations will be emailed shortly and the Town Hall sessions are as follows:  

  1. Parent Town Hall Session #1- Reopening Plan- Thursday August 13th at 11am- Please note that representatives from the Board of Directors will be on this Zoom Meeting. 
  2. Parent Town Hall Cohort Meetings #1 (Nursery-Grade 2) Tuesday August 18th at 6pm
  3. Parent Town Hall Cohort Meetings #2(Grades 3-4) Wednesday August 19th at 6pm
  4. Parent Town Hall Cohort Meetings #3 (Grades 5-8) Thursday August 20th at 6pm
  5. Parent Town Hall Session #2- Update on the Opening of School- Thursday August 27th at 6pm

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Know that we are committed to our families returning to school, whether it be in the traditional classroom setting or joining in from home!  

Just a few pieces of news and reminders as we are now a month away from school reopening. 

 

Tuition: Just a reminder that next Monday (8/17) is the first tuition payment. All families should have a FACTS account. (https://factsmgt.com/) Here you can see how much is owed, dates when tuition or other fees are due, past payments, etc. Any questions about your account please reach out to our Bookkeeper Mrs. Marguerite Kazalski at mkazalski@stfrancisschoolbh.net

Now more than ever planning is so important and we will need to know as close as possible an exact amount of students in each grade level. By not paying tuition we may not be able to hold a seat for your child. If there are any issues paying on 8/17 please let us know in advance so we can plan for your child(ren) to be joining us. Please note this year we have a waiting list of over 20 students in various grade levels. 

 

School Supplies: At the beginning of the summer we shared that every student is expected to have all supplies as well as a school bag on the first day of school. This year we will be working with schooltoolbox.com to host a supply kit sale.

St. Francis De Sales School Supply List Information and Cost

Right now our school online store is live and can be found by clicking here. Over 100 families have already taken advantage of this opportunity and we do not want anyone to miss out. We are excited to be able to offer this convenience to you. We have worked very hard to make the process as easy as possible. The online store will be open through the summer for parents to shop from their homes. Orders leave the warehouse within 10 days of ordering, so please keep that in mind to order with enough time before school starts. I would suggest that you order the boxes by August 23rd to make sure that your boxes arrive in time for school.

Please note that you can choose not to buy certain items from the list if you already have purchased or will purchase elsewhere.

 

Summer Reading and Assignments: Just a reminder that all summer assignments are due when we return to school on September 14th and can be found by clicking here. The most important assignment is that of reading each night. The more your child reads, and is read to, the more your child’s network of knowledge strengthens. It not only is “preparing them for the next grade,” but also improves their listening skills, builds early literacy skills, and strengthens their ability to make connections, draw conclusions, and better understand the world around them. Reading with a child each day is an investment for a lifetime.

Recommended Amount of Reading Each Day

Grades PK and K: Read to a child each day/night

Grades 1-2: 20 minutes each day

Grades 3-4: 25 minutes each day

Grades 5-6: 30 minutes each day

Grades 7-8: More than 30 minutes each day

When looking at your summer schedules and trying to balance it all, please remember to make reading a priority.

 

Main Office Hours: The main office will be open Monday-Thursday from now until Wednesday September 2nd from 9am until 1pm. On Thursday 9/3 and Friday 9/4 the office will be closed due to cleaning and maintenance work that needs to be done. We are sorry for any inconvenience. The office will reopen at 10:30am-12: 30pm on Tuesday 9/8. As always if there are any questions before the school year begins please give us a call. 

 

Hope to talk to many of you over the next few weeks and look forward to welcoming back your children in person next month. 

 

Christopher Scharbach, Ed.D

Principal

 

Back to School Immunization Requirements and Medical Documents

A healthy school setting gives all students the best chance to learn and grow. Vaccines are very important to this effort. They protect children from getting and spreading diseases that can make them very sick. For this reason, we require children aged 3 years and up- who are  attending St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy be vaccinated against certain diseases.

The number of vaccine doses your child needs may vary. It depends on:

  • age,
  • grade,
  • medical history, and
  • if they have gotten vaccine doses before.

Please click below for full information:

2020-2021 New York State Immunization Schedule

As of June 13, 2019, public, private and parochial schools and child care programs in New York can no longer accept requests for religious exemptions from school immunization requirements. This law applies to students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and to all child care settings. Schools and child care programs will continue to accept medical exemptions. 

Children who had a religious exemption and who will be returning in the 2019-20 school year must meet immunization requirements in order to attend school. Children who have not received all required immunizations must receive the first dose in each immunization series within 14 calendar days after the first day of school or enrollment in child care. Within 30 calendar days of the first day of school, parents or guardians of such children will also need to show that they have scheduled appointments for all follow-up doses.

Medical Exemptions: The Immunization Medical Exemption Form from the DOH must be used when parents are requiring a medical exemption.

This Medical Exemption Form must be given to the nurse upon receipt from the parents.

 

 

Guidelines for the Provision of Health Services

Physical Exam Form

Allergy/Anaphylaxis_Medical Administration Form

Asthma_Medical Administration Form

General Medication Administration-Form

MeningococcalRequirement Letter (Grade 7)

Seizure Medical Administration Form

Request for Medically Prescribed Treatment (Non-medication) 

Tdap Requirement Letter (Grade 6)

 

 

SFDS Summer 2020 Update #2

Dear Academy Community, 

I want to thank all the families and staff that participated in our reopening survey. The feedback we have gotten is very helpful.  For those families that have yet to take the survey please click here to participate. The data from these surveys along with the guidelines from the state and the guidance of the Diocesan Superintendent’s office will help the administration finalize the different options that can be presented to the Board of Directors and the Diocesan Superintendent’s Office for approval. It has always been our plan and goal to announce an outline of our plan the week of August 3rd and to promulgate a more detailed plan the week of August 10th with a parent meeting to follow that week to answer any questions or concerns. 

We encourage you to share your questions and concerns with myself or Mrs. Faughan, not because we will have an answer to every question, but because every question helps us better see the size and scope of the challenges we face together.

 As St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy eagerly looks toward reopening in Fall 2020, the Board of Directors and Staff would like to share the following details that are consistent in all plans and scenarios. While we do not have a complete outline at the present time — pending further guidance from the State offices — these are the updates as of July 23rd 2020.  

  • The Board of Directors is investigating installing automatic faucets in all of our sinks. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in every classroom and throughout the building in the hallways. Automatic soap dispensers and hand dryers have been installed in all bathrooms. 
  • Contactless thermometers have been purchased to check students and staff at entry. We also are in the process of adding an extension to our Mobile App where student and staff temperatures can be tracked both at home before school and/or during entry into our building along with the daily affirmations that all families and staff need to attest to each morning.  This will all be fully HIPAA Compliant. 
  • Increased cleaning protocols have already been implemented and extensive cleaning will occur each evening.
  • Masks will need to be worn throughout the day by both students and staff.  Each student will receive two school issued masks yet students are free to wear masks provided from home.. Students will have “mask breaks” throughout the day. Mask pattern should be school appropriate, i.e. no skulls or violent images. “The cuter, the better”
  • Special lunches from September 2020-December 2020 will not be available. We hope we may be able to start up our Pizza, Bagel, and Chicken Finger Days in January 2020. All lunches will be in the classroom. 
  • All Fall 2020 Enrichment Activities (Band, Mad Science, Lego, Etc.) will not be available. We hope that we will be able to start up many of our enrichment programs in the Winter of 2021. 
  • Dress Code: Students in Grades 1-8 will be able to wear their gym uniform every day at minimal until the end of December 2020. We will decide at a later date if this policy will be extended into the new year. 
  • We are happy to announce we will be adding a two day a week PDHP guidance counselor once again to our school. One of their main roles will be to work with students who are having a difficult time adjusting back to in-person instruction and to help those students who are feeling anxiety over the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

As we learn more from health, government, and education officials, we will keep all updated. Please know our plans to reopen will proceed with health and safety as paramount in all our decisions.  We will be meeting all requirements and go beyond them when possible. 

Just a few pieces of news and reminders as we creep to the end of July. 

School Supplies: A few weeks ago we shared that every student is expected to have all supplies as well as a school bag on the first day of school. This year we will be working with schooltoolbox.com to host a supply kit sale.

St. Francis De Sales School Supply List Information and Cost

Right now our school online store is live and can be found by clicking here. We are excited to be able to offer this convenience to you. We have worked very hard to make the process as easy as possible. The online store will be open through the summer for parents to shop from their homes. Orders leave the warehouse within 10 days of ordering, so please keep that in mind to order with enough time before school starts. I would suggest that you order the boxes by August 23rd to make sure that your boxes arrive in time for school.

Please note that you can choose not to buy certain items from the list if you already have purchased or will purchase elsewhere.

 

Summer Reading and Assignments: Just a reminder that all summer assignments are due when we return to school on September 9th and can be found by clicking here. The most important assignment is that of reading each night. The more your child reads, and is read to, the more your child’s network of knowledge strengthens. It not only is “preparing them for the next grade,” but also improves their listening skills, builds early literacy skills, and strengthens their ability to make connections, draw conclusions, and better understand the world around them. Reading with a child each day is an investment for a lifetime.

Recommended Amount of Reading Each Day

Grades PK and K: Read to a child each day/night

Grades 1-2: 20 minutes each day

Grades 3-4: 25 minutes each day

Grades 5-6: 30 minutes each day

Grades 7-8: More than 30 minutes each day

When looking at your summer schedules and trying to balance it all, please remember to make reading a priority.

TACHS Exam and High School Information: We know that the summer and early fall for many of our 8th graders has traditionally always been a time to narrow down the choices of which high schools to apply for in November. Although nothing is written in stone at this point we are very unsure if the Catholic High Schools will be offering Fall Buddy Days or in person Open Houses in the next few months. We recommend that 8th grade families begin to look on individual high school websites for more information on how they will be promulgating information about their school. 

Unfortunately this year we will not be able to sponsor our annual high school fair in late September. We will be creating a website for our families that will have information about all the Catholic High Schools in Brooklyn and Queens and the popular Catholic High Schools our students have applied to in the past in Manhattan and Nassau.  This site will also include information on the application process for the New York City public schools as well. We will have our annual High School Meeting where the school administration will go over the application process timeline for both Catholic and Public schools as a webinar on Monday September 14th at 7pm. 

Announced earlier this week, for the safety of all concerned, the TACHS 2020 test will be administered online and remotely/at home on November 7, 2020 for students within the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Students must register for the November 7th test day by the designated due date of October 23rd, close of business 5 pm., in order to receive their test credentials. A step by step process will be made available on our web site by August 24th.

If a parent does not register by the designated due date, the student will not be able to take the TACHS test as there will be no “Walk-in” students this year. No exceptions will be made this year.

In this new TACHS 2020 testing model of online and at home, the content of the TACHS test will remain the same, namely: Reading, Written Expression, Mathematics and Ability.

The student’ three high school choices will need to be entered on the TACHS web site via a link by a designated due date and before the TACHS test date, NOT on test day. If a parent or student does not enter their high school choices by the due date, their test scores will not be able to be sent to high schools. Parents can change their high school choices only until a certain cut-off date.

The TACHS 2020 test can be taken only in a Chrome browser on a Windows PC, Chromebook or Mac and must have a webcam and microphone on their device. The test CANNOT be taken on an i-PAD or phone. A system requirement test will be available on the TACHS web site so students can check and be sure that their device and WIFI is acceptable for TACHS 2020.

Proctorio, a proctoring software will run on a student’s test as a “record and review” during the test session. As soon as the test session is over, the proctoring software will no longer be on the student’s computer.

Please be aware that there are some conflicts with our November 7th , TACHS test date:

If students take the Regis test on Nov. 7th , they still need to register for the Nov. 7th TACHS and receive a TACHS ID or they will not be able to test with TACHS. A Parent must contact the TACHS help desk with their TACHS ID and request a make-up session. Make-up sessions are randomly assigned to students. Students cannot choose a certain time session. 

NYC-SHSAT, also tests on November 7th , students should test for TACHS on November 7th and request the SHSAT Make-up day of November 15th .

 

As more information becomes available for TACHS 2020 we will share. Updates and information will also be posted by mid-August at: www.tachsinfo.com.  Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have questions 

 

 

 

We look forward to hearing about your summers and pray that each of us, our families and friends are held closely by God for good health and peace. Please stay tuned for another update around August 5th.  

 

Christopher Scharbach, Ed.D

Principal

2020 TACHS Exam Information

Dear Upcoming 8th Grade Families,

Please see the following information from the TACHS exam. 

There is no question that COVID-19 has changed the way students learn and the way teachers instruct. Testing students has been greatly impacted as well. It is still unclear what fall will look like.

The safety and health of students and administrators, is, and will always be, our main concern. Keeping that as our main priority, we will be administering the TACHS exam as an online, at-home remote test in fall 2020.

  • Prior to registration, Review online remote testing system and device requirements prior to registration and understand and be able to consent to the use of Proctorio; the Artificial Intelligence system that will monitor and record your student’s test session. More information will be added to the website by August 15.
  • Register for the exam via Internet or telephone beginning at 9:00 AM EST on August 24, 2020. Register before the deadline on October 23,2020, at 5:00 PM EST. No late registration or walk-in students will be allowed this year.
  • When registration is completed, you will receive an email. Read the email thoroughly for other important information and next steps.
  • After you register (you will require your assigned TACHS ID), but prior to 5:00 EST on November 5, 2020, enter your High School choices on tachsinfo.com. Your choices may be edited up until November 5. Failure to complete this information prior to November 5, will result in scores being unavailable to your High School choices. (this link will be added to the website by August 15, 2020)
  • Between Nov 1-5, access your test date/time/test session code on tachisnfo.com. You will not be able to start your test session on the day/time of testing without this information, Students will test on the day assigned to their aligned diocese. There will be (3) different start times. Students will be randomly assigned to start times, and no time preference can be accepted.
  • The Student Handbook will be a PDF only on the website. It will be available by August 15, 2020. Please read thoroughly.

    Please return to the TACHS site (https://www.tachsinfo.com regularly for any updated information.

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy Reopening Survey for Families

Dear St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy Families, 

 

We hope this message finds you well and I hope you are having a great summer so far. This weekend had all the feel of summer with temperatures in the 90’s. Yet before we know it the cool fall weather will be upon us as will the beginning of the school year. 

 

Please click here to see an update from the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Late last week the State of New York released their guidelines for reopening schools for Public schools, and we expect to receive the guidelines for non-public schools this week. As Dr. Chadzutko said we have been busy planning for all scenarios since the end of school. With over 560 students registered for the next school year we have focused on planning especially for a full return or a hybrid approach. 

 

Please click here for a very important survey for all families to share your thoughts with our administrators about reopening school for the 2020-2021 school year. We are asking for 100% participation in this survey no later than this Thursday July 23rd. Please note the results of this survey will be shared with the Board of Directors and the Superintendent Office. These results along with the State guidelines will help us finalize our plans for reopening. 

 

As we as a school look to the fall and plan for the 2020-2021 school year, we find it helpful to ground our planning in what we believe as a faith community. While we face many uncertainties in the year ahead, we do look forward to the opportunity to welcome you and to welcome our students and families back to school in the fall. And, thanks to the work you do to support and to serve our parish communities every day, we know that, because we are stronger together; we will meet those challenges together and emerge stronger as St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy.

Letter to Parents Regarding the Re-Opening of Schools and Latest Documents from New York State from the Office of the Superintendent

Dear Parents and Guardians of Catholic Academy and Parish School Students,

 

Catholic Academies and Parish Schools, within the Diocese of Brooklyn are planning to open in September!  The Office of the Superintendent Re-Opening Task Force continues to work tirelessly to ensure that our students, faculty and staff remain healthy and have access to the most current information.  Moreover, the Diocese of Brooklyn Re-Opening Task Force, led by Chief Esposito, has been most impressed with the thoroughness of the Office of the Superintendent’s Task Force’s comprehensive plan for a successful safe opening of our school buildings this Fall.

 

Principals have been working diligently, planning for a September re-opening.  The New York State Education Department just recently shared the framework for school reopening plans with formal guidance.  This framework will be disseminated later this week and will serve as a roadmap, providing schools with guidelines, expectations and mandates, to safely open our schools this fall.  We also anticipate receiving information shortly from the New York State Department of Health and the Board of Regents.  The Office of the Superintendent Re-Opening Task Force will continue to share all information with our schools.

 

Governor Cuomo will be informing us of his final decision on school openings, during the week of August 1-7.   In anticipation of schools re-opening, please know there are essential elements included in all the re-opening plans being developed:

 

  • Our goal for opening schools is a 5-day a week, in-school model, ensuring that as many students, using social distancing, can safely be in our buildings. We are aware that many buildings cannot accommodate their total student population, in a socially distant way, for a full 5 day Plans are being developed by principals, using alternative scheduling; hybrid learning, combining in-person and remote learning.
  • We are deeply committed to ensuring that each Catholic Academy and Parish School continue to provide a loving, nurturing Catholic School environmen We will stand firm on continuing academic excellence. Social-emotional learning and mental well-being has been and will continue to be a priority.
  • The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff will continue to be our number one priority, with enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing protocols, and the implementation of student and faculty wellness checks and symptom screening.
  • We have and will continue to advocate for the many resources our students are entitled to under State and City law, as well as through the local school We will continue to stress that all public-school districts provide a nurse/medical professional to our schools and provide transportation for eligible students. Unfortunately, at this time, we are uncertain if they will be able to fulfill these requirements. We will continue to be persistent in engaging local school districts and lobbying for our students. Further updates on these issues will follow.

 

We have studied the re-opening plans from around the world, and across our country. We have worked collaboratively with Principals, Pastors and Academy Boards, to envision a re-opening plan that is safe and strong in academics and is Christ-centered.

 

As we continue to plan for September 2020, we must remember that all plans are based upon information we have presently received, never looking to compromise the health and safety of all.  We will continue to work and plan, accepting changes with patience and common sense.

 

We thank everyone for their continued support through these unpredictable times and continue to ask for God’s blessings.

 

Sincerely,

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.

Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services

 

SFDS 2020 Summer Update #1

Dear Academy Community, 

The closing of our academy building this year has had a lasting impact on all of us. While we may not be able to predict all of the challenges that may arise during the 2020-2021 school year, I want you to begin thinking about some of the things that might need to happen to ensure a safe and orderly return to school.

The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on schools continues to evolve daily. You may have seen yesterday both Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings, focused on the reopening of schools in September. It was shared by Governor Cuomo that “school districts” will be submitting Reopening Plans to the state for approval. Beginning next week, the Office of the Superintendent will communicate on a weekly basis, with all parents, about the Diocesan Re-Opening Plans. 

We have been following the current CDC guidelines in structuring a plan for our return, and we are awaiting guidance from the NYS Education Department, which is expected to be released in mid-July. I am part of a Dioscean Reopening Taskforce with participants from various members of our Diocese in the hopes that our collaborative efforts will ensure a safe return for everyone. It seems of the three scenarios discussed at our last parent meeting and in the document sent out on June 22nd the first two scenarios are most likely for the first weeks of the school year. 

 

Scenario 1: Enhanced Traditional Plan- We would continue school as normal with enhanced safety precautions in place such as increased hand sanitizer availability, increased frequency of cleaning of high touch areas, limited visitation to our school by visitors in order to possibly prevent the transition to a hybrid or full distance learning option. (Again, this is our plan for September pending more restrictive guidance from the Governor in the coming weeks)

 

Scenario 2: Social Distancing/Hybrid Plan-Hybrid would be a combination of distance and face-to-face instruction with increased safety and disinfecting measures as listed above, which could be done in a variety of configurations. All students may not be in school every day, and possibly, may only be allowed to report to school on an every other day basis. I know that this will present child care issues for some, so I need you to begin thinking about options for your children if this scenario becomes the case.

 

At this point I want you to begin considering the following as possibilities:

• The number of students allowed on buses will be drastically reduced. Please note that this is a NYC Office of Pupil Transportation decision, the school nor the Diocese has any say in the bus operation and guidelines. 

• Families must keep children home if they are not feeling well or if they have a fever. We are asking all parents to check their child’s temperature with a thermometer every day. If they have a fever, they cannot get on our buses or come to the school building as this would be putting every other student and staff member at risk. Depending on further guidance, we may also need to take temperatures when students get in school. Any student who has a fever at any point during the school day will need to be picked up immediately from school.

• Each student in Grades Nursery-Grade 8 will be issued a school device so that the lack of a device does not become a barrier to student learning both in school and/or at home. 

• Students may need to wear masks in school when social distancing is not possible. Please begin having conversations with your children about the need to wear masks, the requirements to stay 6 feet apart from others, and refraining from touching/being right next to others. The school is currently investigating providing students with a few masks to start the year off. 

 

Students and parents must know that throughout the 2020-2021 school year, our school structure may change at any moment based on the regulation and requirements issued to schools. Students need to realize that this is the new normal for school, and they must participate accordingly. 

The success of each student is going to require a collaborative effort on your part and the part of all school employees. Please know that the staff and I are dedicated to each student’s success and recognize that, by participating in all required work, we will do whatever it takes to support them. Nothing about this situation is going to be easy for anyone, but we need to encourage each other’s efforts to make the best of it. I will continue to update you with more information as our plans become solidified.

I know there is a great deal of difficult information to digest in this letter, but I want to be transparent with you and make you aware of all of the challenges our school is facing. Re-opening and having students back in school is my greatest desire and it will take monumental efforts on all of our parts to make it happen. If I had one wish granted to me, it would be for school to go back to normal! Thank you for your understanding and, as always, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions. Please know that we shall communicate our detailed plans with you as soon as possible. 

Some other key pieces of information to share or remind families of….

 

School Supplies: Yesterday we shared that every student is expected to have all supplies as well as a school bag on the first day of school. This year we will be working with schooltoolbox.com to host a supply kit sale.

St. Francis De Sales School Supply List Information and Cost

Right now our school online store is live and can be found by clicking here. We are excited to be able to offer this convenience to you. We have worked very hard to make the process as easy as possible. The online store will be open through the summer for parents to shop from their homes. Orders leave the warehouse within 10 days of ordering, so please keep that in mind to order with enough time before school starts. I would suggest that you order the boxes by August 23rd to make sure that your boxes arrive in time for school.

Please note that you can choose not to buy certain items from the list if you already have purchased or will purchase elsewhere.

 

Summer Reading and Assignments: Just a reminder that all summer assignments are due when we return to school on September 9th and can be found by clicking here. The most important assignment is that of reading each night. The more your child reads, and is read to, the more your child’s network of knowledge strengthens. It not only is “preparing them for the next grade,” but also improves their listening skills, builds early literacy skills, and strengthens their ability to make connections, draw conclusions, and better understand the world around them. Reading with a child each day is an investment for a lifetime.

Recommended Amount of Reading Each Day

Grades PK and K: Read to a child each day/night

Grades 1-2: 20 minutes each day

Grades 3-4: 25 minutes each day

Grades 5-6: 30 minutes each day

Grades 7-8: More than 30 minutes each day

When looking at your summer schedules and trying to balance it all, please remember to make reading a priority.

 

A Request for Cards: Our former assistant principal Ms. Brenda Brown has recently moved to a new assisted living facility. We are hoping that some of her friends at SFDS could send her a card. We hope these cards will brighten her spirit and we will see her in Rockaway soon. Her address is:

Brenda Brown

The Arbors Assisted Living Communities

45 Jericho Turnpike

Jericho, NY. 11753

Room 118

 

Diocesan and School Financial Aid: We know that the COVID-19 Pandemic has had financial consequences on some of our families. If this holds true for your family, although the application would now be considered late we recommend that you apply for Diocesan Financial Aid for the upcoming school year. Futures in Education is making efforts to assist families and schools throughout the Diocese during this COVID-19 health crisis. To ease the process for our families. As always, we strongly encourage families who may qualify to apply as soon as possible. To apply please click here. 

 

We look forward to hearing about your summers and pray that each of us, our families and friends are held closely by God for good health and peace. Please stay tuned for another update around July 23rd. 

Christopher Scharbach, Ed.D

Principal

School Supplies Delivered to your Home 

St. Francis De Sales School Supply List Information and Cost

Every student is expected to have all supplies as well as a school bag on the first day of school. All Summer Assignments should be completed by the first day of school as well.

This year we will be working with schooltoolbox.com to host a supply kit sale.

Right now our school online store is live and can be found by clicking here. We are excited to be able to offer this convenience to you. We have worked very hard to make the process as easy as possible. The online store will be open through the summer for parents to shop from their homes. Orders leave the warehouse within 10 days of ordering, so please keep that in mind to order with enough time before school starts. I would suggest that you order the boxes by August 23rd to make sure that your boxes arrive in time for school.

Please note that you can choose not to buy certain items from the list if you already have purchased or will purchase elsewhere.

Summer Enrichment Options

Dear Families,

 

Welcome to Summer! We thank you for the time and effort you have invested in your child’s education, particularly over the past few months. Distance learning has been a challenge for all and we applaud you (and your child) for making the best of these unprecedented times. The end of the school year hasn’t been what anyone would have expected but we are happy to welcome summer and hopefully some time to relax and recharge.

 

As we move into summer, we would like to provide options for at-home enrichment. The summer months are an important time to relax and unwind but are also an opportunity to keep your child engaged and on track for the fall. Attached you will find summer choice boards to use with your child. It is important to note that these are NOT required. This is simply a tool to provide parents with activities and ideas for summer enrichment.

 

How it Works

Download a packet of choice boards that match your child’s grade level. Choice boards are grouped by grade level band based on the grade your child has completed. For example, a child finishing 1st grade will use the K-1 document. Each page of the document is one week of themed activities (6 weeks total) with different activities in categories such as reading, writing, math, STEM, etc. Each activity follows a theme for the week but can be done independently of all other activities. For example, all activities in week two are about ice cream but you do not need to complete the activities in any particular order so your child can pick and choose the activities that interest them. You can also use grade level bands above or below your child’s grade based on your child’s needs.

Nursery and Pre-K Summer Instructional Plans

Grades K-1 Summer Instructional Plans

 Grades 2-3 Summer Instructional Plans

Grades 4-5 Summer Instructional Plans

Grades 6-7 Summer Instructional Plans

 

What do I Need?

As you view the choice boards, you will notice that they are divided by subject/ category. Materials needed are italicized in the top of the boxes. Many items will likely be available in your home or easily accessed at the supermarket. For reading activities and some of the other categories, you will need device with internet access. Texts sourced from www.myon.com can be accessed using the following login info:

School: Brooklyn Reads Elementary

Username: brooklyn

Password: read

 

My Child (and I) are Tired of School

Your child might be tired from weeks of distance learning and the stress of our current situation. This is not intended to add to anyone’s stress or become a point of contention in your household. To make this seem less like “school” you can:

  • Empower your child to choose the activities themselves. Let them pick what they are interested in (i.e. complete all the math activities first)
  • Challenge your child to see how many boxes they can complete in a week 
  • Designate a short (20-30 min) block of time to complete an activity and then offer free choice time
  • Use the board like tic-tac-toe and try to complete a whole column or row across. 

 

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need structured activities to “do enrichment.” Trips to the library, talking about books, taking a walk and talking about what you see, planning a trip together, cooking by following a recipe, and even going to the grocery store discussing quantity and pricing are all learning opportunities. Do what is comfortable for you and your family. Take time to relax, unwind, and enjoy your summer. We look forward to our time together in September.