Dear St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy Families,
For the past three weeks, we have been living in a surreal world, filled with fear, anxiety, trying to understand what will lie ahead, not only in the days to come, but in the weeks and months.
In the midst of all this uncertainty tomorrow is Palm Sunday. For us, this Palm Sunday will be different, but in the end, this Palm Sunday still marks the beginning of Holy Week and the Easter Tridium. We need these upcoming days for our own self-renewal, as well as to serve as a time for us to spiritually reflect on the importance of our own faith, during these very difficult times.
As best as we could, let us pause this weekend to spend time in a prayerful space, and ask for continued strength to get through the weeks and months ahead.
Our journey these past three weeks seems endless, but one thing is for sure, our faith has given us the strength to lead and make a difference in the lives of those entrusted to us. I have experienced the many positive comments from parents, the creativity displayed by your students, the spirit and energy conveyed by our teachers, and the efforts of our communities to come together during a time of crisis. Yes, we have moved into the digital age for sure, but so has our Catholic faith. No matter what lies ahead, we know that this Palm Sunday and Holy Week will provide us with renewed strength and faith. Don’t forget that Blessed Trinity’s Palm Sunday Mass is at 9am tomorrow and St. Francis de Sales Parish Palm Sunday Masses are 7:30pm tonight and 10am tomorrow.
We all believe that in one week we will be celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday. Let us pray that there will be renewed life following Easter.
My prayers for each of you this Palm Sunday. A sincere “thank you” for everything you are doing each day. You are truly making a difference with our teachers in making a difference in our children’s lives.
As we near the end of our third week of distance learning, I would like to share again my sincere thankfulness and appreciation for your enduring support and faith through these uncertain times. We are all facing many challenges these days, but together in faith we will endure.
Just a reminder that in an effort to improve system practices, Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Academy is conducting a short survey. We value your opinion and ask that you take the time to complete this survey. This is a new experience for all of us. Your input and insights are important and will help develop the instructional plan when we return from Easter Break. Please fill this form no later than Sunday April 5th. Thank you in advance for completing this form. We will do our best to take the responses in consideration as we plan for the immediate future.
Please this Wednesday look on our website and our Academy Facebook to watch our annual Stations of the Cross. This will be narrated by some of our students in Grades 6, 7, and 8.
Let’s take a look at some common questions from the third week and some exciting new things for a short week four of SFDS @HOME
Do we know if and when St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy may open again?
In accordance with state and federal guidelines regarding social distancing, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy will remain closed, and distance learning will continue through at least until April 30, 2020. Decisions about opening school after this date will depend on local, state, and federal guidelines. St. Francis de Sales will be observing Easter break, commencing Holy Wednesday, April 8, 2020 through Friday, April 17, 2020. For the Easter break (4/13-4/17), St. Francis de Sales Catholic will be sharing creative virtual resources later this week. Additional support for parents can be found at: https://news.catholicschoolsbq.org/
Does this work count for the third trimester report card?
I know we said that the faculty would be flexible if problems arise, but I wanted to remind the students that the work that they’re doing now is not just busywork. These assignments and assessments will be counted towards their third trimester grades, and they should be taking it seriously. We are reaching out to you now, to make sure that you have that conversation with your child as well. As always, we ask if something is stopping your child from completing their work or attending their class sessions, that they reach out to their teacher and let them know. Our teachers worry when they don’t hear from their students for days at a time. Please note that we are finalizing with the Diocese of Brooklyn a revised report card for the third trimester and we hope to share that in our next communication.
What about Physical Education, STEM, Spanish, and Art classes?
Please note that each week there are resources and activities posted for the above classes for our younger grade students at the following link. Please note Grade 3-8 are to go to all of their scheduled classes. These classes are not optional. Teachers of these classes have begun and will continue to reach out to families for those students that do not check in. Also please look out for a new SFDS Art Gallery Instagram page that we have set up for families to look at some of the at home art work our students are working on.
On a happier note … since we started remote schooling, we have seen only three to four students absent on any given day.
I don’t understand Google Classroom is there any resource for a parent?
Please see the following resource to help parents navigate with Google Classroom in grades 3-8.
What is My Catholic Faith Delivered for Grades 1-4?
This week we sent out emails out to all 1st-4th graders inviting them to My Catholic Faith Delivered. It is recommended that students work on this for 10-15 minutes each day (3-4 times a week). The teachers will make note of this on their class pages as well. The courses are designed to make learning convenient and fun. They feature engaging lessons, interactive activities, and real-time feedback. Please note that this curriculum is self-paced meaning that students will be at different lessons based on how quickly they complete the lessons. Any questions about this curriculum or how to log on please email Mr. Scharbach at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there any counseling supports or resources to use at home that the school is providing at this difficult time?
PDHP, under the leadership of Norwood Keaton, Executive Director of PDHP, has outlined the services available to all students and parents in the Catholic Academies and Parish Schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn. Any parent or student that feels a student needs counseling services should reach out to Mr. Scharbach. Please note in the request a parent or guardian need to give consent that allows their child to speak to a PDHP counselor via a private distance learning platform (Google Voice).
Also, please find the following resources provided by that can help at this difficult time. These resources are also available under the Resources tab of the SFDS@Home website.
My child has an IESP can they receive their special education services?
At this point, our Special Education Department is up and running. We have been in constant contact with the Department of Education and all providers. All providers have a link on our web page SFDS@HOME and have a schedule. The SETSS providers are using Zoom and the Related Service Providers (Speech and OT) are using Google Meet.
We have already had annual meetings and have more scheduled for Monday. Mrs. Buckley will be representing the teacher at the conference meetings, so if there is anything you would like stress please feel free to let her know.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of the Special Education Department or Students, please do not hesitate to email Mrs. Buckley at email@example.com
What do I do if I have questions regarding this effort of SFDS@HOME or something else?
Please, as always, start with the classroom teacher by emailing him or her via his or her school email address between the hours of 8am-4pm. If you need more assistance, you may always email your question or concern to myself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Well and Stay Healthy!