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.
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