FCC News Desk
As the Coronavirus has altered the lives of the entire world, school communities like St. Joseph School (SJS) in North Grosvenordale have had to make swift changes in a short time to keep the educational process moving forward for the students they serve in grades Pre-K through 8. As students and teachers physically gathered for the last time on Friday, March 13th, plans were already underway to enact a Distance Learning Program, which culminated in a special Professional Development Day for teachers on March 16th.
“I cannot thank the entire SJS community enough for their patience and flexibility during this new normal we are all facing,” Principal David Sizemore said. “In terms of the faculty, they have created a hybrid approach of worksheet packets, links to educational websites for students to work on, as well as an increased capacity to conduct classes via Zoom, a technology which allows students and their teachers to meet online in a virtual classroom. We collectively meet as a faculty/staff twice a week via Zoom so that we can continue to make improvements and adjustments to our Distance Learning Plan."
Nicole Ruoppo, a teacher at the middle school level for SJS, explained her distance learning experience.
“So far, our distance learning program has gone well," she said. "I have already been having Zoom classes and I have been able to set up a discussion board about a new book that we are reading that covers the Revolutionary War period. Feedback from the students thus far has been positive, but their biggest complaint is that they miss each other. In the meantime, however, I'm going to make sure they keep learning and that we all stay connected with each other!”
“I love that the top priority for teachers is the education for our students, even from a distance,” said Kelly Arsenault, mother of Manny Santos, a sixth-grade at SJS. “As a full-time nurse, I was initially concerned how I was going to be able to manage this. All of the teachers have been extraordinary in helping to facilitate this process!”
Families at the Pre-K level are also expressing their gratitude with a new type of partnership that has been forged with the faculty at SJS. One Pre-K parent, Jean Hemmig, has cited fun activities that she is doing with her son Jace like completing outdoor scavenger hunts and making a volcano. “As a former elementary school teacher, I have incorporated some of the lessons I have used previously with the materials and communication provided to us by Jace’s amazing Pre-K teacher, Mrs. Apley,” said Hemmig. “The most important thing is to make sure your child is having fun while learning!”
Courtney Brooks, a mother of three students, two in Pre-K (Josephine and Louisa) and one in Kindergarten (Edythe) also shared her thoughts about this unique situation we are all facing. “There could be many reasons to fret during this uncertain time, but I am thankful for the strength and the commitment of the SJS community, maybe now more than ever! SJS families are kept in constant communication, parents and teachers are helping each other out, and kiddos still interact with each other, just virtually. My girls love to see photos of their friends doing their schoolwork at home and look forward to a story read to them every night by Mr. Sizemore through Class Dojo, the school’s Learning Management System.”
“While our Distance Learning Program can in no way replace the in-person experience of learning, I do think that once this situation passes, we will hopefully have some new innovations that will become part of the fabric of the SJS community,” said Sizemore. “Finally, one of the key elements of our mission is that we are a caring, respectful, and nurturing environment, and that, without a doubt, has been on full display more so than ever before.”
To find out more information in regards to registering your son or daughter for the 2020-21 school year, please send an email to Mr. Sizemore at email@example.com. Additional information about the school can be found on its website, www.schoolofstjoseph.org, especially with a new blog that has numerous activities for families with regards to distance learning. When you go to the website, click on the link PSC at the top of the page to see those activities.
The next Open House that SJS will host for families will be Sunday, May 3rd from 8:30 am – 11:30 am. The Open House will be paired with a Sunday Breakfast that will run simultaneously where guided tours will be offered by current SJS families as well as faculty members. Breakfast is complementary for all prospective families. Although this revised date follows after Easter, the Easter Bunny will still be coming to town on May 3rd for family pictures.
Note: Please visit the school’s website as listed above for any future date changes to this event that may occur.