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Family Fun Month: Educational Resources and Activities for the Entire Family

August is Family Fun Month, and with it come fruitful opportunities to foster an environment of learning and development for your child that includes all members of the family. Make educational topics and lessons stick by incorporating bonding time and collaborative learning through fun-filled activities that every family member can appreciate and enjoy alongside your young learner.

Below are a few educational resources and activities designed to target learning objectives and development milestones in which the entire family can participate.

123 Homeschool 4 Me

This free educational resource is for the family that enjoys solving problems together as a team. 123 Homeschool 4 Me offers a vast collection of free general education worksheets on a wide range of subjects for children in pre-K through high school.

As your child works through the worksheets, offer yourself as a resource for when he or she gets stuck or would like further insight in the subject at hand. By inviting your child to ask questions and learn alongside you, you are reminding your child of the advantages of teamwork and collaboration.

CK-12 Foundation

CK-12 offers a comprehensive collection of courses for students, teachers, and parents, covering subjects from Grades 1-12 and even a few college courses.

As your child works through his or her own courses, explore the more advanced content on your own. No matter your expertise or reading level, there’s something for every member of the family. This way, you’ll encourage your child to further embrace collaborative learning. Leave them with this lasting impression from the learning experience: If my family can do it, so can I!

Duolingo

Older children will enjoy the challenge of learning a new language outside of the traditional classroom. Duolingo offers a fun and motivating way to learn a new language, encouraging the absorption of key elements through engaging repetition and a fun and exciting platform.

This is a tool that the entire family can find benefit in. Conveniently designed as a smartphone app, Duolingo invites all members of the family to explore another language, including German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and many others.

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News and Information Parent Resources Updates

School Reopening Family Letter from the Superintendent

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

The changes in our lives due to the COVID-19 have been many. Unfortunately, the impact of the virus continues to change the most fundamental aspects of how we live, including how we hold school, which is the purpose of this letter. While we cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like this fall, the Catholic Academies and Parish Schools are planning to implement a number of enhanced health and safety measures, based on guidance from local health and government authorities.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aside from a child’s home, there is no other setting which has more of an influence on a child’s health and well-being than their school. The in-person school environment: provides academic instruction; supports the development of social and emotional skills; creates a safe environment for learning; addresses nutritional needs; and facilitates physical activity.

School leaders have been working tirelessly to develop plans for the safe return of as many students as possible, to in-person school, in order to best meet students’ academic, social-emotional and faith-based needs. Over the coming weeks, we will be meeting with principals, Board Chairs and Pastors, to discuss site-specific plans. Based upon the current medical status, the expectation today is for students to return to full in-person instruction in September; however, schedules may vary, and these reentry plans are subject to change, based upon the final determination, to be made by Governor Cuomo.

The health and safety of the children and adults in our schools is paramount. Health and safety considerations must always come first in every decision made and every action taken by our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools throughout the Diocese of Brooklyn. In planning for school opening, our goal is to establish best practices for ensuring a healthy and safe return to school. This will include but not limited to: health checks; healthy hygiene practices; social distancing; personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings; and cleaning and disinfection.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate these extraordinary times. We acknowledge that there are likely to be more questions than answers at this time, and we will continue to communicate with you in the coming weeks.

In preparation for a safe re-opening of our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools, I offer you the following prayer to share with your family:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,

Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Loving Jesus, be with us,
as we prepare to open our
Catholic Academies and Parish Schools in September.

Amen.

Let us all pray for a resolution to and decrease of the COVID-19 virus.

May everyone be healthy, safe, and well.

Sincerely,

Thomas Chadzutko

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources

Please see and click on another important action alert from the USCCB for Catholic Education.

In recent weeks we have asked you to contact your Members of Congress in support of Catholic schools – and thanks to you, almost 100,000 messages were delivered!  Your work has paid off. We have a newly introduced emergency school choice bill:  The School Choice Now Act – but we are not near the finish line just yet, and we can’t stop now!

https://www.votervoice.net/USCCB/Campaigns/76171/Respond?mc_cid=dc56a2aa19&mc_eid=6902c5e396
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Parent Resources Updates

3 Quotes about Learning and How to Make the Most of It This Summer

Now more than ever, learning plays an integral role in the development and growth of your child. Your child may be eager to soak up all the sun, play outside, and engage in all the wonders that summer has to offer after being cooped up at home during the COVID-19 lockdown. It’s important, though, to remain safe.

To make this summer a healthy and fun period for your child this year, integrate the element of education that has encouraged your child to persevere and thrive throughout the past few months. The learning aspect will serve as a familiar support for your child as they continue to grow in this time away from the physical classroom and distance learning both.

To give you and your child some inspiration in making this summer a season of learning, below are three quotes about learning that will help your family make the most of the warm weather.

“Oh, the joy of young ideas painted on the mind, in the warm, glowing colors fancy spreads on objects not yet known, when all is new and all is lovely!”Hannah More

This quote emphasizes the beauty of summer warmth. The season fills us with joy and encourages us to learn with faith in mind – that new ideas are colorful and meant to inspire us to continue forward in our pursuits of knowledge of the word of God and the world around us.

“But if any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men abundantly, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

Read this bible quote to remind yourself to seek knowledge through God. Without Him, we would be lost and unable to understand the lessons He seeks to teach us. As your child enjoys the summer months, make faith and prayer major elements of your family’s evening routine. Use this time to reflect on what you’ve learned that day through God.

“A man of great memory without learning hath a rock and a spindle and no staff to spin.”George Herbert

This quote reminds us that learning is at the heart of growth. Without it, we continue onward with no real direction and empty knowledge. Don’t aim to memorize. Aim to learn and absorb.

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources Updates

Message from the Superintendent regarding School Reopening Plans and the Re-Opening Task Force

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 days. 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 environment. 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 districts. 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

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.

Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services

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Act Now to Help Save Catholic Schools!

Please join the USCCB in asking Congress to include additional relief for Catholic schools in the next emergency relief package.

The link to action is below: https://www.votervoice.net/USCCB/Campaigns/75795/Respond

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources Updates

SIX CATHOLIC ACADEMIES IN BROOKLYN AND QUEENS WILL CLOSE DUE TO FINANCIAL STRAIN RESULTING FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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            The Diocese of Brooklyn Office of the Superintendent – Catholic School Support Services today announced six Catholic academies, located in Brooklyn and Queens, will permanently close, effective August 31, 2020. The devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis on enrollment and finances, an issue faced by many Catholic schools in the region and across the country, made it impossible for them to reopen for the coming school year.

            The following Catholic academies will not reopen:

  • Queen of the Rosary in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • St. Gregory the Great in Crown Heights/Flatbush, Brooklyn
  • Our Lady’s Catholic Academy in South Ozone Park, Queens
  • Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, Queens
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens
  • St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens

            Collectively, these schools have seen a decline of enrollment over the last five years, but the registration totals for the upcoming school year are down significantly, largely due to the massive unemployment and loss of business that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $630,000 in tuition bills for the past school year (2019-2020) remains outstanding at these schools.

            “This is an incredibly sad day for our Catholic community to have to close these schools, but the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is insurmountable. The difficult decisions come after the intense analysis of the financial picture of each academy,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools. 

            Every effort will be made to help transition affected students and families to nearby Catholic academies. To help the transition, the Diocese of Brooklyn, through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust, will provide a one-time $500 financial grant for each child from a closed school enrolling and attending in a new Catholic elementary academy or school in Brooklyn or Queens this fall, as long as they have met all of their financial obligations. For those who meet the financial eligibility, tuition assistance is available through Futures in Education (www.futuresineducation.org). 

            Online Information meetings will begin next week for parents at the academies scheduled to close. Administrators and personnel from neighboring Catholic academies will be available virtually to present their programs and answer any questions parents may have.

            Despite the closures, there is great optimism about the future of Catholic education in Brooklyn and Queens. “Our smaller and caring community of schools has many advantages as witnessed by how quickly we adapted to remote learning this spring. In grades K-8, we were nearly one to one, students to devices with data plans, an incredible feat which allowed for distance learning success in our schools. The learning went on in our schools for six hours a day, so our children knew that even though they were separated, they were not alone. Our devoted teachers and staff supported every child with the tools they needed to continue their education. We will continue to improve on this so we can be ready to handle any challenge this coming fall,” said Dr. Chadzutko.

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Parent Resources

Letter to Parents – Summer Enrichment

Dear Parents,

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.

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.

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July 4th Activity!

Dear Parents,

HAPPY 4th of July!!!

We hope these patriotic activities will add to the celebration!! Together, you can help your child discover that there is much more to celebrate about July 4th than just fireworks.

Enjoy!!

Janet Heed

District Superintendent

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources Updates

Transitions, Part 2

A letter of reflection, change, hope and encouragement to the Families of 2020 Graduates by Allison Colombo, Diocesan Counselor

Dear Parents & Guardians, 

It is hard to imagine how quick these years have flown by, isn’t it? Your child is no longer looking through that classroom window, hoping you will stay all day in case they do not make friends on the reading carpet. Maybe your child no longer wants you to write a note to put in their lunch box because “it’s just not cool in High School, Mom.” While this is an exciting time and a milestone for you as a parent and guardian, it is also the closing of one chapter and onto the next. 

These next 4 years in High School is something you are going to go through with your child, but this time it will look a little different. Now, there may be less of you packing lunches, but rather handing out lunch money to buy. You no longer will have to stay up completing that diorama at midnight for Science, but instead find out that you ran out of printer ink for their paper due tomorrow morning at 8 AM. While these changes to how school looks can be scary and worrisome, it can also be so exciting. 

You will be alongside your child as they start to shape themselves into the people they wish to become. Conversations may change from talking about the latest toy they want for Christmas, but rather the newest iPhone so they can keep up with weekend plans with friends. You will stand beside your children as they make new friends, try out for new clubs and sports and may not make the team. You will stand beside your children through some of the happiest and most challenging times.  But remember, remain proud of yourself because through every struggle your child faces, you are right there next to them facing it together. 

As they blossom into young adults, don’t be afraid to talk to them about important topics. While some things may be uncomfortable to bring up, they will thank you in the end for educating them and supporting them through it all. Your involvement in their High School experience is still so crucial to their success. Meet-the-Teacher night may look different but immerse yourself in this new community that will offer you support through educators, Principals and Counselors. 

Congratulations to parents and guardians of the Class of 2020, you made it!