Salve Regina, Our Lady of Trust, and St Joseph the Worker Catholic Academies are examples of all the locations preparing for school this year – see the story on Currents News on NET TV:
Our Catholic Academy and Parish Schools are preparing to reopen for classes on Sept 9th. Most will be able to accommodate full day in-person classes, meeting health and safety guidelines. Some will operate on a hybrid, and there is full distance learning option available. Your local school has, or will be holding information sessions. Please contact your school or Principal with questions and we look forward to the 2020-21 academic year!
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!
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.
Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services
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
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.
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!
“Lucky is the child who grows up with parents who basically accept and love themselves, and therefore can accept and love their child, who reminds them so often of their own selves.” — Magda Gerber
Magda Gerber was an early childhood educator who became an advocate of infants and families. I often find the rationale for work I do in her philosophies. I go back to her in my own parenting and I see nuances in the wisdom and care of the staff I work with daily and in the support of my friends, family & peer parents. Those peer parents include some of the parents who come and sit with me at our workshops and events, who follow along on our social media. This work of parenting is not easy and I admit that at each parent meeting we hold. Ironically, I go out to support parenting but find my parenting supported just as much if not more. I am grateful as in these days parenting seems impossible when faced with a hurting world where hurt people hurt people.
I reflect on this quote. What work can we do inwardly? Remember those spiritual practices? Remember that self-care? Quiet moment to reflect – busyness can help us avoid this work – but as an educator and a catechist, I often saw the benefit of letting a student consider something on their own terms before diving into the next thing. That is great work. This is where connections form and questions rear. We can seek the knowledge we need next in this safe space we provide. Can we get better? This work trickles to our children. We speak with love to guide and teach our families. That love of self radiates in action; it envelopes those we meet. I am reminded of this quote by those around me this week. Protests and prayer services held in my community this week asked us all for love. Let those loving moments soothe fears and uncertainty, let it heal and let anything less get out of our way. Keep it steady because healed people heal people.