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The Flying Classroom is Landing at Our Schools

Captain Barrington Irving is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the being the youngest pilot and first black man to fly solo around the world. He was born in Jamaica and raised in Miami where he was a stand-out football player until a pilot that was a mentor challenged Barrington to try flying.

Captain Irving started Flying Classroom to expand the STEM+ curriculum that was available to schools. With specialized expedition leaders zooming into the classrooms twice a week the students get to work through engineering design projects that come in a special kit provided by the Flying Classroom. Each class will get an expedition lesson with embedded activities. Each expedition lesson also has a career connection component to help students learn about the STEM+ professional that is involved.

We have 3 schools that through a special grant are getting a chance to experience these STEM+ activities first-hand, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, Saints Joachim and Anne and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in South Ozone Park. The Kindergarten through 2nd grade classes will be learning about aerobatic flight school, the Bionic Chef and animal conservation. The 3rd through 5th grade will have the chance to dive into honey bees, water hydrodynamics and regenerative medicine. While the 6th through 8th grade will be tackling the world of sustainable cities, weather and flight plans and the Orbis Flying Hospital.

Captain Irving will also be setting up a Family STEM+ night where the students will bring special kits home and then the family can join a Zoom session to have a learning experience together on the topic of HALO jumps.


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Catholic School Week Family Letter from the Superintendent

Dear Families,

For the Diocese of Brooklyn, Catholic Schools Week begins February 8th. This is a joyous celebration in Catholic education, when we take time out of the busy day-to-day schedules, to pause and think about the blessings our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools provide to our families. The celebration this year centers on the theme of “Faith. Excellence. Service.” These are the very tenets our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools are built upon. Our celebration this year will certainly be different, but we still seek to share the qualities that set Catholic education apart. While this year has been exceedingly challenging, it has also highlighted the strength of our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools. Their response to the trials of the past year has set us apart from public, charter, and even other private schools. This year especially, we have so much to be grateful for in our schools, and to the families that form our Catholic Academy and Parish School communities.

It is fitting that faith is the first focus in the theme of Catholic Schools Week, as this is the first focus in the mission of Catholic education, with all areas stemming from the belief in and love of Christ. Families are the first teachers in the faith; not only in their religious practices, but in raising their children with love, respect, and a strong sense of morals. We are fortunate to have classrooms filled with students who have already been shown how to walk-in Jesus’ footsteps. It is through these beginnings that teachers can continue to help students grow in their faith. The strong foundation you have provided for your child will carry them into their adult lives. Students in Catholic schools are more likely to be faithful adults, practicing Catholics, and display strong moral fiber, through involvement and volunteerism. A Catholic school foundation is one that allows the faith to carry into future generations.

Excellence is demonstrated in our schools in ways that extend beyond the traditional scope of academics. Academic excellence shines in our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools, but this is only a piece of the puzzle. Catholic education supports the education of the whole child, with the understanding that academics are strong with music, art, athletics, technology, and STEM initiatives.
Through our incredible teachers, Catholic Academies and Parish Schools can offer a variety of programs, which allow students to have unique learning experiences.

We are immeasurably thankful for the teachers, who have demonstrated their excellence over this past year, through their flexibility in their delivery of instruction. We have been through remote, hybrid, and in-person learning and with each change, our faculty and staff have responded to meet the needs of students and families. The very opening of Catholic Academies and Parish Schools to in-person learning, during this school year speaks volumes to the excellence of our schools and the commitment to providing quality education to all students. I would be remiss not to thank our families for the excellence they have shown in their support of teachers and our schools. Parents and guardians have been tasked with many additional jobs this year, in supporting their child’s education. Without this partnership, academic excellence would be impossible. Our students grow not only through the academic excellence provided by teachers, but also through the support which comes from their homes and families.

It is a unique privilege to serve students and families through Catholic education. Service within Catholic Academies and Parish Schools can be viewed in many ways. It is the service of our teachers to the school community, the service of our families in providing for their children, and it is the way students learn to serve others. Acts 20:35 shares with us …remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive… This spirit of giving is alive in our Catholic Academy and Parish School communities, as students learn, not only to give through material items, during events such as food drives, they also learn the importance of the love they give to others. This is once again a reflection of the foundation provided by their families; for a student to understand that the love they give can change the world. Students who are a part of Catholic education are more likely to demonstrate service through volunteering and community engagement and are also more likely to show their love of others, with an increased openness to differences and embracing of others.

Our schools are blessed with families within their communities who make the sacrifice to send their children to Catholic Academies and Parish Schools. This is not always an easy decision, especially during this school year. The gift of sending a child to a Catholic Academy or Parish School is providing them with a foundation for life through faith, excellence, and service; qualities we see reflected not only in our schools but in the families that comprise our school communities.

Thank you for your continued faith in the mission of Catholic education and for entrusting the most precious gift into our school communities, your children.

Yours in Faith,

Thomas Chadzutko

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

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A Christmas Letter From Our Superintendent

Dear Families,

As the Advent season brings us to the celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ, I invite you to consider the following verse, When they saw the star, they were overjoyed Matthew 2:10. 

Being a parent, and in my case also a grandparent, we are presented with a unique opportunity to witness the pure joy that is a child at Christmastime. For adults, the holiday season is often filled with lists, gift wrapping, and errands. This year has brought additional stress and new challenges to navigate amidst COVID-19 concerns and social distancing. It has become easy for us to forget the joy of the moment. Children can see the world as we cannot; with an innocence and excitement for these celebrations. During the beginning of December, I decorated my Christmas tree with my young grandchildren. The moment the lights were turned on, I was greeted with excited yells and laughter. I couldn’t help but smile at their happiness, over something as simple as Christmas lights. This pure joy is the joy we should all feel during this time of year. Our children (and grandchildren) are the light in our lives, just as Jesus is a light for all people. 

We often forget, amidst the shopping lists and errands that we are celebrating Jesus coming into the world.  Jesus is the greatest gift God has provided for us.  The light and hope that his birth brought to the world, as described in the verse from Matthew, is a sentiment we should bring into our lives always, but especially during the Christmas season. I encourage you, throughout the coming days and weeks, to take time in your busy day, to pause and reflect on the meaning of the season.  Look to your children for the joy we all need and embrace the small moments that make this time of year so special. 

I wish you a very Merry Christmas filled with peace, joy, and special family moments, and a happy, healthy New Year. We are looking forward to welcoming in the new year with you. 

In Christ,

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

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Families,

We have been blessed throughout previous academic years with families who understand the importance of our mission for Catholic Education and who are committed to working alongside us to accomplish these goals. This year, while unbelievably challenging, has demonstrated the level of commitment our families have to support the Catholic Academies and Parish Schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn. It is incredible to witness. I find it inadequate to simply say thank you, as those words don’t even begin to cover my gratitude for your unending support but nonetheless, I will try.

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources

Catholic Schools in Brooklyn and Queens Will Remain Open 11/16/20

Catholic Schools in Brooklyn and Queens Will Remain Open

The Superintendent of Catholic Schools for Brooklyn and Queens today has announced that all 69 schools and academies will remain open and continue to provide in-person learning, irrespective of any impending decision pertaining to the status of New York City public schools.

Catholic schools in the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens have provided safe, five days a week in-person learning since beginning this school year, as scheduled, on September 9. The Superintendent has also requested the Department of Education’s Office of Non-Public Schools continue to provide services for Catholic school students, which they are entitled to, including school nurses, transportation, and food, if public schools are to close.

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Parent Letter – ensuring our guidelines for health and safety

Download a pdf of this letter

Dear Catholic Academy and Parish School Families,  

Since September, our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools have been open and operating safely and efficiently. Thank you for your support in ensuring our guidelines for health and safety have been followed. Every person in our extended Catholic Academy and Parish Schools’ community has the responsibility to observe social distancing and wear a mask. This is what will keep the doors to our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools open; this is what will continue to keep everyone at our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools safe and healthy. Our principals, teachers and health aides have rigorously enforced health and safety protocols in our Catholic Academy and Parish Schools. For all this is being done on a daily basis, we are most grateful.  

However, as students’ participation in outside extracurricular activities increases, the possibility of exposure to individuals who are positive for COVID may increase for both the students and their families. The same outcome can be true for attending any event with large numbers of people. This past week we have seen a very slight uptick in positive cases, and every positive case has been traced back to exposures at gatherings, parties, and events outside of the Catholic Academy/Parish School. We are sending this letter as a stark reminder COVID protocols do not end at the end of the school day and/or take the weekends off!  

With that being said, it is crucial that every family completes the daily self-screening checklist, prior to sending their children to the Catholic Academy/Parish School.  

If you can answer YES to any of the questions, your child may NOT enter the Catholic Academy/Parish School building. You MUST contact a health professional for guidance and notify the Catholic Academy/Parish School principal.  

As a reminder, the questions are:  
1) If your child has any of the following symptoms, that indicates a possible illness, which may decrease the student’s ability to learn and put them at risk for spreading illness to others. Does your child have any of these symptoms?  

-Temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
-Sore Throat
-New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline)
-Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
-New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever
-Shortness of breath Fatigue
-Muscle or body aches
-New loss of taste or smell
-Congestion or runny nose
-Nausea or vomiting    

2) To the best of your knowledge, in the past 14 days, has your child been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes) with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19?  

3) Has your child or a member of your household traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.  

According to the New York State Department of Health, your child will need to receive a note of medical clearance and a negative PCR COVID test to return to school, should they develop any symptoms or be sent home from school.   

What else can we all be doing to maintain a safe environment for all? We can limit our exposure to large groups of people, continue to practice good hand hygiene, have a supply of masks on hand so that the fabric masks can be washed daily, and ensure everyone in your family receives a flu shot and all immunizations are kept up-to-date.  

We truly appreciate everyone’s honesty, cooperation and dedication, to keeping our schools safe and healthy places of learning. During the month of the Most Holy Rosary, we continue to entrust our students, teachers, principals and staff to our Lady; the cause of our hope and joy.  

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

Help reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of
COVID-19 by practicing the “Core Four”
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Parent Letter from The Superintendent

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

The past seven months have been like no other in all my years in Catholic education and probably like no other in the history of American education. Despite the many challenges, I have been inspired by the heartfelt actions of our principals, teachers, and parents throughout this pandemic.  I am also sincerely appreciative of what our parents, teachers and school leaders are continuing to do, to support our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools, as we begin the 2020-2021 school year.

Catholic schools are faith communities and while our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools did an outstanding job moving to online learning, we missed having the students in class and couldn’t wait to pray, learn and play together again.  Most families over the summer, indicated they felt the same way. Some families chose to return to the 2020-2021 school year remotely, with their decision to enroll in the Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program, with online instruction. Saint Thomas Aquinas will begin on September 16, 2020.

Our re-opening days last week, were well-planned, focused on the details and addressed the health and safety concerns of everyone.  Having your children return allowed each school community to see their students in person, welcoming their children back with a smile and a socially distant wave and engage the students in learning from the classroom setting. Whoever thought this would be the way learning would occur in 2020?  However, by everyone working together, we are all back stronger and ready to tackle what lies ahead. We once again wanted to remind you of basic tenets to support a heathy and safe environment:

We thank you again for partnering with us, allowing us to develop and educate the children you have entrusted in our care.

In closing, I share the prayer below:

Back to School Blessing

Dear Heavenly Father,

You sent us your Son,

how great is your goodness,

how great is your love.

Now as we send our children back to school,

we trust again in your care for them,

let them see clearly that which is good and reject all evil.

Bless their teachers—guide their hearts.

May our children learn and grown, always in your

sight and under your protection.  Let us teach them how

to stand firm, upon convictions yet be merciful and kind.

Guide them, oh Lord.  Bless them.  Pour out your

loving grace.  Let your glory shine in their lives.

And when they suffer, let us understand how to comfort them

without hindering your character-building process.

You are the architect of a holy life.  Build our

children up according to your will.

Oh loving Lord, our children are yours, since

the beginning of time.  Thank you for their lives.

Bless and protect their souls.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen

Sincerely,

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.

Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services

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Brooklyn and Queens Catholic Academies and Parish Schools reopening Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

September 2, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We hope you and your children are doing well and preparing for the reopening of our Brooklyn and Queens Catholic Academies and Parish Schools next week on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

I am sure that many of you are wondering how Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement yesterday, delaying the opening date of New York City public schools until September 21, might impact us. We want to assure you that our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools will NOT be affected by this decision. We are proceeding with our plan to reopen on September 9 in either of two ways: 100 % in-person or hybrid. Our St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program will begin orientation on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

We expect that the New York City – Department of Education will fulfill its obligations to our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools. By New York City Education Law, the Department of Education must provide essential services like nurses, transportation, meals, and special education and related services. Other services like security guards and crossing guards are provided to us through other agencies.

It is also our expectation that the NYC Pre-K For All Programs will start as previously determined by your Catholic Academy or Parish School.

Again, we look forward to welcoming your children back to school, as scheduled, next Wednesday, September 9th.  Principals, board members, teachers, and the entire school staff at our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools have worked tirelessly this summer to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment is in place for all our students, faculty, staff and parents. Our re-opening plans are in compliance with updated mandates and guidance from New York City, New York State, Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. Please make sure that you review your Catholic Academy/Parish School Re-Opening Plan available on their website

May everyone be healthy, safe, and well as you enjoy these last few days of summer.

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

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Preparing for the reopening of the Catholic Academy and Parish Schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn

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Catholic Academies/Parish Schools Preparing for 2020-2021 Academic Year

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:

Current News: As Brooklyn Diocese Prepares to Reopen Schools, Health and Safety Precautions Are Being Put in Place