PDHP Parents Updates

Fostering Mental Well-Being this Fall Semester

Now more than ever, the mental health and well-being of your child is crucial to his or her growth and success as the fall semester continues in full swing. From the excitement and fear that comes with such a tumultuous year to the confusion of struggling to adapt to new home and learning environments, it’s necessary for your family to support your child as he or she navigates the new terrain of distance learning (or face-to-face with new restrictions and guidelines).

The key to fostering an optimal environment for learning, in the home and beyond, is to instill in your child the knowledge that he or she will always have your family there as unwavering foundation of support. To do this, keep repetition and positive enforcement in mind, especially for younger children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.” Always remember that, above all, the mental health and well-being of your child is most important during this transitional time, both in school and world at large.

Maintaining your child’s mental health and well-being is a big task for any parent, but it doesn’t have to be scary. There are simple steps you can take every day that will be a positive influence on your child as he or she continues to navigate the new spaces and environments we find ourselves in.

1. First, make sure your own mental health is stable and that you’ve developed and are comfortable with your own methods of coping and being well before you attempt to apply the same practices with your child.
2. Focus on building senses of trust and compassion. Make sure your child understands that you and your family are always right behind him or her, no matter what. This will allow your child to go forth with confidence.
3. Practice repetition and consistency. Children grow and understand things best through repeated exercises and reinforcement. Most children crave routine and structure, so it’s important to build and maintain a home that your child can comfortably view as a safe space.
4. Establish healthy habits. From eating greener foods to enforcing a stricter bed time, your child will benefit from sticking to a fuller, healthier routine. Turn exercise into play time by throwing around a ball or going on a walk together in the park.
5. Encourage the development of self-esteem. You can give your child all the support in the world, but the most effective coping mechanism is self-esteem. Ensure that your child understands his or her worth and the importance of individuality in today’s world.
6. Pray! Nothing heals the soul like a conversation with God.

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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.

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

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Back to School: The Importance of Routine and How to Establish One

No matter your child’s age, a routine is incredibly important to his or her success inside the classroom and at home. Now more than ever, routine is at the foundation of our children’s day-to-day lives, and it is important to establish a routine that works for your family.

With the new school year quickly approaching, consider your child’s current routine and how it can be adapted to better suite an unprecedented back-to-school season.

The Importance of Routine in the Time of COVID-19

Learning to cope with change is healthy, but when everything seems to change all at once, daily life can become overwhelming for your young student. Without life and learning routines, children can feel confused and lost, and they may be unable to navigate the world around them in the ways that will lead them toward success.

With a routine firmly in place, your child will feel more confident in taking on the days ahead. He or she will feel more comfortable with making decisions, solving problems, interacting with their environment, and communicating with others. By giving our children the tools they need to succeed, it’s more likely that they will!

Building a Routine that Works for You and Your Child

To begin establishing a routine for your child, first consider how you feel when you allow yourself to slip out of your life and work routines – do you feel pressure without a plan in place? In what ways do you struggle to operate without a set of daily tasks and milestones in place? How difficult is it to feel motivated to adopt your routine again?

Think about the ways you’ve coped with changes over the past few months and how you’ve adapted to a new routine – a new “normal” – and how you can adapt those mechanism to work for your child as the new school year approaches.

Feeling Safe at School with a Routine

As some schools prepare to open for in-person class, make sure you’re child enters the school year with clear expectations and a plan for dealing with a changing learning environment. Before the first day of school, review the learning routine you’ve established for your child. Ensure he or she understands the importance and the process of social distancing, washing hands frequently, and wearing face masks.

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

Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources PDHP Parents Updates

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

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End of Summer Plans

Dear Parents,

The following plans are intended to serve as a transition from summer leisure to a school routine. Plans prepared for the weeks of August 17 and 24th focus on themed activities for different subject areas. While the activities follow the same theme, they can be completed in isolation. Your child can pick and choose from activities based on their interests.

Plans prepared for the week of September 3rd are designed not only to prepare your child for academic activities as the school year starts but also to prepare them for returning to a school setting that looks different than it did. Activities focus on addressing changes in the school, guidelines for students to follow, and feelings students might have about this new school year. As your child engages in the activities, pay particular attention to their reactions. It is important to be available to talk to your child about any concerns or stresses they might have coming into this new school year and to frame the conversation in a positive way. Validate your child’s concerns and worries but also present them with information and positivity to help their thinking. For example, your child may be concerned about wearing a mask. You can agree that wearing a mask can be challenging but then follow up with why masks are important and fun things you can do even with a mask on. 

The following link provides resources for parents to help prepare their child to go back to school as well as identify potential stressors, how to talk to your child, and how to provide mental health support for your family during this difficult time.

There are also many e-books available for free to download or to read online with your child. These books address information about COVID-19, staying at home, and feelings one might have about the pandemic

During this time, both children and parents are undoubtedly feeling the strain from the uncertainties of COVID-19. We must continue to stay positive, put our trust in God, and work to make our schools the safest places for our children. We are looking forward to opening our doors and finally being able to greet (from 6 feet away, of course) our students and families. 

Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources PDHP Parents

The Superintendent, Thomas Chadzutko was featured on News 12

Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, the superintendent of Catholic School Support Services for the Brooklyn Diocese, talks with News…

Posted by Catholic Schools of Brooklyn & Queens on Thursday, August 13, 2020
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3 Summer Crafts for the Creative Child

One of the best ways to engage a creative, hands-on child during this social distancing summer are arts and crafts. In between outdoor play time and educational activities, invite your young child to join you in completing a fun and creative craft that will lighten up your afternoon.

Inspiration can come from anywhere – from Pinterest boards to YouTube DIYs. Below are a few simple crafts to get you started wxith a few simple materials that you may even have available right at home. If your child enjoys crafting, schedule time throughout the month to craft projects you and your child choose together.

Paint and Snack

Medium-sized poster board or canvas paper
Acrylic paints, assorted colors
Old newspapers or tablecloth
Magazines, picture books, or family photos

Household objects of interesting shapes (kitchen magnets, coins, LEGOs, pipe cleaners, etc.)

Cover a floor or table with old newspapers or a tablecloth, then spread out your poster board or canvas paper on your prepared workspace. With your child, choose a reference photo from your collection of magazines, picture books, and/or family photos to paint using brushes or, if you’re feeling creative, household objects with interesting shapes that can give new depth and add interesting perspective to the paintings.

Origami Letter to My Future Self

Multicolored paper, cut into 8.5×11 in squares

Crayons, markers, or colored pencils

Have your child draw a fun border design along the edges of a paper square of his or her favorite color. Then, ask your child to write a letter “A Letter to My Future Self” on the square. Be sure your child includes the date. Once the letter is complete, follow these instructions to fold an origami letter. Then, close the envelope with a sticker, and keep the letter for your child until the future data your child decides to open the letter.

Rainbow Drip Painting

Medium-sized canvas
Old crayons
Hot glue gun
Hair dryer
Old newspapers or tablecloth

Cover a floor or table with old newspapers or a tablecloth beneath your canvas. Help your child glue the crayons across the top of the canvas in the sequence of his or her choice, following the color order of the rainbow or in a sequence of his or her own. Then, with the canvas upright and the hairdryer aiming down at a 45 degree angle, melt the crayons on the dryer’s warm setting.

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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!


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.

News and Information Parent Resources PDHP Parents 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.


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

May everyone be healthy, safe, and well.


Thomas Chadzutko

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