St. Catharine School Families:

First, I would like to say how completely honored and blessed I am to have the opportunity to lead our wonderful school. With the outstanding faculty and staff along with the incredibly supportive families at this school, there is no challenge we cannot face together. We have been presented with tremendous obstacles this year, but with God’s grace and guidance, we will persevere.

The past few months have been very stressful for all of our families and the uncertainty of the Fall has certainly not helped relive the anxiety that our staff, parents, and students can be feeling during these challenging times.
Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
I can assure you that we are working extremely hard to prepare for the upcoming school year. It is our intention that we will do everything in our power to ensure students will return to school 5 days per week this Fall . Our students need to have the opportunity to return to school in its full capacity. We are working hard to make sure all safety recommendations are met to adhere to COVID-19 response and social distancing guidelines.

We are blessed at St. Catharine School to have the ample facility space, and the dedicated staff to return to school in a Tier I (normal operations, face-to-face learning) capacity. However, we understand that some students may need the option to engage in a blended (Tier II) or distance (Tier III) learning environment. This could be due to several reasons, mostly likely to a student or family member falling into a higher risk category. We also understand there may be some circumstances that could dictate a shift from Tier I to a Tier II protocol sometime during the school year. Please understand, we will be prepared to meet the needs of all students regardless of what Tier we will be in.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
2020-2021 School Schedule

Based off guidance we have received directly from the Office of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Columbus, we have modified the start of the school year to ensure the safety of our staff and students with a “phased-in” approach. Some of this information was previously communicated to our families.

Week of August 24th
This will be a Teacher Planning and Preparation Week. This will be an important week for staff collaboration, professional development, and final preparation for the start of the school year.

Week of August 31st
Students will return to school in smaller groups, either by grades, grade bands, or split groups between one and two days that week. This will give us an opportunity to introduce important safety procedures, review academic and behavioral expectations, and administer brief assessments to inform instruction.

Week of September 7th
Our hope to have all students return to school on Tuesday, September 8th. We will adhere to all social distancing and safety recommendations by the Diocese of Columbus and the State of Ohio. We will continue to stay informed of any changes and ensure the safest and most academically productive environment under these conditions.
Parent Survey

Please click on the link to access our Re-Opening Parent survey. There are a few questions we would like each family to answer in an effort to collect meaningful data that can serve to inform some of our decisions this school year. We value the feedback of our families. Although the decision will ultimately be made by our school leadership, we will take this information into consideration in the decision making process.

Two of the questions in this survey include:

Tier II Learning
In the undesirable situation that we need to shift to Tier II Learning, we would like to know our families’ preferences. We understand that every family is in a different situation in terms of child-care, work schedules, transportation, etc. There is no “right” way to initiative Tier II learning to meet everyone’s needs. This initial feedback can be extremely valuable.
In the event our school would determine the need to switch to a Tier II Model, all siblings in a family will be assigned to the same group.
The two options are:

1.) Students would attend 2-3 days per week. For example, Group A may attend Mon-Wed during the 1st week and then Mon-Tues the 2nd week. Group B would attend Thurs-Fri the 1st week and Wed-Fri the 2nd week.

2.) Students would attend a half-day, 5 days per week. For example, Group A would may attend 8-11AM and Group B might attend 12-3PM. This would allow for teacher lunch, planning, and sanitizing of facilities.
Again, we understand neither of these models are optimal and we will still be working toward a Tier I option. We want to be prepared for all possible scenarios. Once we get closer to the school year, a more detailed survey will most likely be forwarded.

Spring Break
Spring Break for the Diocese was originally scheduled for the week after Easter in 2021. Some schools, with some encouragement from the Diocese, have changed Spring Break to the week of March 15 th through the 19 th. This decision may be out of our hands, but in the case it is not, please fill out the survey with our preference. 
Mr. Watts A.M.A. (Ask Me Anything)

I sincerely feel the more our students and parents get to know me, the more comfortable you will be in the Fall. One of the best ways to know someone is the learn more about them.

This is a great opportunity to ask questions directly to me in an attempt to get to know more about me, my family, my background, etc. Be creative and I can’t wait to hear from you.

Students, make sure to include your name and grade and ask your question by replying to this email.
1.)  You can type it out or have a parent type it out
2.)  You can write it out, take a picture, and attach it to your reply
3.)  You can take a video of your question and attach it to your reply
Depending on how many questions I get, I will do my best to answer them all next week during my mid-week message.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. - Isaiah 43:2

Please know, you are all in my prayers and I will continue to be as transparent with our message and always keep the well-being of our students my top priority.

Sincerely,
Mark Watts