St. Catharine School Families:

I hope all of you had a joyous week. I realize that it has been difficult time to find joy in these anxious circumstances. However, always remember how we find joy in our lives… by keeping these 3 priorities in order:

J esus
O thers
Y ou

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. - Psalm 28:7
Our family just returned from vacation, which ironically was the first vacation we have ever taken with just our immediate family. We booked a secluded lake house back in March, about the same time we realized how vitally important social-emotional and mental health is for our children. This was our “Social Distancing Vacation” and it brought to light how much all of our children have been through recently.
 
Social Emotional and Mental Health of our students will be an important initiative, regardless of grade level this year. This past couple of months have presented some challenges I doubt any of us were ready for. As important as it will be to close some of the academic gaps created by this pandemic, the social-emotional wellness of all students will be a priority.  
School Re-Opening Plan
 
We will be conducting several meetings this coming week with faculty, some staff, the Advisory Board, and the Re-Opening Task Force. We have moved this timeline up considerably due to the fact that several Diocesan High Schools and multiple school districts have announced tentative plans for the Fall. After receiving documentation from the State of Ohio, the Diocesan Task Force met this week and provided an update to their recommendations. We would like to lay out what our Tier I, II, and III plans will look like in the fall, which will also include a more specific parent survey.
 
Last week, I wanted everyone to know that we would do everything we could to try to explore every option to bring students safely back full-time. Through analyzing staff and spacing and along with some recent trends, we are keeping all options open. Please keep in mind that this Tier I (normal operations) while keeping social distancing recommendations will put a tremendous amount of instructional pressure on our teachers, stress the staffing situation, and stretch our safe use of facilities . We will look at the quality of instruction, our ability to maintain a safe environment, and our potential to adapt to staff shortages in a Tier I instruction model.
 
We will also focus on the scheduling and logistics of a Tier II model (Blended Learning), and the benefits and drawbacks of implementing that model, depending on the specific mode (half-day, split-week, etc.). Safety will be our top priority followed be the quality of instruction.
 
Lastly, we will explore how online learning can be adapted for students who may be at a higher health risk and specific protocols and communication procedures in the case of a symptomatic student.
 
Although it seems to be a major topic of discussion right now, we will NOT be discussing or debating whether or not schools SHOULD be opening this fall. Information is constantly changing and being updated almost daily. Our job is to prepare our faculty and staff for all three tiers and develop sound procedures based on best practices for addressing COVID-19 scenarios. We want to be prepared to communicate our expectations, address concerns, and fluidly keep parents in the loop during this time.
 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
 
Mr. Watts A.M.A. (Ask Me Anything)
Thank you, Olivia, Hannah, Lucy, and Caroline for submitting this week’s questions. And, they were GREAT questions.
 
If you want to ask Mr. Watts a question, simply respond to this email.
 
1) What is your favorite sport?
Probably Football. I started playing in 1981 and coached college football for 13 years. But, I have a huge respect for and love all sports which I learned from being a college strength & conditioning coach for 15 years. Sports teaches us some great life lessons such as humility, teamwork, discipline, and selflessness.
  
2) Who is your favorite Saint and why? 
St. Joseph. St. Joseph has two feast days: May 1 st and my birthday, March 19 th . My confirmation name is Joseph and my confirmation sponsor is my cousin Joe. I have a special devotion to St. Joseph as he is the patron saint of fathers and workers. Even though Saint Joseph is never quoted in scripture, he “says” a lot with his actions.
 
St. Joseph is a presider, a protector, and a provider for his family. I try to be like Saint Joseph and our students should too.
 
How can you by a presider (or leader) in your classroom and at our school?
How can you be a protector and stick up for the students who may need you?
How can you be a provider and provide support for your own family?
 
3) What is your favorite food? 
         1.) Anything my wife cooks. ;)
         2.) Chipotle
         3T.) TAT, TT Murphs, Planks Pizza
         
4) What is your favorite color? 
         Green for St. Catharine Irish, and I’m also Irish
         I also like Blue, because there are so many different shades that are cool
 
5) What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 
         Chocolate with Chocolate Chunks
 
6) What are you looking forward to most about being principal at St. Catharine School? 
Getting to know all our students. I sincerely believe the most important part of my job is to bring our students closer to Jesus. Keeping students safe, engaged, and developing character are all important, but discipleship is most important. Our students at St. Catharine should always feel:

Protected
Respected
Connected
 
When all three are accomplished, students are free to be who God knows they can be.

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
-St. Catherine of Siena.
143,

Mr. Watts