March 22, 2020 * Comet Newsletter
From Our Principal
Important School-Away-from-School Notes:
Parents, we have been working around the clock to keep our school connected and to make sure everyone has what they need to keep learning. As of today, we understand that 100% of our students have a device and are connected to the internet. In order to make sure distance learning is successful for your child's learning going forward, please help us in the following ways:

  • Please respond to our emails/surveys in a timely manner. If we are reaching out to you, to support your family and your student, please be sure to get back to us promptly.

  • Read the newsletter EVERY WEEK when it comes out. In an effort to reduce emails, we are using this newsletter as the one-stop-shop for everything your family needs each week, including all teacher lesson plans and scheduled Zoom meetings, general school information, helpful resources, etc. Its the most important thing we send you to help you plan for a great week of distance learning.

  • If you are experiencing any technology issues that are preventing your student from accessing their assignments or communicating with their teacher online (computer, internet access, Zoom, etc.) please email Ash Tabrizi at or Dr. Hanson immediately at We are happy to help troubleshoot any issues and make sure your student stays connected.

  • Do your best. As a private school, we do not follow the public school system when it comes to grading during this closure. We do expect our students to be doing their assigned work in a reasonable timeframe. In general, teachers are assigning work on Monday with the expectation of the work being completed by Friday of that week. All teachers are available by email and phone to assist your child throughout the week. Some teachers will also be offering virtual study halls through Zoom. If your child is unable to complete their work within the week, we need you or your student to let your teacher know as soon as possible. At this time, we are not penalizing for late work, but grades are being given based on completion, and we do not want our students to fall behind.

  • Connect with our Comet Family. We know a lot of families are not on Facebook - but right now, when our children might be missing their friends and classmates, it is important for them (and you) to be able to have moments to connect online. So please sign up for a Facebook account (you don't even have to put anything on your personal Facebook page)...but this will allow you and your child to participate in the fun posting activities and community taking place on our school Facebook page. Zoom is also a wonderful way we can connect realtime with our students and them, with one another. So when a teacher hosts a Zoom video conference or we offer the Comet Cafe (see below) - encourage your child to participate! As these weeks continue, this will become an increasingly important way to keep our Comets and our community strong! We are all in this together! Connect with your Comet Family online!
Comet Classwork for This Week!
In an effort to streamline and centralize our communications as best as we can, we will now post links to ALL of our LESSON PLANS each week HERE. Just click on your child's grade below to get your teacher's lesson plan for the week. All referenced attachments/worksheets will still be found in Parent's Web and/or Google Classroom (if the teacher is using Google Classroom). We know many families are not able to print materials, so our teachers are working to limit the need to print as much as possible and rely instead on students to use their own paper at home to write down their answers.

The newsletter will post on Sunday of each week so you and your Comets will be ready for the school week ahead. Should a teacher need to make an update to their lesson plan during the week, they will email the information to you directly . Our intention is to limit the number of emails coming from us, so we can focus our attention on our students. We have also included each teacher's email below in case you have any questions. Please be sure to contact your teacher directly during school hours. They are available throughout the school day to assist you and your students.

Marylou Carter ( )

Barbara Young ( )


Michelle Cisik ( ) - English
Michele Barlow ( ) - Math
Rick Clary ( ) - Science
Teresa Lehmann ( ) - History
Jeff Cronheim ( ) - Latin/Religion


Principal - Sean Cruess (

Administrative - Pam Autry (

Financial/Technical - Elizabeth Hanson (

Technical Support - Ash Tabrizi (

Communications & Social Media/Admissions/Development - Gretchen Ridgely (
Distance Learning Support For Your Family
Please take some time to review this helpful information provided as part of St. Benedict's Distance Learning Information for Parents and Students . It provides helpful information about accessing support at the school, suggestions for scheduling your child's day of learning, our technology policy and more.
Lunchtime on Zoom at The Comet Cafe!
Grab a sandwich and your device and connect with your classmates for a 30 minute virtual lunchroom on Zoom! (We're going to try this format for our older grades this week, and if it works well, we can try to make this possible for our younger grades next week).

This week's special guest each day is...ARMANDO!
Remember kids, he did win the Oreo eating contest at the Pep Rally, so its a good thing this is a virtual lunchroom ;)

The link to access your grade's Comet Cafe time above is:

Make sure to have your device set up correctly with audio/video working before lunchtime starts at 12pm. Mrs. Ridgely will be on lunch duty this week!
From Our Finance Office
FACTS Payments: We recognize that sometimes you may have cash flow issues and need to move a payment.  Now you have a new option. You can log into FACTS and move your tuition payment -- you can do this up to 4 times a year and move the payment up to 2 weeks. As always you can email  at least 3 business days in advance. We hope you find this increased flexibility helpful.  Please remember, you can always reach out directly with Elizabeth Hanson for any issues with your payment plan.

Taxes and the IRS: Taxes and the IRS: For up to date information please visit
Already announced is an extension of time to pay. Note this is an extension of when your payment is due NOT when the return has to be filed. There is also information on High Deductible Plans as related to COVID-19.

Community is KEY...Here are some clips from last week's social media...
Published by  saintbenedictschoolrva  ·  March 19 at 9:58 AM  · 
Good Morning Comets!!  😃  Today we want you to share pictures of your new classmates...your “Comet Critters!!” That’s right...visit our Facebook page @saintbenedictschoolrva and show us your pets!! Here’s Mr. Cruess’s new puppy Luna with Liam! Way too fluffy!!  🐶   😊   ❤️  Can’t wait to see those pics!

Published by  saintbenedictschoolrva  ·  March 20 at 12:33 PM  · 
Ok Comets! On this gorgeous day, Coach T wants you to get outside and enjoy the weather, and while you’re out there, how about posting your beautiful pictures of nature on our Facebook page @saintbenedictschoolrva ! Let’s see those amazing “Comet Cameras” at work!!

Published by  Gretchen Ridgely  ·  7 hrs  · 
Good morning Comets!! On this rainy Monday morning, how about joining our wonderful librarian, Mrs. Clark, on a journey with The Twiddlebugs? Just be sure to share your storytime pictures and comments with your classmates and friends!

Library Resources
Here's some helpful information about easily accessible library resources right now, from Mrs. Clark!