February 4, 2021 

Dear St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School Community,
Celebrating Our Catholic School

 It is fitting that the celebration of Catholic Schools Week coincides with the anniversary of the founding of St. Agnes Academy. 170 years ago six Dominican Sisters from Kentucky arrived in Memphis having been invited to Tennessee to start a Catholic school for girls. On February 4, 1851 the Sisters opened the doors to the St. Agnes Female Academy, welcoming 15-day students and 20 boarding students. 
 
Because of our founders - the strong and visionary women who were dedicated to fostering opportunity and promoting truth - we forge ahead in our mission 170 years later. As a Catholic, Dominican school we are here to help our students of today become the leaders of tomorrow – young men and women who will find solutions for the profound challenges of the 21st century.  

An education at St. Agnes-St. Dominic is a journey of continuing growth rooted in the Dominican Pillars of Study, Prayer, Community and Service. Our students learn what it means to grow in the Dominican tradition, to be part of a community, to connect academic endeavors with social justice principles, personal spirituality, and a greater purpose. 
March Parent Meetings

Together, we have had a remarkable year. I’m sure it is one none of us will forget.  Thankfully, this year is approaching its fourth quarter which means we are already planning for next year.  As part of our planning process, I would like to spend some time with our parents.  

During the month of March I will schedule times to meet with parents in small groups organized by school areas. I will share the results of the survey we conducted in November, our vision for the future, and how we will begin to realize that vision next year. I will also listen. These meetings are not mandatory, but offer a chance to share and to hear what is on your mind. I will have more information after President’s day.

COVID-19 Update

A letter from me would not be complete without mentioning the Coronavirus. We are three weeks into our weekly on-campus COVID-19 testing of the Upper School and Junior High, and I am pleased with how this program is already contributing to the overall safety of our campus. Approximately 50% of our students and 62% of our faculty participate in this voluntary program. The results are posted on our COVID dashboard each week. We have discovered some positive cases through this testing program before the infected person became symptomatic.  

As we said when we rolled out the program, it provides another layer in our defenses. It does not replace proper mask wear, physical distancing, or appropriate hygiene. It does not replace our morning screening. However, all of these factors work together to make our campus as safe as possible. Please continue to follow our protocols. We remain open for on-campus learning because everyone is working together to keep us all safe.

Finally, we have been in weekly communication with the Shelby County Health Department regarding the availability of the COVID vaccine. It is likely that teachers will be eligible for immunization in late February or early March. There will be one day designated for all our staff to be vaccinated. This may require school to be closed for a day. As soon as we have any further information on scheduling, we will notify you.

Thank You to Our Teachers

February is Faculty Appreciation Month at SAA-SDS. I want to tell you how grateful I am for each and every member of our team. The ongoing challenges of COVID-19 have altered every element of how the school delivers on its mission of providing the highest quality education to students. But our dedicated teachers and staff have risen to meet those challenges. 

Working together, our faculty have transformed the campus to meet physical distancing guidelines; they have adjusted schedules, classes, and curriculum to meet the blended academic needs of our students; they have demonstrated an innovative spirit to bring community and joy. Their work during this pandemic has truly been remarkable!

Many of you have shared with me that same sense of deep gratitude for our employees. During Faculty Appreciation Month I encourage you to take a few minutes and write a note or send an email letting the teachers know how much you appreciate their efforts. They are committed to providing the best education experience possible each and every day.

Thank you for all that you do to support our faculty and staff. And thank you for your continued prayers and partnership. 

Peace, 
Thomas G. Hood, President

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."