First of all, I want you all to know that I am praying that all of you and your families are healthy. I certainly don't have all of the answers for what is going on, but we're all making changes to ensure the health of our community. One of my all-time favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, wrote "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." In this time of uncertainty, let's look for ways to comfort each other by listening, loving, and meeting each others needs.
Last week was a lot for our faculty and staff. They were each trying to process how to best meet the needs of all of our students and how to offer rigorous and meaningful work. If students were at school last week on Thursday, or Friday, they received academic packets to be completed while school is not in session. If you did not receive one, they may be picked up at the school office, or we will deliver them to your home. Please let your child's teacher know how you wish to receive them. These are not busy work, and should not be treated as such. We wish for students to move forward during this time. Trust me when I say that this is not how teachers wish to teach. Although they tried to make sure that what they sent home was work that students could complete on their own, they also realize that they are not physically present to answer questions, alleviate student anxiety, or praise students when they see how hard they are working.
Our teachers are continuing to work as well. They
will be online with you, sending links to educational opportunities, videoing themselves, and individualizing lessons for their students. It does not stop with the work in the packets that were sent home or the list of instructions that were included. Our teachers wish to engage with their students and provide interesting, real lessons. There are many companies that have provided educators with free services and our teachers will be reaching out to you with these available resources. We wish to stay connected with our families and provide whatever you may need, educationally and spiritually, over these next weeks.
I have requested that your child's teacher reach out
to you. This may be in the form of a call, text, video, educational link, or ClassTag message. We want to be meeting your child's educational needs as best we can and that is difficult given our present circumstances. They will be available during normal school hours (8am-3pm) for the next 3 weeks. Please reach out to us should you need anything at all.
Our school office has received numerous correspondences concerning tuition adjustments. Per our tuition refund policy, no adjustments can be made.
The current requirements in Kentucky for instructional time (KRS 158.070) mandates that children receive a minimum of 1,062 hours of instructional time during a school year. St. Mark more than meets the minimum state requirements even with an extraordinary number of days off. All students are receiving 3 weeks of additional academic support while at home, whether they are full or part time students.
Although we will not currently see students for the next 4 weeks, one of these weeks is Spring Break.
We are navigating this together and I know that some of you are struggling to make a plan. Please reach out to me as I am willing to help however I can. With 4 children of my own, I have always bought in bulk. I have not been to the store in 2 weeks and am glad that I have not had to do so. Toilet paper and cleaning supplies are things I always keep on hand and am willing to share. I care about your well-being and I hope you feel comfortable enough with me to reach out if you need help. I am here to listen, love, and meet your needs as best I can. Please know of my prayers for each of you.
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One thing we know for sure is that our kiddos thrive on routines. When we are on a normal schedule at school, we accomplish the most work together. We as teachers try to support them mentally, morally, ethically, physically, and spiritually everyday. If you are not sure how to tackle the next three weeks, try beginning with a schedule. It could look something like the following:
Family Time: games, walks, house project, puzzles, storytime
If you are having any difficulty at all, please call us! We want to help. This is valuable learning time and we want you to feel productive and successful. Here are some other things you can try as a family during this extended time away from school:
Read LOTS of books
Plan a pollinator garden
Learn some new jokes
Send snail mail - especially to people who may be isolated
Do a large puzzle together
Pick up litter in your neighborhood
Clean a closet and donate some items
Do yoga together
Memorize a poem
Porch visit with a neighbor
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate new information and directives concerning COVID-19. Please pray for our entire school community, and those throughout the world.