April 8, 2020
Sections
  • Head of School Message
  • Academics
  • Student Life
  • Business Office
  • Important Dates
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Head of School Message
Dear Mercy Families,

Today as I began writing to you, the San Francisco Unified School District and the six Bay Area counties announced that campuses would remain closed through the end of the school year and that students would continue their classes using distance learning. This does not come as a surprise but is certainly a disappointment as Mercy realizes that we too will not be able to return to our beautiful campus to be with one another before the semester ends.

I am so conscious of the sadness of all of our community, but especially that of our seniors. It is certainly not the senior springtime that they had hoped for, or that we had hoped for them. Practically speaking, this means that our graduation on May 30 will have to be a virtual one, using the internet to share the Class of 2020’s special moment. Of course it won’t be the same, but we will do all that we can for you. And then, sometime after the pandemic subsides, we will have a graduation celebration on campus when it is safe once again to celebrate together.

It is also true for all of the frosh, sophomores, juniors, families, faculty, staff... and administrators. We all need the opportunity to both grieve and celebrate together, to bring our Mercy experience to a close, before each of us begins a new chapter in our lives. Realizing how hugely important this is, we hope also to have on-campus, in-person celebrations for everyone whenever the coronavirus permits us to once again come together to exchange in-person hugs and good wishes.

It is no coincidence that this is all happening during Holy Week, when we walk with Jesus through his difficult days in order to reach the new life we are promised at Easter. Next Sunday is about hope; I pray that each of you finds hope in the faith we share as a community, a hope that new life awaits us!

In Mercy,
Sister Carolyn Krohn
A Prayer For Easter Sunday
Christ is risen!
Thanks be to you, O God,
who has raised Jesus from the dead,
And who, with him, has raised me from the darkness into light…
Help me in remembering to feel the touch of resurrection within,
To hear the voices of angels and the wild whispers of faith,
That because he lives I shall live also…
I shall live with a new vision of what it means
To see daily existence glimmering in the light of an eternal purpose.
I shall live... renewed in hope and assurance.

— Kenneth G. Phifer
Academics
A Message from the Dean of Academics

Our thanks go out to all of our students and parents for your hard work and patience during this difficult time. This has been challenging for all of us, but especially for our students who are wondering about everything from friends to grades, prom to college. We know they are feeling stress and anxiety. And we have responded by adjusting our Distance Learning Plan. Teachers are now giving less homework and moving away from large tests. We hope this will alleviate stress as we move forward. 

We acknowledge that we are not operating under ideal learning conditions as we continue to adapt to teaching and learning in this unfamiliar way. Our reality is peppered with interruptions to our jobs, our wifi connections, and even the home workspace may be cramped with multiple family members trying to access one screen. Our teachers and staff are experiencing the same and we understand how stressful your daughter’s situation might be. 

As such, we have been talking to other schools and to our teachers, as we develop plans for each aspect of school life. One of our top issues concerns learning and grading.
 
We realize that grading students’ work is challenging under these circumstances. We want to be sure that what we are grading is not students’ physical learning environments, their equipment, their response to stress or their ability to adapt to a new way of learning. We are, however, concerned that moving to pass/fail may create barriers to some colleges or universities, and to scholarships that have minimum GPA requirements. 

So, as we would in normal circumstances, we will continue to grade students’ work with a spirit of compassion and understanding. 

We will continue to do our best to educate and inspire remotely once we return to classes after Easter break on April 20. We will continue with our altered schedule of 45-minute classes in the mornings. 

Attendance will be taken and active participation in classes will still be required. If your daughter is unable to come to class, please be sure to email Ms. Prasadi and let her know the reason for the absence. Please have your daughter schedule alerts on her google calendar so that she is not late for class.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help with your daughter’s learning. Students can set up meetings with their teachers at any time until 3:15 p.m. Please encourage your daughter to ask for help on any assignments she is having trouble finishing. 

Enjoy the break!
Dr. Delaporte

Contact Dr. Marianne Delaporte, Dean of Academics, mdelaporte@mercyhs.org
Teacher's Note Home: Positive Things About Distance Learning

“We had a great experience with Spanish 4/AP when we did a Socratic seminar through Google Meet,” said Ms. Avi Peer. The students were given the theme of urban challenges, guided by vocabulary, and a reading about urban challenges in Bogota. Students researched another Spanish speaking city and compared issues there with those in Bogota and San Francisco. “Overall it went really well! By the end of the class, the students had talked about a huge range of current issues and also solutions to the many problems we face in the city.”
Counseling Updates: Senior College Application Update, Junior College Workshop Schedule & More

As part of our distance learning program at Mercy, your student’s counselor will remain available to her during regular school hours through the duration of the school’s campus closure. Students can GChat their counselor or request a confidential video chat. Additionally, counselors will be doing “drop-in” GChats to check on students and their progress.  
 
Senior Parents
If your daughter is feeling stuck in regards to college choices or decisions, or if she’s looking for other options, there are quite a few colleges that accept late applications or have rolling admissions. Please check out some schools offering March, April, and May deadlines. Note: Cal Poly Pomona is no longer accepting applications.
 
Sophomore & Junior Parents
Virtual College Exploration Week is April 20-23, 2020: Four full days of virtual presentations to explore college opportunities. Free of charge for students! Learn more and fill out the registration form.
 
Junior Parents
  • College Essay Webinar Still Available: Thank you to those who attended Prompt’s College Essay Webinar on April 1st! For those of you who missed, it, you can still watch the webinar!
 
  • Free SAT/ACT Prep Program: College Prep & Consulting Boston is offering a FREE two-week full scholarship (Mon. - Thurs.). Choose between an afternoon & evening session. Register by April 10 to get the full scholarship. USE CODE "SATScholarship" or "ACTScholarship."
 
  • Standardized Testing: See the latest information on SAT & ACT prep courses & resources.


Contact Counselors, Siobhan McVeigh, smcveigh@mercyhs.org or Margaret Wickham, mwickham@mercyhs.org
New AP Exam Formats Announced and Online Preparation Available

The College Board is providing at-home online learning resources and live classes on YouTube for AP students. This Spring's AP Exams are being reformatted to be shorter and taken online. Your daughter’s AP teachers will be contacting her with support to help her best use these and other resources to continue preparing for the exams.

Contact Dr. Marianne Delaporte, Dean of Academics, mdelaporte@mercyhs.org
Student Life
Week of April 6 Homeroom Slides

Check out this week’s announcements: Skipper TV, Mercy BINGO, and Virtual Pet Parade in this week’s special edition of Stay-At-Home Homeroom Slides!

Watch the Virtual Pet Parade and Skipper TV on Mercy's Student Activities webpage!

Contact Raquel Oliva-Gomez, Dean of Students, roliva-gomez@mercyhs.org
eLearning Etiquette Expectations 

The following are mandatory expectations. Teachers will have received notice from the deans as to which students are exempt. Please talk to your daughter about these expectations and if able, check in on her to make sure she is following these guidelines.
  • Framing must allow for the face to be fully visible to the teacher during class
  • Do not turn off video in class
  • Do not use a profile photo in place of live video
  • Have good lighting (for video and for learning/studying)
  • Dress appropriately 
Tardies While Learning Online?!

We understand the stress on students and families as we adhere to the COVID-19 Stay at Home order and want to make Distance Learning as successful for your daughter as possible.
Our attendance policy has not changed since we’ve shifted from on campus to our Distance Learning Plan. Students are expected to be online in class at the beginning of the period and for the duration of class. If they are not in class at the time of attendance, they will be marked as unexcused and unauthorized absences or tardies and will count towards infractions.

If your student receives three tardies or more, they will receive a call from a dean and will be expected to complete an assignment in lieu of detention.
Online learning is not drop-in class. Students are expected to follow the shortened bell schedule.

Contact Raquel Oliva-Gomez, Dean of Students, roliva-gomez@mercyhs.org
A Message from Wellness: Support Group for Senior Class
Has the Coronavirus stolen the end of your senior year? You are not alone! Come join a safe space to process this new reality and redefine what senior year means for you. All seniors who are interested, please see the flyer and RSVP for this support group.




CALLING ALL SENIORS
Date: Fridays
Time: 3 - 4 p.m.
Virtual Location: Online link shared weekly
RSVP: Ms. Hui, yhui@mercyhs.org

Sessions will be facilitated by Ms. Hui. Everything will remain confidential.
Contact Yen Hui, Director of Wellness, yhui@mercyhs.org
Unauthorized Absences
Mercy will be updating and correcting attendance issues in Portal in the coming weeks. We will be redefining consequences for attendance and disciplinary issues in Portal and in the Mercy Student handbook. If you need to reconcile your students unexcused absence or tardy please email attendance@mercyhs.org as soon as possible.

Important note: all unreconciled unexcused absences will be recorded as unauthorized absences.
Class of 2020 Valedictorian and Salutatorian Eligibility
Last week the students with the top 5% cumulative GPA received phone calls and emails congratulating them on being eligible to be this year's Valedictorian and Salutatorian speakers at the Class of 2020 Awards Ceremony and Graduation. These students were invited to an info meeting via Google Meet to review deadlines for speech submission and speech presentations.
Good Ergonomics: Healthy Posture for eLearning

As we look ahead to more e-learning, it is important that students practice good posture on the best possible furniture available at home. Here are some tips on how to prevent strain on the eyes and body. Please check in on your daughter to make sure they have proper posture while in classes and while studying ( slides will have a few videos that the girls will see).
  1. Sitting up straight allows you to breathe in larger amounts of air and focus more on the information comprehension
  2. If you have a chair with a back support, ensure that your legs are comfortably reaching the floor and you don’t have to figure out where to place them.
  3. You can also opt for a 135° leaning back position which can prevent you from straining your back.
  4. If you want to boost your concentration, rock back and forth. It will release the pressure on your spine and will enhance your focus.
  5. Place your laptop on a higher surface that almost levels with your chest while sitting if you can. It will cause less straining with a reduced slouching position.
  6. Find a surface that will allow you to stand/create a standing desk top space
  7. If you can, adjust your monitor to be at a point where your neck is neutral and relaxed.
  8. Stretch when you can!
Athletics Updates

ALL athletic events including games and practices on or off-campus have been suspended until further notice.

Stay Healthy and Active as we Stay at Home to Save Lives
Here are some at-home workout resources we can all use while we heed the order to “Stay at Home” and adjust to the impacts that COVID-19 has had on our lives. Staying active and maintaining our physical, mental, and emotional health is essential during this time. Some of the workout videos feature our own Coach James.


Send Mr. Evearitt or Ms. Alano a video of you working out and you, too, can be featured on SkipperTV or on Mercy's Instagram!

Track & Field
Coach Susan, Coach James, and some Track athletes are hosting virtual workouts on Tuesday and Thursdays at 3:30 pm. Contact Coach James or Coach Susan if you have any questions or if you would like the link to join in. You do not need to be a track & field athlete to join these virtual sessions!

Coaches and Communication
Coaches will continue to update their teams via email when athletic events are to resume. We hope all student-athletes continue to exercise and maintain their health and fitness. It is our goal to get our student-athletes back out on the field/pool and we have been working with our league members and CCS to reschedule games and meets. The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and their families are at the forefront of any decisions going forward.

Athletic Transfer Eligibility Procedures
Mercy’s Athletics page has transfer information for the Fall 2020.

Contact Pam Alano, Athletics Director, palano@mercyhs.org
Participate in SkipperTV's Special Project and Join the Digital Sing-Along!

Since we've all been gifted with a lot of unexpected screen time, SkipperTV invites you to join in on an uplifting project that'll give you a short break from your at-home work station. You are specially invited to send over a video of you (accompanied by anyone else with whom you are sheltering in place) singing Mercy's alma mater. *Bonus if you do it while practicing healthy hand hygiene! Your submission will be part of a compilation video that will have all of us showing off our Mercy pride!


Send your video to skippertv@mercyhs.org.

Contact Matt Evearitt, SkipperTV Moderator, mevearitt@mercyhs.org
Business Office
Tuition Payments 

While this unexpected crisis has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, we at Mercy are working hard to keep your daughter’s educational experience as familiar as possible. Every day, our teachers and staff continue their essential work to educate and uplift our students, swiftly learning how to teach and work together on-line in unprecedented ways. Though we are not in the building, our work with your daughter continues.

Continuity of tuition payments is essential in our ability to cover salaries, employee benefits, and other operational expenses. Please ensure that you are current with your tuition payments as tuition agreements remain intact. We are aware that this can be a difficult time for you financially. If you have a hardship that impacts your ability to honor your tuition agreement, please contact us.

Contact Marc Colelli, Chief Finance Officer, mcolelli@mercyhs.org
Important Dates
All planned Mercy activities are postponed indefinitely due to our current mandated campus closure as recommended by California state and local governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Wednesday, Apr. 8
  • Holy Week Liturgy of the Word
  • 8:15 - 8:45 a.m. Frosh
  • 8:50 - 9:20 a.m. Soph
  • 12:30 - 1 p.m. Juniors
  • 1:05 - 1:35 p.m. Seniors

Thursday, Apr. 9
  • Holy Thursday - NO CLASSES

Friday, Apr. 10
  • Good Friday - NO CLASSES
Monday - Friday, Apr. 13 - 17
  • Spring Break - NO CLASSES

Monday, Apr. 20
  • Return to Mercy Classes Online
Giving is a True Act of Mercy
Our Mission
Mercy High School, San Francisco, educates women to pursue lives of spiritual and intellectual depth, determination and daring action to improve our world as an inclusive, Catholic, college preparatory community enlivened by the Gospel of Jesus and the charism of the Sisters of Mercy.