St. Luke Parents & Guardians:
As we now deal with the reality of our school being closed for the remainder of the school year, I have had the opportunity to talk to many of our parents. The closing presents a tremendous challenge for all of us, but I have been so impressed by the commitment and positive attitudes of our children, families, faculty and staff. I know we will get through this together.
Communication between our families and teachers will be extremely important as we continue to deliver lessons by e-learning. We all know that e-learning does not replace classroom learning, but we will all need to make the best of it. Closing a school building and learning remotely evokes many emotions and feelings, and we all find our own ways to deal with not only the school closing, but also the stay at home order as well.
I would like to touch upon a few things as we move forward for the remainder of the year:
This is supposed to be a special time of the year for our 8
grade children and their families. We are committed to still making this a special time for them, but it will be different, and we will need to do it in the context of social distancing. The teachers and I have been discussing alternatives to our traditional graduation ceremony, May Crowning, honors assembly, dance, and other end of the year events, ceremonies, and traditions. We are doing our best to make the end of the year for our 8
grade children meaningful and memorable.
I wanted to revisit some of the guidelines under which e-learning is delivered, and some of the things required of us by the State of Illinois.
- E-learning days are considered instructional days by the state. They take the place of classroom instructional days.
- Student grades prior to the transition to remote learning can only be maintained or improved by work done during e-learning, provided the student demonstrates continued engagement and ability at a passing level. Like classroom learning, if the teacher observes that a student’s grades are slipping, we will work with the students to help them, and involve the parents or guardians as necessary.
- If a student does not engage in e-learning lessons and assignments, barring any individual or unique circumstances, the school may consider the grade of “incomplete” for the respective subject(s). Incomplete grades can be removed at any time and expectations regarding the changing of incompletes are at the discretion of the school.
- It is very important for parents and guardians to communicate with the teachers if there are circumstances that may prevent the e-learning process. We understand things will come up. The teachers will be flexible, and they will tailor instruction accordingly.
The economic effective of the stay at home order has touched almost every person, business, and organization. The Archdiocese of Chicago and St. Luke Parish & School are not immune to this. At this time of year, we are planning for the next school year, and this process has been made more difficult by the current stay at home order and school closing.
If the stay at home order has created a hardship for your family and your ability to pay tuition, please contact me (
) so that we can discuss alternative arrangements.
Tuition is important for us to carry out our most fundamental mission – teaching our children. Important and productive learning is still taking place through e-learning/alternative learning. The Archdiocese of Chicago has made the commitment to continue paying teachers and staff members during the closure. Tuition is the primary source of funds to do this. We cannot waive tuition, refund tuition, or defer tuition unless there is identified hardship for a family caused by the stay at home order.
I know many of our parents are already concerned about the effects of this pandemic on the 2020-21 school year. As I mentioned, we are planning for next year, and we are planning for our school building to be open and our children to be back in school. We are in the process of finding a new principal for our school. Teacher contracts will need to be signed in May. We are
constantly monitoring our enrollment for next year as this has a direct financial impact on our school. We do not know how or if the coronavirus will have an impact on enrollment.
There are no guarantees that schools will be open come August. As the governor makes more announcements, and if the stay at home order is extended, I will work with the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools to get guidance on curriculum and e-learning for starting the new school year.
I wanted to also point out a few changes in our calendar for the remainder of the year. ISBE and the Archdiocese approved five planning days in all during e-learning. We used two in April, and I kept three in reserve in the event e-learning was still going on in May.
The remaining three planning days are scheduled on the following days:
These planning days are particularly important for our teachers to give them the opportunity to design new lessons and to grade student work. Equally important is that these days give our children time away from the screens, it gives our parents and guardians a breather, and it allows our families to focus on other things besides school.
So, this is where we are and how the next few weeks should unfold. As I said, we need to communicate with each other, we need to be flexible & understanding, and let’s keep our school community in our prayers. I wanted to share this prayer with you during this time of pandemic:
May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May those who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.
May those who have the flexibility to care for our children when schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel a trip remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May those who settle for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love during this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace to God and our neighbor.
Thank you, and have a good weekend.