April 16, 2020

Dear Parents and Students,

I hope you had a blessed Easter holiday and despite the new realities of our world, you and your family are safe and healthy. I also hope that this April break has been an opportunity for everyone to enjoy some time with family and rest up for a return to online learning beginning on Monday. While I have spent time with family and relaxed, I have also been reflecting upon our plan to continue to deliver quality and meaningful instruction to our students in the coming weeks. This email will provide you with some important updates.

Following the directive of the governor and the Superintendent of Schools, our building will remain closed through Wednesday, May 20. During this continued closure, we will continue to deliver daily online instruction to students. We will follow guidance from government and health officials to determine our status for late May and early June. Click here to read Dr. Cheeseman's most recent letter to parents.

As we continue with online learning, I remain tremendously impressed and grateful to both students and faculty. The ease and success of the transition has been most impressive. As we continue forward, I encourage everyone to still think of Monday through Friday as school days - and set aside four to five hours per day to focus on learning and effective instruction.

Week of April 20
When we return from break, there will be no immediate changes to the online learning format we have been following. This will allow faculty to communicate changes and share expectations with their students regarding an updated online learning format beginning on Monday, April 27.

As a reminder:
  • Monday, Tuesday and Thursday - Google Classroom Days
  • Wednesday and Friday - Google Meet Days

Beginning the week of April 27
  • Our Google Classroom and Google Meet days will reverse. Google Meet days will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Google Classroom days will occur on Wednesdays and Fridays. This change will provide students and faculty with increased direct instructional time.
  • Work on Google Classroom days will be posted by 8:00 am and due no later than 10:00 pm (instead of 11:59 pm) that evening.
  • We will start Google Meet classes a bit later each day (research shows high school students do better with a later start time - and since we are not worried about bussing and have the flexibility, we decided to make this change).
  • New Google Meet Class Schedule:
  • Period B - 9:00 - 9:35
  • Period C - 9:40 - 10:15
  • Period D - 10:20 - 10:55
  • Period E 11:00 - 11:35
  • Period F - 11:40 - 12:15
  • Lunch - 12:15 - 12:45
  • Period G - 12:50 - 12:25
  • Period H - 1:30 - 2:05
  • Teachers will be available for "office hours" on Google Classroom days to answer any questions or provide extra help. They will announce their available days/times to students and post in Google Classroom.
  • Teachers will have the option to supplement class instruction on Google Meet days with a short "homework" assignment that will be due at a time designated by the teacher (that evening, the following day, later in the week, etc.).

Last Day of Classes for Seniors
The final day of classes for seniors will be as originally scheduled on Friday, May 15. Final exams will be waived for all seniors. As I have mentioned before, we remain committed to celebrating the Class of 2020 and their many successes. As soon as we have a better idea of what our new normal will look like - beyond May - we will announce our plan. Setting dates right now might be a bit premature.

Senior Experience Program
With schools and businesses closed, regretfully, the Senior Experience Program scheduled for April 27 to May 22 has been cancelled.

Final Day of Classes for Underclassmen
The final day of classes for underclassmen will be as originally scheduled, on Wednesday, June 3. Underclassmen will take final exams from June 4 through June 9. I will be working with the faculty to come up with a plan for these exams, which if we still can not return to the building, will be taken at home. These obviously will not mirror traditional in-school exams, but in these unique times, we will come up with a plan to still assess students on their learning. More details will follow in May.

AP Exams
The College Board has provided students and educators with a tremendous amount of AP exam information in the past few weeks. They remain committed to providing students with the opportunity to still take exams and earn college credit - even from home.

Notre Dame is still strongly encouraging all students who were scheduled to take an AP exam to do so. As mentioned previously, the College Board has announced that AP exams will be taken at home during the month of May. Each exam will be a 45 minute free response, open note/book exam and based on material covered in AP classes through early March. Details about the 2020 AP format can be found by clicking here . Click here to view of AP exam dates. Students will be excused from their classes on dates they are taking AP exams. Online resources continue to be available for students and teachers leading up to the exam period. Click here to access student AP exam resources. Click here to review a summary of AP information preparing by ND's AP Coordinator Ms. Tiftikidis.

If a student who was planning to take the AP exam does not wish to still do so, they are asked to email Mr. Bannon , their AP teacher and Ms. Tiftikidis by April 24 to explain their reasoning. Quite frankly, the opportunity to earn three college credits with a 45 minute free response exam taken at home is a fantastic opportunity. Many colleges and universities across the country have pledged to accept scores from the 2020 AP exams. Click here to review the letter from UConn and other state schools.

June SAT
The College Board announced on Wednesday that the June SAT has been cancelled. Assuming it is safe to administer testing, members of the Class of 2021 (across the nation) will have early registration access to SAT administrations in August, September, and October.

Spring Activities
The status of spring activities remains uncertain. We expect a bit more direction from the CIAC next week regarding spring sports. We are working on a creative way to still showcase our students' hard work on the spring musical. Anything between now and May 20 is cancelled, but we await government recommendations about proceeding from there.

2020-21 Tuition and Financial Aid
For our current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors - 2020-21 tuition will be announced shortly. For those that have already applied for financial aid, 2020-21 financial aid awards will be posted in the coming days to your FACTS accounts. As a reminder, the deadline to apply for financial aid was extended to May 15. The first tuition payment for the 2020-21 school year is due in May.

Thank you again for your tremendous patience and support over the past six weeks. We have been so successful in our efforts because this has truly been a team effort. As we continue in this season of Easter, please know how appreciative I am to everyone in our community - students, faculty, staff, and parents. Everyone's health and safety remains in my thoughts and prayers ...

Sincerely,
Christopher Cipriano
Principal
Notre Dame High School | Fairfield, CT 06825 | 203-372-6521| notredame.org