This week we listened to an extract of one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s sermons. He quoted from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 10: “…Whosoever shall be great among you shall be your servant.” In what is now known as the Drum Major sermon, delivered just two months before he died, the Reverend Dr. King spoke of how he wanted to be remembered – that he gave his life serving others, “say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. Say that I was a drum major for righteousness.”
In January 2004, the Washington State House of Representatives passed House Resolution 4676 to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The resolution calls on the people in the state to study, reflect on and celebrate Dr. King’s life and ideals in order to fulfill his dream of civil and human rights for all people and urges the citizens of our state to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day of service – a day on, not a day off. In pre-pandemic times this was easier. We gathered to help others in their communities. We cannot gather now, but we can still reflect with our families the purpose for this day. Like Dr. King, we can all commit to making the world a better place. Sometimes, all it takes is a friendly smile to a lonely neighbor. We can all be drum majors for peace, justice, equity. We can all open wide our hearts.
I am quite sure that many of our intermediate teachers will be here on Monday, having a day on, as they prepare to welcome back more students. Families with students in grades 3-5 will receive direct communication from their teachers regarding all things re-opening and placement in student cohorts. I encourage you to read our re-opening plans before emailing teachers and administration with questions.
Data released today from Public Health – Seattle & King County classifies the Covid-19 activity level as high. Their guidance on education modality prioritizes in-person classes for PreK through grade 3. If schools can demonstrate the ability to limit transmission in the school environment, add grades 4-5. Based on our school experience thus far as with notable cases of transmission within the cohorts, we will continue with our plans to open for intermediate grades next week. I would ask parents in those grade levels to continue to remain prepared for the reality of returning to full remote learning should we be advised to pause our re-opening.
With more students coming on to campus we will all be asked to make some accommodations to our daily routines. Again, I remind families with pre-school and primary students that the drop-off and pick up protocols need to be observed, as well as social/physical distancing requirements.
- Please review our traffic map with prescribed routes and tips for navigating campus.
- Admin and traffic enforcement have been generous about allowing you to leave your vehicles unattended in the student load/unload area. With more students back on campus, we ask that you refrain from leaving your vehicle unattended in the student load/unload area.
- Families of primary and intermediate students: if you are planning to walk your child in to school, please park well away from campus and do not block neighbors’ driveways.
- Please note: 1st Ave. is currently designated as one of the Seattle Greenway Stay Healthy streets. It is closed to all vehicles. Please refrain from parking there or utilizing 1st Ave. to exit campus. We have already received letters from the neighbors expressing their frustration with parent drivers ignoring signage. I walk the street daily and there are so many bikers, skaters, families with toddlers, runners enjoying the pedestrian access on the road. Please cross it carefully.
- Intermediate families: please familiarize yourself with the daily health screening. This will need to be completed each morning before your child arrives on campus. Also, familiarize yourself with the two designated entry points to campus. Children will be temperature screened by staff upon entering campus at the checkpoints.
- Parents will need to observe scheduled arrival and pick-up time windows. We need to clear the sidewalks and the school grounds safely and rapidly each day.
We are all hopeful as we hear about parents in our community receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. However, we must remain diligent. Please avoid crowded areas, gatherings with people outside your immediate household, and continue to wear your mask and quarantine after unnecessary travel. Your choices will help chart the path to return more students for in-person learning. I want to thank our intermediate teachers for the extra work they have put into preparing to welcome back students. Our teachers are making sacrifices. I am asking you to do the same.
The Fulcrum Foundation’s big annual fundraising event is coming up – virtually. The Fulcrum Foundation supports Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington in many ways: financial assistance to students, grants to teachers, and school partnership grants. In the past year, every Catholic school received a grant for COVID expenses. The Fulcrum Foundation also helped us with a grant during the Capital Campaign. You are welcome to learn more about Fulcrum, join the celebration, congratulate the Archbishop’s honorees – Jan and Tom O’Callahan who have donated treasure, energy, and years of service to make sure our schools have Internet access.
Reminder: if you haven’t taken the special Archdiocesan survey, which was posted last week, please do so. It pertains to the Ministerial Covenants (employment contracts) which all employees, teachers, principals, staff, of the Archdiocese sign. The data gathered from the survey will be sent to the Archbishop. Thank you for your time.
In the meantime, I enjoyed seeing some of you this evening at the virtual PA meeting and Education Night and will see some of you later at the Open house for PreK and Kindergarten.