Welcome back, everybody! It feels like we are preparing for another first day of school as we look forward to having full classes on-site this Monday! The analogy to Easter, the dying and the rising, comes to mind. With God’s help, and with your support and adherence to the Department of Health guidelines, we will stay fully open and healthy and finish the year together. Together we can…act for the common good!
Thank you, teachers, for yet another big shift as we prepare to reopen. Teachers are rearranging schedules and furniture again; they are organizing spaces for lunchtime and recess, and they are always working to prepare students for next year and beyond. They remind us of what it means to be part of a Catholic community: we act like Jesus, reaching out and caring for each other, knowing that we are made in the image and likeness of God. A few reminders as we bring all students back to campus:
- Please adhere to published arrival and dismissal times. They have not changed, but there will be increased pedestrian and car traffic in the neighborhood. Consider biking or walking as an alternative.
- Grades 3-8, when weather permits, will be eating in designated outdoor areas (this is to ensure proper distancing with masks removed). There is also a rainy-day plan should the weather not cooperate.
- We must remain vigilant. Inviting all students back to campus is not an invitation to let our guards down. With more students on campus, we must all do our part, both in the building and outside of school. Proper mask wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing remain our greatest defenses. Social gatherings and non-essential travel continue to be opportunities for widespread transmission.
- Our mission this year has been to act for the common good! Keep it up.
Our mission also calls us to be inclusive and to respect the dignity and rights of all peoples. Across subject areas, from read-a-louds, assignments, and textbooks, we support diversity and equity and stand with those who face injustice. For example, Mrs. Rzegocki and several families have compiled a list of resources to help families understand the Asian American Pacific Islander experiences. In particular, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong and the PBS Series, Asian Americans, are highly recommended by faculty and parents alike.
In addition to the resources above, Mrs. Mansfield has secured meaningful opportunities for our middle school students to learn from community members. For example, Aaron Huey, founder of Amplifier.Org, a nonprofit design lab that builds art and media experiments to amplify the most important movements of our times, spoke with 6th graders about art and advocacy. Dennis Flannigan, step-grandfather of one of our 7th graders, shared his experiences as a participant during Freedom Summer with our students. Today, parent Laurie Eckhardt, shared her story and experiences as an Asian American with 7th graders, and tomorrow, Civil Rights hero, Rita Schwerner Bender, will be joining 8th graders – via zoom – to share her experiences during Freedom Summer and the importance of acting with courage for the common good. Mrs. Mansfield writes, “We are incredibly pleased to be able to share these, once in a lifetime, experiences with your students as they continue to explore what it looks like to actively live out Gospel values, our Catholic faith, and help in bringing about the Kingdom of God here on earth.”
Speaking of the Kingdom of God, Earth Day is a week from today. Caring for God’s creation is one of the Principles of Social Justice. See the post from the parish about an opportunity for you to participate in a local Greenwood area clean-up. Also, as we welcome all the students back to school and celebrate this fabulous weather, think about walking or biking to school. We can reduce the congestion in the neighborhood and reduce pollution! Together we can care for the environment!
COVID-19 vaccines are on our radar, but we also need medically verified records for all the students’ immunizations. We need to file a report to the state soon, so please make sure that Mrs. Q. has the most recent updated records for your children. Mrs. Q. also wants me to remind you to submit an attendance form to let her if your child will be absent from school.
Enjoy the glorious Spring sunshine!