The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Education Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force continues to offer guidance to schools in effectively navigating this national public health crisis. The Task Force also provides a continuum of support to students and school families.
The Task Force shared the fifth issue of its newsletter with families demonstrating the exceptional work and creativity of administrators, faculty, and students taking place during these challenging times. Outlined below are a few highlights from parish and regional elementary schools and secondary schools throughout the five-county region. For a full list of schools featured, please see the full newsletter here. Highlights are presented below from the fourth and fifth newsletter.
- Saints Phillip and James Catholic School; 721 East Lincoln Highway; Exton, PA 19341 (Chester County). Mrs. Kathleen Foster, the third grade teacher had students read a biography of a famous American. In addition to the written portion of the project, students used a soda bottle to make a model of their person. They shared their creations with their classmates via Zoom.
- Saint Cecilia Catholic School; 525 Rhawn Street; Philadelphia, PA 19111. The faculty and staff at Saint Cecilia’s went through their classroom closets and collected any hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes and took them to Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus and another heath care facility. The school received a message from Marc Hurowitz DO, the Executive Director. He stated, “On behalf of the entire staff at Temple University-Jeanes Campus, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your generous and thoughtful donation of much needed supplies….Supporters like you are helping us live that out mission.”
- Saint Francis Xavier School; 641 North 24th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19130. Spanish classes took on a special flavor with Señora Coval’s assignment for students in Grades 4-8. After watching three videos, Made in Spain with Chef Jose Andrew, students answered several questions related to the videos and wrote three facts about Chef Jose. Some students went the extra mile and made the food item to the delight of their families.
- Saint Philip Neri Catholic School; 3015 Chestnut Street; Lafayette Hill, PA 19444 (Montgomery County). Catherine Glatz, Saint Philip’s fourth grade teacher, has her students blasting off into distance learning. The young scientists in her class have been exploring the solar system as part of their science unit through lots of find hands-on activities and experiments.
- Saint Mary Catholic School; 40 Spring Mount Road; Schwenksville, PA 19473 (Montgomery County). Kindergarten teacher, Suzette Moyer, brought the children additional work and activities. She also wanted to check in and see how they were holding up and to ask if thy needed anything. Ms. Moyer put in a full day’s work starting at 10:45 a.m. and finishing up at 5:00 p.m. visiting students home, but still practicing social distancing.
- Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School; 1736 South Tenth Street; Philadelphia, PA 19148-1694.School administration reached out to alumni to offer words of encouragement to the Class of 2020. In a few short days, over 150 responses have been received. To view these words of encourage, please visit neumanngorettihs.org/classof2020/.
- Archbishop John Carroll High School; 211 Matsonford Road; Radnor, PA 19087-4590 (Delaware County). Students from the school’s Faith in Action theology classes sought to honor and support those on the front lines in health care. The students donated lunch and wrote letters to the nurses, doctors, and medical staff of Bryn Mawr Hospital. In Carroll students’ own words: “They are on the front lines, they are heroes, and we are thankful for them!”
- Father Judge High School for Boys; 3301 Solly Avenue; Philadelphia, PA 19136-2396.The school is honoring Father Judge health care workers through their campaign #HarmsWayHeroes. “While we're all working to navigate our new normal at home, others are quietly and bravely working to keep the world moving in the right direction. These are the people who are selflessly working in harm's way for the benefit of others which is the epitome of the #JudgeGuy spirit! The school is encouraging the community to use #HarmsWayHeroes and show some Crusader love and appreciation. The school will begin to list names of heroes on Father Judge’s social media accounts asking for prayers and messages of appreciation from our school community.”
- Archbishop Ryan Academy for the Deaf and Saint Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments; 4251 “L” Street; Philadelphia, PA 19124. Students attending Archbishop Ryan and Saint Lucy’s are taught to use technology early. Keyboarding skills begin in kindergarten which enables them to use touch typing from a very young age. Saint Lucy’s students know how to navigate the computer without the use of the monitor or mouse, through the use of speech programs and are able to use braille note takers to send and receive emails, complete assignments as well as navigate the internet. Archbishop Ryan students are able to use video phones, FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom to communicate in American Sign Language in real time. Archbishop Ryan and Saint Lucy’s are two of four Archdiocesan schools of special education.
In addition, a comprehensive COVID-19 resource page has been created for parents, school families, and employees. The page is updated regularly with the latest health, government, and spiritual resources available.
All Archdiocesan high schools, parish and regional elementary schools, schools of special education, PREP programs, and early learning centers shifted from traditional classroom instruction to a flexible classroom instruction model in early March to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff. From the first day of this shift, nearly all schools were fully operational within the context of the virtual learning landscape. Over the past several weeks, attendance rates in Archdiocesan schools have been near record highs.
During these uncertain times, all Archdiocesan schools remain steadfast in their commitment to providing the best educational experience possible and to give students every tool they need to be successful now and in the future.