School Closed update
Saturday Morning Update March 28, 2020
Dear OLV Family,
I am sure that this letter will not surprise many, but I still write this with a bit of shock, and my heart hurts delivering this news. With Governor Kay Ivey’s announcement Thursday afternoon to close public schools for the school year, our own Diocesan Catholic schools have followed with the same decision. A letter from our Superintendent is attached with more of an explanation, in both English and Spanish.
The coming weeks may prove stressful at times, but there will be triumphs too. Although we could not have foreseen these changes, we can make the best of the situation. I know the week before break got a little easier as the week went along. Remember, our students will be watching us, and they will follow our lead. They will react as we react---they exhibit our calmness and our stress.
There are many questions to be answered in the coming days. I promise we will get to all of those in due time, but I really want to focus our energies to keeping the learning going for the students. That is the most pressing issue of the day, so we will focus on that, and handle the rest a little later.
To that end, I have been in touch with both Monsignor Rohling and Mrs. Dubose (superintendent) and have asked for their permission to pause on the next round of assignments from teachers until Wednesday, April 1 (no joke!). They have agreed to my request. The faculty will conduct a Zoom meeting Monday morning to more completely wrap our minds around a plan to finish the year through C.A.S.E. (Continuation of Academic and Spiritual Education) learning. (A third attachment explains further.) For Monday and Tuesday, I would like to ask the students (with some guidance from parents if need be) to ensure the following things are completed:
- Please ensure that work assigned before Spring Break is completed and submitted as directed by each teacher. We do intend to give grades for this work.
- Please ensure that you can access any website or account your teachers have asked of you. This also means Google Classroom. I might suggest using the bookmark feature on your web browser for the sites that will be frequently visited.
- Write out a daily routine. This is something that I work with middle school students on, but given the circumstances, I think it would be best for everyone. We have to establish a new routine, and that can be difficult at times. Take the next two school days and write out your plan. Are you a morning person? Maybe you want to work hard before lunch. Not so much? Maybe afternoons are better. Schedule breaks, snacks, even recess, and PE! (You too middle schoolers!) Want to schedule a nap/rest time? Put that in there too.
- Here is a link that might help with planning, with age-appropriate times for different groups. It is put together by Khan Academy, but you get the idea.
- Please make sure your contact information in RenWeb is current.
- My final request would be for each family to pray together. May I suggest a family rosary. Pray each decade for the following intentions:
- 1. For the patients of COVID-19.
- 2. For the health care workers and first responders who help and care for them.
- 3. For our universal Church, and Christians everywhere.
- 4. For our country, for unity in difficult times.
- 5. For our school, and our school families.
We have been given an opportunity to really trust in God’s plan. There is no way for us to understand, or maybe even agree with it, but this is God’s plan. Maybe it’s His way of getting us to slow down, and spend more time as a family. Our faith in God will see us through this. Together. Last year’s school theme was “Keep Calm and Renew Your Strength.” Here is our opportunity. We are called to renew our domestic Church, the family. Remember: “They that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they will soar as if on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31. May we all renew the strength of our family in the coming weeks.
When we left school on March 13, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that that day would be our last day together for the year. I am heartbroken. I have taken comfort in seeing so many wonderful examples of humanity. Allow me to share with you a version of the hymn, “It is Well With My Soul.” If you have a few minutes, this version is worth your time. The Nashville Studio Singer Community Virtual Cell Phone Choir did an amazing job with the hymn. After listening to it, I would encourage you to read a little background of the song. Although I don’t normally recommend Wikipedia for research, I think this time it serves the purpose well. I would recommend reading the lyrics first, and then reading the background. It is incredibly moving and helped me to put our current situation in perspective.
I will be back in touch soon with more information. May we all remain healthy---physically, mentally, and spiritually--- in the unfamiliar days ahead. Know of my family’s prayer for all of the OLV family.
School closing update
Monday Morning Update March 16, 2020
Good Morning OLV Families,
Our teachers met briefly this morning about a variety of topics as it pertains to this new adventure we are on together. Be on the lookout for communications from teachers as it pertains to “office hours,” assignments, etc. This is really new for everyone. Thanks for continuing to work with us. As I mentioned in prior emails, I will be here at school today from 12:00 to 5:00 for pickup, if needed.
I just would like to reiterate that Spring Break is still very much in effect! Please give your kids the week off, as I am giving the teachers the week off too. We will "resume" school, as much as we can, on Monday March 30, albeit remotely.
I will remain in communication with you directly as it pertains to our tentative reopening of the building. As it stands right now, the earliest return we can have is Monday, April 6.
Below are a few helpful links for a variety of topics. Some, admittedly, will be more useful for some families than others, but I think them prudent nonetheless.
- Low-cost internet access for needy families:
- Free Zoom meetings:
- Google Classroom:
- Khan Academy, even for our little ones:
- Helpful links from Common Sense Media:
- Media recommendations for entertainment
Hand-picked, age-appropriate media suggestions to keep the whole family engaged.
- Resources for at-home learning
Tools to help parents and caregivers keep kids focused and learning at home.
- Stress-management resources
- When everything feels overwhelming, check out tips for taking in rapidly changing news.
- De-stress together with meditation apps for kids and families.
- Get the blood flowing and elevate the mood with these 25 dance games (you might need to buy a special control from Amazon).
- Apps, websites, and video games that inspire running, jumping, and more to stay active.
- Don’t forget to enjoy a device-free dinner or two.
- Media recommendations for entertainment
- Pflaum Gospel Weeklies
- download each week’s lessons
- Please click here to access the Student Lessons and Teaching Guides for each level.
- Please click here for a comprehensive list of teacher emails.
- Alabama Department of Health for updates: http://www.
- If you have not yet done so, please cancel your ordered lunches with Christian Catering
Please be aware that anything we have planned as a school community for the next several weeks is subject to change. We will do our very best to give as much notice as possible. Hopefully everything will begin to calm down a little now that we are away. Please, everyone, be well.
Saturday Evening Update March 14, 2020
After consulting with our superintendent, Monsignor Rohling, Father Liju, and following the lead of both Jefferson and Shelby County Schools, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School will be closed effective immediately, not as originally planned for end of business, Wednesday.
Teachers will be working at school Monday preparing lessons. Parents who need to pick items up from the school, whether it be books, paperwork, or a device may do so between the hours of 12:00 and 5:00. Just buzz the front door and we can let you in.
I will be sending communication on Monday to all families with the following information in one easy to hang on to email (and probably more as it becomes available):
- Google Classroom video tutorials (The kids in grades 4-8 are very comfortable with the platform. This is really more for parents.)
- A compilation of teacher email addresses
- Links to the Alabama Department of Health for up to date information and to a company providing low-cost internet access to households that do not have it already
- A free download link for Zoom meetings. Teachers may employ this for some video conference-style classes. (I explained this concept to some of the older students, they thought it was really cool---I said it was like being in college)
Very Important: Please cancel lunch orders through Christian Catering!
OK, at this point, I think we can’t possibly have any more changes. I am so grateful to everyone for your flexibility and communication with me. Be on the look out for direct communication from your child’s teachers.
Please stay healthy everyone, and we will see you in a few weeks.
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