St. Mary's School

PARENT/GUARDIAN COMMUNICATION

Monday, March 30, 2020


Dear Parents/Guardians,


I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy. These have been a trying two weeks, and with Governor Baker's announcement that all schools will remain closed until May 4, we're faced with accepting that social distancing is the best course of action right now versus our longing to be in community with our families, friends, colleagues, and students. It is surely a long road ahead, but during this time of uncertainty, and during this season of Lent, a deeper connection to God and continued focus on the power of prayer bring us a great sense of comfort and hope.


On Monday, March 16 we embarked on a remote learning journey to continue educating our students in faith and knowledge. We've had a good amount of success, several challenges, and a lot of learning along the way. As we enter our third week, we are excited that our kindergarten through grade 8 classes will expand their remote learning experience through the Zoom video conferencing platform (more information below).


With the extended school closure, we know this is a challenging time for everyone. We are grateful to our teachers for their efforts to continue providing a meaningful learning experience for their students; likewise, we are grateful to our parents who are on the front lines working with their children each day to ensure they are able to access and complete their remote learning assignments. And of course, thank you to our students for the flexibility, resiliency, and amazing spirit they have demonstrated throughout this difficult time in their young lives.


Please know of our continued prayers for the health and well-being of you and your families.


Sincerely,

Mr. Christopher Beza

Principal

In This Issue

Prayer from Pope Francis

Remote Learning: Zoom Video Conferencing

Field Trip Update

Financial Need

Resources for Supporting Your Children

Parent Webinar

Report Cards

iPad Borrowing

Prayer from Pope Francis

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.

At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain with steadfast faith.

You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

We are certain that you will provide,

so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee,

joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform ourselves to the Father’s will and to do what Jesus tells us:

He who took our sufferings upon Himself,

and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross,

to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.


We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.

Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test

and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Pray for Us.

Remote Learning: Zoom Video Conferencing

As we enter our third week of remote learning, our teachers in kindergarten through grade eight will continue to post daily lessons, activities, and assignments for their students to complete. Please refer to individual teacher webpages for each day's lessons, and as always please reach out to your child's teacher with any questions, comments, or concerns.


Based on your feedback, we are expanding the remote learning format by providing an opportunity for students in kindergarten through grade eight to participate in a group video meeting with their teachers via Zoom. Zoom is a remote conferencing platform that will allow classes to interact "face-to-face" on a daily basis. For middle school students, Zoom meetings will be set up with their three main teachers and Mrs. Lorenzo on a rotating schedule.


Students will be invited to join a Zoom conference with their teacher and classmates for approximately 30 minutes. Participation is not mandatory, but of course all students are welcome to join in to connect with their teacher and classmates. During the Zoom meeting, teachers will check in with the class, explain new assignments, and introduce some new content. Please refer to each teacher's individual webpage for more information. Students who choose not to participate in Zoom meetings will still be able to access new content and assignments via the individual teacher webpages. This week we will be piloting Zoom meetings in all grade levels and making adjustments, with full implementation at all grade levels (K-8) beginning next week.

Field Trip Update

As we enter the final months of the school year, we were looking forward to our students continuing to enhance their educational experience through field trips, especially the trips to E-Camp (5), Boston/Plimoth Plantation (6), Philadelphia (7) and Washington, DC (8). However, based on the current recommendations of the CDC and our advisors within the Archdiocese of Boston, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all field trips for the remainder of the year. The teachers and I share in the students' disappointment as we know these trips are beneficial in so many ways and are often the highlight of the year for students. With regard to payments that have already been made for field trips for grades 5-8, full refunds will be issued to families via check within the coming week.

Financial Need

Please let me know if the current situation is causing your family financial hardship. We have resources for emergency financial aid through the Catholic Schools Foundation. We know some of you are concerned about loss of wages and ability to pay bills. We share your concerns. Last week the Catholic Schools Foundation sent an important message to schools. They will continue the Emergency Fund with added rounds and frequency. If you need assistance, please be in touch with me.

Resources for Supporting Your Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Parent Webinar - Remaining Resilient in an Uncertain Time

Join acclaimed authors and Harvard Medical School Professors Dr. Nancy Rappaport and Dr. Robert Brooks as they team up to support parents who are feeling the stress of today’s challenges (health concerns, parenting, financial, and remote education).


Wed, April 1, @ 9:00 am: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4892473106677222155


Remaining Resilient in an Uncertain Time


The late psychologist Julius Segal wrote that for children to be resilient they need the presence of “charismatic adults” in their lives. Such adults provide an important source of strength and stability for children, especially during this pandemic. By taking care of ourselves and building our own resilience and managing our understandable stress, we are better able to support our children. Drs. Brooks and Rappaport will discuss:


· Adopting a “personal control” outlook, which focuses on the things we CAN control, such as our attitudes and responses to challenges

· Maintaining social and professional connections during social distancing

· Making TLCs: therapeutic lifestyle changes, including exercise, diet, and mindfulness/prayer

· Finding “contributory activities” which enrich the lives of others without compromising our own well-being

· Focusing on gratitude

Report Cards

Report cards were sent electronically via email to all families on Thursday, March 19. If you have any questions or comments, please email your child's teacher directly. If you did not receive your child's report card, please check your spam folder for an email from reportcard@stmaryschoolmelrose.org. If you still are not able to locate the email message with your child's report card, please reply to this newsletter and the report card will be sent to the email address you reply with.


In lieu of the parent signature, parents are asked to confirm receipt of the report card by completing a google form that was included in the email message. The form also asks two questions regarding access to remote learning. If you have not completed the form yet, please click here.

iPad Borrowing

Thank you to those who have reached out to let us know you could use an extra iPad. We continue to deliver disinfected iPads to those who express the need. To reiterate our original message, we are offering an iPad to any family who does not have a device at home for their child to use during the extended closure. If you are in need of an iPad to borrow, we are collecting that information on the report card receipt form, which can be accessed by clicking here.