St. Mary's School
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Every year during Lent we follow Jesus into the desert. We pray, we fast, and we reach out to those in need...so that when our Lenten journey leads us to the foot of the Cross on Good Friday, we will have experienced a small fraction of Jesus' suffering and sacrifice, and we will be spiritually prepared to live in deeper connection with Him. These past five weeks we have followed Jesus through the desert. And we have experienced our own desert, one of isolation and uncertainty, much like Jesus did in his last days and weeks on earth.
Please know that the faculty and I are appreciative of our continued partnership with you during these difficult times. Together, we will get through this. We know that the joy of Easter Sunday is not possible without the suffering and sacrifice of Good Friday. We remember that without the Cross, there would have been no Resurrection. Continued prayers for your good health and well-being.
Mr. Christopher Beza
In This Issue
Palm Sunday Mass
Art at Home
Resources for Supporting Your Children
Palm Sunday Mass
Tomorrow we celebrate the sixth Sunday in Lent, Palm Sunday. We welcome Jesus into our lives in a special way as we prepare to share in His suffering, death, and Resurrection through our experience of Holy Week. We hope you will join Father Shawn as he live streams Palm Sunday Mass from St. Mary's Church at 10:00 am tomorrow, Sunday, April 5.
The live stream will be coordinated through Zoom and can be accessed by clicking this link. The link to the live stream can also be accessed on the home page of the parish website (www.stmarysmelrose.org).
Thank you for all your work to assist your children in accessing Zoom meetings with their teachers this week. It was wonderful for our teachers and students to connect face-to-face. Zoom is new territory for us, as it is for most other schools, and we will continue to take advantage of what it has to offer while we are in remote learning mode.
As we worked through our full first week of Zoom meetings, the teachers and I have had virtual meetings regarding security and student privacy. We have also solicited the counsel of the Catholic Schools Office and other advisors to ensure our security protocols are appropriate for mitigating the risk of unwanted guests gaining access to Zoom meetings. A brief summary of protocols follows:
1) Meeting IDs/passwords will not be posted in the public domain, such as on a teacher's remote learning page. Instead, meeting IDs/passwords will be sent via email to invited participants only.
2) Students will not be able to join the meeting until the teacher is present.
3) Teachers have all enabled the "Waiting Room" feature, which is an added level of security since students will not be allowed into the Zoom meeting room until the teacher manually moves them into it.
I would like to remind you that participation in Zoom meetings 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. Students who choose not to participate in Zoom meetings will still be able to access new content and assignments via the individual teacher webpages.
Having Trouble Connecting to Zoom?
If Zoom is not working as it should, try the following quick fixes to get back up and running:
1. Wait 90 seconds. Zoom will automatically try to reconnect you.
2. Move closer to your wi-fi router. Getting closer to your router can improve signal strength.
3. Turn off video. Video uses more bandwidth than audio only. If you don’t need it, switch it off.
4. Sign out and sign back in again. Leave the meeting and join it again.
5. Join by phone. You can dial into Zoom (audio only) from a mobile or landline phone using
access numbers provided in meeting invitation.
Art at Home
Mrs. Caruso is regularly updating her website with ideas for at home projects, as well as a weekly suggested art lesson. If your child completes the weekly art project, please consider emailing a photo or scan of the work to Mrs. Caruso. She'd love to include some of our students' artwork in the Masterpieces of the Month virtual gallery on her website.
Resources for Supporting Your Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you didn't have the opportunity to join Friday's webinar "Remaining Resilient in an Uncertain Time" with Dr. Nancy Rappaport and Dr. Robert Brooks, I have attached two articles below that you may find helpful. I've also added information from the National Association of School Psychologists to the list of resources.
- Dr. Nancy Rappaport: What Cancer Taught Me About Navigating a Pandemic
- Dr. Robert Brooks: Resilience in the Face of COVID-19
- National Association of School Psychologists: Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting from COVID-19
- Joanna's Place: Tips to Help Families through the Coronavirus Crisis
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.