St. Thomas Aquinas Virtual Learning Program Information Letter from our superintendent

Dear Parents,

The following information has been sent today to us regarding the Diocese’s virtual learning program.

September 2, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Congratulations, your child has been accepted into the Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance
Learning Program. We are excited about the incredible response received to this new
initiative and are looking forward to the beginning of the new school year. As servants of the
Lord, we are called to answer the needs of his people in 2020, that means virtual learning.
Information pertaining to the pick-up of student devices and other materials will be
forthcoming. We are currently arranging the logistics and locations aligned with safety
precautions regarding the distribution of materials. We are also in the process of finalizing
faculty and student schedules for the instructional program – families can look forward to
hearing from your child’s teachers soon.

In the days ahead, we will be sending out more information regarding your child’s online
learning accounts and your parent portal information; please keep checking your email.
Additionally, you may visit the website: https://stthomasaquinasbq.org/ and the FAQ page
regarding details on some of the many questions that have been received. Please check the
site regularly, as important updates and new information will be shared, as we approach the
first day of school.

The distance learning program orientation schedule will begin on September 16th, and
continue through September 18th, with the first full day of instruction to take place on
September 21st
.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us and bless our new instructional program.
Sincerely,
Thomas Chadzutko
Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services

 

 

Superintendent’s Message to Begin School As Planned September 9,2020

Dear Parents,

Below please find the superintendents’s letter to the chancellor’s office informing them that all Catholic schools will re-open as scheduled and requesting the services our children will need beginning September 9, 2020

Thank you,

Mrs. DeLuca

September 1, 2020

Dear Chancellor Carranza,
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn have worked tirelessly
throughout the summer months (July and August) to ensure a safe, healthy and efficient reopening of all
Catholic schools and the programs provided to our students and families. We have absolute confidence in our
principals and teachers to do so; therefore, we are officially informing the New York City Department of
Education and the City of New York that our academic year will commence as scheduled and on time
(September 9, 2020).
Further, it is our expectation that New York City will fulfill its obligations in providing the following services
to all the Catholic in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn:
● Nurses to the schools where they have been assigned;
● Transportation for our students to and from our schools;
● Meals through the various New York City Department of Education nutrition programs.
It is also our expectation that the UPK programs housed in our schools for which we have been contracted will
not be impacted by the change of the New York City Public Schools start date.
We welcome hearing back from you within the next 24 hours that you will be guaranteeing the provision of
these services to all of the Catholic Schools within the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Regards,
Mr. Michael J. Deegan, Archdiocese of New York

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools Superintendent – Catholic Schools Support Services
 R.C. Diocese of Brooklyn

 

 

Clarifications for Beginning of the Year for Students and Dismissal Times

Dear Parents/Guardians:
 
 During several meetings we have had this Monday and Tuesday with the Diocesan Office and our EPAC cluster/Deanery, we, as principals have been given specific information that we did not have before. All schools in our cluster will be following a 1:30 dismissal schedule to further ensure the safety and comfort of our children.
 
 To ensure that disinfection of our building is done in a timely manner, as well as to ensure that all the children dismiss only one class at a time, 6 ft. apart on the steps, ten to fifteen minutes apart, the following schedule for dismissal has to be implemented by all schools in our Deanery. 
 
 Dismissal of Grades:
 
 Pre-k3/4 – 1:30 pm                                                   Grade 5 – A – 2:20 pm
 Pre-4 – 1:40 pm                                                        Grade 5 – B – 2:30 pm
 Kindergarten 1:50 pm                                              Grade 6 – A – 1:30 pm
 Graded 1 1:30 pm                                                    Grade 6 – B – 1:40 pm
 Grade 2 – A 1:45 pm                                                Grade 7 – A – 1:45 pm
 Grade 2 – B 2:00 pm                                                Grade 7 – B – 2:00 pm
 Grade 3 1:30 pm                                                      Grade 8 – A – 2:10 pm
 Grade 4 – A 2:00 pm                                                Grade 8 – B – 2:20 pm
 Grade 4 – B 2:15 pm
 
Entrances to and exists from the building remain the same as those provided in the Logistics Plan.
 
 Being in class from 8 to 1:30 allows us the 5 and 1/2 hours students need to be in class daily mandated by the State.
 
 At dismissal, as the students leave, they will be provided with a cold lunch they can eat at home, allowing us to remove some of the issues that deal with eating without a mask in the classroom.
 
 For the younger students, who this may be a long time to go without food, a snack is permitted at about 11 a.m.. All grades will be permitted to eat a snack, one row at a time, while others keep their masks on.
 
 Teachers and school staff will remain in the school till 3 pm to confer with fellow teachers, meet parents for appointments, receive professional development or prepare for next morning.
 
 At 3 p.m. sanitizing of the building begins. After-school begins at 3 pm till 6 pm in the academy auditorium.  The auditorium will be sanitized after 6 p.m.
 
 On September 9 only grades 6, 7, and 8 will be in school. On September 10 only grades 3, 4, and 5 will be in school. On September 11 only grades K, 1, and 2 will be in school. This allows the children to become acquainted with new procedures in the building.
 
 Teachers must be in school on all days. Dismissal for students on the first week of school will be at 12:30 pm five to 10 minutes apart. Faculty meetings will follow each day. Pre-3/4 begin September 14 as well as all other students return.
 
 We were also informed that Remote Learning can be done for Art/Spanish and Gym. Therefore, these teachers will be providing Health and Art remotely to your children. 
 
 After school will be conducted in the academy auditorium. All students in a grade must remain together and therefore, the auditorium is divided into sections, 6 ft. apart per grade.
 
 Masks must be worn all day but with the early dismissal, masks will be better tolerated. Also, mask breaks will be given with only one row at a time being without a mask. This same procedure would be used when eating a snack – one row at a time.
 
The State mandates that parents must confirm daily that they are taking their child’s temperature at home, that the child is not sick or exhibits symptoms of Covid 19, or that the child has not been exposed to anyone with Covid 19 symptoms or been out of the country or state. A form questionnaire will be sent to you this week by your child’s homeroom teacher. You must confirm this Daily Health Screening questionnaire every morning and submit it on your child’s teacher via class Dojo.   
 
 Faculty must confirm to me the same information every morning.
 
  Everyone’s temperature will still be taken every morning before entering the building. For further safety to our children, visitors are asked not to enter the school building while the children are in school.
 
 Everything this year is a work in progress. Everything is new. We are all trying our best. Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to work together to ensure our children’s safety and partner in their educational journey.
 
God bless you, protect you and your dear families. 
 
 Mrs. Frances DeLuca

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM – PARENT INFORMATION SESSIONS

Dear Parents,

I have received the information below to provide parents who are choosing to have their child/children receive virtual learning for September 2020.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM – PARENT INFORMATION SESSIONS

As we begin the 2020-2021 academic year, we know that it will be an incredibly unique year, and students and families will have diverse needs and preferences.

To provide the best Catholic education possible, and to give options for those who cannot, or prefer not, to return to the classroom at all this fall, a 100% distance learning opportunity and option for students of the Catholic Academies and Parish Schools of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens will be provided.

The St Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program will be the distance education provider for students of our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools, who will not be returning to the classroom.

Information sessions to review program details and answer questions about this online choice, will be held via live ZOOM webinars. The recording of these sessions will be made available online after the meetings.

These sessions will cover the rationale, scope, learning expectations and next steps to enroll your child in the 100% distance learning option. (Separate meetings have been, or will be held by your principal to discuss the in-person, and hybrid class planning at your academy.)

You will meet the Principal of the program, Manuela Adsuar-Pizzi, and learn how it will work and how your child will remain enrolled at the home academy, while receiving virtual classes and distance learning through the St Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program

Please register to attend either session:

We look forward to partnering with you, your child, and our network of Catholic educators to provide each child the education they deserve.

Zoom Meetings for Re-Opening Plan

Dear Parents/Guardians:
 
 Zoom meetings have been set for you to clarify any questions you may have about the Re-opening Plan.
Please be aware of the different dates and times for individual grades.
 
PreK 3 and PreK 4 –  parents of Prek 3 and Prek 4
Thursday, August 20 at 7 pm, ID# 967 474 0231, Pass code  2aPaty.
 
Cohort 1 –  parents of Grades K, 1, and 2.
Wednesday, August 26 at 7 pm, ID#967 474 0231, Pass code 2aPaty.
 
Cohort 2 – parents of Grades 3, 4, and 5.
Thursday, August 27 at 7 pm, ID# 967 474 0231, Pass code 2aPaty.
 
Cohort 3 – parents of Grades 6, 7, and 8.
Friday, August 28 at 7 pm, ID#967 474 0231, Pass code 2aPaty.
 
May God bless and watch over you and your family,
 
Mrs. DeLuca
 

Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Academy Information Continued

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The Office of the Superintendent has provided our academies with the following information.

 

Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy
Frequently Asked Questions
How will my student access remote learning materials? Will Saint Thomas
Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy students be provided with devices?
Every Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy will receive the
necessary tools and materials, including either an iPad, or a Chrome book for remote
learning. In order to keep students connected and be able to meet instructional
requirements when learning remotely, every student will also have access to Google
Classroom, and other apps.

How will my child grow as a Catholic Christian at Saint Thomas Aquinas
Distance Learning Catholic Academy?
St. Thomas Aquinas believed that each child is created in the image and likeness of God,
and the school community shares in the responsibility to help all students develop their
God-given talents, to the best of their ability. Students will take an active role in
understanding and participating in their faith formation. Catholic Christian doctrine
will be taught through meaningful lessons and activities, integrated through rich
multimedia, relevant and connected to the student’s life.

Can my child begin at Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic
Academy in September, and return to their home school anytime during the school
year?
The intent for all students enrolled in Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic
Academy is to complete the entire 2020-2021 school year. Parents may choose to return
to their home school upon the completion of the first trimester, subject to seat
availability in the home school.

Who will be my child’s teacher at Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning
Catholic Academy? Will my child be taught by a teacher from his/her home
school?
All classes will be taught by teachers, specifically chosen to be part of this distance
learning Catholic academy. Within the Diocese of Brooklyn there are high-quality
teachers minitsering throughout all the Catholic Academies and Parish Schools in
Brooklyn and Queens. Parents and students can expect the same caliber of teacher, with
consistent experience.

Will my children know any of the other students enrolled in Saint Thomas
Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy?
While creating class sections, the school administration will make every effort to have
same grade level children from a particular home school be placed together.

Does my child have to wear a Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic
Academy school uniform?
Students will not be expected to purchase a Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning
Catholic Academy school uniform, however when classes are in session, students will be
expected to wear their home school’ s uniform.

Will my child be learning the same curriculum as his/her classmates in their home
school?
All students attending Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy will
have courses aligned to the New York Learning Standards. The instructional plan is to
provide each student with access to the Savvas Realize digital instructional platform.
Students will have access to the most up-to-date instructional materials, including
digital versions of Reading Street, Elevate Science, enVision Mathematics, My World
Interactive Social Studies series, and My Perspectives Reading and Writing series.

Will my child be using the same books as his classmates at his home school?
Instructional materials used throughout all Catholic Academies and Parish Schools are
aligned to the New York Learning Standards. Many of the schools within the Diocese
use Pearson/Savvas products. All products being used at Saint Thomas Aquinas
Distance Learning Catholic Academy will be the most up-to-date digital versions.

How will I be able to contact my child’s teacher, if I have questions?
Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy will establish protocols to
communicate with families, including, but not limited to teacher emails, Microsoft
Teams and Zoom meetings, and other tools.

How will Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy share
learning experiences with families?
Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy will use a multi-pronged
approach to help families engage with learning. Teachers will post assignments in
Google Classroom and meet with students via Google Meet. Additionally, teachers may
have synchronous online office hours where learners and parents can meet and discuss
the learning units of study, which have been developed. Also, the teachers and school
leader will respond to all emails from students and parents as soon as possible, within a
maximum 24-hour timeframe.

What will be Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy’s
grading policy?
Your child will be assessed continuously and will receive progress reports and report
cards. Detailed information about the grading policies will be provided, when the
school year begins.

How can I support my child’s learning if we have multiple children at home?
Creating schedules and having quiet places for study will help, when multiple children
are attempting their schoolwork each day.

How will I know that my child is staying on track with his/her learning?
There will be many ways in which Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic
Academy teachers will be involved in monitoring the progress of students and sharing
this information with families. Your child’s teacher will provide feedback through
various digital platforms and will be available to students and their families during
designated office hours.

What if my child has an IEP or receives Special Education services?
Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy is currently investigating
all possible service delivery methods to provide Special Education supports and
services. Student’s Individual Education Plans will be carefully reviewed, and services
will be based on an individual student need basis.

How will my child’s attendance be taken and recorded?
Attendance recording will occur through a child’s daily meetings and interactions with
their teachers. Attendance data will be monitored, to ensure that students are engaged in
their learning and to follow up with families where there are concerns.

My child is a high performing student, how will he/she be challenged, have his/her
needs met?
Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy will be adopting the
adaptive learning system, iReady. Through periodic assessments, the iReady learning
system will develop individualized student learning plans to support student
acceleration.

My child will be entering the 8th grade, will the high school application process be
coordinated by Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy?
Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy is a full-service educational
program. Teachers will be responsible for the coordination of the high school
articulation process and will communicate with the home school for any needed student
data/records retrieval purposes.
There will be on-going communication between Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance
Learning Catholic Academy and the home school, throughout the entire high school
process.

School Closed Through April 20, 2020

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Chadzutko, Ed. D., has announced that all elementary Catholic Academies and Parish Schools in Brooklyn and Queens will remain closed until April 20, 2020. This follows last week’s announcement that the schools would be closed this week, March 16-March 20, 2020, out of an abundance of caution. The decision mirrors the New York City public schools announcement.

“The decision to close is based on the interdependency of services between public schools and Catholic schools,” said Dr. Chadzutko.

Many families that attend Diocesan schools depend on the New York City services such as bus transportation, meals, nurses, and crossing and security guards.

“If there was a safe way for us to open sooner, we would, but we cannot function without those essential services,” said Joan McMaster, Associate Superintendent for Principal and Teacher Personnel.

The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control is to restrict gatherings of 50 or more people. Clearly, the school environment would be in violation.

The contingency pandemic plan, which is part of the Office of the Superintendent school crisis management plan, includes digital, distance and alternative instruction for students so that their education is not disrupted. A complete transition to that model of instruction will take place this week.

The Office of the Superintendent is in daily communication with city and state officials and is part of the Coronavirus Education Task Force of the NYC Department of Education. During this time, there is a constant reassessment of the situation and the necessary response in an effort to keep our school community safe.