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WWCS REOPENING PLAN (August 4, 2020)
Dear Walla Walla Catholic School Community,
In the summer of 2006, I had the privilege of leading a pro-life pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. This 12-week journey involved extensive planning, ongoing support, and multiple pairs of shoes as I walked 20-25 miles per day and the group covered 60-80 miles per day. As you can imagine, a summer walk through the southern states can be a bit grueling. We had days and weeks in which the temperatures rose to over 100 degrees; passing Dallas, the humidity set in, making 80 degrees felt like 100 and making 100 completely unbearable. Shortly before entering Louisiana on July 5th, our RV was hit by a Jeep, totaling the RV. Fortunately, there were only minor injuries, but what was already a difficult journey became all the more daunting. But, by the grace of God, the work of our group, and the support of the community, we were able to continue on, ultimately finishing our pilgrimage on time, five weeks later.
We believe that all members of the WWCS community are companions on a pilgrimage to heaven. The school’s work in this pilgrimage is to form students to be disciples of Jesus Christ: strong in virtue, exceptional in learning, and generous in service. Like my pilgrimage to DC nearly 15 years ago, the pilgrimage of our school is never an easy one: it is full of challenges every year and even under normal conditions, the various “heats” that we experience can feel unbearable. Yet, this year, responding to the global pandemic is added on top of the school year's normal stressors.. Many of the normal “vehicles” which we would use on our journey have been impeded or are unavailable to us. Yet, as on my pilgrimage to Washington, DC, I believe that God is guiding us by His grace, in and through our community, as we continue together on our pilgrimage to heaven.
In the following pages, you will find our plan for re-opening. Recognizing that we learn best in person, the primary goal and intention of the school is to open and remain open for in-person instruction. To do this, we must operate within the structures established by both the state and the diocese. Despite this intention to be in-person this year, it is possible that the state may require us to move to a model of remote learning. Whichever learning model offered will present challenges to fulfilling our purpose. Our nature as companions on pilgrimage is impeded when things so natural as a handshake, hug, and even a smile are not readily available, and are all the more so if it becomes impossible to physically be in the same space. Yet, difficult does not mean impossible, and as we know, nothing is impossible for God. As such, during this time we must lean all the more deeply on our foundational principles if we are to continue in our shared purpose.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must unite today’s unique struggles all the more deeply to the cross of Christ. As disciples strong in virtue, we must make a conscious effort to cultivate habits of human excellence, in particular love, patience, and forgiveness. As disciples exceptional in learning, we must focus all the more carefully on the central objectives to be taught and learned. And, disciples generous in service, we must always look outside of ourselves and our own families to care for one another, making sure that, on this pilgrimage, no one is left behind.
Father Curtis Seidel, president
Walla Walla Catholic Schools
WWCS Reopening Plan (PDF)
Principles for Remote Learning
Should we need to transition to an online learning environment, Walla Walla Catholic Schools upholds the following Principles for Remote Learning:
Culture of Companionship
We learn at our best when we continually support each other. In a remote environment, this means continuing to build relationships and to support the spiritual, relational, emotional, and physical needs of students, parents, and teachers.
Culture of Clarity
Culture of Consistency and Correction
A consistent learning environment is one of the keys to fostering a healthy learning environment. However, consistency cannot become intransigence. Therefore, while the fundamental structures of remote learning will remain as consistent as possible, corrections within those structures will be made as we continue to learn how to best help students learn in extraordinary circumstances.
Culture of Communication
Balancing feedback from last semester, the WWCS is committed to keeping all families and community members informed of all important information, while striving not to overwhelm them through excessive or unclear communication.
Return-to-School Plans: Full-Time, In-Person School for All Grade Levels (July 23, 2020)
Dear Walla Walla Catholic School families,
Over the course of the late spring and through the summer, we, along with members of the community, worked to establish our protocols for a return-to-school in the fall. Some of the details continue to be in flux, and, as we have become accustomed, everything is subject to change. However, we would like to take a moment to provide a summary of the plan as it exists under the current state and diocesan requirements.
Full-Time, In-Person School: Under the current guidelines, we will be able to offer all students in-person instruction all day, every day. We believe that by its nature, in-person instruction provides a better learning environment for students, and we are happy that we will be able to offer that for our families. However, we must balance this learning with the loving concern for the immunocompromised members of our community. These adjustments are made for the good of our community and are in accordance with state regulations. Below are some of the fundamental pieces:
Masks—All students, faculty, staff and guests will be required to wear a mask or face shield while at school. There are exceptions for specific medical conditions.
Social Distancing—All classroom desks and/or tables will be arranged to allow for 6 feet of social distancing when students are seated.
Classroom Transitions—Student movement between classrooms will be minimized to the extent possible. At the junior high and the high school level, class composition changes from subject to subject and, therefore, more movement will be necessary. However, classrooms are being assigned to limit movement. Any transitions for students will be directed with social distancing.
Arrival Health Screenings—At the start of every day and prior to entering the buildings, all students will have their temperature taken, and will be asked a series of basic health questions regarding COVID symptoms. Students who exhibit a fever, or who are otherwise sick, will not be able to enter the building.
Staggered Start/End Times—To facilitate entry and exit of the building, and to minimize contact with students outside of their grade,, start and end times will be staggered. The exact details of those times are currently being finalized and will be sent out when confirmed.
Staggered Lunches—Lunch times will also be staggered as a means of limiting contact. We are still finalizing where students will eat lunch.. It is a possibility that lunch will be in the classroom, but we are also exploring other options, to enable a change of space for the students in a physically, socially and emotionally healthy way.
Recess—We believe recess and recreation are essential parts of human happiness. While the nature of recess will look different in the coming year, recess will still be held.
Before and After School Gatherings and Activities—Like recess, we believe that before and after school activities are both formally and informally important in supporting our students. We are working on plans to provide opportunities that are safe and in accordance with state requirements.
Sports—the WIAA has adjusted the sports seasons and wants to be able to offer sports this coming year. As a school, we believe that sports are a valuable part of our students' formation and will be working to offer some form of sports option even if inter-school competition is not possible.
Liturgies—Weekly Mass is perhaps the most important activity our students participate in. While it might not be possible for all students to gather at a single Mass, we will be making every effort to ensure that our students are able to go to Mass every week.
We are grateful for your patience in the evolving nature of this situation. As we move closer to our planned first day of school on August 24, more details will be available. We will communicate additional information in the coming weeks.
Sincerely in Christ,
John Lesko, principal, and Father Curtis Seidel, president
Walla Walla Catholic Schools
A Message from the Principal: Reopening Plans (July 9, 2020)
As we continue to assemble plans for our Fall 2020 reopening, we wanted to share some current information with you.
In the spring, we provided families with a survey to better assist how we serve students and families during the time of our at-home learning. We found the information valuable in adjusting instruction for our students and families. As we prepare plans for reopening in the Fall of 2020, we would also like to solicit input from our parents and guardians on items they find important moving forward. We invite you to complete the survey by July 17 so as to help in finalizing our reopening plans.
While there is still uncertainty and clarification needed with guidelines and conditions that may change, we are developing plans under current guidelines and preparing contingencies to adjust for a fluid situation. We are committed to school beginning on August 24. We continue to work with diocesan principals, area administrators and our local health department in crafting our framework for reopening plans for this fall.
Parent input through the survey and work with our staff will help finalize these plans. As part of our preparation for having students on campus, we have reviewed our building and classroom capacities with our current enrollment. We have examined the guidelines and protocols that will be necessary to plan for student health and safety when students are on campus including:
- Classroom setup and social distancing
- Masks and face shields
- Student health screening
- Lunch, recess and transition times
Our schools and maintenance personnel have reviewed and prepared using the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Health Department guidelines for cleaning and student hygiene. Additional preparation and equipment has been added to address these areas. Working with our local health department, our planning includes limiting exposure and transmission, and additional protocols should there be any exposure or transmission.
Our planning has also involved how to best use online instruction should it be needed, required or requested. We have guidelines and mandates we must adhere to for our reopening of our schools in the fall.
We would appreciate input through the survey on the best way to adhere to these guidelines and best serve the educational and safety needs of our families. We understand that all families are at various levels of how to proceed with school. Your input will help us better understand how to serve you within our resources. Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist us with this valuable step.
7th and 8th Grade Update
Below is updated information for students and parents.
7th and 8th graders will continue to wear uniforms under the same uniform dress code they had at Assumption. Information on this and ordering of sweatshirts will be provided in the coming weeks.
- Cheryl Sutlick will serve as the 8th grade homeroom teacher. Mrs. Sutlick will also serve as our Middle School Activities and ASB coordinator.
- Jo Anna Gogl and Christy Richard will serve as 7th grade homeroom teachers.
- Nick Hazeltine will continue as Athletic Director for sports at DeSales and Assumption.
Teaching Assignments and Schedules
- In a previous email on staffing, we failed to mention the following:
- Cathy Hamada will be teaching Math 7 and Grade 8 Algebra
- Greg Fazzari will be teaching Math Grade 8 (Pre-Algebra)
Next week, information will be sent to parents regarding options for Middle School electives as well as the student's teacher recommendation for 8th grade Math.
5th and 6th Grade Update
Additional information will be forthcoming with more details regarding the class, including how we will initially handle the class size with social distancing, but at this time our planning includes the following:
6th grade will be separated for the following classes.
- Math will be taught by Cathy Hamada
- Language Arts will be taught by Lynne Kuntz
- Religion will be taught by Jo Anna Gogl
All of these teachers will work with our primary teacher, Jenny Wood, to create consistency and transition in these classes. While the 6th grade students are working with these teachers, Mrs. Wood will be working with the 5th graders in similar subjects. There also may be some individualized instruction or ability grouping occurring during this time.
We are also looking at having Eric Rohde provide computer instruction to the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes. This may allow for Mrs. Brinson to work collaboratively with Mrs. Wood in Science with the 5th and 6th grade class.
We appreciate your flexibility and understanding of our evolving situation and know that there are many questions left unanswered. We will do our best to continue to communicate as we have additional details.
-John Lesko, Principal
Complete the Parent Survey on the return to school.
April 30 Message from Principal Lesko - Academic Calendar and End of Year Activities
In addition to the academic efforts of our faculty and staff at Assumption and DeSales, we have been planning for our end of the year activities. Due to the ever-changing guidelines, we have continued to plan with flexibility. More detailed information will be communicated in the upcoming weeks as we finalize details, but below are a few of the items we are currently working on.
As of this time, our plan is to follow the days identified on our WWCS 2019-2020 school calendar regarding non-school days and completion date. Because of our efforts to transition to at-home learning immediately following our last completed in-school day, we are able to remain in compliance with our 180 day school year, as required by the state without requesting a waiver.
Some of you inquired about the state requiring public schools to stay in session until June 19. This will take many different forms among districts. As a reminder, WWCS started the school year prior to the public schools did not pause instruction as a result of COVID-19. WWCS is confident in the days of instruction we provided.
Students who faced challenges during this learning period will be provided time to complete the standards identified at each grade level or class.
Assumption Middle School and DeSales High School staffs are working how semester finals will be provided. We will finalize plans over the next couple of weeks and provide communication at that time.
8th Grade Promotion and 8th Grade Trip
The Assumption Middle School staff and myself are developing plans for the 8th grade promotion ceremony. The date and event will be finalized within the next couple of weeks.
We are also looking at the possibility of combining some sort of trip or day in conjunction with a DeSales Freshman Orientation Day prior to the 2020-2021 school year. Of course, much of this will depend on what is permitted prior to the upcoming school year.
The DeSales staff and the class of 2020 graduates and parents are reviewing possibilities for the 2020 DeSales Graduation. We hope to have plans for Graduation finalized in the next couple of weeks.
We appreciate all your efforts, support and understanding as we work toward the completion of the 2019-2020 school year. As always, if we can be of more assistance, please reach out to us.
May God continue to bless you and your families,
April 7 Message from Principal John Lesko
April 6 Update from WWCS
WWCS Families and Friends,
Today, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced that all K-12 schools statewide must be closed for the remainder of the school year. While we are saddened by this news, we understand the importance of keeping our community healthy. We continue to be fully committed to providing quality Catholic education to every one of our students for the remainder of the year. Rest assured we will be continually improving our distance learning. There will be many questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks but we hope that for today you can enjoy Spring Break and the blessed holiday of Easter with your families. More information will be forthcoming.
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