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.
April 2 Message from WWCS President Father Curtis Seidel
I recently read an article from one of Notre Dame’s publication that began bluntly:
“Things are not going to plan.”
The halls and classrooms of our schools stand empty and not because of students traveling for Spring sports as would normally be the case. Instead, in the effort to save thousands of lives we have transformed our entire way of being. Businesses are closed, schools are virtual, and much in life has ground to a standstill.
Disruption, uncertainty, and anxiety appear to be the characteristics of these times.
The same article began with a quote from the author Leon Bloy who said:
There are places in the heart that do not yet exist,
And into them enters suffering,
That they might exist.
I have been transfixed by this quote. The idea that suffering actually expands our heart and our capacities. Yet, how very true it is or at least has the potential to be. When we allow ourselves to be affected by suffering, either our own or the suffering of those around us, God works in through that suffering to expand our hearts and our lives.
My first transformative experience of this occurred in January of 2012 when my dad died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm. In that moment my world changed suddenly and I went through a substantial time of suffering. Yet, in that suffering, my heart expanded. It expanded in my love for my dad in the many things that he did for me; it expanded in my love for my family for I saw how contingent their presence could be; finally, it expanded in my love for my friends who moved heaven and earth to be there at my dads suffering, to suffer with me. To suffer with is the literal definition of compassion.
This current pandemic will be similarly transformative in our lives. I do not believe there will be a getting back to normal, at least not any time soon. This pandemic has and will continue to touch each and every one of our lives. The question is: how do we respond?
If we fight against this transformative event and cling only to what came before, I believe we will be broken. On the other hand, if we allow this suffering to be transformative, we will see the work of God in it. In my dad’s death, I had to ask, “what is most important?” Today, I am similarly forced to ask, what is most important, today, in the school and in my life? That which is most important is still with me.
As a final thought as we enter into holy week, I am reminded of the Christ’s crown not of gold, but of thorns. I am reminded of Christ’s throne, in which he rested not upon a cushion, but upon the nails holding him to the cross. But in his death he conquered death and in his resurrection he promises us eternal life.
April 1 Update from WWCS - Schoolwork Dropoff April 3
After much discussion with faculty, students and parents, we have determined that we will hold a schoolwork drop off day this FRIDAY, APRIL 3RD from 8:00am – 5:30pm at DeSales High School. There will be a “book drop” bin outside the main entry of DeSales where any students (PreK – 12th grade) can place their completed work for teachers. Please be sure the work has your student's name on it so that we are able to distribute it appropriately and teachers are able to grade it and give feedback.
Our next scheduled drop off/pick up day is on Monday, April 13th. In the meantime, enjoy spring break!!
March 26 Update from WWCS - Stay Home, Stay Healthy
In light of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order we must make adjustments to our plan for the Monday, March 30th Continuation of Learning packet pick up/drop off. During the 2 week “Stay Home” order, no teachers, staff, students or parents are able to access our school facilities. Therefore, our next date for packet pick up and material drop off will be Monday, April 13th (after our regularly scheduled spring break from April 4-12). What does this mean for you and your student(s)?
- PreK-5th graders should have already received 2 weeks’ worth of materials to complete, bringing them up to our spring break. Please hold on to the work your students are completing to be turned in on April 13th.
- Middle school students will continue to receive work via Google Classroom. Teachers will be working with your students to submit as much work as possible online for feedback and grading, then any printed work can be turned in on April 13th.
- High school students will continue to receive work via Google Classroom. Teachers will be working with your students to submit as much work as possible online for feedback and grading, then any printed work can be turned in on April 13th.
We recognize this is not ideal for anyone. None of our students, teachers, or parents desired to have this spring be spent engaged in distance learning. We appreciate your understanding and partnership as we work through this ever-evolving situation. We are dedicated to continue working as hard as possible to provide your child with the opportunity to receive Catholic education and most importantly, stay healthy, so we can hit the ground running when we are back in classrooms together.
March 23 Update from WWCS:
From Tuesday, March 24 until Monday, April 27 Assumption and DeSales school will be CLOSED to the general public with the exception of Mondays for learning packet drop off/pick up from 7:30 am – 6:30 pm. We remain committed to being accessible to our families from afar. Good communication between families and our schools is going to be more important now than ever before. While our buildings are not open for face-to-face instruction or meetings, our staff are still available to work with you!
How do I reach the school offices?
In person: Currently, the Assumption and DeSales office will be open ONLY on Mondays from 7:30 am – 6:30 pm as this is this time to pick up and drop off school work packets at each school.
By phone: Our phones for each school will be forwarded to WWCS team members so that you may still call us as needed.
By email: email@example.com
How do I reach a specific teacher or staff member?
Our teachers are committed to being accessible to you! Email them any time and see the full staff directory of email addresses at www.wearewwcs.com . Every day, our teachers will be immediately available to you electronically at the following times:
Monday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Friday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
How do I get updates about any changes?
Every family should already be receiving regular updates via email from WWCS regarding the COVID-19 school closure. If you are not, please be sure we have updated information for you on file by reaching out via phone at 525-3030.
March 17 Update from WWCS:
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As we traverse through this uncharted territory of a mid-year school closure, let us be reminded of our faith and trust in God by Saint Patrick himself with an excerpt of his poem “The Breastplate,”
"Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
Today the WWCS team would like to provide you with the following updates regarding the continuation of learning for each of our students.
- PreK – 5th Grade Families: Your child will have comprehensive, weekly packets developed by their teachers. These packets should be picked up at Assumption’s gymnasium each Monday (with the exception of spring break, April 6th) anytime between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm. At that time you should also drop off the prior week’s packet for grading.
- Middle School (6th -8th Grade) Families: Your child will have a combination of online and paper-pencil/take-home learning each week. A weekly packet will be developed by teachers that should be picked up at Assumption’s gymnasium each Monday (with the exception of spring break, April 6th) anytime between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm. At that time you should also drop off the prior week’s packet for grading. ADDITIONALLY, students will receive instruction via Google Classroom. We ask that students login daily, Monday-Friday, and complete any activities their teachers have assigned.
- High School (9th-12th Grade) Families: Your student will have a combination of online and paper-pencil/take-home learning each week. A weekly packet will be developed by teachers that should be picked up at the DeSales foyer each Monday (with the exception of spring break, April 6th) anytime between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm. At that time you should also drop off the prior week’s packet for grading. ADDITIONALLY, students will receive instruction via Google Classroom. We ask that students login daily, Monday-Friday, and complete any activities their teachers have assigned.
- IF YOU HAVE STUDENTS ATTENDING BOTH SCHOOLS: We will have ALL of your students weekly packets available at the ASSUMPTION GYM each Monday. One-stop shopping!
Additionally, the following FAQ’s may be helpful to you as we navigate these educational changes.
- How do I reach my child’s teacher(s) during the closure?
- All of our teachers are available via email, phone, or for a Google Meet. We are developing a master calendar and list of teacher office hours and will share it soon. In the meantime, visit the ONLINE DIRECTORY to access your teacher’s contact information. They will quickly respond to any communication.
- What if my family needs a laptop/chrome book to use for online learning during the closure?
- Any family who indicated this need already will be able to pick up the technology at our school offices during this week or on Monday, March 23rd, when you are picking up your child’s weekly packet. If you did not already inform us of this need, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will coordinate with you to get you the technology you need.
- My internet access at home is limited, how can my child get online?
- Spectrum Internet is providing free Internet for families for the next 60 days. To enroll in their Student Remote Educational Offer please call 1-844-488-8395.
- Will any meals be provided to students during the closure?
- We are working with Mrs. Spiess to provide free sack lunches to students in need during the closure. We anticipate this lunch program will launch on Monday, March 23rd, and more information will be forthcoming.
- What if I am not available on Mondays to drop off/pick up my student’s school packet?
- We are committed to making sure every student has access to education during this closure. If you are unable to find a friend or family member to collect the packet in your place, please let us know at either school office and we will make the necessary arrangements to get your child their school work.
- Do we still have access to the counseling office during the closure?
- Yes, Mrs. Ruthven (our WWCS counselor) is still available to communicate with students and families. While face-to-face meetings are not possible at this time, she can communicate with you and your children via phone, email or Google Meet.
- Can you help me arrange childcare or tutoring during the closure?
- If you have a need for either of these things, please email email@example.com and let us know. We may not be able to provide direct services, but it’s possible that we can work together to find a solution.
We are continually developing and updating online resources for all WWCS families. Click here to view our COVID-19 webpage and keep on checking back for additional information and resources to be posted. The WWCS team is working hard to maintain quality Catholic education that allows us to fulfill our mission of developing disciples of Jesus Christ who are strong in virtue, exceptional in learning, and generous in service.
March 16 Update from WWCS:
As we embark upon this unprecedented school closure, we remain firm in our commitment to serve your students to the best of our ability. May we all take comfort in the gospel during this time and recall Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Beginning tomorrow, March 17th, we will no longer offer face-to-face instruction at Assumption or DeSales. We plan to re-open our doors on Monday, April 27th. The Early Learning Center is able to remain open at this time with extra hygiene precautions taken, and we will continue to update ELC families if there are any changes to that. We are so impressed with our students who displayed grace in the uncertainty facing them today. Our teachers and staff set out on the day in hopes of being a calming presence for your children. As you process this change within your own home, please refer to the resources listed below to care for your family’s mental health and well-being.
Each of your children will come home today with initial school work to be completed from home. Our teachers will be convening tomorrow and Wednesday (March 17 and 18) to work diligently in determining the best way to equitably serve all WWCS students through the remainder of the closure. We will provide additional communication about school work to be done as soon as possible. In the meantime, below is some initial information we want to share. Please review and, as we say below, let us know what questions are on your mind. Thank you for partnering with us – we will come through this as a strong WWCS family!
- All students grades K-8 had a Technology and Food Service Survey sent home with them today. Please complete this survey ASAP! You may return it to us in one of the following ways:
- Complete the survey ONLINE HERE
- Fill out the printed survey your child brought home and scan/photograph it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fill out the printed survey and return it to one of our school offices
- Assumption and DeSales offices will be open from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm this week. Please maintain the Department of Health guidelines and only come to the offices as necessary; do anything you can via phone or email. If you do come to the schools in person, please practice social distancing.
- Our Assumption Librarian, Mrs. Guest, has prepared a number of reading resources for your K-8 student on the Assumption Library Webpage.
- Remember, take care of your family’s mental well-being! CLICK HERE for a helpful link from the CDC on managing stress and anxiety. Additionally, the OSPI has some great tips and additional resources HERE on talking with your children about the school closure.
- Regarding childcare for school-aged children: the Governor has said that individual schools may provide childcare as a last resort for families with healthcare workers, first responders, and vulnerable populations. WWCS wants to serve you to the best of our ability. If you are in need of childcare please contact us via email at email@example.com . We do not have a childcare program formalized at this point, but if there is a need within our community we will do everything in our power to help.
- LINKED HERE is a letter to all families from the Diocese regarding the school closure.
- Do you have additional questions for us immediately? Ask away. Call us, email us, be in touch.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assumption 525-9283
- DeSales 525-3030
- Early Learning Center 525-9478
March 13th, 8:00 pm Update from WWCS:
After today’s announcement of our school closure from March 17-April 24, here are a few important details for the immediate future:
- Monday, March 16
- We will hold a regular school day at both Assumption and DeSales, and the Early Learning Center will be open.
- Class photos and sports photos will be rescheduled.
- A technology survey will be sent home with every student and it is vital that this is completed as instructed.
- Teachers will be providing some initial work and plans for students on Monday while we continue to explore the best way to meet student and family needs during this time.
- Tuesday, March 15 – Friday, March 20
- Assumption and DeSales school offices will be open from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm but no classes will be held. We are awaiting clarification on whether or not the Early Learning Center will remain open. We will provide more information on Monday regarding the ELC.
- Faculty will be working diligently and creatively to develop additional materials for future weeks.
- What does this mean for the remainder of the school year’s calendar?
- We do not yet have this answer. Our current model of Catholic education requires direct instruction. Because of this, it is possible that we may have to extend the school day and/or school year in order to give our students and families the education and formation we have committed to them.
There are so many more questions to be answered and we will continue to provide information as soon as it becomes available.
March 13th, 2:00 pm Update from WWCS:
Walla Walla Catholic Schools Families,
Governor Inslee has just announced a statewide closure for all K-12 schools both public and private from Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, April 24. We will hold school on Monday, March 16. This announcement obviously brings many questions and we will be working diligently to answer them as quickly as possible. As you know, Walla Walla Catholic Schools teachers and staff love each of the children we serve and have their physical, social and emotional health at the forefront of our minds. Therefore, we will not hold classes at our physical locations and trust the health professional who have advised this, but also do our best to serve our children quality Catholic education from a distance. This education will undoubtedly look different based upon grade level and subject, but we had already begun that planning in the event that a closure was required. We have an all staff meeting immediately following school today and will provide more information to all WWCS families just as soon as possible. We will partner in this and come out of this unprecedented situation as a strong Walla Walla Catholic Schools family.
March 13th COVID-19 Update from WWCS:
In alignment with Walla Walla County Department of Community Health recommendations, Walla Walla Catholic Schools will be postponing both school-sponsored out-of-district student events and events hosted at schools where outside participants would be traveling into the community at least through the end of March.
What does this mean for WWCS students? Effective immediately and until further notice, WWCS student athletes may still participate in after school practices, but there will be no athletic competitions. We have no other extracurricular activities or field trips planned in March that require travel outside of our community. We also have no events being hosted on our campuses in March that require outside participants coming into our community.
We will provide frequent updates to all WWCS families as this situation continues to evolve in the coming days and weeks. Visit our WWCS COVID-19 webpage to see all communications on this topic. Thank you for partnering with us as we work to keep our community healthy.
March 12, 2020
Walla Walla Catholic Schools Families and Friends,
Recognizing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is on the forefront of our minds due to with recent events and serious concerns across our nation and across the globe, we take very seriously, our responsibility to be as informed as possible, and as prepared as possible, as this circumstance evolves. Of our many commitments and priorities, the health, safety and well-being of our students and staff are paramount.
Over the past number of weeks, we have been working closely with experts and educational partners to learn as much as is known, and to be prepared as possible for the impacts and implications that COVID-19 may have for our schools. Expert information continues to be provided by the public health and medical professionals associated with the Center for Disease Control, the Department of Health, and the local Regional Health District(s) that has jurisdiction in our schools. We are also in continual communication with the Diocese and our local educational service district.
As the science of this virus comes into sharper focus, and as its impacts continue to be felt in our state – albeit more significantly in other areas of the state at the current time – we are mindful of the potential for its impact to affect the normal operation of schools. In addition to our routine and now even increased attention to the cleaning of our facilities, we know that growing concerns may lead to recommended decisions that could alter our regular operations. We respect that the Governor holds emergency powers and authority in circumstances like this, and assuredly that public health agencies share in the authority relative to making decisions about a school’s continued normal operation.
Most recently, Governor Jay Inslee announced a ban on community gatherings of more than 250 individuals in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health responded publicly with the following message,
“COVID-19 | Ban on gatherings over 250 people in Seattle/King, Snohomish, and Pierce County
Gov. Inslee announced today that there mandatory ban on all gatherings over 250 people on the three counties listed above. These counties have wide community transmission of coronavirus and are large population centers.
Locally, in the greater Walla Walla Valley, we do not. Thus, at this time we are not recommending canceling community gatherings.
We do recommend organizers of gatherings reach out to us for recommendations.
And, we encourage all residents to take necessary precautions and practice personal and social responsibility:
1. Wash your hands often.
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands
3. Avoid contact with people who are sick
4. Stay home when you are sick
5. Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing/sneezing
We are in this together.”
We just received additional information from the Department of Community Health letting us know that they will have guidance specific to schools coming out later today or tomorrow.
What does this mean for Walla Walla Catholic Schools?
- At this time we will continue to operate our regularly scheduled classes, with increased diligence on hygiene.
- In the immediate future we have the Assumption “Invention Convention” this evening and DeSales Career Day on Friday which will still continue as scheduled.
- The Sadie Hawkins dance for DeSales students (which was scheduled for Saturday evening) will be postponed. We will let you know as soon as a new date is selected.
Next week holds the start of DeSales spring sports competition with a golf match scheduled for Tuesday and track meet scheduled for Friday. We will continue to evaluate the viability of these activities with the continually evolving situation and inform you of any changes.
This morning, the Walla Walla Public Schools announced that they have chosen to suspend all school-sponsored out-of-district student events and all student events hosted at their schools where outside participants would be traveling into the community. We support their efforts to ensure health and safety. At Walla Walla Catholic Schools, the only events in the immediate future that would fall into these categories would be our DeSales athletic competitions next week. As stated earlier, we will continue to evaluate along with the guidance of the Department of Community Health, and update families of any changes.
Additionally, Walla Walla Catholic Schools will follow the guidance of The Washington State Department of Health regarding any students or staff who are ill. Their full recommendation is,
“If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should stay home, away from others, until 72 hours after the fever is gone and symptoms get better.”
Please partner with us in making sure your children remain home for the recommended 72 hours if they are ill. As always, we will be happy to provide homework for them if you would like, and their absence will be excused.
For the most accurate, up to date information on COVID-19, please refer to the following reliable sources:
WWCS will post COVID-19 updates on our website HERE. We will continue to keep you informed as we move forward, and we appreciate and value your partnership with us as we travel this new road.
March 2, 2020
COVID-19 Update from Walla Walla Catholic Schools:
As you continue get information from national and local news outlets regarding Coronavirus, we at Walla Walla Catholic Schools want to assure you that we are actively monitoring the situation and assessing risk factors for our students and staff. We have a close relationship and open communication with our partners at the Walla Walla County Health Department who provide up to date information and recommendations for our region.
The latest update tells us that we may have our first case of Coronavirus locally, with an Oregon resident currently hospitalized in Walla Walla. Walla Walla public health is working closely with health experts in both Oregon and Washington, as well as hospital and school partners to take appropriate next steps. The Health Department encourages taking the following precautions (as you would to prevent the spread of any virus):
- Keep students home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and washing hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Plan to have extra supplies of important items on hand.
The most accurate, up to date information regarding Coronavirus can be found on the following webpages:
The Diocese of Spokane Office of Education is working with our Principals across the Diocese to proactively plan in the event that any school requires closure due to Coronavirus. We will continue to send you updates, and encourage you to rely on the resources shared here for accurate and timely information.