Notes from the Principal's Desk: Middle School victory, School Culture Survey, and more



As you can see from the COVID dashboard above, a student in 8th grade tested positive for COVID-19. The student became symptomatic this week and has not been in school since last week.

This year the Department of Catholic Schools is once again participating in the Johns Hopkins School Culture Survey 360. The information gathered from these surveys will help the School of the Cathedral and the Department of Catholic Schools plan for the future as we strive to meet the needs of our community. 

Below you will find two types of surveys. One survey is for parents and guardians of students who are learning 100% remotely. The other survey is for parents and guardians of students who are learning in-person, either five days a week or following our hybrid schedule.

We ask parents to please complete this survey by Monday, March 8th. It is crucial that all parents at the school participate in the survey in order to obtain a complete view of the school culture. None of the data will be linked with your identity in any way, and all responses will be kept completely confidential. 

Survey links were included in email. If you need them again, please email Beth Mayr at bmayr@cmoq.org.

It has been an exciting week as we brought back the 2nd & 3rd-grade students 5 days a week. We certainly could not have done this without the resilience & problem-solving of the teachers. I would like to give a special shout-out to the middle school students who helped move the desks to their new space last week. This transition is a testament to their communication & critical thinking skills! Once the middle school students return for 5 days a week on March 8th, we will focus on creativity and collaboration skills as we begin to make the North Wing your unique learning space. A reminder that the fourth and fifth grade students will return five days a week starting March 15th. 

Speaking of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity, there is a terrific article in Edweek: Top U.S. Companies: These Are the Skills Students Need in a Post-Pandemic World. In the article Michael Fischer, SYSCO vice president of global talent management, shares:

The environment in which organizations operate, and serve their customers and communities, is becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous—known in the business world as VUCA. In order to thrive in these conditions, companies like Sysco will need future associates with a set of skills and capabilities that are fit for this type of dynamic situation. Schools can help by developing students with these capability areas:
  • Agility and Flexibility: Ability to sense unpredictability and act quickly in response; ability to identify new ideas and approaches. Successful associates need to demonstrate curiosity—ask questions and have the courage to move quickly.
  • Growth Mindset and Resilience: Desire to continuously learn, and the ability to recover and bounce back from adversity and hardships; building strength and a greater ability to cope. Take ownership and accountability for your situation, develop strategies for reflection and learning.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Desire to work with others different from yourself—different backgrounds, genders, functions, geographies, cultures—to create better, more durable results; and the ability to work as a member of a team to achieve an agreed set of goals.
  • Learn to Learn: The world is changing fast, and successful companies are evolving even faster to serve their customers and remain competitive. Associates with the ability to identify and anticipate changes in the environment and who can acquire new knowledge and skills will be needed and effective in this environment.

I loved reading this because that is exactly what we endeavor to teach all of our students every day, and it leads me to believe that building these skills in our students is one of the unique factors setting them apart from their peers in other schools.

Although students are returning five days a week, there has been no change in maintaining student safety. This includes sanitizing procedures, keeping three feet of social distancing, mask-wearing, suspending after-school activities, and the need for families traveling out of state to inform the school of such travel.

We thank all the parents who are letting us know of any out-of-state travel. Please continue to do so. There is no word yet from the Department of Catholic Schools as to whether they will pivot to remote learning several days after Easter break. Once we are made aware of any decision, we will let the community know.  

Finally, we would like to offer congratulations to Sutton N. and Leo G. in 6th and 7th grade, respectively. Sutton was the middle school grand prize winner for the NFL Ravens Black History Month essay contest, and Leo was the runner-up! A Cathedral sweep for the middle school contest!

God Bless,

Michael Wright