Notes from the Principal's Desk: 4th and 5th grade schedules, Staff Update, winning essays, and more

The warming weather has certainly been a blessing this week. It is great to have the middle school students back five days a week. Everyone seems to be settling in and the use of the breakout rooms has already begun. In the coming weeks, we will begin to solicit feedback from the students on how to design these unique learning spaces.

4th & 5th-grade return next week & Survey
Next week students in 4th and 5th grade will return 5 days a week. We are fully staffed for the remote classrooms and are looking forward to a successful rollout for these grades. 

Please remember that the hybrid schedule will be adjusted to an alternate A/B schedule to increase interaction with the classroom teacher. You can see what this looks like in the table below.

In an effort to make this transition as smooth as possible we are asking parents and guardians of 4th and 5th-grade students to please complete this 4th & 5th Grade Hybrid Return Decision Survey if your child will continue learning 100% remotely or you intend to only send your child into school on days when they are scheduled to be in the classroom with the homeroom teacher. The cohort assignments will remain the same as they are now.

Easter Break Update
During yesterday’s Principal meeting with the Department of Catholic Schools, we were informed that there is no plan to pivot to remote learning for the three days after Easter break. This means that families should plan to return to in-person instruction on April 12th.

I want to thank all of the families who have reached out to inform the school of planned travel out-of-state over the holiday. We have gotten numerous emails, and to help us make planning and accountability easier, I ask that if you are planning to travel out of state in the near future or over the Easter holiday break to please let us know by completing this Out of State Travel survey.

COVID Testing
We are glad to announce that the school will soon be able to offer COVID testing for faculty, staff, and students who become symptomatic while they are in school. Unfortunately, we will not be able to test students who return from out-of-state travel. As a result, we will continue to ask families who travel outside of PA, VA, DE, WV, and Washington, DC to quarantine their child for 5 days before getting a negative PCR test and returning to school for in-person instruction. 

BOOST Scholarship Applications
The 2021-2022 BOOST Program Application is now open. BOOST Program staff will communicate this information to current scholarship recipients as well as last year's applicants via email. You can also find the application link here.

Staff Update
The pandemic has obviously brought many challenges to the school. One such challenge we faced at the beginning of the year was finding an instructional assistant in Mrs. Pendergast’s classroom. Thankfully, we were blessed to be able to hire Naia Cugle as the instructional assistant at the beginning of the school year. You might not know, but Ms. Cugle’s background and degree are in graphic design (in fact, she was the person responsible for designing the school-branded COVID protocol posters throughout the school!). While Ms. Cugle has been working as an instructional assistant, she has also been working to find a career that matches her educational background. Recently, she was able to find a great match. Ms. Cugle will be leaving us at the end of next week and we thank her for her service and dedication to the students, faculty, and staff.

We will be posting an opening for an instructional assistant, and in the interim, Mr. Garrett Bush will be working with Ms. Shipman and Mrs. Pendergast after Ms. Cugle departs next week.

Congratulations, Sutton and Leo!
Finally, we would like to recognize and celebrate Sutton N. and Leo G. for winning the Ravens Black History Month Essay Contest. Sutton and Leo were interviewed by Lauren Cook for WMAR channel 2. Their story will be included on Thursday, March 18 during the 6:00 a.m. newscast in the "Good to Know" segment! It will also be uploaded to and to the station's social media accounts. Yesterday, the Middle School celebrated Leo and Sutton with snacks and cupcakes during lunch and recess. Below we share their award-winning essays.

Thank you and God Bless,
Dr. Michael Wright