Dear SKS Families,

My blog took a sabbatical in January but it’s back now!  Thanks for reading this important information.

                                                                                            COVID vs SKS

We have fared well as a school fighting COVID with grit and resilience. It still challenges us as we near the one year anniversary of that fateful day last March 12th. That date will be a separate chapter in my book, when we went from “see you tomorrow” on that Thursday afternoon to Governor Wolf mandating that all schools close.  Who knew back then it would be for the remainder of the school year?  COVID fatigue is the real deal and we must continue to battle it to stay in school.

To remain in school we need to follow safety procedures and the faculty and students have done an admirable job following guidelines. However, I cannot dictate to you and your family where you go and what you do outside of school.  Please keep in mind that the more you are at risk outside of school, the more it puts our school community at risk.

In the last two weeks I substituted in two math classes. I experienced firsthand the current state of teaching in the classroom while having students on virtually.  What I can say is this: I enjoyed being in the classroom a great deal, but the challenges of teaching a classroom of students and having students on virtually is a real balancing act. I’m sure you have experienced it while working from home and monitoring your children during virtual class. I ask you to use virtual school for what it was intended for:

  • For those students or families who have compromising health concerns.
  • Sudden virtual situations where a student has COVID, has been exposed and is quarantined, or has flulike symptoms and are staying home as a precaution.

Please note: Virtual school is NOT intended for families who choose to go on a family vacation during school time. As well, teachers are stretched enough, and this year I have waived the requirement for them to put packets together for students that are missing school time because of vacations. 

The next few weeks will be a critical stretch for us as a school. We are looking forward to spring when we can get outside more, as we did in the fall, however we are not there yet.

                                                                     SKS Annual Fund for 2020-21 

You might remember that last February 29th, we had the Leap for SKS which many of you attended.  I love a good party, but we have to forego our SKS Annual Fund Party this year!

Last week, I sent a short email with a letter announcing our SKS School Annual Fund appeal for 2020-2021.  The letter explained our needs and goals including a new roof for school, new HVAC for gym/parish center, and funding an endowment for school. The appeal asks current families, past families, and SKS alumni to please donate generously to the fund.  Imagine my surprise when the very same day, several families did exactly that – give generously. Thank you for helping us stay #SKSStrong for many years to come.  If you would like to donate to school feel free to pay by check or online at Support SKS.

 

                                                      Middle States – what’s that all about Bud?

After being recognized last November as a National Blue Ribbon School, we are in the process now of planning for our Middle States reaccreditation.  This is the focus of our professional development from last spring until spring of 2022 when we will present to a visiting Middle States team. What is the Middle States reaccreditation? What is the process? What does it mean for SKS?

This is the third Middle States review we will undergo as a school in my time here at SKS.  It is a tedious process led by the faculty and staff as we look evaluate ourselves to see how we can grow as a school. We have been using planned Catch up Days for Teachers once a month to get some of this work done.

As a school we recognize the importance of self-reflection and self-evaluation as a way to advance our school mission.  As our current school mission states, “We are dedicated to academic excellence that seeks to develop the whole child integrating Catholic values of service and respect …..” Below from the Middle States website is a very good synopsis of what the review is and what it means:

  •  “Accreditation is the gold standard for measuring and advancing school improvement,” said Lisa Marie McCauley, Ed.D., president of MSA-CESS. “Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools around the globe to adjust and adapt to a new environment, they continue to demonstrate their commitment to collaboration, growth and ensuring their students have access to a quality education.”Middle States accredits preK-12 public, private, parochial, and charter schools. In addition, MSA-CESS accredits non-degree granting career and technical post-secondary institutions and learning services providers.

    Middle States accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The 12 Middle States Standards for Accreditation are: mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities, and information resources.

    The accreditation process begins with a self-study that is conducted by the school or school system and requires input from school leaders, teachers, parents and students. Following the self-study, a team of volunteer educators from Middle States member schools conducts a peer review visit.

    Traditionally Middle States peer review visits are conducted onsite. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Middle States is conducting all visits virtually for the 2020-2021 school year. Where possible, the chairperson of the peer review team may go onsite for one day. The peer review team makes its recommendation for accreditation or reaccreditation to the Middle States Association.

 

A great coach once said, “You are either moving forward or going backwards. There is no status quo.” The SKS faculty and staff are committed to the mission of our school. We are committed to spiritual growth and academic excellence, and developing the whole child. We realize the importance of our school growing and challenging ourselves as professionals and in ways that will directly impact our students. In our Middles States planning there will be an action plan to grow as a school.

 

Stay well safe, and thank you always in all ways for your support.

 

Take care,

Bud