Now that the state has extended the order to close schools, Catholic school students around the Diocese are signing on and reporting for enhanced learning online.
The state Education Department has called on schools, if they are able, to provide Planned Instruction, online teaching similar to what occurs in a classroom.
All students in the Diocese’s schools, in grades K through 12, will have formal instruction via laptops, iPads, smartphones, or through prepared paper packets of lessons if they do not have access to technology.
There is at least one pre-Kindergarten class learning online, and students in the three Special Learning Centers also are participating in remote learning.
At Notre Dame High School in Bethlehem, Principal Andrew D’Angelo says all classes are being delivered online. Students in each class will sign on as a group, receive 15 to 25 minutes of formal instruction from their teachers, and spend the rest of the class period doing the assigned work or asking questions. The homework is due via email before the next class.
Teachers will be available during school days to students and parents via email. Test answers will be submitted online.
“We’re confident that we can continue to teach our students remotely for as long as necessary,” D’Angelo said. He credited teachers, students and parents for their flexibility and cooperation under unusual circumstances.
At St. John Vianney Regional School in Allentown, all students in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade have iPads, and will use them to participate in group classes or receive recorded lessons, not only from teachers in core subjects, but also in music, foreign language, and even physical education.
“We’re lucky to have the technology and hardware we need,” said Dr. Emily Kleintop, principal. “The experience we gain doing this, and the enhancements we are making to our online teaching methods and platforms, will benefit our students long after the Coronavirus has passed.”
“Our preparedness for flexible and virtual learning demonstrates the value of Catholic education to our students, their parents, and our communities,” said Dr. Brooke Tesché, Chancellor of Catholic Education.
“This truly is differentiated instruction in a collaborative model to meet the needs of all our students,” she said. “We’re pleased to be able to provide robust, quality education in this time of crisis, while continuing to share our faith.”