Message from Principal Harper 3-17-2020

Dear Bishop McDevitt Students and Families,


I hope these past two days have not been too overwhelming for us all. I know this trial has produced many mixed emotions. I ask that we continue to persevere through this time and continue patience as we all walk this journey together. I am not sure how many of our parents have been privileged to a message shared by our very own Mr. James Mercurio but I believe his words are very inspirational and reflective of the challenge we are facing. Thank you Mr. Mercurio, I’ve quoted and given you credit for your statement!!


"We are going to have to adapt to a new normal for a while and during this difficult time in American history I ask that my students be diligent and responsible about independently handling their daily classwork. At this moment, you are living in history, an event that will be documented in every history text to come. Rise to the occasion, and be the best American citizen you can be, to collectively help this nation overcome this difficult and confusing time, learn from it, and move forward stronger than ever. Thank you for your cooperation through this process." --James Mercurio 3/2020


As I reflect on these words of encouragement and inspiration, I fully understand the challenges our students, parents, and staff will be facing as we all navigate this learning experience. I want to take a moment to communicate to students and parents that teachers and administration have been trying our best to monitor the climate of student engagement. I would like to assure parents and students we are maintaining a growth mindset in our approach to providing learning experiences to the differentiated learning styles of our students. We have been communicating to ensure we are keeping in mind the different engagement levels of our students. We are understanding that Bishop McDevitt is made up of many different students, some very independent, some requiring a small measure of support, and others who may struggle to meet the demands of an online learning environment. With that in mind, teachers will remain flexible in expectations for student production during this time. We want students to work to their potential, but we do not want them reaching a point of anxiety or exhaustion.


What we ask of students and parents is to remain in contact with teachers. They are available each day. They will work to respond to questions as soon as they can. Please respect that we all are walking a journey of the unknown and teachers, along with students, need time to acclimate to an online learning approach. Unfortunately, our capacity will not allow us to make individual phone calls in every occasion, as a one to one session may be overwhelmingly isolating a teacher from the assistance they need to provide to their entire caseload. However, if they have the time they will reach out to individual students. If they do not please do not be discouraged. Please continue to reach out for whatever assistance they can provide via email, group chats, or other mediums they are working to develop. The key in this process is communication. Teachers will communicate with students and parents to encourage students to engage.


Teachers know your students and want them to work to their potential, but again they do not want to overwhelm students. We want to engage them and keep the learning process moving forward. We will continue to assess our presentation of learning material and adjust as necessary so students can work at their pace and not be left behind. We know this will need constant revisiting as we progress. As we have expressed to students that this should not be viewed as a vacation period, we have also expressed the same to our staff. Teachers are working diligently to do what is best for our students. If that means moving faster in some classes, we will accommodate, if it means moving at a slower pace for some students, we will accommodate. But we do desire for students to be engaged to their potential.


In summary, students and families, know that Bishop McDevitt will be flexible in our approach to overcome this challenge and we will continue to assess and reassess as we move forward. Let us all keep our faith in Christ and trust in him through this process. I leave us all this thought from James 1: 2-4:


2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


Thank you and God Bless.


Vincent Harper 92’


Principal

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1 Crusader Way
Harrisburg, PA 17111


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