Dear Bishop McDevitt students and families,
First, I apologize in advance for the length of this communication, however this past week’s developments leave much to be communicated. As many of you are aware, the Governor has announced all schools to be closed indefinitely. At this time we know the closure will be effective until at least April 30th, 2020. What we do not know is how long the indefinite closure will continue beyond the April 30th timeframe. While we still remain hopeful that there is a chance of returning to our school buildings for any amount of time in the 2019-20 school year, we must prepare ourselves for the possibility this will not happen due to the COVID-19 containment efforts continuing to evolve with each passing day. I know this can be disheartening for all of us. Please know we do recognize the emotional effect this is having on our students and our families, especially our Seniors. While we have worked to continue educating our students over the past 3 weeks since the first day of the school closures, our staff must now begin preparing work on a long term continuity of education plan. We realize our students, families, and staff are making major adjustments to this new learning environment. We understand none of us have chosen an online school and this is a difficult endeavor for us all to manage and make the most of.
As such, our teachers will be prioritizing the 4th quarter curriculum to ensure our students benefit from a rigorous curriculum which will prepare them for their next year’s course work. Staff has been informed that a rigorous curriculum translates into quality not quantity of work. We also understand there will be some remediation required for the 2020-21 school year and we will address that in time.
This week we will have a modified instructional week as we move into the Easter Break. Monday teachers may present new work for Monday only. Tuesday and Wednesday will be time for students to review and work on previously assigned work. Teachers will be unavailable for most of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday as we will utilize these days to prioritize our curriculum and prepare online lessons for a longer term continuity of education plan. This plan will also include a more organized schedule of virtual lesson presentations. Easter Break will continue to be held as scheduled. No school for students and staff from April 9th thru the 13th. Students and staff will return to the continuity of education plan on Tuesday, April 14th.
I want to thank all who have completed the survey sent on Wednesday. Your input is truly appreciated and taken into consideration. I have reviewed the survey results. While I would like to build our continuity of education plan to incorporate all the views and input received, there are many variables and circumstances that would make an individualized approach impossible. There are aspects of the feedback from students and families which cover the spectrum of approaches we could implement. We have utilized the input to develop an approach moving forward to meet many of the needs that have been expressed. We will continue to develop an overarching approach to meet as many of the students’ needs as we can with one singular model and work with students who maintain difficulties adapting to the online work.
Many of our students and families will have questions on how this will affect students’ grades and credits. We believe our management of grades moving forward will afford students the opportunity to better their 4th marking period grade. We understand there are many variables which must be considered on how best to minimize the effect this unprecedented event has on our students. While we cannot compensate for all variables, we believe we can do our best to be equitable to ALL of our students when assessing how grades will be administered for the 4th marking period. We want all students to engage in the work and the continuity of education plan. We need students to engage to the best of their ability. As long as students are engaging and completing assignments to the best of their ability in their classes, they will not receive a grade lower than the average of the first three marking periods. We have considered numerous options to include Pass/Fail marks, however inquiry into pass/fail grades with other agencies has lead us to believe the effect this could have on NCAA eligible students, scholarships, and GPA, could be harmful for student outcomes. Therefore, we feel strongly that students should engage in the curriculum offered to maintain good academic standing and maximize their course grade outcomes.
No student will receive a grade lower than a 60% for the 4th marking. This means if you are engaging and completing the work assigned in courses, your 4th marking period grade can only be the same or better than the average of the first 3 marking periods. We will maintain good faith that students would have performed either better or commensurate with their previous performance prior to the school closures, not lower. While we have stated that not completing work will not result in a grade below 60%, this can have a negative impact on your final year average. So please engage and complete the work, it can only benefit you. If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I encourage you as students to reach out to your teachers to inform them of this. As a staff, we have been reminded of the circumstances that are surrounding our community, schools, and country as we work through this crisis. We will continue to remain flexible in our approach.
Parents and students, please be sure to check the parent portal and student’s portal for information on assignments. While teachers are checking emails, they will not be able to individually send assignments out to all students, through email. The volume of email correspondence will be unmanageable. If you need your parent portal account information please contact Mrs. Pagliaro for assistance.
Lastly, I wanted to give an update on two future events: Prom and Graduation. As of right now Prom must be postponed. We currently are maintaining it as a postponement and not a cancellation. We are hopeful this is an event that may be held in some capacity should social distancing advisement requirements be removed. We are not sure what venue we will be able to secure but we will remain hopeful to at least be able to have Prom for our seniors. Graduation at this time will continue to be planned as an in person event and remain scheduled for May 28th, 2020. We are hopeful that the current crisis will have subsided at least in part to conduct an in person graduation. While we remain hopeful, we will begin discussions in the next few weeks on alternative means to hold a graduation for our seniors should the Covid-19 crisis continue to effect gatherings into May. I want our seniors to know that we are not giving up on your senior year. I will continue to remain hopeful this crisis does not continue to have an impact on milestones you have worked so hard for. We will also continue to work on ideas and events we can do virtually while closed and practicing social distancing that acknowledge our seniors and the effect this has on them. We will have hope and faith in Christ for a return to normalcy soon. Thank you and God Bless.
Vincent Harper ‘92
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.