Who would have thought that preparation for using snow days to educate grade school kids would have such an impact on schools in a year where there really wasn’t that much snow across Pennsylvania? Yet preparation for bad weather actually left many PA Catholic schools in a good position to keep educating once Governor Wolf shut all schools down in March.
“We’ve actually done great,” said Jennifer Mallett, the Head of School of St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Boalsburg. “While it’s not optimal to not be in school in our physical building with all our kids, we’re finding all sorts of new and unique ways to stay connected with them. We have Zoom meetings with them frequently. Teachers are having Zoom meetings with them. We use Google Classroom. We’re meeting with the parents. We haven’t missed a beat!”
Mallett says they’ve used this type of on-line learning for snow days, so they’ve just had to make “a few little tweaks.”
“We changed the schedule just a little bit. Monday through Thursday they’re doing their core classes, which is about five classes and then Friday is an all-electives day…the hours are 11-7. The kids are missing school and missing each other but we’re also having fun and being creative.”
There was still a lot of work and planning to be done to keep things running smoothly. That continues.
“We as a faculty have really collaborated. We meet every Tuesday and talk about tips and tricks about what we’ve learned and what’s working well. The faculty is amazing, the way we’ve all jumped to make sure the kids are connected. The kids in this community–I’ve only been here two years–I have to be honest, one of the reasons I chose to come here was because of the student body. They’ve been amazing and parents have been supportive.”