School UPDATE: Friday, March 20

St. Mary's Families,  

Blessed John of Parma, pray for us.  

For the next several Fridays I will share some of our student artwork (as you can see attached) that they submitted for our Easter card competition.  Thank you Katherine!  

Distance Learning Day 5.  Forward we go.  

- We have been assessing our distance learning since we launched late last week, and the spring break time frame gives us an opportunity to continue to improve how we deliver education.

- Based on feedback from students, parents and teachers; we are going to standardize the entry point for our distance learning.  Google Classroom will be the standard student-teacher interface.  Grades will still be posted in MSP.

- There are sure to be a few bumps in the road ("bumps in the road" may have replaced "abundance of caution" as my new favorite expression...), but many of our students already have experience with Google Classroom either here at St. Mary's or in their K-8 school.

- We are excited about this decision, and we are confident it is an important step in our goal to continuously improve the delivery of an already superb St. Mary's education.  Thank you for your patience this last week as we gathered data and moved quickly, but deliberately toward standardization.  

COVID-19 coronavirus.  

- By now you are all probably pretty well-informed on the COVID-19 coronavirus.  I'll keep including the CDC link as that is an important resource for virus information.  

- One thing worth observing, as our state and country ramp up testing, the number of reported cases will likely go up.  That is logical as the more we test the more new cases we will find.  If you see case numbers increasing, don't be alarmed.  Keep practicing your social distancing, wash your hands, stay healthy, etc.    

What's Next?  

- SPRING BREAK.  Maybe for the first time in history spring break feels more like "We're still trapped in our house with our kids!"  Well, the weather forecast for the next couple of days looks pretty decent.  Get out of the house, go for a walk, go outside in the evening and look at the stars.  The better angels of our nature will choose to confront the challenges in front of us and see an OPPORTUNITY to make more deliberate time for God and more deliberate time for family.  

How you can help

- Have I mentioned RAFFLE TICKETS lately?  Now that the Gala is pivoting to VIRTUAL, I should remind you that the raffle ticket drawing WILL take place on April 18 as part of the Gala.

- Furthermore, we have some kids doing great work to get our tickets sold.  We entered the names of the 30 students who have sold all 25 of their raffle tickets (yes, ONLY 30 so far, we need to step up the effort!).  We drew the names of three of those students for the prize of delivered lunch and Dutch Bros when we're back in school (or a gift card if we stay on extended distance learning).

- And the WINNERS are:  Katherine Briner, Thatcher Whalen, and William Trechter. 

- ALL those who sell their 25 tickets will be entered into the weekly drawing for lunch and Dutch.  

How are your students doing?  

- ASSESS your kids over spring break.

- We know from the student survey this week that they are STRESSED.  Why?  Well, there are probably a lot of reasons, but the reality is they ARE stressed.  Engage with them.  LISTEN.  Let them vent.  Be there for them.  We're going through hard times, but we're going to keep going until we get through. 

  - You're going to have lots of opportunities to spend time together.  When is the last time you built a puzzle together (have you ever built a puzzle together)?  Make time to PRAY TOGETHER.  It doesn't have to be complicated; read a chapter from the Bible, say a Rosary, or simply pray an Our Father as a family.  

- For the seniors out there, I can relate to what they are going through.  I've spent almost five years in the permanent deacon formation program with 18 other men who are like brothers to me.  We were scheduled to be ordained May 23.  As of last night, that has been postponed indefinitely.  Not unexpected, but difficult to hear.

- Senior parents, we're working on making sure we are ready for those important senior events (retreat, prom, graduation) as soon as we get back in the school.  We know it's important.  

Lighter Moments...:

- Have your students watched Coach Malloy's video yet?  Have you seen it?  If you haven't, I'm NOT going to link to it here. It's in your email. Get with your kids and watch it TOGETHER, it's 2 minutes long.  Spoiler alert, he addresses distance learning dress code... :)  

Prayer.  Please join us and pray with our community:  

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.

Rob Rysavy
St. Mary's High School