April 13, 2020
Once again, Happy Easter! Hopefully, the video greeting from our faculty this past weekend was a welcomed surprise and added a little joy to your family’s Easter celebration. If you missed it, you can find the video posted on the school website. Now that Easter is behind us and with the presumption of an official announcement that schools will remained closed for the balance of the 2019-2020 school year, the time has come to share the plan for the final stretch of the school year - if we do not return.
At-home learning will continue through the end of the school year. Though it is not the same as in-person instruction, the at-home learning program is working. The administration has taken the results of the recent parent and student surveys to tweak the original at-home learning program to best meet the needs of the school community. The teachers were properly trained in March and have adapted as needed over the past month to refine the delivery of instruction. Students have been participating with authentic effort in their lessons and are becoming more familiar with this new way to learn. The fair, student-friendly fourth quarter grading policy has been disclosed and is in place. Parents have been outstanding partners to the school (as usual) by providing support to students, enhancing instruction in their own creative ways, and establishing routines that work best for their respective families. Most importantly, the administration is working with faculty to ensure that the fourth quarter curriculum is covered in all grade levels. Though you may read that students from some local school systems are not getting what they need to be prepared for the start of the upcoming school year, that should not be a concern for CBS students. Our seventh graders will be well-prepared to transition to their respective high schools. Similarly, our rising pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students will be prepared to manage the rigor of the next grade level awaiting them in August. Administrators and faculty already expect to provide extra attention and support to students as they transition to the new grade level at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, the summer academic camps scheduled annually in late July may be expanded.
The following calendar changes are set for April and May if we do not return this school year.
Golf Tournament Holiday Cancelled: Since the golf tournament originally scheduled for this Friday, April 17 is cancelled, so is the school holiday. Therefore, there will be instruction via the at-home learning program this Friday, April 17.
How Ya Doin’ Hot Dogs!: Because we all miss one another, the Men’s Club has planned a special event for next week where we can see each other from a safe distance. Much like the set-up for food trucks serving meals out of school yards, the Men’s Club will be serving a complimentary hot dog lunch to CBS families on the City Park campus on Tuesday, April 21 and to CBS families on the Canal Street campus on Thursday, April 23. Several teachers from the respective campuses will be present (at least 10 feet apart from one another) near the serving line along the perimeter of the campus to see, wave, and shout hello to their students. More details on this event will be shared next Monday in my weekly email. Meanwhile, mark your calendar and know that ALL PARAMETERS FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING WILL BE IN PLACE FOR THIS SPECIAL EVENT.
Speaking of getting together and now that many of our teachers are hosting live video conferences for instruction and/or office hours, the students are yearning to see more of one another. Parents are encouraged to host friend gatherings on a favorite live video conferencing platform to maintain those special relationships.
End of Year Events: Please note the plan for each grade level.
- All Grade Levels: The last day of new instruction for the at-home learning program will be Friday, May 15. The week of May 18-22 will be a time for the last assessment of the school year. More detailed information about the week of May 18-22 is forthcoming.
- Pre-Kindergarten: Students will receive their final report card and promotion certificate. The means by which these documents will be distributed to students will depend on the social distancing restrictions in place in late May. Likely, there will be no closing ceremony. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for each of the individual classes to gather on their own in late May or early June for small celebrations. Minimally, the documents will be mailed to students.
- Kindergarten: Students will receive their final report card, kindergarten diploma, and graduation cap and gown. The means by which the cap, gown and documents will be distributed to students will depend on the social distancing restrictions in place in late May. Because Kindergarten graduation draws a large crowd, it will not be possible to conduct the formal ceremony this school year. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for each of the individual classes to gather on their own in late May or early June for small celebrations. Minimally, the cap, gown and documents will be mailed to students.
- Grades 1 through 6: Students will receive their final report card and earned award certificates in the mail. The award ceremonies and Fourth Grade Step Up ceremony have been cancelled. At the end of the school year, the names of the Academic Award winners (Top 3 in each homeroom in grades 1-6), Sr. Ruth and Bro. Amedy Award winners (in grades 1-4), and the Veritas Award winner (in grade 4 only) will be released. These students will receive their awards at a school Mass at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for each of the individual classes to gather on their own in late May or early June for small celebrations.
- Second Grade: First Communion has been re-scheduled for Saturday, August 29 at 10:00 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church. Accordingly, our third graders will participate in the day of retreat on Friday, August 28 and the Breaking Bread ceremony (thank-you luncheon) the following Wednesday, September 2. Mrs. Carrigee, Mrs. Giacone and the third grade teachers are committed to making sure that the celebration of First Communion for the third graders is as special as it can be. Additional details will be shared at the start of the new school year. Students who are not returning to CBS for third grade are welcome to return to us for participation in the August 29 celebration. Please make arrangements directly with Mrs. Carrigee or Mrs. Giacone. If for some reason a family cannot wait until August 29 for the First Communion Mass, please reach out to Fr. John Dominic, pastor at St. Anthony of Padua, or the pastor of your home parish to discuss other possibilities.
- Seventh Grade: Graduation draws hundreds of people. We do not believe that social distancing restrictions will permit such a large gathering for quite some time, even into early June. Furthermore, we know it will be difficult for the greatest number of seventh graders to assemble during the months of June and July. Therefore, seventh grade graduation has been re-scheduled for Saturday, August 8. The girls’ ceremony will be at 9:00 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church. The boys’ ceremony will be at 1:00 pm at the City Park Campus Cultural Center. Additional correspondence with the families of seventh graders will be forthcoming over the summer. Meanwhile, please mark your calendar.
Note: The Perfect Attendance Award will not be given for the 2019-2020 school year because of the abbreviated attendance year. Going forward, the Perfect Attendance Award will be permanently removed from the Christian Brothers School award list. At times, the Perfect Attendance Award motivates students to be in school (or parents to send students to school) when they are feeling sick. This health crisis has taught us profoundly, and in a way like never before, the value of staying home when we are sick. When sick students and teachers stay home, the school community benefits.
Summer Camp: As of now, we are still planning to offer our summer camp programs. This summer, perhaps more than ever, we know that we need to offer summer camp for a host of reasons. We continue to accept registrations at this time. If it becomes impossible to offer summer camp, we will refund registration and tuition.
Sensitive to the difficulties of these unusual times, CBS is itself a business. Accordingly, it is necessary to address issues related to tuition. Tuition for the 2020-2021 school year is due Friday, May 1, 2020. By that date, tuition is to be paid in full or financed. For those who are in a position to pay in full, doing so will be very much appreciated. I am keenly aware that many families who have paid in full in the past may not be in a position to do so this year. As an option, please consider signing up for a bank loan for the 2020-2021 school year. A tuition account is in good standing if tuition is paid in full or financed. If nothing else, signing up for a loan (which is a simple process) buys you a little extra time since the first payment is not due until July. With no penalty for paying off the tuition loan in advance (other than a loan cancellation fee of $25), you can delay your in-full tuition payment for at least two months. Of course, you could extend even further but would incur interest on payments beyond July. A third option is to pay tuition by credit card. For financing or credit card options, please contact First Bank and Trust, the school’s tuition lender, directly. Check out the school website for a link to the bank.
If none of the payment options will work for you, please reach out to me for further conversation. CBS will do what it can to help families in need, but I need for you to reach out to me if you find yourself in need of financial help. Families who have applied for financial aid for the 2020-2021 school year will be notified of any applicable tuition reductions very soon. Letters will be mailed on Friday, April 17 to all families who already applied for financial aid. Applicants should receive the letters early next week leaving them enough time to meet the May 1 deadline. Any family having questions or concerns about tuition obligations or financial aid can reach out to the school office on Wednesdays between 9 and 11 when the bookkeepers are in the office. Or, you can email me any time.
If you are looking for a deal on tuition, sometimes the WLAE tuition auction is the way to find one. Online bidding begins tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14 at 6:00 pm at wlae.com. If you have the high bid and it happens to be less than the actual cost of tuition, then you score a deal! For details, auction rules, and to bid, visit wlae.com. You can also get more information or ask questions by contacting Helen at (504) 830-3717 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
Our religious are deliberate about ringing church bells every day at 6:00 pm in prayer for protection, for healthcare professionals, and for all who serve us in this time of crisis. Thanks to Mrs. Crystal Morgan, I share the prayer below inviting you to add it your daily prayers (possibly reciting it at 6:00 pm) with your family. From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Divine Worship for an end to the pandemic:
Let us pray, dearly beloved, for a swift end
to the coronavirus pandemic that afflicts our world,
that our God and Father will heal the sick,
strengthen those who care for them,
and help us all to persevere in faith.
Almighty and merciful God,
source of all life, health and healing,
look with compassion on our world, brought low by disease;
protect us in the midst of the grave challenges that assail us
and in your fatherly providence
grant recovery to the stricken,
strength to those who care for them,
and success to those working to eradicate this scourge.
Through Christ our Lord.
Live Jesus In Our Hearts,