We wanted to reach out to you as we begin to navigate a “new normal” for our teaching and learning at the end of this week. First, we want to extend our prayers and support to you and your families as we get ready to begin our classes. Your family and their health and well-being has been and will remain our primary concern.
This learning platform will be new to all of us, and so we want to emphasize that we anticipate several bumps in the road as we launch it on Thursday. Rest assured that we will work with you and support you as we get our classes up and running. Please refer to the rota of classes via this link.
While we are unsure about many things, one thing is certain: over the next several weeks learning will look quite different than what we are accustomed to seeing in our Priory hallways. So here are our some of our expectations for our faculty and your sons we move forward:
Health and well-being comes first.
Mrs. Materniak and Mr. Mitchom are available to provide you with one-on-one support. Additionally they have provided some insights about how we might manage our expectations and our emotional health as we make our way through the next several weeks. Here is a link to a guide from our counseling department. Mrs. Materniak and Mr Mitchom will also send out communication regarding opportunities for your sons to participate in group sessions to troubleshoot challenges.
There are going to be some hurdles, but we will support you as you navigate them.
Your son’s teachers will reach out to you no later than Wednesday afternoon via MyPriory with their plans for the first couple of days of instruction. As we move forward, you can expect them to post their plans at the beginning of each week, again in MyPriory. If your son’s teachers will be using Zoom, or synchronous learning, on the first day of class, he should plan to power up their laptops and connect to the meeting about five minutes ahead of time. That will allow him, and us, to help troubleshoot any snags that they might encounter.
Time to Set Up
In the meantime, your son can begin to get ready for his online learning experience by setting up a dedicated learning space for his lessons. It should be a quiet space where he will be able to concentrate on his work, much as he would in a classroom. It should not be on a bed or in a bedroom, but rather should be at the kitchen table or some other open and public space. Dress is casual, much as he would come to school on a “Dress Down Day". It would probably be helpful if he had earphones or earbuds to assist him with his concentration. In general, try to minimize any potential distractions.
If you have technical issues, please reach out to our IT Department via email@example.com. In addition, many of our faculty will be using the Zoom platform to schedule class meetings. Zoom may or may not be installed on your laptop already. You do not need to have it installed in order to attend a class meeting through Zoom. You can get to your class meetings by clicking on the link given to you by your teacher. If you don’t already have Zoom, the program will download and automatically install for you. Mr. Santa Cruz will be sending out Zoom meeting invites for Tuesday, March 24. You can log into the Zoom meeting and look around the interface and test your computer’s audio and video.
The Academic Council has decided to cancel all final exams. At this point the College Board plans to administer the AP Exams; however, there will be no multiple choice section, only the free-response questions. Your son’s instructors and the Office of College Counseling will provide additional information very soon.
Returning to Campus
We have not yet determined how our schedule will appear when, or if, we return to school in late April, but we have set the earliest possible date of return at April 27. This new date is consistent with the St. Louis City and St. Louis County stay-at-home ordinances, which went into effect today. There are many unanswered questions that we will attempt to address as we move forward over the next several weeks.
Check your email for a challenge from Coach Brotherton, our Interim Athletic Director, within the next day or so. He will propose a proactive approach to maintaining your fitness throughout the Spring Term.
Virtual Community Efforts
Also, by the end of the week, you will have heard from your Advisor. He or she will be an ongoing resource as we navigate the challenges before us. In addition, Father Cuthbert wanted us to share that we are working on streaming mass each week and providing weekly spiritual talks on Wednesdays. Fr Cuthbert will be following up separately about details in the near future.
We know that this correspondence contains a great many details, not so as to overwhelm you, but rather to assist you in navigating these uncertain times. Please feel free to reach out to us to express worries or concerns about the upcoming weeks. And, finally, please know that you and your families are in our prayers.
In closing, we would like to offer you a calming Lenten reflection that features the Benedictine Sisters of Mary Queen of the Apostles and photographs from the Holy Land.
Mrs. Judy Mohan
Director of the Junior School
Mr. Mike Nickolai '03
Director of the High School