Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! This introductory narrative and accompanying resource documents will provide you and your student with all of the information necessary to be successful in this current distance learning environment.
We originally planned, and are still committed to, live in-person learning. We were ready to go live this August for all orientations and learning; however, as soon as Santa Cruz County went on the watch list the Governor had the authority to shut all public and private schools down to in-person learning.
Therefore, we will start the year in our very successful distance learning schedule from last quarter. It is not ideal, but it is what we must do at this time to remain safe. I am still part of the county’s Reopening Schools committees, and I am now OSHA certified for reopening schools, so once Santa Cruz County is off the watch list we will be ready to pivot and open with hybrid model that will include in-person and distance learning. Unlike our public school friends around us, we can seamlessly transition from distance to live to hybrid right away to best meet our students’ needs.
On June 5 the Wall Street Journal said, “Public/charter school districts closed campuses in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic and, with practically no time at all for planning or training, launched a grand experiment to educate more than 50 million students from kindergarten through 12th grade using technology: it didn’t work.”
What St. Francis High School learned in the spring of 2020 is that live, distance, and hybrid learning can work. We saw a 98.5% engagement and participation rate during distance learning, up slightly from our in person learning. We added virtual office hours, peer tutoring, social/emotional support through our Oratory meetings, academic counseling, leadership and faith formation opportunities, and performing arts. All of this happened because of the partnership between the students, parents, teachers, coaches, and administrators. It is a partnership based on trust and faith.
Our plan will be for face-to-face learning this school year with the adaptability to move to hybrid learning and back at any time, but for the foreseeable future, we will make the best of the distance learning environment. Thank you for your patience and support as we navigate these new, uncharted waters. We are stronger together and together matters!