Archdiocese of Hartford
Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis
April 16, 2020
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Important School Updates from Sr. Mary Grace Walsh

I hope those of you currently on Spring Break are enjoying a peaceful week and that everyone feels the hope that this Easter Week and the unfolding blooms of spring are bringing to our troubled world. As you know, the governor recently announced that schools in CT will remain closed until May 20 and we will follow that decision. While we usually follow the decision of our local towns, when the governor makes a blanket statement for the state we follow that decision. I thank you for your leadership on working with your teachers/staff during this time and connecting with parents in new and unique ways. This takes a great deal of faith and creativity and we are most grateful for your ongoing efforts. Please read the following carefully:
 
The following events organized by the OEEC have been cancelled for this spring: 
 
The spring 2020 IOWA assessments are waived for this academic year.
 
Robotics Competition on April 25
 
Summa Scholar Awards on April 28:  We will be sending the medals and teacher certificates to the schools in June (we hope!)  Please look for information as it develops from Leslie Nelson.
 
Asbestos Awareness Training on May 7:  This will be rescheduled at a date to be determined so as to meet legal requirements. Laura McCaffrey is in contact with the Asbestos company during this time and will keep us informed.
 
Administrator End-of-the-Year Meeting on May 28:  Even if we are back in school at this time, it will be more important for administrators to stay with their local school community.
 
Catholic Scouting Awards June 14 (this is more a parish event but FYI):  This will be rescheduled for the fall or combined with a ceremony in 2021.
 
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
 
Permission has been granted from the national office to allow the final training weekend to occur virtually in April. 
 
Plans for summer training are still being made since the group size is generally small and would allow for social distancing.  Since this is an evolving situation, please know these plans may change.
 
High School Graduation
 
At this time, the Baccalaureate Liturgies remain on the respective calendars of Bishop Betancourt and Archbishop Blair. We hope to determine whether or not these will be held by Tuesday, May 19.  While schools may be in session, the question of whether or not we will have Archdiocesan High Schools have a liturgy is not yet determined.
 
At this time, High School Graduations remain on the calendar. The archdiocese will determine whether or not these will be held in the traditional manner by Tuesday, May 19.  While schools may be in session, the question of whether or not we will have Archdiocesan High Schools have the usual ceremonies is not yet determined.  Please note the following regarding High School graduations:
  1. The date on the diploma and final transcript for graduating students should remain the same as scheduled prior to Covid-19.  All requirements are to be met in the usual manner.
  2. No invitations should be issued for the Baccalaureate Liturgies or the Graduations until after decisions are announced to you on Tuesday, May 19.
  3. If students/parents ask about graduation, please inform them that we anticipate a decision by Tuesday, May 19.  This situation continues to evolve and it is not prudent to make decisions yet.
  4. Please do not print any programs for Baccalaureate Liturgy or Graduation at this time.
  5. Please note that for this year, if we do have Graduation Ceremonies, there will not be a representative from OEEC in attendance (except Valerie Mara at East Catholic High School.)
  6. If we have to scale back or cancel (hopefully not) Graduation Ceremonies in June, we will have a virtual meeting with High School administrators on May 18 to discuss virtual options and/or the possibility of scheduling some type of gathering later in the summer. We will need to reach consensus so that for all 4 high schools there is a clear template to follow (for a virtual option) or a window of possible dates (for rescheduling) and what that event might look like. The problem at this moment is the complication of gathering large groups together in one location. 
Elementary School Graduation
At this time, please leave Elementary School Graduations (8th grade, Kindergarten, etc.) on your respective calendars. The OEEC hopes to inform you by Tuesday, May 19 whether or not these events may happen “in person.”  Please note that the date on the diploma and final record should remain the same as scheduled prior to Covid-19 and all requirements are to be met in accordance with usual practice.
 
High School Teacher Convocation Scheduled for August
We have some concerns about whether or not we will be able to gather all the High School teachers together for the Spiritual Convocation on August 26 at St. Dominic Parish. PLEASE LEAVE THIS CONVOCATION ON YOUR CALENDAR.  If we cannot gather in one location, we have already started exploring other ways to deliver the same message at individual schools on that day.
 
School Calendars
Covid-19 has forced all of us to look at our various calendars with a new lens so that we provide for appropriate social distancing. We are back to the drawing board for our annual calendar and will certainly do our very best to get it out to you by the end April.  We realize this impacts your school calendars but families will certainly be understanding of the particular situation this year.

Due to the continuing communication obstacles with the official Archdiocese of Hartford email addresses, the OEEC has created temporary gmail accounts to use in the interim. Please feel free to contact the members of the OEEC at the email addresses listed below:
 

On Behalf of Anne T. Clubb, Director of Community Engagement:

Faith Catholic is offering some great resources for Catholic schools and parishes struggling to maintain both enrollment and parish giving. At this site FaithforCatholicSchools.com, you’ll find the following guidance:
  1. How to promote online giving
  2. How to encourage 2020-2021 enrollment
  3. Guide: School at Home for Catholic Families
  4. Guide: Easter at Home
  5. Several sample social media posts promoting enrollment and online giving
The Catholic Funding Guide is sharing information to assist Catholic organizations in navigating the financial challenges posed by the pandemic. The following resources are available:
  1. Key Fundraising Implications and Takeaways from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act: Key Fundraising Implications and Takeaways 
  2. Catholic Giving: A Diocesan Guide for Embracing Technology and Stewardship
  3. From The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) - Updates on the CARES Act Provisions and Catholic Schools (as of April 8, 2020)

Finalsite Free Resources

The Finalsite website company is hosting a free “School Marketing Day” on Thursday, April 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to help schools weather the challenges of marketing during the COVID-19 crisis. Visit their homepage to register for the event: https://www.finalsite.com.  Also, their Resource Page offers a great deal of helpful information on a variety of topics including communications, admissions and fundraising during these challenging times. Topics include virtual graduations, creating the digital the campus, and virtual fundraising and can be accessed here: https://www.finalsite.com/resources/coronavirus-communication-strategies-for-schools#Resources.

On Behalf of Kelly Henderschedt, Archdiocesan Director of Catechesis:

During this time of staying home, families are finding themselves with the unique opportunity to recapture family mealtime. What a wonderful opportunity this is for us to encourage families to develop a practice of saying grace together in creative ways and having conversations about Jesus while sharing a meal together. 
 
Here's a video with some practical ways for families to grow in faith while eating together.  This PDF includes some prayers that families can use to accompany their dinnertime grace.

On Behalf of Valerie Mara, Assistant to the Provost:

As a reminder, in this time of state and national pandemic crisis, we will follow the mandates set forth by the State of CT regarding remote learning. Please click on the following links to find Emergency Remote Learning information:

More important than ever, during this time of social distancing and limited face-to-face connections, we must be mindful of the social-emotional development and wellness of our students and ourselves.  It is vital that teachers take the time to step away from the curriculum from time to time to simply connect and check-in with students.  It is only when students feel safe that learning can place.  Click here to view a document that outlines activities created by MindBeat designed to adapted for any age level. Remember to take the time to take care of your students, take care of one another, and take care of yourselves!

If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact Valerie Mara at Valerie.Mara@aohct.org.

On Behalf of Maria Maynard, Assistant to the Provost

Catholic School Administrators:

Attend the NCEA Convention 2020 Virtually: A Valuable Opportunity for Principals

This year all of the presentations at NCEA are available as online webinars. Several would be very valuable for your professional development and may be accessed on NCEA.org.
  • Catholic School Strategic Planning: Catholic Identity
  • Leadership and Governance: New Models
  • Small Catholic Schools do not have to Close
These are three that I have found of particular interest for your professional growth. They are recorded and available anytime.
 
In this time when you may be planning for next school year or updating your strategic plan, the first webinar, Catholic School Strategic Planning: Catholic Identity may give you a renewed motivation to look at your school and really identify how you are different – how you are excellent! Dr. Lincoln Snyder explores 4 significant areas to investigate in developing a strong plan for enhancing the Catholic Identity of your school. In this effort you will experience the satisfying appreciation and communication of your school’s ‘charism’ which in essence will be the foundation for the impetus to practice those virtues which make your school special in the eyes of your community.
 
  • You will have the opportunity to delve into source documents that provide you with the energy to be the ‘animator’ in your school for promotion of the original motivation for the establishment of your school.
  • You will envision the appropriate branding for your school.
  • You will bring your school to a recognition and appreciation for the virtues that the founding order or Saint designation promote fidelity by the entire school community.
  • You will have the opportunity to plan for the enculturation and formation of your school community which then leads to transformation of all participants to view life through the lens of the Gospel, and to provide the opportunity for student to grow in a personal relationship with Jesus.
Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity for renewal and professional growth.

On Behalf of Laura McCaffrey, Assistant to the Provost:

Please remember to send in your HOPES Grant application by Friday, April 24, 2020.

The HOPES Grant application and memo regarding the application are located on the OEEC portal. The grant application along with required attachments are due on or before April 24, 2020. The application can be sent by email to Laura@McCaffrey@aohct.org. If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact her.

Distance Learning Page on the OEEC Website for Principals and Teachers:

New materials updated this week:
  • Google Classroom
  • Google Voice
  • Remote Learning for Coding
  • Computer Science featuring VEX VR and Code.org
  • Parent Resources during Remote Learning 
Elementary school principals and teachers, please review the OEEC website for resources on the Distance Learning Page. Also, if you want to share distance learning resources with other teachers, please email  Laura@McCaffrey@aohct.org.

 All Newsela Products Free to Teachers until June 30, 2020:

Newsela can provide learning resources to help support teachers in the Archdiocese of Hartford. Access to Newsela’s NEW entire product suite for all schools is free through the end of the June 2020. That includes Newsela ELA, Newsela Social Studies, Newsela Science, and Newsela Social-Emotional Learning Collection.
 
Teachers, to register and gain access to all these products click on the links below!
Here are some additional resources and tools to help support teachers and students: 

On Behalf of Jennifer McClintock, Coordinator of Catholic Scouting:

Please see this announcement  from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) in response to concerns about how our Scouts can complete their Catholic Religious Emblems during the current national health emergency.

If you are working on your emblems, please fill out this short survey by clicking here.  Be sure to review our webpage for updates. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer by email Jennifer.McClintock@aohct.org.


On Behalf of Michael Wellington, Archdiocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry:

Attention All Young Adult Leaders!

I invite you to attend a Go to Meeting on Thursday, April 23 at 10 a.m. to touch base, discuss best practices in these unique times and pray together. All adults, 18 and over, are welcome to join the meeting! All are welcome!
Young Adult Leaders Gathering
Thursday, April 23, 2020 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (571) 317-3122
Access Code: 954-508-925       

Youth in Hart - Weekly Gathering

We will be meeting every Thursday at noon via Go To Meeting as a chance to pray together, share ideas for distance Youth Ministry and talk about the road ahead. These meetings will continue to be held weekly on Thursdays at noon until June 30th. Each week we will have time to check-in, share best practices, talk about concerns and share in fellowship. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. and know that you and your ministry are in my prayers!
Youth in Hart - Weekly Gathering
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (312) 757-3121
Access Code: 179-036-861

On Behalf of the Faith Formation Directors of the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis:

We know that eventually, this time of social distancing will end, and more than ever, our parishes will need to be vibrant, welcoming, engaging communities of discipleship. 
 
Registration is STILL open for the Making Disciples 101 workshop taking place this August. Don’t miss this chance to learn from  Sherry Weddell (author of the popular book Forming Intentional Disciples) and her team! The only prerequisite is to have read Forming Intentional Disciples
 
Visit the Evangelization Page of our website for more information and to register.  

Attention All Parish Ministers Involved in RCIA! 

Did you miss the first Virtual Conversation on the RCIA? We are offering a second round in the evening for those who were unable to attend! 
 
Join us on Tuesday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. for a conversation in which we will: 
  • Discuss the Archdiocesan directives around Christian initiation 
  • Strategize how best to stay connected to our elect and candidates 
  • Imagine how to "sanctify our time" of social distancing
  • Pray and be in “virtual community” together! 
All members of RCIA ministry are invited: priests, deacons, RCIA coordinators, adult faith formation directors, parish catechetical leaders, sacramental coordinators, catechists, etc. To register for the conversation, click here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
 
Questions? Concerns? Email Nicole Perone, Archdiocesan Director of Adult Faith Formation, at nicole.perone@aohct.org

Please feel free to share this newsletter with your constitutes. All past newsletters can be found on our website catholicEdaohct.org.

Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis. ©2020 All Rights Reserved.