Classrooms at St. Matthews Catholic School in Topeka are sanitized and safely-distanced awaiting the return of students.
As August approaches, school districts and principals are facing the unprecedented challenge of developing safe and effective plans for bringing students back to school in the fall. We sat down with the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Dr. Vince Cascone, to talk about the three-pronged plan our Archdiocese has created for Catholic schools, the team that's created it, and the benefits that come with the independence of Catholic schools.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing more information on the year ahead from our conversation with Dr. Cascone. For the latest videos and news on Catholic schools in our Archdiocese delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here.
Check out the video, or read more below!
"Initially, we were working on online virtual learning and what that would look like," said Cascone, "and making sure we supported teachers and principals. As we moved through that process we were able to pivot and start to say, 'Okay, what is it going to look like when we reopen our schools in the fall?'"
At that point, Dr. Cascone worked to convene a task force including school leaders, principals, presidents, and teachers. The group also included school counselors, school nurses, expert physicians and outside consultants.
"We looked at what would be most helpful and most effective. We began to look at the questions principals and parents had so we could start to develop answers to those questions."
The task force developed a three-pronged approach to the re-opening plan - academics, health and wellness, and finance and enrollment. The group worked to address needs in each of these categories, from the logistics of classroom social distancing to support for families who had been impacted financially.
"Our plan is to start up with all the students present with us in the classrooms," said Cascone, "but we also want to be ready to pivot effectively if we need to go back to virtual learning, or if there’s going to be a hybrid of in-school learning as well as virtual learning from home."
As additional state and county guidance comes in, Cascone says schools in the community are prepared to respond. The team has worked to empower the 42 Catholic schools within the Archdiocese to find innovative, family-focused solutions to the complicated tasks at hand.
"One of the great things about our Catholic schools is that they're not run by my office," said Cascone. "The superintendent is not the boss of the school. The superintendent is there to provide support for the schools, but the real work gets done on that local level - where they can identify needs, where they can identify solutions to those needs, and they can do it without a lot of interference."
"Certainly," Cascone joked, "from someone like me."
Over the next few weeks, CEF will be sharing more information on the year ahead from our conversation with Dr. Cascone. For the latest videos and news on Catholic schools in our Archdiocese delivered straight to your inbox, sign up below!
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