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Academy update From Ms. Coombs as we move forward with distance learning (click here to read more)

May 3, 2020

Dear School Community,

With Governor Cuomo’s announcement that schools will not return to their physical buildings for the remainder of this academic year, our thoughts now turn to what will we do to make the remaining six weeks the most engaging and academically challenging for our students and what structures we will need to put in place to reopen our schools responsibly and safely in the fall. We must also plan and prepare for a possible resurgence of the virus until the time a vaccine has been developed. The safety and well being of our children, teachers, and families will always be paramount in our decision-making. This will be discussed at our upcoming Board of Trustees meetings and a task force is being assembled on the Board to help us study all of our options going forward.

I had the opportunity to share in many wonderful learning experiences as I virtually visited some classes this past week:

  • The Upper School viewed the Discover Education production of Discover Your Happy and then shared in conversations about happiness in their breakout rooms. These conversations are crucial at this time when so many people are feeling fearful, isolated, and lonely. The Parent Association is working on providing virtual opportunities for our students and families to get together outside of academic times. If you are aware of virtual events that other schools are holding that may be appropriate for our school community, please share them with Amanda Shamis.
  • I attended a field trip with PreK and Kindergarten hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society and learned many facts about penguins.
  • Our Kindergarten class joined together from their respective homes to produce a video to teach us about recycling, reusing, conserving water and energy, not littering, and planting gardens in celebration of Earth Day.
  • In Fourth Grade, I learned about various social issues presented in the books students are reading.
  • In Second Grade, we learned about the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and virtually met Pope Francis and Cardinal Dolan.

There is no question that our faculty remains committed to providing an enriching and strong academic program regardless of location or medium. Many faculty members have also shared stories, photos, and resources that I have posted on ClassDojo to help support our community. I am forever grateful.

Our school is registered for the Parents League Virtual Kindergarten Fair on May 11th. The PreKindergarten Fair had to be rescheduled and a date is forthcoming.

We will begin weekly test prep sessions for interested students in 6th and 7th Grades. Dr. Tischler will instruct.

Chloe Franzone, a graduate of our school and now junior at Leman, and Sidney Essex, who will graduate from Loyola this year, will speak with our Upper School on May 8th and May 15th respectively at 11 a.m. Both speakers will offer their insights about their experiences of high school and how best to prepare for and select the high school that is the right fit.

There will be no final exams in Upper School this year. In light of the current circumstances, instructional time is paramount.

There is no question that we hold strong in ensuring that good things keep happening at the Academy and will continue to do so in the remaining weeks. These past weeks certainly have seen us grow not only in character, competence, and compassion but also in resilience.

Tuesday, May 5th is National Teacher Appreciation Day. Please take a moment to thank our teachers for the gift of their teaching and their dedication to our students.

Please stay well and know that you are missed.



Angela Coombs
Head of School
Academy of St. Joseph
111 Washington Place
New York, New York
Growing in Character, Competence and Compassion