Oct 1, 2020
Clarion Herald and NOLA Catholic Parenting associate editor Christine Bordelon talks with NOLA Catholic Parenting bloggers/columnists Kim Roberts and Ty Salvant as well as the Office of Catholic Education and Faith Formation Kasey Webb and Clarion Herald editor Peter Finney Jr. about the changing landscape of education in the Archdiocese of New Orleans since the COVID-19 crisis hit New Orleans in March 2020.
:30-1:30: Christine talks about the Brave New World of education since the pandemic and how she was home with her husband and grandchild fighting for internet.
1:30 Christine said brick-and-mortar school situation was the preference for Dr. RaeNell Houston, superintendent of Catholic schools
2:08: Kasey Webb talks about how all 72 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans adapted to virtual learning in the spring and how she worked with administrators and teachers to ready them for the variety of learning modes this fall. Every school was encouraged to make decisions that worked for their unique school community. She said principals, teachers, students and parents were incredible adapting to this new world. Most started back in person, while others had a virtual option and others that had virtual and in-person learning.
3:15: Peter Finney asked Webb is there was a difference in what elementary and high schools were doing.
3:30: Webb responded that secondary schools had it easier to do virtual or hybrid module since students are older, more independent and more experienced with Google and online learning. Elementary schools tried to do in-person if possible.
4:10 Christine asked what they did in the spring and what they did over the summer so teachers felt confident in teaching virtually, if necessary.
4:30: Webb said she was doing lots of virtual training and webinars to prepare teachers on the different – Zoom or Google Meet. What strategies can you use for small group discussions, time to discuss and process. Lots of training in Google Classroom that some schools had begun using previously and teaching teachers all the platforms could do. She did lots of in-person work with teachers in the classroom. The teachers were so eager to learn new strategies.
6: Christine asked now that schools have been back a month, how has learning gone?
6:20: Webb answered that it’s getting easier for teachers and they are now helping each other get stronger on the new teaching strategies. But it’s constantly changing.
7: Christine asked Kim Roberts if things have gotten better since the spring with a hybrid learning system at Dominican where her daughter is a sophomore.
7:28: Kim said it’s gotten much better. Her daughter goes to school several days a week, and is home the other days. Learning is real-time with teachers and students, and her daughter is self-motivated and has her routine down. She has As. Kim is comfortable that her daughter isn’t in the classroom every day.
9: Christine asked Ty about her home schooling situation during COVID-19.
9:28: Ty said the beauty of homeschool is in the flexibility. Had to shift from homeschool in community, but returned back this fall and hand-sanitizing and cleaning in between. The concern is that the common colds might be something else now, so keeping things clean is important. Her high school graduate son has stared at the University of Alabama. She’s been comfortable with testing, daily checks in at college and tests they are taking to keep COVID_19 numbers low. Separate dorms for COVID students. He has hybrid and online classes, like most colleges, an continue through Thanksgiving and won’t go back to school until January.
13: Christine asked Kasey Webb how safe it’s been at schools.
13:15: Webb said in the spring was helping with technology. When the decision was made – a committee of 85-page manual of guidelines and best practices, CDC, state Department of Health, virtual learning for reopening for all schools. Each school had to create their own committee and submit their own plan for reopening to the Office of Education and Christian formation. The documents are ever-changing. The schools are taking every possible thing into consideration to keep things safe and offer a quality education. Back and forth conversation with the schools.
16: Peter Finney told Webb that he thought it was great that Catholic schools gave parents a choice in mode of learning they felt would be safest for their child. He said he’s heard that some principals have gotten calls from public school parents to possible switch to Catholic schools
16:35: Webb said she’s heard that people have been calling, but she had no firm data. Catholic schools have taken in Lake Charles hurricane evacuees who are children in their schools.
17:15: Christine asked Webb about extracurriculars at high school and elementary levels since Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) is starting football.
17:40: she said yes. Michael Buras in OCS office sent a survey out to all schools and how they felt about starting sports and other activities – choirs, band rehearsal. Extra-curriculars are important. She was a theater person as a child, but how can you do these things safely?