The logo for the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Little Rock is made up of two pillars that represent the home and school working together to build the Church.
The three bands on top suggest the threefold purpose of Catholic education: to teach the Gospel, build community and be of service. The cross reminds us that Christ is at the center of our schools. The logo also suggests a stylized book, the Bible.
The logo’s two pillars of the home and school working together currently have a new meaning. The school buildings are silent, while the homes are the center of our lives in a way that they have never been before, due to COVID-19.
Implementing social distancing and practicing Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) days has become the new norm for our school families for now. Schools had planned and prepared for a few AMI days in case of snow days, but none of us ever thought that we would have AMI days for the remainder of the school year.
With our current technology, it has made it easier and yet it can also make it more difficult. Many of the schools are using Zoom or Google Hangouts to be able to view their students and teach the curriculum. Teachers have recorded themselves teaching new concepts and shared them with their students. They have had teleconferences with parents. But the teachers, students and parents have also had to learn some best practices and safety precautions while utilizing these convenient tools.
As stated in the Declaration on Christian Education, Vatican Council II: “Parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children.” During this time parents are playing a larger part in the education of their children. Not only are parents working from home, cooking more meals, but also having to participate more in the education for their children, which can add a little stress and anxiety to both parents and children.
Here are a few recommendations that can help this change be a little easier on families.
• Begin each day praying together.
• Create a dedicated learning space for your child to do their school work.
• Create a schedule that fits into both parent and student schedule. This schedule should include lunch, snack time and even a little time for breaks and exercise.
• Set realistic expectations for your child.
• Communicate any concerns or frustrations that you or your child might be enduring with the teacher or principal.
We are all in this together and yet we have a lot to learn. The following from Philippians 4:6-7 might provide some comfort to all: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Our Catholic schools are a blessing, especially during this time of uncertainty. Our schools have risen to this challenge and continue to deliver an education that reaches the body, the mind, the heart and the spirit of each of our families. We are continuing to build up the kingdom of God.
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