As schools and school districts throughout Orange County race to provide an effective remote learning educational platform for all students, St. Catherine’s Academy in Anaheim has successfully implemented a distance learning program that continues to provide students with academic excellence, individualized learning, faith development, and a strong community, a particularly essential component for families during this time of uncertainty. Despite the physical building being closed, school is still in session as teachers use technology and creativity to recreate the classroom experience for students from Transitional Kindergarten – 8th grade.
The Diocese of Orange, Department of Catholic Schools informed all its constituent schools on Friday, March 13 that all elementary school buildings would close, and student-related activities would be cancelled from March 16 – April 17, 2020. However, with the guidance of the Department of Catholic Schools, schools were charged with developing a high-quality distance learning program. The administration and faculty at St. Catherine’s Academy immediately began implementing a distance learning protocol. With support from the Diocese – including a Diocesan-collaboration with Loyola Marymount University for focused professional development in the area of distance learning – St. Catherine’s Academy was able to launch its distance learning program a few days from the school closure announcement.
“A deep integrity and responsibility steadfastness describe our teachers as they navigate through this new phase of teaching. I am profoundly grateful for the work and communication and partnering with our parents,“ said Sister Johnellen.
St. Catherine’s Academy distance learning program includes:
- 1:1 Technology for students in grades 3rd – 8th
- Grades TK – 5th use Class Dojo as a means of direct communication between parents and teachers.
- Grades 3-8 communicate via Google classroom and e-mail.
- Chromebooks to facilitate online learning
- Audio recording of books provided by teachers; various learning platforms (IXL, Discovery Education, Vocaroo, Loom, Scholastic, Audibles, etc)
- Daily virtual video messages and virtual class gatherings from teachers on platforms such as: Class Dojo, Google Classroom and Zoom.
- Flexible learning time to facilitate working parents. Teachers are in constant communication via e-mail to work with students and answer questions.
- Students are participating in music classes such as: band and piano.
- Weekly videos from principal, teachers, athletics and military personnel encouraging students with prayer, academic support, physical exercises, health, leadership training, and more.
“With distance learning, my son, Jacob has been able to fine tune his self-reliance qualities in adhering to a schedule and making sure his tasks are completed and on time. SCA helped form that hard to learn quality of time management especially with the distraction of devices,” said Fred Talactac, SCA parent.
Per the Diocese of Orange Department of Catholic Schools, schools are closed now until further notice. The Diocese of Orange is committed to ensuring the safety of students, teachers, and the community. All Catholic schools will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC and OC Health Agency.
About St. Catherine’s Academy
St. Catherine’s Academy, founded in 1889 by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, is an independent Catholic school with a military tradition for boys in Transitional Kindergarten through 8th grade. The school offers both day and resident programs.