Caring for our Community

    • SEA@Home

updated May 7, 2020
St. Edmund’s Academy students keep growing!” We launched SEA@Home 1.0 committed to this belief, the proposition that our students would continue their pursuit of high academic & character standards and that through individual attention from teachers they would feel as secure and connected as possible through this crisis.
With those fundamentals established, SEA@Home 2.0 introduced an enhanced schedule reinforcing synchronous class meetings and accessibility to teachers for student support. Additionally, we introduced Virtual Chapel, bringing the comfort of that ritual and the reinforcement of the Core Values uniting our community.
SEA@Home 3.0 emphasizes excellence in teaching and learning. From the start, we designed SEA@Home with a simple guiding principle. We sought not to be perfect at the end, but to be better today…everyday.  The same aspiration we established for our students, we set for ourselves—Keep Growing!
At St. Edmund’s Academy, we take full responsibility for every child’s academic growth and recognize the importance of progress made relative to the standards established. We know that a question weighs heavily on the minds of some parents across the country and around the world: “Will my child be ready for next year?”

The USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research’s “Understanding Coronavirus in America Study” reveals that out of 1,452 households with school-age children, nearly ¼ of parents worry that their children may be ill-prepared for the coming school year.
As we continue to monitor and support our students’ social and emotional wellbeing, we are also accounting for the pace and depth of curricular coverage.
SEA@Home 3.0’s emphasis on excellence in teaching and learning has two components:
These two components ensure a complete understanding of what students have learned and a commitment to identifying and fostering schoolwide practices contributing most successfully to student engagement and growth while learning at home.

updated April 16, 2020
Every community that strives to be intentional in its work requires a time and place to gather as a whole. Especially in the context of cultural, economic, and geographical diversity, we need regular reminders of our common aspirations and foibles, along with the Core Values that hold us together. Each time we give these ideas voice through a wisdom story, a nuanced question, a song, or a student reflection, we further strengthen our ability to discover our individual and collective promise – which is exactly what Chapel is about.
As SEA@Home 2.0 begins, our Chapel Program’s return fills our hearts with hope. We look forward to providing the community with this familiar and beloved tradition and appreciate the normalcy this ritual brings to our students’ lives. Beginning this Thursday, April 16, Chapel will be held each Thursday morning starting at 8:15 a.m. Students will view the recorded Chapel Service with their classmates and teacher through their homeroom teacher’s Zoom room. Teachers will conclude the Chapel presentation with summary comments before children begin their learning experiences for the day. Parents are welcome to watch with their children. Interested alumni and community partners will be invited to join select future chapel services. Please contact Meghan Bollens for additional information. 
Chapel today provides the St. Edmund’s Academy community with a familiar opportunity to explore questions relevant to the times.

St. Edmund's Academy alumni in secondary school provided their reflections to shape our Chapel conversation. Read their insights here: Alumni Reflections for Chapel

updated April 14, 2020
With the announcement that schools in the state of Pennsylvania will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, we’ve completed the Operations Calendar for the rest of our academic year of SEA@Home, which will come to a close on June 3. Please review this calendar and take particular note of highlighted days.
This PDF download includes the operations calendar guiding SEA@Home from April 14 - June 3. It details upcoming events and programs like Spirit Days, Project Days, and our Chapel Program. It addresses unresolved issues such as Graduation and Summer Programming. 

updated March 30, 2020
Enclosed, please find the SEA@Home Remote Learning Guide. In light of the federal extension of social distancing to April 30 and CDC recommendations, we are formally extending the delivery of SEA@Home until Friday, May 1, 2020. Our new intention is to return to school on Monday, May 4, 2020. This guide will serve as your resource throughout our time apart. 

This document provides an introduction to the program, a vision for remote learning, guidelines for teachers and parents, and clarifies roles and responsibilities. We ask each member of our community to review this document personally and with their children in advance of the launch of SEA@Home on Wednesday, April 1. 

updated March 24, 2020
St. Edmund’s Academy is pleased to offer all students a remote learning plan while our school is closed due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19. Our team of faculty and administrators created SEA@Home – an online remote learning plan which affords students the least amount of disruption in their daily instruction while ensuring natural opportunities for our teachers to connect with them each day.
To learn more about our remote learning days, visit the Hub for SEA@Home on SEAPort.

updated March 13, 2020
At 9:30 this morning, I stood in front of the St. Edmund’s Academy faculty and thanked them for their creativity, ingenuity, optimism, compassion, and determination. From teacher prerecorded bedtime stories to faculty monitored small group instruction through Zoom, our faculty is preparing not simply to navigate this public health crisis effectively, but to offer continuity and a fantastic educational program for children.
As inspired as I felt by their early work, the empty hallways and classrooms just outside the library left me unsettled. Silence in those spaces means activity in other spaces. I imagined your disrupted morning routines and your challenges to find suitable childcare. I envisioned the challenges you may experience related to supporting your child’s “Remote Learning Days” and their unfilled need for socialization.
After thanking our faculty, I reminded them of the challenges that you face. As parents themselves, many of them feel those struggles with you. We strive in this moment to make every aspect of this challenging experience as enriching as it can be for your children and as simple as it can be for you. READ DR. BARNETT'S FULL MESSAGE.

updated March 12, 2020
Throughout the past month, I have studied the risk COVID-19 poses to our school community, our neighborhood, and our world.  With each recent passing day, the warnings have intensified.  Not an alarmist by nature, I have observed with some wariness the increasing alarm.  Until this week.
Now having consulted with medical experts, community leaders, trustees, and colleagues from top schools across the country, I am convinced that we have a responsibility to act proactively to protect our families and our broader community from this virus’s spread. 
Our profoundly interpersonal work makes any decision to disrupt school regrettable.  Our best work happens as a community and in person.  We learn and grow together from our classrooms to the cafeteria, from our playing fields to the chapel.  Through all those spaces, St. Edmund’s Academy’s Core Values guide our way.
Those same Core Values inform our decisions through these unprecedentedly uncertain times.  Respect for the needs and feelings of others, our first Core Value, requires us to take seriously the science indicating that a period of “Remote Learning Days” allowing for proactive social distancing may be the most powerful nonpharmaceutical intervention that we can deploy. 
Well over four hundred people pass through St. Edmund’s Academy each day.  With a school in our neighborhood closing today due to possible exposure to COVID-19, it has become clear to me that the time to take a real leadership role in the effort to limit spread of this disease is right now. 
Effective immediately, the last St. Edmund’s Academy event prior to Spring Break will be the performance of “Frozen Junior” tonight at the school’s auditorium.  School will be closed tomorrow, Friday, March 13.  School will remain closed until April 1, 2020, when St. Edmund’s Academy will begin “Remote Learning Days.”   At the present time, we plan to conduct “Remote Learning Days” for the full two weeks following Spring Break with an objective to return to the school building by April 14, 2020. Additionally, all Spring at SEA childcare is cancelled for the week of March 16 - 20. 
Starting tomorrow and continuing on March 30 and 31, the St. Edmund’s Academy faculty and administrative team will convert our distinctive classes, assessments, and teaching strategies to virtual forms so that all students may study and learn remotely from home, thereby assuring the quality of teaching and learning until this health crisis has passed.
Within the days to follow, all St. Edmund’s Academy families will receive a comprehensive guide to “Remote Learning Days” organized by division and class.  Through rigorous professional development over the past several years, St. Edmund’s Academy has prepared to do this work well.  While no distance learning experience can fully replace the uniquely human St. Edmund’s Academy program, our teachers and administrators are prepared to engage children and support their continued learning in truly interactive ways.
We will spend the first week of Spring Break preparing instructions so that you or your child’s caregiver can support your child’s learning.  We will make this experience as simple as possible with clear pathways to resources, classroom learning hubs, schedule and linked Zoom meetings, and procedures for turning in work.  All of this will be prepared with each student’s developmental needs in mind.
To be clear—St. Edmund’s Academy is not closing in the two weeks following Spring Break.  Students will not have school tomorrow because of the local risk of COVID-19’s spread.  They will not have school on March 30 and 31 so that the faculty can fully prepare to deliver the St. Edmund’s Academy program remotely.  Then, school will begin in earnest on April 1.
We strongly encourage families to not extend vacations.  Remote Learning Days should happen from your home in Pittsburgh so that should the risk subside, we may resume school in person together. 
Guided by our Respect for the needs and feelings of others, all of us at St. Edmund’s Academy understood that we can and must do our part to stop community spread of the virus.  In order to do so, we must collectively commit to social distancing.  When Remote Learning Days begin, families should not use the time to plan play groups or other gatherings of students outside of school. The health benefits of our time away from school will be compromised if social gatherings take place in school’s absence.
Additionally, as families consider their Spring Break plans we strongly encourage everyone to follow the CDC’s travel recommendations: Travelling internationally or domestically has increased risk for bringing the virus back to our community. Individuals and families must assess this risk specifically, and consider the question posed by the CDC: “Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19? If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious. You will be asked to avoid contact with others (including being in public places) during this period of infectiousness.” It is our hope that this question encourages families to adjust their travel plans in the best interest of public health.
It is clear that the City of Pittsburgh, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States will face increased pressure to treat people stricken with COVID-19.  Our leadership today will help slow the virus’s spread, relieve pressure on public health and hospitals, and preserve the health and lives of community members. 
As our response to this unprecedented crisis evolves, St. Edmund’s Academy will need your parenting skills, patience, and support more than ever.  Together, as a community committed to High standards in all endeavors, we can respond to this crisis with responsibility, creativity, understanding, and compassion.  We will reach the other side of this crisis and when we do we will stand together knowing we lived by our Core Values.  Until we get there, we will bring all our creative and compassionate energy to bear in support of your family and education of your children.
I will be in touch soon with more details for the opening of “Remote Learning Days” starting on April 1, 2020. 
Chad Barnett, PhD

updated March 11, 2020

St. Edmund’s Academy is actively monitoring the spread of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) and will follow the recommendations for mitigating exposure and transmission of infectious diseases. Protecting the health and well-being of our community is of paramount importance to every person in this building.
School Processes:
  • Hand sanitizer stations remain at the doorways of all classrooms and students are reminded of proper handwashing and sanitation in homerooms, advisors groups, and school meetings.
  • The CDC currently recommends routine cleaning and we follow their specific guidance: Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • In addition to these routine cleaning protocols, we have also implemented additional cleanings of common areas that may be used by guests in our building. These include restrooms at the Darlington and Forbes school entrances. We conduct these additional cleanings three times throughout the school day.
  • To reduce unnecessary contact, we are requesting our community refrain from hugs, handshakes, or high fives.
  • As always, classroom teachers and administrators are monitoring and attending to the social and emotional needs of children and are partnering with families to address any issues that may arise as a result of COVID-19 fears.
Based on the current information, health officials are recommending that local communities and schools take the same steps to protect against COVID-19 that we take to prevent the spread of everyday illnesses. Our top priorities for individual compliance right now should be:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to ensure you are washing for the full 20 seconds, is to sing the ABCs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home until fever free for 24 hours.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. At SEA we call it “the vampire cough” (picture a vampire covering its face with a cape!)
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. As a school, we are thoroughly disinfecting classroom surfaces.
Inspired by our Core Values, St. Edmund’s Academy lives by an understanding and appreciation of the differences among people. In this situation, as in all complicated matters, we will lead with kindness and respect. We will not allow fear to be an excuse for any form of discrimination, exclusion, or bias. COVID-19 is a global problem and at St. Edmund’s Academy we accept responsibility for our conduct to curtail the virus’ spread for the health of children, families, and employees in our community and beyond.
Wolfpack Weekly | May 22, 2020
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