Who would have thought when we left school on the afternoon of March 16th, that we would all be learning from home for so long!
St. Isaac Jogues students and parents who are assisting their child/children at home through our remote learning adventure, communicate with our teachers, and help to structure the day at home to best “mimic” a school day. Every school day our teachers deliver well planned, targeted instruction with all of the rigor, challenge, and excellence that has been our standard for Catholic education. The creativity of our teachers is shown through the recording of a video to teach a lesson, accessing Google classroom and hosting a class through Google Meet, the use of Zoom to recite their morning prayers together and hold a discussion, posting a YouTube video of a lesson for review, or using Face Time to be able to meet with a student 1:1; all ways to connect with the students through the human voice. We will continue to examine ways to ensure the direct instruction for students continues. Teachers are hitting the grade level benchmarks to ensure our students have the essential skills required to be promoted to the next grade. Our teachers are extremely pleased with the response they are getting from their students and the quality of work being completed. We have high expectations regardless of where the work is completed.
A few highlights of the past few weeks include virtual ﬁeld trips to the American Cemetery in Normandy, France as they learned about Operation Overlord and D-Day, or viewing the National Museum of Natural History and viewing the 3-D exhibits of the Last American Dinosaur. The preschoolers, zooming into their morning circle time which starts with a prayer and covers the weather, calendar, letter of the week, while the kindergarteners are experiencing virtual read alouds and making story maps to share with their teachers. All students are working on expanding their vocabulary, writing responses to their readings, analyzing and evaluating text, and working on their math curriculum at the appropriate level. Our 8th graders even participated in March Madness by creating google slides of their choice of the world’s most inﬂuential scientist in the hopes of making it to the Final Four! Religion continues with virtual daily prayers, Thankful Thursdays, and looking at the message of the Saint of the Day.
And last but not least, our Resource department continues to work with individual students who need extra support, and our Reading specialists, Speech pathologist, and Occupational Therapist engage with their students via FaceTime.
And of course, there continues to be virtual lessons in Physical Education, STEM, with an example of 4th grade studying “Roving on the Moon, Art, focusing on Oceans and Marine Life, and Mrs. Veselik’s weekly library assignments.
As you can see, our teachers and children have been very busy…and this is just a little peak into what they've been working on.
Dear St. Isaac Families,
I think that one of the biggest adjustments many of us have had to make during this time, is the fact that we cannot plan. For many of us who are planners and organizers, the idea that we are operating basically on a week to week or day to day basis, can be stressful. It’s one of those things that we have to let go of and know that we are doing our personal best to “go with the flow.” That being said, I’m hoping to shed some light on a few things to help you in the best way that I can, PLAN.
Now that we are all aware of the extension of at home learning for the remainder of the school year, I am able to give you an end date for e-Learning; e-Learning will conclude on Friday, May 22nd. We will use the following week, May 26-29, for returning iPads and picking up books and other belongings your child/children still have at school. You’ll be assigned a pick up time and procedures for keeping socially distant and safe will be put into place. More information regarding this will be coming over the next few weeks. It is my hope that you can support your children and remain positive knowing that you can mark the calendar date of May 22nd as the end of our academic year.
In addition, Bishop Pates has given the directive that all end of the year gatherings be cancelled at this time including any activity in the church parking lot or basically on the parish/school campus.
Here is the email that came directly from Father Belmonte, Superintendent of Schools:
Following Governor JB Pritzker’s announcement on April 17 that Illinois will continue its suspension of in-person instruction until the end of the academic year, Bishop Pates mandated that schools operated by the diocese should also remain closed until the end of the academic year. Each individual school will determine the date to finish At Home Learning.
The decision to extend the closure of schools until the end of the academic year applies to all Catholic schools operated by the Diocese of Joliet. All schools not operated by the diocese, such as those sponsored by religious orders, will make decisions individually.
Thank you for your commitment to our Catholic school mission. Let’s continue to support one another as we move forward through this difficult period.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. John Belmonte, S.J., Ph.D
Please know that I will continue to work with our teachers to deliver rigorous, quality instruction until the end of our academic year. I am extremely proud of our students, and all of you for supporting your children, and of course, our teachers, who have gone far beyond my expectations of honoring our commitment to learning. In addition, depending on the situation over the summer, we will make sure opportunities for continued learning are accessible over the summer either via a summer camp, if permissible, or virtual experiences to enhance skills.
You know I will continue to communicate with all of you as we look forward to the reopening of our school for 2020-2021. There will be an excitement in the air as the energy and enthusiasm and chatter of our children once again fill a lifeless building. After all, what is a school without children!
One of our parents sent me an email today and said that it seemed that each morning one of her children would always say, “…do I have to go to school today?”…never thinking that going to school would be taken away. I think we all agree, being together can’t come soon enough. As I write this I was reminded of the concert my husband and I watched on Saturday evening, “One World At Home Together”, and I honestly was pretty impressed with the Rolling Stones well in their 70’s, belting out “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”! How true is that today!
Every day you are always in my thoughts and prayers and at some point, hopefully sooner than later, we all will get what we want: to fill St. Isaac’s with your children who make our school such a very special place.
Blessings to all,
All of the seventh and eighth grade students participated in the SIJ Junior High Science Fair on January 16th. Students practiced skills as they have researched, written about, experimented, designed, analyzed, and communicated a great variety of interesting topics. This is incredible preparation for the academic work that awaits them in the future. Areas of study included Behavioral Science, Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Electronics, Health Sciences, Mathematics, Microbiology, and Physics. Students put forth wonderful effort in this academic event. The twenty highest scoring projects at the SIJ Science Fair will advance to the Regional Fair at the University of St. Francis in March. Seventh grade students who qualified to represent SIJ are Audrey W., Scott U., Paige M., Meghan K., Beatrice C., Lauren J., Elizabeth D., Cameron H., Abigail G., Jocelyn J., John G., Elle K., Elizabeth D., and Leah Z. Eighth grade students earning a position at the Regional Fair are Sophia Y., Kacey H., Emily W., Tyler C., Ellie R., Nick C., Kathryn S., Kari T., Jillian P., and Bianca P. Many other students had outstanding projects. We are extremely proud of all of our young scientists! We are also thankful to the twenty-eight parent judges who made the day possible!
On January 21st, St. Isaac's hosted the 7B Suburban Parochial League Girls Volleyball Tournament. St. Isaac’s (#2 seed) played Visitation (#3 seed) in the semi-finals. St. Isaac’s came back strong in 3rd set 20-12 advancing to the finals! The team faced St. John of the Cross in the finals! The game was so exciting with St. John taking the first set 20-17. St. Isaac's came back in the second set winning 20-17 tying the game. St. John's answered back but Isaac's did not back down winning 20-17! It was one of the most exciting games with both teams playing hard and entertaining fans with a wonderful match. We are so proud of the team for their hard work and commitment. We cannot thank Coach Yopp enough for sharing her time, talent, dedication, and support of St. Isaac's volleyball.
For the month of January, our PK4 classes have been exploring space. During math, they learned a rocket finger-play that helped them countdown to blast off. At the sensory center, they made their own moon sand. In the dramatic play area, they painted a rocket ship and imagined they were going to the Space Station. In science, the students learned about the solar system and all the different planets.
Our PK3 students learned about the Three Kings (Three Wise Men) and Epiphany. The Children loved telling the story of Christmas! They told and retold it many times as they acted it out. After listening to The Mitten by Jan Brett, the students made their own mitten and animals. They then played a phonetic game getting the animals out of the snow by putting them in the mitten. Building on the topic of snow, the students also learned about penguins, igloos, and snowmen. They also created their own penguin hats!
St. Isaac Jogues School was host to over 2,000 seventh and eighth graders from over 42 different schools from around the Diocese of Joliet and the Archdiocese of Chicago for the fifth annual “Called By Name” Vocations and Discipleship Workshop on November 6th, November 7th, and November 8th. The workshops gave 7th and 8th graders from the diocese a better understanding about the different options when responding to God’s call and to offer an environment to reflect on these choices and deepen their relationship to Jesus Christ.
Bishop Conlon opened the conference on Tuesday with a message about responding to God's call.
Anthony Redfield, joined by Seminarian Kyle Langan and Tom Langan, led the students in Praise and Worship music before the students were introduced to the main speakers of the day. Jimmy Mitchell, who speaks to middle school, high school, and college students all around the country, was joined by Father Ryan Adorjan as they spoke to the 7th and 8th graders in a fun and engaging manner. They also allowed time for students to ask questions about their faith. All the students who attended received a Faith Journal and were prayerfully led through Lectio Divina....a form of prayer that is used when reading Scripture.....this form of prayer is intended to nourish the soul and lead one into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
The middle of the day consisted of four break out sessions: Basketball and Vocation Stories by the seminarians and various religious sisters, brothers, and priests; the Vocations Fair where students were able to learn about over 30 religious communities in the Parish Center and ask questions and get to know the difference between orders; Catholic Trivia Challenge which was a friendly competition between schools consisting of questions about their Catholic knowledge; and Father Ryan and Seminarian Kyle Langan introduced the Faith Journal and Lectio Divina to students in small groups. Confessions were offered during most of the day.
The day culminated with Benediction and Adoration in the church led by priests and seminarians. Praise and Worship music set the tone for the students to pray and reflect on all that they had been exposed to during the day. The workshops seem to have been a great success! Plans are already underway to bring the conference to all the schools of the Diocese of Joliet next year - hosted at SIJ!
On December 10th, St. Isaac's was delighted to welcome author Betsy Bird. Ms. Bird talked to students about her career as an author and her new book, The Great Santa Stakeout. She also personalized copies of her book for students. It was a great way to start off the Christmas season!
The students at St. Isaac's have been extremely busy in anticipation of the Christmas season. Students have participated in choir concerts, band concerts, Christmas performances, Christmas pageants, and classroom projects. They also donated hats and mittens to the needy, cookies to the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, toys to Catholic Charities, and donations to the Make a Wish Foundation.
During October the boys and girls learned about fall. One of the fall activities was learning about pumpkins. Using their five senses, they looked, felt, smelled, listened, and tasted the inside and outside of the pumpkins. They performed a science experiment to see if pumpkins would sink or float! They went on a leaf hunt, painted leaves, and made leaf prints and rubbings. They also had fun with all things Halloween. They sang silly songs and read many Halloween themed books. They even made bats, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns!
The preschoolers continue to work on strengthening their hand muscles by buttoning, zipping, snapping, lacing, cutting, and playing with playdough. All of these activities help them achieve correct writing grip!
Also, Father Twaruzek came to our classrooms and talked about the Rosary, Holy Water, and Baptism in the Catholic church. Our 3-year-olds even got to act-out the roles of Priest and Godparents!