Since March 13, 2020, students from pre-kindergarten to doctoral candidates have taken to remote schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Philadelphia region, public school districts are just now – a little over a year later – opening their doors back up to in-person instruction. Luckily, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia returned to in-person instruction in September, 2020, with no in-school COVID-19 spread. This proves to those looking for in-person instruction that Catholic schools successfully met the COVID-19 educational challenge with the answer to families in need of an open school.
Parents looking for in-person schooling should look no further than a Catholic education at Good Shepherd Catholic School. We offer a well-rounded, challenging curriculum, and our faculty and staff ensure a safe learning environment. The end of the school year last year, from March to June, our teachers worked tirelessly to provide their students with lessons each school day. Catholic schools provided the best education when in-person learning was not an option.
Unfortunately, many Catholic schools have been hit hard by the pandemic, having to close their doors entirely. However, with the hard work and planning of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Catholic schools can bridge the gap for students from public and other schools that cannot provide the same resources and ability to re-open for in-person instruction. Furthermore, Catholic schools are affordable for all. Our Catholic schools have shown that not even a pandemic can stop our ability to educate students effectively.
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The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has proved over the last year their ability to provide the best education to students despite the unprecedented obstacle of COVID-19. The last year certainly has been a year of challenges, simply put. While public school districts in the surrounding area have debated how and when to reopen, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia developed and followed a plan, successfully making the return to a full week of in-person instruction (with a virtual option available) since September.
Check out the full details of what reopening our Catholic elementary schools involved here. Schools have practiced social distancing, increased cleaning and sanitation, limiting visitors to the building and more. A centerpiece of the plan entailed putting students into a “cohort.” Students within a cohort are in class together, eat lunch together and don’t interact with students outside of their cohort.
“That allowed us, if there was a child who caught COVID, then we just had to try to do the tracing within that group and we didn’t have to shut the whole school down,” Archdiocesan Superintendent Dr. Andrew McLaughlin said.
If a child within a cohort was exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19, the entire cohort would move to virtual instruction until it was safe to return back for in-person instruction.
Philadelphia Catholic schools have maintained in-person learning thanks to the cooperation of students, parents, faculty and staff at each school respecting and following the plan set out by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Education is a pivotal and foundational piece of each student's life, a fact the Archdiocese fully understands. Many students across the country are missing out on their education due to the pandemic, but Philadelphia Catholic schools have never missed a beat on keeping students on track in their education path.
Good Shepherd School will be conducting Terra Nova testing starting Thursday, March 11. These tests will be held each morning (except Wednesday) until the following Friday, March 19. Terra Nova Testing is a standardized achievement test to measure a student’s performance in reading, English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The publishers of Terra Nova, McGraw-Hill, assess students’ results based on a norm-reference scale. Instead of students receiving a grade, scores of all students participating in Terra Nova are compared. Each student is then placed in a national percentile.
In an effort to provide a virtual dialogue on issues impacting families, especially during the pandemic, the Good Shepherd Home and School Association has launched a free monthly Webinar series.
After polling parents on preferred timing and topics, the Home and School Board coordinated with local leaders and members of the school community to serve as panelists on topics that include wellness, engagement, outreach, and bullying.
The series takes place at 7:00 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (February through May) via the Zoom Webinar platform. The first session – "Family Wellness: Coping During a Pandemic" – premiered on Thursday night, February 25.
All Webinars will be recorded and uploaded to school channels. You can find more information about the series on the Home and School Association's "Webinars" Webpage: