As we enter into the Fourth Sunday in Lent, we are reminded of the power of reconciliation... an opportunity to rid ourselves of the burdens that weigh us down. Through the shedding of our sins, we are open to receive Easter joy. Lelia, Andrea, and I encourage everyone to take the time this week to participate in Reconciliation, free yourself from your sins, and open your heart and mind to the good that is ahead.
Saint Ursula Academy continues to offer virtual Lenten experiences: Meditation Monday, Communion Service (Tuesday and Thursday), Rosary (Wednesday), and/or Lenten Bible Study. We hope that you can join us for one or all of these.
Now that the third quarter is behind us, we are ready to spring forward into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter is beginning to have a more familiar look and feel with 80-minute instructional periods, increased flexibility and independence during the 55-minute lunch/study hall break, and an extensive array of activities and celebrations.
Mr. Moran and I are also pleased to share that we are continuing to partner with the Counseling Department to establish additional academic support services. Although we are extremely proud of the instruction that your students received during the first three quarters, we are well aware that some of our students are wanting a little more academic reinforcement. The national and local research suggests that educational leaders MUST pay close attention to possible math and science challenges due to the pandemic. According to Stephen Sawchuk and Sarah Sparks, one of the greatest factors in impacting student success in these two areas, in particular, is that “ the broader stress and trauma related to the pandemic may have worsened existing math anxiety in some students, and math anxiety can exacerbate students’ other stress while in class. ” At SUA, we will certainly follow the data and increase academic resources, along with social emotional support.
Ms. Roman and I are hopeful that parents had a chance to participate in their virtual parent speaker series. The most recent session, Coping Skills for Managing Stress and Anxiety in a COVID World, was both informative and encouraging. Parent and student resources to support increased anxiety and social emotional challenges continue to be the highest priority of our counselors. If you or your student are in need of some additional guidance, please connect with your students’ counselor.
Ms. Utecht, Mr. Moran, and I continue to collaborate with our students and teachers to problem-solve solutions to increase time during the lunch/study hall break. As we move into the fourth quarter, we will be increasing the number of locations throughout campus where students can eat and relax. Increasing eating spaces will enable us to have less of a hard stop and start time for eating in Keller. We shared this adjustment with the students on March 14.
And finally, Ms. Utecht continues to collaborate with Student Council and the Parents’ Board to create special events and surprises throughout the fourth quarter. Our seniors will begin to have off-campus lunches and kick off their year-end celebrations on March 23 with the spring luncheon at The Phoenix. The Parents’ Board has prepared fun treats for all students on the three days leading up to spring break, March 29 - March 31. Beginning on April 12, all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will be encouraged to run for Student Council for the 2021-2022 school year, as the campaign and election season opens. Familiar and celebratory activities for Spirit Week, which runs April 19 - April 23, will include surprise treats, out of uniform days, and much more. We also look forward to grade-level celebrations to be held on Friday, May 14, which is the day following seniors exams and the first day that the Class of 2021 will not be with us on campus. We certainly have a lot of fun and community-building activities to look forward to in Q4.
Thank you for your unwavering support throughout this unprecedented time; brighter days are just around the corner. Lelia and I will not miss any opportunity to honor and celebrate our SUA students. We will be stronger and more united on the other side.