The Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Catholic Schools announced the successful stand-up of distance learning in all 41 parish schools and high schools in the Diocese. Distance learning is now in place, offering interactive, personalized instruction to students through the remainder of the academic year. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools and four diocesan high schools serving almost 17,000 students.
“Our Catholic schools meet the highest standards of excellence in even the most challenging of circumstances. Our administrators and teachers have enthusiastically risen to the task of continuing to educate our students in a virtual environment, offering an engaging forum for providing instruction that is always rooted in our Catholic Faith,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington. “I commend our entire Catholic school community, teachers, administrators, parents and students, for the creativity and flexibility they have exhibited that have made expansive distance learning possible for as long as we need it.”
Every effort is being made to employ fully the use of technology to maintain the connection between teachers and students, ensuring that a vibrant learning environment is maintained for each student. In many schools, principals begin the day with live broadcasts and morning prayer through Zoom. Many teachers are using Google Classroom. Others are using private YouTube channels to offer and view videos. Children are sending in their work through photos. In higher grades, a lecture is often provided for instruction at various points throughout the day, and the teacher then makes him/herself available for digital office hours while work is being done by the students.
“This is an incredible test for our school leaders, teachers and families, one they are responding to with a lot of creativity, thoughtfulness and patience,” said Dr. Joseph Vorbach, Superintendent of Schools, Diocese of Arlington. “It is not an undertaking that comes without challenges, but there is an enormous amount of learning taking place as a result. We are confident the lessons learned during this endeavor will enhance the use of technology and provide creative news ways to further increase student engagement over the long term.”
On March 13, diocesan Catholic schools were closed following Governor Ralph Northam’s directive to close schools in Virginia for the following two weeks. Consistent with Governor Northam’s March 23 directive that all schools in the Commonwealth remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, Catholic schools in the Diocese will remain closed but continue distance learning through the end of the school year.