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St. Jude's expands its distanced learning during school closures


Last updated 4/3/2020 at 11:57am

St. Jude Thaddeus School was ahead of the curve in beginning its remote learning for its students during the COVID-19 pandemic school closures.

Monday will be the third week in passing out packets for the students at the main doors, on the east of the school, principal Mike Haugen said, and using online learning systems.

The Catholic parochial school has been using Chromebooks and Google Classroom for some time with its junior high students, and has expanded and adapted that for sixth through eighth graders and set up programs for the students in the lower grades.

From 8 to 9 a.m., the preschoolers and pre-kindergarteners pick up their packets. At 9 to 10 a.m, the kindergartners and first graders pick up their packets, followed by the second and third graders from 10 to 11 a.m. and the fourth and fifth graders can pick up theirs from 11 a.m. to noon.

The sixth through eighth graders haven’t had to pick up packets since the initial pick-up day which was Thursday, March 19.

“We just have to play this by ear,” Haugen said. “We’re going to have to continue with the picking up and doing that weekly on Mondays as long as we can.”

He added that the teachers have organized schedules of modules in the packets that are broken down for the students on what they can be working on day-by-day.

He said the teachers are in contact with the students by email providing guidance and resources, and use Youtube videos that fit well with the current curriculum being taught.

“For example, my preschool teachers did one (video) together where they showed about washing your hands properly,” Haugen said, … I think they then read a book, so they each took a book and read it to their kids and they just provide the link to their Youtube channel through their email.” 

The lessons focus on reading, writing and math, Haugen said, adding that religion, history and sciences are taught as well.

The teachers use programs like Google Classroom, Zoom, SeeSaw, Khan Academy, and a variety of other resources to support student learning, he said, adding that the curriculum they follow is by the Golden Triangle Curriculum Cooperative and they use a variety of religious education curriculums depending upon the grade level.

He said he also steps in and teaches Algebra 1 to the eighth grade students every weekday morning using the program Zoom.

“That enables me to share my screen with what I want them to see and then I could also use a white board, so I could actually do the problems on the white board for them if they have questions on problems,” he said. 

He said people, students, family members who have questions can contact him by email at [email protected] 

“We need those kids to know, our students’ families to know that the teachers are there, they are working hard for them and even though they can’t physically see them they are there and those students can talk to them anytime,” Haugen said. “Our teachers are professionals, caring professionals. … This is very difficult for them and they are praying that we can hopefully have these doors open sometime in May or before the end of the school gets out.”


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