This week, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. Our teachers deserve a lot of praise. In early March, they were charged with moving their classes to the virtual world. Teachers scrambled to make lessons accessible for students from iPads. They evaluated essential learnings and standards to make sure our students would receive quality content. They set up GoogleMeets to check in with students face-to-face and keep the community aspect of school as intact as possible. Our teachers have persevered in this new reality and we are so grateful.
The school year will come to a close in two weeks. Rather than our originally planned party, we will close the year with an End of the School Year Parade on our campus. Teachers and staff will line the parade route. I know I share this sentiment with all of our teachers and staff - I can't wait to see the kids and their families in-person. Most of the interaction we have had with students has been through a screen; it's not the same. On the flip side, we consider ourselves blessed to have the technology we have today. It has allowed us to carry on our teachings relatively seamlessly.
We are grateful for your support of our schools: our teachers, our staff, and our students. Thanks to your generosity, we are half-way to our Spring Fundraiser goal of $60,000.
Board member and Monroe alumna Brittany Burglin Stepovich '04 suggests we remind everyone of a new tax law: for the year 2020, individuals can deduct up to $300 in charitable gifts without having to itemize.
Cheers to our incredible community. Thank you for your support.
Amanda B. Angaiak
Director of Schools/ President of Monroe Foundation, Inc.
P.S. Your matching donors are Bert and Becky '69 Bell, Jim and Sandra Haselberger, and Skip and Linda Johnson.
Stories from Gena Horine, CSF Teacher
Having attended Catholic elementary and high school in Portland, Catholic schools are in Gena's blood. "I had always felt drawn to teach at one," says Gena. She remembers interviewing with ICS Principal, and now Director of Schools, Amanda Angaiak over the phone nearly 15 years ago. She instinctively felt like CSF was where she belonged and was thrilled when the job offer came a few days later. "Seriously, how awesome is it to be able to teach at a school where Jesus is at the center of what we do?"
As luck would have it, long-time 5th grade teacher Marie Metz was Gena's grade-level partner. "She was a great mentor," says Gena. "I learned so much from her." Gena is not alone. Hundreds of ICS and Monroe graduates can attest to having learned a great deal from Mrs. Metz. I, for one, learned how to cut streamers. Lots of streamers that became the HIPOW ceiling.
Since joining CSF, Gena has welcomed two sons, Ryker and Wayne. She feels blessed to be able to bring them with her to school, "We love CSF because it is a family-oriented community. As a parent, it is comforting to know my children are cared for and supported by everyone at the school, not just their classroom teacher."
Gena feels a connection to many of the students at CSF. "When Wayne was in kindergarten, the first class I taught was graduating. Through the kindergarten buddy program that year (where seniors are paired up with kindergarteners), my son Wayne bonded with the seniors. So, not only had I been a part of the senior classes' educational journey, but my own child was a part of their experience too."
So, tell us the dirt. What was it like making the switch to distance-delivery of education?
"Well, Ryker and Wayne transitioned to distance-learning easily. Having the iPad enables Wayne (6th grade) to be independent in his work but also to connect to his teachers easily. He can message his teachers on Edmodo when he has questions. Google Meet helps him stay connected to his classmates."
"Ryker (kindergarten) has enjoyed his one-on-one meetings with his teacher on Google Meet and he likes doing show and tell with his classmates each week. He received a video from his senior buddy this week, which he loved. We’ve already made one to send back to her because Ryker wanted to send her a video of himself riding his bike."
Gena confesses the transition seemed more difficult for her than it did her sons. She compliments the school leadership on the solid distance-delivery plan and on providing the necessary tools and support. "In addition to the necessities, administration and other staff members showed they cared. Jumping into the unknown of distance learning was scary, but knowing I have such a supportive school community made it not so bad."
"I miss seeing my students everyday but I am so grateful we have the technology to allow us to still see each other online," says Gena.
Gena looks forward to her own children graduating from Monroe Catholic High School many years down the road. "This is their place, somewhere they can come back to when they are older. They will forever be an important member of this community."