Thursday, September 3, 2020

Faith Formation Update #3

I can’t believe we have just turned the calendar to September… As you prepare for a new and definitely different school year, we have been developing our program for the upcoming year of Faith Formation.  

Thank you to everyone who has registered for classes already. If you have not yet had the opportunity to register or have been waiting for more information, I encourage you to register your family for classes as soon as possible so that we can be ready for everyone.   

 Click Here to Register Your Child for Grades 1-8

The Archdiocese of Newark has issued guidelines for all Religious Education programs in light of the pandemic.  All programs in the Archdiocese are to be virtual (no in-person classes) at least until January 2021. They will reevaluate where things stand and provide further information at that time.

What Faith Formation will look like at St. Mary’s Parish for September-December of 2020

  • Classes for Grades 1-8 will begin on Sunday, September 27th. Unfortunately, this year we will be unable to have a Kindergarten class. We will have a calendar ready very soon.

  • Classes will only be on Sunday mornings. There will be 2 sessions: 9am and 11am.  

We will assign students to a session and class according to their class from last year. Many (not all) of our catechists have moved up with their classes to provide some familiarity and consistency for the students.  If your child is assigned to a time that does not work for your family, please let us know and we will make the change.

  • Students will have “live” classes every other week. These “live” classes will be conducted using Google Meet and will be only 30-40 minutes long.  Following the “live” class, students will read the assigned chapter and complete a chapter review.  This assignment can be completed at any time during the week.

  • On the weeks that there are no “live” sessions, students will watch a short introductory video, read the assigned chapter and complete a chapter review. This assignment can be completed at any time during the week.

  • We will use Google Classroom to help parents, students and catechists to stay organized with the work that is assigned. It will also provide a place for students, parents and catechists to be able to communicate with one another.

  • All families and catechists will be provided with an username so that they will be able to use Google Meet and Google Classroom.

  • Students will have hard copies of the student workbooks so that they can use them during virtual class sessions and in case we are able to return to in-person class sessions after January 2021.These will be distributed beginning next week.

  • We invite parents to be present with their children during all of our “live” sessions, but especially for our younger students in Grades 1-4. We will also be sending out a code of conduct to all of our families and catechists to provide a safe environment for all.

  • We will record all “live” sessions for safety purposes. These recorded sessions will not be viewed or shared with anyone, but will be kept digitally until the end of the school year. We will be sending a permission form for parents to sign regarding this as soon as we receive it from the Archdiocese.  Parents who do not wish to have their students recorded can simply have the camera turned off during the class.   

While this year will be different than most, our goal is to provide quality religious education to our students and families. Many of our teachers are just learning this technology so we realize there may be some bumps along the way. We ask for your understanding and patience as we navigate new methods of teaching. We will also be reevaluating things as we move forward and will keep you updated to any changes that need to be made. We hope that during this year of virtual learning, we can help you and your children engage in faith formation in a different way and allow for you as a family to have opportunities for sharing and living out the Gospel message.

We thank you for being with a part of our program and look forward to continuing the journey of faith with your family.