Attending A Virtual Open House

Catholic elementary schools will be offering online open houses for Catholic Schools Week this year

The global pandemic identified the strengths and weaknesses of schools and school systems in a way that had been previously unimaginable. Only a handful of schools were prepared to immediately move to remote learning, and fewer still were able to both execute a great remote program and then return their full compliment of students back into safe classrooms in the fall.

All of Long Island’s Catholic elementary schools were among this exclusive group.

Now, almost a year from the onset of the pandemic, Catholic schools are celebrating Catholic Schools Week, the part of the school year where most families who were considering the advantage of a Catholic education get to visit and select which school is right for their children.

A Catholic Schools Week Like None Before

Because Long Island’s Catholic schools make the safety of their current students and families the first priority, most schools have moved away from the large group celebration of Catholic education that has defined previous open houses.

So how does a family looking for something better find a school this year?

This year Long Island’s Catholic elementary schools are supporting the interests of aspiring families through a combination of virtual and in-person visiting opportunities. website

A visit to the central website for Long Island’s Catholic elementary schools provides general insight into the advantages of a Catholic education, identifies some of the key differences, and identifies how the schools are organized to serve students from nursery school through eighth grade. There are maps and descriptions showing the locations and summary information on each school, and information on how to register and the financial aid available to support you. You’ll find links to each school’s website and directions to locate each school.

School web sites

Catholic elementary schools have websites that offer exceptional insights into each school community. On the school website you’ll read about the mission and vision of the school, ‘meet’ the principal through letters and regular communications with parents, learn about how the school is organized to address the needs of early childhood, elementary and middle school students and learn about the various sports, clubs and extracurricular activities available. Class pages describe the educational focus at various levels and communicate the assignments and day-to-day activities. The school website will also provide insight into how parents can participate and support their child’s education. Look for the ‘I’m New’ tab on the school’s website.

Virtual video tours

Many schools have worked to facilitate your needs during the pandemic by putting together virtual video tours to give you a look inside their facilities, to allow you to meet some of their key staff members, and to give you a sense of the esprit-de-corps of their community.

Live virtual tours

During Catholic Schools Week, many schools will stage live online events to give you a chance to both see the facility and learn the academic, social and spiritual advantages the school offers. These sessions, lasting approximately 45 minutes will allow you to meet the principal, key staff members, and often parents from each community. The school will post the schedule of these events and allow you to select the time that works best for you.

One-on-one virtual visits with the principal

Your student(s) needs are unique, and some of the advantages of Catholic school are individualized attention and differentiated instruction to meet each child’s needs. You can schedule a one-on-one meeting with the principal of the school you select and be confident that your child(ren) will thrive in the environment.

Individual family or small group tours

Some schools will offer visiting times when small group tours will be accommodated. These require an appointment. Tours will take place during scheduled windows when the school and the classrooms will be open, and when teachers and staff will be available to answer your questions. Often these are afternoons or weekends when the school is scheduled be deep cleaned prior to the students’ return. We place the continued safety and health of our current students and families above all else.

While the way prospective families will review and interact with the schools has changed, the Catholic school difference of addressing the ‘whole child’, academically, socially and spiritually remains. Visit the school’s web site to schedule to visit virtually or in-person to see why a Catholic elementary education will help your student succeed in high school, in college, and in life. A Catholic education is an advantage that lasts a lifetime. Plan to learn more about the advantages of a Catholic elementary education this Catholic Schools Week.

—Submitted by the Diocese of Rockville Centre

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