During the unprecedented events caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Sacred Heart Academy showed its dedication to the success and education of its students by making the transition to an online education platform, without any delay in learning.
Sacred Heart became one of the first schools on Long Island to employ its online learning program, beginning with classes on March 16. Sacred Heart’s online model provides the full, unabridged curriculum for its students. This ensures that each student will be well prepared for her next academic step.
“Sacred Heart Academy hasn’t missed a beat in this pandemic," said S. Jean Amore, CSJ, Ed.D., principal of Sacred Heart Academy. "We started online instruction one week and in some instances two weeks before other schools on Long Island and in New York City. If we were to have Regents Exams in June, our students would be ready. Our students are also prepared to take the AP Exams in May."
At the beginning of March 2020, when the possibility of closing school due to the COVID-19 crisis became apparent, members of the Sacred Heart Academy EdTech team - Mrs. Caroline Walsh, Mrs. Kristen Schreiner, Ms. Terry Shirreffs, and Mrs. Kathryn Mulholland – who are Google certified and Microsoft certified, began to execute their plan for school to continue virtually and coached the Sacred Heart faculty on how to appropriately and successfully conduct class from home.
“As an Ed Tech coach I've been working with the faculty and students preparing for paperless learning, for some time now,” said Mrs. Walsh, also a history teacher at Sacred Heart. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be using it this year to the extent that we are.”
The education model of Sacred Heart's online learning platform is using the tool Screencastify to record daily lessons for the students.
Sacred Heart is also utilizing Google Classroom daily as the main source of communication. The screencasts and daily lessons, assignments, and homework are posted on Google Classroom. Teachers post all material by 8 a.m., and the students are required to hand in all assignments by 5:00 p.m. in order to be marked "present" for the class. The EdTech program was in place in preparation for an initiative with the Class of 2024 all working from Google Chromebooks.
“It was a huge and quick transition, but overall everyone has kept an open mind and continues to work hard to make sure that our students have the best remote learning experience possible,” said. Ms. Shirreffs, also the music department chairperson at Sacred Heart.
The Sacred Heart teachers and students have embraced this new style of learning. Some remote learning projects include sending students on virtual field trips to museums in history class, having students create their own concerts in chorus class, having students submit science projects for an online science research symposium, and assigning art projects that have to do with working from home just to name a few.
In addition, Sacred Heart’s AP Government and Theology classes will be the first classes in Sacred Heart’s history to go almost paperless for the entire year.
This online technique officially took effect on March 16. Since then, parents have expressed their appreciation and gratitude for this new platform on an educational and personal level.
What parents have said about Sacred Heart Academy’s online learning program:
"Sacred Heart has been doing a wonderful job. As an educator myself, I am so impressed with how the school hit the ground running and began their online learning in such a professional and steadfast manner. My daughters are both working very hard and I can see all the learning that is going on. We are appreciative that you were ready for this challenge and had an excellent system in place." -Melissa Maher P '22, '23
“Rogan loves hearing your [Mrs. Denise Rappaport's] voice every day and really misses you and your class. All of your hard work, as well as the hard work of the other SHA teachers, has not gone unnoticed. We thank you for continuing to hold Rogan to high academic standards as well as keeping the relationships that were formed in the classroom as normal as possible.” -Marisa and Peter Buckley P '23
"I would like to express how wonderfully supportive all the faculty have been during this unprecedented time in our lives. While Sophia is doing her work, I often hear the teachers speaking and I am so impressed and happy that she is surrounded by such love and support." - Joann Schwartz P '23"Sacred heart has done an amazing job with the conversion to online learning. I am literally blown away. Good job!" -Dawn Turck P '21