Mirroring the decision made in the public sector, Bishop Hogan Memorial School of Chillicothe, operated by St. Columban Church under the aegis of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, will not conduct any on-site instruction the remainder of the original 2019-20 school year calendar, Pam Brobst, school principal, confirmed to the C-T late last week. The decision was made on the diocesan level.
In a brief message dispatched to diocesan staff members, students’ parents, and parishioners, Dr. Dan Peters, diocese Superintendent of Schools, wrote, “Noting the decision of Governor Parson to close all public and charter schools, the Kansas City-St. Joseph K-12 schools, both parish and diocesan, will also continue distance learning through the end of the 2019-20 school year in an effort to continue to provide for the safety and health of our community.”
Earlier last week, Brobst, a long-time building administrator in the Chillicothe public school district before retiring from it and accepting the post of leading BHMS’ daily operations, shared her admiration for how the school’s staff and students had adjusted to off-site educational efforts since the mid-March shuttering of the school buildings around the state.
“I am proud of Bishop Hogan's learning community,” she related. “Our teachers have worked diligently to provide ongoing learning instruction for our students during this school closure. Teachers are sending out lessons daily, assisting students online, mailing paper copies where needed, and giving students feedback on assignments.
“Parents have been wonderful to partner with us and assist with their child's home learning. and our students have adjusted to this 'new normal' and are working hard. Because our students are getting continuous learning, these instructional days will not have to be made up.”
She advised the C-T Friday, after the diocesan office predictably followed the state government’s lead of remaining shutter the rest of the spring, “We will be working on our plans for graduation, First Communion, student days to return technology, etc.”
Prior to Friday’s public announcement of the school’s shutdown of its in-person teaching for the rest of April and May, Brobst had shared, “We will reschedule our eighth grade graduation for a later time when it is deemed safe to do so.”
As a non-public school, Bishop Hogan faces the additional challenge of student recruitment, but Brobst doesn’t see the current situation negatively impacting it.
“Our enrollment process is flexible, thanks to technology. It allows us to be in communication with current and prospective students,” she states.
“Anyone interested in enrolling in Bishop Hogan for the 2020-21 school year can download an application from our website www.bishophogan.org and mail it to the school at 1114 Trenton St. If anyone has questions, they can email me at email@example.com and I would be glad to give them a call.”
This also is a key time of year for staffing the school for the coming term, but Fr. Ryan Koster, St. Columban pastor and local overseer of the school, doesn’t view the current isolation as creating any significant hurdle in that regard.
“We do have some positions that are currently needing to be filled and we have been receiving electronic applications and meeting face-to-face with potential candidates over video chat services,” he advises. “Technology allows us to keep this process moving forward without much interruption.”
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