DCC started the 2020-2021 in both full, in-person instruction and online remote instruction utilizing the online learning management system, Canvas beginning on August 24, five days a week. Now having celebrated their one-month anniversary of school, the overall feeling is everything has been wonderful! Gretchen Caruso, President of DCC commented, “What a blessing these first weeks back have been. Teachers are working so hard and are implementing many new ideas and lessons to their classrooms. I have witnessed a variety of resourceful and creative lessons. Students are happy and have adjusted quickly to the new rules and expectations that have been introduced to them. I couldn’t be happier.”
Learning is taking place indoors and out. The preschool and elementary children have enjoyed utilizing their outdoor learning center, Noah’s Ark and Sensory Garden. All students have enjoyed not only the pavilions available for classes, but also the beautiful grounds which surround the school for classes in the grass. Middle school and high school students are looking forward to two new outdoor classrooms, scheduled for completion in October, and the resurrection of DCC’s outdoor chess game, equipped with three-foot chess pieces.
The student body and their families have adapted to and benefited from the school’s new Canvas System, considered the Cadillac in on-line learning. Students can participate in class no matter where they are located, in real time. Recently, a student in 8th grade Spanish, utilizing Oculus Virtual Reality Glasses, casted to the Library television what they were experiencing through the glasses. From that, a student remotely learning from home, through the Canvas program, joined her classmates on their virtual field trip to Machu Picchu, located in Peru.
Lauren Rice, middle school faculty member, “Everything is going so well. The students are getting used to canvas and utilizing the new features daily. We are using the long block periods to do more projects and hands on activities. And with the masks and cleaning, we are still able to safely work in cooperative groups and learn with friends.”
Elementary principal, Carol Bernat stated, “Overall, we are meeting the challenge.” As a member of the faculty, Debbie Vandervort feels “Canvas has been a learning experience. We are all putting in a number of hours to make sure the needs of our on-line students and in school students are met.”
DCC, like the rest of the country, has had to learn to adapt to the existing circumstances. Their Oct. 9th Parent Conferences will now offer phone or Zoom conference calls, as well as, in person visits by appointment. The Admissions Office now offers virtual tours for families interested in visiting the school, as well as, visits by appointments. Student Council has even learned the importance of thinking outside the box by adjusting events for their upcoming United Way Week which kicks-off United Way Day. Students who normally would begin their weekly visits to residents at Christ the King Manor the first week of October as part of the school’s Pro-Life Week, are now considering alternative ways of building relationships with the residents of the Manor.
According to Athletic Director, Phil Esposito, “Fall sports have been a success so far regarding the changes that needed to happen. Students and coaches have worked hard with me to make sure practices and games are possible. Spectators, are not yet allowed to be at the indoor games. Because the situation is so fluid, decisions on attendance will be made game by game. Currently, we are livestreaming our volleyball games through our Facebook page. It is not the perfect scenario, but it is an alternative way for our fans to watch our students compete. At our outdoor games, varsity and middle school soccer, we are allowing fans because we will not exceed the 250-person limit. Spectators have been cooperating with staying distant and wearing their masks!
Overall, the one-word DCC can use to describe this year to date is ‘grateful’.