If you trace the footsteps of our institute, you will find a history of intentional, courageous planning and collaboration on the part of all of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and their partners in Mission. From Andre’ Coindre’s initial ask to lay men and women for assistance in his Prospectus of 1818 in establishing the Pieux Secours, the institute’s first sanctuary for young boys; to Brother Polycarp’s courage and trust in his fellow brothers reflected in his writing the Brothers’ first rules; to Brother Martin Hernandez’s work with his fellow brothers in establishing our innovative schools in New Orleans and throughout the United States, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart have always engaged in deliberate planning with the help of their partners to meet the needs of our changing world and, most importantly, to ensure that we continue to provide a sanctuary for young people.
Over the past two months, our school leadership, faculty, and staff have used this history of our institute as a roadmap while engaging in our own thoughtful planning for the future to ensure that we continue to provide this same educational sanctuary for our young men.
As Brother Martin President Mr. Greg Rando ‘77 stated in last week’s global email, with the state’s transition into Phase 1, we have already thoroughly and professionally disinfected campus and have developed plans to continue to disinfect our campus on a regular basis. On Monday, May 18, we will also have a returned presence to major school offices -- Reception, Admissions, Finance, President/Principal, and Student Activities -- from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Our teachers will be invited, not mandated, to come back to work to prepare for summer programs and for the next school year, and the above-mentioned offices will be staffed to respond to questions and continue the daily operation of our school. We have plans to allow students to return to drop off and pick up any necessary items to help them bring closure to the school year. We will communicate these procedures for 8th-11th grade in the coming weeks. We are currently considering reintroducing student meetings and activities with Phase 2, but we are awaiting more guidance from local officials and the Louisiana Department of Education before making a final decision.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, May 20- 22 will mark special Class of 2020 Recognition Events, at which time our senior class will drop off any school property in their possession and pick up materials from their lockers, receive their graduation caps and gowns, and be honored with a drive-thru Crusader Parade. Members of the Class of 2020 and their parents will receive separate information in an email from Ms. Kelly Wild, Assistant Principal for Student Services, later today.
Since on-campus learning was suspended on March 13, we have been developing plans for both the near and distant future. As you know, we have set a graduation date for July 31 at the UNO Lakefront Arena, and we have continued to discuss alternatives to that plan such as holding an outdoor commencement ceremony and/or an outdoor graduation Mass. We are also making plans for a virtual graduation celebration should that possibility become unavoidable.
The summer months have always been an exciting time at Brother Martin, and plans are underway for all of our summer programs. Our top priority and most immediate goal is to host Credit Recovery on campus from June 8-June 30 in small, static groups not exceeding 10 individuals with proper social distancing protocols in place; however, a Credit Recovery Remote Learning plan is in place while we await more concrete guidance in the coming days and weeks from local officials and the Louisiana Department of Education.
Our leadership and administration are also developing plans for the resumption of co-curricular, extracurricular, and athletics activities on campus. All of these discussions are ongoing as we await the appropriate guidance with the safety of our Brother Martin students as the most important criteria for re-implementing any of our student programs. We do know at this time that all activities related to LHSAA sports have been suspended through June 8.
And finally, we are developing plans for what Brother Martin High School may look like beginning in the Fall of 2020. Our hope for next school year is one that includes “bricks and mortar” instruction and learning on campus. However, we will use the summer to refine our existing Remote Learning plan using feedback from surveys and focus groups. We are also in the process of creating a hybrid plan that includes both on-campus and remote learning should that possibility become our reality at some point in the future.
You will receive a survey in the coming weeks asking for your input regarding your son(s) and your own experience with Brother Martin’s Remote Learning plan throughout this 4th quarter of the 2019-20 school year. We are asking our parents, students, and faculty to complete these surveys in an effort to tailor our future plans with the help of your insight. We will also use the results of these surveys to develop various focus groups composed of parents, students, and faculty to increase this deliberate communication and collaboration throughout the summer as we build towards an uncertain future.
Thank you for your continued partnership with Brother Martin High School and for entrusting your sons to our care. Please join me as we continue to pray for everyone affected by this pandemic, especially those in our school community. If we can do anything for you or your family moving forward, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Your Partner in Mission,
Ryan Gallagher '00