The Diocese of Brooklyn is offering remote classes for students that are still uncomfortable heading back to school in person. Read the full article in amNY Diocese of Brooklyn offering fully remote option for students this fall | amNewYork (amny.com)
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS CATHOLIC ONLINE ACADEMY PROVIDES REMOTE OPTION FOR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES
Air date September 8, 2021
By Jessica Easthope
No longer a last resort during the pandemic age, online learning has become a first choice for some families in the Diocese of Brooklyn and beyond.
“Online learning is here now,” said St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Online Academy’s principal Stephen Haessler. “The educational visionaries in the Diocese of Brooklyn have committed resources and are determined to make this option available.”
The St. Thomas Aquinas program (STA) is now a Catholic online academy. It’s the same Catholic education students throughout the diocese are getting but in a completely online space.
“It is an option that takes its rightful place among other options for families who want this for health reasons or faith formation reasons or whatever reason,” Stephen said.
Most of the school’s 125 families are from right here in New York City, but STA’s private, universal curriculum through great minds allows a handful of others to log on from all over the country.
“It’s good for them to still have that community and broaden it beyond their home academies and make friendships they wouldn’t have had before,” said STA teacher Ashley Vonksky.
And STA isn’t just a better option for its students, but for their teachers too.
“I have family members who are immunocompromised,” Ashley said. “So we really can’t risk bringing COVID or any of the variants around our families and a lot of families have shared that sentiment.”
This year, St. Thomas Aquinas is an officially sanctioned diocesan academy that’s here to stay and keeping faith at the core of education.
Enrollment at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Online Academy will remain open for the next few days. Families can register at Stacoa.org and find more information about tuition and financial aid.
Dear St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Online Academy Families,
One of my favorite scenes in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit is when the character of Bilbo Baggins sets out on his life’s main learning journey and calls out to neighbors excitedly, “I’m going on an adventure!” That scene expresses I think a key component of learning; learning, done well, is adventurous.
Soon your family will embark on a learning journey that will be a real adventure. An adventure is more challenging than a casual trip to a store or weekend vacation. An adventure is not just about travel, distances, and destinations. Our learning adventure is more about discovering God and our special role in this world and our unique relationship with God. There will be ups and downs, hardships and setbacks. There will be hard work. Your young scholar will learn new ideas about Christ and the Church, about reading, mathematics, science, literature, and history. And, like Bilbo’s adventure, we will be able to do great things together.
First, let me say thank you for attending our Parent Information Webinar last week. It was good to be with you. We had nearly 350 attendees and are thrilled with the positive reception we have received. When we first began this STADLP program in September 2020, we did it as a response to the pandemic. As the year has gone by, we realized that this is a wonderful opportunity to continue to do something new and innovative, as we respond to a need. We are truly grateful that you have sent your children to St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program and we are hopeful that you will continue with us in September. As St. Thomas Aquinas transitions to an Online Academy within the Diocese of Brooklyn, you will have the option for a premier online learning environment for your child(ren) that is faith-filled and a unique learning experience.
For those of you who were not able to attend the Webinars last week, we would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate some of the points made during the Webinar. (the slides covered at the meeting are available here.)
Thank you to all who were able to join the recent parent meetings!
We look forward to the continued journey with you in online education.
The slide deck presented is available here:
March 10th, 2021 Parent Meeting Presentation.
You may submit the registration reservations for 2021 here:
2021 Admissions and Registration Deposit
We remain available for support and questions at questions Questions@stthomasaquinasbq.org
The Diocese of Brooklyn has a long history of successfully educating students. Our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools continue the tradition of offering academic excellence in a Catholic faith-based community built on the tenets of our Catholic Church. In March 2020 things changed, the COVID-19 Pandemic forced many Catholic Academies and Parish Schools to hastily switch to online learning. We were challenged to continue our mission of Catholic education beyond our school buildings and deliver academic excellence and a faith-based community directly to the homes of our students and their families. Parents wanted a Catholic education from the safety of their home and so began the St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program in September 2020.
I am pleased to share with you that in August 2021, families will have the opportunity to participate in the Catholic online academy sponsored by the Office of the Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services, Diocese of Brooklyn. St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program will transition to a New York State Board of Regents recognized Catholic online academy, becoming the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Online Academy.
Dear St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program Families,
This November marks my ninth year in relationship with the Diocese of Brooklyn as an educator and the thirteenth year as a parent invested in our Catholic schools. Over this time, I have had the opportunity to see the Diocese move forward in so many progressive and exciting ways and I have been proud to witness these successes. In early August, when I signed on as the founding principal of the St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program, I was so excited for the mission and vision for the school and together over the past months, we have created together the foundation and plans on which to build the future of Catholic education in the Diocese and beyond!
Good Evening Families,
I hope you and your family had a blessed Veteran’s Day. A special prayer goes out to all of our veterans and their families who have dedicated their lives to our great nation. Please note a few key updates this evening and have a wonderful night!
Parent and Student Involvement and Surveys
We are currently compiling summary documents based on our parent and student surveys this month, which will be made available to you. Based on your surveys we also wanted to let you know we are looking at ways of setting up communication and collaboration groups through our Rediker Portal so that we can begin our parent association groups – stay tuned!
As we plan for the next trimester, we need to know what your enrollment intent is – you will have received an invitation through your parent portal email to fill out an intention form directly in Rediker. You can also access this form in your main account under the tab “forms”. We ask you to complete this as soon as possible so we are able to plan accordingly.
Good Evening Families,
I hope you had a healthy and blessed weekend – what beautiful weather! Tonight’s update is regarding a few key calendar items and a resource for your convenience. Have a great evening!
Enrollment Intent Survey
This week, you will be receiving a form from the Rediker Parent Portal asking you to share your enrollment intent for the second trimester. You should be able to expect this by mid-week at the latest.
Veteran’s Day Observed
We will be observing Veteran’s Day on Wednesday, November 11th. All academies, schools and programs in the Diocese of Brooklyn will not be in session.
Our art program is undergoing a transition and we will currently be putting on hold all current art schedules. Please stay tuned for more information regarding this.