Safety, tech updates new this school year

Carol Nord, executive director of Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, right, greeted eighth-grade student Kandice Covington on the first day of classes Aug. 20. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz joined the students, faculty and staff for morning prayer at the school on East Liberty Street. Deacon Brian Karley, center, is pastoral administrator at St. Boniface Church. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Carol Nord, executive director of Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, right, greeted eighth-grade student Kandice Covington on the first day of classes Aug. 20. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz joined the students, faculty and staff for morning prayer at the school on East Liberty Street. Deacon Brian Karley, center, is pastoral administrator at St. Boniface Church. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor

As of today, all Catholic school students in the Archdiocese of Louisville have returned to the classroom.

They have found that their classes appear very much as usual, with just a few exceptions, according to Leisa Schulz, superintendent of Catholic schools.

All elementary schools will be offering a new program called “Speak Up Be Safe.” The abuse prevention curriculum will be offered to children in first- through sixth-grades. About a third of the elementary schools began using the curriculum last year and this year they have all adopted it. It replaces the “Good Touch Bad
Touch” curriculum.

Schulz said the new program addresses all forms of abuse — physical, sexual and emotional — and is up-to-date, including lessons on Internet safety and bullying.

“It is an online developmentally appropriate curriculum that teaches students to respect themselves and others,” Schulz said. “In addition, it teaches students how to recognize and report signs of abuse to trusted adults.”

Catholic school parents, teachers and students can expect to receive two surveys next month related to their schools’ Catholic identities and the effectiveness of their Catholic programs.

“We’ll be able to see in both of those surveys … what individuals perceive about our schools and how effective we think we are in those areas most aligned
with our Catholic mission,” Schulz said.

The results will help shape ongoing improvements in Catholic schools, Schulz said. This undertaking is part of the archdiocese’s implementation of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.

The archdiocese’s Elementary School Planning Process continues to move forward, as well, Schulz noted. Recommendations for the future of Catholic schools will be released soon, along with the archdiocese’s latest strategic plan, she said.

The school planning process began nearly two years ago and involved consultations with parishes about Catholic schools. The parish recommendations “will guide our work in the areas of accessibility, funding structures and evangelizing outreach in our Catholic elementary schools,” Schulz said.

Technology in Catholic schools continues to grow, Schulz added.

“Every school — elementary and high school — has some sort of technology where students have access to personal electronic devices,” Schulz said. “Many of them are looking to technology that is one-to-one — where every students has access to devices throughout the day or a good part of the time they are in school.”

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