Preparation is Always Key 

In a time where uncertainty seems to be the only predictable thing, St. Thomas Aquinas has proven itself to be a leader in successfully navigating remote education. Preparation and forethought into how to ready its students for the "world of tomorrow" allowed St. Thomas Aquinas to do just that when "tomorrow" finally arrived... in March, 2020.

In addition to equipping each STA student with a Chromebook several years ago, STA also upgraded its technology infrastructure, improved its Wi-Fi capabilities, and outsourced its IT operations, all of which combined to ensure that when the time came, St. Thomas Aquinas faculty and students were ready to continue the same quality, rigorous education without missing a beat.

To read more details on how STA has managed to exceed expectations and succeed in its implementation of remote learning, please click the Fosters Daily Democrat news article here. 

 

Parent Testimonials: "STA has Exceeded Expectations"

Over the past weeks and months, President Soller has been continually inviting feedback from families as to how the transition to remote education has been working. The tremendous outpouring of positive feedback sustains our faculty and staff who continue to do their best each day to ensure every student is set up for success. 

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“I do hope you are staying safe in these tough times. I want you to know that I think STA is hitting it out of the park on the virtual learning. It is not easy but you guys are making it look that way.”

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“I had a phone call with another parent yesterday and she was in tears expressing her gratitude stating that schools in the area are struggling and whether we are or not and putting on brave faces (because of the stress level), her son looks forward to learning every single day and he feels that none of his teachers have missed a beat."

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 ‚Äč“Thank you all for making remote learning such a success.” 

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“I have been meaning to email since last Wednesday when you requested feedback and appreciated your prompt email updating the schedule for remote learning. Your changes were incredibly thoughtful and made good common sense. I have two children at STA; a sophomore and senior. I want to commend St. Thomas and the faculty’s swift action plan into making “remote learning” such a seamless transition. Both of my children have an amazing school day, right at home. They are very aware that each teacher has their own skill set, technology abilities and comforts with on line learning. Both children seem to be getting exactly what they need from their teachers and classes." 

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"My son had one teacher who was very clear that he was doing his best to do video lessons but that he was having some technical trouble in posting. Even with the 'trouble' he was having, he eventually posted within that first week of remote learning. I want to share, that our family was watching a movie together when that teacher's first video posted- and it was 8:30pm. My son jumped off the couch, sprinting to his room- when we asked where he was going that the movie wasn’t over, he replied  “Mr. M. posted his video lesson and I can’t wait to see him”.  Our son then asked my husband and I to join him in watching the lesson. It was very impressive. I share this story because when you have an 18-year-old who is watching a movie, but is excited to 'get back to school' at 8:30pm to 'see his teacher'..... the school is certainly a special place and this particular teacher has cultivated something very special. The interaction of zoom conferencing; the ability for my children to actually 'see' their classmates and teacher, to have a 'class discussion' has been essential in their continued learning and amazing for their emotional health. To 'feel' that they are together, though virtually is somehow palpable for them. In a world right now where they are extremely isolated- the ability for kids to join a class remotely and see and hear from their teachers and classmates is essential in their connectedness. I am so incredibly proud of our school community and for what you all have done. Really, really tremendous job!"

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"It is hard to stay positive and hopeful in the climate of the Media zoo and being surrounded by shelter in place orders. That being said, in our family we turn the news off and focus on the positive, the togetherness and the silver linings, while praying for this virus to pass and to leave our country as intact and healthy as possibly. Weekly, we look forward to the updates, hope and positiveness that The Weekly Pointer brings us. Since the trend seems to be 'cancelling' so many special events- months in advance, The Weekly Pointer has become a beacon of hope. I commend all of the teachers and administrators in their efforts to keep our children moving forward! the gratitude in my heart is frankly, priceless and overwhelming. Thank you!"

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"Hello! I am the mother of a freshman. My son is having his best year of school in his entire life. He absolutely loves Saint Thomas. I have been very impressed with the teachers' ability to quickly adjust to remote learning. I have also been grateful that they have put nurturing our communities’ hearts first. We definitely will get through this but we need to get through it with our hearts and minds stronger."

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"I hope you are well. I agree with your comments that we are certainly all being challenged during this uncertain time. I appreciate the motivation, dedication and swiftness that STA staff and administration showed in moving to an online learning mode. I'm sure this has been challenging for some of our educators and I can appreciate that. No online learning mode can ever take the place of the interaction, discussion and socialization that occurs when students learn together in the classroom but we do the best we can in times of need." 

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"I appreciate your communication and your prayers for our community. I hope that we will continue to share prayers and updates via online communications. I also hope that we can continue to find creative ways to support our students, particularly our seniors, who may be finding this time especially disappointing."

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"My husband I are extremely pleased with how quickly your staff had the kids back to work and in a routine.  I was shocked Tuesday to open my son’s bedroom door at 8:15am and find him already showered and 'in school.'  He is quickly becoming accustomed to this new normal and even finding he kind of likes how streamlined and efficient his work day is.  Thank you for your leadership at this difficult time."

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"Sending you a quick thank you to you and your staff for an excellent week of distance learning." 

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"With all the madness going on in the world, our kids were able to stick to a routine, create some normalcy, and try something new.  Distance learning went very well for our kids and is another way STA is preparing them for college and life.  Many colleges offer virtual classes and with the current situation more and more companies are forced to have employees work from home which takes discipline." 

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"Not only were my freshman and junior engaged, challenged, and continued to learn but they found out the STA community reaches beyond the walls of school and athletics." 

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"We felt this support through the daily email updates, at our 4-hour hockey banquet, when my son's phone was buzzing profusely because he was late to a class, and teachers putting students first to prepare material as they were trying to deal with their own families at home. Thank you!"

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"Huge thank you. Huge appreciation. STA totally exceeded our expectations and we are grateful." 

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"We have yet to meet, so I have not had a chance to welcome you into the community. We have a Sophomore and a Senior. We appreciate the efforts from faculty this past week and the changes going forward that heave been recently updated. I feel STA has a leg up on many local public schools. I am hearing from many friends how disappointed they are with no live classes. I think this is super important and I hope you encourage faculty to continue with this as much as possible. We have no idea how long this will last, but it is certainly a huge selling point in recruiting local families. Peace and safety to you, your loved ones, and all."

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"I just want to give a HUGE shout-out to the teachers of STA!!! THANK YOU for making this a simple transition for our kids! I’m thankful for the work you’re doing, your availability to the kids, and for getting everything online so quick!! As I hear what is happening in other schools, my profound appreciation and respect for the teachers of STA continues to grow. Our children want to learn, and want to finish their school year... even if that means it happens at home. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for helping them accomplish this! After talking to my daughter, the new schedule being implemented on Monday will make this transition much less stressful!! Thanks again for all you are doing!"

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"The faculty has been outstanding. The communication and commitment to their students is one of the main reasons why we chose STA for our son’s education. So thank you to you and them and I hope everyone remains safe and healthy."

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"I would like to take a moment to thank STA for such a strong finish to this very strange year. It was truly remarkable how quickly most of the staff shifted to this new teaching environment. I have worked in the same room with my 3 remote learners these last 3 months. I must say I have seen and heard a variety of teaching styles and personalities but always a consistent concern for the students, their wellbeing as persons and as learners."

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"We are so proud of how well our kids transitioned and how excited they were to do it. I heard my neighbors languish about helping their kids with math and science and those first couple weeks I was cautiously looking over my shoulder - BUT nope! The teachers came together with their students - they taught, they talked, they asked questions - STA faculty, staff did not skip a beat! THANK YOU!"

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"STA's preparation and forethought allowed our faculty and students to journey into the unknown seamlessly. And for that, we are very proud. Saints Pride!”

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"Our students were so well prepared for the transition from classroom to remote learning, thanks to the faculty and staff at STA!"

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"As we close out the 2019-2020 academic year, my wife and I wanted to send a special note as we reflect on our decision to send our oldest son to STA. Although our family’s journey with STA is far from over with 2 more boys to get through, this year is unique with our first graduating, a milestone that provides us an opportunity to fully assess our first results from an STA education and experience compared to what we hoped would be the outcome. Our expectation was for STA to push our son to his limits and beyond, to challenge him to be better every day, academically and as a person and prepare him for future life challenges. For us, the experience could not have been better, the education is second to none, and we don’t believe he could be any better prepared. As we look back, we have often expressed our praise and thanks directly to teachers during parent conferences and other events but have never put that praise in writing in the form of an e-mail such as this. As Hunter heads off to tackle the next chapters of his life, we know he is being sent on his way with loving hands and with all the tools he needs to be successful. We would like to ensure that all those who took part know how grateful we are."

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"STA teachers are fabulous. It’s not just the education. It’s how they went the extra mile. Every. Single. Day. They didn’t skip a beat with remote learning."

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"AMAZING teachers at STA! Talk about not skipping a beat and being in constant contact with their students and going above and beyond. Our kids are truly blessed! THANK YOU!"

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