Distance Learning Plans for the Remainder of the School Year

May 1, 2020

Dear Students and Parents/Guardians,

As we continue to listen to our government leaders and medical professionals, LSA has made several difficult decisions regarding the remainder of the school year. We took into account feedback from parents and students, as well as many other professionals. We understand that some items will come with disappointment, but we continue to do all we can to provide you with a quality experience despite these terrible circumstances. Please see below for these details.

LSA will continue distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year:
The governor has stated that schools will be closed for the remainder of the year. Therefore we will continue with online classes with adjustments outlined below.

No online classes on Wednesdays moving forward:
Right now, we are running online classes in real time. Doing this for 5 days in a row is a stressful experience for all involved, students and teachers alike. We are looking at 8 more weeks until the end of the school year (May 4 – June 25). With that in mind, we will move to a 4-day week of classes, with no classes being held on Wednesdays. Faculty will use these days for planning, grading, and other activities such as small, voluntary tutoring sessions. Guidance counselors will schedule appointments/calls on these days. Classes will continue through Tuesday, June 23rd. This schedule will alleviate some of the stress and health concerns associated with continuous screen time.

Seniors last day of classes:
The last day of classes for seniors will be May 26th.

Previously scheduled days off on the calendar:
With the new, no-class Wednesday schedule in place, we will eliminate the days after the previously scheduled gala, prom, and graduation as days off (May 8 and 29, and June 5). Those are all Fridays and will now be class days. There is no need to have them off as they were scheduled to follow big evening events the night before. Without those events taking place, the days off don’t make sense.
Memorial Day is a national holiday and will still be a day off.

Personal Belongings in Lockers:
I understand that many students have belongings in their lockers still. When a time comes that we can safely open the building again, we will do so and allow students to come gather their things. I will keep you informed as we know more.

Returning of textbooks and tablets:
We will schedule a time for collection of these items. This will be done in conjunction with the gathering of personal belongings from lockers and will occur when it is safe to do so. I will make you aware of these details when they are available.

Exams and grading policy for the second semester:
Exams will not take place in the traditional way. There will not be an exam schedule from June 17-25. Classes will continue on these days. Rather, teachers will provide a project, paper, or assessment of some sort that will count as the exam grade. This allows students the opportunity to boost their overall grade for the year (the exam grade counts as 20% of the semester average).
LSA will assign the numerical grades earned in a quarter and on any assessments as it has done in the past. We will not be adopting the policies that the NYC public school system is taking on. We will attach a notice to all transcripts moving forward that indicates that a portion of the 3rd quarter and all of the 4th quarter of the Spring 2020 semester was completed remotely.

Summer School/Credit Recovery:
This plan is still a work in progress. You will know more as we know more.

AP Exams:
AP exams are taking place at home this year during the weeks of May 11-22. Those students enrolled in those classes must make sure they have spoken to their teachers and understand the procedures, dates, and times for these important tests. We encourage you to really take this opportunity seriously as it can earn you college credit.

Juniors and Parents of Juniors- College Application Process Information:
Normally at this time of year, guidance counselors meet with you to discuss the college application process. Sessions will be scheduled online. Ms. Rosalie Cernaro will be reaching out to you with details about these sessions. She will also let you know how we are addressing the College Fair that would have taken place this spring. Many colleges are making themselves available in zoom sessions or in virtual campus tours. Look out for emails regarding those details. We are also looking at the possibility of a college fair in the fall. Click here for a list of links to virtual college tours and information sessions.

Class rings:
The ring ceremony will be postponed until the fall. Those that ordered class rings should reach out to Tom Olender at Herff Jones to sort out the remaining payments and arrange for them to be mailed to your home. You can call him with a credit card or you can mail in a payment. The company does not take personal checks, but you are welcome to mail in a money order. Everyone was given a receipt so you should know your balance due. If you lost the receipt, or if it never made it home, call Mr. Olender for the balance.

Herff Jones, Inc.
P.O. Box 180
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
(201) 843 – 5577

Student Government Elections for 2020-2021:
We will be holding Student Government Elections online. Criteria for running and the process will be sent out in a separate email. The offices available are Sophomore President and Vice President, Junior President and Vice President, and Student Government President, Vice President, and Secretary (must be seniors). We encourage students to consider running.

National Honor Society:
The application and induction process for the NHS will be moved to the fall.

Sports Awards Dinner:
We are exploring ways to honor our athletes, especially our seniors. Details regarding that will follow.

Taking into account feedback gathered from seniors and their parents, graduation has been postponed from June 4th to August 13th. This will take place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 7 PM. If the current health crisis has not changed and we are not allowed to hold an in-person ceremony at that time, a virtual ceremony will be held then, and a reunion opportunity will be provided in the fall.

Graduation Fee:
We recognize that there are many questions surrounding the graduation fee of $300. This fee covers many items (yearbooks, graduation attire, programs, announcements, diplomas and cases, graduation awards, senior breakfast, church rental and organist fees, faculty regalia rental fees, senior portrait sitting fees, photographer, along with several others). With the current situation, we will not be hosting the senior breakfast in the traditional sense. We have also decided that the attire for this year’s ceremony will not be the tuxedos. There is no way to facilitate the measurement taking or the picking up and dropping off of the tuxedos. We will make the resulting attire determinations in the coming weeks. With the possibility of the ceremony in August, many of these other costs will remain, some remain no matter if the in-person ceremony takes place or not, and others are added to produce a virtual ceremony if the need arises. Taking all of this into consideration, LSA is reducing the 2020 graduation fee from $300 to $200. If further reductions take place in the coming months (if it is determined the August in-person ceremony cannot take place), we will address those then. If you have already paid the full $300 fee, the $100 excess will be applied to any outstanding tuition balances. If you have paid all balances already, you will receive a refund for the $100 unless you notify our Finance Office that you would like to donate your refund to help students who need help making their tuition payment during this challenging time. Reach out to Ms. Mary Kenny or Ms. Mary Anne Glassen in the Finance Office with any questions.

Senior Breakfast:
We will hold a virtual senior breakfast on June 3rd. Details regarding this event will be sent out separately.

It is with a heavy heart that we are cancelling the prom this year. Given the current circumstances, certain things had to be let go.

Service Hour Requirements for Seniors:
Those seniors who have not completed their service hours will not be required to do so. While we wish that these had been completed earlier in the high school career as they were designed to be, we understand that this is not possible to finish at this time. Do not be concerned about this holding up your completion of high school. All other grade levels will continue with this requirement in the coming school years.

Final Tuition Payment:
We understand that the financial consequences of the current pandemic have made it challenging for many of our families to meet their expenses. To make things a bit easier, we extended the deadline for the final tuition payment of the year by one month. Instead of it being due by April 15, you have until May 15 to pay your balance.
Any senior whose account is in arrears will not receive his report card, or his transcript, until the necessary payment is made. The parents of students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade will not have access to their son’s report card, and no records (except health records) will be provided for him, until their son’s account is paid. He will not be readmitted to La Salle Academy for the 2020-2021 school year if there is an outstanding balance on the account. If there are special circumstances surrounding the lack of payment, please notify Ms. Mary Anne Glassen or Ms. Mary Kenny in our Finance Office.
While we are aware of the struggles that many families will face in the coming months, we also have obligations to cover our ongoing expenses. As always, we appreciate all that you do to provide your sons with a Lasallian education.

Temporary tuition assistance policy change:
In January, Brother Thomas, President, informed you that La Salle Academy was implementing a new policy regarding accountability measures associated with retaining tuition assistance. Those measures were to go into effect this semester, and the results of this semester (GPA, behavior, attendance, etc.) would be assessed to determine if tuition assistance amounts would be cut for the fall semester of the 2020-2021 school year. The policy outlined that if the benchmarks were not met by students, the aid would be cut by 50% for the semester that follows. Because of the reality we face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and sensitive to the fiscal challenges associated with that unfortunate situation, our school policy has been adjusted for the current semester only. School is still in session and accountability measures and their consequences are still in effect, but the amount of reduction in tuition assistance for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year has been cut in half from 50% to 25%. Please reach out to our Finance Department with any questions regarding this change.

I anticipate that this email will spark many questions. Please feel free to reach out to me. I continue to keep all of you in my prayers. I ask that you do the same for our entire school community. Thank you for all of the supportive emails that have come through. It is great to hear from you and to maintain our connection, if only electronically.


Kerry Conroy