The global pandemic sweeping through our nation and abroad has led to unimaginable loss and very real pain. We know the closure of all Illinois school buildings through the end of the 2019-2020 school year is just one of the heartaches Willows Academy students, parents, faculty and staff are experiencing as a result of COVID-19.
That’s why we are putting forth every effort to continue supporting our families’ educational, social and emotional, and spiritual needs. Our teachers’ quick transition to distance learning and as-needed virtual advising has proven just how dedicated they are to challenging our students’ minds, while also nurturing their spirits.
While we have worked diligently to master new tools, record videos, find innovative resources, and design lessons to maintain our purposeful curriculum, parents and students have proven equally committed to continued learning. We are grateful for everyone’s partnership. Let’s continue to lift one another up with our work well done, friendship from afar, and our prayers for one another.
For more details on Willows Academy’s approach to remote learning, virtual events and spiritual guidance for the remainder of the year, see below.
We want our eLearning plan to help establish a sense of normalcy while being sensitive to everything that is different in this time. We have created a consistent but flexible schedule that mostly relies on asynchronous methods — whereby students complete their work at different times — but also entails some live (synchronous) classes depending on teacher preferences and course material. The tools and resources being deployed to this end are explained below.
Willows eLearning tools
- All teachers will now be using Google Classroom to organize communication and assignments.
- All teachers will now be using Zoom for teacher office hours, meetings, and, if applicable, live classes.
- Core classes meet twice a week (Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday).
- Elective classes, student council activities and class get-togethers are scheduled for Fridays.
- Mrs. Czarnik emails parents and students a weekly eLearning plan for each grade on Sundays at 6 p.m. The eLearning plan includes the times and links for teacher office hours and any live classes for that week.
- Assignment details will be posted on Google Classroom pages at 8 a.m., on scheduled class days.
- Academic hours are between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., each school day. Teachers may schedule office hours and any live classes during this time, and students should work on assignments during this time.
eLearning expectations for students
- Check Google Classroom every morning. Assignments and announcements for classes will be posted at 8am each scheduled class day.
- Submit assignments by the due dates as posted.
- Read directions carefully, and work with integrity.
Teacher availability during eLearning
- Academic hours are between 9-12 and 1-3 each school day. Teachers will schedule office hours and any live classes during this time.
- Teachers will be available to respond to messages on Google Classroom and email during the academic hours. Messages received after 2pm may not receive a reply until the next day.
Do you need a technology device?
- If your daughter would like to borrow a Chromebook from Willows please complete a Chromebook Loan Request. We have limited devices, but will do our best to accommodate requests.
Technical resources and support
- See your work on Google Classroom
- How to turn in an assignment on Google Classroom
- Google Classroom Help Site
- Set up Zoom on your computer
- Set up Zoom on iphone/ipad or Android phone/tablet.
- Join a Zoom Meeting
- Proper Zoom etiquette
Need help? We’re here. Contact us.
- Willows faculty and staff are available by phone/voicemail and email from home. Willows Faculty and Staff Directory.
- Academic or eLearning concerns? Email the teacher first and Mrs. Czarnik with any follow up concerns.
- Behavioral or health concerns? Email Mrs. Stangel.
- Access Plus Portals? Email Mrs. Daniel.
- Other questions? Email Ms. Garcia.
Virtual Live Events
While we miss standing shoulder to shoulder with our students and their families, we are focused on providing continued support and a sense of community to Willows parents and their daughters. Please join us for upcoming virtual events, or enjoy recaps of virtual events you might have missed.
Friday May, 29
End of Year Celebration: Honors Assembly & Virtual Athletic Celebration
Monday, June 1
Eighth Grade Graduation
Senior Graduation and Gala
Recapping Recent Events
Senior Capstone Spotlight
The Willows Senior Capstone Project is the culmination of our liberal arts program. Four seniors shared their projects and discussed their experiences participating in a year-long research project. They covered timely topics like deforestation of the Amazon, the U.S. immigration crisis, overburdened high school students and why Catholics should stay in the church despite the sexual abuse scandal.
College Admissions & COVID-19
College Counselor, Nancy Brinckerhoff, shared how the college application process is responding to COVID-19. She offered insights and recommendations for students looking ahead to the college application process.
Virtual Wine with the Head
We exchanged ideas on surviving and thriving in these unusual circumstances. Parents shared tips on anchoring the day with routines and strategies to monitor screen usage.
High School Assembly Guest Speaker: Dr. Valeria Canto-Soler
Dr. Valeria Canto-Soler, a professor of Ophthalmology from the University of Colorado Denver, talked with the high school about her research using stem cells to cure blindness. She spoke about her own experiences influencing the field and encouraging colleagues to consider the ethical implications of embryonic stem cell research.
Keep the Faith
Watch this video reflection from Fr. Gerry Kolf, the Willows Academy chaplain. He explains how we can grow in optimism and realize God is giving us a battle we can win each day, and how we can treat these days as a gift.
Please continue to email Dr. Vasquez with prayer intentions and Fr. Gerry and Fr. Derrick Escalanda, our assistant chaplain, will remember them in their private masses.
Final exams are canceled!
Students’ second semester grade will be an average of 3rd and 4th quarter grades. The service hour requirement will be waived and incorporated into a reflection assignment in Theology, Virtue through Literature, or Philosophy classes.
Sixth-11th graders will attend classes through Friday, May 29th.
Students in grades 6-11 will attend classes through Friday, May 29th. There will not be classes June 1 – 4th as these were intended to be exam review and testing days; final exams have been cancelled so May 29th will be that last day of classes. Seniors will end non-AP classes on May 8th and end AP classes on their AP test date.
Past COVID-19 Communication Updates
May 2: Yard Art for Seniors
April 17: Willows End of the Year Plans
March 20: Week 1 of eLearning Complete
March 17: eLearning Starts Today
March 12: Willows Classes Canceled
March 10: Coronavirus Prevention and Preparation