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COVID-19 Resources and Recomendations Shared by Educators from our Global Community
By Pete Musso
Sep 8th, 2020

Hi, I am Peter A. Musso Ed.D., the Assistant Principal for Curriculum & Instruction at De Smet Jesuit High School in the United States, I have put together a reflection on Professional Development in the Pandemic, which I would like to share with members of our global community, in case you might find the information and resources useful. Feel free to share.

In August we had our annual PD Summer Seminar, developed for teachers.  Sixty-four voluntary participants attended throughout the week – including educators from two additional Jesuit schools in our Jesuit province (UCS):  Loyola Academy of St. Louis and Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas (TX).

During the week, we learned about our new way proceeding (on campus and remotely) in the coming academic year, and we practiced concrete strategies for remote learning.  Why?

​After our spring semester, we felt positive about our remote learning experiences.  We had specific systems and supports in place, we tried new strategies, and we set high expectations for student learning and engagement – yet we remained flexible.  Our belief in continuous quality improvement always challenges us to continue to get better.  This PD Summer Seminar was the vehicle to help us get better.

Below are 7 qualities of this experience that might prove useful to other schools and teachers when planning, implementing, and evaluating professional development.  Coincidentally, teachers can use these same qualities with students as they plan for the coming year.


Mission

Especially during this pandemic, we are renewed in our mission as a Jesuit high school. Despite tremendous challenges (and trauma), we are hopeful we can continue to creep toward joyful giving through companionship and accompaniment with one another, through prayer, and by being reflective practitioners. As Ignatian educators in the Jesuit tradition, we live a certain way with one another and with our students.

The First Principle and Foundation – For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God. Everything. As teachers and as students, how do we understand and live this ideal? How can we help one another to see this? 

The Life of St. Ignatius“Ever since Manresa, the pilgrim had the habit when he ate with anyone not to speak at the table except to answer briefly; but he listened to what was said and noted some things which he took as an occasion to speak about God; and when the meal was finished, he did so.” (Powers of Imaging: Ignatius de LoyolaAntonio de Nicholas). As teachers and as students, how are we attentive to others? How do we note and speak to God?

Cura Personalis – How do we simplify content and skills, while adding three essential components students need to be successful: executive functioning skills, digital competencies, and building trust and communities (on campus and remotely) by being authentic and allowing students to be authentic and feel supported.

Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preferences – How do we walk with the marginalized (for us that is black students, GLBTQ students, students who are socio-economically disadvantaged, students – all – who experience trauma, and those students who have diagnosed learning differences and as such have school Learning Plans)? Especially today, how do we examine the impact of the pandemic and racial unrest on students and families? During this time, how do we accompany youth – living in the tension of competing priorities, all the while being hopeful amidst the continuous reality of an uncertain future?

Ignatian Indifference (when simplifying curriculum)What’s the big deal? A colleague raised this question during a conversation earlier in the PD Summer Seminar week. In terms of content, what’s a big deal for us to cover? Why? Is it because it’s essential or is it because we have a predisposition toward the content or skills? What’s most important? What’s not a big deal if students don’t get it this year? Indifference (Ignatian) means being detached enough from things, people, or experiences to be able either to take them up or to leave them aside, depending on whether they help us to “to praise, reverence, and serve God” (Spiritual Exercises 23). How can we apply this concept to curriculum choices we make: to simply and slow down? How are we living in Ignatian indifference and how can we model that for students?

Students: How can we work with students to consider the life, choices, and way of St. Ignatius, to help us to know Jesus and God better? 

To read the full article please follow this link, here you will read about: In Data & Talent, Logical & Purposeful Design Research, Best Practices, Experience Practical & Product-Based,Walking with the Marginalized, and Modeling Meta-Cognition and Growth.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment box below, thank you!