Head of School Blog
Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D.

A Year Ago This Week…

Dear Academy families and friends,

A year ago this week the bell was being rung to sound the impending arrival of COVID-19 in our region. As a school community we benefited from our membership in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools as colleagues in New York, Seattle and San Francisco shared what was happening in their areas. Their already lived reality helped us to prepare and shape our response.

Today I wish to express my gratitude to all and specifically signal the teachers who in the waning time before Spring Break gathered materials and prepared the students as well as themselves for the possibility of a mandated shutdown. When word of that possibility came to fruition they were poised to begin off-campus learning on the first day following the break. Again, they pivoted when we found ourselves ready to resume on-campus learning in August. I am delighted that they are to be recognized as the Honorary Chairs of Chemin this year. They are most deserving of that recognition and we will all have the chance to thank them at that time.

Beyond the teaching staff I wish to thank Mrs. Dougherty, our School Nurse, for all that she has done to keep our community of learners and those who support them safe and healthy. Her sage counsel has been appreciated by parents as well as the staff she lovingly cares for as an extension of her responsibilities to the students. Likewise, I again thank the members of our community who offered their expertise through the Health, Wellness and Safety Task Group as we together developed the plan to return to on-campus learning.

My gratitude extends to Mr. Schuckmann, our Business Manager, who responded to the call for all the changes needed in our physical setting to be able to open school for on-campus learning. Mr. Nelson who supports the maintenance of our physical plant supported this endeavor and was the person who, along with Mr. Schuckmann, was responsible to ‘make it happen’ for all of us.

Mrs. Renken and Ms. Werton were leaders and faithful companions as we continue on this journey toward ‘normalcy.’ They have supported teachers, parents and students as together we explored new ways of delivering instruction and the support of meaningful learning. I am most appreciative of all they have offered across this past year.

I commend and thank the Board of Trustees for their support during this period of challenge and change. Their commitment to mission and the delivery of excellence was evidenced in so many ways both big and small. I thank them for the myriad of kindnesses and prayers offered for the faculty, students and staff.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to the persons who have helped us stay connected both through communications and literally through the support of our technology needs. Miss Brooks and Mr. Yates continue to shepherd us in this manner.

Finally, I thank our parent community for trusting the decisions made surrounding COVID and for the evidenced partnership with teachers and staff. Your feedback in the spring helped us to improve the use of our technology to support of learning. As we continue through the 2020-2021 school year we look forward to witnessing the ongoing growth of our students and to sharing in their joy with the return of, albeit modified, spring events.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and safe Spring Break!

Dr. Susan Dempf