Teachers, parents ‘doing an amazing job’

The Redd children, from left, Rainey Marie (second grade), Rhodora (third grade) and William (kindergarten), learning from home.

Their dining room has turned into a classroom. Mornings are spent online, learning lessons about math, reading and vocabulary. And the family’s fervent faith is helping them through challenging times.

The Redd children, enrolled at Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy in Aspinwall, are among 14,000 Catholic school students in the Diocese of Pittsburgh learning from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Schools will be closed at least until April 13.  Everything is “homework” for now.

“So far it’s going well,” said their mother, Rainey. “The teachers have been helpful, and our principal, Mark Grgurich, records morning announcements with prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance to help them start the day like in school.”

Michelle Peduto, diocesan director of Catholic schools, said many students are using school-issued laptops and using web services like Google Classroom. Elementary teachers received additional training before starting online instruction on March 23. Some schools are using telephone call-ins.

“Teachers are having conversations with students and presenting material,” she said during an interview for Catholic Education Plus, airing Sunday on KDKA-AM. “Students  submit their work with help from parents.”

The children adapt very quickly, according to Peduto, and thrive in a structure and routine that makes them feel safe and secure.

“Our teachers and parents are doing an amazing job,” she said. “There’s a learning curve with the technology, but we expect students to become more proficient and independent in the days ahead.”

The Redd family participates in Mass through online streaming.

“This crisis naturally draws us back to our belief in God,” Peduto said. “Everything we say or do, he is with us.”

Catholic Education Plus, hosted by Father Tom Burke, airs Sun. March 29, at 6:30 a.m. on KDKA-AM 1020. Podcasts are available at https://kdkaradio.radio.com/media/podcast/catholic-education-plus