St. Isidore Online Curriculum expands, will be offered again for 2021-2022 school year

The Archdiocese of Denver’s online Catholic curriculum, St. Isidore, has been a true blessing to many families with children in grades K-8 who wanted a strong Catholic curriculum this past year but didn’t feel comfortable with their students attending school in person because of the pandemic. This included families like the Buckmeisters and Janisses. 

“St. Isidore has been an incredible blessing for our family this past school year. Not only are the teachers and administrators knowledgeable and accessible but engaging and exceptional in fostering the love of the Catholic faith for our son. Moreover, the online curriculum at SICC was wonderful as it was adaptable for our son who needs to be challenged above his grade level in certain academic areas,” said Kristen Buckmeister, parent of a St. Isidore student. 

“Our girls have benefitted immensely from the SICC curriculum and instruction. They enjoyed the guided learning through creative and engaging subject presentations followed by assignments they worked on their own,” said parent Lisa Janisse. “They felt very connected to their teachers. The religion teacher asked for daily intentions and that made the class very personal. Our children were able to share their concerns and pray for the intentions of other classmates as well. The girls were greatly assisted through two or three live tutorial sessions per day. They would start with prayer and pick up right where the teachers left off. The tutors were very patient and facilitated the group dynamics, so everyone had an opportunity to speak up and learn.” 

This past year, the program was only offered to families like the Buckmeisters and Janisses who were already enrolled in one of our Catholic schools. The students were learning through St. Isidore, but also remained connected to their local school.  However, this year, because of the increasing interest in a strong Catholic online curriculum program, the program is expanding to any interested family, regardless of enrollment in one of our schools. They don’t even have to live in Colorado to participate.  

“Every family has such unique dynamics, and what we learned this year with our virtual program is that Catholic virtual education is a gift of assistance to parents desiring a Catholic virtual option. We’ve learned this year that we can indeed educate well in a virtual setting, and we want to offer that to anyone in our archdiocese, or outside of our archdiocese, who desires an excellent Catholic virtual option for their children,” says Abriana Chilelli, Associate Superintendent of Academic Renewal.    

For those not familiar with St. Isidore and its strength as an online curriculum option, Kristen Lanier, assistant organizational leader at St. Isidore, has helped start online schools in public school districts and has been extremely impressed with what St. Isidore offers. 

“I have been blessed to help in the conception and implementation of several remote schooling models and St. Isidore is truly unique,” Lanier said. “St. Isidore’s approach to remote learning blends the very best strategies in virtual education and brick-and-mortar classrooms, all while honoring the gifts endowed to each student, family, and staff member. Students receive a program filled with both flexibility and rigor that provides access to teachers via catered, program-specific lessons, real-time small group guided instruction, and daily meaningful interaction with peers. Mission truly drives this work and it is a gift to watch what the Holy Spirit inspires in our team, students, and families.”

As long as parents still desire an online Catholic curriculum for their students, the Office of Catholic schools wants to help provide it.

“For a lot of parents, this past year has caused them to now see some real advantages of having their children at home learning virtually,” Chilelli concluded. “We’ve heard from lots of parents who want to continue with their children learning at home. We realized the archdiocese could help. We always want to support parents in the formation of their children as they grow in wisdom and friendship with the Lord.”

For more information, visit denvercatholicschools.com/st-isidore-apply today.

St. Isidore is available to:  

Any family enrolled in an Archdiocese of Denver participating Catholic school who may not want to send their children to in-school learning this upcoming school year due to the ongoing social distancing, masking requirements that will be in place because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as potential virus variants. This program is intended to be a support for local schools and enable those families to remain enrolled at their current school during the pandemic, but receive all curriculum and instruction digitally.  

Any family not enrolled in an Archdiocese of Denver Catholic school who wishes to have the support of the Archdiocese of Denver in educating their children virtually. 

Enrollment deadline is May 23, 2021 at 10 p.m. If you are interested in registering and or want to learn more, please email Sarah.Heaton@stisidoreonline.org 

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash