St. Isidore online K-8 curriculum coming to Catholic schools this fall

Aaron Lambert

This fall, the Office of Catholic Schools will be launching a centralized online curriculum for parents who may not feel comfortable sending their children to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called St. Isidore Catholic Curriculum, the curriculum will serve as a full-time distance learning option for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. The program will be facilitated by the Office of Catholic Schools and is intended to be a support for local schools and enable those families who choose it to remain enrolled at their current school during the pandemic, but to receive all curriculum and instruction digitally.

“This virus impacts all families differently because each of us have unique circumstances in which we have to discern the best choice for our children’s education, so we recognize that in-person learning may not be the best choice for all families,” said Abriana Chilelli, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Denver’s Catholic Schools. “St. Isidore Catholic Curriculum allows a parent to continue having support in the intellectual and spiritual formation of their children with the same values-based, rightly-oriented learning that forms children to come to know and love truth, beauty, and goodness.”

Recently, COVID-19 cases in Colorado have started to trend upward again. Catholic schools will still be offering in-school learning in the fall while adhering closely to state health guidelines and implementing additional measures with guidance from Centura Health. However, based on parent surveys conducted over the past few months, the Catholic Schools office said that as much as 10 percent of families enrolled in Catholic schools expressed interest in a distance learning option for their children.

The Office of Catholic Schools has hired a leader to oversee the curriculum and is forming a talented team of experienced teachers with expertise in digital teaching, along with a team of tutors with experience in providing one-on-one support and formation for students. Teachers will provide lessons in content, and tutors will be available every afternoon for students to receive one-on-one help and support in their learning. Tutors will only be assigned five students, so as to give adequate time to each student who needs help.

Curriculum content offered will include English, mathematics, history, science, art and theology. Daily schedules for students will combine independent learning with on-screen learning via Zoom or pre-recorded videos. Each day opens and closes with prayer.

Tuition for students who register for the St. Isidore curriculum will remain consistent with the tuition rate at their current school. It is intended to be an extension whichever of Denver’s Catholic schools the student is enrolled in – a way to remain connected to their school community and be formed in a Catholic worldview. At the end of each quarter during the school year, parents can also choose to have their child return to in-school learning.

“St. Isidore Catholic Curriculum option would allow for a child to most seamlessly enter back into the in-person classroom because SICC will follow the same standards as our archdiocesan schools.,” Chilelli said. “In a time of so much disruption in all of our lives, this comfort of having the fewest disruptions to our children’s learning is a grace.”

St. Isidore Online Curriculum

For more information on the St. Isidore curriculum, parents are asked to contact the principal at their child’s school to discern if it is the right option for them. If a parent does not have a child enrolled in a Catholic school but is interested in the curriculum as a distance-learning option, they are welcome to contact the Office of Catholic Schools at 303-715-3200.

COMING UP: Archbishop: In this time of need, join me for a Rosary Crusade

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When God chose to enter the world to save us, he chose Mary, whose deep faith provided the way for Jesus to come among us. She believed in the words of the angel, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk 1: 37). As she expressed her deep confidence in the promises of God, the Word became flesh. In our current time of crisis, our Church, world and our country need faith in God and the protection and intercession of Mary. And so, beginning on August 15, I am launching a Rosary Crusade to ask Mary to urgently bring our needs to Jesus.

The last several months of the coronavirus epidemic, the civil unrest that has broken out in different parts of the archdiocese and our nation, and the challenges the Church is facing have made the need for Mary’s intercession abundantly clear. Mary is our Mother and desires only our good like the Father.

In her appearance to Juan Diego, Our Lady reminded him and reminds us today, “Listen and let it penetrate your heart…do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.  Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”

Saint Padre Pio, who was known for his devotion to the Rosary offers us this advice: “In times of darkness, holding the Rosary is like holding our Blessed Mother’s hand.”

We turn to Mary in our difficulty because she is our spiritual mother, who with her “yes” to the Lord embraced the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power. She is “the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that ‘nothing will be impossible with God,’ and was able to magnify the Lord: ‘For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #273).

We know, too, from history that Mary has answered prayers brought to her through the Rosary and that she has personally asked people to pray it for the most serious needs, especially for the conversion of souls.

Pope Pius V famously asked all Christians to pray the Rosary in 1571 to prevent Christianity from being overrun by the invading Ottoman Turks, and the Christian naval forces were subsequently victorious in the Battle of Lepanto. In the apparitions at Fatima, Mary identified herself as “The Lady of the Rosary” and asked the shepherd children to whom she appeared to pray a daily Rosary for world peace and the end of World War I.

During his pontificate, Saint John Paul II spoke of the Rosary as his favorite prayer. In his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, he added, “The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort” (RVM, 2).

This past May, Pope Francis encouraged praying the Rosary, saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial.”

During this time of trial, we need to hear the words of Jesus spoken often in the Gospel, words spoken to Mary by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, “Be not afraid.” We need to pray especially for a deeper trust and hear the words of Elizabeth spoken to Mary in our own hearts. “…blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). The Lord is with us in this time as he has promised! Praying the rosary helps us, with the aid of our Mother, to relive in our own lives the mysteries of Christ’s life.

I personally invite all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver to pray the Rosary every day between the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, August 15, through the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15. I would be remiss if I did not thank Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita for inspiring this Rosary Crusade by launching one in his diocese at the beginning of August.

As we unite in asking Mary for her intercession and protection, please pray for the following intentions:

* For a growth in faith, hope and charity in the heart and soul of every human being, and most especially in our own that we may seek only the will of the Father

* For a recognition of the dignity of life from the moment of conception until natural death and that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God

* A quick end to the coronavirus pandemic

* For all who are suffering from COVID-19, for their caregivers, and for those who have died from the virus

* In reparation for the sins of abortion, euthanasia, and racism

* In reparation for the sins and failings of our spiritual leaders and for our personal sins

* For healing and justice for all those who have been discriminated against because of their race

* For the conversion of the world and the salvation of souls

* For all those who are persecuted throughout the world for the Faith

* For the conversion of those who carry out acts of desecration against our churches, statues and religious symbols

* In reparation for these acts of desecration, especially against Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

* For our civic leaders and those who keep us safe to experience a deeper conversion, to govern justly, and to seek the common good

* That we may learn how to love and forgive from the example of Jesus

* For all marriages and families, neighborhoods, churches and cities to be strengthened

* For an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life

Thank you for joining me in this prayer on behalf of our world, country and our Church. I am confident that many of the faithful will respond in turning to the Blessed Mother who “shine[s] on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope” (Pope Francis’ Letter to the Faithful for the Month of May 2020). May you always know the protection of Mary as she leads you to her Son!