School News

School in a COVID-19 World: Being a Lasallian School has made West more prepared

West Catholic has been an anchor in West Philadelphia since its inception. We have always remained committed to this community, and this commitment is informed by our Lasallian charism.

Being a Lasallian school means we are rooted in the mission of St. John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers. The five core principles of a Lasallian school are: faith in the presence of God; respect for all persons; inclusive community; quality education; and concern for the poor and social justice. Our teachers and staff touch hearts, stimulate minds, and cultivate leadership to prepare students for life, work, and service in an everchanging global society.

Our Lasallian charism means that we understand that the most important thing about all of us is our humanness. We are people first—students, teachers, and administrators second. When other schools were struggling to adjust to educate their students in the face of COVID-19, we found that we only needed to reaffirm our commitment to our Lasallian values, and the rest fell into place. That is not to say that it was easy, but West Catholic is a place that always serves the whole student. This allowed us to rise quickly to the challenge of COVID-19.

West Catholic was able to spring into action this past spring without missing even a day of instruction before transitioning to a fully virtual schedule. Eventually we would have to finish the school year fully virtual, and we quickly added more than just academics to the list of what we were offering our students. During quarantine, we had a virtual dance party with our students, hosted by Chantal, who works in our cafeteria and is an assistant coach of our volleyball team.

Our Director of Community Partnerships Raushanah Deen-Hargrove planned a smattering of virtual classes with the Netter Center at University of Pennsylvania and others. Many classes and activities were offered, but some of the highlights include line dancing, painting at home, and karate class. We finished off the year with a virtual graduation ceremony with the class of 2020, and a simultaneous zoom call with their families to celebrate together.

This upcoming school year, we plan to have half of our students in each day, and they will switch back and forth between in-person and at-home virtual schooling. A pandemic team, comprised of teachers and administrators here at West Catholic, has organized a comprehensive plan to keep our students as safe and healthy as possible, both mentally and physically. There will also be a fully virtual option.

The COVID-19 situation is ever-evolving, and we will remain flexible with our plans as circumstances change. We hope you will take a moment to look at the information provided here about our COVID-19 plan. As a Lasallian school, the well-being of our students is always at the front of our mind, and no matter what happens with COVID-19 we will continue to care for the whole student as we start this school year.