President's Notes

Education in Unprecedented Times, April 2020

On behalf of our teachers, staff, and administration at Totino-Grace, my thoughts and prayers are with all of you as we face the incredible challenges and impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The strength of a school is a direct reflection of the strength of its people -- in particular teachers and students. The schools shining now are the ones that are moving forward, focusing on their students.  To be clear, I like what I see in our students and teachers at Totino-Grace.  

This week marks the end of our second week of remote learning.  We’ve been settling in and good things are happening. Our teachers are interacting with students in real time, daily.  Teachers are also holding office hours, daily. There are opportunities for community prayer, daily. Counselors are available to provide both personal and college and career counseling, daily.  Attendance has been strong, which showcases our students’ commitment to academic progress and tells us how much they need their teachers and one another. Our Principal, Mrs. Broadhead, is sending students a survey on Friday to gain feedback about what is working in the early days of our distance learning program and what we can do better.  We are interested in what our students have to say. We want to teach them, challenge them -- but not overwhelm them.  

Totino-Grace is working so hard to be present to our students beyond the classroom.  One teacher held a Twins Home Opener gathering last night. Another teacher organized a game of Scrabble with her homeroom students.  Another teacher had 48 students who wanted to participate in his office hours and he generously made himself available, well beyond the minimum.  Coaches are connecting with student-athletes, providing workout plans and motivational challenges. For example, Track and Field engages in a daily team building activity. Today, in a Google Hangout, one of our captains challenged his teammates to see who could put on the most sweatshirts in a given amount of time.  Athletes were running to their closets and drawers to find these items. Our students were having fun, laughing, and smiling -- all things that our kids need right now and every parent wants to see.  

We talk about the Totino-Grace value proposition often, and I want to lift up something important. Totino-Grace has been able to pivot to remote instruction remarkably fast.  We have tools that allow us to do so, tools that many schools don’t have. Really, what it comes down to for me is relationships and a shared commitment to our mission that allowed us to transition to remote instruction quickly and with quality.  We know who we are at Totino-Grace and what we are about. 

Whatever vulnerabilities your students are feeling, so are we.  We don’t pretend otherwise, because these past few weeks have been hard.  As a Lasallian school our first commitment is that we belong to Christ and one another.  

We have a job to do: to partner with parents to educate kids into young adults of integrity, hope, perseverance, and faith. If you need something from us, please contact your student’s counselor, our Principal (Mrs. Broadhead), our Dean of Students (Andrew Blake), our Director of Technology (Tim Pastoors), or me personally.  I can get you to the right person.

We are in this together because Together We Are.

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Dr. Craig W. Junker, President

A Message to Parents from TG President Dr. Craig Junker

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