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Virtual Adventures

March 23, 2020
By Tori Hittner

Find Your Own Fun this Spring Break

Spring Break 2020 looks quite a bit different from what many of us expected. And while the health and safety of our community is a top priority, we understand how disappointing it is to cancel fun vacations and trips. But that doesn’t mean your Spring Break has to be dull! Here are a few ways--virtual and otherwise--to create your own adventures this week.

Louvre to See It

Dozens of top-notch museums around the world offer virtual tours of their collections. Explore paintings from Dali or van Gogh at the MoMA, or view the Mona Lisa without all the crowds. Turn to Google Arts & Culture for more visual content, tours, and activities related to famous works of art.

 

Find Some Monkey Business

One positive of the coronavirus-related closures? Lots of zoos have been able to give their adorable residents the chance to explore outside their habitat boundaries. For example, did you see that viral video of the Shedd Aquarium penguins?! Tag along on their explorations, view live web cams, or virtually join a zookeeper for some incredible animal experiences.

Travel in Style

You may not be able to hop on a plane right now, but you can hop online to experience fabulous sights and sounds from around the globe. Whether you enjoy history, hair-raising adventures, or beautiful vistas, there’s a virtual travel experience that fits your interests. Check Google Earth for new tours added daily. In this case, armchair anthropology could be just the ticket.

Beat Board-om

Board games, trivia, and puzzles may seem old-fashioned, but there’s a reason they remain popular activities! Amazon is still delivering, so it’s not too late to add some updated offerings to the family collection. 

Or, take your own spin on a classic like Guess Who (like this Blanchet edition we created). 

Get Crafty

If you have younger siblings, you know it can be difficult to find activities suitable for the whole family. Use your own creativity and brain power to keep younger ones entertained. Create a scavenger hunt around your own house or yard to get the whole family hunting for clues (this article offers some tips for getting started). If you and your siblings enjoy more hands-on experiences, raid the kitchen (with parental approval!) to make your own slime, bath bombs, tie-dye shirts, or yes, even soap!

Turn the Page

Would we really be a school blog if we didn’t mention reading as a Spring Break option? If you’re not a natural avid reader, don’t despair! We guarantee there’s a book out there you’ll enjoy, and the folks over at SparkNotes agree. Take their quiz to receive customized options to place on your reading list.

Grow Up

Everyone could use a breath of fresh air, and plants help deliver that in spades! Now is the perfect time to begin planting vegetables like bell peppers, peas, lettuce, and tomatoes. Use a planting calendar (like this region-specific one from the Farmer’s Almanac) to determine which seeds can be planted directly in your garden, and which need to be started inside.

If you and your family use lots of herbs and spices when cooking, consider starting your own indoor herb garden. It’s a great introduction to gardening and growing your own food. You can even find starter kits online.

Cooked to Perfection

Family meals are important, but you can extend the bonding time beyond the dinner table. Ask the typical cook of your household if you can help prepare a couple meals this week. Even if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the stove or navigating a complex recipe, you can always help with prep work like chopping or measuring. Contributing to a meal that your whole family gets to enjoy can be incredibly rewarding--and you may be surprised by how much fun you have in the kitchen!

Need some inspiration for easy-to-prep dishes? Pinterest is always helpful, but why not look locally? Several area restaurants are sharing recipes and ideas on their social media accounts during the closures. Some, like Epilogue, are even offering recipes based on what you personally have in your pantry and fridge!

Take It Outside

Need a break from the indoors? If our Oregon weather cooperates, step outside to enjoy activities that get you moving. Organized sports may be temporarily suspended, but that doesn’t mean you can’t muster up some competition in your own household. Most of these games can be created using items you’ll have lying around the house or garage. Sometimes, the sillier the better.

 

Digital Learning at Blanchet

March 18, 2020
By Tori Hittner

With school closures extended through April 28 across the state, Blanchet students will be relying on our digital learning platform longer than many may have expected. In addition to our students’ safety, their ability to continue learning is our top priority. At Blanchet, we’re doing everything we can to keep our community’s educational experience top-notch, and allow our seniors to graduate on time. 

Our students and staff have benefited from already having a Digital Learning Day protocol in place, which uses RenWeb as a central portal for learning and communication. We will continue to build out our online curriculum around these guidelines. With that in mind, here’s the lowdown on learning digitally.

How are teachers communicating with their students?

Our teachers did an admirable job quickly transitioning their curriculums to a digital format, and were able to communicate expectations with their students the Friday before closures went into effect. Students will continue to receive regular communications from their teachers containing updates, links, and assignments, either via email or directly through RenWeb.

Faculty have been asked to be available via email from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. each digital school day for questions regarding assignments or instructions.

How are staff and students being held accountable for at-home teaching and learning?

Each teacher has posted a brief weekly plan or calendar on RenWeb, which will be updated every Monday morning. All assignments and instructions will be posted on RenWeb no later than 9:30 a.m. the day they are needed. 

All classes will require at least one digital deliverable per week, although some teachers may require more at their discretion and depending on the nature of the course. These assignments must be submitted by the deadline established by the teacher, or they will be considered late work.

What kind of workload should students expect?

The duration of assignments will depend on the class; students may have a series of smaller assignments or a longer assignment intended to take place over the course of the week. Potential home-based assessments may include online quizzes, papers, projects, videos, and online discussion posts. 

Students should expect to spend up to 45 minutes per class per digital school day, or about 4 hours for each class per week. Students in AP, honors, and dual-credit classes should expect to spend up to 60 minutes per day per class, or about 5 hours per class each week.

What happens if students are ill or lose access to the Internet?

If a student is unable to engage in digital work due to illness or Internet disruption, parents/guardians should call (503) 391-2639 or email info@blanchetcatholicschool.com. Faculty will provide extensions or exemptions as needed per their usual practice regarding absences.

If a student does not have regular access to the Internet at home, parents/guardians should contact the school as soon as possible to make the necessary arrangements.

Will the school be in regular contact with families?

Yes! Continued communication between administrators and parents is vital. We want to ensure that the current digital learning process is working as smoothly as possible for all our students. “Announcements” will continue to be posted on RenWeb, as needed. Our parents will also continue to receive weekly e-newsletters with updates, as well as other directly emailed communications from Mr. Weber as needed.

What other steps will Blanchet be taking to provide a positive educational experience?

We are committed to maintaining a sense of community throughout this unprecedented time. Our administration is currently looking for ways to continue featuring our student clubs and organizations, and is working diligently with coaches and club advisors to create potential at-home workouts and activities. Stay tuned for more information as we begin to make these programs available.

As always, follow our social media accounts for updates, information, and helpful tips and activity ideas. Our school community is full of bright problem solvers, and we look forward to being able to showcase their resiliency and creativity in the weeks to come.

If you encounter any questions or difficulty utilizing our digital learning platform, please feel free to give the school office a call or email info@blanchetcatholicschool.com.

School Closure & Digital Learning Information

March 16, 2020
By Toni Nanneman

Based on the latest guidance and updates from Governor Brown, Blanchet Catholic School will be making a major adjustment to our school schedule beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020.  Blanchet will have a full day of school today with dismissal at 3:10 p.m.  

 

Here is a list of the adjustments we will be making starting on Monday, March 16:

Blanchet will implement our digital learning protocol for all students for the week of March 16-20.

The week of March 23-27 our community will be on Spring Break.

Blanchet will return to digital learning for Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31.

Blanchet students will return to classes on campus on Wednesday, April 1.

As stated yesterday, all activities, events, practices, competitions, meetings, and performances are postponed at this time and will remain postponed until further notice.

Blanchet will continue to monitor updates and guidance from Gov. Brown on this situation, and adjustments to this plan may be necessary.

We will have our main school office open from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday through the end of March.  Please let us know if you need any assistance.  

 

By implementing our digital learning protocol, students will be able to stay on track academically, and it will help us avoid adding school days to our academic year.  Our teachers will be sharing information with classes today about what to expect for the digital learning process.  

 

While we are using our digital learning protocol, students will need to access information from their teachers on the RenWeb system.  If you are having difficulty navigating the RenWeb system, please refer to the attached information for assistance.  If you are still having difficulties, contact the school by phone (503-391-2639) or email.  Please make sure your child brings home books, notebooks, and materials for all classes so that they have the necessary tools for the coming weeks.  A few students have asked about the possibility of checking out a device to use for the digital learning days.  If you are in need of borrowing a device from the school please contact the school office to make arrangements. 

 

These are unprecedented times for our city, state, and school. I know these adjustments cause difficulties for our families, and I hope that the coming weeks are manageable for all members of our community.  I appreciate the continued support and understanding of our school community as we work to keep our students, employees, and community safe.  

 

If you have questions or concerns about this plan, please contact myself or Robin Smith.  

By Courage & Faith,
Bob Weber                                    Robin Smith
President                                       Principal

Suspension of School Activities, Meetings & Events

March 12, 2020
By Bob Weber

Dear Blanchet Catholic School Community,

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Oregon continue to rise, Governor Brown announced new guidance last night regarding group gatherings and social distancing.

Blanchet remains committed to keeping our community safe and, at this time, our school open.  If at some point the decision is made to close our school for a period of time, Blanchet would continue to provide curriculum, instruction, and materials through a digital platform for our students. 

However, in accordance with Gov. Brown’s guidance and in order to minimize potential opportunities for the virus to spread, Blanchet has decided to proactively begin suspending and postponing events that bring large groups of students, adults, and our community together.

Suspension of these non-essential school-based activities will begin today and will remain in effect for the next several weeks. School events and activities that are impacted by this decision over the next two weeks include: 

  • High School Musical Performances
  • The field trip to St. Joseph Catholic School today
  • Spring sports practices/games/tournaments (both HS and MS)
  • The MH Lock-In
  • Our annual Open House
  • The Freshman Retreat
  • Mother-Daughter Tea
  • Parent-Teacher Spring Conferences 
  • Grandparents & Special Friends Day

It is likely that the list of affected activities will grow in the coming weeks as this situation develops.

It is our intention to reschedule and hold most, if not all, of these events at some point this spring.  For events that are postponed that include deposits or purchased tickets, Blanchet will issue refunds if the event is not able to be rescheduled.  

Students, families and everyone in our community can best support our efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and using hand sanitizer. Those experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu should stay at home, only returning to school or work when symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult with a doctor.

Thank you for your cooperation, support and understanding during this challenging and ever-changing time.  We will continue to rely on guidance from Oregon public health authorities and the Office of the Governor.

If you have any questions about events or activities not listed above, please call the school at 503-391-2639.

 

By Courage & Faith,

Bob Weber

Top 5 Considerations When Choosing Between Private and Public Education

March 11, 2020
By Tori Hittner

Parents have many options to choose from when looking at schools in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Deciding between a private and public school education can be one of the most difficult aspects of the process. To help with that, here are five key factors to consider when making the decision yourself.

  1. Learning Environment

Different students require different learning environments. And with a larger school environment, it becomes harder to meet the needs of each student and challenge them all appropriately. Private schools typically offer smaller class sizes, with fewer distractions and more personalized instruction. Fewer students also generally reduces the number of unsafe situations and behavioral challenges that can occur at a school.

2. Class Sizes

Fabulous teachers exist at every school—our area is blessed with some excellent educators! But it is the small class sizes at a private school that enable the creativity and expertise of our teachers to shine. When class sizes stay around 18 students (the average at Blanchet), teachers are able to offer more one-on-one instruction and truly get to know their students and their learning needs. Our alumni consistently name the relationships they developed with their teachers as one of the most valuable aspects of their Blanchet education.

3. Co-curricular Opportunities

Blanchet offers a host of co-curricular opportunities, from performing arts to outdoor clubs to championship-winning sports programs. One of the benefits of belonging to a small student population is the ability to participate in so many of these wonderful activities. With fewer students trying to fill the same limited number of spots, our students are able to try a wide range of activities throughout their Blanchet career. 

4. Academic Rigor

Like many private schools, Blanchet offers a college preparatory curriculum, tailored to bring out the best in each student. We offer a wide variety of Honors and Advanced Placement courses, as well as additional on-site opportunities for college credit through partnerships with Willamette University and Chemeketa Community College. Our excellent college and career counselor, Ms. Brown, is there to answer any post-secondary questions along the way—ensuring you and your child are fully prepared and confident to meet their goals after high school.

5. Faith-Based Values

While we are a Catholic school and therefore build our curriculum and mission around Catholic beliefs and values, we embrace students of all faiths and denominations. We appreciate our ability as a private school to provide a welcoming, faith-based learning environment and a place for conversation for students of all backgrounds. We firmly believe that the values and morals we espouse as a school should echo those taught at home. We are proud to be able to foster well-rounded growth—academically, spiritually, and civically—and allow students a place to be surrounded by others with similar values and work ethics.  

Ultimately, both private and public education offer their own perks. Taking the time to explore your school options during the initial decision-making process can result in a much better, meaningful fit for your child. For those interested in learning more about a private school education in the Salem area, please feel free to schedule a visit or give us a call at (503) 391-2639.

Let's Talk Tuition

March 10, 2020
By Tori Hittner

The price tag of a private school education often deters families who would otherwise be an excellent fit from completing their student’s application. Every year, we field lots of questions regarding scholarships and tuition assistance opportunities. At Blanchet, we strive to ensure that every student who wishes to work hard and be a part of our community should be able to do so. Here’s how the tuition assistance program at our school works. 

Driven by Generosity

Support from our community and donors allows us to set tuition at a level less than the actual cost of a Blanchet education—and provide more than $340,000 in tuition assistance per year. Cost is often perceived as a prohibitive factor for many families throughout the application process; in reality, roughly 40% of Blanchet families receive some amount of assistance toward tuition. It is important to remember that tuition assistance is limited, and therefore it is vital that families submit their tuition requests in a timely and complete manner each year.

Understanding the Process

Tuition assistance is distributed under the following considerations: the results of the processing of tuition assistance forms by a third-party grant management service; the input of members of the school’s Tuition Assistance Committee; and the amount of annual funds budgeted by the school for tuition assistance. Award letters are usually sent to families by April (April 17 for the 2020-21 school year).

Families who disagree with the amount of assistance granted have two options: write a letter to the school’s Tuition Assistance Committee detailing any extraordinary factors that affect their ability to pay or work off part of their tuition by completing tasks for which the school would otherwise contract out. You can find more information about the process in our Student-Parent Handbook.

Meeting the Qualifications

In order to be eligible and considered for tuition assistance, families and students must do the following:

  • Complete the FACTS Tuition Assistance Application and submit it via the FACTS system (including the $40 fee) by the designated date (March 20 for the 2020-21 school year).
  • If you’re a current student: complete the online re-enrollment packet. If you’re a new student: complete the online application process.
  • If you’re a current student: maintain an unweighted GPA of 1.7 or greater. If you’re a new student: finish with an unweighted GPA of 1.7 or greater at your prior school.
  • Pay the comprehensive fee of $425 for each student to be enrolled.
  • Be current on tuition payments for the current school year, or have made arrangements for a payment plan to get current with Mr. Weber.

We want to continue to foster a community of excellence and character at Blanchet, and that means admitting the students who are the best fit for our school, no matter their financial contribution. Our established tuition assistance program allows us to fulfill this mission to the best of our abilities, thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

5 Reasons to Attend Blanchet

March 04, 2020
By Tori Hittner

We know deciding on a Salem-area middle school or high school for your child can be daunting. Many parents are searching for a well-rounded educational experience that fosters both academic and personal growth. At Blanchet, our mission is to cultivate successful students and good people. To that end, here are the top five reasons a Blanchet education is worth the investment.

1. Classrooms for All

Blanchet starts the college preparation process in sixth grade, providing a unique academic challenge for each student—one that meets both their needs and interests. Because of this, Blanchet students consistently outperform state and national averages in PSAT, SAT, and ACT testing. Many of our students find themselves ahead of the curve upon reaching college, having completed the Honors and Advanced Placement courses offered at Blanchet. Additional college credit is available on our campus through partnerships with Willamette University and Chemeketa Community College. 

2. Learning Outside the Classroom

Blanchet believes in the power of activity and service as enhancements to education. Students have opportunities to grow as stewards of their world through community service and campus ministry activities. From plentiful applied and performing arts opportunities to our competitive athletics department, students of all ages and talents are able to find ways to express themselves and develop leadership skills. Students are only limited by their time and interest, and are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones to explore the various co-curricular and service opportunities.

3. Not “Just” Teachers

Blanchet’s faculty is hand-picked to provide students with the challenges they need to grow and the support they need to learn. Teachers on our campus aren’t merely lecturers. They bring experience, practical knowledge, and a passion for lifelong learning that they pass onto their students. With classes smaller than 18 students, our teachers have the ability to teach and build relationships with their students, giving them the knowledge and security to unlock their learning potential. The results speak for themselves, as Cavaliers continue on to college more than 98% of the time—compared to a national average of just 67%, according to the NCES.

4. Community of Excellence

Blanchet fosters relationships with our families and students through open communication lines and the many opportunities for involvement on our campus and in our campus ministry retreat programs. Students are offered a balanced curriculum that integrates faith, culture, service, and life. We emphasize moral development and self-discipline because we believe that education is most successful when what is taught at home is reinforced at school. We view parents as equal partners in their child’s education, faith formation, and personal development. Our goal is to encourage our students’ curiosity and build character in a way that also contributes to the enrichment of society. 

 

5. Learning in a 21st-Century Environment

The Blanchet campus offers students the best facilities in which to learn, play, and socialize. There is something for everyone on our 22-acre campus. Recently renovated spaces like the MakerSpace (a facility for students to apply creativity to science and engineering), computer labs, and Active Board classrooms provide students with the technological tools they need to thrive. Our sports programs enjoy sprawling fields for practice and a beautiful new stadium for competition. Blanchet’s campus is prepared for its growing enrollment and ready to meet the challenge of the evolution of 21st-century academic programs.

Schedule a visit today to discover your own opportunities for excellence at Blanchet.

What to Expect at the 2020 Open House

February 27, 2020
By Tori Hittner

Attending Blanchet means being part of a family--and we’re always looking to invite new members! On Sunday, March 15, we’ll be opening our doors from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. for our annual Open House. We welcome interested families and community members to drop in throughout the event, although we recommend arriving by 2:15 if you want to catch everything! Read on to see what to expect at this year’s Open House. 

Get Acquainted

Upon arrival, please check in at the registration table. We’ll have administrators on hand to welcome you to campus, and learn a little more about you and your prospective student, as well. From there, you’ll be invited to watch a short introductory video and (if you arrive toward the beginning of the event) listen to a testimonial from a current parent.

Meet Staff and Students

The Lee Student Center will be your epicenter for information. Our teachers, administrators, coaches, and club advisors will be available at individual tables to answer your questions and showcase class materials and club projects. We organize the room by subject area, making it easy for you to speak with teachers of the same department and see how the transition process works from course to course and year to year. 

In addition to academic information, the Student Center also serves as an excellent spot to learn more about the co-curricular opportunities Blanchet offers. You’ll have the chance to chat with current students involved in various activities, from athletics to the arts. One of the best assets of a Blanchet education is the well-rounded, co-curricular experience we offer students; the Open House provides the perfect place to discover opportunities your son or daughter could take advantage of and enjoy.

Take a Campus Tour

Tours will be leaving from the Student Center every 20-30 minutes, so join one whenever you wish. Each tour will be led by a faculty or staff member, as well as a student ambassador. You’ll be able to walk around the whole campus, from the new field and weight room to our science building. We invite you to ask questions of your tour guides as they come up throughout your walk; our students and staff are excellent resources for information.

The student store will also be open and handing out swag, so make sure you pop by to get properly geared up to be a Cavalier!

Experience Classroom Demonstrations

While on your tour, you’ll visit key creative spaces like the art room, theater, and MakerSpace. At these locations, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a few of the opportunities available to Blanchet students firsthand: enjoy a scene from our high school spring drama production; view a variety of student art mediums and installations; and watch demonstrations from our Science Olympiad team. 

Get Administrative Questions Answered

We understand you’ll probably have lingering questions at the end of the day, and our administrative staff will be there to help! Both admissions and financial aid tables will be set up in the Student Center, and our CFO, Principal, President, and Director of Admissions will be there to provide any further information on tuition assistance and the enrollment process you may request. 

We often have families who are ready to join the Cavalier community that afternoon. Should you be ready to begin your application at Open House, our administrators will have tablets readily available, and they can walk you through the process.


So, are you ready? It’s time to discover what Blanchet could mean to you. We look forward to seeing you at Open House and are excited to welcome your family onto campus!

Special Notice