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St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School continues through Alexandria school

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This fall, St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School will continue its mission of online education through Queen of Apostles School in Alexandria. Kristie Meyers, principal of St. Isidore, will oversee the transition as the new principal of Queen of Apostles, succeeding current principal Anne Arias. Though many St. Isidore families plan to return to the brick and mortar Catholic schools their children previously attended, some want to continue virtual schooling.


“I’m grateful to be part of this new, innovative way of thinking in Catholic education,” said Meyers, who worked as curriculum coordinator at St. Bernadette School in Springfield before joining St. Isidore in January. Many students thrived in the virtual schooling environment, so she’s excited it will be available in the coming school year.


At Queen of Apostles, Meyers also will implement project-based learning for virtual and in-person students this coming school year, said Renee White, assistant superintendent. “Project-based learning is a student-centered pedagogy that allows for subject integration to solve real world problems,” she said. “Research shows that students retain more because they select the projects.”


St. Isidore opened last fall to accommodate families and educators who wanted to continue with online learning during the pandemic. Twelve teachers, with the help of two faculty members, held virtual classes for around 150 students using diocesan curriculum through the online learning platform Schoology.


As often as she could, Meyers would join the virtual classrooms. She read stories to the kindergarteners and had conversations about faith with students at the start of Lent. She judged a middle school science research project competition and participated in Pi Day activities. “It’s cool to see how the kids are engaged,” she said. “That's where you see that innovation in teaching. I give so much praise to the teachers.”


Parents have been thankful for the opportunity St. Isidore provided, said Meyers. “I’ve heard so many positive things about how we’ve created this unique culture in this virtual world.


“(Families have) felt disconnected from their communities. We’ve helped create this community of St. Isidore. Through one of the most difficult times in our history, they've had somewhere to go to.”


Though the desire for virtual schooling has waned, Meyers is proud of what everyone involved with St. Isidore was able to accomplish this past year. “So many couldn't be in a brick and mortar for whatever reason,” she said. “We were able to serve 150 students and keep them in Catholic school and continue teaching the mission of the Catholic faith. That is the biggest blessing in all of this.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021