- OCT 12 - HOUSE RETREAT REMINDERS
- SEPT. 15 - SCOTTSDALE PD AND TRAFFIC FLOW
- SEPT. 2 - HEALTH ADVISORS FOLLOW UP
- AUGUST 29 - COVID UPDATE
- AUGUST 19 AND 20 - ONLINE OBSERVER OPTION FOR QUARANTINED STUDENTS
- AUGUST 18 - SENIOR CHECKLIST (1ST SEMESTER)
- JULY 28 - STUDENT ORIENTATION
- JULY 26 - WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF HOPE
- JULY 12 - DUAL LEADERSHIP MODEL - ADMINISTRATION
- AUGUST 9 - MITIGATION UPDATE
- JULY 6 - CHANGE TO MICROSOFT - IT DEPT.
October 12, 2021
Dear NDP Families,
As a Catholic college preparatory high school, we are called not just to educate our students, but to help them form and deepen a greater understanding of and relationship with God, through His Son Jesus Christ.
Faith Formation is of high importance and a responsibility that is at the heart of what we do here at NDP. We are a Catholic Christian family and families need special time in which to bond. For this reason, we hold a once-a-year All-School House Retreat, full of praise, worship, inspiration, and fun!
This year the theme for Thusday's retreat is Survivor: Together in Hope. During this Survivor-themed retreat we will out pray and out play with purpose. We cannot bond as a community if students opt out and so the All-School House Retreat is mandatory for all students, staff, and faculty.
Please take note that the consequences for any unexcused absence from the House retreat will include:
A meeting with our principal Dr. Sweeney and me to discuss why your student missed the retreat (see policy in the handbook for “Absences at Liturgical Functions at a Catholic school”).
A makeup assignment to be completed in person, after school, on a date I select. The assignment will include watching part of the talks given during the retreat and discussion with me or another theology teacher.
This assignment will be a grade in the student’s theology class.
I pray that all in our community will attend and encounter Christ in his/her own way on this day. Remember that the day will run from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Supervised study rooms will be available from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. that day.
Students are asked to wear their House shirts with uniform bottoms. They will report to their families first thing and then attend Mass, eat breakfast, and enjoy a day of spiritual significance.
Fr. Kurt, Campus Chaplain
September 15, 2021
Dear NDP Parents,
The Scottsdale Police Department met with our administration this week regarding concerns they have with our pick-up and drop-off procedures. To continue our great working relationship with the City of Scottsdale, we will be complying with their requests to ensure the safety of our staff and students.
The city warned us about parents lining up on 98th Street early to pick our students up from NDP. They see the current situation as unsafe and have notified us that in two weeks, they will begin issuing tickets to anyone who is parked on 98th Street prior to 2:10 p.m., Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and before 1:40 p.m. on Wednesdays. Please abide by their requests and arrive after the aforementioned times.
They also noted that our campus security guards can no longer direct traffic before or after school as that is a duty that must be carried out by City of Scottsdale police officers. We are currently working with Scottsdale officials to provide traffic control officers to handle this important safety detail.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have on your commute. Please remember that we provide supervised quiet homework rooms for students until 4:30 p.m. every day except Wednesday. On Wednesdays, supervision is available in the pick-up lines until 2:15 p.m. You can avoid the line by arriving a few minutes after school is dismissed.
NOTE: All faculty and staff attend professional development and departmental meetings on Wednesday afternoons. Please pick up your students before 2:15 p.m.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Eugene M. Sweeney, Ph.D.
September 2, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians,
On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to meet with twelve healthcare professionals from our community and our administrative team to discuss our approach to COVID. The focus of the evening's conversation was on three issues:
Whether we should require vaccination?
Whether we should continue to contact trace and quarantine?
Whether we should require masks earlier than the time recommended in Tier Three of our mitigation plan?
We thank them here for their participation publicly and want you to know that we had a spirited exchange that gave everyone the opportunity to voice their educated and civil positions on what each felt was the right approach to take.
We spent most of the evening on the last question as it seemed clear that all agreed that we should continue to not require vaccination and that we should continue to contact trace and quarantine as we are currently doing.
Each professional provided data and shared their opinion about how we should move forward. We discovered, upon reflection, that the evidence-based research for how to deal with COVID is still developing and uncertain. Frankly, the diverse opinions in the room mirror the diverse feelings in our community and it was a good exchange for all of us to hear as these health professionals shared their varied assessments.
We hope that you all understand that these are not easy decisions to make. The conversation was helpful though and considering what we heard Tuesday night, we have decided that for the time being, we are going to maintain our current course with our planned tiered approach. The implementation of required masking will take place in Tier Three when/if 3% of our population tests positive for COVID-19 at the same time. We will continue to contact trace and quarantine following the MCDPH and AIA guidelines, and we will continue to recommend but not require vaccination.
As always, we will monitor our experience daily and make decisions based upon that information. We will keep you informed and welcome your input!
The Executive Team
Notre Dame Prep
August 29, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope that you are enjoying a restful Sunday.
I'm writing to you today with a twofold purpose: one, to prepare you for the possibility of our move to Tier Three of our COVID-19 Mitigation Plan and two, to explain the Catholic position on vaccination and our plan to seek additional evidence-based research and advice on that topic, and the issue of face mask efficacy.
Our guidance for parents as you discern how to guide your children through their experience with COVID-19 has been focused on the basic principle of allowing as much reasonable choice as possible. Our tiered approach to the virus is formed by our actual experience on the ground.
Tier Three will be implemented if approximately three percent of our school population is actively infected with COVID-19 at the same time. That percentage equates to 30 students and staff actively infected with COVID-19. We monitor this number closely and our current situation as of this writing is that we have 23 positive active cases right now with 8 dropping off on Monday because they wil have finished their quarantine. The details of the Tiered Mitigation Plan are provided here: NDP Tiered Mitigation Plan.
Regarding vaccines, no one at Notre Dame Preparatory has been or will be required to recieve a vaccine. We have, however, encouraged vaccination. We have also encouraged choice with regard to the use of face coverings and will continue to do so until we reach a level of infection that dictates to us the need to require the use of masks. We require, more rigorously, quarantine upon exposure for those who are not vaccinated and, at the same time, do not require quarantine upon exposure for those who are vaccinated. This follows the guidance of the CDC and Maricopa Department of Public Health but is an open question.
Our policy development has been guided by the Bible, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and various private and public agencies who are charged with providing guidance on mitigating the spread of disease:
- The Centers for Disease Control
- The Arizona Department of Health Services
- The Maricopa Department of Public Health
- The Diocese of Phoenix
We have also been blessed with useful input from medical professionals and members of our own community. We have taken a middle-of-the-road approach to deal with the spread of COVID-19 that balances the potential impacts of the virus with being mindful of our students' mental health.
The Catholic Church's guidance on the position of vaccination comes from the document Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines written by the Chairmen of the Committee on Doctrine and the Committee on Pro-Life Activities from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This document and the guidance of Bishop Olmsted to reference the work of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Charlotte Lozier Institute help us by saying that “...practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary. In any case, from the ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one's own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good. In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed. Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Note on the Morality of Using some Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines)
The ethical dilemma that these writers aptly describe, and that we face regarding vaccination or even masking, is to try our best to discern where the greatest common good lies. What reasonable actions should we take to protect ourselves and one another? At Notre Dame Preparatory we have chosen not to mask because we feel that it is in the best interest of the social and emotional health of our students and staff. Earlier this year, I took the advice of the medical professionals who consulted to the Diocese on the issue of vaccination and recommended to our community that they strongly consider vaccination as their advice was that "...vaccination was the only way out of this."
Ironically, while having received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine last February, I have contracted COVID in the past ten days. It is true that there are no certainties in life other than the love of Jesus Christ. Despite my personal experience, I still recommend vaccination not to be coercive but because, following Church guidance, it charitably serves the greater good.
Considering the increase in occurrences of infection of previously vaccinated individuals and my personal experience, I am open to research and discussion about the issue of required quarantine for those who have been vaccinated. The current stance of the CDC and the Maricopa Department of Public Health is that those that have been vaccinated do not need to quarantine. I would also like to obtain the most current evidence-based research about the use of face masks.
With the goal of making an informed decision about these issues, I will be hosting a meeting this week with medical professionals in our community to discuss the research and options. I will share the results of that meeting with the community the following week.
Hopefully, we will not need to move to Tier Three, but if we do, we will do so after prayerful thought and consideration. Please know that we monitor our situation on an hourly basis and care deeply about the health and safety of everyone here. We appreciate your continued involvement and input!
Gene Sweeney, Ph.D.
NOTE: THIS LETTER HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR CLARIFICATION
August 20, 2021
Dear NDP Community,
In response to the increasing number of our students on quarantine, the feedback that we have received from the surveys last week, and the input of our staff, we have decided to amend our COVID policy regarding online access to classes.
Starting Monday, August 23, quarantined students only will have the option to watch their classes live as an online observer in Microsoft Teams or continue to watch the instructional video of their classes after school.
Here are some things you should know before Monday:
- The Online Observer Option is for quarantined students only
- Online observers will be able to interact with their teachers through the chat function of Teams, and teachers will monitor the chat box during class. Students do not have to turn on their cameras while observing the class.
- Homework assignments will be posted on Canvas for all courses including PE.
- To maintain test integrity there will be no online assessments given. Quarantined students will have the number of days absent plus one extra day to obtain help with covered material and make up any missing assessments and assignments. We love our students and want them to do well and taking tests in person is best for them.
If you are unfamiliar with Teams please watch this short video on how to download and access Teams.
If you have any technical difficulties with Teams, please send a helpdesk ticket to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our IT team will assist you.
If you have further questions or concerns, please contact me at (480) 634-8201 or email email@example.com.
I ask that you continue to pray and ask God to heal and protect those who are ill and all who care for them. Our HOPE is in the Lord, that he will give us strength to persevere through these ever-changing times.
Eugene M. Sweeney, Ph.D.
Principal, Notre Dame Prep
August 18, 2021
Dear Seniors and Senior Parents,
Now that your final year at NDP has begun, it is time to take care of some “senior business.” Believe it or not, we need to talk yearbooks, caps, gowns and diplomas!
Here is your first round of senior items to check off your list:
- We need to order your graduation items soon to ensure that we have them by May 20, Commencement Day. Please fill out your senior verification form by Sept. 3
- Seniors will be assigned a yearbook photo session for either Sept. 10, 11, 17 or 18. The session will take place on our campus. Soon you will receive a letter from Prestige Photography notifying you of the date and time of your appointment. If the assigned appointment time doesn't work for you, you can reschedule directly with Prestige. All senior photos MUST be taken by Nov. 11.
- It is our tradition to include a baby/toddler photo of our seniors in the yearbook. Submit your baby photo via email to Mrs. Strolic by Dec. 15 (Note: high resolution jpg, png or pdf formats work best and provide the highest quality).
- The deadline to purchase your senior yearbook ad Dec. 15 (for the early bird pricing) or Jan. 15 with a late fee added. Click here to fill out the Yearbook Ad Form. When you reserve your space, let us know if you will design your own ad or have our yearbook staff design it for you. Simply upload your finished ad, or all your photos (in high resolution jpg, png or pdf formats) and a Word Doc with your ad message to Mrs. Strolic.
- Attend the mandatory Senior Parent Information Night set for 5 p.m., Oct. 4 in the theater (PAC).
- Seniors! Please plan to attend the Senior Sunrise – the first of many special events planned for you this year. It is set for 6:30 a.m. on August 31 on Bemis Field.
- Mark your calendars! Project Grad is set for May 20, after the Class of 2022 graduation ceremony. More details and registration information for Project Grad will come in September.
You can find more important dates on the Senior Information page on our website. We hope this letter helps you get organized and ready for one of the most exciting years of your life. It is our goal to make it as easy as possible for you to take care of business so that you can enjoy this very special year. Mrs. Lachvayder, our designated senior coordinator, is ready and able to assist you if you have any questions.
Yours in Christ,
Assistant Principal of Student Services
July 28, 2021
Welcome Back, Saints!
Our faculty, administration and staff are so excited to welcome our students back to campus in less than two weeks. We HOPE everyone had a safe and exciting summer.
This year we will be conducting back-to-school orientation for ALL STUDENTS, and attendance is REQUIRED. Orientation will take place on Monday, August 9 and Tuesday, August 10.
Please park in the senior parking lot adjacent to Bemis Field. Mass attire is required for all freshman, sophomore and junior students. Seniors are required to be in their black NDP polos with uniform bottoms. Students must follow the grooming guidelines laid out in the 2021-22 student handbook. Photos will not be taken and ID’s not distributed to students who are not in compliance.
The orientation schedule is as follows:
Monday, August 9 – St. Catherine of Bologna Performing Arts Center
All Transfer Students 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
We ask that a parent or guardian accompany their new Saint for this social and informative orientation session with NDP Administration, counseling staff, faculty and student leaders. Transfer students may additionally choose to attend their class-level orientation.
Class of 2022 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Class of 2023 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Class of 2024 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 10 – NDP Gymnasium
Class of 2025 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.
The NDP Administration, counselors, faculty and student leaders look forward to welcoming the freshmen students and their parents. Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.
We look forward to seeing everyone very soon!
Director of Enrollment
Click here to watch a special message from our new principal, Dr. Sweeney.
July 26, 2021
We are getting closer to the start of the 2021-22 school year: the Year of Hope!
Here is a quick back-to-school checklist to help you prepare for the first day of school.
- Read and sign the student/parent handbook (due August 11)
- Purchase a parking permit if you are a student driver
- Fill out the vehicle information form if you haven't already done so
- Turn in your Parish Verification Form if you are a practicing Catholic family
- Fill out the athletic clearance information if you are an athlete
- Get your AIA sports physical if you are an athlete
- Purchase your school uniform pieces from Anton Uniforms or at our Used Uniform Sale (skirts must be to the knee for girls and belts are required for boys)
- Make your haircut appointment, picture days are Aug. 9 and 10 (hair must be regulation length)
- Finish your summer reading assignments
- Add funds to your student meal plan
- Make your IT appointment if you need to set up your computer (new students only)
- Familiarize yourself with your Outlook email account
- Class schedules will be sent out the week of Aug. 2
- Check PowerSchool before the start of school for the most updated schedule information
- Learn the name of your counselor and how to get in touch with him/her if the need arises
- Parents must complete or renew their Safe Environment Training https://phoenix.cmgconnect.org/
July 12, 2021
Dear NDP Families,
We hope this letter finds you rested and enjoying the summer. It is hard to believe that in just a month we will all be together again to begin a new school year. This year’s theme is HOPE: Honor, Offer, Peace, Enrich. In this year of HOPE, we wish to lift up the community through these words and our actions. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13
We are excited to announce that this year we are moving to the dual executive leadership model with a President and a Principal. The purpose of this division is to properly serve the school in the day-to-day operations as well as look forward to the future of NDP and how it will continue to thrive.
Mrs. Jill Platt will serve as President and her chief responsibilities include all business aspects of the school: advancement, communications, facilities, finance, fundraising, information technology, marketing and public relations. She will be responsible for the sustainability and growth of Notre Dame Prep.
Dr. Gene Sweeney will serve as Principal and his chief responsibilities include leadership in developing and implementing the academic program, curriculum, co-curricular activities (clubs, athletics, House System), and staff and faculty development. He will be responsible for the operation of the school.
The President and the Principal share in the responsibilities of executing the mission and vision of the school. Each will report directly to Dominic Salce, Superintendent of the Diocese of Phoenix’s Catholic schools.
Faith formation on campus will be led by Fr. Kurt Perera who will work in coordination with the President and the Principal to bring Christ to our students, faculty, staff and parents through the sacraments, bible studies, retreats and Christian service.
In a few days, you will receive the 2021-22 Saints 101 booklet in the mail. It will serve as your resource guide for all things NDP. In it, you will find our communication chains for academics, activities and athletics and a list of who to call if you need help with any department at Notre Dame Prep. Our communications flow provides an avenue for effective and efficient responses to your immediate needs. You can find more information at https://www.ndpsaints.org/quicklinks/communications.
If you do not receive your booklet in the mail by the end of next week, please contact our registrar to make sure that your mailing address is correct in our database.
Thank you for entrusting the education of your sons and daughters to us. It is through our Catholic faith and our NDP pillars of Reverence, Respect, and Responsibility that we will continue to discover the saint in each of them.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and may God bless you,
Jill Platt, M.Ed. Gene Sweeney, Ph.D.
President, NDP Principal, NDP
(480) 634-8202 (480) 634-8202
August 9, 2021
Dear NDP Community,
Providing our students an exemplary, faith-based Catholic education in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment is our primary function. This is why we continue to plan for and monitor the changes around us concerning COVID-19 and the new variant.
We are taking a very measured approach to keep our students, faculty, staff, and parents safe while adding a sense of normalcy to the lives of our students.
At this point in time, we are moving forward with the mitigation policy that I laid out for you last week, with the exception that all students; vaccinated and unvaccinated, must get tested prior to going on a school-sanctioned trip, such as Aravaipa Farms in September, Kairos, and others.
- Masks are still optional
- Vaccines are optional, but highly encouraged
- Everyone must monitor their symptoms before coming to campus and stay home if feeling ill or experiencing fever, coughing, chills, etc.
- Classes are on campus
- Asynchronous instruction will be available for absent students
- Students who test positive must quarantine for 10 days
- Notify firstname.lastname@example.org of any positive cases within your family.
It’s important to note that this is a fluid situation. If our school population sees an increase in positive cases, we will adapt our policy accordingly and keep you aware of changes immediately. You can stay informed by monitoring the Health and Safety page on our website where we will update our mitigation policy if necessary and keep a running total of positive cases on campus through our COVID Dashboard (also found on the Health and Safety page).
We remain hopeful for this school year and we are determined to see our Saints on campus, learning and thriving, while striking that important balance between normalcy, liberty and responsibility for ourselves and to our neighbors.
Please pray for our students and young people everywhere who are suffering serious psychological effects from the pandemic. Also lift up in prayer those stricken with the illness and those who care for them.
Blessings to you all,
Dr. Gene Sweeney
Principal, Notre Dame Prep
Click here for a printable version of the above letter.
July 6, 2021
Dear NDP Families,
For better security and functionality for our students, staff and faculty, we are switching email providers.
On Friday, July 9, we will begin migrating student email accounts from Google to Microsoft. This process will continue until Friday, July 16.
During this time, students will not have access to their school email. If we have any back-to-school information to share during that time, we will alert you via text, our website and social media.
Once the migration is complete, students can follow the instructions below to access their email via Microsoft. All their current emails will be saved and migrated over to their new account.
To access your Outlook email after July 16, go to Office.com and sign in with your current school email address and password. Once you sign in, click on the Outlook icon on the left side of the screen to view your emails. If you are a new student to NDP, you will receive your email address and password at your IT appointment.
Please remember, once migrated, your email will no longer go directly to your phone. You will need to delete the old email from your phone and set it up again but wait until after Friday, July 16 to set up your email on your phone.
If you have any questions, please contact the helpdesk at email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience during this process.
Director of Information Technology
Notre Dame Prep
Our communication flow is vital to the success of our school. For all questions and concerns we have a chain of communication in place to effectively satisfy the needs of our parents and students.
ACADEMICS CHAIN OF COMMUNICATION
Should a concern arise in the classroom or with a student’s grades the following procedure should be followed:
To help students build self-advocacy skills, the first line of communication should always begin between the student and the teacher. Click here for our staff directory.
After the student has communicated with the teacher, then the parents can contact the teacher directly via email if need be.
If the issue remains unresolved, the parent should then communicate his/her concern with the department chair or child's counselor.
Parents should only contact the Assistant Principal of Learning Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) if the chain of communication has been exhausted.
ATHLETICS/ACTIVITIES CHAIN OF COMMUNICATION
Should a concern arise during an athletic season, House or club event the following procedure should be followed:
To help students and student-athletes build self-advocacy skills, the first line of communication should always begin between the student and the coach, Head of House or club moderator.
After the student has communicated with the coach, Head of House or moderator, then the parents can contact them directly via email if need be.
If the issue remains unresolved, the parent should then communicate his/her concern with the Athletic Director (email@example.com) or Co-Directors of House System (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
Parents should only contact the Assistant Principal of Student Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) if the chain of communication has been exhausted.
CHAIN OF COMMUNICATION FOR ALL OTHER DEPARTMENTS
For all other concerns or questions, we have many faculty and staff members ready and willing to help you. Please see the list (see right) of the names of who to call if you need help with any of our many departments at Notre Dame Prep.