Principal Browne Addresses Questions About Spring Activities


Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Recent changes due to the COVID-19 virus have led to many questions within the NDA community.. 

With students wondering about the usual spring activities, such as graduation, the Tritonian went to Principal Patrick Browne for answers.

The decision to cancel school before the state made it mandatory was made by the school leadership team in collaboration with GRACE.

Overall, the move to online learning has been a success among students and their teachers who have collaborated together to make learning relevant and ongoing.. 

I am fortunate to work with a lot of really intelligent people.  Working together we were able to establish expectations for how online learning would take place. To be honest, the Holy Spirit had a lot to do with guiding our school,” said Mr. Browne. 

It has not been easy, though, especially not getting to learn with and see our peers and staff everyday.

Mr. Browne sees that as the hardest part. 

The biggest challenge for me personally was having to put on a positive and happy face while seeing the students clean out their lockers.  Working with students is what brings me the greatest joy in life. Seeing them leave under such difficult circumstances was and still is very sad,” he said.

Still, we are together as a community to help one another, even if online. Mr. Greg Geiser had the idea to have each academic department work as a team to help create online lessons, strategies, and more. 

“This idea was brilliant because it decentralized leadership and created a strong sense of purpose for each department.  The departments check in with one another weekly, and each member of the department was given another teacher who would call and check in on each other.  This created a support network to mitigate some of the stress,” said Browne.

As for students keeping up with credits, that is necessary not only for them but also for hiring next year. 

“Imagine if we cannot have summer gym.  Then we have to have 60 additional students take gym during the year.  The school then needs to hire another PE teacher. Hiring additional teachers is very expensive, and the budget has already been created for next year, so then the budget would need to be redone.  Everything is interdependent in a school, and any one thing not going according to plan creates a lot of additional issues,” said Browne.

As far as graduation, the teachers and administrators are committed to having all of the students graduate on time. 

“We can be very forgiving, but it is important for students to do their part,” he said. 

As far as events being cancelled, a system for making decisions has been set in place and based on a series of decision-making dates. 

“For instance,” the principal explained, “with graduation we know the date on the calendar is late May.  We have decided that on April 20 we will make a decision if graduation will take place on the regular date or it will be pushed back a month into June.  If we need to push it back, then on May 20 we will decide if we will need to push it into July.” 

Such decisions would probably be dependent on government decrees, such as the recent Stay at Home call for self-isolation.

“I really do not want to cancel any of the important things the students look forward to every year so we are going to try very hard to make cancellations only when absolutely no other options exist,” said the principal.

“Very early in this process,” he continued, “I decided to give the students my cell phone number as many students left books in the school, and no one was at school to get them their books.  I also wanted to make sure I could help anyone who needed assistance. Students have been very respectful and only called when they needed something.”