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While Sallies teachers teach face to face, their kids learn nearby

Many qualified people have already applied to Sallies' advertisement to run their school within a school for the children of teachers.

The Salesianum School is drawing praise for its newest hire: a schoolhouse director who will supervise the young children of staff members who are learning online while their parents are at work.

And the posting for the temporary job is drawing “a good stream of applicants,” Brendan Kennealey, president of the all-boys Wilmington high school, said today.

“This is such a fantastic idea for the staff,” Jeanine Wisniewski Antonelli wrote on the school’s Facebook page. “I’m considering submitting my resume.”

“I am so happy to see this and so happy for the wonderful teachers that they can go to work knowing their children are in good hands!!!!” wrote Marianne Powell Moore.

The Facebook post as this afternoon drew more than 200 likes, more than 50 loves and one wow.

Kennealey said that he and Father Chris Beretta, principal of the school, independently concluded that such a job would be needed, after they watched staff members cope last spring. “It sounded like a crazy idea at first,” Kennealey said, “but then we realized that we really need to do it.”

Last spring posed a big challenge in which teachers and students across Delaware were suddenly teach and learning at home. But this fall posed a different challenge: private schools like Salesianum are opening with some face-to-face instruction, but public schools are generally opening online.

The school is planning to offer the schoolhouse for free for the 60 or so children of staff members in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“We would have liked to offer day care,” Kennealey said, but there are too many hurdles.

Considering that some of these boys and girls are in hybrid learning in other schools, Salesianum anticipates the daily count will be closer to 25.

It’s considering two spots for the schoolhouse: the library and another spacious, unnamed room.

Salesianum School
Salesianum’s new school for the children of its teachers may be located in its library.

The schoolhouse director will assist students with assigned work, lead on social distancing and other health measures and provide activities for unstructured time. The posting says another adult will help in their studies, and Kennealey said Salesianum is ready to add a third person if the need arises.

Salesianum is asking for applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, with a “strong preference for a candidate with elementary education experience.”

Potential candidates should “be flexible given the nature of the virus’s course, and the variability of Salesianum’s own plans should the rate of positive cases within the school community rise.”

Salesianum on Sunday pushed back its calendar because of delays in getting coronavirus test results. There will be an online assembly on Wednesday. Freshman orientation is Thursday and Friday on campus. The first day is now Monday, Aug. 31.

“We will begin the school year in hybrid mode,” the school website says. “Only students who have completed the COVID testing requirement and submitted results will be permitted to campus for in-person instruction and activities.”

“Salesianum deserves credit for thinking outside the box,” said Cheryl Fleming, director of communications, marketing and technology for the Sanford School in Hockessin.

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