Franciscan Sister Therese Gutting, head of Franciscan Montessori Earth School in Southeast Portland, is waiting for the day when all students can return. In the meantime, students are engaged on-site.

“We have been able to maintain much of our physical education and gardening program, utilizing the acreage that we have available at the school,” said Sister Therese. “Our staff has been incredibly innovative with their planning and execution of these programs, which have safely allowed our students to not only have structured classes, but a chance to socially interact with their peers.”

Marc Boucher-Colbert, the school garden specialist, has created an outdoor curriculum that has allowed a more intense focus on the school’s extensive gardens. Teachers have worked closely with him to allow his work to dovetail with their online curriculum.

Scott Warner, PE teacher, has worked with teachers and students to create a curriculum that is both fun and safe for all involved, added Sister Therese.

The youngest students have been able to attend school, showcasing the skills of staff like Priscilla Winning, Tracie Ott and Mary Ellen Churchil.

“The Franciscan Montessori Earth School has been an extraordinary place for our students in the last several months, as we navigate these difficult times,” Sister Therese said. “I am grateful for the way our staff and community has responded to this challenge.”