I hope you and your family are doing as well as possible given our current circumstances. I think of you often and miss all of your children greatly.
My focus this week has been on listening and learning about how to enhance our remote learning for Lower School students and to design a plan for a more prolonged school closure. Our original learning bundles contain two weeks of skill reinforcement and independent projects/work which will continue through Thursday, April 9. Starting Monday, April 13, we will shift our approach to include direct instruction in academic and special areas.
To prepare for delivering this new experience to our students, next week our teachers will train in a new software app called SeeSaw. SeeSaw is a platform that will allow us to organize your child’s learning on a daily/weekly basis. It will enable us to deliver instructional content and assign, support, and provide feedback on student work. Teachers will also be able to assess student work as appropriate.
We will begin our new virtual program on April 13th. We have attached the new weekly schedule for each grade level. The enhancements to our program include:
Our morning Zoom meetings will begin at 8:30 rather than at 8:00
Direct instruction via Zoom in Math on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Direct instruction via Zoom in Reading on Tuesday and Thursday
Direct instruction via Zoom in Writing/Social Studies on Tuesday and Thursday
Direct Instruction via Zoom in specific Special Area classes each day at 1:00 or 1:45.
A designated hour each day for small group work or one-to-one teacher/student conferencing as deemed necessary by teacher, student and/or parent.
This week, I was part of a virtual meeting with two national educational leaders, Rob Evans and Michael Thompson. They are working closely with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Southeastern Association of Independent School (SAIS), and with independent schools like ours across the country. In their presentation, they spoke about the importance of keeping the four C’s and the E - connection, courage, candor, clarity, and empathy - at the center of all we do. I promise to take their advice to heart, and remain focused on these tenets throughout these challenging times.
We are excited about all that we can do virtually, but nevertheless, these unprecedented times will require us all to be nimble in our thinking while practicing empathy. Our teachers are instructing in new ways while taking care of their own families. Our first and second grade students will likely require an adult’s help, and we know at times that might be difficult. We are here to support you and your children and will stay in close contact with you. It will take a great deal of courage to navigate these new waters, but please know you are not alone. Please reach out to us at any time.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Textline: Text TALK to 741741
Head of the Lower School
Dean of the Lower School
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