We hope you are safe and well while caring for yourself and your loved ones during this difficult time. As we look toward the upcoming weeks, it is important our Lower School community gains an understanding of the specific challenges we face and how best to move forward. Research done on our Index schools (independent schools roughly the same size across the country) has indicated that Lower School plans for remote learning look quite different from Middle and Upper Schools. Developmentally, older students are able to work more independently which dovetails well with an online course schedule. Our Lower School students need more hands-on assistance and do not learn as well when at a computer screen for a long period of time. We took this into consideration when we developed our two week learning bundles and planned our community time via Morning Meetings on Zoom.
We have received questions about the upcoming weeks; specifically, do we have a plan to increase the amount of online instructional time? For the next two weeks (weeks of March 30 and April 6) we will follow the plan we sent home prior to Spring Break, with the addition of a Wednesday morning Zoom morning meeting. Our teachers will communicate specific information about the upcoming week’s work by 6:00 each Sunday night. Our goal is to help students and parents understand what they need to do related to the pages in the learning bundles as well as the skills to be practiced through IXL. Teachers will be accessible for questions during the times listed in our prior email. We have attached the schedule set forth in that email for your reference. We hope you can also use this schedule as a guide to help you establish a meaningful routine for completing expected items for each content area.
Like you, we are uncertain what will happen after April 10th, but we can assure you that we continue to research best practices and evolve our remote learning program. We have been in close contact with our teachers this week. In addition, when we return from Spring Break, we are having a Lower School faculty meeting to discuss additions we can make to enhance engagement and continued learning for our students. Following that meeting, we will update you. If the closure continues, we will be adding direct instructional time and more meaningful interactions with all of our teachers.
One more thing that I am learning during this challenging time is that there are no clear answers to any of our questions. What one person claims is the right thing to do, another has other ideas. What one group of parents thinks is necessary for their children’s continued growth, another is saying quite the opposite. Please know that we take all concerns seriously, and as always, we are listening and working hard to offer the very best growth opportunities for our children.
Head of the Lower School
Dean of the Lower School