Thomas Paine never imagined that his words in his essay The Crisis could be so apropos in March, 2020: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” As we begin this new way of living, I wanted to reach out to you to share what lies ahead, at least in the next few weeks. First, however, I must thank you as parents, your Upper School student, and our talented, creative, and committed faculty for the success of our remote, virtual distance learning experience of last Wednesday and Thursday.
So, while I hope and pray that you all remain safe and healthy now and in the weeks ahead, and students relax and disengage academically for the remaining days of our Spring Break, I do want to share what the week of March 30th will look like, and please expect updates on a weekly basis. The virtual learning model that worked so well last week will have the following components beginning next Monday, the 30th:
- For the week of March 30th, Upper School students and teachers will follow an unabbreviated A week schedule (8:10-3:15 Mon, Tue, Thurs, and Friday and 9:10-3:15 on Wednesday). All subsequent week schedules will remain with this same schedule.
- Teachers will post a weekly plan on the bulletin board of their class websites by Sunday, the 29th, at 6:00 p.m. This should include Zoom class meeting times, assignment due dates, office hour availability, and connection information for virtual meetings.
- Classes will meet virtually twice per week in the Upper School.
- Teachers will choose two out of their four meeting blocks to meet virtually with their classes. A minimum of 30-minutes per class meeting is required. If faculty choose to use the full class time, they will need to be mindful that students will need virtual passing time to connect with their next class.
- Teachers will take attendance during their two virtual class meetings via Blackbaud. Attendance is required for all Zoom sessions. Please contact Mr. Hilpert if your child is unable to attend for any reason. His email address is email@example.com
- In addition to virtual class meetings, faculty will plan assignments that will require student learning and engagement for 20-30 minutes for each additional block that they teach.
- Office Hours - Teachers will be online via Zoom for questions regarding assignments. Specific office hours will be displayed by individual teachers, and may not be during the hours they teach classes each day. Further guidelines will be announced and posted.
- Advisors should check in with advisees at least once per week via Zoom or email.
- Students should remain present for the entire Zoom session.
- Students should not be on cell phones during Zoom sessions.
- Students should show either their own actual background or one of the background options from Zoom.
In addition, to these guidelines, I know that many of you have questions: how long will this educational paradigm last?; how will I be assessed?; Commencement-will it happen and when?; AP exams-will they be given?; spring sports-will they resume?; Prom- will it happen?; and many more. While all legitimate questions, we simply have to remain optimistic, open-minded, resilient, safe, and healthy, and see how this pandemic plays out here in Charleston and South Carolina. I will keep you posted with updates as I learn them. I know that Fran Ridgell, our Upper School counselor, and Charles Echols, our Upper School chaplain, are available to help in any way that you or your student may need. I, along with Mr. Hilpert, our Upper School Dean, are available as well in case you have further questions or concerns. Email will be the best way to contact us. I hope this information helps for the time being. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns. We are all in this together. Be strong!
Brad Gilman,Upper School Head
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Head of the Upper School
Dean of the Upper School