I thought I’d take a moment to reach out to you as we end the first week of remote learning. As we expected, we had a few “bumps in the road,” but it’s definitely been better as the week has progressed. We also had a remote faculty meeting on Wednesday to discuss the pros and cons of our remote learning plan, and how to improve it as we move forward. Here are some bullet points I’ve shared with a few parents who have had questions at this stage of the process: 

  • Over half of the Middle School teachers are actually hosting live classes during their designated class times. The kids should log onto the links provided by their teachers at those times. The attendance I’ve been seeing is up to about 90% now in most classes, and some have had perfect attendance! We’re trying to identify students who are missing, too (other than ones who are sick).
  • Some other teachers have been emailing assignments to students and have been available via email to take their questions both during those designated class times and at other times, too. We’re trying to work towards everyone hosting Google Hangout Chats, and hope that is the case by next week.
  • In Lower School, all teachers are hosting live classes and chats with their students via Google Hangouts and some are becoming quite the celebrities with their video creations! I’ve seen several, including Sarah Dewberry’s morning wake-ups, Amy Koloff teaching math, Andrew Frechette’s wonderful “video game,” and, of course, Faith Murphy’s inventive and fun musical creations! All of our Lower School teachers are doing a fabulous job.  Seeing and hearing their teachers is one way to help reassure our younger students during these difficult times?
  • One of the things we’re emphasizing to the students is that it is their job to adhere to the revised schedules we gave them. Most of the classes are occurring when they’d normally have them, so it fits their routine. We also purposely didn’t fill their days up. They are being given assignments and then have free time to work on them (as opposed to homework at night). We think these schedules are therefore manageable and realistic, but will adjust with your feedback as necessary as the days go on.
  • We are also telling students they are responsible for their assignments just like normal and, for Middle School students, will be graded on them. This is really important. Teachers are also listing their assignments in the school portal as usual, so that is another way of receiving them. The majority have set up Google Classrooms and students sign up for these. If you or your child have any questions, please email the particular teacher directly. Assignments and classes are definitely happening daily, and we want to help ensure that kids don’t get behind.
  • I’m also sending out Middle School Morning Meeting emails on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to try and keep a sense of routine going too, which has been a lot of “virtual” fun!

To close, I’d like to say that while this has been difficult, I think the positives we’ve seen this week far outweigh the problems! I’ve seen assignments being discussed remotely along with humor, compassion, discussion, and camaraderie. We’ve seen wonderful examples of student work, kids’ cute pets, and a palpable sense of relief that we can still interact with each other. I’m so proud of our whole faculty, staff, and administrative team for how quickly this all came together and how well it is working overall. And, of course, kudos to both the students and parents for navigating this new reality, too! As we keep saying, we’re all in this together, and together we’ll get through it! We can’t wait to see you in person again!