March 18, 2020
Dear Lower School Families,
It was wonderful to see all of you yesterday! Thank you for coming to school and collecting student workbooks, materials, devices, and belongings. Teachers were deeply touched by your words of encouragement, gratefulness, and generosity during this unprecedented time. The temporary closure of our school has been heart-breaking for us all. There is an enormous sense of loss right now among teachers as we grapple with not being able to interact, converse, and guide our students in person. That said, we are on our way to establishing a new normal. Teachers have been working diligently in their classrooms as they prepare to transition to distance learning. Our goal is to continue to provide purposeful education and excellent communication through online platforms for as long as required.
Distance learning will begin Monday, March 23rd. Lower School will be operating in an asynchronous format, which allows students to access assignments and complete work at their own pace. The main online platforms that teachers will be using are Google Classroom and Zoom. We will also be sending things through the mail from time to time, as this type of blended approach is better suited for young learners.
Google Classroom will act as our central hub for communication. It’s where teachers will post videos, assignments, quizzes, questions, and schedules. Students can upload pictures, provide comments, and chat with teachers and peers. You will be able to access your daily/weekly routine here! On a side note, as you begin accessing teacher videos through Google Classroom, you will most likely need to download the video before it appears.
Zoom will be our virtual meeting place! Teachers will be inviting students to meet individually or with the entire class! It’s a great way to check in with each other visually and keep that feeling of community!
Daily Schedule / Routines & Procedures
You can expect approximately three to four hours of work each day. Your child’s classroom teacher will provide a suggested daily schedule in an effort to help establish and maintain important routines and procedures at home. We understand that childcare will look different for each family, and that it may be difficult to follow a set routine M-F. That said, young learners thrive in environments that provide consistent routines and clear expectations. As mentioned in a previous blog post, here are a few things to consider when setting up a workspace at home for your child:
- Create a permanent space for your child to work that is free from distractions
- Have materials easily accessible (sharpened pencils, writing paper, scissors etc)
- Have a basket for finished work
- Allow for optional seating (sitting, standing, laying down, bean bags)
- Keep students comfortable – allow them to have their water bottle and a snack handy while working
- Establish important routines and procedures at home
In addition to daily online interactions, we will also stay in contact through email and by phone. Teachers are available for questions and concerns M-F from 9:00-3:00. All K-4 classroom teachers have provided families with their personal cell phone numbers, but email is the preferred method of communication.
Please know that I am always available, and happy to help in any way I can. I will be reaching out each week to different families to check in and see how things are going. I am eager to set up Zoom meetings with the kids and see their smiling faces!
Lastly, I want to thank you in advance for having patience with us as we navigate online teaching platforms that are entirely new. We expect there to be some glitches here and there along the way, but overall we hope that our students find distance learning to be engaging, exciting, and a continuation of the great learning that takes place at our school on a daily basis.
I look forward to speaking with you, or “zooming” soon!
Lower School Division Director