I want to start by sharing this fun video recently featured on Yahoo that was created by one of our middle school students, Taarini G. Great work Taarini! You brought a smile to many people’s faces!
As we wrap up our second week of distance learning, I am grateful for the progress we have made, and we are all working hard to learn, adapt and improve. The feedback has been primarily positive both from our community and from many schools internationally who are looking to us a model for distance learning. In fact, a representative from Apple reached out and asked if their company could share our distance learning website and resources to their global educator network as an exemplar. We recognize there is room for improvement and I am excited to see how we grow as a community in the weeks to come.
I want to share a few highlights I heard this week.
In elementary school we logged over 20,000 unique posts between all of our students and faculty. The elementary school has developed a distance learning plan that is intentional, sustainable, and will build over time to grow and meet the capabilities of our youngest learners. We have planned to work with parents to increase intensity over four weeks using three foundational goals: building routines; building engagement; and strengthening engagement, interactions, and relationships. For the first week and a half, distance learning has focused on building routines, first with literacy and math and then with the addition of world language, art, music, and PE. Starting today, we built on those skills to introduce synchronous classroom sessions to deepen engagement. In the next two weeks, teachers will be introducing more support for more social studies, science, and STEAM activities.
In middle school we have been averaging a record rate of 99 percent attendance. Even virtually, the middle school continues to be committed to bringing the joy and making connections among students. A fun example is this “pass the fruit” activity from Dr. Cody Howitt and his middle school advisory! Our middle school band classes had the very rare opportunity to spend a bigger chunk of time playing alone and learning to really pay attention to their own sound and to get to know themselves better as individual musicians. They have had some fun along the way, trying a few new music technology platforms and finding new ways to keep doing what works well.
In high school, we are offering distance learning versions of all classes—from economics to ceramics, from history to PE, from Chinese to chemistry. Please look at these examples of how art teacher, Barbara Harvey has created a series of themed challenges for her students to spark their creativity, create connections, and bring joy to the work. And, our students are flexing their creative muscles (both literally and metaphorically) with fun Zoom sessions like this one created by Blair S.
There are many more stories like these across campus. We are excited to continue learning more about how we can create engaging learning while fostering stronger connections.
I also know there are many questions from parents. Please continue to refer to our updated FAQ section on our website where we address some current questions around what is happening with graduation, MAP testing, bus fees and EAA fees.
Thank you for your continued support and stay well!