LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE
The value of our School’s independence, culture, and capacity for swift adaptation has been thoroughly demonstrated during this unprecedented period. Namely:
- In March, we pivoted to remote instruction when we decided it was the right time to act in the interest of our learning community’s health and safety, rather than relying on state, county, or district approval to do so.
- Instead of being bound by mandates or impeded by tradition, our creative and dedicated teachers, ably guided by divisional and departmental leaders, began designing curricula in January that would allow our highly motivated students to thrive in challenging new conditions.
- We regularly solicit and respond to constructive feedback from students, their parents, and our faculty and staff—all of which is continuing to help us get better.
- We worked with our students to ensure that their experience of school surpassed academic transactions, such that we have sustained our community’s spirit and joy across all three divisions.
- All evidence indicates that, due to the quality of our remote program (which allows our teachers to focus the full measure of their energy and attention on instruction and fostering a sense of connection), our students are learning content and skills at a rate and with a depth that is comparable to campus instruction.
- Rather than drifting into the isolation, boredom, and anxiety that have been so broadly reported to be the norm for school-age children across the country, our students—with the support of the constellation of adults surrounding them virtually and at home—have discovered silver linings, such as improved resilience, self-sufficiency, and executive functioning skills. Their self-esteem remains healthy, and their appetite for returning to campus remains strong. This isn’t to say it hasn’t been hard, or that every moment has been happy, but rather to say that we should all be proud of our well our students have striven to persevere.
To the degree that confidence is derived partly from the memory of success, these lessons are invaluable as we ready ourselves for the spring semester, which will require a redoubled effort from all concerned given the difficulties we anticipate facing should we find ourselves providing both campus and remote instruction simultaneously.
As we move forward, we recognize that the limit of our aspiration to be together must be established by our obligation to protect the health and safety of our students and their families, our employees and their families, and the surrounding world. For this reason, our fundamental goal is still to deliver a superb experience of learning and community to our students under any conditions, such that in the fullness of time—when a multilayered national strategy is in place and a vaccine is broadly distributed, and the present landscape is changed for the better—we will all join in celebrating a new and admirable level of excellence.
With these thoughts in mind, please review the following program descriptions thoroughly, keeping in mind that we intend to approach the spring semester with tremendous flexibility, and equal regard for both people’s physical health and mental and emotional stress. Please direct your questions, suggestions, and concerns regarding academic matters to either Mrs. Molly Bozzo, the head of the lower and middle divisions, or to Dr. Dan Griffiths, the head of the upper division.
Additional notes regarding remote instruction: privacy, acceptable use, proper conduct
In order to facilitate remote learning, the School is recording audio and video of some classes, meetings, and other School related events such that students may view such recordings at later times. The School does not edit these recordings, which in some cases may capture participating students’ names, appearances, voices, personal information and characteristics, activities, and any other information that occurs or is provided during the recordings. By participating in such sessions, families’ consent to the School’s recording of remote learning activities, as described above, is implied.
Families are reminded that the School’s acceptable use of technology policy is in effect during any period of remote learning. Students are expected to treat each other, their teachers, and School staff with respect and to refrain from any inappropriate conduct. If a student feels uncomfortable or worse as a result of an interaction with another student or a School employee, the student and/or the student’s parents should report the concern immediately to the appropriate division head, dean, or to the student’s advisor. The School’s policies for addressing reports of misconduct described in its handbooks will be followed to address such situations.