April 24, 2020
The most challenging part about our distance learning is the distance between us: the distance between teachers and their students, the distance between students and one another, the distance among teachers, the distance among parents, the distance between parents and teachers.
On a personal level, I too, feel challenged with the distance in place, which has changed my role as the leader of our school. The groups I mentioned above are always at the forefront of my mind. This new way of doing life and learning is hard on all of us in so many ways.
This week, I was on campus delivering a technology device to one of our school families. When the parent saw me, she broke into tears. I admire this family. They have amazing children. They are an involved and committed family. This parent shared with me how difficult this distance learning has been and how challenging this stay-at-home regiment is for their family. I wanted to hug her but we had to honor the distance. I know that this family is not alone.
We have worked hard to build meaningful and effective at-home learning opportunities to support our academic program and our students over the last several weeks. Teachers have made adjustments along the way – increasing certain modes of delivering instruction and decreasing others. However, we know that not all the children and families are able to complete the assignments that we create and post for them – and we want you to know that that’s OK. Whatever you can do is OK.
We know that many parents are scrambling to be surrogate teachers. It’s been a difficult process for most, and has required a huge amount of patience and tenacity. Most parents are not experts in teaching elementary school children, and most of our young students are not yet independent learners. The patience, wisdom, and skills demonstrated by their teachers comes with years and years of training and experience. We do not expect, you, as parents to step into this role without challenges and a degree of frustration.
We do know that come fall, all our students will have spent varying amounts of time on their studies since we parted company on March 13th.
Early assessment will be essential to determine where the children are in their learning, and where we need to pick up and begin learning again in our classrooms. This will be an unprecedented start to the school year, but we are up to the task, whatever that task may be.
We can only ask our school families to make a good-faith effort to do the work that we send home. We know that most of our young students are not independent learners. They need the support of an adult to accomplish many of their assignments. We also understand that each of our school families has a different story: two full-time working parents, parents who have multiple children to monitor at home, parents who’ve lost their jobs, families concerned about providing shelter and food. These are real issues and must take priority over the day to day assignments that we make available for our students. Truly, this is understood from a school perspective.
That said, we are consistently monitoring whether our students are checking in with us and doing some of or any of their assignments. We worry about those whom we have not heard from, and we have reached out in different ways to make a connection. We want our school families to know that our teachers, our school counselor, and the administration is available and willing to support you. Please reach out if you need assistance in any way.