March 19, 2020
Middle School Locker and Supply Curb-Side Pick-Up
Sunday, March 22, 12-3 PM, South Entrance
by Dr. Jenn Milam, Middle School director
As we near the end of our spring break and look toward virtual school, I can tell you, without a doubt, that while things will certainly be different, they will also be great! The administrative team, teachers, and I have been working tirelessly over the break to develop a path forward through this new reality of distance learning that aims to bolster a great academic program while continuing to offer social and emotional support for your students (and for you!).
Research tells us that a virtual school that is consistent, supportive, maintains a measure of responsibility and accountability, and offers a little bit of fun and “real-time” interaction is sound practice. What I know about your students and, any young adolescent, is that structure is comforting, and routine is important. We will have both and more!
A few thoughts on what you can do now to ensure that starting on Tuesday, your Middle School student will be ready for virtual school:
- Consider as a family, if you haven’t already, where a good workspace would be your Middle School student. We will conduct a full school day, 8 AM-3 PM, and they will need a learning spot in your home where they can have their computer plugged in, be present in video and audio with minimal distraction, and have easy access to school materials—think pencils, pens, notebooks, workbooks, and more. A workspace could be shared, of course, and earbuds/headphones can always be used to limit interruption of the other person working. There will be times that your students are talking, checking-in, participating in class discussions, etc. that will require them to be actively engaged throughout each day.
- If your student has not done so over the break, please have them plug in their computers soon (in a safe place away from damaging influences like liquids or high traffic areas) and begin to unpack their backpacks. School will start at 8 AM on Tuesday morning!
- The teachers and I are working to ensure as much independent learning as possible for your student, in collaboration and consultation with their teachers, in hopes of minimizing the heavy lifting you have to do at home. As long as your student has consistent, quality internet access, they will be able (with our support and a little from you!) to login, meet with their teachers and classmates, and carry on with their school day. If this is a challenge for your family, please reach out to me as soon as possible so we can begin working on a solution for you.
I plan to be available much of every school day, just as I always am, for you to check-in, meet virtually over coffee, and work in partnership with you on behalf of your awesome young people. I am, in these moments, struck by how fortunate we are to not only have the material resources (technology, internet, various learning platforms) to make all of this happen, but by how incredible our faculty continue to be with this giant shift in how we work. We’re not just planning to continue learning, we’re planning to continue having fun and sharing a great community with each other. Some specific plans include:
- Teachers will hold regular, daily, and class-by-class check ins! We want to see your faces—we’ve missed you!
- I am planning to daily lunch announcements for everyone in my Zoom Room—can anyone say TikTok dance challenges?
- Virtual activities are being planned for everyone—read-ins, show-and-tells, and more!
I can’t wait to see what’s ahead and what we all learn from this. More, I am certain that the incredible bond we share with each other and that that I share with your young people, will only be strengthened as a reflection of what I know MPA is—a place of great people, with graceful hearts, and generous spirits!
On Sunday, you will receive detailed instructions and expectations from me via my weekly message. Between now and then, please let me know if you have any questions or feedback at email@example.com.
Onward we go, friends!