by Renee Wright, Lower School director

lower school student working on hands on projectIt is with a growth mindset that the Lower School faculty have collaborated on the next iteration of virtual school. As we reflect on the first five weeks, we celebrate our successes, but also know that we need to put the emerging needs of our students first. We must pay attention to the fact that student engagement may wane as we finish the rest of the school year off campus and away from the excitement and joy of being together as a community.

Starting the week of May 4, we will be instituting a new weekly schedule with Fridays designated as “Finish-Up Fridays.” Feedback from families shows that managing workload can be challenging at times. Fridays will allow families flexible time to complete assignments and access specialist lessons that were posted earlier in the week. Research shows that young students thrive on structure and need the security of a routine, so Lower School teachers will continue to meet with students for Zoom check-ins and lessons according to the current schedule. The major difference will be that homeroom teachers will not be assigning new work on Fridays.

We also understand that students and families may be looking for some structured fun or want more connections with teachers and peers. We will be offering optional afternoon sessions on Fridays to enrich student learning, promote innovation, and attend to the social and emotional health of our students. In addition, teachers will be available to meet with students and families and expand opportunities for individualized attention and engagement. Teachers will be available from 8 AM-3 PM for these individual meetings. More information regarding these opportunities will be sent through my regular Schoology communications.

We believe using Friday as a catch-up day serves Lower School students and families best and ends the week on a positive note. “Finish-Up Fridays” will also allow students to complete and submit work prior to the weekend so families can use the weekend for family time and an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. It is with excitement that we roll out this new plan and commit to being mindful of preserving and advancing the continuity of learning for our students!

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