March 19, 2020
by Renee Wright, Lower School director
Over the weekend, you learned that our campus will be closed until at least Friday, March 27, in alignment with Governor Walz’s order. Since then, social distancing protocols have been put into place, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, and many other businesses have closed. All of these sudden changes are likely causing concern and anxiety for you and your children. It is comforting to know that these decisions are meant to protect the well-being of our entire community and that learning will continue in new and exciting ways, due to the innovative technology we have available to us.
On Tuesday, March 24, we will begin to learn virtually in Lower School—this will allow students to experience continued instruction and community connection on a daily basis. Schoology will be your go-to source of information. You will receive a post by 8 AM each day from your child’s homeroom teacher with lessons, assignments, activities—some will be recorded videos and some will be independent work. You will also receive regular posts of a similar nature from your child’s specialists. We know that it is important for teachers and students to stay connected and they will also do that through “real-time” sessions according to the schedule below. We have learned from other schools that in Lower School it is very important to start simply and to partner with parents to manage the workload, knowing that many of you will be working from home as well. We are working hard to strike the right balance in Lower School and will adjust the schedule below if needed. I hope you will plan ahead and help your child get set-up on a home device to ensure they are part of these.
We believe it is important for students to have a quiet, dedicated place to learn and to follow a consistent and predictable schedule each day. In Lower School, we want to avoid children spending their entire day on a device, so we will not be following their typical schedule. Depending on the grade level, your teacher may provide you with an adjusted schedule or you will be invited to establish your own. Either way, combining time working on assigned learning tasks and opportunities to play and be creative sans a device will be strongly encouraged—students learn so much from play! An emphasis will also be placed on spending time together as a family doing activities such as reading, playing games, cooking, and/or taking walks. These are all opportunities that create the emotional support young children need during this time.
Lower School teachers have been working diligently throughout spring break to ensure that their curriculum continues to meet the learning objectives previously defined, yet is relevant to students online during this time. Some examples of things they have planned include:
- Kindergartners will be writing jokes for the letter “Jj” and sending them to Ms. Petersen. She’s partnering with several local nursing homes and will be hanging them up outside windows for the residents in isolation to enjoy. In other grades, an assignment for a writing lesson may be to write a letter to a person who is experiencing loneliness. These are just a couple examples of the service-learning that teachers have planned.
- Fourth graders will be conducting a science experiment in their yards—they will examine shadows, collect data, and then graph the data. This time of year, the changes they see will be significant! This is an example of the type of activities teachers have planned to get children out of the house.
- Some teachers are planning to use portfolios as a way to store student work, which also allows students to share their work with family, friends, and classmates.
What should I tell my child to lessen his or her worries right now?
A wonderful resource from the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Nurses can be found here. Remember that children take their cues from trusted adults in their lives, so it is important to project calm in your home and excitement for the idea of learning virtually. Reassure your child that you and all of us at MPA are available to guide them through these new and different times. Resources to help families in the area of emotional well-being and health will be provided and support systems at MPA will remain in place.
Let your child know that I will miss seeing them on campus, but that I am very excited to “see” them virtually! Please share my letter below with your child. You can also look for a weekly Schoology post from me to families and students that will help us all stay connected as well as story hours led by me via Zoom.
Please let me know what questions and concerns you have now and in the coming days at email@example.com and watch for another communication from me on Sunday, March 22. I am here and ready to support your entire family through every step of this new adventure!
Initial Lower School Real-Time Homeroom Schedule
|KINDERGARTEN||MONDAYS AND FRIDAYS||8:30-9 AM|
|FIRST GRADE||MONDAYS AND FRIDAYS||9-9:30 AM|
|SECOND GRADE||MONDAY AND FRIDAYS||9-9:30 AM|
|THIRD GRADE||MONDAY AND FRIDAYS||9:30-10 AM|
|FOURTH GRADE||MONDAY AND FRIDAYS||8:30-9 AM|
A Letter From Mrs. Wright To Lower School Students
Greetings Lower School Students!
It is Mrs. Wright sending greetings and well wishes! I hope you had a nice spring break. As you probably already know, when we come back together school will be held online. Virtual school will be new, different, and exciting. While we will all miss our daily interactions with teachers and friends, your teachers will provide lessons, activities, and school assignments that will keep you learning and engaged with school, from the comfort of your own home. Your teachers and parents will support you every step of the way.
I miss you already and encourage you to send handwritten notes to me at home. We could be pen pals during this time! This is my home address:
1862 Heather Court
West Saint Paul, MN 55118
Please remember that I care deeply about you and want you to feel safe, loved, and supported
while you are away from campus. I will “see” you soon … online!