Dear St. Philip’s Families,
I recently shared with the faculty and staff that for weeks, I had been excited about being able to drive down to the beach during Spring Break, and dig my toes into the sand. I was planning on waking without an alarm (although my body wakes up before 5:30 a.m. regardless), working out twice a day, and getting caught up on some of the fiction books gathering dust on my nightstand. Needless to say, not one of those things came to fruition.
On the contrary, I spent this week providing support to our faculty, staff, and Leadership Team as we prepare to implement remote learning. I have watched with pride as our teachers have taken the master schedule, which takes months to prepare, and transformed it into a virtual reality for our students in a matter of days. What we are learning from our peer schools in Miami, and schools around the country, is that we must be open to change and flexibility throughout the entirety of this new instructional method.
As we embark on this new path of distance learning together, I would like to respond to some questions which have been raised and provide a few tips.
Questions you may have about preparing for remote learning:
Q. How will parents and students receive information specific to their class.
A. Each evening, beginning on Sunday of each week, the teachers will send an email with classwork and the schedule for the following day. The first email will be sent on Sunday, March 29th.
Q. When can parents and students talk with teachers one-on-one?
A. All teachers will have daily office hours with available sign-up times. Next week you will receive a link to schedule a virtual parent conferences.
Q. Is it mandatory for all students to participate in the virtual learning plan?
A. It is not mandatory for students to participate in virtual learning; however, students are required to submit and complete their assignments.
Q. Are students required to wear their school uniforms while participating in virtual learning?
A. Getting dressed “for school” sets the tone for the day. Students are strongly encouraged to wear their school uniform (shirt and shorts/skorts) when participating in remote learning with teachers and classmates. However, students will not be penalized if they are not in uniform.
Q. Will 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders be tested and receive grades over the coming weeks?
A. At this time, assignments are being graded using a pass/fail system.
Q. Will the School closure affect grade promotions?
A. Any parent whose child was in jeopardy of non-promotion would have been contacted prior to the School closure.
Q. How does the School closure affect ERB’s, if at all?
A. We do not know at this time. Considering that all other major tests (SAT, ACT, AP Exams) have been canceled or rescheduled, ERB testing this year is not likely to take place. We continue to wait on information from the Educational Records Bureau.
Q. How will the School closure impact summer break? Will time need to be made up?
A. At this point, the answer is no. As long as we can provide instruction, remotely or in person, through the scheduled last day of school (this differs by grade), we will meet the minimum state guidelines of 170 days of instruction per school year.
Q. What should the children in PreK3 – 3rd grade focus on before their virtual learning program launches on April 6th?
A. Students should continue to focus on the work that was provided by their teacher until further notice. Parents will be receiving an email from their child’s teacher regarding the next steps in remote learning no later than Sunday, March 29th.
Q. What can parents do to help?
A. During this time of transition, parents can support their children and the faculty by remaining patient, and being flexible and understanding.
Q. Who should parents email for tech support, if needed?
A. The entire Tech Team is available to support you and your family. Please send all tech support questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of our team members will respond as soon as possible.
We are a school, and next week will be full of learning–not only for our students, but for our teachers, parents, and Leadership Team. I look forward to being on this journey together.
Dr. Jasmine B. Harris, EdD
Head of School