Town Halls: Looking Ahead to School Year 2020-21
Below are excerpts from the Q&A Following the Town Hall Meetings on April 27, 28, and 29:
1. Will there be a standard report card this Spring?
Yes, students will receive a report card as they do each Spring. There will be some modifications to account for the changing in learning.
2. Have you considered cyber security training for this current school year?
It is very important, and we need to decide the best way to address this and balance with other educational priorities.
3. When will students return library books and pick up personal items?
We will organize staggered sessions for each class to pick up personal items and drop off library books once the stay at home order is lifted, and we will communicate details as soon as we know more.
4. If scattered schedules are necessary next year: Could you expand on thoughts regarding scattered schedule as it relates to siblings?
We do not have all the details yet, but we are certainly keeping our families with siblings in mind as Barbara and Marco build scattered schedule possibilities.
5. How is school going to take advantage of the internet and online training next year (as students, staff, and parents have become comfortable with those)?
Everyone has gained valuable skills during this period of e-learning, and these will be brought back to the classroom. This will be part of teacher meetings and professional development, as there will be positive technological skills we will want to incorporate into “regular” teaching, but we do not want to change our philosophy on teaching technology (to teach through technology not for the sake of teaching technology, only when we can teach better through technology).
6. How do we maintain social distancing among students, should this be necessary, and still foster the nurturing feeling we value in the school? What would this look like at recess?
Relationships continue in the face of any physical distance you might put in place. Children will continue to build relationships with their classmates and teachers with physical distancing. We will all find creative ways to connect and foster the nurturing development we all value at school despite any physical distancing measures that might be required. For example, schools that are back in session with distancing in Denmark have developed creative recess games like shadow tag where kids can play with their friends and enjoy a game without touching. Groups will also be smaller – recess by class or by grade rather than across a few grades.
7. Do we have a plan for summer camp?
We are continuing to register students for summer camp, but we are waiting for word from the governor about whether we can open our campus for summer camp. We will open if we can, but if we cannot safely do so we will hold an online summer camp.
8. Are there concerns about school funding? I'm sure a lot of parents are out of work due to COVID-19, and I want to make sure teachers and administrators continue to receive their paychecks and benefits and families receiving financial assistance are able to continue attending school.
The school is financially sound and like all schools has a rainy-day fund. All full-time salaried employees on payroll are continuing to receive their paychecks and benefits, current financial aid awards are maintained, and additional financial aid is being distributed to families who need it.
9. What might happen with children who need FSL support?
FSL is still available. Our FSL teacher continues to meet regularly with students who need extra support. Please contact your teacher if you feel your child needs extra support so that the school can organize support.
10. My biggest concern through all of this (beyond safety) has been the lack of social contact/play with other kids (coming from an only child family)... I'm not sure how to overcome this and worry about 6 months+ of no play…any thoughts?
We will absolutely have opportunities for students to play and interact socially in 2020-21. What we will adjust if needed is the size of the group to minimize contact across groups (ex: limiting recess to a small group, one class, or one grade).
11. How can very small children practice social distancing? For example, the youngest preschoolers who might put things in their mouths or come in frequent close contact with others through shared toys?
We are meeting frequently with networks of other schools, and we are happy to be part of a group sharing ideas to deal with these types of concerns. We will develop protocols to clean and sanitize to minimize exposure and contact, and we are all sharing creative ideas for how to help the youngest students practice social distancing (if needed) in a way that keeps everyone safe while maintaining our nurturing environment.
12. Much of what makes this school unique is the sense of community. What will the school be doing to continue to foster that community with distancing and new rules in place?
We are brainstorming social events such as virtual potlucks by grade or cycle to give children and families a chance to socialize. Online enrichment classes also provide another valuable opportunity for children to interact in a non-academic setting while staying safely in their homes.
13. How will the school be dealing with any gap the kids may have between what they should know and where they are at in the next year?
The French system is well equipped to deal with difference in learning speed as it is built by cycle rather than by grade. Students have preschool-k, 1-3, and 4-5 to gain all of the skills needed in a particular cycle. This is very useful in a situation like this, as it allows students to spend more time on particular skills or topics in the next grade. If your child is at the end of a cycle, do not worry. The next teacher they will have will do the same as every year: assess the level and skills of their new students and adjust their program, differentiate, review concepts…
14. But what about those children leaving Kindergarten (cycle 1) and start 1st grade next year (cycle 2) and haven't finished all of the cycle 1 skills by end of year this year. Or students moving from third grade to fourth grade?
There is not a unique concern for students in these grades. First graders are assessed at the beginning of the year and partway through the year, as this is such an important grade, to make sure they are progressing as they should. As at the beginning of each school year, the teacher will: assess the level and skills of their new students and adjust their program, differentiate, and review concepts if needed.
15. Will adult French classes continue during this year and/or next?
Yes! A link to register was included in the April 27 newsletter and classes start online the week of May 4.
16. Will we have PTA meetings this Spring?
PTA Officers continue to meet regularly, we will have a PTA meeting with a therapist next week, and we will have a last PTA meeting for the entire community. The therapist will talk about how to discuss COVID-19 with students of various ages.