Updates to Remote Learning Plan

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Dear EVCS Family,

Over the last few weeks we have been engaged in a large-scale deliberative process, gathering feedback from our staff and families about their experiences with remote learning through surveys and meetings, with the intention of developing a cohesive vision that will carry us through the end of this school year. We think it’s essential that we take into account the voices and perspectives of our different constituency groups, the things we have learned about what our students and families need in this time of crisis, and also – as much as possible – preserve and center our school’s vision and mission and our shared beliefs about what makes high quality teaching and learning. We still have more than two months of school before we break for the summer, and we intend to make the most of it! Please have a look at our school-wide remote learning plan here.

I’m sure that after reviewing the principles and guidelines for remote learning in our framework that questions will emerge about how this plan will take form at specific grade levels, and we want to make sure that we are creating space for those questions to be asked and answered. Therefore, we will be hosting grade-level Q&A sessions for parents next week. Each session will last about 45 minutes and will include the classroom teachers, Liz and me. In order to use the time most efficiently we are suggesting that questions be submitted in advance in this form. The schedule for Q&A sessions can be found here, and please note that we will be recording the sessions so parents who were not able to attend can access later.

As an important sidebar to our remote learning plan, I want to highlight the fact that a significant amount of feedback we received from parents about their experience with remote learning was lamenting the fact that their children are now spending such a dramatically increased amount of time on screens. While we recognize that the digital interface is a necessary part of remote learning, we also want to make sure that we are encouraging our students to be learning in analog formats, whenever that is an option. Perhaps the most important way that we can create continuity for our kids’ learning and also get them off their devices is by encouraging reading of old fashioned books. Having said that, I know that families’ supply of grade-level books in their homes is limited and/or has already been exhausted and in need of refreshing. If you are able to order more books through booksellers that are currently shipping, please do so! If you need advice on what books would be on your child’s level, please reach out to their classroom teacher or consult the handy Scholastic Book Wizard. And if ordering anything is not possible at the moment, I am very pleased to tell you that our world class Parents Association is currently putting the finishing details on an initiative to get actual books in the hands of every EVCS student who needs them, at no cost to our families. Our PA is the best! More information on that initiative will be coming very soon.

I want to put in a plug for a few additional initiatives that we will be rolling out this spring, in order to keep things interesting and fresh. I enjoyed reading books to our kids so much over our “spring break” week, that I will be starting a new read aloud cycle from a magnificent, but somehow lesser known classic chapter book called Jenny and the Cat Club. Be on the lookout for links to that in Google Classroom next week – it’s great for all ages. And our Multicultural Share may be cancelled, but we will be hosting a school-wide talent show! It’s going to be great, and all will be welcome to share their special talents in pre-recorded 3 or so minute clips. Stay tuned for more information from our Master of Ceremonies Eric, but please tell your kids to start polishing up their acts. And finally, this Monday morning we will be posting a link to our first ever remote School-Wide Morning Meeting. Given our constraints with the permitted technologies, the first remote SWMM will be pre-recorded – and hopefully we can figure a way to do live SWMMs soon.

I hope you are all staying healthy, safe, and relatively sane. Hang in there folks!

With love,