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Dear St. Stephen's Community,
I hope this email finds you safe and healthy amidst the uncertainty in our city and our Nation. Remember in times like these, it is important to take care of ourselves. We all need our collective emotional strength. It is what will carry us through!
Since the end of the school day last Friday, the academic team has been in constant Google Meets to plan and execute SSEDS REMOTE Learning. At this point, the decisions being made are based on what St. Stephen's feels is best for our students and also based on what is familiar to students and faculty. We will begin with platforms we have already been using at SSEDS. There will be some unchartered waters to navigate for students, faculty, and parents and we know there will be a learning curve for everyone. Patience, flexibility, and adaptability are all at the center of success in this endeavor. I ask that you offer this to our faculty and students as they get ready to teach and learn in waters never traveled before.
Our academic leadership team has divided into grade band teams and every faculty member is receiving support. As I write this letter, these teams are meeting to finalize action plans. I am deeply grateful for the team leaders who have spent quite a bit of time reflecting, collaborating, and deliberating what is best for our students and families. In advance, I'd also like to express my genuine and sincere appreciation for our faculty's dedication and commitment to our students and families. I have full faith, trust, and respect in all our faculty and staff and we will come out of this leading the path forward, yet again!
I recognize that for you as parents, these are very anxious times. I validate all of the overwhelming emotions you are going through. I also recognize that you have been hearing, and for some of you, even witnessing, how online learning is going at other schools. I ask that we refrain from the inevitable place of comparison. Each school does what its faculty and staff believe is right for their community. Therefore, trust in our faculty and staff is of utmost importance. Reflect on the very soul of what St. Stephen's stands for - our strength in community. We are all in this together and we will get through this together. Our students will continue to learn. Our students will continue to make strides. And more importantly, our students will continue to thrive!
As we embark on SSEDS REMOTE Learning, we will continuously reevaluate and likely iterate as we experience what truly works. All parents will be receiving a letter from each teacher explaining how REMOTE learning in that grade will happen by Wednesday afternoon. The following are just a few of the general components to make note of: 
  • First and foremost, keep in mind, REMOTE learning will iterate based on data collected that will inform decisions.
  • Learning will be intentional and purposeful.
  • As a school, we are streamlining how parents/students receive information:
    • PK-Grade 2 - Seesaw
    • Grade 3-5 - MyHomeworkApp
  • General Platforms: Seesaw, Google Classroom, MyHomework app, St. Stephen's Symbaloo Home Page and a video conferencing platform, TBA.
  • Student expectations for online learning will be delineated.
  • Each grade-level will send out a letter to parents by Wednesday, March 25, no later than 3:00pm, explaining what remote learning will look like in your respective grade. 
  • Core subject area teachers and homeroom teachers and assistants will make themselves available to students/parents every morning from 9:00am -12noon. 
  • Special area teachers will make themselves available to students/parents from 12:00noon - 3:00pm.
  • PK - Grade 2 will create a Google Doc with the upcoming week's goals and assignments and send out every Friday by 3:00pm. Homeroom and Special Area teachers for Grades 3-5 will post everything in MyHomeworkApp. 
  • All homeroom teachers will have a morning meeting with students: 
    • PK-SRK @ 9:30am - details to follow
    • Grade 1 & 2 @ 9:00am - details to follow
    • Grade 3, 4 & 5 @ 8:30am - details to follow
    • Special Area Teachers will communicate a time between 12:00-3:00pm - details to follow
I fully recognize the magnitude of this effort. I have also experienced, time and time again, that when we have been faced with other situations that have required all of us to take a deep breath and take the punches and challenges, we have unequivocally emerged stronger and better for it! We will do the same here.
The binding date for 2020-2021 enrollment contracts is Monday, March 30. In light of the current situation, we will extend the binding date to April 30, 2020. 
With much appreciation and gratitude for our SSEDS community,