We don’t often have the opportunity to get two
of school in one school year, but this week, our
of Distance Learning, brought the usual first day jitters.
Over the past two weeks, I have received messages of gratitude from Green Hedges parents who are thankful for the school’s presence in the lives of their families. The messages expressed appreciation for the hard work of the school to prepare for Distance Learning and try to restore a sense of normalcy in the lives of our students.
One parent wrote, “Dear Jenn, We just had a meeting with the teachers of Grade 1. I must say that we are impressed by the Distant Learning plan for both our kids. You and your team did a fabulous job in transforming to Distant Learning in such a short time. We as parents will do everything we can to support this! GHS rocks! Thank you!”
Another parent shared after Monday’s Orientation, “I listened to the entire orientation this morning. In a word: amazing! You all are to be heartily congratulated for such outstanding efforts! Judy and I are going to do our very best to support Georgia in this grand endeavor!”
I want to thank our teachers for their extraordinary flexibility. This is not easy for any of us. I have admired the dedication of our teachers to respond to this unprecedented moment in our history. In speaking with my colleagues, there is a deep commitment to our students and their development. We know that—as imperfect as Zoom teaching might be—our daily connections with students are so important.
I also want to thank our Administrative Team and Technology Department. Lisa Pence, Assistant Head of School, and our Technology Department, Carl Hutzler and Alison Matthews, have worked hard to flip our school to a Distance Learning community. The amount of work that has been done in a very short time is mind-boggling. The team has developed age-appropriate schedules and listened to the experience of schools in the U.S. and abroad that have been in a virtual world now for several weeks. The Technology Department’s efforts to complete back-end work to prepare Zoom accounts for all the teachers and students, as well as to train our teachers, has been beyond impressive.
Urmila Oberoi, our Communications Director, has been hard at work keeping our families and community informed of our Distance Learning approach. Our Business Team, Tom Mast and Chuck Adams, have been considering multiple scenarios and working hard to find ways to support all of our employees. Katherine Vazquez, our Admissions Director, is working to create virtual admission tours, pivoting our marketing efforts, and staying in touch with prospective families.
Bridget Parke, our Director of Development, is the Administrative Team liaison to our families and continues to engage with the Parent Association to support our teachers and parents in the best way possible. She is also actively researching ways to continue our community engagement efforts for our students and families. Wanda
Green, our Registrar and Receptionist continues to answer the school phone and help families from afar, and Rocky Kidwell is starting some of his summer projects early.
Virtual classroom visits
This week I spent time
bouncing in and out of classrooms
. I saw teachers patiently and calmly explaining how this process will work and what to expect. Depending on the subject and grade level, the move to online learning can be seamless. But, for some disciplines and ages, it will be harder. I heard from one parent whose Middle Schooler came bounding down the stairs after his first class, saying how much he loved the experience.
Feedback is important
We are asking for feedback from families as we embark on the Distance Learning journey. We know we are going to need to be nimble during this journey. We’ll be sending regular surveys to families, teachers, and students to make changes as needed. Our first survey will be sent at the end of the week.