3/26/2020
Dear HDS Community,

I want to share the latest updates on our distance learning efforts and next steps. As you may have heard, the Governor has announced that schools in Maryland will be closed for another four weeks. Independent schools in Maryland and D.C. will be following suit, which means that distance learning plans will continue through April 24th.

I want to thank all of you who have written to me and other members of the Administration to share your feedback and appreciation for the teachers who have worked through Spring Break to prepare for a new method of teaching. Your words of encouragement and gratitude have been so appreciated by all of us as we work to provide continuity of care and instruction during uncertain times.

I have been attending many virtual meetings with Heads of School from independent schools around the country and have been reminded that teachers who switch to distance learning platforms are in essence 'first year' teachers again, learning how to deliver content and instruction through new, unfamiliar means.  No one wants more than our teachers to be with your children face to face, as I know your children and you want the same. 

I want to thank you, our parents and caregivers as well. This new mode of teaching has a significant impact on you and your families. Many of you are juggling the demands of working from home yourselves, while balancing technology and internet access needs for one or more children in your home at the same time. You are also not trained teachers and have shared your concerns about how to take teachers' plans and implement them yourselves. It is not an easy task to undertake, and we ask that you be patient with us and with yourselves as well. We will work through the early challenges, but, rest assured, we will get better as the days and weeks progress.

I want to know how you and your families are doing. Members of the Administrative team and I will be reaching out to you early next week to check in and to see how you are faring. Stay tuned for those calls.  Also, I have asked Donna Decker to help set up virtual Coffee and Conversations with me and with groups of parents so that we can stay connected in the days and weeks ahead. 

I am so proud of this community: teachers, staff, parents, caregivers, and students. You are embracing the challenges we all face with patience and grace. 

Thank you and be well.

Susan
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