March 13, 2020
Dear St. Andrew’s Parents,
For years, faculty and administrators at St. Andrew’s have worked to instill a growth mindset in our students. Their success in teaching students the power of “yet” was on display today as our students embraced the upcoming transition to distance learning with a readiness to understand and an openness to grow. With just one day of real-world implementation so far, our students and our extraordinary faculty have demonstrated that quality education will continue next week, even as we miss being together on campus.
Our academic leaders are using what we learned from our pilot day of distance learning to make final adjustments to our Distance Learning Plan, which we will share with you early next week. Below you will find some important information around the daily schedule and overall expectations, as well as initial plans for how we intend to maintain a sense of community during our time apart.
As much as possible, we want students to feel a sense of normalcy to their day. With that in mind:
- Upper and Middle School students will follow their daily schedule just as if they were on campus. The school’s daily schedule will be sent out the prior evening, along with other announcements.
- Students will attend their classes and advisory via Google Meet, and faculty will be available for video conferencing during office hours.
- Transition times, break/recess, lunch and study halls are opportunities for students to take a break, get some fresh air or something to eat, or prepare for their next class. I also recommend petting the family dog or cat frequently, if one is available.
- The Upper School day will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday and Friday with an 8:30 a.m. morning meeting on Thursday.
- The Middle School day will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday with an 8:30 a.m. morning meeting on Friday.
- Lower School students will take part in morning meeting daily at 9 a.m. via Google Meet.
- Lower School assignments and the link to Google Meet will be listed in Seesaw app for PK-4 students and in Schoology for Grade 5 students.
- Lower School homeroom teachers will be available on Google Meet from the end of morning meeting through 10:15 a.m. to answer any student questions.
- Lower School students should complete their daily “to-do” list by 3 p.m. Homeroom teachers will check in with individual students at least once during every week of distance learning.
Our goal for the coming weeks will be to mirror a typical in-person school day as closely as possible. To help accomplish that goal, we have set forth the following expectations for teachers and students:
- Each course will have a ‘live’ (synchronous) component using Google Meet.
- Classes will begin on time and current policies around turning in work will be maintained.
- From time to time, some classes may be videos/instructions via Seesaw or Schoology that need to be completed by students before their next class.
- All classes will be recorded.
- Students should give their best effort, exhibit their best online class behavior, and attend classes regularly, health permitting.
- Students may follow “free dress” guidelines during the distance-learning period (shoes will be optional, but no pajamas, please!).
Technology Requirements and Expectations for Use
Lower School students will use Seesaw/Schoology and Google Meet to deliver synchronous and asynchronous learning. Middle and Upper School students must use Chrome as their browser, and they must be logged in with their school account. Students are expected to be courteous and respectful online and adhere to the technology code of conduct which they agreed to when they signed the handbook at the beginning of the year. Students should refrain from experimenting with the Google Meet options during class time, from muting other students’ microphones, or removing anyone from the Google Meet.
Access to Campus
Campus will be closed to students. On Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, families may come to campus by appointment to retrieve any materials they may need for distance learning. Please contact your Division Head to schedule a time during normal school hours.
Especially in this time of uncertainty and constant change, your chaplains want you to know that although the way we are in community may be different, the support and love in our community will continue. As we hear each week in Chapel, God is with us, and that remains true during challenging times. To that end, Chapels will continue as part of our school life. Although Chapel won’t be the same, there will be elements of the service that will be familiar to your child. One of these elements is our weekly Prayers of the People. If you have any specific prayer requests that you would like us to add to our Prayers of the People or our personal prayers, please email
. Both chaplains will continue to provide pastoral care and, in addition to their email, can be reached via phone (Chaplain Isaacs at 240-477-1733 or Chaplain Slater at 240-477-1487). They will check their school voicemail throughout the day during normal school hours.
Spring Break will be Spring Break
From March 21 through March 31, our students, faculty, staff, and administrators will be on Spring Break. No classes or assignments will be given with the exception of AP classes. While we all may have a break from campus life due to distance learning, having time to unplug remains vital to the mental health and well-being of our students and faculty. We will have all earned that gift this year!
As your children departed campus today, they took with them the physical materials to continue their education at home and the intangible skills and attitude to make the coming time of distance learning a success. Most importantly, they took with them the deep and loving relationships that make St. Andrew’s their (and my) second home.
I’ll hold all of our Lions in my thoughts this weekend, and will write to you again next week.