April 17, 2020

Dear St. Andrew’s Parents,
In mid-March, we shared with you the decision to extend distance learning until at least April 27. With that date approaching, it’s clear that having students return to campus that soon is not a viable option. Therefore, we have decided to extend distance learning through at least Friday, May 15. While we retain some hope of re-opening our campus this spring, we recognize the increasing likelihood that we will need to remain in distance learning mode through the end of the school year.
As we continue with distance learning, I want to once again praise our faculty for their thoughtful, agile, and successful efforts to ensure continuity of education for our students. I also want to thank students and families for their support, academic focus, and stamina as we adapt and support each other through this new and stressful time. Our Lion community has been challenged, and together we are responding with tenacity, hope, and pride.

Contingency Plans for Commencement and Other “Rite of Passage” Events
We know that being separated from friends, faculty, and the rituals of school is particularly hard for our seniors, the Class of 2020, for whom this spring marks a major life transition as they prepare to graduate from St. Andrew’s and head off to dozens of wonderful colleges. The St. Andrew’s commencement ceremony in the National Cathedral is a particularly glorious and meaningful tradition that we are committed to making possible for the Class of 2020. We also know that our fifth and eighth students are excited about their respective transitions to Middle School and Upper School. 

These rites of passage are important for students, families, and the entire school community to observe. Therefore, we have scheduled backup dates for our annual Senior Banquet and Commencement ceremonies on July 30 and July 31 , as well as our Lower School and Middle School “Step Up” Ceremonies on the morning of July 30. Please mark these dates in your summer calendars now. The school will confirm whether we will move from our original graduation week (June 2-5) to this alternative July 30-31 calendar of events by May 8.

Other Important Dates for All Students
To support faculty and students in this online environment, we have made two important decisions that apply to students in every division:
  • There will be no school for students on Friday, May 1 as we allow our faculty the day to design the strongest possible summative assessments for their classes, acknowledging the realities of distance learning (more information on final assessments for Middle and Upper School students can be found below).
  • The final day of classes and academic work will be Friday, May 29 for students in all divisions.

Grading and Final Summative Assessments  
Where necessary, St. Andrew’s will adjust third-trimester feedback and assessment to accurately and empathetically reflect students’ growth and effort during distance learning. Our Lower School report card will be modified to reflect a focus on progress and suggestions for enrichment over the summer. Our Middle and Upper School students are familiar with our current academic and effort grade system, and our teachers have made adjustments in how they are assessing so students can maintain their academic success in our distance learning environment.

In lieu of traditional two-hour exams in the Middle and Upper Schools, the year will end with a third-trimester final summative assessment or project that will focus on content and skills from the third trimester. The weight of the project, test, or other form of summative assessment will be in line with similar types of assessments from earlier in the trimester and academic year. Click here to view the schedule of assessments and projects for Grades 6-11

The last day of classes for seniors will be May 7 and their Senior Projects will run from May 11 through May 29. Additional details for seniors will come in a separate email later today.

Reminder on Distance Learning Norms
Finally, with the introduction of Distance Learning 2.0, in addition to the revised schedule, there are a few additional guidelines that were shared with Middle and Upper School students last week. Click here to review those updated policies

We expect to communicate any further decisions about the final two weeks of school and end-of-year ceremonies by May 8. Thank you again for your continued faith in St. Andrew’s and our faculty during these unprecedented times. I have never been prouder of our Lion community.

Robert Kosasky
Head of School
St. Andrew's Episcopal School |  8804 Postoak Rd.
Potomac, MD 20854  | (301) 983-5200