August 5, 2020
Dear MYP Parents:
Welcome to Academic Year 2020-21!
As we plan for a school year unlike any other, our focus will still be to ensure that:
- every child, every day feels connected and cared for in our community,
- every child, every day is being challenged by engaging learning experiences,
- and every child, every day, is navigating the world as an IB Learner.
Last spring challenged staff, students, and parents to find their footing to continue learning while connecting in new ways. I have only recently joined Westlake Academy, but what has resonated immediately with me is the expertise, reflective, caring attitude our teachers embody, the numerous ways our students take risks, communicate their perspectives, and dedication of our parent community. I appreciate that even under difficult circumstances, Westlake Academy came together as a learning and caring community.
Students and parents will notice an important distinction as we return to school this fall. We are no longer reacting to uncertain circumstances; we are proactively planning, training, and engaging our teachers to adapt in a continually shifting educational landscape. Our classes, no matter the format, will embody the central tenets of the Middle Years Programme. Students will engage in inquiry through the MYP global contexts and the TEKs, practice learning how to learn through ATL skills, reflect upon their learning independently, and collaboratively while being appropriately challenged through our International Baccalaureate framework.
For the first four weeks of school, August 24th through September 18th all learning will be conducted remotely. Please see the daily schedule here. We request that parents help their students to begin the school year successfully by:
- Assisting student(s) to ensure the device is charged and ready to use each day
- Creating an appropriate place to work at a table or desk, where distractions can be limited
- Encouraging student(s) in remote learning activities when possible or appropriate
- Setting ground rules while remote learning is occurring
Beginning Monday, September 21st, learning will take a few different formats. Students in 6th-8th grade may elect to learn in person or entirely remotely. Students in 9th-10th grade may choose to participate in the hybrid model or learn entirely remotely. There are important distinctions between these two choices:
In-person learning in the hybrid model:
- Fewer students on campus will allow for safety measures and social distancing to occur.
- Smaller class sizes will allow for in-depth learning aligned with the respective IB programmes.
- Smaller classes will allow for more significant individualized support and feedback from teachers.
- In-person classes will build directly upon the previous learning done remotely.
- Instruction will remain student-centered and collaborative.
Remote learning in the hybrid model:
- During the remote learning portion, student learning will be largely asynchronous, though teachers will be available at certain times to provide support virtually when it is needed.
- Participation in the form of completed assigned work during remote learning will be expected and will count towards attendance for that day.
- Remote learning time, where appropriate, will be used strategically to work on Personal Projects and Service Learning.
Fully remote learning for students in 9th and 10th Grade:
- Students will be assigned a normal class schedule, and each day will be expected to complete assigned work for each of their classes, which will count towards attendance.
- Students will have the opportunity for synchronous, remote learning with their teacher during the scheduled class times. Additionally, synchronous support can be provided when it is needed.
- Students will have the opportunity to collaborate remotely with their peers who are following the hybrid model.
- For families who choose to have their children learn exclusively from home, parents will be asked to partner even more strongly than usual with their child's teacher to ensure their child's academic progress.
As Principal of our Middle Years Programme, I am honored to have the opportunity to support our wonderful students and staff and serve the Westlake Academy community. Please join me for our Facebook Live event tomorrow at 5pm, where I will be happy to respond to any questions or concerns. I also invite you to the Secondary Back to School Night Facebook Live Event on Thursday, August 20th at 5pm.