July 19, 2020

Dear BB&N Community:

I hope that this update finds you healthy and enjoying these warm July days. As promised, I am writing to provide regular updates to you about our plans for the Fall and other important things happening at BB&N during this most unusual summer. 

Planning for the beginning of school 
As you can imagine, we are working hard to plan for a safe, responsible opening of BB&N in September. In response to the evolving state guidance and the changing reality of the pandemic, we are planning for three scenarios that range from all students coming to campus each day, to a hybrid approach where each day features some students learning on campus and some learning remotely from home, to fully remote. We will be sharing the specifics of the plan with you on August 1st. This plan will contain a lot of information about health & safety, social emotional wellness, teaching & learning, technology, athletics & activities, and other key details about what school will look like once September 8 arrives. We will then hold a series of webinars over the following weeks to allow you to ask questions and offer feedback on the plan. 

I anticipate that August 1st will not yet be a point where we determine which scenario we actually begin with on September 8th. The reality on the ground is changing quickly right now, plus we are waiting on additional guidance from the state of a few key aspects relating to the upcoming school year. As I have said before, it is our strong desire to have students in school, but we must balance this with the health and safety of our community. I very much expect that as the year progresses, we will need to move between each of these scenarios. As a result, ensuring that we plan for multiple realities makes the most sense at this point. I want to assure you that you will have a choice about your child/ren’s participation in these scenarios, as we work hard to provide the excellent educational experience you have come to rely on from BB&N. 

I am excited about our planning for each of these scenarios. A few highlights from our work include:

  • We’ve created a new temporary position at the school this year, which we’re calling Knight Corps. Because we know the year ahead will require us to show maximum flexibility in configuring classroom attendance and offering education across a range of formats, we plan to hire up to 20 individuals to provide support to faculty during the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, these Knights will assist our teachers in organizing and facilitating virtual and on-campus classes and activities. We are targeting recent graduates (HS/GED/College) who have an interest in education. We have shared the job description with our alumni/ae from the past 10 years and are now posting it more broadly. Please feel free to share the job description; I believe this is a great win-win opportunity that has emerged from these challenging times. 
  • I am grateful for the remarkable dedication of our teachers this summer, as they build their understanding and expertise for how to best educate their students next year in whichever scenarios ensue. I have been hearing great reviews from our team about the Global Online Academy bootcamp that more than 50 of our teachers have participated in so far this summer. 
  • The Lower School is developing creative options for us to consider how best to support our youngest learners, who clearly struggled the most with remote learning last spring. 
  • Our team is focusing carefully on increasing the integration of athletics and activities in each of the scenarios. We expect the Independent School League (ISL) as well as the Governor’s Office in coordination with the MIAA to be offering some guidance very soon about what competitive athletics will look like in the fall. 
  • I am so incredibly proud of the way our community has committed to support those who are struggling with the impact of the pandemic. As of today, well over 300 parents, alumni/ae, and faculty/staff members have donated a total of $545,236 to our uKnighted Community Fund. Our community really is something special.

What you can do now
There are a few things you should make sure you are doing now to prepare for the upcoming school year. 

  • As you can imagine, we will need to impose a travel policy that is in line with state guidance. For example, as things currently stand, anyone traveling outside of Massachusetts (click here to see what locations apply) must quarantine for 14 days. This will mean your child/ren will need to access BB&N remotely at the start of the fall if you decide to travel to a state/country that requires quarantine upon arrival back in Massachusetts after August 24th. So, please make sure you take those college visits and trips to see family now, so that you are back in the state at least 14 days prior to the beginning of school. 
  • A reminder that all students are still required to meet the Massachusetts School Immunization Requirements. Please make sure to send along your child's up-to-date immunization record to healthforms@bbns.org.
  • BB&N's Health History form for your child was due on Friday, June 19. If you have not submitted your form online, please follow the directions here and submit this form as soon as possible. 
  • BB&N will need to have verification of an updated annual physical examination (student physical exams are valid for one year from the date of the previous exam). A copy of this form can be sent to healthforms@bbns.org or fax it to 617-649-8045.

We stand together
As I continue to read the student and alumni/ae comments being added to the student-led Masks at BB&N Instagram page, it is a clarion call for our community to continue fostering an environment that includes more productive dialogue and programmatic improvements. As hard as it is to read these accounts, I greatly appreciate the honesty and sincerity that these testimonials have brought forth. The work which faces us starts by acknowledging the inequitable experience being felt by far too many at our school, particularly students of color and those who identify as LGBTQ+. This will be front-of-mind work for all of us once the fall allows us to reconvene as a full community. I have also asked the Masks@BB&N organizers for permission to share the news of the student-led rally they are planning for 1PM on Saturday, July 25, starting at Cambridge Commons and marching to BB&N. You can refer to their post for more information about the event.
 
Paycheck Protection Program clarification
As you may have seen, BB&N’s name has appeared in a database released by the Small Business Administration, which lists the 146 institutions in Massachusetts that received Paycheck Protection Program loans in excess of $5M. When the guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) first emerged in late March, BB&N applied for a loan because we fit all of the criteria required for eligibility. Our intent was to utilize the funds to maintain employment of our faculty and staff. BB&N received the PPP loan in April. In later weeks as the guidance continued to be revised and as we were able to gain more certainty about our enrollment projections for the 2020-21 year, our Board decided to return the loan in full without any request for forgiveness. We repaid the loan in full on May 15, 2020.

Summer enrichment
BB&N’s Virtual Camps and Enrichment and Activity Camps have been very popular this summer for our students in grades B-12; we are very happy to be able to offer these programming options for our students and families during a time when typical summer options for kids are so limited. If you are looking for opportunities and activities to offer your children over the remaining summer weeks, there are still some programs which have openings. BB&N families can use the code ENRICHMENTSUMMER2020 to register for Enrichment Camp for BB&N students for free.

Introduction of new members of our Senior Leadership team
I am excited to introduce you to two new members of our Senior Leadership team who are joining us this summer. I know it’s been a long letter already, so I’ll just give brief intros now and will look forward to welcoming them to future meetings so that you can meet them. 
  • Dr. Jed Lippard will join us to lead our B-12 academic efforts in the reconfigured role of Chief Learning Officer. It is no understatement to say that recruiting Jed to our team is a real coup. He comes to us from Bank Street School in New York City, where he had been Head of School since 2016; prior to that he was Head of School for 9 years at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge & Somerville. Click here to view Jed’s resume.
  • Jorge Delgado is our new Director of Enrollment Management, taking the reins from Geordie Mitchell, who is relocating to the west coast to become an Assistant Head of School at La Jolla Country Day School. Jorge has built an impressive reputation in the collegiate world over the past decade, most recently at Brandeis University, where he served as Associate Director of Admissions since 2016. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Director at Bentley College and at The George Washington University. Click here to view Jorge’s resume.

Lastly, we learned this weekend of the passing of Civil Rights hero and U.S. Representative John Lewis. Whenever people ask me what the phrase “lives of principled engagement” means in our school mission, I like to point them to specific examples. There could be no better exemplar than Mr. Lewis. His courage, his decency, and his unfailing advocacy for fairness and equity is a model for all of us, young and old, in how to live a life of principle. 

I know that’s a lot of information, and there will be much more to come over the next seven weeks before school starts on September 8th. We all cannot wait to see our students again! 

Best,

Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School

P.S. A reminder that if you or your family are struggling in any way due to the implications of the pandemic, please let us know via this confidential form . We are ready to help in any way we can!