March 19, 2020

Dear Parents and Students,

I hope this email finds everyone healthy and safe at home. As we approach the final day of our first week of online learning, I wanted to reach out to again extend my thanks to everyone - from our teachers to our students to our parents - for helping to make this unique transition as smooth as possible. As expected, there were a few bumps in the road, but I remain tremendously proud of our community for the speed and overall ease of this transition.

As you know, our first Google Meet Day was held yesterday. According to teacher attendance reports, we hit a 99.5% participation rate! Each of our first two Google Classroom days this week exceeded 92% completion rates. Congratulations to our students for setting such a high standard from the opening days of this program.

Google Meet Days will be held twice per week (on Wednesdays and Fridays). Feedback from the first Meet day from both teachers and students was largely positive. Yesterday, the vast majority of students took their work seriously and positively contributed to the digital classroom. There were a few students, though, who utilized tools in the program to disrupt the teacher and the education of their fellow students. As a result of their actions yesterday, we have restricted access to upcoming Google Meet sessions for several of these students. If parents could stress to their children the importance of not only completing their work, but also being respectful contributors to the online learning space, I would be appreciative. Teachers will be reminding students of these expectations, and we are working to adjust the technology to better structure the online classroom. Some of these changes can not happen overnight, so whatever support parents can provide in the meantime would be most appreciated.

Several students have reached out to me today concerned about the amount of work they are receiving. I am aware that this learning platform is new to everyone and a period of transition is to be expected. Teachers have been asked to give the students the benefit of the doubt this week and next and students are asked to do the same for their teachers. Spending a solid length of time at home doing work certainly has a different feel to it than spending six hours at school during the day and then completing homework in the evening - especially when the completion of the work on Google Classroom Days is done with the flexibility of time during the day. We are committed to continuing to deliver instruction to our students no matter how long this extended closure lasts. I am hopeful that everyone - students and teachers - will hit their grove shortly as everyone settles into the online platform.

A special thank you to the families that have reached out to thank the school for the quick and efficient transition to online learning - while some other schools are still working to coordinate their programs. Having had a plan already in plan to deliver instruction digitally certainly helped to set us above others. Thank you as well for recognizing the hard work of the teachers and for supporting us during this uncertain time.

I will share more updates as soon as I have them. In the meantime, please be safe.

Sincerely,

Christopher Cipriano
Principal
Notre Dame High School | Fairfield, CT 06825 | 203-372-6521| notredame.org