Dear Families, 

I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy in these uncertain times. As you probably are aware, Governor Baker's orders in response to the COVID 19 virus effectively closed schools, including Pine Cobble for in person learning at least until May 4, 2020. A prolonged session of remote learning is something no one truly contemplated until now and it requires us to adjust our practices and procedures. The COVID 19 state of emergency requires all of us to think, live and work differently than we expected even three months ago. 

For us at Pine Cobble School this means all of us, including our students, will discover new ways to live up to Pine Cobble's vision and core values. Educationally, faculty, students and parents must adapt to conduct remote learning until Pine Cobble re-opens campus for our students, or the school year is concluded, which is scheduled for June 12, but will be no later than June 30, 2020. 

Since March 16th, faculty have been busy working on building an online program that will allow students to access their Pine Cobble education from home. This task was a large one, as many factors needed to be considered. We had many discussions on synchronous and asynchronous learning, Pine Cobble's mission and values, screen time for students, and various platforms we could use to deliver our content.

As in many aspects of teaching and raising children, balance was the key for our team. In the coming weeks classes will be reviewing material covered so far this year as well as pushing forward with new material. In order to accomplish these goals, faculty have created content that can be accessed both live via video conference, and at parents' convenience through recorded lessons and instructional videos. Faculty have also incorporated printable content as often as possible for families concerned about screen time. 

Because students at Pine Cobble are between three and fourteen years old, we also understand that there is no one platform, system, or structure that will work for all ages. The following is a summary of what online learning will look like by grade level. 

Beginners, PreK and Kindergarten

Our Early Childhood team will be using Seesaw to continue the students' learning from home. Through this program, classroom teachers will be able to post daily lessons, videos, and other content for students. Students, with the help of their parents, will be able to respond to teacher posts, add videos and photos of themselves completing activities, and see what each other is sharing and doing. Specialists will post content on the day and time students would have had their class. Families will be able to access this content at any time, but the consistency from our faculty is intended to help families plan their child's day. 

The possibility of incorporating live video conferencing into our early childhood program has been discussed, and the teachers have decided that we roll online learning out slowly to our youngest, and assess where families and students are after we complete our first week. 

Grades One through Five

These classes will use Seesaw and Google Hangouts Meet (GHM) to provide a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Teachers will hold live morning meetings through GHM, Google's video conferencing service, to give students a sense of the day, run through expectations, and check in as a class. Seesaw will serve as a delivery system for assignments, pre recorded lessons, and other materials for parents to print, students to interact with, and general communication. All live sessions on GHM will also be recorded and posted on Seesaw for the students in each class to review as needed.

Grades Six through Nine

Our oldest students will be using Google Hangouts Meet (GHM) and Google Classroom (GC) to continue their classes. Each subject will meet live once per week on GC, with the exception of Latin in grades seven through nine. Being an online course originally, Latin will continue as it has on its regular schedule. All together, these classes will provide students in these grades roughly two hours of live content per weekday, divided with ample time to rest eyes and complete assignments between each session. 

GC will be the main means of communication between students and teachers outside of their live classes. Many teachers already use GC to post assignments, give feedback, and track grades. Each live class on GHM will also be recorded and posted on GC for the students in each class who are unable to attend the live session. 

Shortly, you will receive an email from me detailing how to access the platforms specific to your child's grade and learning needs. You will also have the opportunity to sign up for a video conference with me if you need additional help setting up or logging into Seesaw, Google Hangouts Meet, or Google Classroom. 

Our policies and practices have needed to be and may continue to require amending as warranted to enable the School to deliver educational services during the State of Emergency and the COVID 19 pandemic.  We may not be able to provide as much notice of policy changes as we would ordinarily, but trust you will appreciate these are not ordinary times.

As we journey into this uncharted territory together, I offer you a final promise and ask a simple request. I promise that The Pine Cobble team and I will be there to support you as you navigate remote learning, and I humbly request your patience with us as we work to provide content in a means that is new for many of the Pine Cobble Team. 

Take care and stay in touch.


Devin Wootton