March 17, 2020

Dear Peabody Community, 

I hope everyone is well. I already miss the energy of the students and teachers interacting in the classrooms.. Last week moved very quickly and what we are all facing is truly unprecedented. I am proud of how our students and staff have responded to this challenge. I hope you have taken the time to feel the warmth of the sun today and get a little Vitamin D!

We have been working as a staff, in a very short amount of time, to translate our highly interactive educational experience to a virtual environment. As we have been developing this paradigm, we have been doing our research to determine (a) what has worked in other communities that have been teaching remotely and (b) what virtual options best suit the unique needs of our teachers and students. Our goal during this challenging time is to continue to do what we do best: provide meaningful and creative lessons that engage and inspire your children and help them grow.


Lower School. The goals for the Lower School remote learning plan are to keep our children engaged so they can learn and grow, while also providing them with meaningful opportunities for connection and community. This endeavor will be new to families as well as for teachers, and we thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility. Being ever mindful of the amount of screentime appropriate for younger children, we will provide opportunities for them to read, write, share ideas, explore, create, play and move. Lower School teachers will use familiar and predictable structures to meet the needs of our children. The Lower School will use a combination of Seesaw, Google Meet, and a centrally located Google Drive folder where you can access lessons and materials from teachers. Our goal is for students and parents to quickly and easily access each day’s work.

Middle School. As we transition to remote teaching and learning, we are prepared to continue our instruction to students through a distance-learning approach where classes are taught virtually online. We are fortunate that our Middle School students are part of a 1:1 Chromebook program and have practice and familiarity with the majority of platforms that faculty will use to deliver remote teaching. Although a number of our strategies and methods will change in delivery, the commitment that our faculty will uphold in teaching and supporting our students will be the same. The Middle School will mainly use Google Meet and Google Classroom to communicate and for students to access assignments and submit work.

Special Subjects. Special subject teachers will also post assignments, projects, workouts etc on a weekly basis. These assignments will be posted through Google Drive(PreK-5) or Google Classroom(MS).

Remote Learning Paradigm. Peabody will engage in an asynchronous method of instruction. Asynchronous methods of instruction include watching recorded screencasts or videos, engaging in discussion boards on Google Classroom, collaborating with peers on Google Docs/Presentation, reading and responding, and creating materials to be posted on Seesaw. We are also developing ways for students to access individual student support from our teaching assistants

Office Hours. All our teachers will be posting office hours when they will be available online for direct student interaction. The purpose of office hours is for students to engage in discussion, ask questions about the content, and to connect with the teacher/each other. Office hours are strictly for student-teacher interaction . As always, parents can request a meeting (virtually) at any time to discuss their child's progress. We will share information about accessing office hours tomorrow. Teachers will respond to parent emails within 24 business hours of receiving it.

Community Continuity. We will be working on several virtual meetups where we can just have fun as a community! It is crucially important that we keep connected as we physically stay apart.

How We Will Communicate With You.  Teachers will communicate directly with you regarding content and academic progress. During the course of our remote learning paradigm, the following Liaisons have been assigned as listed: Courtney Bernsen (PreK-1), Lauren Funk (2/3), Victoria Young (4/5), Diane Krehmeyer (6-8), Amy Brudin (Specials). Liaisons will act as the lead administrator for the assigned grade level. Liaisons will provide administrative support to parents and teachers for the duration of the school closing. Liaisons will be able to access classwork and will have weekly team meetings with teachers in their assigned grade level to monitor student progress.

Attendance. We will take attendance based on a students' online interaction. Participating in office hours and online group discussions, submitting work, and generally interacting with the material will result in a student being marked present each week.


Social Distancing Reminder. We want to be sure you understand that the purpose of campus closure is to create “social distancing” in an effort to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. While it is difficult to have our children out of school and with less “to do,” we urge you to consider the underlying reason for “social distancing.” U.S. Health Experts Say Stricter Measures Are Required to Limit Coronavirus’s Spread . Please do not have sleepovers and playdates with classmates. 
Keep a schedule. It is important for children to have as many routines as possible. Along with completing schoolwork, kids should get up every morning, get dressed, do some chores, and get outside! I had to remind myself of that as well. I almost wore a T-shirt to school this morning and said to myself, "I would never do that!" I changed my shirt to be more professional (in a completely empty building!) Sometimes, our perspective can change how we feel. Do the little things to keep your mind and body healthy!

Talk to Your Children. We realize this may be a worrisome time for you and your children. Fortunately, there are many helpful resources available on how to talk with children about COVID-19. This is also an important time to teach and remind children about healthy hygiene and ways to remain well in mind and body.

You will receive an email tomorrow afternoon with more granular directions about how to access your child's pilot materials and teachers' office hours. Our wish is that everyone accesses the materials by Thursday afternoon so we can help support any technical issues before next week. After this initial pilot phase, we will engage in a full week of instructional materials on Monday.

We realize that having your children home is not ideal and we can’t wait to have them back! Our teachers are facing many of the same personal issues you are facing as well and I know we are all trying to do the best we can in this crisis. Let’s support each other and our kids. We will only grow stronger!

Best wishes,