May 8, 2020

Dear BB&N Families,

I mentioned in my letter on Tuesday that I will be hosting a webinar soon for parents. Please plan to join me on Thursday, May 21, from 6:30-7:30 PM . I will update you on various items and we will also be sure to discuss our planning for Fall 2020. The Zoom link is i ncluded here and we will also be sure to resend the invitation link to you closer to the event.  

We have had the chance to dig deeper on the survey we conducted at the end of Remote Learning Week #4. As I noted in my previous letter, I am so appreciative of the time that close to 900 members of our community gave us to offer their feedback. Click here to see a summary of the data. Some clear takeaways emerged for me and the Senior Leadership team moving forward:

  • I am grateful for the numerous comments from parents and students which praised our teachers for the incredible job they have done adapting their curriculum and pedagogy to the online platform on the fly. Many of you echoed the sentiments of this Middle School parent: “BB&N teachers are doing a terrific job under these trying times; it’s a learning experience for us all.” 
  • While opportunities for social connection for students have improved significantly since the first couple of weeks, there is still plenty of room for continued improvement. Students and teachers offered a number of helpful suggestions, such as increased use of breakout rooms, holding peer lunches, and adding more opportunities for clubs and other organizations to meet via Zoom. 
  • The engagement level of students is challenging to sustain, and also sometimes to assess, in the online platform. I deeply appreciate the creative efforts of our faculty and staff to create meaningful learning environments for students while trying to balance academic challenge with social-emotional well-being. And as with social connection, opportunities exist for further progress in this area. One example is finding more ways to extend students’ days with a broader suite of extracurricular and other programming.
  • Survey responses indicate the difficulty some students are encountering with time management and organization, among other challenges, in the remote learning environment. Campus teams have been focused on providing students with needed support—through advisors, teachers, counselors and learning specialists, all three campuses are making sure to increase their points of contact with any students who are struggling.

There was a request from one parent in the survey which read: “Please consider how the remote learning program can continue to be strengthened!” I can assure you that this request is precisely why we dedicate a great amount of time carefully studying all the survey responses we receive. From the first day of remote learning back on April 1st, we have committed to evaluate, adapt, and enhance the experience for our students with each successive week. I am so grateful to our teachers, staff members, and campus leaders for making that happen, to our students for their awesome spirit and resilience, and to our families for their consistent support and partnership.

We are making excellent progress on planning for the translation of end-of-year ceremonies on the three campuses to adapt to the current circumstances. It’s hard to believe that the last week of school is just four weeks away! Look for more info to follow over the next few weeks from each campus. For a recent Head’s Challenge, I asked students in Grades B-11 to send in photos and videos of well-wishes for the Class of 2020. As is always the case, our students responded in sensational fashion— check out the video of some of their submissions here!

If you haven’t already, I recommend you follow both the BB&N Instagram page as well as my Head of School Instagram page . Every single day we are posting new content on these pages that reminds us why BB&N is such a uKnighted community. Some recent fun videos include:
  • A poignant Thank You video sent by BB&N Families in honor of Teacher (and Staff!) Appreciation Week;
  • The Upper School Almy Library is celebrating National Poetry Month with virtual faculty and student poetry readings. This video features Upper School teachers reading "America, I Sing You Back" by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke.
  • And….“Hammer Time!” from our facilities staff.

Wishing you all a relaxing week ahead, and especially wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all our BB&N moms!

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!