New Look, Same Important Info!
5 November 2020
Coming Up
COVID-19 Update
We would like to remind all families to take the necessary precautions as plans for travel and visiting with family members and friends are being made for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. We encourage families to be mindful of the health of both your family members and those you are visiting, and we ask that you remain mindful of wearing masks and social distancing over the holiday. 
Beyond the Bell
Special Persons Day
Save the date for a virtual Special Persons Day Event! All students are encouraged to invite one or two special guests including grandparents, aunts, uncles, or family friends to tune in for an online event that will introduce them to student life at AOWL.
Middle School: December 8th

Lower School: December 9th

High School: December 10th
November Activity Days
In-School activity days will be offered on Friday, November 13th and Wednesday, November 25th. Activities will include STEM challenges, gym or outdoor active play, arts and crafts, and so much more!

Cost: $90/day. Owls' Nest is available upon request before or after school. 

Please register via Smart Tuition or by emailing Kaitlin Walsh.
Wyayn's Words
How’s It Going?

I get asked that a lot. It’s a hard question to answer because if I say, “Great,” I’m then asked, “Even with the COVID mitigation strategies at your school?” And if I say, “Teaching through COVID is stressful,” then I’m asked, “But aren’t the teaching staff handling it well?” And if I try to stave off contended feedback by answering more comprehensively, “Teaching through COVID is very stressful, but our teaching staff is energized by our fabulous students, and our COVID mitigation strategies while very thorough and have proven to actually do what they are supposed to do and are mitigating the virus, they are extraordinarily time-consuming…..” I see their eyes gloss over.

The truth is, we hold these three notions at the same time: 1) Educating through COVID-19 is stressful 2) our mitigation strategies are mitigating, and 3) our teaching staff is amazing. Every year, our teaching staff say that the pride they have in our students’ achievements is worth the extra lesson planning, the extra collaboration, the extra hours. This year is no different. Our staff has always had to plan for each student in their class. In the high school that means individual plans for 36 students. In the middle and lower schools that means individual plans for each student in each subject. But in other ways, this is a year like no other. This year teaching staff have to plan for students not in their class, those learning from home. Stressful is an understatement, but our strategies are working, and we know that it is the high quality of our teaching staff that is our secret sauce.

To help teaching staff, we’ve hired additional behavior therapists this year and Ms. Nancy, who is a floater, goes wherever she’s needed most. The school admin increased by one position to support teaching staff. We asked admin staff who are not directly involved with students to work from home. Most importantly, we asked Mr. Louie to take on all things COVID-19 to make sure we were all following best practices in regards to COVID-19 protocols. He works closely with all staff, but especially with Mr. Joe, our janitor, to ensure that every single space we use in the building is cleaned and sanitized several times daily.

In preparation to grow the clinic, we hired another psychotherapist, Ms. Sunni, last year. Because of this, we’ve been able to meet the mental health needs of our students like never before. Our social skills groups were started just in time. We chose group topics with the realization that we are living through an unprecedented time with unprecedented mental health needs; how do you make and sustain friendships virtually as well as in person? Ms. Sunni can help.

We find ourselves prepared to meet the emotional, social, behavioral, environmental, and academic needs of our students even in this peculiar year. We pride ourselves on providing first-class education for our students. As always, if you see an area in which we can improve, please let me know.

Thank you for entrusting your children to our care. We take your trust seriously.

Dr. Wyayn
Family Corner
Click the photos to enlarge
Parent Support Group Cancelled
The Parent Support Group that was scheduled for November 6 is cancelled.
Virtual Book Fair
Our Virtual Book Fair begins on November 30 and ends December 13. You can preview books starting November 9.
Virtual PTO Meeting
Our next PTO meeting is November 12, from 4:30 - 5:30 pm. This meeting's topic is staff appreciation planning! Click here to join.
2020-21 Board-Parent Liaison

Contact Ross for questions or concerns regarding school processes.
PTO Co-chairs

Contact Kerry or Audra for questions or concerns regarding the PTO.
View from the Nest
Meet our new staff!
Ayan Mursal
Behavior Therapist

 Ayan holds a degree in psychology from St. Catherine's University in St. Paul. Ayan joins AOWL's Therapy Services with extensive background working as a Patient Care Assistant and a Direct Support Professional for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and other mental health challenges. Prior to joining AOWL, Ayan worked as a behavior therapist at Minnesota Autism Center.
Dylan Mazza, MA
Post-Secondary Career, Education, and Guidance Counselor

Dylan holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology from the University of Minnesota, specializing in higher education and career services. Prior to working towards his Master's degree, Dylan was a valued member of AOWL teaching staff, and we are thrilled to have him back!
Amber Carlson, PhD
Communications Manager

Dr. Amber Carlson holds a PhD in philosophy from Vanderbilt University, specializing in social epistemology, feminist philosophy, and ethics. Holding additional graduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame (MA), Texas A&M University (MA), and Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), Amber supplements her specializations with a broad philosophical background. Amber joins the Advancement Department as an accomplished writer and public speaker.