GOING THE DISTANCE
It's been a whirlwind two weeks for all of us in so many ways. Based on all your emailed expressions of gratitude, I know that you appreciate that your child’s learning team is working hard to adjust to new daily realities in order to maximize your child's learning and comfort in the classroom. My big takeaway this week is that this period presents us with a unique opportunity to learn about and practice “new and improved” daily habits that serve our student’s core needs well. These habits will serve us well long after this current period is long past us.
As I write this, I can hear a charm of small brown birds outside my dining room window, a reminder that spring is the season of reawakening, whoever and wherever we are. What can we reawaken in ourselves this season? At our staff meeting this week, I shared my realization that the lack of a commute has given me an extra hour in my day. I’ve been asking myself the question that I asked staff, and that I now ask you: what will we do with this extra slice of life we now have each day? Perhaps you have a different type of new opening in your life, now that your routines are different: what do you want to do with that time?
For my part, I traded the cost of my monthly colorist visits for a monthly payment toward owning the Peloton that arrived on my doorstep this morning. After a 20-year hiatus and as a former athlete, I am going to start working out again; sweating my way through a workout is one of my happy “places.” As a family, we’ve revived two long dormant traditions that have historically brought us comfort: candlelit dinners and all-ages bedtime stories. If you had a daily routine, such as a commute, that you no longer have, can you set aside that time to do something you love that you haven’t otherwise been inviting into your day? We can ask our children the same question.
All, please continue to connect with me about your thoughts, questions, or concerns. I promise to address all of them. I’ve been talking to parents by phone and zoom this week to fine-tune student schedules, to rewrite tuition payment plans, to create new programming, and to troubleshoot tech issues. Lang is part of your village. My text tone is now a knock on the door. You know where to find me. Just knock, and we’ll find a time to talk.
Starting Monday, students will have weekly half days with noon dismissal falling on a different day each week. These new weekly half days will happen instead of the half day schedule on your original Lang calendar for the school year. This new calendar will provide staff with much-needed planning time to learn about integrating new tools and methods for teaching our children online. This time will also allow for staff coaches to provide faculty with the new feedback they need to ensure our schoolwide approach is consistent and in line with new needs and expectations. The gist of the schedule is that we'll have a Monday half-day during the first week (this coming week), a Tuesday half day during the second week (the first week after break), and so on; this will ensure that no single class or therapy session is missed often. We are lessening homework expectations for grades 2 through 8, and these students will begin the coming week with a clean slate of past due assignments. For grades 2-8, we will emphasize independent reading, math problem practice, and journal reading, depending on your child's grade. To ensure the continued value of a Lang high school diploma and to prepare these students to manage the stresses of college, we won't be lessening our high school homework expectations (unless your child is on an agreed upon, individualized homework plan); their teachers will continue to email alerts about missing homework, and no homework during the spring semester will be marked lower for late submission. We are integrating more movement into your child's remote learning day. OT MIke and High School PE teacher Kat have provided teachers across grades with a folder of movement break resources that will be used with students during classes and transitions this coming week. If your child seems to need more movement during a live Zoom session, please try using the chat function on the lower right side of the screen to ask for teacher feedback, then the cup icon to convey that your child is going to take a break. Basis periods will now be available in The Lower School Monday through Friday from 2:30-3:15. As in The Upper School, Basis is reserved for 1:1 meetings between teachers and students, whether initiated by the student or by the teacher, in order to provide additional instruction, whether remediation or acceleration. Parents can also email teachers to request that teachers work with their child during Basis. If your child misses a Zoom mini lesson, do this: check your child's Lang email inbox, as teachers will be recording mini lessons and emailing them to students who were absent. Lang staffers are working to provide families with student and parent resources for this period. Please email your own gem discoveries to us, so we can share — e.g., Actor Josh Gad, Frozen's Olaf, reading new picture books daily on Instagram at #GadBookClub. An initial rollout of family resources will happen no later than the weekend before we return from spring break; this will be a living doc that we update and re-share weekly after that. We are reviving the Parent's Association online. Please contact us to suggest ideas for parent & family social events. We know you're getting a lot of emails from school that are hard to organize & read all of. What we're going to do: non-emergent, non- personal communications will come from me each Saturday via Lang Headlines. More time-sensitive emails from staff will use the following naming convention in their Subject lines.