Let me assure you that our commitment to your son and your family has not wavered. Learning is being delivered in a very different way. In about 48 hours time, the EC teachers recreated what instruction looks like for your little guys and we are very much ‘in school’. They did it with the same intention and passion and unprecedented creativity as they do every day.
Here are a few core assurances:
We intend to stay connected with your son. Teachers are creating videos so that your son can see their faces on a regular basis, hear their voices, and absorb their love and energy. We are equally committed to staying connected with you as a parent body. Teachers are not in the building, but they are online and ready to respond to your concerns during regular working hours. I would venture to say that they would go out of their way to calm your concerns, offer reassurance, and assist any student who is struggling with an assignment.
Teachers are meeting regularly to plan. This is consistent with what teachers would do if we were in school, however it is being done remotely. I have been in on their planning and know that it is as lively and as passionate as always. They continue to deliver best practice in developmentally appropriate ways. We know there are certain challenges with this age child and the use of technology, however, we continue to research and explore ways to enrich the educational experience using these tools. We are committed to making each experience as meaningful as possible.
We believe that each boy will continue to grow academically if he engages with the experiences that are being offered by the teachers. With this in mind, there will be requirements built in to the instruction for teachers to check student progress and understanding in age appropriate ways. More will evolve as we move through the days ahead.
We are aware that each home has unique opportunities for participation. Schedules are most likely disrupted and time available to assist with learning will be varied. We are working to build in flexibility and enrichment with clear guidelines for what is expected and what is above the minimum.
We continue to design instruction in ways that fit how boys learn. You may find that cabin fever has hit your son more quickly than if there is a daughter in the home. We have designed lessons to involve movement and the release of energy as boys learn with their whole bodies. We are striving to build competition—even if it is against his best performance—into our instruction. We are working to give routine and structure with enough variety to encourage eager participation with each assignment. While technology assisted learning is a consideration, we know boys learn best from things they experience rather than observe and we continue our commitment to do what is best for boys.
We know that boys need connection. We will continue to offer a chapel program where we will have the opportunity to “gather as a community” to worship. We are very aware of how important it is to attend to the emotional needs of these little guys while they are away from us. We know it takes boys longer to process their emotions, so I remind you to be watching for what may appear to be a delayed response to the uncertainty of this time. If your son expresses a concern or fear that seems to come out of nowhere, know that he may have just expressed what has taken a bit longer to process and put into words and actions. Our goal is to communicate calm and confidence through the videos and posts you will be getting until we are back together.
We have and will continue to practice gratitude for your sons, your families, and our school. We trust that you will give grace as we continue to improve the distance learning experience for each child and modify instruction based on parent/student feedback. We trust that you will communicate directly with the teachers and me, if you have a concern. We are here for you. We trust that you will stay focused on why you send your son to PDS—because it has been the best school for boys for over 70 year and we are the best school for boys even in this challenging time. We trust always that God is in control and that His desire is that we rest in His promises.
I end as I began, I hope you are safe and healthy as I look forward to the day when “Have a good day,” is the encouragement we offer as we part rather than stay safe and healthy. For now, stay safe and healthy.