March 17, 2020

Dear Upper School parents, 

First, I hope this finds you all well. Whilst I very much look forward to the time when we get to welcome you and your children back on campus, until that day we want to keep Upper School students actively engaged and learning remotely. The Upper School faculty have been working diligently, putting together plans for effective and enjoyable continuous learning during the campus closure. I want to share with you this email, which I just sent to the Upper School students, that details what continuous learning looks like. I have also tried to condense the same information in this video.

In short, learning will be the same but different. The eight-day rotation will continue, as will the daily schedule. Faculty will post in Google Classroom at 8 a.m. each day details of the learning plan with resources that the students will need for that day. Often, students will need to join the teacher virtually at the same time when the class would ordinarily have met. Sometimes, the faculty will set work for the students to complete at their own pace during the day. Either way, faculty will be in regular contact with students through email and Google Classroom.

Given the disruption to the normal learning process, we will be merging MP3 and MP4. What this means is that your student’s second semester grade will be an average of all their grades from the start of MP3 (mid-January) until the end of MP4; we will not provide separate average grades for MP3 and MP4. Heather Jeter, Steward’s director of college counseling, will be reaching out to families in the coming days about the impact of the move to continuous online learning on the college process.

The expectation is that students remain engaged in the learning process, attend virtual classes, and complete assignments. Students will be expected to digitally check in each morning at 8 a.m. through a Google form. If your child gets sick and/or is unable to engage in learning on any given day, please email Lee Healey (lee.healey@stewardschool.org) as per normal.

If your child needs to pick up belongings from their Upper School locker, they can do so between 12-2 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. They will need to drive up to the main doors to the Upper School building during that time, and someone will retrieve the contents of their locker for them. We are asking that students and families do not leave their cars.

We understand that the current situation is challenging for everyone and that it will be difficult for families to maintain a sense of normality in this most abnormal of times. So, I hope the bullet points below provide some starting points for conversations and strategies that families can use moving forward:

  • Ask your child questions about learning, upcoming deadlines, and workload;
  • Help your child develop daily routines;
  • Encourage your child to take study breaks and to take part in physical exercise (we will be accepting exercise logs for PE credits);
  • Be mindful of your child’s wellbeing—speak to them regularly about concerns or challenges;
  • Communicate any concerns to your child’s teacher(s) via email;
  • Choose a learning location that is suitable to be seen by peers and teachers if students are using video tools (Google Meet);
  • Create opportunities for your child to interact with peers virtually to maintain connections with their school community;
  • Ensure students are dressed appropriately when using video tools;
  • If there are siblings simultaneously online, choose locations that do not cause noise interference when recording learning or video conferencing;
  • Keep your laptop with you when traveling;
  • We have sent the students this infographic to help set themselves up for success during this period.

As I concluded with the students, communication is going to be key to successfully navigating continuous learning. So, please reach out to your student’s teachers or the appropriate administrator if you have any questions at any point. As ever, my (virtual) door is always open.

I hope to see you and your children on campus soon. Until then, take care.

Best,

Adam Seldis 
Director of Upper School

www.stewardschool.org
The Steward School | 11600 Gayton Road | Richmond, VA 23238 | 804-740-3394
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