OUR CAMPUS IS CLOSED, LEARNING CONTINUES
Due to the current situation with COVID-19, the Waterford School campus is closed for the remainder of the school year. Learning continues for each one of our students, and Waterford is committed to providing a rich and engaging education for students during the campus closure. Below we outline our remote learning plan in Lower, Middle and Upper Schools—our approach to distance learning, the channels for communication, the technology systems in use, and resources for parents.
Remote learning for our Lower School students is a new and dynamic experience. And yet, our goal remains unchanged. We continue to place the highest priority on our students’ continued growth and learning, including their health and well being. Despite the challenges of teaching from a distance, we are committed to a high-quality, continuous educational plan that:
- remains philosophically consistent with our approach to teaching and learning—one that is child-centered, developmentally appropriate, ignites curiosity and sparks a passion for learning
- incorporates structured flexibility through a clear and consistent learning plan that allows for adaptability based on the realities that families face with respect to jobs, available devices, and other challenges
- continues to build conceptual understanding and skill development through planned synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences
- provides ample opportunities for reading, writing, math, sharing, exploring, creating, play, movement, and time outdoors
- springs from our values of responsibility and caring, maintains community and connection through online interactions with teachers, classmates, and other community members
With parents as facilitators and supporters of their child’s learning, teachers provide both asynchronous and synchronous learning activities that incorporate direct instruction by teachers and teaching assistants. Lower School learning plans incorporate quality technology platforms that take into account recommendations for the right amount of screen time for children, continue learning, and maintain strong community connections between the student and their teacher and peers. Throughout their week, each student engages in reading, writing, math, and social studies or history. Specialists teachers continue to provide a rich curriculum through weekly activities in Science, computers, chess, PE, art, music, and dance.
As in the regular school environment, we understand the essentiality of the strong partnership between home and school. In spite of the distance, teachers maintain their responsibilities in teaching, and parents continue to facilitate and support their child’s learning. We know that children respond best to predictability and routines, and parents are encouraged to establish these at home as well.
For our younger learners, parents are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s learning. Upper elementary students are increasingly able to work independently, but always benefit from accountability and encouragement. No matter the student’s age, their social and emotional well- being is paramount. As such, teachers may hold one-on-one meetings with parents or students as needed, and we encourage parents to communicate with teachers if challenges arise. Our school psychologist is also available for consultation with parents, class visits, and student support. As always, we view strong school home partnerships as essential, and value collaboration so that parents feel at ease and informed about their child’s learning.
Our remote learning schedule is based upon our typical school day. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays follow our regular block schedule. Wednesdays are reserved as teacher prep days and community programming for students: students can attend lunches, activities planned by class and school deans, or check in teachers. See schedule details here. Teachers are leading courses using Zoom and our learning management system Canvas and are crafting a blend of synchronous and asynchronous lessons that best supports their students’ learning.
Class structures and assignments vary from teacher to teacher and discipline to discipline. Some teachers are using a combination of pre-recorded lectures, live discussions, and guided Canvas assignments to further their material. Others are holding Zoom classes to offer direct instruction and Q&A time. Teachers are using technology tools to create high-quality, engaging content for their students.
Final exams will occur as scheduled on the 2019-2020 academic calendar. They will follow this schedule. Students should consult with teachers to learn about the specifics of the final for each course.
Class XII End-of-Term
Senior exams are cancelled. The last day of classes for Seniors is Friday, May 22.
We are giving every student the option to elect to take a class pass/fail at any point in the term. Our hope is that this allows students to prioritize their health and well-being if they need to do so. For more info on how students can declare their pass/fail interest, please see this document.
This term presents unprecedented challenges for everyone in our community. To support student well-being, we will not be applying late penalties to homework that is submitted past its due date. However, we will be treating late or missing work as a signal that a student is not engaging with expected learning and we will be reaching out to families if it becomes a pattern.
Students should expect tests, assessments, and essays, as in any other term. Teachers may occasionally ask parents to proctor tests; teachers may shift their assessment style in light of our new remote learning model. Teachers will follow the assessment schedule when possible. However, in order to prioritize both student learning and well-being, if teachers find it necessary to move a test to a different day to accommodate student stress, workload, or learning, they will have a conversation with their class and make sure that the rescheduled assessment doesn’t fall on a day where students have more than one other assessment.
Teachers will be conducting their classes in a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning. This balance will be determined by department chairs and teachers to best serve the needs of the students and to offer a sustainable, productive learning experience for all.
Teachers will be taking attendance. If a student misses a class for illness or other reason, parents should email Beth Hamideh to report their absence.
If students have questions about a course assignment or an expectation in a class, they should reach out to their teachers. Teachers are best reached via Canvas messages. Timely communication is important, especially in an online environment. Students should strive to reach out early with their questions about assignments, and teachers will respond within 24 hours.
WATERFORD SCHOOL - ODE TO JOY
Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony is one of the most recognizable melodies in the world, but what makes this melody so unique is that Beethoven wrote it when he was deaf. He was living alone as a hermit and his deafness made it difficult for him to interact with others. Despite his isolation, the lyrics to Ode to Joy are incredibly joyful and speak of unity and happiness. Even now, Beethoven's music brings us together, even when we are apart. This project by the Waterford Ensemble and Mrs. Morris was created to demonstrate that even in times of crises the music goes on and you are not alone.
WEEK 2 REMOTE LEARNING
We have seen hard work and joy, and together, we have accomplished something BIG this week! Each of you are being stretched in ways that we would have never chosen nor could have predicted, and yet, here we are thriving—this is the growth mindset in action. We are in this together and truly #OneWaterford.
MIDDLE SCHOOL SOCCER PRACTICE
The Waterford Middle School Girls Soccer Team practices. Together, they found a fun way to connect as a team during this time of social distancing with an epic goal to close out the video.
HEAD OF SCHOOL ADDRESS
As we finish up Week 4 of Remote Learning, Waterford's Head of School, Andrew Menke, shares a message of humility and gratitude for the many ways you have risen up in this time of crisis. Thank you to all students and families, faculty and staff—we truly are #OneWaterford.
Developing resilience in the face of adversity is a process, and the Health and Wellness Team offers these resources to support you now, and in the future. We include resources for handling the difficulties and for joy, as there is always room for both in our lives. Be well, take care of yourselves, and we invite you to reach out to us directly at any time.
Be well, take care of yourselves, and reach out to us if you have any questions.
For a project or class-related issue, please contact your teacher directly
For a personal or social concern, please reach out to your dean or school counselor
For a technology-related issue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For any other issues, please reach out to the Head of School or Division Head.