Letter from Lara Zelski – April 15, 2020

Dear ANCS families and friends,

I hope that you had a nice spring break and had time to relax and recoup. All of us here at school have been excited to be reconnecting with our students and are happy to be back into a bit of a routine. I want to be clear that our goal is not to try and replicate a full day of school, but to provide a positive learning experience with predictable routines to the best of our ability. This is our intention with our phase four schedule and this week students are taking time to practice this with the guidance of their teachers. Click here to watch the video I recorded to walk you through the new schedule. Click here to visit the H.O.W.L. page which was designed to be a one-stop support and information source for you during our school closure.

We absolutely understand that moving to a more rigid schedule may be difficult and will require some adjustment in your daily routines. We are trying our best to strike a balance with our teachers’ home schedules, your home schedules and the important teaching and learning we have yet to accomplish this year (knowing that some face time with teachers is necessary). We are asking that you give it a try (along with us) and provide us with feedback as we go. If you or your child is struggling with the schedule or with completing work, please reach out to your teachers.

Just like when we are in our school building, we can’t do this without your support. Please help your child get “to school” prepared to learn and do his/her best just like before school closed. What does that look like, you ask? Let’s focus on our first three Guiding Principles and think about what this can look like from home.

Guiding principle #1
We come to school and every class prepared to learn and do our best.

  • It is best if students are well rested. It’s recommended that we all try to get back to a school sleep schedule before phase 4 begins. School will begin at 8:00 am each day.
  • We recommend having a designated place to do work each day, preferably some kind of a table with a chair. This work place will need to be as quiet as possible, so that we can hear one another. Background noises (animals, TV, coffee grinders, etc) make it difficult to hear the person who is speaking. We understand that this might be very hard to achieve, but we will do the best we can.
  • In order to help us all feel like we are going to school, please go to the bathroom, get dressed, and eat breakfast before logging into class.
  • It is helpful to keep materials organized. We recommend that book pouches, white boards, paper, pencils and dry erase markers be kept in some sort of a bin which will make it possible for us to do work without losing time and focus.

Guiding Principle #2
We respect each other, our surroundings, and ourselves.

  • We will all need to be extra patient with one another as we all figure out how to make the best of an extremely hard and unusual situation.
  • We will all need to be able to see one another and listen to one another in new ways. That means we will need to stay at our workspaces, and try to stay focused on our learning, just like we would if we were at school, which we all wish we were!
  • Let’s do our best to try to stay focused on school during school time, and be kind to one another when this is hard.

Guiding Principle #3
We take responsibility for our actions and our learning.

  • We will try to do our best work, even though we are at home. That means that teachers will try to make school as engaging and meaningful as possible, and students will try to stay engaged and do their best work.
  • We will be reflective about how online teaching/learning is going, and be willing to make changes if possible.
  • We will work to understand that even in the midst of this pandemic there is still important learning to be done, and that it’s up to us to make sure we are doing our personal best each day. We can all rise to this challenge. I know we can.

Again, I want to reiterate that this is a big adjustment for all of us. None of us are happy about the situation in which we find ourselves. However, I am extremely proud of the work our teachers and staff have accomplished over these past four weeks and the thought they have put into every decision that has been made to support our students with at home online learning. It all comes from a place of love and a desire to do the best we can for our students.

As always, please reach out with any questions and know that I am wishing you and your family well.

Lara