Well, hello again! Thanks for joining us for what we thought would be our last Community Update of the summer. It has, indeed been a busy few months and I need to begin by thanking my Beauvoir colleagues for their unwavering support as we prepare to welcome back the community. If you were to look inside the walls of Beauvoir right now, you would be able to see how much has been accomplished and how excited we are to have you return. All summer, our hard-working physical plant team has been painting, cleaning, installing, and shining the building so our classrooms are ready. Next week, our administrators officially return to their on-site offices and some of our teachers will also begin visiting their classrooms to set up. The week of September 24, we will welcome new faculty and staff, and the week of September 31 all returning faculty and staff will be back at school. And you know what that means, September 8 is not far away at all!
This afternoon, I will provide a brief update on where things presently stand since you received the news that we will be welcoming students back to campus in September. We continue to watch the trends closely in the DC area and will keep you updated should anything come to our attention, however we continue to feel that our students will be best served through in-person learning given what we know at this time, given the many safety protocols and resources in place, and as long as everyone does their part to honor and practice the Beauvoir guidelines safety!
There is a warm and welcoming face that many of you have missed seeing this summer, our Rev. Barrowclough. She has been on vacation but has returned to the area from her home in Canada and she cannot wait to return to leading us in our spiritual growth through Chapels, Thankful Thursdays, classroom connections, and other events. This afternoon, I have asked her to lead us with a chaplain’s message, as we prepare for a new school year…together again. Welcome back, Rev. Barrowclough!
Thank you, Rev. Barrowclough. You know, there are many things that I have missed during our time away from Beauvoir, and this photo may give you a clue. I want nothing more than to be able to return to a COVID-free environment in which we can fellowship with each other during Chapels, Community Meetings, Coffees, and presentations for caregivers throughout the year. This is, in fact, my number one goal, and I am going to ask everyone to make it theirs this year. We have a shared responsibility to keep our community members safe, which means we all have to do our part. It was through these lenses that the Beauvoir Covenant was formed …and today I want to share that Covenant with you, As we start the new year, it should be a promise that we each take seriously and uphold from the very first to the very last word in the document.
Every community member at Beauvoir will be receiving this document to read, to commit to, and to sign, pledging that you will uphold the Life Rules through this Covenant, and allow our children to receive the education they deserve. The document can now be found on our website under the COVID link, and we ask you to visit this page before the first day of school to both acknowledge and submit your acceptance.
And although we may be asking you to do all of these things in preparation for the first day of school in September, we also should realize that our safety preparations actually start NOW! These are just several reminders again about the need to begin practicing and preparing in your home so that everyone is ready to begin the year safely.
- Everyone should make sure you have your Five Masks ready, and know that they are required whenever you are on Beauvoir’s campus, whether in vehicles or walking.
- No gaiters; Masks for Children over 3 Years
- Face Shields Allowed (Beauvoir issued)
- Two-week “Hot Spot” Quarantine (Mandatory)
- Daily Temp. Checks (Magnus App)
- Household Checks (all members)
- Readiness (practice, practice)
- Medical/Dental Forms and Immunizations
- Bathroom Etiquette
- Flexible Planning and Understanding
And so, it is usually around this time that families start to feel the clock ticking as we countdown the final days of summer and questions start pouring in about what to expect, what to buy, and how best to prepare. Well, wonder no more!
Today I am going to give you a general sense of what to expect so that you can put some of those worries to rest, or at least begin preparing for them.
Not surprising to you perhaps, but the most frequently asked question right now is when are class lists going out? Well, they are hot off the press right now and getting their final reviews. So families should look to receive them next week, and the following week, you will begin receiving initial communications from your assigned teachers regarding upcoming introductions, meet and greets, and preparations needed for the start of school.
Also, that same week of the 24th, our ELC families will have their Hopes and Dreams Conferences with their teachers. This is something that has become a hallmark of Beauvoir, and one of the most special touchpoints with families. You will be invited to a virtual meeting with your teachers to share your own personal hopes and dreams for your child this year, so that the relationship building, and parent/school partnership may begin with trust and understanding!
September 7 is the Labor Day Holiday and we will then begin welcoming back our PK-3rd grade students
The week of September 8 will begin our week of meet your teacher days, with each grade level being assigned a day to come in (or virtually log in) to meet your classroom teachers! A schedule will be shared in an upcoming slide.
We will also have one day devoted to meeting each grade level’s remote learning teacher and have scheduled that during a time that will not interfere with the other meet your teacher events, so that remote learning students can meet both teachers this week.
And finally, our virtual Hopes and Dreams conferences for PK-3rd grade students will be spread over a two-week period: September 7 through the 14th, with sign up schedules going out through your teachers the week of August 24.
Many of you have also asked what you can expect this year at Beauvoir under our new contingency plans. You’ve wondered what may have changed, and what will remain the same. These are all very good questions, and I created two slides to show you that actually not much has changed, in fact, the richness of the program that you have come to know over the years will be the same, with simply a few modifications that I have listed on the right side of each slide. As I mentioned earlier, many of the Beauvoir highlights such as Hopes and Dreams Conferences, ABC afterschool programs, Enrichment classes, Specialist Classes, Special Lunches, and Head of School Birthday celebrations will continue, albeit in a virtual format for safety reasons.
As we move to the next slide, I want to reassure our ELC families and caregivers that our Early Learning Center program for infants and toddlers also remains open on an abbreviated daily schedule with the same stimulating care, love and attention your children have come to receive. Finally, and most importantly, the bedrock of our school, our Mission, Values, and Life Rules have been bolstered by our new Safety Covenant, which is a commitment we are all being asked to make.
There have also been several questions about the format of classroom partnerships this year and how students will come to know their classmates and teachers when they are working either remotely or in another cohort. We definitely recognize the importance of having our children build relationships and come together during a time when distance is trying to interfere with that, and yet we also want to be able to come together safely and minimize risk. The more we learn about mitigating risk and practicing safe procedures, the more we realize that our classroom cohorts will need to remain with their assigned teacher until the class comes back together as a unit. That said, the teaching teams have been working very closely this summer to design ways for students to come together, build relationships, foster community, and support the social bonds that are so important to both students and teachers. Some of these are listed here, and include virtual shared lessons across cohorts, assigning reading buddies across classes, daily surveys that can be incorporated into shared Morning Meetings, Shared Specials, video conferences, appropriate, socially distanced outdoor activities, making sure that student work and photos are displayed in both classroom environments, creating opportunities for teachers to share lessons across the virtual platform, and pen pal and writing exercises with classmates, just to name a few.
This next slide is a visual that you might want to save for later use – it’s an “at a glance” guide for the first eight weeks of school. You can see when Meet Your Teacher Week begins…, our abbreviated school schedule for ELC -3rd grade begins… Remote teacher introductions…Arrival and Dismissal Times, and a brief description of the Make My Wednesday activities.
This next slide teases out the week of September 8 and is another visual for families to use, for I certainly agree that is a great deal of information to digest at once. The information should be available for you to access later on the COVID-19 section of our website, and you can return to this at any time.
Finally, I will end by sharing that, whether you will be learning virtually or in-person this fall, know that we are here to support your child. Remote learning students will have opportunities to both come to campus for outdoor explorations and playground time and will stay connected with their peers throughout the week through morning meetings, closing circles, specials, and other connections. In order to make sure our remote learning students and families feel as connected as possible, we have a home readiness assessment that want to share with you today. These are five questions that we ask families to consider as you prepare to set your child up for learning success at home. Should you have concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Technology Team, and their address can be found by clicking the link on our website, once this presentation goes live.
Okay – so clearly there is a great deal to share, and today was only the beginning. As I mentioned, we are going to schedule one more Community Update on September 4 at the same time – 4:00, to outline some of the nitty-gritty details pertaining to daily schedules, arrival, dismissal, and other expectations. Please mark your calendars and we thank you for your patience while we thoughtfully assemble what will be an exciting and child-centered launch to the school year.
We also have reached that time in the summer when we need to know your final preference for your return to school – either in-person or virtual. We know full well that as the landscape changes, your decisions also can change. This evening, you will find another link for families to visit that will provide us with your final choice. This must be completed by Monday, August 17 so that we can support the classes appropriately. Thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this!
Thank you again for joining us this afternoon and know that on behalf of all of us at Beauvoir, we cannot wait to see you again! Take care!