A message from Principal Simpson…

Thank you for all of your support and your hard work this week as we jumped into remote learning. We are all learning as we go and, as promised, we will be making adjustments based on your feedback and teachers’ experiences. 

I know some aspects of remote learning have been difficult and frustrating. I have heard of families spending many hours a day remote learning. The teachers have been asked to try and assign between 2-4 hours of work, per day (time will vary based on the student’s pace of work). We are not expecting a regular school day (7-8 hours) worth of work. Our kindergarten through third grade teachers have been asked to focus assignments on essential learning while providing parents with optional activities such as skills practice and extension activities. You should start to see those delineations in lesson plans beginning next week or even sooner. The fourth through eighth grade teachers have been asked to make sure their work is focused and pared-down for essential learning. There will be no tests or projects during this time of remote learning. Plans for specials classes included in the daily emails are optional activities to give your students a break from paper and pencil tasks. 

We also are working on streamlining email communications. I know many of you receive multiple emails per day. If you have older students, you can request to be removed from the emails (5-8th) as the students are getting the emails as well. Our directive from Douglas County School District was that each teacher should email each student every day. We are trying to follow that rule while balancing the needs of our families. I hope there is flexibility around that rule since it was given before the closure was extended through April 17 and am working with our district contacts on this now. 

Teachers also will be incorporating more video content into their lessons. While all lessons will not be presented this way, you will see an increase in recordings for students to refer to. 

In order for us to keep making adjustments that are most impactful for families, each grade level will be sending out a survey at the end of this week. We would like to hear how things are going for each family.

I do have some good news to share. The Colorado Department of Education just sent the following out to districts: 

“The Colorado Department of Education has waived the minimum number of school days and teacher-pupil instruction hours normally required under state law. Instead, districts must make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time.” For BFA, this means that we are not expected to extend the school year or start early next year to make up for lost in-person instructional time.

This means all of our efforts in remote learning will count, and we will not have to alter our academic calendar for the year. I know this is a relief for many people. In keeping with our academic calendar, we will still have a teacher in-service day on April 17. 

I know this has not been an easy week for anyone. On top of tackling remote learning, all of us, especially the kids, are experiencing loss. I have included some resources below that I found to be helpful. The article about grief especially resonated with me. In addition, I have included some daily planner pages that Mrs. Stolk made. Several classes have already shared them, but I thought everyone could benefit from adding this type of organization to their day. 

Thank you for your continued support, positive communication and feedback. None of us chose to be in this position, but we will all get through it together. 

Resources:

That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief

Improving Student Mental Health During COVID-19 Crisis

Parents Guide to Remote Learning– This Blog has some great ideas!

Helping Kids Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Resources for younger students

Elementary Daily Organizer

Daily Organizer