Email from our Head to Countryside Families
Hello Families –
My hope for this message is that it finds you healthy at home. I think it is safe to say whether you were planning on staying in CU or traveling, this was NOT the Spring Break you imagined.
Brace yourselves this is a long, but necessary email.
I'm confident that all of you are staying up-to-date on the pandemic and the local implications that we are facing. I want to start by addressing the Act of God days that Governor Pritzker enacted last Friday.
Honestly, the Act of God days are a measure put in place to allow schools to have the time to try and move to an e-learning platform. This will not affect Countryside at all as we began preparations weeks before the closure. I/we have a go-ahead from our Regional Superintendent of Education to begin on March 23 because we are ready, our students have access, and the ROE's office has approved our plan. The only thing we can't do is grade work during that week. Nothing during that week can affect academic standing, because we are a K-8 school this has very little consequence for us: no valedictorian or class ranking.
This is the perfect opportunity for Countryside to have a week ahead of the curve where we are dialing in on what needs to happen in the coming weeks, and others are trying to figure out where to start. I would love nothing more than to give you a date that our faculty and students can return to campus, but we all know I can't. What I can promise you is that we'll stay informed and make sure that we make the decision that is best for our students and families.
As we are about to embark on the adventure of e-learning, I wanted to send you some tips that I've learned the last week when on Zoom conferences and webinars with people from Independent School Management and our Regional Superintendent of Education.
Set up a dedicated learning space for your students. In a time where students are doing everything from home, it is essential to have a dedicated space for them to associate with the business of schoolwork. Like many Countryside families, we have multiple students in our house. We have spaced them out with their devices, papers, pens, pencils, and binders in the best that we are able, and I'm fully prepared to listen to the 'feedback' from them regarding why their space isn't as good as their sisters'. I mean a global pandemic does not change tweenage sibling hostilities ;).
Have patience. Please have patience with this process. It will be a challenge at times. It will be frustrating at first as we all work out our schedules and the kinks of operating Countryside remotely. We have been working throughout the break to put measures in place to make this as user-friendly as possible, but there is no way to prepare for every scenario. I am here for you. Your child's classroom teachers, advisors, and specialty teachers are here for you.
Contribute to the community. We are all in this together. Every family at Countryside has chosen Countryside because it provides the unique educational experience we all wanted for our kids. This will not change with e-learning. As a faculty and staff, we are ready, but we won't be able to do it alone. We are going to need to hear from parents and caregivers about what is working and what may need improvements. Not every technique will work for every class nor every child. We are committed to using all of the 'tools' in our 'tool kit' to make sure that each child is thriving during this time.
Logistically speaking, we are going to attempt to mirror our 'normal' school day as much as we can. You will hear from classroom teachers individually to discuss particulars for each class.
I would LOVE to see what our students did over spring break and as we move through this phase. I will be working on our yearbook over the next several weeks, and while there will be more specific yearbook details to come, please feel free to send me pictures of your kids during the quarantine. In fact, all of the kids have my email address, and they are welcome to email me themselves! As always, if you have questions or concerns, please let me know. You all have my cell phone number.
All the best,
- All School