Parents and Students, 

Resilient. Thank you for managing well the complexity of this past week as we shifted to remote learning. It was impressive to see the students adjust to the platform well, and for many, intuitively. Thankfully, we were well set up for this challenge because of already being one-to-one with iPads, using Google Classrooms, and with the new Chromebooks, even more so.

Engaged. The teachers are prepared and continuing to prepare for continued remote learning. This first week was a massive change. Actually, it was a historic week in the level of change, measures taken, technology implemented, new apps utilized, I know in our school’s history, and would predict in the history of the USA.

Connected. Not only are we engaged with students, we are well connected internally. Beyond email and GroupMe, we are communicating easily through Google Chat-rooms and Meetings in small groups and by departments, whole HS faculty and staff, IT support, AP teachers, principals and assistant principals, and the Leadership Team. So, well connected for communication and responsiveness.

Shared practices that should be even more in place this coming week:

  • Daily Agenda. Posted by 8:30am on Google Classrooms. On class day of focus, this is what students should accomplish during the class block or beyond, but only on that day.
  • Check-in at the beginning of the class/block time. Whether in a message, video, Chat or Meet, teachers will connect in some way at the beginning of the class block, if class is not convening through a Hangout Meet. If a teacher is unavailable, office hours or a Google Meet will be posted for the alternate time.
  • Pace. Adjusting to make sure we are doing a reasonable amount per class day of focus. Student feedback has been helpful as we have made these adjustments, such as the shared language of Daily Agenda for each class within the rotating schedule.

 

Events. I want you to know that I am making every effort to not cancel anything until I am forced to by outside variables, safety considerations and prudence. Though there are some predictable trends, and we want to be responsive and proactive in light of them, we are also very hopeful that several of the drastic measures made will mitigate and hasten the day of returning to whatever that new normal will be for daily engagement and a return to school. 

At this point, because I honestly do not know how things may dramatically change in the USA, Georgia in particular, and especially being as close as we are to the major metropolitan city of Atlanta, nothing has been cancelled. We will reevaluate at the end of March. Barn Burner, Prom (back up April 19th already secured, yet discussing May dates with HIGH Museum) and Graduation are still scheduled. We are very aware of several colleges cancelling their graduations and several schools discussing remote options for the ceremony

Please pray for this virus to quickly run its course, healing for those dealing with Covid-19, for the intervening measures to work, and for our economy to bounce back from all of this havoc. For us to be good neighbors; as families, for peace and good things to happen in our homes since we are with each other more. Lastly, for wisdom in decision-making for those whose decisions will affect so many. 

Thank you again for your support, encouragement, understanding and helpfulness as we have made this giant shift to remote learning. Please continue to communicate with teachers, department chairs, and Mrs. McCullough and me, so that we can make this the best experience we can provide.

 

Thank you,

Ari Durham