Message from Daniel Coplon-Newfield: April 9, 2020

Message from Daniel Coplon-Newfield: April 9, 2020
Posted on 04/09/2020

VLUS Families,

I hope you and your families are healthy and safe.

It has been weeks since we were last at school and I know that you have been busy juggling the tremendous and stressful changes that have occurred in this short period of time. 

I also know that you have been getting a lot of information from the district about distance learning and I want to take an opportunity to clarify what that means for VLUS.

We remain committed to the district's core goals:

  • Maintain connections between educators and students: it is imperative that we continue to foster our relationships with your students (and you) during our time apart. Talking with each other, even on a screen, is crucial to maintaining some amount of normalcy and lets us check-in with how students are doing.

  • Provide opportunities for productive learning: since March 13, teachers and teams have been developing weekly schedules of virtual meetings, office hours, and assignments so that students can connect with their learning. We will continue to explore how to move forward with content and learning while being apart. You can access all of our weekly plans and other remote learning resources at our VLUS Remote Learning Hub.

  • Supporting family and student needs: we have heard from many families who need support around technology or with needs around food access; please continue to reach out to our team with any and all requests/needs

  • Focus support on students with the greatest needs: our special education and Sheltered English Immersion teams have been working hard to develop interventions for our most vulnerable learners; if you have questions about services or supports, please reach out

I want to ​give a huge shout out to the teachers at VLUS. They have been AMAZING. Teachers found out on March 12 that we were going to be out starting the next day and by March 16, they were up and running with our remote learning sites and google meetings. No teacher was trained on how to do this and they have been remarkable in their ability to think creatively and differently about their practice in such a short period of time. All of this while managing their own personal stressors and challenges in their families.

Our family liaison, Obi Carrion, has been an invaluable resource to families and I want to highlight how important she has been to make sure that our families have what they need during these stressful times. 

And the biggest shout out goes to you. This has been an unprecedented challenge for families and I appreciate how much you are managing in your own lives with work, family, health, and now, remote learning! 

It is our hope that we have made schooling clear, predictable, and accessible over these past few weeks and that that will continue through the next set of weeks. Please continue to reach out to teachers, Advisors, and administrators with questions or concerns. 

I cannot tell you how much I miss being in school. The rhythms of the school day have been part of my life since I started kindergarten 41 years ago. Save for summers or vacations, it's all I've known. 

I miss seeing your students every day and having a chance to check in with them, goof around with them, and give them guidance and support. I have created daily videos as a way of trying to maintain some connection with them and their teachers and while they are fun, they are a poor replacement for what I love about my work. 

I know that these are stressful and anxious times. Talking about this with your students is crucial. As this time away from routine, school, and friends drags on, it is important to give them the space and voice to talk about their feelings of loss, confusion, worry, or isolation. 

We are not having "school" tomorrow as it is Good Friday. We will be back on Monday for next week and then will be off for April break from 4/17 until 4/27.

I will reach out to all families before the 27th to help preview the next period of time away from school. (By then, I hope to have more clarity about whether we are coming back on May 4 as planned or if things are extended.)

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are sick or who are mourning those lost during this time. We are grateful to those who are leaving their homes every day to go to work to keep our essential services running. 

Stay healthy and safe,

Daniel

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