Wow! We just completed our first full week of Summer Programs as well as Athletic Camps. All have run very well, as children become used to having their temperatures checked upon entry and wearing masks when social distancing can’t happen. Faculty and coaches are learning how to teach with a mask on where necessary. All of this is excellent practice for when all 930+ students return to campus in early August.
Last week, I informed you that we have committed to two platforms for learning, either in-person brick and mortar or remote learning. Our Continuity of Learning Plan is designed so we can flow in and out of in-person and remote learning platforms quickly to minimize a transition. For those few students whose attending physician confirms health concerns that require them to remain home, we will do what we have always done when a student is out sick; we will find a way to support those students in continuing and ensuring they receive a quality education. We will not focus on accommodating the students who choose not to come to School while others are on campus, because we believe such accommodations create scenarios where no one receives the high-level of learning they expect and deserve from our great School.
This week, I want to share how we plan to open two highly impactful, yet high-density places on campus: Chapel and Family Style Dining.
Casady’s Chapel program supports our belief that we are all made in the image of God and that we all have an equal seat at the table. Second, Chapel supports the delivery of Social Emotional Wellness skills we want our children to develop. Third, Chapel also serves as a beautiful way for our children to embrace the similarities and respect the differences of others’ religious beliefs. I can’t think of a better time than now for us to be teaching the worth and dignity of every human being, and Chapel serves as a catalyst for these conversations and growth.
Therefore, we will continue daily Chapel and create an alternating-day schedule so that students remain socially distanced. Most likely, two grades from a Division will attend Chapel in-person on a given day, and the next day, the other two grades will attend Chapel in person. On the days students do not go to the Chapel, they will still participate in Chapel remotely, with their cohort group or advisory, someplace where we can live stream the Chapel service.
Like Chapel, Casady’s family-style dining program is key to building community. We believe strongly that our lunch program addresses many non-academic skills we want your children to acquire. Through family-style dining, our students learn the value of service to others through the waiter system. Additionally, they learn to converse with people they might not ordinarily get to know. This helps us create the strong sense of belonging and community our campus enjoys.
We are fortunate to have a national, Independent School dining service in SAGE, and we welcome their expertise in delivering quality food in safe ways. We plan only to allow four students and a teacher at each table in Calvert, and we plan to utilize barriers during lunchtime. This means that, as with Chapel, lunch in Calvert will most likely be on a rotation. On the days when students don’t eat in Calvert, lunch will be brought to them. For now, Upper Division students will not be allowed off campus for lunch until we feel confident the risks of going off-campus are under better control. We are considering various “fun” options for students to feel like they are experiencing an “out to lunch” of sorts. More details will follow.
The School Calendar is final, and our goal is to have approximately 177 teaching days this year. Our average amount varies by year and is between 165 and 172. As I mentioned in a previous communication, this year, we are starting earlier than normal so that we can identify and address any skills gaps and to allow time for teachers to build relationships with their students in case a group of students must return briefly to remote learning.
Also, I want to make you aware that if we have more than a week of down time we will extend the school days up to a week longer in June to ensure our Continuity of Learning for your children is fulfilled. Currently, our last day of school is scheduled for May 28. If circumstances require us to extend the school year, we will let you know as soon as possible if we have to push the last day of school to June 4. Baccalaureate and Graduation would then move a week later to June 11 and June 12, respectively. Our hope is this will not be necessary; however, we ask that you only make summer travel plans based on the end of school on June 4 and for seniors and their families based on adjusted graduation dates. Please click here
for more details on our school calendar. Please note that we have added a few new student days off during the year to allow Professional Development days for our faculty so they can continue to grow their edge as some of the best educators in Oklahoma.
One of my biggest takeaways from all the incredible work that the School’s Task Force is doing is that we can’t do this alone. It is more evident than ever that this year will require a covenantal relationship between our parents, our students, our teachers, and our administrators. We will have to rely on each of you to be vigilant with daily screenings to ensure your child is safe to come to school. And, we will do our part to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 while your students are in our care.
I love the serenity prayer, “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” We can’t change the fact that COVID-19 is here, but we can have the courage to be flexible and to learn new ways to do things together that will provide your children an exceptional education.
We are in this together, and together, we are Cyclone Strong!