WE. YOU. US.
The week before school starts defines bittersweet.
Summer is almost over. Wah, wah, waaah.
We get to see our friends again. Yaaaaay!
This year – after a summer like no other – the mood is more nuanced. Sandwiched between the bitter and the sweet are layers of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation that are new to most families.
Make no mistake. After weeks of training, planning and preparation, we are
excited to begin school with distance learning Seabury style – kicked off by socially distanced meetings/supply pickups with individual families Sept. 2-4 followed by the first day of remote instruction Sept. 8.
Last spring the coronavirus forced us to create a distance learning program on the fly. This
fall we’re rolling out a program built on lessons learned from our experience, the
experience of our families and the experience of other schools – especially schools serving gifted kids. We will share all of the exciting details during our Aug. 27 orientation session on Zoom.
But – and there’s always a but – no amount of excitement from us can totally
erase the anxiety, uncertainty and isolation many families feel as a result of
starting school with distance learning. What we can do, though, is acknowledge
those emotions and provide resources for Seabury families to work through them.
Several families are working with us to create an online community – tentatively
dubbed It’s a Seabury Thing – on Facebook. The mission: to connect families with
other families, provide a forum for seeking and sharing information, and create a
positive and supportive environment.
The bottom line is that we are all in this together. And not just here at Seabury. Head of School Sandi Wollum is facilitating a network of child-centered gifted education leaders who have been sharing advice for improving the distance learning experience for families in private and public schools across the country.
Sandi compiled the group’s collective thoughts and published an article
on the website for the Gifted Development Center, a gifted education advocacy
organization based in Colorado. The compilation has also been picked up by the
National Association for Gifted Children and the Denver Public Schools.
Key takeaways include creating a space for school at home that fits the needs of
the child and the family, allowing kids to make mistakes so teachers will know
where they need help and – above all – putting family relationships ahead of
completing every project or assignment to perfection.
Enjoy the final days of summer. And remember. We .. you ... us ... got this.