April 5, 2020
Dear GHCDS families,
This edition of our Weekly News will make you smile! You’ll see touching photos of students learning from home. Our teachers’ creative efforts to keep students thriving in our still-new GHCDS Online Program. A “Coping with Covid” briefing from School Counselor Sasha Marohn.
The following items are highlighted in the Weekly News:
And be sure to watch Coach Amy’s Rock Some Socks video (which deserves to go viral).
And view the Panther Junior Post hot off the press!
Thank you to Kiomie Pedrini, who, behind-the-scenes, diligently creates our Weekly News each week. As the new week progresses, please send Kiomie photos and captions from your online schooling experiences at your homes! (We would like parental permission—via email—before posting photos of students at their homes on our website.)
Seven school days have elapsed since our Online Learning Program launched. Students (and teachers, too!) are becoming much more comfortable with Google Classroom, Seesaw, and other platforms. Parent and student surveys have been completed in most grades to help us assess how we’re doing. If you have questions or concerns about how online learning is working for you and your family, please contact your division head (Julie Crisler, grades N-4; Tracy Cole, grades 5-8; and Nancy Thatcher, grades 9-12), or respond to this email. And, if the spirit moves you, please let your teachers and division heads know how much you appreciate their incredible work over the past few weeks! They are all giving their all for all of you!
If you haven’t yet viewed my video message from yesterday, you may check it out here.
When I communicated with you several weeks ago about the temporary closure of the campus and our move to online learning, I said that this change would last through at least Easter/Passover vacation. At this time, I’m extending the campus closure and GHCDS Online Education Program until the end of the school year, barring some sort of unexpected and very positive turn of events. The school year will still conclude on Friday, May 29, with graduation to take place (most likely, virtually) on Saturday, May 30.
Beginning tomorrow, we will be following up on the online surveys most families have already received, with phone calls home. Administrators will be contacting each of our families to find out if there is anything else you need from GHCDS, as well as to ask you about your thoughts regarding the 2020-21 school year. The COVID-19 crisis has been both a health and economic calamity, and we know that it is impacting all our families. Planning for the next school year (just like planning for anything these days) is especially difficult!
Here are several important announcements:
Here at GHCDS, maintaining good communications with our students and families is of paramount importance. Towards that end, please be sure to check out our weekly news, follow us on Facebook, consult our new GHCDS Online Program resource page on our website, and keep up with Google Classroom and/or Seesaw via your children’s teachers:
The GHCDS finance office has encountered a complicated software glitch with our accounting software, and we are currently receiving assistance from our software company and IT department to get to the bottom of the problem. Business Manger Sue Gibbons asks for your patience as we work to resolve this, as it may take her longer than usual to answer your financial questions. (For the record, if it hadn’t been for Sue’s tireless efforts and careful financial oversight over the years, our school’s financial position would certainly be tenuous. Thanks to Sue, GHCDS has very little debt and is in a decent position to weather the present storm. We are all “indebted” to her!) During the campus closure, please pay tuition online with a credit card (GHCDS has waived credit card fees for the remainder of the school year), or please mail in a check. If cash is your only available form of payment, please contact Dave Kenney to arrange a time to drop off payment.
The campus’s new security gates are now finished and will remain locked until conditions allow us to reopen the campus. Once the crisis passes, we will take a deep look at the effectiveness, placement, and aesthetics of the gates, and we will work to make the front of our campus appear more inviting. At this point, due to recent, serious security concerns and the vulnerability of a largely empty campus during this Stay-at-Home period, we are relying on the gates—as well as our video surveillance system—to reduce and hopefully eliminate vandalism and incidents of criminal activity.
I am very pleased to share with you that GHCDS administrator Dawn Grey is returning from an extended medical leave of absence and will be assisting us—effective immediately—with students needing academic and social/emotional support, “virtual” event planning this spring semester, and substitute teaching in the event a faculty member takes ill. Nancy Thatcher will remain Interim Head of the Upper School for the duration of the school year. Please join our faculty and me in extending a warm welcome back to Dawn!
Continued warm wishes to all of you. Peace, joy, happiness, and good health to all of you.
William Bugg, Head of School, Good Hope Country Day School
We have completed six days of online schooling and, during this time, I have spoken with numerous students and parents. Parents are busy grappling with how to accommodate their student’s remote learning with parents’ work schedules, which might be from home now too. Students are busy figuring out how to get their assignments done while grappling with all the changes. Coping with changes can be challenging and this can show up as a decrease in a student’s ability to work independently – sometimes frustrating parents. This is all new terrain and it may not be realistic to try to replicate the school day at home. Schedules and organization create continuity and each family is figuring out what schedule works best for them and their students. The good news is that people often think they can’t before they can. Pessimism and self-doubt come with the territory, but the silver lining is that the kinks in the system can get worked out. We are here to help and collaborate with you and your students. You can contact your student’s teachers and the Deans with questions and concerns. Please feel free to also contact me, Sasha Marohn (GHCDS Counselor), by email firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 340-332-3413.
Kindergarten had a very busy week of online school. They started keeping journals, practiced counting to 100 (and discovered they could do that while jumping on a trampoline, exploring the garden, in the car). It was Transfer Day on Tuesday, so we also celebrated our beautiful islands by coloring the flag and talking about our favorite island things. They even shared some of their activities with their younger siblings, like reading stories and talking about favorite animals during their virtual zoo visit.
For your reading pleasure, our GHCDS Junior Journalists would like to share with you the second edition of The Panther Pages, created in the After School Club for third through sixth grade students this spring. Mrs. Fitzgerald helped lead the activity with the fantastic support of journalism expert, Jamie Werner, also proud mom of third grader Charlotte Werner! In addition, they were very fortunate to have a few ninth graders join as editors. Enjoy! Panther Pages 2020
Dominick Hay made the most of his optional PE Challenge to Rock Your Socks, using mismatched socks to create a sock ball for outdoor games!
Miles Kantowski used his tech skills to show his sock ball creativity! He is Rock Your Socks ready!
Piper Olsen doing her morning stretches. She’s ready for classes now!
Wyatt Jarrin, with backup dancing sister, Olivia, putting their Tinikling steps together for a fun workout! Family fitness in motion!
During their first week of online learning, 9th graders explored various definitions of poetry and wrote their own using Metaphor.
“Poetry is a garden filled with flowers; all different and unique.” -Brielle Schindler
“Poetry is a meteor” – Emily Mohammed Meaning of my metaphor: like a poem, a meteor seems so simple and powerless when it is floating around in space, but when it comes in contact with you (the earth) you realize just how much power it holds, and the force it can release.
“New poems in life are a new journey.” – Orion Hollingsworth
“A poem is a birthday.” -Tsehai Alfred Meaning of metaphor – I think a poem is a birthday because some birthdays have more meaning than others, there’s good and bad birthdays, and both poems and birthdays are celebrations.
“Poetry is a coconut; you may eat its jelly, drink its water, or admire its look.” – Jalen Fleming
2nd Grade started the week off by sharing how they feel in a unique way! Students were given the task of using odd objects from around their house to spell out how they feel. It was a great way to reconnect and help support students emotionally! Here are some of the responses Ms. Bishop and Mrs. Lambert received:
Seventh grade french class played Jenga online where they had to say the number of the block in French, that they wanted removed. It was good fun and practice and took a good half hour before the tower finally tumbled.
GHCDS 1-6 Art students participated in the 5th Annual Artist Trading Card Swap. Each year, Minnesota Elementary Art Teacher, Nichole Hahn, hosts an Artist Trading Card Swap. Students from all over the world create small masterpieces (2 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches) to share with each other. Each school sends packs of 10 cards to Ms. Hahn who then redistributes them to participating schools. Each Art Student (all 162) created an Artist Trading Card to send. Just before Spring Break, Mrs. Shelley received the cards back from Ms. Hahn. GHCDS received cards from California, Oregon, Michigan, Massachusetts, and ITALY!!! Students got to see a sampling this week in their distance learning.
(italicized, bold indicates commitment)
The GHCDS Parents’ Association is seeking volunteers to serve as officers and committee chairs for the 2020-2021 school year. If you are interested or have any questions about the Parents’ Association please email current president Robyn Falconer at ParentAssociation@ghcds.org.