April 25, 2020
Dear parents and students,
For many of you, I’m sure the days are running together, and it’s hard to even keep up with what month it is, much less the day! But it is now the weekend, we’re closing out the month of “April showers” and bringing in “May flowers” in six short days.
With online learning continuing, our staff has heard from many students and parents who are concerned about what grading will look like this spring. Please know that we are developing a grading policy for the fourth quarter that we think is fair and equitable, that recognizes the challenges of online learning for many students and families, and that is designed to mitigate against the negative impacts of the pandemic. We will share more details about this policy in the upcoming weeks.
To celebrate May and give our students and families something to look forward to, Friday, May 1, will be a shortened school day, with a school-wide dismissal time of 12 noon. We urge our students to spend Friday afternoon outdoors, away from SeeSaw and Google Classroom and altogether free of electronic devices!
As COVID-19 case numbers appear to be stabilizing on St. Croix, I remain in contact with the VI Department of Health and government officials and continue to monitor CDC and WHO guidelines regarding reopening school.
At this time, we are exploring whether it is feasible for the Class of 2020 to celebrate a physical graduation on or off campus on May 30, or whether we will be restricted to a virtual ceremony — or some kind of hybrid of the two approaches. We are also looking into the advisability of launching a small, low-cost, on-campus summer program to provide social contact and fun activities for our students and relief for our families. And finally, we are diligently preparing for the new school year for our students in grades N-11.
This is the most difficult planning environment K-12 schools and colleges/universities have experienced in our lifetimes, and there isn’t a single U.S. educational institution (or business or family) that has not been profoundly challenged by this crisis. Here at GHCDS, we are planning for three scenarios in 2020-21:
All three scenarios are complex and will likely involve at least some physical distancing. And the complexities will only increase if we have to change from one scenario to another with little notice. Therefore, we will be ready for all three (and more)!
Student re-enrollment contracts and new student contracts will go out soon — a good bit later than usual. The delay has given the Board of Trustees additional time to deliberate on the school budget and set our tuition for next year. It has also provided our school time to begin fundraising efforts to enhance our financial aid program. And it has given families more time for financial planning. We are pleased to announce that our 2020-21 tuition schedule will remain the same as this year’s. Stay tuned for a communication from the school regarding contracts and financial aid information.
2020-21 Academic Calendar: To give the families more opportunities to travel off island and GHCDS more time to firm up plans for the fall, the school calendar will look a bit different from those of recent years. The school year will start just after Labor Day (Tuesday, Sept. 8) and there will be a week-long Thanksgiving break. The calendar will also be organized on a trimester system. Here is the GHCDS 2020-21 Key Dates Calendar.
2020-21 Daily Schedule: For next year’s daily schedule, there will be several important enhancements.
First, the school day for all grades will begin and end at the same time, which we believe will help ensure that all students arrive on time each day. (With the Upper School presently starting later than the rest of the school, student drivers often cause their younger siblings and other students accompanying them to be late to school!)
Second, while our recent survey results revealed that parents, students, and faculty members have a wide range of viewpoints on what our school hours should look like next year, the strong recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics and other professional health organizations, as well as the observations and experiences of our staff, have led us to make a significant change: For the 2020-21 school year, we will move the school start and end times for all grades back 30 to 40 minutes, and the GHCDS academic day will extend from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
To accommodate parents who need to drop their students off early in order to get to work on time, before-school care, which will be offered at no cost to families, will begin at 7:15 a.m. As in prior years, after-school care will be available to parents for $5 per hour (the same fee as this year), and children must be picked up by no later than 5:30 p.m.
Finally, Middle and Upper School student scheduling for 2020-21 will begin in late May and will continue into the summer.
Here’s this week’s Weekly News. Please note the following updates:
As we continue to follow physical distancing on account of coronavirus, this much is certain: The GHCDS community has weathered many storms before, and WE WILL weather this one. Keep calm up and carry on! And please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
William Bugg, Head of School, Good Hope Country Day School
Thank you, Panther Families, for all the EXTRA effort you’ve put towards keeping your children healthy and active! If you’re doing a family hike, or some other ACTIVity, we’d love to have a picture and share it! Much Panther love and thanks! The Athletic Department
*Send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and include details, favorite moments!
The Prekindergarten Earth Day lessons gave the children a deep awareness of our planet home. The children learned about the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and what they need to do to protect our Earth.
All week first grade has been learning about space in Science. We talked about gravity and that in space things are weightless…they float. Today we celebrated by giving ourselves anti-gravity hairdos for our Zoom Meeting!
Marine Biology students use poetry, art, and music to deliver strong marine and environmental messages.
Mother Earth Music Video
Sunset Ocean Painting by Mariam Hamed
I created this piece because I believe that the oceans have a great impact in many aspects of our lives and we must take care of them. Like the palm trees and islands in my painting, they revolve around the water. If we do not take care of our oceans future generations won’t get to see the beautiful creatures that these waters hold.
Marine Biology Poem by Christopher Hasson
Too many long words in my head flying
Thinking of where to go and where to be
I’m thinking I’m wondering I’m trying
Staring at the large lonely open sea
As I stare into the smooth ocean mist
I feel the cold damp light air touch my face
I look down at my book with a long list
To save the earth is an important race
With peace and love we can save the strong earth
The whistle of the wind cries for quick help
It’s our faults for this, the earth needs rebirth
The hurting earth will soon painfully melt
As we soon will have to take are own parts
We can do this if we act upon our hearts
Alessandra Evangelista Marine Biology Poster
I chose to draw a manatee trapped in plastic because manatees are my favorite animal. On the tail of the manatee there is a net and on the right flipper is plastic from a six pack of drinks. On the bottom of the ocean, to the left underneath the manatee, I drew the cylindrical manatee grass, then eel grass, then turtle grass. Underneath the Save the ocean words, is a broken plastic bag. In drawing this picture, I hope to raise awareness about plastics and debris ending up in the ocean and encouraging people to recycle.
Marine Biology Infographic by Ariel Sutherland
Anna Shipperley put a ton of pep in her step, replying to the Gettin’ Juggy With It activity with a fully choreographed dance to Will Smith, using a bunch of creative movements! Here’s a glimpse! We used water jugs and other objects for dancing over, hopping over, kicking over, and fast footwork!
Hi Panther Families!
Now that everyone’s school schedules are up and running, it’s time to do some additional training to keep our Panthers fit! Each week the Athletic Department will post a workout. We’re going to start softly, since many of our athletes may not have been training while they’ve been adapting to online schooling. We’ kick it up a notch as we go! If you’d like this workout emailed to your athlete directly, please contact Coach Amy at email@example.com.
1. Monday, Wednesday and Friday-Tabata-which is a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout using only your body, based on 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, and we’re starting with a 4 minute total workout. For more information about HIIT and Tabata, click here: https://www.verywellfit.com/tabata-training-definition-1230982
2. The beauty of Tabata workouts is you can do as many cycles of these workouts as you’d like/can! Just hit replay and you’re ready for another round! *If uneven planks are too difficult right now, modify with a regular plank and hold. **If your body isn’t ready for full push-ups, begin with modified push-ups at the knee. For this week’s Tabata click here:
3. Tuesday and Thursday-10 minute run. Choose a safe path! If you do not have access to a safe running place, substitute jump rope sets, 5 x 2 minutes on the same days.
4. Ms. Banwaree would love to have workout pictures for the yearbook! If you take some, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday was Crazy Hair/Hat Day for 2nd Grade! Our Morning Zoom Meeting was extra silly with lots of giggles! Even Mrs. Lambert and Ms. Bishop got CRAZY!
Third graders made connections with writing partners online to share their adapted fairy tales and get feedback from each other.
Third graders also tracked real life sea turtles from the Sea Turtle Conservancy website and mapped out their release site, most current tracked location and 3 more locations in between! Below is Nico Hutchins’ work from this project!
Wednesday was crazy hat/hair day in Mrs. Dykstra’s advisory. Sixth grade students meet as advisories throughout the week to check in with each other.
Students and faculty participated in The GHCDS Upper School Spirit Week from April 14th to the 17th. The daily events included Chef Day (Tuesday), Filter Day (Wednesday), Gratitude Day (Thursday) and the final event was Scavenger Hunt on Friday. Pictures and videos were posted daily in the GHCDS Advisory Flipgrid created by Ms. Wilson. It was great to see the enthusiasm and creativity of both students and faculty who all together created a total of 65 videos. Congratulations to Ms. Thatcher’s advisory on completing each of the ten tasks for the scavenger hunt and to Ms. Capriola’s advisory for the higher amount of posts throughout the week.
(As of April 13, 2020; italicized, bold indicates commitment; ED indicates Early Decision)
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.