Welcome to Redwood Day’s Distance Learning Program! Our faculty and staff have been hard at work since early last week preparing to transition our program to an online format for at least the next three weeks. We’ve been in numerous virtual meetings the past two days finalizing the details to ensure our program is mission consistent -- mindful of the academic, developmental, social and emotional needs of our students across the grade levels. While distance learning looks and feels different from in-person instruction, the program we have developed will ensure that our students continue to meet the learning benchmarks in all disciplines, including specialists, during the time period we are engaged in distance learning.
In this letter, I will provide you with a high-level overview of what you need to know in order to have a successful distance learning experience for your child(ren). Additionally, you will find links to welcome videos, a letter from Ms. A for Lower School students, a letter from Mr. Rendle for Middle School students, and an instructional manual for distance learning, complete with schedules and contact information for people at Redwood Day who can assist you with any troubleshooting.
Brief Overview of Distance Learning at Redwood Day
Our distance learning program is designed to ensure that students are engaged in virtual lessons, learning activities, and work periods across the disciplines, Monday through Friday. The schedule for distance learning is not one-size-fits-all. Rather, we’ve created a schedule that is responsive to the developmental needs of our K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 students. Your child’s core teacher in the Lower School and Mr. Rendle, in the Middle School, will communicate specifics regarding the schedule for each grade level.
The program will utilize a variety of learning management systems to keep our students engaged, including Google Classroom, Google Docs, Hapara, RazKids, SeeSaw, and ZOOM. If you don’t know how to use these resources, do not worry -- your child knows! If your child doesn’t know, don’t worry -- your child’s teacher/advisor or our tech team will help you. Remember, one day at a time! While we’ve structured the program during certain hours each day to mirror our in-person program as much as possible, we understand that some students will only be able to log-in and do their coursework later in the afternoon or evening, depending on childcare, supervision, and technology access needs throughout the day. Again, do not worry! We’ve created the program to be flexible to individual family needs, and we will record or pre-record learning sessions for students who need to access the material in an asynchronous format.
Preparing for Distance Learning at Your Home
If you haven’t already done so, please find a quiet place in your home where your child can engage in schoolwork for multiple hours each day, Monday-Friday. If you can’t find a quiet place, that’s ok -- just find a place, any place, somewhere in your home, where your child can engage in school work. Make sure you have a Chromebook, iPad, laptop, or desktop available for your child(ren) each day. Also, please read our Distance Learning Instructional Manual as it may answer some questions you have and put your mind at ease regarding how distance learning will work for your child(ren).
Social Distancing While Distance Learning (How Much More Distance Can There Be?)
The Alameda County shelter-in-place order is clear that we should leave our homes only for essential reasons. When we do leave our homes, it’s important that we practice social distancing, maintaining six feet of distance between ourselves and others. During the shelter-in-place, students should not gather in each other’s homes, even two students visiting each other. Students can Facetime, ZOOM, or use other forms of technology to socialize for the time being. For older students who have access to devices to text or who use other forms of social media to communicate, it is essential that they understand the School’s behavior guidelines and expectations are still in effect, even though we are not on campus.
We understand that most of you will be juggling working remotely from home and supervising your child(ren) - we see you. For those in our community who provide essential services for the community and must report to work, as usual -- we HONOR and THANK YOU! For all parents and guardians, please follow the CDC guidelines and recommendations for social distancing.
The following two articles provide more context as to why social distancing is critical right now:
Staying in Communication Throughout Distance Learning
Each Sunday afternoon/evening for the next few weeks, we will share a welcome video with you and your children to set the tone for the upcoming week. We will surprise you each week with videos from different community members. While distance learning is serious business, we still want to have some fun and maintain a sense of levity throughout the upcoming weeks. While we are social-distancing, we don’t want to become socially distant; we know that our students will take comfort in seeing and hearing from familiar faces. The Administration will also use the Redwood Day Weekly as our main form of communication regarding the distance learning program; if necessary, we will communicate via email. Your child’s core and specialist teachers and/or advisor will communicate via email and/or the School’s online portal regularly.
Attendance During Distance Learning
For Lower School students, we need parents/guardians to inform the school of their child’s attendance on a weekly basis. We will send Lower School families a Google Form each week to record your child’s attendance; this form will auto-populate a master list for Jill to input student attendance each week. We will include a reminder in each Redwood Day Weekly, and we request that you fill out the form by the end of the day each Sunday for the preceding week.
For Middle School students, we expect a higher degree of independence. Students will log into their homeroom each morning and advisors will record attendance as we would on a normal school day. If your Middle School student is unable to log-in at the required homeroom time for any reason, please email your child’s advisor and cc Jill or have your child do so from their Redwood Day email account.
Important Links for Getting Started
Next Steps: What to Expect
Today, you will receive communication from your core teacher in the Lower School or your advisor/Mr. Rendle in the Middle School with additional information. Keep an eye out for this communication. Tomorrow morning we will get started! Expect that there will be some bumps along the way. Take a deep breath, remember it will get easier as time goes on, and take it one day at a time.
Bringing Some Levity to Our Experience
Starting this week, I will offer an online contest for students and parents/guardians called, Where in the Virtual World Is….? in which I will provide clues about a specific faculty/staff member and a famous landmark they are visiting somewhere in the “virtual” world. Your job will be to figure out who the faculty/staff member is and where they are in the world.
The first online contest will be held tomorrow, Thursday, March 19; I will send the clue via a Google Form to all parents/guardians and to students’ Redwood Day email accounts in grades 4-8. Students and parents/guardians will have until 9:00 p.m. PST Sunday evening to submit answers via the Google Form. Those with correct answers will be announced in the Weekly the following Sunday. Good luck!
On a final note, if you or a member of your family tests positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) or has been exposed to an individual who has tested positive, please notify me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions or comments you would like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Cheryl, Jim, or Johanna. We’re all in this together, and we look forward to partnering with all of you throughout our distance learning journey.
Take care, stay healthy, and remember to take it one day at a time.
All my best,