From Tim Reilly: Distance Learning Update, 3/23/2020 | Mar 24, 2020
Dear IST Families,
Welcome “back” from Spring Break! I hope you were all able to enjoy some quality family time last week. While we all recognize this is a difficult time, spending time with family can be a great remedy.
Distance Learning Launch
Now, it’s time to get our Trailblazers back to the (virtual) classroom! IST’s Distance Learning Program begins on Wednesday, March 25. Today, our staff is finalizing their Zoom training and lesson preparation in order to deliver the best Distance Learning Program we can. Our teachers have spent a great deal of time both before and during spring break to ensure students have the best experience possible.
This afternoon, you will be receiving detailed information from your classroom teacher(s). This will include tomorrow’s practice session schedule using Zoom, an updated class schedule, and an activity menu for students to use as a learning tool. If you have questions related to the schedule or content, please communicate directly with your child’s teacher.
Attached, please find the IST Distance Learning Plan, which includes: FAQs, an explanation of each platform the various grades will be using, detailed descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of everyone in the IST community, and who to contact should there be an issue.
Please understand, you should not expect a replicated version of your child’s day-to-day classroom environment or class schedule. We do not feel that having children sitting in front of their devices from 8:15 – 3:30 pm is beneficial or healthy. Instead, we are creating tailored learning experiences and class schedules that we feel will best suit the needs of our students. Of course, what these experiences will look like will vary by age and grade. We are fortunate to be able to draw upon the resources of the International Baccalaureate organization as well as the collective hearts, minds and experience of our amazing and creative staff of educators.
With all of the external anxiety bombarding us, we do not want to add to the anxiety level. We recognize that our students and our teachers will need time to adjust to our new model. To that end, we will purposefully be ramping up slowly and providing opportunities for one-on-one interactions. If things don’t work as smoothly as we hope, it’ll be okay. We will adjust, work out the kinks and move forward… together.
Zoom Parent Volunteers
We have parent volunteers for each of the classes that agreed to be the designated Zoom “expert” in case you have questions or need a little bit of help getting the Zoom software working. I have attached a list of those volunteers – thank you so much for your help!
Tips for Beating Social Isolation
We are very aware of the risks that may arise from social isolation. It’s our sincere hope and desire that IST can be a resource to you and your families as we all cope with the challenges that are likely to arise over the upcoming weeks. We’ve been posting suggestions of enriching family activities (both online and offline) on our Facebook page. We’d love for you to drop by the page and share you favorites as well.
We also invite you to post pictures of your students at work in their virtual classrooms! We would love to see all of our students having fun with distance learning. Feel free to use the hashtag #logintoIST.
The health and safety of our students, families and staff are of the utmost priority—and this priority guides all of our decisions. As of now, we are tentatively scheduled to be back at school on Monday, April 6, but this could change at any time. If and when it does, we will be sure to communicate that with you.
We wish you all good health and peace during this trying time. I feel so lucky to be part of such an incredibly resilient, positive community and want to thank you in advance for your flexibility and support!