September 13, 2020: Update from Principal Hanson


Good evening, Caleb families!

First of all, great job on our first six days! Despite technology glitches, scheduling confusion and all the other challenges that go along with distance learning, we had the most incredible attendance, with nearly 100% of our students in Zooms with their classmates and teachers every day. As a school leader and a parent, I know this has a lot to do with two major factors… parents prioritizing school and our teachers prioritizing connections with their students so they want to come to school, be it in Zoom or in person. I couldn’t be prouder of our Caleb community for showing up for our kids the way we have the last six days. Attendance like this, under the best of circumstances, is a commendable feat. 

But this kind of attendance also has a lot to do with another major factor often outside of our control, and that’s the ability families have to prioritize school and secure access to distance learning in the first place. So as we dig into grade level content and rigor this week, as the academic demands increase and as the novelty wears, I urge you to please continue to have perspective about how fortunate we are that together we can provide these 550 Caleb Cougars with the kind of high quality instruction, access and opportunities you have come to expect, distance learning or not. And if things aren’t working, please reach out to your child’s teacher or me so we can provide support. Academic, social emotional, technology and mental health resources are all available just by reaching out, so please don’t hesitate. 

As you’ll hear in my video message to our students this week, we have a lot of exciting additions to our weekly learning plans. Synchronous Spanish begins tomorrow with our fabulous Spanish team. Kinder will have weekly Monday classes with Senora Miller and our first through sixth graders will have classes two or three times per week with Maestra Barrera. These sessions are part of your child’s synchronous school day and will take place in their regular Zooms, so no need to figure out another new login, just have them stay put and our Spanish team will show up! 

Mrs. Cordero is launching our first site-wide IB PYP unit “clues” about the theme and central idea in our IB, Music and Art Google Classrooms. There you can also find inquiry challenges, service opportunities, open art studio activities, a virtual IB library, music resources and more. Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Jacobsen are launching their first synchronous Music and Art lessons. AND, Mrs. Cordero and Ms. Bond are hosting a LIVE Peace Day event on Wednesday at 1:30! All these learning opportunities will be included in your child’s weekly learning plan provided by your classroom teacher, so no need to hunt around for information. Lastly, you can read more about this month’s learner profile, enrichment and what’s going on with IB in our IB PYP Newsletter on our website. 

As we head into this first full week of Distance Learning, please be mindful of the following expectations for Zoom and synchronous learning:

  • In order to keep us all safe on Zoom, must be logged using THEIR name each day, have their video on and their audio muted. Zoom information should not be shared with others outside of the class. Children only may be logged into Zoom. It’s fine to listen from the background, but please do NOT log in from a separate device or chime in unless asked by the teacher to do so. 
  • School begins on Zoom at 8am sharp every day. 
  • All first through sixth graders are expected to come back to Zoom everyday after lunch for a final synchronous block with their teacher and classmates. As we transitioned into our full schedule, there was some confusion about whether this time is optional. It is not, so please plan accordingly. 

As we work to build stamina and our distance teaching and learning skills, I encourage you to continue to exercise your patience, keep an open mind and give our children and teachers a chance to grow into these expectations. It’s not going to be perfect or easy, but we’ve got this. 

If you haven’t seen it yet, please share my weekly Cougar Video Message with your child this evening or tomorrow morning!  

As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. 

Erin Hanson, Principal