ITERATE! – Our Next Step in the Harbor Distance Learning Design
April 2, 2020

Dear Harbor Families,

A little less than three weeks ago, we began distance learning at Harbor. At that time, everything was happening so fast; I don't think anyone could wrap their heads around the idea that our new model may be in place longer than a few weeks. Now that predictions of the timeline for social distancing are extending, we are strangely settling in to this "new normal" - and, in true Harbor fashion, embracing it as a vibrant way of maintaining hands-on, interactive learning, community connections, and social/emotional development. 
 
Since that first day in mid-March, the teachers have been working tirelessly to provide a full Harbor education - though in a different way - including a focus on the academic, social/emotional, and physical. And we fully recognize that YOU, as families, have also been working tirelessly to support and work with your children! This experience is unprecedented, and difficult in ways we couldn't have imagined just a few weeks ago.

Recognizing that families have many different circumstances, we intentionally designed a model to provide flexibility of schedules, a balance of synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences, and opportunities for ongoing parent teacher communication. Over the past few weeks, we have actively sought feedback and you have given it! In the past week, 17 families participated in our parent survey, more than 30 families joined us for orientations, and still others have shared feedback through individual conversations and emails. A desire for more structure to the daily experience was a theme from many families.

Based on your feedback, we are making the following changes to our model beginning on Monday:

  • Students will have daily Zoom meetings as a class, at 9 AM for K-2 students, and 9:30 AM for preschool and JK. These meetings will be recorded for internal purposes only, and will be posted on Seesaw for students to review learning or see what they may have missed.
  • Learning menus will be organized by day in all grades, with activities provided for each core academic area, plus one specials class, daily. Seesaw instructional videos will correspond to daily menus in the Learning Logs.
  • Our weekly one on one meetings with teachers, which began this week, will continue every week at the scheduled time. These provide further opportunities to individualize teaching and learning.
  • Teachers will share learning menus and corresponding resources by 7 PM on Sunday evening, to allow parents time to print and organize materials for the week.

As a community, It's so important to remember that while physical health and safety are of paramount importance at this time, mental health and social/emotional well-being are not far behind. Our community is strong and connected, and will remain so - because our kids deserve it.

Please stay safe, and be well. Our heartfelt thanks to the members of our community who are on the front lines of this crisis in the healthcare or service industries. We appreciate you more than you know.

Finally - and importantly! - I look forward to seeing you in a couple of hours for a comforting bedtime story with Andrea Zuraf and our faithful friend Calvin.

With warmth and care,

Leah Musico

Head of School

The Harbor School

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