April 16, 2020

Dear Harbor Families,

19 days. That’s how many school days we have been at this. I have been finding myself counting the days, and wishing that I could be counting down days instead. With so much unknown, the only thing to do is to take it day by day, week by week, and to keep in mind what really counts - our health, our families, and our communities!

In many ways, it feels like an eternity since we began this in mid-March. As we conclude week four of distance learning, I find myself reflecting on the process of developing a new model in an unprecedented and unexpected context. As we have designed each iteration of our model, we have kept important goals at the forefront of our planning. We are looking to support the diversity of family schedules and situations. We are concerned with social/emotional learning and connection. We are committed to delivering a full curriculum, just in a new way.

At Harbor, our mission is to understand and meet the social/emotional, physical, and academic learning needs of each of our unique learners. I have thought many times about how difficult this would be with larger classes, and am grateful, as a parent and Head, that our small classes and community allow for greater connection and differentiation. And, not to mention, a Harbor class can all fit on one Zoom screen! 

With your feedback, we are providing further refinements to the model to support individual learning needs. 

  • Teachers will provide opportunities for differentiated learning, through additional practice materials and online resources, differentiated tasks, or extensions in the daily learning menus. In our older grades, small group instruction will begin next week.

  • One on one meetings will target specific individual goals and skills. These are also weekly opportunities for ongoing parent teacher conferencing and family-specific support. As always, teachers are available for additional conversations outside of this time as well. (This is in lieu of our traditional parent teacher conferences that were originally scheduled for next week.)

  • Teachers are supporting home routines by providing a daily schedule on Seesaw; some have provided sample home schedules in order to further support families in sticking to routines.

It’s been a pleasure to connect with so many of you as we have continued on this journey together - whether it be through one on one calls, Zoom parent orientations or “coffees” (join Andrea and me tomorrow morning at 10:30 if you are able!), or on morning meetings or bedtime stories with the kids.  It is striking just how varied each family’s experience has been, and how, regardless of individual circumstances, how challenging this is for every one of us. As you face your own family’s version of this challenge day by day (and some days are easier than others!), remember that you are making a difference for your child(ren) in supporting their learning; we recognize that and thank you. 

And speaking of making a difference... I’d like to highlight two heroes in our midst. Regina and Jonathan Tranquillo are heading to New York City to support the fight against coronavirus on the front lines in an ICU where medical support is in the greatest need. We thank them for their service as true Harbor Heroes!


Leah Musico

Head of School

The Harbor School

Harbor School