What a remarkable time in the world at large and in our own homes as we establish our new routines and norms. First and foremost, thank you for acting as the conduit for Gillispie and your children; it truly has been a team effort in moving to our online educational program. The teachers and leadership team have pulled together the most often asked questions from your emails and this week’s survey results. Certain questions are better answered by classroom teachers, but the ones addressed here should be relevant to all.
Spring Break resources and return from the Break
Online classes and morning meetings will not occur over the break (March 30-April 3), and teachers will be offline. However, at your request, Gillispie has carefully curated a list of resources that are appropriate for Early Childhood, Kindergarten through Grade 2, and Grades 3 to 6 students. We leave it up to each family to determine whether these resources are helpful or not needed next week.
When we return to online learning after Spring Break, elementary teachers will focus on new material that is relevant to reaching grade-level benchmarks. A schedule giving structure to the balance of live meetings and independent tasks each day will be emailed to you through your homeroom teachers. We ask that students abide by them in punctually attending the live meetings and turning in assignments as requested by teachers. In age-appropriate ways and in keeping with our school philosophy, we are balancing synchronous teaching with teacher-created videos that can be replayed by the students, as well as offering activities that students can complete on their own and without electronic devices.
For early childhood students, Dr. Mindy Smith and classroom teachers will be sending out plans for the Littles (Maple and Spruce), Middles (Magnolia, Cypress, and Rosewood), and Prekindergarten (Juniper, Willow, and Sequoia) students. We have adopted best practices to ensure that children have the opportunities for live interactions with teachers and to engage in off-screen activities each day.
We have thoughtfully considered parent and teacher feedback as we plan for the coming weeks. Our aim is to use time and efforts to best prepare our students academically while preserving their right to childhood.
When to reopen Gillispie School will be a decision based on carefully monitoring updates and directives from local, county, state, and national agencies. The testing for COVID-19 will be critical in providing information about the extent of the outbreak throughout the country and in San Diego in particular. Whether or not we are allowed to return to campus before the end of this school year, the most important goal is to keep our families and employees safe. Whatever that date is determined to be, we will open our doors joyously—we miss you!
We are anticipating that our Summer Explorers program will run from June 22 through August 8.
How will Gillispie be tracking student progress for the remainder of the year?
Teacher/Parent Conferences: Elementary meetings will be held on or around April 27 and Early Childhood meetings will be held throughout the month of April in 20-minute increments. Your children’s teachers will be sending an electronic form to sign up for video conferences.
June Progress Reports: With three quarters of the current school year completed, elementary school grades and comments will reflect the assessments that were finished through March 13 and the progress students made through online learning, including their participation and work turned in as requested by their teachers. For early childhood students, teachers will continue to build relationships with students through online learning and will write narrative comments on the developmental growth your child experienced over the entire school year.
Will elementary students be prepared for the next grade level?
Yes. The online instruction will enable teachers to meet their curricular goals for the year and prepare students to advance to the next grade level. When Gillispie School is allowed to return to on-campus learning, teachers will assess students and then teach content and skills to fortify any areas if needed.
I am grateful to the teachers, staff, administrative team, and to you, parents, as we are making our way through uncharted territory. On the positive side, will this be a spring when time slowed and we were able to reconnect with each other? What will the children remember of this crazy time? My guess is that it won’t be a math lesson no matter how well-designed or executed, but rather, it will be the time spent with the family in all of its messiness, love, and compassion.
Enjoy the break!
Alison Fleming, Head of School