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Gillispie School / covid19  / HoS Update: 5/15/20

HoS Update: 5/15/20

Good Evening Brave Ones!

How are you doing? I appreciate the many roles you are playing right now. Some of you are balancing work and home responsibilities as well as caring not only for your own children but often for your parents. Each of us is also dealing with our own feelings of isolation and lack of control because of future uncertainty. Though I may not truly understand all of your circumstances, I empathize with and applaud you. 

To provide some information to lessen the unknowns, I share with you what Gillispie School has in store for end-of-year events as well as our upcoming summer sessions.

Building Community and Understanding 

Please join licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Adria O’Donnell for a webinar from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20. With an engaging style and expertise in understanding children, Dr. O’Donnell has been a favorite speaker at Gillispie. She will offer opening remarks on how to live under the same roof in our stay-home situation. It’s all about relationships–parent to parent, parent to child, and child to child. She will take questions from you on these topics at the end of her talk.

In the late afternoon of Thursday, May 21, three virtual meetings will be held (for families in Early Childhood, K-Grade 2, and Grades 3-6) where parents can talk with one another about the topics raised in Dr. O’Donnell’s presentation. A few of our own Gillispie parents will act as moderators.

From this week’s happenings, here is the link for the recording of a live reading of Maddi’s Fridge by children’s author Lois Brandt. This story gently and compassionately introduces children to the topics of poverty and hunger and has been well-received nationwide. Our Gillispie students enjoyed the reading and engaged beautifully in a follow-up discussion.

End-of-Year Information

For all children, there will be no classes Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day, and no classes for elementary students Friday, May 29 so that teachers can focus on writing progress reports to close out the year. For Grades 4-6, I remind parents that no letter grades will appear on the June progress reports for academic subjects. Instead, the scale will indicate whether a student is approaching, at, or above expectations in each subject. 

We know how important routines, celebrations, and closure are for students. In light of this, we are planning drive-through farewell salutes for Gillispie students where families can wave goodbye to teachers and staff; receive personal items left at school; and return materials such as technology, textbooks, instruments, and library books. We will also be distributing a yearbook for each family. A detailed schedule will be released at the end of May, but please mark the mornings of June 9 for early childhood students and June 11 for elementary students to drive by the School.  

Summer Sessions and Camps

As circumstances continue to change due to COVID-19 we have adjusted our Summer Explorers Program to be held exclusively virtual for the summer of 2020. This difficult decision was made based on the fluid landscape of appropriate physical distancing and changing local and state guidelines. At this time, we feel this is the best way to ensure the health and safety of our community while allowing us to prepare the campus and classrooms for the unique school year that lies ahead. We will be posting the new summer schedule, full of various experiences, on Tuesday, May 26, with updated camps offered from June 22-August 14.

Because of our shift in programming, the deadline for refunds has been moved to June 5. You will have the opportunity to change your child’s camp schedule to the new offerings of your choice. You may also receive a full refund. We will begin schedule changes on Tuesday, May 26 for which you will receive an email with detailed instructions. Of course, if you have any questions at any time, please contact Erica Hurley at [email protected].

 Our Monday Morning Meeting will involve Coach Whelan offering ways in which students can practice self-care–something each of us, from parents to teachers and staff, needs to role model for our children. Oh no! I have assigned you yet another responsibility! Sometimes self-care comes in the form of letting go of “ought to’s” or “should do’s.” This weekend I hope you let something go and let it ride.


Alison Fleming

Head of School

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