July 12, 2020
Hello Harding Community,
Sorry to skip a week but I had a chance to get out of town and took it. I hope you all had a fun holiday weekend.
PTA continues their commitment to community building with new and continuing families. The next virtual meeting for incoming TK/K families will be held Saturday, July 18 (see below). New families had lots of questions about teaching and learning in a pandemic at our June meeting and I link them here with answers for all.
In my last message I announced that Harding was awarded $26,475 from a district Ed Fund Hewlett Packard Foundation grant. We were one of nineteen district schools granted money to further the exploration and implementation of Learner Centered Environments and Deeper Learning. We have implemented student centered instruction in language arts with Teachers College Units of Study for Reading, Writing, and phonics. Differentiated instruction and student voice and choice are foundational expectations of this model of instruction. Teachers teach for independence, focusing on learning skills and strategies, providing various tools for support and self-assessment. This grant will support teacher time for study, lesson planning and lesson evaluation, as well as resources, to transfer workshop model practices to math. We hope to improve teacher practice and math learning conditions so students can increase their engagement, and deepen math learning
Teachers continue collaborative program improvement practices. Instructional lead teachers are doing some work over the summer to create teacher communication guidelines and schedule expectations to align practices and templates K-6th to make it easier for families, especially with multiple children, to access and understand weekly learning plans. They are also creating a distance learning website for a “one stop” family information resource in addition to parent education and support resources for managing learning at home or in childcare.
I’m sure we are all well aware of the national and local “discussions” regarding the opening of schools in August. I’m also sure that it is in all our best interest to continue to work together for the collective well being. In all transparency, for financial and logistical reasons, it appears that we will start the school year in full distance learning, adding cohorts of 12 students on site at a time, as staffing and safety permits. If we get all students in a cohort to be on site, students will be at school part time, partial day a couple days a week, to allow for social distancing and cleaning. So, if you need regular childcare, I recommend that you arrange it for the time needed to support work and other responsibilities. If you don’t need childcare, I also recommend that you connect with other Harding families to form cooperative learning and/or social cohorts or pods outside of school. In any setting, school or home, attending to the mental health of all through regular social connection and break opportunities will continue to be important. Connect with the PTA to continue the conversation, connect with others in the community, and engage in the work collectively.
Take care and stay safe.