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Directors' Notes

Upper School Director's Note - November 18, 2020
Sarah Webster, Director of Upper School

Dear Upper School Parents,

Thank you for your patience, once again, as we transitioned to eLearning last week. Although our preference is to be on campus, I am grateful for the three months we had together in person. While away, our teachers will continue to provide students with engaging and rich experiences as the semester draws to a close. The Park Tudor community has shown incredible resilience and flexibility this year. Our strength comes from our collective commitment to our students. From filling out daily health checklists to reinventing classroom instruction, every community member had an integral role in the success of our school. 

Revised eLearning schedule after Thanksgiving:

As a JK – 12 school, we share a number of resources, including teachers. The past week has shown us just one of many scenarios for a combination of in-person and eLearning within our community. Our sixth grade went home, followed closely by the Middle and Upper Schools while the Lower School remained in-person. I imagine we could be faced with similar scenarios in the winter/spring with either one grade level or one division at home with others in person. Therefore, having separate schedules for in-person and eLearning running simultaneously is not feasible. To that end, all three divisions need aligned schedules moving forward. To that end, we will return to our “normal schedule” Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We continue to work to strike the right balance of synchronous work and independent time during eLearning. eLearning requires more preparation from teachers to ensure engagement through Zoom and students use more energy when facing a screen for all content. Therefore, we will alter our Wednesday schedule to a half day to accommodate time for independent work, office hours, and club meetings. The updated Wednesday schedule can be found below:

  • Period 1: 9:00 – 9:30
  • Period 3: 9:40 – 10:10
  • Period 4: 10:20 – 10:50
  • Period 5: 11:00 – 11:30
  • Advisory: 11:30 – 12:00

eLearning extended through mid-January:

Given Public Health Order #35, all schools within Marion County must soon begin or remain in eLearning through Friday, January 15. Our second semester begins on Monday, January 11; therefore the first week of the second semester will be online. We will closely monitor for potential changes in this and will update you accordingly as we get closer to the next semester. Please continue to follow the CDC guidelines to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 so that we may return to in-person learning as soon as possible.

Extra-curricular activities:

Public Health Order #35 is allowing for school events, including sports, to continue. At this time, attendees may include participants, support personnel, and parent/guardian(s). Our winter sports’ seasons are due to begin again on Monday, November 30. Clubs will continue in virtual form through Zoom. In addition, we are seeking ways to re-engage our performing arts programs so that students have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the school that interest them. The Leadership Team will be working with Fine Arts faculty to safely begin preparations for spring production(s). We anticipate these will look different than in the past, but are confident students will have robust opportunities to display their talents and passion for the arts.

First Semester Exams:

Although exams are not the singular expression of content and skill mastery, we do believe they are a valuable summative exercise for students to demonstrate the knowledge from the semester. In addition, they prepare students for both standardized tests as well as collegiate assessments. Given that we did not take final exams in the spring (with the exception of APs), we feel it important to continue with them this semester. Exams will be given through Canvas and will now be worth 10% of the semester grade, rather than 20%. We believe this prudent taking into account our transition to eLearning and the digital format of each exam. To accommodate a later start time and a longer break between exams, we are shifting our schedule which can be found here.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership this fall. I hope you are able to enjoy a restful week ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Sarah Webster
Upper School Director