Heads of Schools Conversations: Notes from May 8, 2020

By: Debra Shaffer Seeman
KC Topics: 
Coronavirus, Professional Leadership

What’s on your mind this week?

Assessments and grading

  • What do final assessments look like?
  • What does the end of the year look like? Written - standardized for comprehension, writing, math
  • Younger kids K-2; one on one office hour assessments to gauge fluency/writing
  • What does third semester report card look like?
  • Multiple schools considering/running optional summer school
  • Trends in Assessment and Grading 

Making do vs making progress. 

  • family dynamics
  • devices
  • assuming this is another year of choppiness

What does re-opening in the Fall look like?

  • How do we communicate that with parents without constant pivoting? 
    • “Based on the information we have at this point in time” - people have been much more understanding than during the regular school year.  Everyone knows that it’s not us. 
    • Being the most transparent we can be. 
    • Talked about social distancing measures (Montreal) - managed expectations; this is not “school as usual”. Kids have to stay in their same seats all day, which goes against our philosophy but healthy and safety come first. 
    • If you need or want to send your child back to school, we are here for you. (There’s been shaming of families who can’t wait for kids to come back.)
  • Share different scenarios? What are they?
    • Join Prizmah’s scenario planning process!

Going forward with hiring for the coming year. What am I missing?

Struggling students

  • especially academic struggles. 
  • summer learning

Families are thrilled with Zoom distance learning, what happens with distance learning + kids in the school building. 

  • Planning to have the students who are inside the building to ALSO Zoom into the class since the vast majority of students won’t be there for the first week. (Montreal is expecting only 16% of students to return to the building in week one.)
  • Kindergarten is the biggest challenge
  • K in small groups 2.5 hours/day
  • socially distanced not sharing supplies and toys
  • Schools in Asia/Europe are doing A and B days. Using pre-recorded videos simultaneously. 
  • Teacher being livestreamed home, with the teacher in the classroom. Advantage: concerned about security and safety of Zoom sessions if we’re recording, storing, sharing them out. 
  • Investing in blended learning options. Reach out to Rachel Mohl Abrahams at the Mayberg Foundation for support in this area!

How do we handle staff who are not able to come back in the building

  • 60-70% of staff can’t come back to the building!
  • Week one 16% of students expected to come back to the building in week one (Montreal JPPS): Will have 3 classes - K, 1-3; 4-6.  Parents saying additional students will return to the building “as soon as I’m called back to work.” 
  • Can fit 9 kids in each room. 


Ideas for Virtual Graduation 

Teacher Contracts - there are schools that have used remote learning very well and have blended learning over time. How are exemplar schools functioning in this area?

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