The Bulldog Bark
An Important Message from Chartwell School
March 13th, 2020
Dear Chartwell Community,
Beginning with our earliest communications to you about the coronavirus, and now as we are witnessing the spread of COVID-19, we have consistently sought to balance our concerns for the health of our community with our responsibility to promote a sense of calm for our students, their families, and our employees. All of our decisions have been made thoughtfully and deliberately, reflecting our care for the health, safety, and mental well-being of all of you. Today is no exception. After extensive consultation with health experts and local school leaders, we are writing to share our decision to transition from in-person learning to online learning beginning next Wednesday, March 18 and continuing through April 3, 2020.
To allow for a smooth transition and to provide our students with necessary tools, we will have a HALF DAY on Monday, March 16 from 8:30 - 12:00 noon. It is our practice at Chartwell to provide as much individualized support as possible for our students, so the Monday morning session will be a very important component to their success with the online learning model. We will also have a morning session in McMahan Hall for parents and caregivers so that we can help to prepare you to support your children at home. Our campus will close Tuesday, March 17 for an in-service day so our faculty can continue their preparation for distance learning. This is a “free day” for students. Beginning Wednesday, March 18, Chartwell School will resume online.
Here is a summary of events leading up to this transition:
Friday, March 13, 2:00 pm: Dismissal for Students as usual. Faculty working on their online learning approach to be prepared to introduce it to students on Monday.
Monday, March 16, 8:30 - 12:00: HALF DAY SESSION for students/special schedule
Monday, March 16, 8:45 - 10:00: Morning workshop for parents in McMahan Hall. We will share with you our tools, how to support your child, and include time for questions. You are welcome to stay at Chartwell through pick-up time at noon.
Monday, March 16, 12:00: Students and families leave campus between 12:00 and 12:15
Monday, March 16, 12:30 - 3:30: Faculty Collaborative Work and Planning
Tuesday, March 17: Faculty In-Service and Workday. NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
Tuesday, March 17: Watch for an update from Chartwell with more specific information for the launch on Wednesday.
Wednesday, March 18: Launch Chartwell Online and begin distance learning
Distance Teaching and Learning
We are in the fortunate position at Chartwell that all of our students can be sent home with a laptop, and all can access the Google Suite. At Chartwell, we have been leveraging technology for many years which puts us in an advantageous position. In recent days, we have given a great deal of thought to how learning will continue during this time, and we are confident that we will be well-prepared to support our students through meaningful personal and academic growth during this disruption.
We will keep you updated throughout this time using the many tools available to us. We will provide you with a full plan by Tuesday afternoon, March 17 (after the teacher in-service), but Google Classroom will be our hub for distance learning. Chartwell students already use this platform every day to support their work in our classrooms, so we anticipate a smooth transition. For the duration of remote learning, we will follow our published schedule and make every effort to maintain routines. Teachers will employ a full range of creative and flexible instruction methods, including having students watch pre-recorded videos, using discussion boards/threads, streaming lectures/presentations, using Google collaboration tools, and potentially conducting live class meetings with Google Hangouts Meet.
While we will do everything we can to prepare ourselves and our students, there is no way to anticipate every contingency, so we will all need to remain patient and flexible as we adjust to teaching and learning in different conditions. In order to accommodate a range of family and wellness situations, we are asking faculty to build in flexibility around homework expectations. Faculty will clearly communicate a method whereby students can sign up for individual consultation.
Health officials repeatedly stress the importance of social distancing and we are transitioning to online learning to create physical distance in our community which in turn will help stop the spread of disease. We understand that the concept of social-distancing is foreign to most young people but, during this time, we encourage all of our students to practice social-distancing. Public health experts emphasize the need to avoid groups larger than 3 people (besides family) and to maintain 6 feet of distance between individuals.
We are sending our students home with all of their materials (laptop, chargers, books, etc.) today in the (I hope rare) circumstance that they do not make it here for the Monday session. In general, our campus will not be accessible to students during the closure. If your student will not be on campus Monday, please contact Crissy or Nena as soon as possible to arrange gathering materials.
Looking ahead, the campus will be closed through the end of spring break at a minimum (classes are currently scheduled to resume on Tuesday, April 14). We will communicate frequently with you in the coming weeks and update you about plans for reopening. During spring break (April 3 - 13) we will all be on vacation and there will not be any online instruction during that period.
During this challenging time, we are reminded how grateful we are for our extended Chartwell community. Throughout this transition, we invite you to continue your partnership with us. We are keenly aware of the disruption that these changes pose for you and your children, and we encourage you to let us know if there are ways that the school can support you and your family during this period. You can also look for updates and information on our website on the parent resource page,
On a personal note, we would like to share with you that like all of our colleagues on campus, we chose our careers in education because of our commitment to shape the next generation. We all care deeply about the future of your children, and we will miss the energy they bring to our campus each day. Thank you for all you will do to ensure our students continue to learn, grow, and thrive in the weeks ahead.
Kate and the Chartwell Team