South Oaks School

April 2020

Creativity . . . . Not Closure!

Coronavirus. Cancellations. Pandemic. School closures. Stop!!! We have heard enough of all this difficult news. All of the critical thinking can hurt the brain these days! It can make us feel very helpless and vulnerable, without a lot of hope at times. The process of "dismantling" school over the past few weeks has been a painful and "mind numbing" process for many. None of us have a reference for this scenario. There is no script and no precedence that has been set.

I would like to offer a different perspective on all of this. Perhaps there is more hope than it seems. Now that we have come through the initial shock of this shift, something very wonderful is emerging for me. That is the unexpected power and potential of creativity.

Creativity is what is feeding us now. As we consider how to use technology to communicate and to learn, there is a whole new world opening up to us. Yes, we miss the personal connections with students, but the kids are with you, their families! They are with those that know them best and love them the most! Their social and emotional needs are most likely intact and secure. So, we can be creative about how we communicate with families about learning and we will find ways to make this all work. We can still do school and do it well, but it will be different than what we are used to.

An excellent example of this is the Artist in the School project. This event has been in the planning for about a year. It was all set to start on Apr. 6, which will not happen now. We have been very disappointed about having to postpone or even cancel this project. The artist was also very stressed because these projects are his livelihood!! However, with some creative thinking, we believe we can do the first phase of the project via an instructional video and the second phase using effective communication tools with parents. Stay tuned for more details. However, the point is, we don't have to "close" down these opportunities. They can go on due to some creativity and collaboration. These are the keys to learning in a new way.

So, I don't want to focus any longer on school closures. Instead, I want to pour my energies into creating new and exciting ways to do school during this pandemic. Imagine if when your children are grown, they could look back at this time in their life and say that this was one of the best times in their education. I believe that is possible and that is what we will strive for over these next weeks. Thanks for being in this together with us. We've got this!

Dale Martens


P.S. See the article below for how to talk with your child about the Coronavirus.

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South Oaks Spring Concert - update

Due to the massive interruption of school closures, it will be a challenge for us to have a Spring Concert this year. Even if we would have time to prepare the students, we would likely not be able to hold a gathering of this size. So, in all likelihood, the Spring Concert will be cancelled for this school year. Perhaps some creative thinking will find other ways to connect musically!

Class Placements for 2020-21

During the month of April, we will be accepting requests for class placements next year. Please email the principal at if you have a specific teacher request for your child. Also let the office know if there are any challenging peer relationships for us to avoid. We will keep track of these requests and do our best to set up everyone for a successful year. Of course, the school reserves the right to make the final decision based on the big picture.

The classroom teachers will decide which friends are placed together. So, if you have specific friendships that are positive for your child and you want that to continue, please let the classroom teacher know. Otherwise, they will make their best choice based on their knowledge of the students.

Our staff will meet in May to create the best possible class lists for next year. Thanks for your help!

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