Deer Hill School News . May 1, 2020
Hello Deer Hill Families,
This week's PEP includes Deer Hill's updated Remote Learning Plan. Feel free to skip ahead to the Something Educational section to take a peek, but don't forget to circle back to the rest of our newsletter -- there are some darling pics of Deer Hill students showing off their remote learning smarts!
Last Friday, Commissioner Riley from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) shared additional guidance in response to the closure of school buildings through the remainder of this academic year. Based on this guidance, I would like to share our updated Deer Hill Remote Learning Plan with you. Thank you for taking the time to read it, though I will offer one spoiler: beginning next Friday, May 8th, our Weekly Communications will be shared with families on Friday evenings by 5:00 pm for the upcoming week (I think I'm able to hear the cheers from my open window!). Thank you for keeping in mind that I strongly encourage teachers to unplug over the weekends in order to be at their best for their work with students during the week. Please understand that emails received over the weekend will be addressed during typical school hours or at the discretion of individual teachers. The updates in this plan also address details on the impact of the newly identified Prerequisite Content Standards on curriculum content, a rationale for our approach to synchronous instruction, and information regarding our Grading Policy for Trimester 3. I am proud of the ongoing efforts of Deer Hill staff and know that their commitment to students will not waiver. While you may not agree with every detail of how we are implementing remote learning, I appreciate that the emails I receive recognize the dedication, effort, and caring that Deer Hill staff are demonstrating. I count that as a win.
P.S. A reminder that progress reports have been published to Aspen accounts today. You can access these reports through the CPS Aspen Login page. Please email Heidi Salerno firstname.lastname@example.org and cc Collette McElhinney email@example.com if you are having difficulty logging in to your child's Aspen account. This Aspen Student Portal login information may also be helpful to you.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our district prided itself on keeping social-emotional learning (SEL) at the forefront of what we do. CASEL's 5 Core Competencies are outlined in our Deer Hill Family Handbook and are embedded in our daily practices throughout the building. Our emphasis on SEL has only heightened in recent weeks. In the article, Social-Emotional Learning Should Be Priority During the COVID-19 Crisis, Tim Walker provides insight into why any academic work we hope to accomplish during this time is predicated on the social-emotional wellbeing of our students, their families, and school staff, too. Quoted in this article, Christina Cipriano, Director of Research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (YCEI) articulates it well. “It’s a daunting reality, no question, but the worst thing we can do for our teachers, students, and families is de-prioritize SEL during the pandemic,” she explains. “It is next-to-impossible to expect teaching and learning to occur in a crisis without attending to our emotions.” While Phase III of remote learning will sharpen our academic focus, Deer Hill will continue to put our care and concern for our students' wellbeing first.
All the best,
Alexandra L. Sullivan
Principal, Deer Hill School