James River Day School

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January 14, 2021

After middle school’s brief shift to distance learning in December, the school followed up with a survey sent to middle school parents about their level of satisfaction with the experience of their students. It was interesting to read the different perspectives and an opportunity to see where we need to make changes.
 
We realize we may have to switch back to distance learning at any time, and so we continue to work to improve our distance learning protocol. While the survey results showed parents were generally satisfied with their child’s learning experience, they made several good suggestions we are going to implement.
  • The schedule will shift such that synchronous classes (online/Zoom classes) start earlier in the day. 
  • Teachers will have dedicated office hours on Fridays to allow for one-on-one help as needed.
  • And, the following standards will be used to improve clarity for students and families about when assignments are posted and due.
  • Teachers will provide a weekly plan which will post by 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. 
  • Each day, teachers will post assignments to Google Classroom before 9:00 a.m. 
  • For classes scheduled to meet on a given day, the ZOOM link will also be posted before 9:00 a.m. that day.
  • Students will be expected to complete and return posted assignments within 24 hours, unless an assignment is noted otherwise.
  • Emails or text messages from students or parents will be returned as soon as practicable--but definitely within 24 hours.
 
I think we all recognize by now how different distance learning is from a typical day spent at school. And while distance learning will never equate to in-person learning, we are developing a better process by responding to students’ needs. The parental feedback we received after this latest round of distance learning was invaluable. We appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts and ideas with us. We are also thankful for your and your children’s adaptability and strength in the face of what are certainly some of the strangest times any of us have experienced.
 
I sometimes feel like the “one-cheer cheerleader” because my words are so often those of thanks and of encouragement, but I know you understand. We’ve all adopted that one cheer: “We can do it! Yes, we can!” It’s how we take on each new day and each new challenge. We adapt and we improve--all while supporting and encouraging one another. Perhaps when this pandemic is over, we will have a society enhanced by the knowledge of what a difference listening and kindness can make.