Message from the Head of School
Subject: Reopening Cass Street
Thank you students, families, employees, alumni and the great Prep community for your support, patience, kindness, resilience and efforts. It has made all the difference and I am personally grateful.
We are excited for our students, both returning and new, to begin school in August. I am pleased to share with you our preparations for the opening of school and our class schedule. This message breaks from the Head’s Messages you have been receiving as it is the most substantive communication about the resumption of school to date.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We saw a need that needed to be filled, and we stepped in to help.” — Benet Wilson
You are probably more familiar with the first part of the quote from Benet Wilson, but it is the last half of the quote that is incredibly important: “We saw a need that needed to be filled, and we stepped in to help.”
As schools across the country prepare to welcome their students back, the needs we see are a commitment to the health and safety of students, employees and families in the midst of a public health pandemic combined with a commitment to continue to deliver the finest education for our students. We “step in” to bring together two of the most pressing needs of the moment in a manner that makes sense, demonstrates an unwavering commitment to both, and gets our community through this complex time. Our goal is to resume instruction safely and to reignite the extraordinary combination of daily experiences that bring joy, engagement and fulfillment to our students and faculty.
OUR REOPENING PLAN
Our reopening plan, focused on the health and safety of our community and the resumption of in-person education, endeavors to meet the most needs possible understanding that, under the current conditions, we may be unable to meet the individual needs of all. We acknowledge that there will be unique circumstances, and we will do all that we can to meet them, and yet there will be circumstances we are unable to meet as well.
Our plan also recognizes the social-emotional development of needs of children to be together, grow together and learn together. The intersection of students and teachers in a classroom is fundamental to exploration of knowledge. That being said, to provide for the health and safety of our community, it is paramount that we also understand and work through the necessary limitations of social distancing, wearing masks, hand hygiene, space cleanliness and monitoring the health and wellness of our community members. The changes to our program and campus protocols will enhance our sense of community and connection, provide opportunities for independent work (this in response to feedback from students), and lessen the intensity and regularity of screen time.
The modifications to our daily schedule will provide opportunities for deeper learning, as well as a smooth transition to full remote teaching and learning should a stay-at-home order be issued in the future. Our chosen model features “blocks” that allow for focused academic exploration with longer class periods while reducing the number of courses underway at the same time to strengthen our shared educational journey. The grouping structure embedded in the schedule also limits the potential exposures a student has each day while creating new opportunities for teaching and learning.
The measure of this plan, its efficacy and effectiveness, will come through many lenses: personal, professional, and compare and contrast. That is expected, understandable and welcomed. There will be plans published by peer schools that have components we respect, admire and may even agree with, but are not being implemented at Prep, and that is a good thing. I will continue to respect the independence of schools and districts to use what’s best for their communities, just as we are doing for ours.
You will have a first impression, and may have questions as you process the information being presented to you now. I also encourage you to give yourself the gift of reflection on the intersecting goals of health, safety and education. After research, study and good old-fashioned hard work and grit, this plan guides our school into a combination of on-campus and remote learning–a hybrid. In doing so, we are able to have students regularly attend school on campus, provide enough space for social distancing and provide for the social-emotional developmental needs of our students.