Distance Learning Updates

MOST RECENT UPDATES ON OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE

Distance Learning Model 2.0

AUGUST 7TH, 2020

Dear Seven Peaks Community,

 

I know that all of us--parents, teachers, students--are still adjusting to the news that for Kindergarten through 8th grade, school will be starting online this year. Many of you have emailed to express your support as we make this adjustment and offer suggestions as to how we can make our program the best it can be. Thank you for all of your encouragement and great ideas! We have come up with the basic structure for our approach to distance learning and I want to share that with you today. At the bottom of this email you will find a link to our website where the unique structure of the program has been presented.

 

First, we have not changed the date for the first day of school. School still begins September 9th. And, even though Bend-LaPine schools are committing to 6 weeks of distance learning, Seven Peaks will restart in-person learning as soon as state and local criteria are met.

 

Next, I'd like to take the next few paragraphs to articulate the basic philosophy behind our program so that you know how we are approaching distance learning.

 

As I wrote to you last week, the unique advantage of Seven Peaks is that the foundation of our distance learning program is the wonderful relationships between teachers, students, and parents. Because of our small class sizes, there is much greater personal attention paid by teachers to each student as they and their families navigate their way through classes each day. Relationships must be the foundation of distance learning.

 

In order to support these relationships, our distance learning program will feature live, virtual instructional time with teachers every day, following the normal school schedule. This is what we refer to as synchronous learning time. These times will be geared toward instruction and interactive learning guided by the teacher.

 

We also know that this will increase screen time for all of our students. Because of this we will be purposefully structuring these times so that they move students fluidly between the screen and the space in which students are in their home. Because there will be more interactive time than prerecorded videos, the nature of the screen time will be relational and interactive, not passive.

 

Office hours will be made available each week by every teacher for parents to ask questions, give feedback, and participate in their child's learning in partnership with their teachers.

 

Many of you have also asked how we will begin the year forming the relationships and bonds that are so important to our school and the success of every student. We are still working out the details, but as soon as our orientation-week design is finalized, those plans will be communicated to you. Our idea is to have some optional, small, in-person, outdoor, socially distanced gatherings so students can get to know each other and their teachers just as the school year is starting.

 

Please, follow this link and read through Seven Peak's distance learning plan. This is a broad overview to give you an idea of what the fall will be like. Keep in mind that individual teachers will be designing their parts and that much more detail will be coming as planning progresses.

 

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me atsadams@sevenpeaksschool.org.  

An Update From The Board

MAY 12TH, 2020

Seven Peaks Families,

 

It feels like a lifetime ago when we announced the closure of our building in response to what was then an emerging public health crisis. We are very proud of the principled decision Dr. Sam Adams and the administrative team made to execute our building closure when they did. The team put safety first, for the SPS Community and our greater Central Oregon community. Following that decision, our faculty and staff demonstrated extraordinary commitment and urgency to get our students back to learning. The transition to distance learning is not trivial. For most schools this transition took weeks. Seven Peaks accomplished this transition over a weekend and one day. This took heroic efforts and we are so grateful.

 

To our entire faculty and staff, thank you!

 

We would also like to recognize you, the families of Seven Peaks. You have shown compassion. You have shown patience. You have engaged in providing timely, actionable feedback. Moreover, you have helped us sustain and grow who we are as a school community. Every week we see or hear of incredible acts of kindness and support that you are showing each other, our students, and our faculty and staff. Thank you for all your support.

 

The primary responsibility of the Board is safeguarding the mission, vision and values of our school. Our mission is to inspire a lifelong love of learning in our students, to enable our children to thrive in a complex world, and to challenge them within a safe and nurturing community. 

 

In a time when daily, face-to-face interactions are not possible, our mission does not change. We adapt. Sam is keeping us informed of how our teachers continue to inspire a love of learning in our students. We are learning how COVID-19 has created unique opportunities for our students to learn how to thrive in a complex and interconnected world. The modeling Seven Peaks has provided in how we deal with, and persevere through, adversity is a testament to who we are as a community. Perhaps most difficult is maintaining a safe and nurturing community when we’re required to distance ourselves—but even there we’re making progress every day. It was great to see so many friendly faces in the virtual talent show, the Car Rally on Wednesday was affirming, our students have become proficient in navigating Zoom and Google Meet to interact with their classmates despite the distance, and I know more creative ideas are in process. In short, we have much to boast about as a school community and the Board is confident the mission is being fulfilled.

 

A question we hear often is, “What will next fall look like?” The answer is, no one knows, but we’ll be open and prepared for the many possibilities. Dr. Adams, our incoming Head of School, and the faculty are spending considerable time thinking about different scenarios. As we get better at distance learning, we get better at teaching. Our faculty are always engaged in a process of honing their craft, and presently much of that focus is on how we can deliver academic excellence regardless of what comes next. You will hear more from Sam on this subject in the coming weeks.

 

The other primary responsibility of the Board is the fiscal health of the school. While we understand the current economic environment is challenging in some way for most all of us, we are glad to report that enrollment season continues despite the challenges. We continue to receive new inquiries and are finding innovative ways to demonstrate the strengths of this school. 

 

There are two things you can do to help us right now: first, If you have not yet submitted your contract—please do so immediately. If you have special circumstances, please reach out to Sam or Tracy Jenson who are eager to help you. Second, please continue to tell your friends about our amazing school—a place where academic excellence is still being pursued and achieved, every single day. We will continue to be the educational leader in Central Oregon.

 

Rest assured, we are confident in the future of Seven Peaks. 

 

We completed important strategic financial goals this year, successfully eliminating debt and rebuilding cash reserves through the extraordinary generosity of parents and grandparents. Paul, Sam, and the team have grown revenues through increased in-year enrollment and the launching of our preschool. During the listening sessions in early March, we shared that Paul and Sam successfully built a balanced 2020-2021 budget based on conservative enrollment projections that was adopted by the board in February. But most importantly, our confidence comes from you and your commitment to this community and this school.

 

We are here with you—as parents, persevering through the many challenges we all face daily. But Seven Peaks is a bright spot in all our lives.

 

Brent, Kristy, Tom, Ellie, Jeff, Michele and Kristine

 

We welcome your questions and comment board@sevenpeaksschool.org .

An Note From The Associate Head of School

APRIL 8TH, 2020

At Seven Peaks School, along with every other school in our nation, we have had to make significant changes due to the current Corona Virus pandemic. Above everything else we are committed to the safety of our students, our staff and our community. We see ourselves to be a part of the local, national and global effort to reduce the impact of this pandemic; to minimize the stress on local health care providers and hospitals, to minimize it’s impact on the most vulnerable in our community, and to minimize the extent to which we ourselves are effected by illness. 

 

Now the most significant decision that we have made along these lines, is to close our building to classroom instruction and move all of our education online. As we continue to make decisions in respect to school closures, we are listening to what best practices are within the educational community. Assessing our unique situation here in Bend, and paying close attention to federal, state and local guidelines. 

 

We are especially paying close attention to directions coming from our governor and from the Oregon Health Authority. We are also watching closely to what the Oregon Department of Education and the Bend-LaPine school district are doing to respond to the crisis. 

 

At Seven Peaks we remain focused on continuing to provide a world-class education while with compassion and empathy looking after the social and emotional needs of our students and their families. All of the design thinking, innovation and problem solving we teach our students in their classes, we are using ourselves every day to keep the learning going through distance learning. 

 

Through all of this, we remain committed to our school family. We are concerned about the health and wellbeing of our students, their families and our community. So stay healthy. Stay safe and stay home. One day, hopefully soon, we will be back together again in our school, in our classes, and we will appreciate all that we have in a new and deeper way. 

COVID-19 Response

OCTOBER 20TH, 2020

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