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TLS Potential Learning Models for Fall

Monday, June 8, 2020

Dear TLS Families,

As we begin to wind down from this most unusual year, I’d like to share some of the  models we are designing for the Fall of 2020. Your active feedback and participation during Town Halls and on surveys have informed how we are thinking about reopening. As you can imagine, our strong preference is to be together on campus and we think our campus is uniquely positioned to make this work.

Throughout the spring, our faculty and admin have continuously engaged in research, development and reflection around what works and what doesn't work with Connected Learning.  Each week, we reflect, adjust, adapt and evolve our design for remote learning. We’ve also prioritized flexibility and creative thinking as we’ve worked to envision a fall that is together, safe and vibrant.

Of course, some of the best ideas came from your kids. Over fifty students participated in last Friday’s Kid Town Hall. They brought their strong imaginations and offered fun and practical ways to think about expanding our learning spaces outdoors so that we could maintain physical distance. As one student wondered how math groups could work outdoors, others proposed that math was everywhere in our forest. “You just have to look for it.” By the end of the conversation, chants of “Math in the woods!” were echoing across our screens.

Link to TLS Potential Learning Models, three drafts of models for how we might operate school next year. These are positioned beside a typical “Face-to-Face Learning on Campus” model for reference. In addition to input from the TLS community, these models are informed by current guidelines from the State, CDC, Department of Health and Department of Children, Youth and Families and evolving research from international schools that have re-opened. We also closely examined the capacity of our campus, keeping in mind the limits of our staffing model. Philosophically, we are guided by:

·       Our mission to keep children at the center of our conversations 

·       A duty to make responsible and safe decisions 

·       A belief in learning in community  

·       A desire to be in-person with children as often as possible

Please read each model carefully and then complete this Feedback Survey by Thursday. This will ensure as we continue planning, we are able to accurately reflect and focus on the diversity of needs in our community.  

A word about Early Childhood and Kindergarten: These models prioritize having all students back on campus as regularly as possible. We also recognize the Connected Learning model has been especially challenging and disruptive for our youngest students and families. Moving forward, we will prioritize solutions that ensure our early childhood and kindergarten students are able to learn on-campus, whenever safely allowed by the State. We also recognize the need to have robust Connected Learning options for these age groups as well as some students will not be able to be at school until a vaccine is available. 

As we receive greater clarity on the State’s required guidelines and recommendations, we will continue to update and adjust these models. We’ll reach out regularly with updates.  

Thank you for your partnership,

Julie