Less is More: Remote Learning Week 2 Updates

Dear Parents,

My days recently have taken on a strange juxtaposition, oscillating from a dead sprint managing the school to the consistency of having my family at home all day, every day. Life has gotten much more complex and stressful but at the same time, it has simplified and slowed down. The Ropers’ remote learning days are bookended by family time, meals, board games, movies, reading and playing; no more shuttling to sports games, rushed conversations and the tug-of-war of building in family time. It’s all family time these days!

So, how do we deal with this dichotomy of being stuck between two worlds—stress and rapid-fire Zoom calls and then a greatly simplified home life? For me, the connective tissue between these extremes has been “less is more.” The Lord has provided gentle reminders of the importance of slowing down and simplifying life. I’ve found myself marveling at the laughter of my children, the beauty of the birds, the warmth of the sun. God’s grace and love has been illuminated over and over. It has made me think of Wendell Berry’s poem The Peace of the Wild Things:

The Peace of the Wild Things 

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

The Lord is speaking here, and my prayer is that we can all slow down enough to hear Him. 

The faculty has put on an heroic effort over the past week. I have been so proud of their excellence, flexibility and good humor in supporting their students. I am not surprised by how they reacted, I just have deep gratitude. Oak Hill is an extraordinary community.

After a week of remote learning, we have learned a lot. To be honest, the feedback has been across the board, depending on the various needs of children and families. It will take some time to calibrate a sustainable online environment. In response, we are using the “less is more” philosophy based on what we learned last week and have a few changes, which you can find below. A consistent refrain has been the need for social connections with children and their teachers. All grade levels will build some synchronous connections this week. We are also going to be adding back in some of our traditions this week with flag and Lent services. This is OHS 2.0! More than likely, there will be a 3.0 next week. 

We miss you and your children dearly! I’ve enjoyed your emails and pictures that you have sent. Please stay healthy and I look forward to connecting again soon. 

With gratitude, 
Hart

OHS 2.0: Remote Learning Changes This Week

  • Teachers will develop daily academic lesson plans, Monday through Thursday, each week. Lesson plans will continue to be uploaded to your child’s grade-level folder the evening before by 6 p.m. Teachers are also working to create more videos to accompany the lesson plans, providing the opportunity for students to follow along and receive instruction from their teachers. 
  • Fridays will now be a day of enrichment “voice and choice” for students. We want children to have the time and opportunity to choose from and complete a variety of enrichment activities without adding to their academic workload. Additionally, a “no-screen” challenge will also be uploaded to the folders on Thursday evenings. These optional challenges will be fun and hands-on activities, varying for lower- and upper-school students unless the activity works for all ages. 
  • PreK through 4th grades will begin live class meetings tomorrow, March 30. These live meetings provide an opportunity for students to stay connected with their teachers and friends, as well as add more structure to their school day. Please see an email from your child’s teacher with his or her grade level’s scheduled block of time for the live meetings. Lower school teachers will also begin one-on-one check-ins with students at least once per week.
  • Fifth and 6th grades will begin live advisory meetings on Thursday, April 2, and daily academic class meetings on Monday, April 6. More information about the scheduled time for these live meetings will be sent via email from your child’s teachers.
  • We will launch a video Flag Raising this week, which will be available on Tuesday and Thursday. A video Lent service will also be available on Wednesday this week. We hope students will enjoy the videos and follow along!
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