March 20, 2020
Dear NYA Students and Families,
We have been planning for the transition to remote learning for all classes. This will be a new experience for everyone to become accustomed to, but we certainly have a creative and innovative group of teachers and staff. We also have a bright, curious, and resilient group of students. As we move forward in difficult times, we have to adapt and do things differently. The silver lining is, we will all (students, faculty, staff, and families) be challenged outside of our regular comfort zones, and we will learn new methods. We are all in this together, and we will support one another throughout the process.
Along with administrators, the tech team has been working diligently to test our systems and organize professional development days for teachers. Ahead of the professional development days, faculty members are already busy familiarizing themselves with the websites and developing plans.
The remote learning component will be delivered differently across the divisions. It is the common goal to deliver a system that accommodates a robust continuation of the program and creates opportunities for important social connections during times of social distancing.
A few important announcements:
•We will be remotely hosting faculty professional development and planning on Monday and Tuesday, March 23 and 24. NYA is utilizing Microsoft Teams-For Education for grades 5-12. All of our students already have access to this product. We will continue to utilize Family Web for posting assignments. The Lower School will use Zoom for class meetings at all levels.
• Remote learning will begin for students on Wednesday, March 25. Advisors and teachers will reach out individually to students with an introduction and information on initial class meetings, which will occur on March 25. Teachers will also share the first assignments beginning on March 25. After familiarizing everyone with the new resources, we will begin a more regular schedule for all classes the week of March 30. Mr. Austin and Mrs. Markonish have developed revised schedules. They will be shared through classroom teachers and advisors.
• A NYA COVID-19 webpage has been created. It includes up-to-date communications, remote learning information, and other resources we hope students and families will find helpful during this crisis. It will be updated frequently and can be accessed on our homepage and through this link.
• NYA’s School Counselor, Cindy Hould, will also be a resource for students as we navigate through this time. Mrs. Hould will be contributing materials to the COVID-19 webpage as well.
• The tech department is currently focusing on testing systems and teacher training. For those families that may have challenges with internet connectivity, a helpful resource has been posted on the NYA COVID-19 webpage. Links to additional help sheets and videos about remote learning will be posted on the webpage when they become available. Other support questions may be directed to Chris Mazzurco.
• We understand many students have materials that they need to access at school. We are in the process of gathering textbooks and binders from student lockers and putting packets together. We will be scheduling a drive-thru pick-up of materials, tentatively for Tuesday, March 24. Additional details and a schedule for pick-up will be shared later, but please know we are working to get resources in student hands as soon as possible.
• Students and families should regularly check email for updated information from school.
• During this period of remote learning, we will continue to track attendance. If your child is unable to “attend” online instruction on a given day, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to report an absence by 10:00 a.m. Thank you for your attention to this important detail.
In addition to planning for remote learning, we continue to maintain other components of NYA’s operation including business, admission, development, facilities, and communications. To protect the safety of NYA faculty and staff, we have mandated working remotely for most NYA employees. This should not interfere with our ability to send and receive emails and phone calls. We are doing our part to practice social distancing and avoid gatherings. I also appreciate our families as they continue to respect these boundaries. Students should continue to avoid gatherings and play dates with their peers.
While I remain hopeful and optimistic that we will be able to return to our normal routines before too long, I am also realistic. We will continue with remote learning until further notice. To guide these decisions, we will use the same resources and advice of experts we have used all along, including the CDC, State and Federal government guidelines, Maine DOE, National Association of Independent Schools, and other peer private and public schools.
Thank you to everyone for your support, and please continue to keep your families safe and healthy. We care about each of you, and we are here to support you. Please continue to reach out if you need anything from us at school.
Head of School