Reasons to be proud of our school opening this year
Last night at the Parent Forum, teachers and parents were unified in their positive feedback about a really remarkable start to a school year marked by unprecedented challenges.This didn’t happen by accident. As we heard during the forum last night, this outcome is primarily attributed to the dedication, collaborative spirit, and creative problem-solving of our teachers and staff, as well as the efforts of our families who diligently prepared for this important week. An “all hands on deck” approach resulted in a school opening we can all be proud of this year!
After the first week of school, what stands out to me the most is the care and dedication our teachers feel for each of their students. Our teachers know their students as individuals and are dedicated to creating learning environments that are responsive to supporting individual growth and progress, whether students are learning at-school or at-home. That’s the essence of the Montessori approach. Our teachers have clearly put that philosophy into practice as they have thought through the minutiae of details involved in opening school during this complex time.
Rather than being paralyzed by COVID, our teachers are energized and working together to problem-solve and come up with the creative solutions that are most needed. Their resilience and ability to adapt in the face of unparalleled challenges, is a testament to the way Oak Meadow teachers model the skills that we talk about in defining the outcomes of an Oak Meadow education. Our teachers “walk the talk.”
One of the ways teachers have been particularly creative is in their commitment to making sure that the learners at-home and at-school can continue to work together as an interconnected community of learners. This started with the teachers thinking deeply about how to support the social and emotional lives of the students as they made this transition back to school. It was rooted in a deep commitment to making sure every student would be seen and appreciated as an individual, and never feel left out or excluded.
Daily schedules ensure time for students to collaborate with each other on academic work, as well as interact in purely fun and social ways. We have taken an enormous leap forward in the online learning experience for students. Now for the first time, students at home feel a lot more like they are sitting in the actual classroom with their classmates. Of course, we are still in the beginning phases of using new technologies, such as Webex video whiteboards, large digital screens, and video/audio technologies that create the “whole classroom” experience. We’ve had a promising beginning, and with more practice and improvements, we believe Oak Meadow will be positioned uniquely in the Boston area in terms of the quality of the learning experience provided for all students, whether at-school or at-home.
When it comes to health and minimizing the risks of COVID in our school community, Oak Meadow teachers have been very mindful of the high standard we have set– well above the state requirements when it comes to physical distancing, masks, cohorts, and community responsibility for health and wellness. Our teachers have embraced these standards while also creating classroom environments that continue to be welcoming, warm, personalized, and designed for student engagement in all of the subject areas. We are off to a great start!
Enjoy some of the comments shared by parents at the forum last night.
“My daughters are loving being back at school. They love being with their teachers and friends, both in-person and online. They come home happy and tired, with lots to tell me. UE is great! MS is awesome!”
“[The teacher] is doing an absolutely amazing job with my three year old at-home learner. Very happy!”
“The extraordinary teachers of Oak Meadow ❤️”
“We could not have asked for a better experience for our 2 year old! He has cried at drop off every day, but he is so excited on the way and at pick up. We are so pleased with the transition and how nurturing an environment Oak Meadow is!!”
“I also want to say as a parent who was hesitant to see how [my child] would do with wearing a mask all day and he has pleasantly surprised us with how well he’s adjusted. He now goes to the drawer where we keep the mask and selects his mask for the day. The teachers are doing a fabulous job and we are so excited to be back!”
“My son is smiling and laughing again! He is in a new school but said it doesn’t feel new and teachers and admin know his name and all his friends are “great”. Thank you!”
“Thank You So Much for all your hard work. [my child] is so happy to be at school.”
“[The teacher] is indeed wonderful with the kids. The first three days at school have been very exciting for [my child]. It’s been an adjustment for sure, but being back in the classroom with [the teacher] and friends have helped her a lot.”
“Though [my child] is doing online school she said that she feels good that school has started. She feels that she is learning and using her time well. Thank you so much Teachers for making students attending online school to feel good.”