April 17, 2020
I hope this message finds you well despite all the uncertainty.
The administrative team has reviewed the results of the recent parent and MUS student surveys. The response rate was 41 and 32 percent, respectively. While parent respondents generally noted improvement, there were still concerns about consistency by and across grade-levels, especially with regards to teacher communication and how educators are balancing synchronous and asynchronous interactions. Students were fairly split with regard to workload. It’s clear from the survey that our students would much prefer to be on campus with their peers and teachers, and that they are struggling with social isolation. We will continue to tweak our program to improve the experience for our students. Our principals, coordinators, and teachers are working on this now. We are also discussing ways to help our students feel less isolated.
Our team is also planning forward. We are in the process of preparing numerous contingencies for the coming school year with regards to the start of school and program delivery. These contingencies are meant to address a range of potential issues for school year 2020-21 related to public health, governmental mandates, and continuing social distancing protocols, those that may be in place for some time.
We are designing protocols for reopening the campus. Given so many uncertainties, once schools are allowed to reopen, which could very well be August, we will implement health-based protocols that may impact drop-off and pick-up procedures. These protocols would also govern how students and staff interact with one another, and how they will move about campus during the school day. These protocols would remain in place so long as they are prudent. We will err to the side of safety for all. We have worked diligently with our partners to maintain the campus during closure so that it is ready for reopening.
As you are certainly aware, a number of co-curricular functions have been disrupted by campus closures, including regularly-scheduled school activities and interscholastic athletics. We are especially concerned about our senior class’s culminating events. We are designing multiple solutions for how we will honor their significant accomplishments. Other important school/grade-level activities may be reassigned to the fall as warranted.
After considerable discussion, the school year will end on May 22 for all three divisions. The Class of 2020’s last day will be May 1. Division principals will elaborate on end-of-year changes in the coming week.
Some good news! Our senior class has done exceptionally well this college admissions season. Furthermore, they have received numerous grants and awards. Two of our seniors are among the six semi-finalists for the Presidential Scholar. Congratulations Class of 2020!
A Bulls Pride Shout Out to our teachers and parents. I know it’s tough right now, but together, we got this!
Stay healthy and safe,
March 31, 2020
Dear Baldwin Families,
Thank you for providing feedback through our survey. We had a 68% community response rate. Although much of your feedback focused on opportunities for program growth in the lower grades, we received substantive feedback for all school divisions.
Based on survey results, our team distilled three areas for growth:
- Expansion of synchronous learning in PYP.
- Grade-level consistency.
- Management of total student workload.
Survey results correlated well with other data points, e.g. direct communications with parents and students, teacher feedback, etc. We were able to anticipate growth areas and had already begun to address these areas at the end of last week.
We will work this week to implement changes intended to advance our distance learning program in the aforementioned focus areas. A follow-up survey will be distributed next week, so as to allow teachers and program coordinators time to affect change and monitor impact. Additionally, a modified version of the survey will be sent to students in MUS to solicit their direct feedback.
We are all learning together. Our educators are learning how to teach in a whole new way, without normal opportunities to sit down next to peers and share practices, borrow materials, or observe pedagogy. They too are subject to the home/work stresses brought on by our new reality. The learning curve is different for each of them.
Similarly, your family has its own distinct learning curve. Normal rhythms are disrupted. Family functions are collapsed into the same space. Normally discrete aspects of life—work, child-rearing, school, socialization—compete for finite emotional, intellectual, and physical energies. It’s hard. We get it. It’s hard for all us right now.
I thank you for your patience, which I know is in limited supply. I can assure you that our faculty and administration are fully committed to serving your children well. We are listening. We will make adjustments as needed.
Please stay safe. Good health to all!
March 27, 2020
Over the past few days, we launched our Digital Baldwin program. We are learning, all of us, in real-time, exactly what this entails. We are listening to your feedback, and working to continuously improve as we go.
Please keep in mind that this is a first for our teachers and your students. Teaching and learning in a classroom setting is a very different experience. While certain instructional practices and learning strategies apply in both educational frameworks, many tried and true approaches do not transfer well to a distance learning concept. Our teachers are working overtime to modify their curriculum, instructional techniques, and learning engagements, and to master the technologies needed to deliver these at a distance. They are sharing practice and tech tips with each other, and innovating as they go.
We will continue to tune our distance learning program. We will modify student workloads as needed. We are working to optimize communication and flexibility. In the coming week, you can expect more synchronous sessions in Elementary and OECC. Tomorrow parents will receive a digital survey. We want your feedback. Help us improve our distance learning model.
Finally, we are all living with uncertainty. It’s a challenge to manage work, school, and family obligations in the best of times, even more so given the current state of affairs. Social isolation denies us crucial and sustaining features of our island culture. We are rightfully worried about the health and safety of loved ones; about the long-term economic impact of social distancing mandates. Our feelings are real, and so is the stress. We all manage these differently. As a reminder and personal challenge, in our darkest hours after Hurricane Maria, we overcame by leaning into the situation and on each other. We are strongest together. I pray we all keep our empathy, our sense of perspective, our sense of humor. We will get through this...together!
Sláinte Chugat! (Good health to you),