Dear Parents –
I hope you all are finding great opportunities to enjoy this summer break. This past spring brought many challenges to our lives and we continue to deal with significant aspects of those challenges even today. Even so, I pray this has been a time where God’s grace and goodness have been richly experienced in the midst of it all.
Since stepping into my new role as DHCA’s Head of School, I have been blessed to meet many of you and learn so much more about the school. While it has been a non-stop whirlwind of information and activity, I am excited about the work ahead and the community I am blessed to serve.
I know there are a number of questions regarding the opening of school. Many of the answers will be dependent upon the health trends we see and the directives coming from national, state, and local leadership. Even so, we have been diligently working on a framework that provides our community with an understanding of how we will approach learning at DHCA in the 2020-2021 school year.
Opening School in August
Based upon the careful consideration of various educational models, dialogue with other educators, and review of guidelines published by CDC and ADPH, we have developed a plan that guides our school operations for 2020-2021. It is a 4-level plan that describes the precautions we will take depending on the severity of the health concerns as defined by national, state, and local officials.
Level 1 – Low Level of Concern (normal school routines and procedures)
Level 2 – Moderate Level of Concern (general precautionary measures)
Level 3 – High Level of Concern (significant precautionary measures)
Level 4 – Extreme Level of Concern (extreme precautionary measures)
Please see the attached document, Return to School 2020-2021, for a descriptive visual of each level.
Of course, the work continues. We continue to develop more detailed definitions and descriptions of the precautions noted in the Return to School 2020-2021 plan. That information will be forthcoming when completed and given final review.
In the coming days, you’ll receive an email with an online survey attached. Among other things, it will ask some questions about your experiences and thoughts regarding at-home learning, school opening in August and feedback regarding the Return to School 2020-2021 plan you’re receiving today. Please fill it out when you receive it; your input is important!
Preparation and Support for Remote Learning Contingencies
We are setting our sights on welcoming students back to school in August. On-campus learning is our goal. However, we know that contingency plans for remote learning will need to be established. It is reasonable to assume there will be some families who are not comfortable returning to on-campus learning immediately. We will need to find ways to accommodate home learning. In truth, home learning does not deliver the full impact of the classroom experience where individual relationships and strong mentor relationships are fostered by our teachers. DHCA is built on this unique and powerful distinctive as it delivers a high-quality Christian education. Yet we are committed to making the most of every opportunity, including when learning needs to take place at home.
That said, we view home learning accommodations as a temporary bridge allowing families with medical/underlying conditions or concerns some time to become more comfortable with on-campus learning.
There is always the possibility that the national or state health situation could force schools to rely exclusively on digital and other at-home learning models. In the face of that reality, DHCA will be prepared for that possibility. Before the year begins, the DHCA faculty will be given guidance and direction toward a shared understanding of the expectations, opportunities, boundaries, structures, and design of our at-home program. As an administration we will provide that direction with professional support, training, and dialogue with teachers within the month of July/early August. If needed, we want our stay-at-home learning model to have clear parameters on issues such as lesson length, homework load, grading standards, face-to-face instruction, parental support, and academic assessment and growth of our students.
It’s my joy and privilege to join the DHCA community. Please join me in prayer that wherever the Lord leads us in our journey together that His name is glorified through a life-changing education received at DHCA.
In His service and yours,
Steve Hall, Head of School