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A Message from the Division Head
by David Lowell
I hope your parent teacher conferences were informative and you had your questions answered about your child’s progress in Lower School. After the conference, please make time to share some appreciations and plans with your child.
If questions of support for your child came up during conferences, remember that members of the Student Support Team are available to help. The Student Support Team (SST) consists of the Lower School Learning Resource Coordinator, Lower School Counselor, Lower School Chaplain, Assistant Heads of Lower School and Head of Lower School.
- Ari Sternberg, Learning Resource Coordinator, is a resource for faculty, parents and students who provides support for academic skill development. Ari works with classroom teachers to develop differentiated learning strategies, support skill development in small groups and provide referrals for tutoring, speech, language and occupational therapy.
- Vickie Soli-Compton, Lower School Counselor, is a resource for faculty, parents and students for issues related to social and emotional development. Vickie supports individuals and small groups and teaches classes on social and emotional topics of relevance to grade levels. Vickie can provide referrals for external counseling support.
- Phillip Craig, Lower School Chaplain and Head Chaplain, is available to provide pastoral support for students and families in times of significant change.
New Community Agreements: I have had several questions come my way about the Aardvark Community Agreements. Please review the latest version which is both simplified and updated based on emerging research and current COVID conditions.
Lunch From Home: Each week Beth LaFond provides a menu for snacks and lunch. Earlier we surveyed you so you could indicate your preference on a regular basis whether you want your student to receive a school provided sack lunch or prefer to send the student with lunch from home. I now understand that some families are reviewing the weekly menu and then deciding to have their student bring in a lunch from home on certain days. When you send a lunch from home follow the guidelines below:
- all food must be sent in clean and sanitized containers
- food must not contain the following allergens: peanuts, tree nuts (ie. pistachio, cashew, walnut, hazelnut), poppyseeds, shellfish, legumes (ie. lentils, chickpeas), peas, red plums, hibiscus, popsicles (Zylitol), sesame seeds or oil
- food is not to be shared with other students
Vaccine Week: This week we had most LS faculty get their second vaccine shot and as we expected several needed a day at home to recover from side effects. Thank you for your understanding when we had to either change teachers or move classes to asynchronous offerings while teachers recovered. The good news is that by Spring Break Lower School employees will be widely vaccinated increasing the chances we can keep everyone in campus based instruction when we return from Spring Break break on March 30.
My apologies for having to rely on email for communicating urgent changes such as school closures due to weather and class plan changes. While our new student information system has SMS texting capability it is taking longer than expected to configure and troubleshoot the system. Until this is resolved we will need to continue to rely on email to communicate urgent information.
Drop-off and Pick-up: We are continuing to refine our drop-off and pick-up process in preparation for more students coming to campus. Look for detailed cross divisional plans and a traffic map in upcoming communications from the school. Please note the following changes and recommendations specific to Lower School:
- 2nd Grade drop-off and pick-up is moving to the Loop Road starting on Monday. This is to reduce the traffic in the upper lot as Middle and Upper School begin to bring more students to campus for CBI.
- Arrive close to your designated drop-off and pick-up times for CBI, 8:00 or 8:15; 2:30 or 2:45 (2:00 on Wednesdays). Arriving early may cause delays.
- PreK families plan on arriving closer to 8:20 to avoid drop-off traffic
- Complete the Lower School Daily Health Screen (if your child is coming for CBI) or the PK/ECCEW Daily Health Screen (if your child is coming for either of those programs) by 7:30 each morning.
- Please hold up your name placard for the person checking for the daily health screens
- Please hold your hand out your window and hold up fingers to indicate which grade your child is in so our folks directing traffic can quickly direct you to the right spot.
We anticipate that drop-off and pick-up will take some time to settle into a smooth and efficient routine after Spring Break. Be attentive to the details of your students plan. I ask for your patience as we all navigate the complexities of this new routine.
Parent Survey closes today: In order to finalize our plans for CBI and Home Based Learning after Spring Break we need to know your plans for your students. The survey closes today. If you have not done so already, at your soonest convenience please complete the Lower School Campus Based Instruction Survey.
Used Uniforms: The Used Uniform give-away continues each Friday. Carina Luyties has restocked the tables and racks. Come and take what you need. You may also drop-off clean used uniforms in good conditions. We will process them and offer them for pick-up at a later date.