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OES Upper School Voice Newsletter

Our community is even stronger with the support of our volunteers! The All School Parent Partnership Team invites you to explore the many, varied opportunities to volunteer at OES through the Volunteer Interest Form for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please don't hesitate to contact Michelle Tubbs or any other Parent Partnership Leader with any questions about how to offer your time and talent to serve our wonderful school community.

Read More about Let Us Know Your Volunteer Interests for 2020-21!

A Message from the Division Head

by Asha Appel

Need to Know for Friday, April 3

We've just about wrapped up Week One of Continuous Learning, and the kids and adults seem to be glad to be back in school, connecting with each other and on some semblance of a routine. The students have been great in their willingness to adjust to this new platform, to be entirely present, and to engage in authentic learning. OES US teachers have been extraordinary, and I am in awe of the way they are modeling flexibility, resiliency, and risk-taking. In the last two weeks, they have built entirely new classes, adopted new technologies, and figured out new ways to both teach and learn. Here's a fun video of them welcoming kids back to school. Here's a great letter to teachers from Grown + Flown; it's a good reminder to be kind when communicating with your child's teachers, who are all doing their very best right now. 

It's also a good reminder about how hard you as parents are working! Support each other, take care of yourselves, and look for ways to connect with others. The US Parent Partnership Reps are hard at work planning some remote meetings, so look for details to arrive soon. Here are a couple ways you can support your child during this time:

  • Make sure they are getting the right amount of sleep—making a device parking lot into which all household phones and laptops go at night is a great way to establish healthy boundaries and promote sleep schedules. 
  • Encourage daily exercise. Here's an article with some ideas and resources: Exercise Tips to Help Kids, Teens, and Families Stay Balanced at Home
  • Set up home offices so that kids are not working in their beds or staying in one place all day. 
  • Remind kids of the importance of self-advocacy and communication with their teachers!
  • Model and practice gratitude, which enhances optimism and resilience.
  • Check out more suggestions from Stanford's Challenge Success.

And it might be a bit nerdy, but here's an apt quote from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of The Ring:

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. 

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

  • Every Friday, we'll send out a survey to parents, kids, and faculty and staff to gather information about how Continuous Learning is going. We'll use this data to inform how we move forward, so look for updates in next Friday's Need to Know. Please take a minute to complete the first week's survey
  • Please know that all documents and work teachers create is shared with students and access is restricted to those with an OES account. If you're curious about assignments, please ask your child (not the teacher) to share with you. You can access the Course Expectations in every class by checking out the Faculty Pages site, which is available via the Parent Portal. 
  • Speaking of the Faculty Pages site, go there to access the Continuous Learning Site, where you'll find links to important information (like the Student and Family Guide to Continuous Learning) and helpful resources, including the shared doc that US Parent Partnership Reps are curating. Click here to view the shared doc (we're starting slow but will add on!) and send your Grade Level Rep your ideas to add. 
  • Thanks to our crackerjack US Librarian Erika Jelinek, students can "visit" the library daily and use the Remote Learning Library tool to access resources, get support, and learn about what's new. 
  • Portland's Literary Arts has put together some amazing online experiences for readers and learners of all ages. 
  • Registration for 2020-21 classes will officially begin next week, with the launch of the Curriculum Guide! On April 13, we'll have a virtual Curriculum Fair when students grades 9-11 will receive their registration worksheets and learn about some of the new course options. Advisors will be scheduling registration conferences with students and families for 30-minute appointment slots on April 24, when the official registration will happen online. 

Jelly Rec: Book Recommendations from Librarian Erika Jelinek

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I know, I'm a bit late to the party when it comes to reading Anthony Doerr's 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning World War II novel, All the Light We Cannot See. It's likely that many of you have already read it, but if you haven't, please do. It's a story told from two very different perspectives: a brilliant young German orphan as he gets swallowed by the Nazi war machine, and a blind girl who is displaced from her Parisian home to the seaside citadel of Saint Malo, where loss and desperation lead her to becoming involved with the French Resistance. I have read a goodly number of WWII novels, and for me the element that makes this one stand out from the rest is the depth of compassion that Doerr shows for his characters, depicting the full spectrum of "good" and "bad" people on both sides of the war. Every sentence is stunning, studded with rich details that allow you to become totally immersed in the story and its setting. Perhaps it says something about me or our current crisis that I find immersion in a fictional World War II more comfortable than in our current reality, but I say take your comfort where you can get it, dear readers.

We're in This Together: Resources for Parenting Teens