May 6, 2020
So we get to May, when we start to look towards the end of the year and a break for summer with all sorts of plans and opportunities: for rest, for relaxation, for being outdoors and maybe living on a different schedule. This May is of course different, and the end of the school year seems both exciting but also in a way daunting since summer plans remain up in the air and no one is sure how restricted our movements might be in four or six weeks. And now that we know we will not be returning to campus this spring, we can start finalizing distance learning plans for the end of the year.
Given that surety, I write today with two purposes: let you know the calendar for the last weeks, and to report out the survey results from last week.
The results of the survey, which was filled out by about 120 families, can be found by clicking here. To summarize, most families think that the present schedule is working well, and that students are working with purpose much of the time. There are some questions about our use of Wednesday to provide meeting time for clubs, other activities, and larger grade and school meetings. Students and teachers are finding time for extra help, and students report that the day also provides time to catch up on work that is due later in the week. As we move deeper into the time we are working from home, I think that this day will become increasingly valuable. We continue to believe that it’s important to maintain this time for students to connect with friends and activities that matter to them. We will be asking these questions at the end of next week to see what may have changed and what we might need to change for the last weeks of the year.
Turning to the schedule for these next weeks, here are some important dates to know and plans around AP exams and the end of classes.
AP Exams are now slated to begin the week of May 11, a week later than usual, and continue until May 26, with late testing continuing until June 5.
Senior classes will end on Thursday, May 14, with the exception of AP classes, which will continue through the date of the exam. Seniors will begin their selective program on Monday, May 18, and that will continue through Friday, May 29.
Regular classes for grades 9-11 will end on Friday, June 5. The last day of School is Thursday, June 11, as has been on the calendar all year.
There will be no final exams this June. There usually are exams in Mathematics, Science, and Language in grades 9 and 10. Instead, there will be some final project or assessment that will take place during the week of June 8th in those grades. The exact schedule is still being worked out and we will let you know that as soon as it is ready, but there will be no exam or other type of cumulative test. For many reasons this would not be in the best interest of our students.
Students in grade 11 will work on the college search process and other year-end activities during the week of June 8. These days will provide a great opportunity to help juniors be ready for the summer and to return to school in September ready to submit their final applications. It is something we had been planning to do before the pandemic, and current circumstances make this even more important to do.
And there are a few rules particular to AP Exams:
Unlike in past years, students are not allowed to miss classes the day before an AP exam. Our distance situation changes that need, and the tests are also significantly reduced in scope.
On the day of any AP exam, students are not required to attend class before the exam. They are expected to attend any class after the exam.
Before signing off, I wanted to mention that we are finding that students are having problems sleeping. They are reporting being unable to fall asleep, or they are playing video games in the middle of the night, or watching some show when they would usually be sleeping. Teachers are reporting students barely making it to 9:00 classes and talking in advisory about not being able to regulate their sleep. There are several reasons for this, and I think it’s important for us parents to be checking on our children about their sleep. We sent this document for discussion in advisory, and thought you might want to see it. You can access it by clicking here. If this is a problem you think your student is having, please feel free to reach out to talk about ways to help.
Thanks for reading another long message. We will be in touch again as plans solidify further. And thanks as always for your patience, cooperation, and support.
Stay safe and be well.
Joseph W. Algrant
Upper School Principal