AN IB WORLD SCHOOL

Jamie's Update to Parents

March 20, 2020

Dear SGS Friends,
 
SGS Distance Learning Week #1 is off and running.  I want to begin by recognizing our teachers’ excellent work.  They had a big challenge setting up remote learning platforms and they have stepped up mightily in a relatively short period of time.  The Division Heads and I have received many emails of appreciation and we have forwarded them on to our teachers as often and quickly as possible.  These emails of good news and positive feedback have taken the place of the wonderful PA Appreciation Luncheons.  Thank you to our wonderful parents for your appreciation, patience and support of our faculty and staff during these difficult times.  It makes a difference as everyone is putting forth Best Efforts!
 
The continuation of learning and communication has been the priority at SGS.  Due to unprecedented user traffic around the country, there have been hiccups with some of the off-site platforms we are using.  These providers are working to overcome the issues and our teachers have had to pivot at times to find alternatives and then communicate them to students and parents.  Overall, I have been impressed with the technology leveraged and educational lessons and activities created during the closure: Parent-Teacher conferences in the MS, Video classrooms, creating virtual daily schedules, delivery of content, chats, blogs, lessons, activities and enrichment from each teacher. Our teachers have modeled a growth mindset, life-long learning and resilience through the challenges.
 
The school campus remains closed.  Business operations, IT support and Administrative school-wide coordination continue, but we are encouraging employees to work remotely when possible.  We have some teachers and employees that need to access the internet from campus at times.  Email is the best method of communication presently for parents to reach SGS staff and faculty.
 
Communication Plan
1. SGS will continue to publish and email the weekly newsletters on Mondays.  There will be links to the Division Heads newsletters and Moodle Pages and other relevant updates.  I will also share updates at that time.  If more immediate updates are required, those will be sent out via email and will also be posted on the school’s webpage.
2. SGS webpage – We have created a “Covid-19 News and FAQs” page on the website under the “Our School” tab.  Please access this page for the latest news and archived information.  We are updating the FAQs portion as we receive information.
3. We may continue to utilize the instant alert system at times if needed.  These will be shorter alerts mostly likely directing families to additional information.
4. Teachers are also communicating electronically with their students and parents.  If you have specific questions related to classes or coursework, please contact the teacher directly via email.  
5. If you have questions beyond the classes, please contact your Division Head or Head of School via email.
6. Social Media – We will also keep posting on our various social media sites to share good news as one more attempt for normalcy. ?? 
 
Timelines and Dates
March 16 - April 24 – State mandated school closure – this remains in effect at this time with no changes communicated from state agencies.  
March 27 – The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to announce updates related to IB testing.
April 6 – 10 – Spring Break (No Distance Learning) – Everyone will need the break at that time. ??
April 13 – Distance Learning Resumes
 
This week has been a whirlwind on my end with daily teleconferences from the various state agencies.  The situation and all the moving pieces continue to change at a high rate, so the work of our teachers and the routines of learning that are ongoing help in some ways to mitigate the chaos and provide some structure.  Thank you again for all the feedback and know that we are all working to make this the best experience possible in light of the circumstances.  I know the public schools are currently focusing their resources on nutrition and daycare, two very important services for our community, so I am proud we are able to provide the educational services and support that help our parents and students in other important ways.
 
Thank you and have a great weekend!  Go Dragons!
 
Jamie Tender
Head of School
 

WIAA: SPRING SPORTS UPDATE

 
March 18, 2020
 
In this time of uncertainty, we at the WIAA wanted to do our best to keep you informed of our intentions and expectations regarding the spring sports season. What’s important to keep in mind is that, at the end of the day, the mission of the WIAA has always been to provide opportunities for students around the state to engage in a safe and enjoyable environment. That mission has never been more important than it is right now.
 
It’s a well-known and often-used phrase that all coaches try to instill in their athletes – “Control what you can control.” We are taking that wisdom into account and operating with the information that is available to us at this moment to plan for when we as educators can return to our athletic endeavors.
 
WIAA staff have conferred with WIAA District Directors, gathered feedback from the WIAA Student Leadership Committee, and received countless emails from students and parents urging the WIAA to preserve the state championship experience if the opportunity allows. With schools currently scheduled to reopen after April 24, the WIAA will hold State Championship events as scheduled. Any further delays could put State Championships in jeopardy as no championships will be held after May 30 to avoid conflicts with graduation.
 
The blanket waiver to WIAA practice restrictions will allow for student-athletes to achieve 10 practices within five days. As an example, administrators could hold a schoolwide conditioning practice before classes and sport-specific practices in the afternoon as a way to reach 10 practices efficiently and safely. No matter the outcome of the following weeks, there will be no reduction to the minimum number of practices required to compete. Undoubtedly some creativity and imagination will be needed at the local level to make the most of a shortened season and to choose qualifying procedures that best apply to your league and district. Local control has been a hallmark of our Association and those regular season/qualifying decisions will need to be made by local leaders.
 
As part of that creative solution, we do recommend that schools and leagues organize a continuation of the regular season for schools that do not advance to State Championships. These games may be played through the end of State Championships on May 30. While nothing will be able to replace the time taken away from these students, especially seniors, providing more avenues to create lifelong memories with their teammates should be the ultimate goal.
 
In the meantime, the instruction from Governor Inslee and the OSPI has been to discontinue all organized contests and practices. The WIAA supports that mandate and no member schools should be competing or practicing at this time in an effort to keep everyone in our communities safe. We thank you all for not only keeping students safe but ensuring an equitable playing field for when we can return to action.
 
Similar to schools and business around the state, most WIAA staff will be working remotely during this time however we encourage you to reach out via email with any questions you may have.
 

MESSAGE TO PARENTS

 
March 14, 2020
 
Dear SGS Community,
 
We are all headed into unchartered territory for at least the next six weeks.  This will be a time for all in our community to exhibit patience, empathy, strength and grace as we all work together to make the best of a bad situation. Let me take the opportunity to share a few thoughts and then provide a short-term road map going forward.
 
This is difficult, and we anticipate a sense of loss for the students as this closure becomes real and they miss out on opportunities they have worked hard for, that include: performances, contests, athletics, state competitions, etc.  I feel especially bad for the senior class as they will miss out on some very special moments.  Down the road, these will be some of the memories they have and will talk about them as an unfair badge of honor.  All that said, many around the country will experience these same losses, and we anticipate some of the students will feel this very deeply. Many in and outside our community will be facing challenges, financially and otherwise (job stress, childcare, etc.).  We are fortunate in many ways and might remind our children and each other of this as time wears on.  Meghan Kilgore, our SGS Counselor, will be available to our students if they need to talk.  She is in touch with other NWAIS school counselors, all sharing resources and approaches to working with kids during the closure.  Meghan will provide more information as details become more defined.
 
Upon the Governor’s mandate to close all schools yesterday, we were in a position to send our students home with the proper materials and have a final opportunity for teachers to talk through some of the distance-learning process.  This is a great opportunity for SGS to provide ongoing educational services, when the public schools will not be in a position to do so.   It will still be a challenge, but I have been impressed with how our teachers have prepared. 
 
For the adults in our community, this will also be a challenge.  This is not a summer-type break, and SGS is making every attempt to continue a coordinated educational process.  It will look different and will feel different for the students and teachers.  For parents, patience will be key as you interact with your children and teachers during this process, the younger students will be more reliant on parents as they complete lessons and activities at home.  Teachers will be working during the closure to provide content through a myriad of age-appropriate delivery methods based on the teacher, division, and course.  It is our intent to have all employees compensated during the closure.
 
Emergency Closure Plan Starting Monday, March 16, 2020
Students will stay home starting Monday, March 16 and we are currently planning for SGS employees to come to school.  We will not plan to provide instruction on Monday, but teachers will start to post assignments and get the communication process started with their students.  We plan to have some staff and administrators working from campus during the closure (as long it is safe) and some US teachers will be meeting individually with students on campus to complete IB Internal Assessments and oral assessments in foreign language.  (Teachers will contact students individually to schedule these assessments.) Generally speaking the campus and facilities are considered closed, except for the aforementioned situations.  If a student needs something from campus, please call in advance to make arrangements.
 
The Division Heads will send out additional communication respective to their divisions to augment the school-wide communication.
- All school events and activities will be cancelled/postponed during the closure, except those noted below.
- Middle School Conferences will continue as previously scheduled via telephone on March 19 & 20.
- Spring Break will occur from April 6-10 – no distance learning. 
- Distance learning resumes after Spring Break thru April 24th and longer as needed.  
- There will be ongoing updates from my office to our community.  
- Testing for the International Baccalaureate is still unknown and the IB is exploring options for this situation.
 
I am working with our IT team to set up a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.  This will allow us to answer questions and disseminate information more efficiently. If you have questions not answered in the FAQs, please email me or your Division Head and we will respond as quickly as possible.
 
This situation has many entities involved (Health agencies, Federal and State Government, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), etc.) and is extremely fluid, so please be patient as we work to keep up with new information. In addition, we are reviewing our internal business operations so that we can support and address issues that have arisen or the unknowns that we will need to address.
 
I have been so impressed and appreciative of our SGS community since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.  Dragons step up to meet challenges in difficult times and I know this will hold true in the coming weeks.  Thank you to our Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and parents for support, guidance and information that have allowed us to be well-prepared going into the mandated closure.  I am grateful and proud to be a part of this community.
 
We are SG! GO Dragons!
 
Sincerely,
 
Jamie Tender
Head of School
 

RESOURCES

• CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
• WA State Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/
• Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: https://www.k12.wa.us/