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.  NOTE: The IB has announced that the May 2020 IB tests have been cancelled.  See the IB Website for more details.
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