Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Three weeks in, one thing is clear: at-home learning is a lot of work!

It takes time to figure out new rhythms and spaces for doing school at home. There is a new kind of “tired” at the end of the day in our increased work with screens and virtual conversations, and new considerations about boundaries as we determine what is, exactly, “the end of the day”.

But, this is good work; it is meaningful work. My hope is that the new level of transparency and collaborative work between teachers, support staff, students, and parents/caregivers has given you a renewed appreciation for the “educating and equipping” work of discipleship.

We don’t have it all figured out yet, but we are doing well! Our check-in surveys and conversations with students and parents reveal that most of our families feel cared for, are connecting, and engaged in meaningful learning.

Our staff continues to connect and adapt learning plans to meet the needs of individual students and families, and we have added a new tier of at-school support for some of our vulnerable learners. Thank you for your feedback! In the coming weeks, we will be reducing the frequency of our home teacher calls and surveys, but we encourage you to keep connecting with your family “home” teacher, your child(ren)’s classroom teachers and EAs, and/or me if you have any questions or concerns.

It seems that we are finding our “sweet spot” in the frequency of meetings, contact time, and overall workload for individual students and families. As we head into our fourth week, we will continue to provide learning plans that are primarily implemented over four days, and use Fridays as our learning “turnaround” day.

On this turnaround day, students may finish up and submit weekly assignments, connect with teachers and/or EAs in 1-on-1 meetings, tackle extension activities, get outdoors, and/or engage in service/family activities.

Staff will use this turnaround day to perform a number of duties, including: providing feedback and assessment, connecting with students 1-on-1, collaborating with colleagues, responding to feedback, and creating responsive learning plans for the following week.

It is our hope that this turnaround day provides margin for staff and families to enjoy Sabbath rest and restorative weekend activities in this season.

This Friday, our staff will be participating in a Northern Christian Educators (virtual) conference with the theme of “Invitation to A Better Story”. We are looking forward to taking a step back from the intense redesign of our school learning plans to remember and reflect on the larger Kingdom story in the midst of this pandemic.

I would encourage families to also use this day to step back and reflect on the big picture story of our faith. Apart from faith, our days can be consumed with the story of a virus, economic crisis, sickness, fear, grief and loss.

As people of faith, we can choose to infuse our days with intentional, formational Christian practices. The Society of Christian Schools of BC (SCSBC) recently created a resource for families that “invites us to a better story” and provides practical suggestions in five areas of discipleship, including:

  • Fostering Genuine Relationships with each of your children through affirmation, celebrations of growth, and listening
  • Cultivating Spiritual Disciplines – personally and as a family, through reflective Bible reading, worship, silence and prayer
  • Creating Leadership Capacity through service
  • Developing Empathy, a heart for others, through acts of kindness, gratitude journals, and encouragement notes
  • Engaging One Another in the Journey of Faith through the sharing of personal testimony and stories, and a cycle of watching and praying

We miss our interaction with you on our campus, and long for this suspension of in-class instruction and gatherings to be lifted! However, let us continue to make the most of every opportunity and be grateful for all that we have – including our Cedars Christian School community.

Shalom.

Shane Nelson
Principal