Dear DCD families,
As we head into the summer, one unlike any we’ve ever experienced, I know we’ll all be thinking ahead to what the fall will bring. And I’m quite confident that at the highest level, our priorities and goals are the same - to provide the best academic program and community experience possible while ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Despite the many unknowns that lie ahead, we’re confident we can meet these objectives, even if it takes some new methods and new approaches.
Commitment to our Mission
Regardless of how our education is delivered in the fall, I can assure you that we will hold fast to our mission and provide a program that is challenging, inclusive, and engaging. We continue to keep our students at the very heart of this process and are steadfast in our resolve to develop children and young adults into lifelong learners. Undoubtedly, there are skills in resiliency, independence, flexibility, and fortitude that they are gaining right before our eyes. Planning for all Scenarios While we would love to have a definitive plan for the fall in hand, there are many decisions currently out of our control. As we await guidelines and requirements from the CDC, Board of Health, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we are actively preparing for three possible scenarios in the fall:
1. On-campus schooling with enhanced safety measures in place
2. A hybrid approach with periods of on-campus schooling and periods of distance learning
3. A comprehensive distance learning program for an extended period of time
As you can imagine, each scenario presents unique challenges from a multitude of angles, but we are fortunate to have time (three months of summer), knowledge (through numerous teams working together) and resources (from experts in medicine and public health, distance learning, peer schools, AISNE and NAIS) to guide us down each path. We are learning from those around us, as well as those worldwide who are months ahead of the U.S. in reimagining school life. We also have a community of exceptional faculty and staff who are eager to make the 2020-21 school year the very best it can be.
Timeline and Decision-Making
So when we will know which scenario DCD will follow? First and foremost, we must await decisions from state and local officials, which we expect to be available in late June or early July. That information will inform our final decisions, which we expect to share in the beginning of August. Between now and then, we have three leadership teams meeting regularly all summer to strategize and formalize plans concerning health and safety, academic curriculum, space and facilities, technical resources, financial considerations, and other key priorities. These include the DCD Administrative Team, the Board of Trustees, and the COVID-19 Response and Planning Team, whose members include:
Leslie Bowen, Director of Communications
Nate Buffum, Head of Middle School
Mark Epker, Chair, Board of Trustees
Ali Fernandes, Chief Information Officer
Carla Haith, Head of Lower School
Phil Holden, Director of Facilities
Emilie Liebhoff, Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions
MaryEllen Maloney, Head of Primary School
Emily Osinube, School Nurse
Katie Ouellette, Special Assistant to the Head of School
Sara Payton-Stone, School Nurse
Charles Rudnick, Director of Advancement
Bob Santry, Chief Financial Officer
Allison Webster, Head of School
Working closely with Dr. Michael Cocchi, our school physician, we are confident we will make the decisions that will best serve our community. We will keep you informed of any and all developments throughout the summer and welcome your questions as the summer unfolds.
Health and Safety
Our course, our primary concern is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and many steps have already been taken to plan and prepare for campus re-entry, whenever that time comes. In addition, we recognize that when DCD’s campus reopens, there may be students with special health risks, families who need to quarantine due to exposure, and extenuating circumstances that will affect participation in daily activities. We are considering all of this as we plan for the coming year and are committed to serving all of our students.
Faculty Professional Development
When our distance learning program began in March, none of us imagined it would last for the duration of the school year. Now, we have the luxury of ample time ahead of us to better prepare our ideal curriculum through a range of delivery methods across all grades, and a range of materials. In addition, our faculty’s personal experience has provided a critical understanding of remote learning successes and challenges. This summer, our faculty will participate in a variety of professional development offerings including online courses, workshops, and webinars, and have access to innumerable readings and podcasts to best inform their curricular planning and amplify their technical expertise. Summer professional development is not new for our faculty, who regularly engage in opportunities each year to enhance their experience and learn new skills. What differentiates this summer, is that all will be working towards similar goals to ensure we are well-aligned in our curricular delivery, and as prepared as possible for the uncertain year ahead.
Access to Campus
As has been the case all spring, our offices will remain open virtually all summer. Our administrators and staff will access their campus offices on a modified schedule and can be best reached initially by email or by calling the main school number 781-329-0850. The campus remains closed to current students and families, as well as visitors. In addition, as you may know by now, we have decided not to open the DCD summer camp. If you find school items to return in the coming weeks, please contact Laura Martinez at 781-329-0850, and we will make arrangements for you.
We look forward to being in touch later this summer and communicating with you once we have more information to share. If the reopening decisions were ours to make, we could finalize the plan for the school year now, as we typically do heading into the summer. We’ve all had lots of practice living with uncertainty these last months, and unfortunately, we have some more weeks of practice ahead. We are eager to find out what parameters will guide our fall, and please know we will work within those to create the best possible experience for our students and families. Enjoy the summer, and thanks again to all of you for your partnership and commitment to our school and community.
P.S. In addition to varied professional development opportunities this summer, our faculty and staff will be collectively enjoying these selected group reads: New Kid (Jerry Craft), So You Want To Talk About Race (Ijemoa Oluo), Writers and Lovers (Lily King), Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive (Marc Brackett), and Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (Matthew Walker). We welcome you to join us by reading one (or several!) of our selections as well.