Private School Lesson Plans

Hybrid models and small classes: administrators on reopening their schools this fall

30 Jul 2020 | 05:20

Jim Gaines, Admissions Director, Pine Street School/Green Ivy Schools:

Pine Street School is NYC’s only fully-accredited International Baccalaureate school with a full Spanish and Mandarin immersion program from nursery (2s) through middle school. Our focus on developing student agency, scientific and technological fluency, and a global worldview left our community uniquely prepared for this pandemic challenge. We provided students in all grades with 4.5 hours per day of live, engaging and interactive remote learning, with a 90% attendance rate.

This September, we plan to open live, on-site and full-time. Pine Street School’s campus in downtown Fidi will safely accommodate all of our physically distanced students in small groups of 9 or 10, within a sanitized environment. Our faculty will offer a complete academic program, including music, art, and movement sessions, and utilizing nearby outdoor spaces as much as possible. For any students not on campus, all classes will be offered virtually, both simultaneously and recorded, with additional staff focused on online student success. We offer both before-school and after-school care, giving families additional support from 7:45 AM to 6:00 PM.

Mark Allen, Head of School, BASIS Independent Manhattan:

We have every intention of returning to campus on September 8 with the most likely scenario being a hybrid model that combines on-campus instruction with social distancing, reduced classroom capacities, health and safety practices that exceed guidelines, coupled with an improved version of what we did last year for distance learning that gives more live time with teachers. This hybrid model is going to combine the enhanced distance environment with the valuable experience of being in-person at school.

Our response to all of these difficult challenges will continue to be consistent with our school’s mission and culture, namely to educate our students to the highest international standards in a joyful, loving, respectful, safe and supportive learning environment. Our team of teachers and staff will continue to be flexible and nimble in adapting our plans and tactics to satisfy best the needs of our families. We will continue to rely upon positive and critical feedback and to be responsive listeners.

Barrie Scrymgeour, Principal, Nord Anglia International School:

Our school plans to reopen fully on September 8th to all of our students, ages 2 to 14 years old. We are fortunate to have an average of ten students per class which, along with large, spacious classrooms, enables us to keep within current city guidelines for social distancing.

We have taken measures to ensure the safety of our students and staff:

· We will have a cleaner working on site full time each and every day – repeated sanitization/ disinfection of all areas throughout the school

· Industrial strength air filtration systems have been installed in hallways on each floor to remove bacteria and pollutants

· Temperature check will be made on all staff and students each morning

· All staff will wear masks when unable to maintain 6 feet distance from others

· Staggered and flexible entry and exit times for students

· Bathrooms will be allocated to year groups

· Students will wash/sanitize their hands every time they enter/exit the classroom and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the school

· Desks will be spaced out

· Increased focus given to the health and wellbeing of our students and staff

· We will continue to closely follow guidance given by government agencies and health authorities

Emily Benson, Director of Admissions, International Academy of New York

The International Academy of New York is a pre-nursery through Grade 8 school. Because it is licensed to include early childhood, it is considered an essential business, and the DOH has allowed the school remain fully open this fall. The school is small, with 10 students or fewer per class, which works uniquely in its favor, but there are still challenges that the school is preparing for. For health and safety, individual student desks have been purchased to retain social distancing in the classrooms. Much of the curriculum is being reconfigured to include more time outdoors in nearby Central Park and on the school’s roof deck, and disinfectant wipe-downs of railings and high touch areas will occur after each transition. There will be temperature checks upon entry and teachers and older students will have face shields and/or masks.

With a new normal of parents no longer allowed enter the building - plus the cancellation of most field trips, cross-grade experiences, community performances and parent “Coffee and Conversations” - the new head of school, Nasreen Ikram Hussain, along with the admin staff and faculty, are working to brainstorm creative ways to support the social emotional health of new and returning students, as well as how to continue to foster the warm and supportive parent community that IANY is known for.

Kate Bailey, Head of School, Wetherby-Pembridge

The one thing I do know, is that we shall see a difference in the children when they return to Wetherby-Pembridge in the fall. For many, this has been a challenging time and the bespoke care of their young minds and spirits is a top priority for my team and parents. I have no doubt we shall also be quite surprised at the increased resilience and flexibility for many, and for most, they will just be pleased to be back. Through our tailored social, emotional and recovery program, we aim to help them understand how empowering this has been in so many ways. Our children have had to quickly develop skills to navigate ambiguity and change. They have all had to learn to implement solutions and adapt, as much as our teaching and admin team at the school. They have all done an exceptional job and have mastered many facets of online learning effortlessly.

Our main concern is to welcome the children safely back to school in September. The team at Wetherby-Pembridge has worked hard to implement thorough safety and hygiene measures, and with our small class sizes, we shall be able to welcome back all pupils. I know we shall begin the new school year with new skills and a fresh outlook for educational possibility in the classroom. Our eyes have been opened to new channels for enhanced learning. What fascinates us all now is what we can adapt and streamline from remote learning to enhance classroom practice.

As Wetherby-Pembridge is part of a larger group of schools, we have opportunities to share a bank of excellent specialist teaching. During closure, we proved that musical and drama productions were still possible, using Zoom, and our remote speaker and visitor events will be as prevalent as ever. With remote individual music lessons and virtual clubs, the children will benefit from a range of high-quality learning opportunities. Since March, the time spent at home has been the training ground for these new teaching methods and experiences, and with care and thought, I know the children will return and will adapt successfully and safely to school life.