We look forward to welcoming our students, faculty, and staff back to school for the 2020-21 academic year. Although our time together at Holy Child will look different this fall, we believe that we have designed an experience that preserves the unique charism of our Holy Child family while at the same time promoting health and safety. Above all, we seek to maintain the high quality of excellence in our educational program and our strong commitment to relationship building, whether on campus or learning remotely.
In our plan, the health and safety protocols and Continuous Learning models are outlined. We are resolute in our mission to educate and raise confident leaders and innovators in a global community that needs them more than ever.
We know that you have many follow-up questions and we will communicate further details as our planning progresses this month. Thank you for your partnership and your trust as we move ahead together.
As we plan for the 2020 - 2021 school year, we are guided by the below questions and priorities.
- How do we support our students' well-being and their academic growth during a pandemic while staying true to our mission?
- How can we meet CDC guidelines for community health and safety while also providing a quality and engaging learning experience?
- How can we create meaningful, on-campus experiences while maintaining the health and safety for students and faculty?
- Reducing class size and # of students on campus to meet CDC guidelines
- Keeping households together to support transportation and creating a consistent learning environment for siblings
- Providing a consistent student schedule that can be implemented through all 4 models
- Providing live access for all students through camera and microphone technology
- Maintain a full academic week
Holy Child’s Continuous Learning Plan defines and guides our instructional practices, community engagement, and communication regarding how we respond to the phases of reopening. In each model (Typical, Hybrid, E-Learning, and E-Learning with On Campus Experiences), we will identify how our school will continue to provide a high-quality program that fulfills the Holy Child mission.
As we continue with teaching and learning during the coronavirus pandemic, we have reimagined ways to create communities of learning that align with our commitment to innovation, creativity, deeper learning, and collaboration. Holy Child's Continuous Learning Plan outlines four learning models that will provide an engaging and challenging academic program for our students.
With each model, our students will continue to benefit from the hallmarks of a Holy Child education:
- 1:1 individualized instruction and relationships with teachers who know them
- A small class setting with innovative instructional techniques
- A challenging and engaging academic environment
- Collaboration with classmates and teachers through interactive lessons and project-based learning
- Access to The Coakley Center for Innovative Learning, Math Lab, and Writing Center
- Connectedness to the Holy Child family with fun, lively community events
- A wide array of extracurricular programs including athletics, the arts, clubs, and service projects
- A spiritual community committed to helping students develop into women of faith and action.
Holy Child has created a 10-day rotation schedule for our Continuous Learning Plan allowing us to better accommodate the one-week cohort rotation. At the end of each week students are dismissed at 1:45pm in order to give teachers extra time to plan as well as transition the cohorts. This will also allow our facilities team an additional block of time to deeply clean and sanitize the building, above and beyond the daily cleaning. Class times and daily layout remain exactly as was proposed in February.
Holy Child e-learning program will continue our rigorous and challenging academic program in a remote setting. Our new 10-day schedule will be utilized in e-learning as well as the other models for the 20-21 school year. This will allow for consistency to quickly move between the models if and when necessary. There will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning, but students should expect to have increased workload and learning activities compared to last spring. Student life and community activities will be adjusted slightly to accommodate participation from home while continuing to engage with the Holy Child community.
Student Expectations During E-Learning
- Although you will sometimes be learning in a different physical environment, all the expectations and standards that are on campus are still in place.
- The Code of Conduct extends beyond the school. Work with integrity while you are on and off campus.
- Be timely for class - look at your schedule the night before.
- Be prepared for class - know what your teachers expect of you and complete assignments as requested.
- Be present for class - put yourself in a work area where you can focus on the task ahead of you. This area should be close to your router for the best connection.
- Communicate openly - if you don't understand something, ask someone.
- If you will be participating in a Microsoft Teams online class, remember to mute your speaker and turn on your video as you enter the call.
- Use the chat or hand raise feature to indicate to your teacher you have a question rather than turn on your microphone and interrupt.
- Be presentable. You are expected to wear your uniform shirt to class, even when learning from home.
- Be respectful of everyone's time.
- Because of the need for teachers and classmates to readily identify who is speaking at all times, avatars may not be substituted for student initials with Microsoft Teams.
- If you find the connection slow, turn off the video.
- Students may not record classes or take pictures without the specific permission of their teacher. In addition, students may not record or take pictures of other students without the permission of ALL the students in the class. Photographs or video of any member of the community, particularly in the context of class, may only take place with consent.
Every class will begin with a Teams meeting and students are expected to join for attendance and checkin. After the initial check-in each teacher will design either a synchronous or asynchronous teaching and learning activity. Teachers will communicate what student expectations are. This provides the flexibility for teachers to design engaging lessons using a variety of tools that promote engagement, collaboration, student voice, and feedback.
Synchronous Learning – learning where students and teachers are in the same space (virtually or in-person) at the same time. These are “live” lessons where students join the class via a Teams meeting. Small group collaboration and breakout rooms may be utilized.
Asynchronous Learning – learning that occurs in different times and places for students and teachers. Through a variety of tools students will have the flexibility to complete learning activities and assignments at their own pace.
STUDENT RESOURCES AND SUPPORT
Coakley Center for Innovative Learning: In the Hybrid Model only two Academic Support classes will be held in the Center at a time. Other courses will be spread out among the classrooms in the lower level of Connelly Hall. This will ensure small class sizes and that students and specialists are able to be 6 feet apart.
Academic Support Courses: Learning specialists will continue to provide:
- short, directed study skills lessons in a small group setting both in-person and virtually. (First 15-20 minutes of the 65 minute class time)
- regular 1:1/small group support in targeted areas of need (Last 50-45 minutes of the 65 min class)
- 1:1/small group session in the Hybrid Model will still be conducted 6ft apart. Students and learning specialists will share screens on their devices.
- grade/student progress monitoring with interventions when needed.
Writing Center: Due to space constraints, the Writing Center will remain virtual even within the Hybrid Model. The writing specialist will continue to provide:
- 1:1 virtual writing consultations
- Written and recorded auditory feedback on writing assignments
- Push-in support in academic classes to aid teachers and students
- Push-in support in the academic support classes to aid learning specialists and students.
Math Lab: Due to space constraints, the Math Lab will remain virtual even within the Hybrid Model. The math specialist will continue to provide:
- 1:1 and small group review of math concepts
- Practice materials posted for student use to prepare for math assessments
- Push-in support in the academic support classes to aid learning specialists and students.
- Evening Math Lab hours until 5:30 Monday-Thursday
In both the Hybrid Model and E-Learning Model, Learning Lab will be conducted virtually in the evening from 4:30-6pm. There will also be an added weekend Learning Lab offered 8am-11am and 3:30-5pm on Sunday afternoons to support student preparation for the week. The on-campus afternoon Learning Lab will not be offered until we return to the Typical Model.
Students will meet with their Counselor once in every 10-day rotation during Personal Growth Time. Counselors will also be available by appointment for Individual and Small group meetings with students. Parents may make appointments to discuss any joys or concerns about their child/children. The Counseling team will continue to consult and collaborate with students, parents, faculty and staff and outside services to support the social and emotional growth of all of our students.
Orientation will be held on campus by advisories in two hours increments over the course of three days (8/24-8/27). The schedule will be sent out on 8/14 from the Director of Counseling, Mrs. Lindsay Davis.
Beginning of School Year Events
- 1st Day of School Celebration - The class of 2021 will still host a first day of school celebration. Details will be sent out in the coming days!
- Parent Orientation- more information to come
- Back to School- more information to come
- Blue/Gold- We will still host Blue/Gold this fall and have plans for the different learning models. The Dean of Students will communicate plans as we get closer to the event!
For courses that require more hands-on materials, students will receive materials in their tote identifying the materials and course they are intended to be used. This will be review by the teachers in the first days of school. Courses such as Art, PE and science may provide additional materials your daughter may need.
Technology is significant component of a Continuous Learning Plan. In all models, student devices are incorporated into the teaching and learning experience. Students should make sure their device is charged every night and that their pen has extra batteries. Having their tools ready will support their participation in class.
Students will be required to attend all lessons that are virtual with their camera on, dressed in their school uniform and participating from a learning environment that supports their focus and engagement.
We know having your technology working is vital. The technology team is available for remote support 8am-5pm by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If needed, on campus technical support can be scheduled.
Parents will also be required to sign a supplemental media agreement before the start of the school year. Please look out for more information about signing this electronically through Magnus Health.
Holy Child’s primary tools to support learning is Microsoft Teams (for synchronous lessons and collaboration), Veracross (our Learning Management System), and OneNote for organizing all the learning materials and collaboration & feedback.
A variety of supplemental tools are used to engage students and provide feedback.
Textbooks and E-books
Students will receive their textbooks and novels during their orientation day. All textbooks, novels and any supplies will be put in a Holy Child tote for them to take home. In addition, students who haven’t received their device can pick up there device on orientation day when they get their tech training. Holy Child has purchased e books for every textbook that has an e-book version or we have purchased the pdf of the textbook. Some courses, such as English and MS science, have consumable books that will be distributed in the tote and are intended for the students to use in the course and annotate directly in the book. Students will get access to their e books during the first week of school.
Students are expected to be "in class" and on-time each day, just as they are on campus. Teachers will take attendance for each class to document students' continued learning and track absences. Absences must be reported as follows:
- Classes will begin each day at 8am
- Students are expected to login at the beginning of each block whether it is a live (synchronous) or asynchronous lesson.
- Teachers will take attendance using Veracross for ALL lessons
- If a student is unable to attend a lesson, the parent should report the absence to email@example.com and the student should email the teacher directly. We will be following the attendance policies, as stated in the Student Handbook
- Parent should email firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the 8AM start time if students are not able to participate in lessons for the day.
- If a student is unable to attend class, on the day of the missed classes the students should reach out to the teacher directly for support
Advisors will continue to meet with their advisees groups at least once a week. Advisory blocks will be scheduled into each students schedule and students are expected to attend virtually.
Visual and Performing Arts
Due the nature of the programs, Visual and Performing arts will remain virtual at this time. Students will have the opportunity to continue studies online after the school day ends. The opportunities may include: Theatre Ensemble (MS), Drama Club (US), Art Club (MS), MS Band, MS Chorus, Dance (MS and US), Piano Lab (MS and US), Musical Theatre Club. More details about the schedule and registration will be sent out by Ms. Fager, Director of Visual & Performing Arts, in the coming weeks.
As a league, the ISL issued a statement back in September to postpone our formal seasons until January. The plan is to have the winter season starting January 4, followed by a fall season, and ending with our spring season. Winter Middle School electives will also begin in January. We continue to monitor the situation in our county and surrounding counties. We will continue to update our community as new information becomes available regarding athletics. Mrs. Roy will continue her athletic development class every odd PGT day through December 17. The link for this class can be found in Tiger Times each morning.
Campus Ministry & Christian Service
Chapel and Special Services will be reimagined for the 2020-2021 school year to include virtual Chapel Time and Mass. There will also be opportunities for on campus and virtual service. More details will be sent out in the coming weeks from Mrs. Akalegbere, Director of Christian Service.
Students will be leading and attending Homeroom in the Gym celebrations through the year (some of the celebrations are: Hispanic Heritage Month, Native America History Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, National Autism Awareness Month, International Week, Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month, amongst others). We will also host virtual conversations about elections and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion topics. Students will also be able to participate in virtual Diversity Leadership Conferences such as BSDLC, SDLC, MOAS, etc. Middle and Upper School students can also join the Student’s Diversity Committee and other clubs.
Field Trips and Overnight Travel
Suspended at this time.
Before and After School Care
Suspended until we are open in typical model.
At this time, on campus volunteers are suspended. We look forward to welcoming you all back on campus soon!
E-Learning with On Campus Experiences
Our e-learning with on campus experience program will support the social and emotional well-being of our students on campus while also providing an engaging and rigorous academic program online. The on campus experiences will be facilitated by counselors, advisors, admin, and staff. Activities will include:
- Advisory meetings
- Counseling lessons
- College counseling meetings
- Team building activities
- Service opportunities
This learning model will provide opportunities for connection, community, and relationships within our community.
Community Responsibility Pledge
As a school community, we must work together to limit the spread of the virus and we must acknowledge our individual and collective responsibility to mitigate risk. All members of our school communities must lead by example, embrace accountability, implement best practices, and make personal sacrifices for the welfare of students, employees, and families. Both on and off campus, wearing face coverings, conscientious physical distancing, and limiting group interactions are necessary steps to increase the chances that we may continue to offer the meaningful, in-person educational experiences for which our Holy Child schools are known. There has never been a more critical time for partnership and cooperation. We are counting on you. In order to come to campus, Holy Child is asking families to sign this pledge.
In addition to the community responsibility pledge, a liability waiver will need to be signed electronically before a student returns to campus for any reason. Look out for more information.
Prior to entering campus, observe all signage. These signs not only remind our community to do health checks but also reminds you to wear your mask at all time. Tiger Paw prints and arrows are also placed around campus to visually remind our community to walk one way in our halls and how to social distance when standing outside classrooms and when inside classroom and other spaces on campus.
Community Responsibility While on Campus
Faculty, staff, and students should make sure they take precautions when on campus. Please bring your own labeled water bottles, learning materials, and avoid sharing devices. Always clean your personal space prior to and after leaving, and use hand sanitizer often.
The hybrid model combines in person and virtual programming. Holy Child’s Hybrid Model alternates between two weeks on campus/two weeks in e-learning. There will be two cohort groups for grades 6-12 based on last name. The groups will be as follows:
- Cohort A: Last Name A-K
- Cohort B: Last Name L-Z
Cohort A will be on campus for two weeks learning in the classroom while Cohort B will be learning online (see above for student expectations) and then those groups will switch so Cohort B will then be on campus for two weeks while Cohort A will be online for two weeks.
Holy Child's administration and scheduling committees have put considerable thought into this approach. Hybrid A will allow students to safely be on campus while also supporting our academic schedule and educational needs. We have many students that are not in classes based on their grade level, but rather ability. This schedule allows for those opportunities to continue.
When Maryland public health officials and local jurisdictions, the CDC, and OSHA deem it safe to return to school at a full capacity, Holy Child will implement our typical learning model with no changes to operations and events with health and safety precautions in place. This includes learning in the classroom, experiential learning with field trips and in-person community service, athletics, visual and performing arts, etc.
Overall Campus Updates and Health & Safety Protocols
Ways we are Preparing our Campus
- Modifications are being made on our campus to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Listed below are highlights of some of our recent and ongoing efforts.
- Conducting more frequent disinfecting and sanitizing throughout campus with designated cleaning staff for specific locations
- Increasing handwashing and hand sanitizer stations and developing new hygiene training and signage
- Contained Care Room in the Main Building for people who become symptomatic during the school day
- Adjusted HVAC/air filtration systems for increased fresh air mix
- Added new filters Installing additional water bottle refilling stations
- Turned off all water fountains
- Reconfiguring main office entrances
- New A/C Units in the Main Building and New HVAC unit and filtration system in Connelly Hall.
- Restricting access to lockers throughout campus and strictly limiting access to locker rooms
- Installation of more Hand Sanitizer stations at accessible points throughout campus
- Installed touchless sinks in the bathrooms
- Implementing a Contact Tracing App
- Providing faculty, staff and students with 2 washable masks
The Holy Child community will be informed by email in the event of any positive test of someone who has been present in the school, although the name will be withheld for privacy purposes.
Holy Child will comply with any contact tracing protocols from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and/or Maryland Departments of Health and Education to identify all persons that may have had direct contact with a known exposure to COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms. Those individuals will then be notified.
In the event of a positive test, the school will first follow any government or public health recommendation with respect to suspending or reopening its operations. The School may also use its own judgement about closing in the event closure is not required by a public agency.
In the event of temporary closure, we would shift to the e-learning platform.
Coming to Campus
Before coming to campus, all students, faculty, and staff must follow the symptom check procedure through the MyHealthySkool app. More information to come. Implementation will start for any on campus experiences after orientation.
We will also be implementing safety protocols for every student, faculty, and staff member on campus.
- Self-assessment for symptoms each day – Holy Child will provide a checklist for families to execute a self-assessment before coming to school each day.
- Two masks will be given to every student and faculty member.
- Masks will be required for all students and faculty inside the buildings; if someone does not have a mask upon entry to our campus, we will provide one.
- Students and teachers will maintain proper social distancing (6 feet) in classrooms, common areas, and outside.
- Hallways and stairwells will have a one-way traffic pattern allowing for safe passage to/from classes.
- Signage will provide reminders for one-way hallway patterns and to stay 6 feet apart as well as visual cues on floors and seats where applicable.
- Contact tracing protocols and communication plans are being developed.
- Every student and adult must complete the Daily Health Screening using the MyHealthySkool app before arriving on campus.
Holy Child is limiting visitors to campus until further notice. Volunteer, groups, parent meetings, events, and any other school meetings will occur virtually until further notice.
Campus Modifications Due to COVID-19
- Each room has an identified occupancy based on CDC and local guidelines.
- Classrooms will average 10 in a class and will space desks 6 feet apart. Additional desks have been stored to provide space to enter and exit class safely.
- Community spaces such as the gym, library, chapel and Connelly Commons will be used but at a 50% occupancy or meeting the ration per square footage. All community spaces will be supervised at all times.
- Our students and teachers will leverage every inch of outdoor space for breaks, fresh air breaks, exercise, and other wellness activities. Physical distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible. These activities will take place in small groups in order to limit the mixing of students.
- Due to health and safety guidance our Fitness Center, Training Room, and our Dance Studio will closed at this time.
Our Health Room is located in the Main Building. We have added a Contained Care Room (Isolation Room) This room has been designed to handle situations in which a community member may experience the onset of COVID-19 symptoms on campus. Our School nurse has protocols in place for assessing and communicating situations, which include contacting a designated person in Epidemiology at the Maryland Department of Health.
Academics and Electives
As modifications to the school schedule are made in order to mitigate the spread of disease, the School is prioritizing core academic classes and will continue to offer the arts, physical education, and electives (in Middle School and Upper School) to the greatest extent possible. Middle school electives will not run during the scheduled PGT time during e-learning, but will be reinstated once the school moves into the hybrid model. Student preferences will be collected at that time.
Holy Child E-Learning Testimonials
“Our family wants to say thanks for the amazing e-learning we have set up. Holy Child is so progressive and ahead of the curve on the e-learning. We are all blessed to be part of such a great community.” (parent)
"What a wonderful job Holy Child is doing with the online learning! We have children in private middle school, private high school, and college, and Holy Child is the leading all the institutions in their ability to engage the students, keep them on a schedule, make them accountable for their work during this time, giving them the ability to virtual see their teacher and classmates with virtual steaming live lessons, and also keeping the parents well informed." (parent)
"Hearing my daughter laughing and engaging with classmates throughout the whole house [has been my favorite e-learning experience]. It has helped her feel connected during this crazy time and allowed her to feel like life is kind of normal." (parent)
"I felt like I was able to apply myself and work independently better than I expected [during e-learning]. I also had doubts and some anxiety in the beginning of the week about the process of online learning and how it would affect me, but I am proud that I was able to be strong and power through. And it ended up being great!" (student)
"I think the best moment was seeing students willing to show up everyday and still work hard especially with everything going on. I know if I was a kid right now this would be terrifying and it would be hard to find the motivation to take school as seriously, so I am really proud of our girls for showing great resilience." (faculty)
"I have been so proud of the students as they've stepped up and done their best in a tough situation. They are doing even better than I had hoped. I appreciate their persistence and admire their resilience, and can't wait to see them keep it up as we delve further into e-learning." (faculty)
Spring 2020 Virtual Classroom Examples
Middle School Science
Holy Child’s 8th grade science class with Ms. Olivia Hogan utilized Microsoft Teams to interview Katherine Weiss, a wildlife ecologist who specializes in urbanization's impact on mammal communities, species interactions, and human-wildlife conflict. The students asked her about her research on the effects of urbanization on mammal communities (specifically coyotes) in Phoenix and LA; about invasive species and their impact on ecosystems for their projects; and also about women in STEM and getting into the field of science. Katherine said of the 8th grade students, they were “a great group of engaged, respectful, and kind students who ask great questions!”
Upper School Physical Education
Holy Child Athletic Trainer Cara Lewis-Roy, M.Ed., ATC, LAT, CSCS taught her 9th grade physical education class on Microsoft Teams. Students are given their weekly schedules from each teacher on the Sunday prior to the start of the school week. Students are then able to prepare for all their classes ahead of meeting. 9th grade students pictured here are doing circuit training with Ms. Lewis-Roy during their PE class.
Middle School English
In 8th grade English, students are utilizing the theme of “Finding Your Path” to focus on analyzing the purpose of the authors they are reading. They have studied a condensed version of the fictional novel “Bronx Masquerade” by Nikki Grimmes. While reading this selection, the focus was on structure analysis and characterization. Students worked on recognizing character development through both direct and indirect clues. They demonstrated their understanding of the text by highlighting their analysis in an oral response of the selection through the video application of Flipgrid (see more about this platform below). Students then went on to demonstrate their creativity and understanding of poetic form through the writing and recitation of their own identity poem.
What is Flipgrid? Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create "grids" to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a message board where teachers can pose questions, called "topics," and their students can post video responses that appear in a tiled grid display.
In Ms. Schultz’s Freshman English class, students participated in a close reading exercise of Jane Eyre. Students were assigned to be in groups and asked to select a passage from the novel. The groups worked together to do a close reading of the passage they selected and then present their findings to the whole class. Here is an excerpt from one of the group presentations.