Distance Learning

School Meeting

Thursday, April 2

Enjoy this recording of School Meeting

Thursday, April 9

Enjoy this recording of School Meeting

Thursday, April 16

Thursday, April 23

Thursday, April 30

Thursday, May 7

Thursday, May 14

Use this link to join School Meeting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 21

Use this link to join School Meeting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 28 || Declamation

Use this link to join Declamation at 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, June 3 || Closing School Meeting

Use this link to join Closing School Meeting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, June 4 || The Salute

Use this link to join The Salute at 10:00 a.m.

Friday, June 5 || Virtual 57th Commencement Ceremony

Use this link to join Commencement at 10:00 a.m.

Upper School Student Resources

Upper School Student Distance Learning Expectations

  • All students are expected to participate in distance learning. If you are unable to, please have your parent/caregiver contact your advisor by email.  We understand there will be times when this is challenging and we will be flexible. Teachers have the ability to record their synchronous (live) classes.
  • Brookwood’s Mission in Practice and Acceptable Use Policy will guide online behavior during distance learning.
  • Find a comfortable, distraction-free, appropriate area to work (like the kitchen table); remove distractions (phones, pets, other technology besides your computer, etc.)
    • Take care of needs (bathroom, snacks) before/after a synchronous class.
    • Be aware of other people’s surroundings that may be visible in the Zoom sessions. They may be different from your own. Practice compassion and don’t make comments.
  • Check email and Google Classroom multiple times each day except between 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM
  • Attend to the daily schedule, including when to unplug
  • Dress appropriately (uniforms are not required, but appropriate dress is).
  • Put forth your best effort, trying to work within timelines and meet due dates; continue to ask for help or clarification as needed
  • Students can contact the Brookwood Tech Team at Brookwood-tech-support@brookwood.edu for assistance with some technical issues
  • Be patient with your teachers and with each other. There will be mistakes! The technology may not work exactly as expected! Give each other the grace to allow excellent teaching and learning to emerge over time.

Parent Resources for Distance Learning

Distance Learning Philosophy

Stacey Wright, Director of Teaching and Learning

Dear Brookwood Community,

As we transition to distance learning, Brookwood’s Leadership Team has established the following priorities to guide our decision making and path forward:

  • Continuing connection and relationships within our community while we are not physically at school
    In order to connect, we will be using various tools in order to help us do so. Faculty will be sharing how to use these tools over the next week with parents and students.

    • Zoom for whole class/advisory connections for students in PreK – Grade 8
    • Google Sites and Seesaw for students in PreK – Grade 4
    • Google Classroom for students in Grades 5 – 8
  • Continuing learning progress with students.
    • However, under the unique circumstances, we are not expecting to re-create all that happens at Brookwood at home.
    • The amount of content/skills will need to be reduced due to our distance learning reality.
    • We do not expect parents to be the teachers.
  • Flexibility and compassion
    • This is going to be a dynamic process and one that we will adjust frequently to best meet the needs of our community and the changing situation in regards to COVID-19.
    • We need to be gentle on ourselves as well as others in our community.  We are all in a very new and unprecedented situation.
    • The first week is about setting up routines, expectations, and processes for communicating.

Putting students first and honoring childhood remain at the core of our approach to distance learning at Brookwood.  We appreciate all your support and partnership and we move forward together.

With gratitude,

Stacey Wright

Parent Support

  • We understand that the situation and circumstances will vary for each family, so we encourage and trust each family to choose how best to engage in our Distance Learning Plan. 
  • Learning experiences are intentionally designed to require minimal parental support, however we would like to ask the following:
    • Identify a space in your home for your child to concentrate without distraction on their assigned work.
    • Provide a device (laptop, iPad) at times for your child to connect with the distance learning plan.
    • Continue to reinforce rules and expectations that you already have in place with regard to technology.
    • Monitor communications from your child’s teachers and encourage good digital citizenship practices from your child.
    • Understand that there will be times throughout the day where we are asking your child to unplug and take a break from distant learning. We have asked them to check in regarding chores they can help with.  
    • Check in daily with your child about progress on learning experiences to see if they have questions or need support. 
    • Be a model of flexibility, optimism, creativity, and openness. 
    • Connect with the school when you have questions or need support.

Letter for Parents | PreK – Grade 4

Nancy Evans, Assistant Head of School

March 20, 2020

Greetings friends,

What an unfathomable time we are in.  Certainly, we all are processing everything differently.  I am in shock to find myself in a high-risk category, families are struggling with the stress of job loss, parents are in touch with me to share (humorous and yet worried) stories of working with their children (there are a lot of very funny social media posts), and all of us are in a situation that we have never found ourselves in before. And we are asked to help explain the situation to our children.  We all are getting the same advice: keep your routine, create a schedule; get some exercise, etc. This is all good advice but we have to be gentle with ourselves and be comfortable acknowledging what a difficult time it is for ourselves and those around us.

Teachers have spent a good deal of time reflecting on ways to work with your children during the time away from school. Teachers’ questions, plans and thoughtfulness have been guided by the same tenets that they reinforce each day in school: caring for community, appreciation for others, respect and empathy.  The sense of community and connection is important to maintain despite not being in classrooms together. 

Teachers have created activities that are designed to support previously learned material and opportunities to extend learning.  We do not expect you to be the teachers; we are just looking for your help in supporting some reading, writing, special activities and creative opportunities that are designed by teachers. Teachers will provide choice and opportunities for sharing.

This is new for all of us. I read someone describing the beginning of the separation time and introduction to distance learning as much like the first few weeks of school. New routines cause excitement, some worry and expectations that are not always easy attained.

The information below will provide you and your child with information to navigate and access your child’s distance learning classroom that has been designed by teachers. 

We are all in this together and our partnership will be what brings success.

Best to all,

Nancy

Letter for Parents | Grade 5

Lisa Johnson, Middle School Coordinator

March 20, 2020

Dear Families,

First and foremost, it is good to connect with you. I hope you all have been able to keep some stability and joy in your households as we navigate these interesting and unprecedented times — or at least unprecedented in my lifetime. This extended time at home has given me the gift of being able to spend more time with my 94 year old father. He, with great wisdom and the experience to back up what he says, reminds me that as a people we are extraordinary and have managed complex and unimaginable things before. He tells me he has watched people pull together and work not only for each other, but also for the greater good. He maintains there is nothing we can’t accomplish. In these times, his calm voice and vast experiences reassure me. I hope you are finding those things that reassure you: family, routine, laughter, a rainy day, a good book, fresh air while walking the dog, running, patting your cat, calling people you haven’t had time to call before, etc. It is imperative that we each hold ourselves, and each other, gently, for there is a great deal pulling at us. 

We have not been idle this past week. Teachers have been connecting and creating plans and ideas to bring remote learning to your children. Though we have never done this before, this is what Brookwood does best. We take what we are given, and we make it right for children. No matter what, we will be building community, connecting with each other with kindness and care, and strengthening our academic skills, all of which are our foundational pieces. We will be using Zoom, Google Classroom and Sites to connect, among other online websites. Much of this we already know how to use; some will be a work in progress — work we will do together. Of all the stressors we are feeling, our time together should not be stressful.   

This is uncharted waters for all of us. For teachers, that tends to be exciting. I know that is not the case with everyone, so please know we will take each step together. We will need to try some things and see how that takes care of students’ needs and then tweak as we go along.  Each of our families is having to manage things in a different way. We will have flexibility and choices. We will also have clear expectations in work and the security that comes from clarity. We will create structures that fit with those our students already know. Though there will certainly be new learning, we will do it based on what we have done before and is familiar to your children. We are not expecting you to become the teacher– you have enough to manage as it is. As we always have, we will also be available for individual questions, both from you and your children. Know with certainty that whatever we do, we will do in partnership with you all, and together we will make an educational experience that will spark stories for your children’s grandchildren about what happened in 2020. I believe their stories will guide and enlighten, just as my father’s stories do for me. 

Be well, my friends. More to come next Monday.

Lisa

Letter for Parents | Grade 6 – Grade 8

Dave Samson, Head of Upper School

March 24

Dear Upper School Families,

We are excited to share the distance learning plan 1.0 for your Upper School students.  Within the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade schedule you will notice time for academics, advisory, office hours, and time to unplug to physically move.  (Please print a copy of your child’s schedule and place it in a location that is visible.)  The grade-level teams will continue to meet, and we will reflect and refine our program. 

The information below will provide you and your child with information and answer initial questions you may have related to the Upper School Distance Learning Plan. 

Again, thank you for your patience and support.  Besides the teaching and learning in the distant learning plan, we hope the plan provides connection, purpose, and instills confidence in your students which are essential to well being during this challenging time.  This is a learning opportunity for all of us and one that has me thankful to be part of such a caring community. I will be in touch at the end of the week with my Upper School Updates. Do not hesitate to reach out to me or your child’s advisors with questions.  

Sincerely,

Dave Samson

Letter from Dr. Shayda Ahi

April 6, 2020

Hello to all,

I hope you are all staying healthy and figuring out your new normal under the current circumstances.  These are unusual times, and there have been profound changes in the way we live. We have to adapt to social distancing, working from home and limiting our contact with those we deeply care about.  The good news is that we are incredibly lucky to live in the Boston area with hospitals and a medical community with very smart and thoughtful staff that are well trained to manage this situation. It is reasonable to be anxious and feel unsafe. We are living with high uncertainty. 

Anxiety is a normal and adaptive physiological response to stress.  Anxiety can make us function better, problem solve better, adapt better and be creative.  However, that is just up to point. It becomes a problem when it gets in the way of our functioning.  We cannot directly change our feelings but we can focus on our thoughts and behavior. We have often together talked about the question “what can I do to make things work better for me?”  We often together encourage each other and our kids to tap into our sense of empowerment. 

Here are some tips to start with that can help us feel we have control over the situation:

  1. Create a schedule with flexibility and stick to it. Every day is not Sunday. Aiming for some sense of normalcy is critical for our wellbeing.
    1. Try to get out of bed about the same time each day. And go to bed about the same time.
    2. Change out of your pajamas.
    3. Have a weekday schedule and a weekend schedule.
    4. It is ok to have gaps in the schedule but aim at balancing work, projects, school work, fun, exercise, meals, fun time and CONNECTION with friends and family.
  2. Think of projects that you have always wanted to do and put them on your schedule. 
  3. Pay attention to good sleep hygiene. Be mindful of screen time before bedtime.  Sleep directly impacts your mood.
  4. Pay attention to your eating.  Healthy eating impacts your coping with stress. Know yourself and your reactions to stress and eating. We all know stress can impact our desire to eat.
  5. Maintain connection; it makes a difference to see people face to face as it increases our sense of connection especially during a time of social distancing
    1. schedule family and friend virtual meet-up times
    2. Do activities such as exercise, zumba, yoga , stretching, singing, jamming, playing card games etc. using technology.
  6. Share stories, interesting podcasts and books you have enjoyed with others. Share music, comedy shows, movies and TV shows with friends and family.
  7. Take time for self-care.
    1. Fitness—move, move and move. Make a list of several ways you can get exercise while we are at home and schedule them in. Remember the American Heart Association recommends adults engaging in at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise per week. Model for your kids.
    2. Get yourself involved in mindfulness. Work on your breathing. Learn about here and now. Practice relaxation and visualization exercises, because anxiety is real. Be intentional in slowing your breath. Try on-line meditation apps.
    3. Listen to music.
    4. Cut yourself some slack; don’t aim for perfection
    5. Journal your thoughts and feelings and share your stories.  These are unusual times that highlight our unusual resilience
    6. Do something creative
    7. Learn something new!
    8. Remind yourself you are not alone
    9. Reach out and ask for help. Don’t worry alone
  8. Manage media exposure.  It is important to stay informed and know the facts.  Information is necessary in our daily problem solving.  Limit your news coverage to a scheduled time in your day.

And finally remember, kids are enormously resilient.

Let’s stay connected. Please know that I am conducting my meetings with folks as usual on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please email Cathy Marrero to schedule a time that works best for you. Our meetings can be virtual or by phone. It takes a village and Brookwood is our village. We are all in this together.

 

Stay home and stay healthy.

Warm regards to you all,

Shayda

Technology and Equipment Support

Technology Troubleshooting

If you or your child needs technology support to help your child in distance learning, please email brookwood-tech-support@brookwood.edu with the issue you have encountered. A member from our tech team will respond to you within 24 hours during the school week.

*If you submit an email outside our operating hours (8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday), we will respond to you during the next school day.

When you email us, please:

  • Describe the problem in as much detail as possible.
  • Include the specific type of device that is having the problem (e.g. Windows computer, Macbook Air, iPad, HP Printer 8600)
  • Provide us with the best phone number to reach you. 

What you can expect of the Brookwood Technology Team:

  • Provide you with resources about how to use the tools e.g. install or use software (with your consent and your password).
  • Provide resources to problem solve common technology challenges on your device and help you with them.
  • Offer advice or suggestions on how you can solve your printing and network-related problems (Please note, we are very limited in what we can do remotely to solve these types of problems).

Types of things that the Brookwood Technology Team cannot fix:

  • We cannot do anything to improve the video quality of a Zoom meeting or streaming content
  • We cannot fix hardware malfunctions of any kind
  • We cannot diagnose or fix problems related to your internet connection

Equipment Support

In order to enable productive distance learning, your child will need access to the internet and a smart device or computer for periods of time throughout the school day. We recognize the strain on family devices during this time of remote working and distance schooling and we are committed to working with every family to ensure that all students have flexible access to their school community during this time.

If the number of people in your household who need computing devices exceeds the number of devices you own, we’d love to work with you, as best we can, to borrow the supplies your child needs for the school day. Brookwood has a limited number of Chromebooks that we can loan to families for school work purposes. If we hear from more families than we are able to support, we will prioritize based on highest need (i.e. those who don’t have any devices will get priority over families who have limited number of devices at home for the number needing them).

Chromebooks have been distributed. Please reach out to Doug Fodeman to discuss future device availability.