[I’m publishing this because a lot of folks have reached out to me to ask how SLA was going to handle the coronavirus shutdown. We don’t have anywhere close to all our answers about that yet, but here’s how we’re starting…]

Dear families,

I hope everyone is staying safe during this crisis. There will be emails that follow in the next day or two with more details about the specifics of the work ahead as we learn more about the School District’s plans for learning during the Coronavirus, but I wanted to first let everyone know our general philosophy until we are back together face to face. 

First and most importantly, we care deeply about every student and every family at SLA. I am sure that I am not the only one who is struggling with our second crisis of the school year, and to that end, our first concern is making sure that students know that we are here for them as they need us. 

Secondly, we will be leveraging the SLA suite of tools – SLATE, Canvas and the GoogleApps to enable kids to work online. As we move online, our academic focus will be as follows:

  1. We want students to take this time to make up missing work from the 3rd quarter. If students have work they need to make up, we want them to do that so every student has the opportunity to raise their third quarter grades. Teachers will be posting on Canvas what they think are the most important assignments to complete, and Advisors will be on-deck to support Advisees as needed. 
  2. Teachers will be letting kids know what needs to be done with the work that has already been assigned, how students can make sure they finish and what modifications need to be made so that students can complete the work without the benefit of traditional class time. Our learning support team will be in touch with our students with IEPs to ensure they have the support necessary as well.
  3. And, as we continue with the time away from school, teachers will be assigning new work. Our goal is to make sure that this is work that can be done online, and every teacher will be letting students know how they can reach out for help – whether that is through online office hours, Canvas “Get Help” centers in their courses, email or other methods. For the third quarter, our general stance is that all new work would only be beneficial for student grades. If schools remain closed into the 4th quarter, we will figure out how we will assess students in a way that recognizes the unique challenges that this moment in time creates. 

For families who do not have high speed internet at home, Comcast has announced that families who qualify for free or reduced lunch can sign up for two free months of high speed internet at https://internetessentials.com/

Families, this has been the most challenging year our school has ever faced. This is not the year any of us wanted, and our hearts go out to all our students — and especially our seniors. We are going to make sure that students who are having their plans for their capstones disrupted are supported as they modify their plans, and the Governor has announced that the 180 day school year will not be enforced. As we move forward with Virtual SLA Part Two, our goal is always to act with the SLA mantra that we teach students before we teach subjects first in our mind. 

Again, most of all, we want to make sure that all students feel supported by school during this crisis. All of us – students, educators, parents – should make sure we are doing things to take care of ourselves. In the coming days, we’ll be publishing our list of our favorite books and movies to share to provide a few options for students. 

Again and again this year, all of the adults at school have been truly amazed by the resilience and passion and brilliance of the students of SLA. We all stand ready to help the kids through this crisis as best as we all can. 

Stay safe, everyone.


Mr. Lehmann