April 3, 2020
Dear Middle School Families,
I pray that this letter finds you healthy and blessed in the midst of this global pandemic. To say that I miss our middle school students, families and my colleagues is a gross understatement. “Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” (Brene Brown, Daring Greatly). Our nation and world are suffering on multiple levels and the lack of human connection is most definitely one of them. But we serve a much bigger God, who is already working in grand ways to enable us to find new ways to connect with each other and with Him.
I appreciate the opportunity to explain how we are delivering our online curriculum at Faith Lutheran. As you might already gather, private schools across the country are turning to Faith Lutheran for ideas of how to do distance learning well. Our teachers were already well prepared to transition to online curriculum because we have emphasized the use of creative, diverse, digital tools both inside our on-ground classrooms and in our High School during our Online Learning Days. Faith Lutheran has been proud of giving our teachers the professional freedom and flexibility in their physical classrooms to construct the best possible learning environment for your child. We are committed to providing our teachers the same affordance in the virtual environment by ensuring they can use multiple modes of instruction. In the classroom, there is not one single mode that works the best for every topic or concept. As we transitioned to an online space, we wanted to make sure that same philosophy was carried over.
Schools that are trying to deliver content, assessments, and learning activities to their entire class on Zoom, following their normal ground schedules, are quickly finding that it does not promote the best learning. Why? This fully synchronous schedule is far from ideal and does not model strong, on-ground teaching. Inside of Faith Lutheran’s on-ground classrooms, you would not find teachers lecturing for the full 80 minutes. There are digital tools that foster better and deeper learning activities and support individual student learning styles much better than 80 minutes of Zoom. That is why Faith is employing both Asynchronous (students completing work on their own schedules) and Synchronous (students required to join activities at a particular time) learning.
Updates, Reminders, Encouragement:
- Next week is Spring Break and more importantly Holy Week. We will take the week off as planned, and we encourage your student to do the same. Our teachers have worked tirelessly to adjust to an online platform with a quick turn around for our students and our students have risen to the challenge of learning from new ways of delivering instruction. All deserve a break to celebrate Easter, even as we have all found our original Easter plans changing drastically.
- As you know Governor Sisolak has extended the stay-at-home/social distancing order through April 30th. Therefore we will continue with online learning through April 30th. If we are cleared to return to school by then, we will resume school on campus, Friday, May 1st; a Maroon Day.
- One of the toughest challenges for me, with my own family, is the disappointment over canceled school activities - it is heartbreaking. Please refer to our website under Coronavirus Communication for an updated list of the status of our activities remaining this spring. Please know our top priority is safety! While it is sad to cancel activities, we must do what is best to keep everyone healthy.
- I want to remind you to please refer to your Resources tab on Crusader Connect. This important tab houses information about online school best practices, links to tutoring opportunities, and other announcements and resources. While we do have tutoring options available, just like when we are on campus, your child’s teacher remains the first line of defense in seeking help! We encourage parents to reach out to teachers via email if a child appears to be struggling with a particular class.
- Also on the Resource Page you will find activities, links, and resources to help make Easter Vacation fun and memorable in spite of current circumstances.
- Finally, I am excited to share this link of the MS Easter Chapel with you! Our Applied Christianity students (both classes) have put together a beautiful message; from the safety of their own homes!
All of that said, our Heavenly Father is bigger than a global pandemic - He is mighty to save! The Lord is not surprised, puzzled or perplexed by any of this and has all of us in the palm of His hand. As we enter into Holy Week this coming Palm Sunday, may we not forget the meaning of this week; Jesus’ death on the Cross on Good Friday and His victory over death and resurrection on Easter Sunday. Nothing your student learns or experiences at Faith Lutheran is more important than that truth.
Where, O death is your victory?
Where, O death is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Parents, thank you! Those two words don’t seem to sufficiently articulate my gratitude for you and for sharing your students with us, for putting your trust in our wonderful teaching faculty and our school at large to continue to educate and minister to your children and family remotely.
Until we meet again, the Lord bless you and keep you!
Middle School Principal