News


Tracking Media Stories and Data Points

Community Update

media stories and tracking points

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

While I’m not of the generation that is made up of ‘digital natives,’ I have grown (slowly) accustomed to internet technologies over the years, as well as the gifts and challenges that arise from them. Early on in this period of COVID19, I read an article which highlighted the challenge of not just dealing with a pandemic, but the simultaneous grappling of what the author called an “infodemic.” By no means am I suggesting that the challenges of lightning-fast information outweigh the strengths and superhero capabilities it can provide. However, at this moment, we’re experiencing a deluge of information and receiving such data at a dizzying speed, it can be nearly paralyzing for many.

You’re likely reading stories about various school districts, either about them starting the year on-line or starting the year nearly as normal. Mixed in with this media recipe are reports from politicians, county officials, unions, and even social media and entertainment-influencers. As an Administration Team at Casa di Mir Montessori, we’re tracking these stories and data points, too, and we can empathize with your desire to manage all of this input, as well. This is no easy time for synthesizing information.

Later this week, we will send out our class lists (Pods) and will be focusing Wednesday’s Community Check-In to share about our Distance Learning details. We absolutely still anticipate opening as has been communicated, with Pods and new protocols (distancing, hygiene, etc.). Yet, we also are prepared to shift into Distance Learning, if the need arises. As usual, please send anguyen@casadimir.org any questions you may have regarding this topic of Distance Learning, and we’ll aim to address them at the Check-In.

Take care,
Tyler Bourcier
Head of School
Casa di Mir Montessori

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Happy Independence Day!

Community Update

4th of July Fireworks

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

In considering the imagination of our community, I have no doubt that each of our families is making the most of a holiday weekend during our physically distancing era! I’ve heard stories of hills being camped upon for viewing the Bay Area, homemade fireworks, hikes planned, and virtual family barbeques. Truly, it brings warmth to my heart hearing how our community is connecting and making the most of an abnormal time.

For this week’s Community Update, I’d like to plant some seeds for our next Community Check-In. Each Wednesday, we’ve been hosting an online gathering for further updates from our school, while also sustaining a very real and on-going conversation about planning for August. I am grateful for those of you who’ve brought ideas and questions to those gatherings, as I trust that providing regular, real-time conversations about updates is essential to maintaining clarity and transparency of how our dynamic situation evolves.

For this upcoming Wednesday, we’re planning to share more about how our operational practices are adapting to manage the new circumstances. In a school, under normal scenarios, of course, it is expected that children and families fall ill and recover! In this era, new lenses and protocols are needed to tend to illness during the school year. We’ll be sharing more about how we manage these circumstances as they may rise up during ‘20-21 on Wed. If you’re interested and have specific concerns, please do send questions about the handling of illnesses in our community so we can work to answer them on Wed. Please send such questions to anguyen@casadimir.org who is our gatherer of such questions.

Now, let’s turn the page to a non-COVID19 topic… On Wed., we’d like to present the first showing of our… Cultural Night performance for Europe ‘19-20! Cutting back our weekly meeting a bit (Primary will be focused from 5:00-5:30 and older age groups from 5:30-6:00), we are going to showcase our finalized video performance of Cultural Night at 6:00! As each week, we’ll send out a separate invite for that event next week, but please do put that on your calendars. Again, Casa di Mir Montessori’s European Cultural Night will be broadcast at 6:00 pm, though popcorn and snacks will completely fall to your responsibilities. Personally, I will be preparing lefsa, and my stomach will grumble loudly for the treats that I can visualize all of you snacking on during that time. The presentation is shorter than normal, yet still a creative triumph over the separation we’re experiencing. Please tune in, and I look forward to seeing your face and food!

Take care,
Tyler Bourcier
Head of School
Casa di Mir Montessori

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Happy Belated Summer Solstice!

Community Update

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

Happy summer to all of you! Gratefully, the world is still spinning on its axis, and the sun rises and sets. Thank goodness for the seasons that bring us reminders of how there are bigger systems than our individual personal worlds, networks, and news cycles. Even with all of this beautiful weather, many of you are working long days, fitting for this Summer Solstice time, and here at Casa di Mir Montessori, we’re doing the same.

My intention in this week’s communication is to shine some of this light on the degree to which effort and resources are needed to manage a return to school in August. As shared, we’re thrilled to have this work in front of us. I’m hearing clearly the gratitude for the information and updates we can provide our parents and students. Thus, I’d like to elaborate some on the efforts being put forth to create safe spaces and strong programming at this time.

To adapt to the needs of physical distancing and smaller pods (cohorts), as well as more complex hygiene practices, we’ve needed to modify our physical spaces. This has meant creating brand new classrooms, distinct areas for sanitizing materials, as well as several facility upgrades. While complicated, we’re fortunate to be able to invest in this period to meet the need. With the help of an amazing administrative team, our school has moved to build the infrastructure and gather the supplies needed to address the needs for such modifications. Budgeting for the costs of multiple modifications is major, and I think it is important for you to understand the depth we’ve dug to make this happen. At this time, we expect the cost to be about $75,000 to attend to just these elements to keep our community safe, while providing the education we strive to offer. These expenditures include: healthy stocks of masks, gloves, face shields, aprons (PPE), ample cleaning supplies, hand washing stations, additional sinks installed at both Upper and Lower Campuses, plexiglass barriers, room dividers, additional desks and tables, UV light boxes, as well as UV scrubbers for our air conditioning units.

It takes tremendous resources to make our programming happen. Of course, without our families and their support, it wouldn’t be possible! We are over the moon to offer full-time programming for August, even though it may look different than “normal.” There may be levels that require modified scheduling (partial week on-site, partial week distance learning), and all of these program models require full-time faculty to operate and guide compassionately and successfully. As a private, independent school we rely on tuition revenue to fund such strong programs- especially during times of crisis.

Thank you for sharing your commitments, ideas, and questions with us over the past few weeks. We will continue communicating weekly with updates, and you’re welcome to join us each Wednesday for a Community Check-in (5:00 for Pri. and 5:45 for Elem./MS). Each week, we’ll send out an invite for the event.

Take time for yourselves, and have fun and meaningful experiences with your children. Let that be what they remember of this summer!

Take care,

Tyler Bourcier
Head of School
Casa di Mir Montessori

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Critical Information From You via Survey

Community Update

Dear Parents,

We are getting critical information from you via the survey sent out last week.

Thank you to all who responded!

Here’s the information we’ve collected from the survey, so far:

  • 79 students are ready to come back for on-campus learning.
  • 26 students are in an “undecided” category.
  • 15 students are interested in continuing with online learning only.
  • 43 families have not responded.

We realize you are all waiting for more detailed information. It is an intricate dance for our community as our plans depend on you – and your decision about your child returning depends on our plan! This letter is to give you a deeper view into our planning to help move us along in the dance. We do need to hear from all families in order to make decisions regarding staffing for our modified schedule, as well as an online learning option, if possible.

We see coming back to school as a community effort. We all have a role to play in keeping us safe. Careful choices by all of us while away from school makes a difference to the whole community. At school, we will closely follow the guidelines from the CDC and local agencies in order to keep our whole community safe.

Guidelines from the CDC and local agencies are requiring us to maintain smaller, static groups of 10 or 12 students. If all/most students can return to school on-site, we will see the following configurations:

Middle School and Upper Elementary

  • MS with two teachers in two rooms, full time
  • UE with three teachers, in three rooms, full time (pods of about 12 students/one teacher)

Because we have additional classroom space available at the Upper Campus, we’re able to offer full-time schedules on-site.

  • LE students will be divided into six “pods” of about 12 students each, with a dedicated teacher for each pod.
  • Schedule for LE and Primary:
    • 3 days on-site, 2 days online; alternating with 2 days on-site, 3 days online (So, a student might be on-site M-W, and online Th-F. The following week, that student would be on-site M-Tue, and online W-F. The other group would be reversed with classes on-site every Th-F and alternate Wednesdays.)
  • School hours for on-site learning will be:
    • MS – 8:30am to 3:30pm
    • All elementary 8:30am – 3:15pm
    • Primary 8:30 am – 1 pm or 3 pm or 5 pm (depending on the length of day you enrolled your child for)
  • In class and online learning will be blended and your child will be with their designated teacher for all 5 days.
  • Primary: Given space configuration, Kinders will be given their own classroom space that is separate from the primary program. There will two pods for this group. The younger primary students will be grouped into 4 pods.
  • We plan to continue Spanish, Art and Music classes. Aikido will be suspended until regulations allow it.

Plans will have to adjust based on the numbers of students who join us on-site for classes. Allocating staff for solely online learning will definitely be considered, if we can manage this along with the on-site classes. Please consider that starting a new year online will be very different than ending the year after relationships have already been established.

Facility Modifications

There will be facility changes to support the safety and health guidelines. Among the changes are the following:

  • Additional classrooms spaces are being designed to so we can accommodate several pods at a time.
  • Multiple handwashing stations will be added outside as well as inside .
  • Hand sanitizing stations set up at all entries, classrooms & high traffic areas.
  • Signs posted to:
  • Report symptoms of respiratory illness
  • Handwashing practices
  • Coughing/Sneezing etiquette
  • Support physical distancing practices

Entry & Visitation

  • Limited visits on site-only: essential, emergency (very brief)
  • Parents wash hands (and assist the child washing hands) before drop off, prior to picking up the child, and when they get home.
  • Rely on carline for drop-off and pick-up to drastically limit adults on site.
  • Visual Wellness checks at the cars of all children upon arrival. We will ask health questions, if concerned.
  • Temperature/symptom screening at the cars at drop-off and pick-up. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher may not enter the facility.
  • Bring your own pens for signing in and out.
  • The entry point for students on Lower Campus is at the back of the school.
  • Enter rooms one at a time to allow for physical distancing.
  • Handwashing or hand sanitizing upon entry is required for all staff, students and visitors.

Mitigation Strategies

  • We will communicate ongoing updates about COVID -19.
  • Daily disinfecting and cleaning service, as well as teacher/student wipe down
    • Commonly touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected daily, such as doorknobs, light switches, Montessori materials.
  • There will be no whole group community activities.
  • Internal group activities have been limited to foster physical distancing.
  • We will utilize outside spaces when possible.
  • No field trips unless outdoors with proper distancing. Transportation by family car or proper distancing possible.
  • Carefully define the allergies of your child and the typical symptoms present.
  • Keep children with cold or flu symptoms home.
  • If your child shows symptoms of COVID-19 or there has been an exposure, we will notify you and ask that you contact your child’s medical provider. Your child should remain home until tested and cleared to return to school.
  • We can provide food and medication following strict rules when a child is waiting for parent/guardian to pick up.
  • Emergency contact information is updated prior to the start of school and updated when needed.
  • Students will have a kit of frequently used materials at school for their own use.

What we’ll need from parents:

  • Sign onto a Care for Community Agreement
  • Clarity on safe choices when you are away from Casa
  • A thorough read through the guidelines we will be preparing in detail as an addendum to the student handbook.
  • Help teaching the basic hygiene requirements to your students (see below)

Hygiene Support

The instruction children will need is something that has to begin at home. We would appreciate you discussing that these are precautions that each child must take at this very unique time. Giving context to children in a matter of fact way with a sense that this won’t always be the case is important to settle fears or worries. Please start instruction on the following:

  • They must use a tissue or an elbow for coughing and sneezing and wash hands afterwards.
  • Older children are requested to wear masks, so practicing now and becoming more familiar with the feeling of this is helpful.
  • When using the bathroom, children can take a bit of toilet paper and use it to push the knob or handle and then toss in the toilet. Students must wash hands and use a paper towel or long sleeve to open the door.
  • Create opportunities for some outside “play dates” with friends to help practice distancing in a social situation. Explore ways to greet each other while maintaining physical distance.

There will be necessary changes in procedures on campus when we open in August. In order to maintain the health and safety guidelines from our local public health department and the CDC we have revised our drop-off and pick-up procedures, lunch procedures, visitors and tours, among other things. Look for more detailed information in the Parent/Student Handbook Addendum which will be provided in August. Our staff will be fully involved with their pods seeing them through both the on-site and online parts of their weeks or fully engaged on-site with the UE and MS students. They will receive training and guidelines for implementing the health and safety procedures while focused on the academic and social-emotional development of the child. For LE and Primary, students’ time on site will be concentrated on lessons and hands-on experiences and building relationships that will carry them through the online times, as well.

We are fully aware that this is a very fluid time for plans. This letter contains an abbreviated look at our on-site planning so you have an idea of what we are offering. If we’re required to go back to sheltering in place, of course, we are prepared to return to online learning.

We hope that receiving this information will help you feel more confident in making the decision to allow your child to attend school on campus in August.

If you are a parent who did not respond to the survey, or you responded with uncertainty, we need to hear from you! You’re important to us and our decision-making. If, based on the information provided here, you have better clarity on what you are wanting for fall, please send an email to Anne Nguyen @ anguyen@casadimir.org to clarify your choice. If we don’t hear from you by June 15th, we’ll reach out to you.

Thank you!

Tyler Bourcier Head of School

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Working Together to Find Success and Balance

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

With the burst of heat and wildflowers, I hope you feel an injection of hope and optimism.  As we continue the journey working together to find success and balance in your child’s Continuation of Learning plans, I wish to stress our collective power to adapt.  As a species over the millenia, we spread out across the globe, and we have survived countless disasters and challenges.  Of course, this fact doesn’t necessarily make this particular moment any easier when our children may be struggling with Zoom mute buttons or pushing back on your request for them to clean up their make-shift bedroom cubby!  However, reminding ourselves that we will get through this together can definitely be one powerful vitamin.

The week prior to closing our campuses, our Middle School students were very vocal with their concerns about how our school will handle the seriousness of COVID-19.  After their elective class one day, they essentially cornered me in the MP Room and asked really difficult questions about our school’s official stances.  Remember, this was prior to local schools being closed, and states had not given official clarity on what was best.  I was thrilled that our MS students were engaged in the debate, and that they didn’t hesitate to ask tough questions to the Head of School.  As you’re aware, new questions keep coming, our circumstances keep shifting, and so we adapt.

We are in the midst of formalizing plans for the future.  We have pathways through the immediate crisis for this year, and are finalizing what graduation will look like in June.  We are coordinating with our teachers and health officials to prepare for what is possible for our summer programs.  All the while, we are using our shared values, strengths and unique characteristics as the foundation for building incredible possibilities for the upcoming school year.

As we hear about various states opening up, with varying degrees of ‘business as usual,’ schools have a special role and challenge.  As an institution, Casa di Mir Montessori is in a sound place, making plans before they’re needed, and ready to keep our programs and community together.  We will absolutely keep you informed with decisions and schedules as soon as they are set for the upcoming months.

As always, I have gratitude for the teachers, staff, parents, and extended family who engage in this work with children.  Many lessons learned from this experience will likely come from our youngest watching our responses to this challenge, and I’m thrilled to see such positivity and resiliency.

Thank you!

Tyler Bourcier Head of School

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First Month Under Continuation of Learning Plans

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

For many of you, this may be the moment when the novelty of staying home starts to wear thin. This week marks a month of operating within our Continuation of Learning plans.  While this is not where we pictured ourselves in April, we’re glad to be safe, continuing work with our community, and we can see the light at the end of this tunnel.   Interestingly, the allure of using technology, from connecting with friends to even grocery shopping, seems to be less fulfilling each day that we continue sheltering in place.  You’re likely experiencing young people at home, who are sorely missing the physical and real-world connection of other humans.  From time immemorial, this need to connect in the same space to giggle, share, and co-exist has been the standard, so it is no wonder why this moment is a challenge.

In talking with many of you, the honeymoon of learning at home is evolving into a new normal.  Much like coming back from a honeymoon, you have dishes, errands to run, and all of a sudden – you have a new routine.  As a school, our goal is to work with each of you to support and sustain what can be successful for your child.  To be clear, this goal must also aim to achieve a balance with your family structure, schedule, and what you’re able to provide in your household.  Some of you are juggling twice the amount of work needing to be done at home, given the circumstances stated by your employer.  Some of you are out of work, and are devoting your energy to helping your child succeed with their school plans, while simultaneously trying to find other employment.  Whatever your circumstance, these are not easy times, and our hearts go out to you.

As we tinker with how our systems can work better for our families, you may see changes in various areas.  We have adapted several of our schedules, as we’re constantly revisiting how to utilize our tools to maximize the ease for our various programs.  Know that we’re evolving with what works for all of our stakeholders: students, parents, and teachers.  With all our lessons happening on-line, we’ve asked Rose Chang to be our 1:1 contact for questions about Zoom meetings.  You’ve been sent contact information to reach her, so please do connect if you have questions about Zoom or other technological troubleshooting during this period.  We hope this provides clarity and helps to resolve some of the challenges of the moment.

This moment is particularly difficult when trying to help your child follow up with the guidelines published by classroom teachers.  To this end, I’m reminded of Choose Your Own Adventure books!  Do you remember these from the 1980s?  These books were designed for readers to make choices, turn to a particular page, and conclude with either riches, mishaps, or otherwise (depending on the choices you made).

While I am not suggesting that working with your child will result in a pirate’s booty, I am wanting to stress that you have the power to make a variety of successful decisions – and all are acceptable.  You are working with a set of classroom expectations, your own work and family needs, and lastly, the powerful will of a child.  Each week, our teachers are sending out Weekly Updates and Schedules from which you’re asked to help your student direct their activities for the upcoming week.  When you consider how to unfold what Casa di Mir looks like in your house, please know that there are many answers to the same question.  All are acceptable and require you to give yourself a huge pat on the back.  Here are some possible paths:

  1. You read the Update and Schedule, prior to Monday morning.  You have your child’s week scheduled out on a whiteboard for them to access the details as needed.  Given that our connections are all on-line, you’ve created a modified pdf, so you student can simply click or type in ID#s when needed.  You pulled out all of the important documents and information from their Google folders, and your child is ready for the week.
  2. You read through and collected the important information from the Updates and Schedules.  You created a list of activities for each day, and you helped your child meet all of the expected responsibilities, day by day.  No more than one day at a time is addressed, and you wake up the next day and repeat!  So, you communicate this to your child’s teachers.
  3. You reviewed the Update and Schedule, and your family is not able to follow exactly.  You reach out to the teacher to let them know what you can participate in and what you can’t.  You put energy into the activities you can support, and let go of the others.  You make the point to communicate to the teachers what you were able to support, and what was not addressed.
  4. You reviewed the Schedule and Update sent out, and even discussed with your child.  Given your work, responsibilities, and your desire for focus on other priorities, you decide on a few responsibilities that you can support.  Other expectations beyond that are not on the table.  You do what you can, try to enjoy the moment, and keep track of the work.  Finally, you communicate this to your child’s teachers.

Do you hear the refrain?  What you are able to sustain is wonderful and applaudable, and communicating with the teachers about what works for your student is critical.

Our best to you and your family as we work together on this!

Tyler Bourcier Head of School

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Reviewing, Planning & Learning

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

You know who isn’t following the governmental ‘shelter in place’ orders?  Hummingbirds, bluejays, fruit blossoms, and the monstrous bean plants in our raised beds on Lower Campus.  They have no regard for such official declarations!  Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful to see them, and to be reminded that the world is still rotating on its axis, as usual (humans aside).

Over the past week, our administrative team has been reviewing, planning, and learning how to better our systems during this era of COVID-19.  I recognize that these systems are not infallible and I want to stress that we’re doing our best to evolve with the times and context.  Many of you have reached out and offered suggestions, guidance, and have even offered to help – especially in regards to using technology.  One of the most frequent discussion topics is our use of the on-line meeting platform, Zoom. Over the past month, they have been hit with a number of challenges with so many schools using their tools.  Because of these concerns from schools, they’ve made changes and have stated official guidelines for institutions like Casa di Mir.  While there will be more challenges to meet, these guidelines will help us all be safer and have more effective meetings together on-line.  Please understand the steps we’re taking for best practices using Zoom:

  1. All meetings are defaulted to waiting rooms, so the host has to let each person in.  This requires some patience, as the teacher will need to let you in- so hold tight!
  2. All student and parent names need to be recognized, otherwise, you will not be let in.
  3. We will disable ‘annotation’ as our default, so that students aren’t writing on the screen, etc.
  4. Teachers who are using their meeting ID # for Zoom meetings will require a password now. Moving forward, for all of our faculty, this will be the first name of the teacher (Ex. Tyler).

During our Continuation of Learning period, what is logistically reasonable and successful at home is going to look different for each level, family, as well as child, yet we can promise that we are continuing to study how to improve, where needed. Thank you for your ideas, creativity, and energy!

Take care, Tyler Bourcier Head of School

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Happy Spring Break!

Dear Casa Families,

While our students and teaching faculty take a much deserved Spring Break, I’d like to pause to thank you all for your perseverance. Assuming that many people had plans, be they travel or rest, interfacing with a break can bring the realization of how this moment really feels.

Our lives and normalcy have been disrupted to an extent, and you have likely begun the routine of limiting, interrupting, or letting go of non-essential expectations. What could have been a trip to a long sought after destination, may now look like baking drop cookies with a couple improvised ingredients! While adapting brings challenges, this is something that our species particularly excels at! In hearing how your families have sought to make the most out of this time, I’ve found inspiration and guidance in your actions and communications.

I’m grateful to be on this journey with you, and want you to each understand how valuable your efforts at home are. You’ve brought calm, creativity, and engagement to your children, and in sharing your experience with us, you’ve gifted everyone a lens on this success. These connections across classrooms, parents, students and teachers are what makes this work, and to see so many pictures of smiling children and parents is undeniably supportive to all.

For this upcoming week, I hope that all of the adults in our community find a way to play, give yourself some downtime, and connect in a precious way to your family. Our best to you all!

Take care, Tyler Bourcier Head of School

Casa di Mir Montessori

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Second Week Under Continuation Learning Plans

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

Today marked the beginning of our second week with our Continuation of Learning plans! First and foremost, I want to express all of our gratitude for the work you parents are doing at home. We are a school whose pedagogy is based on concrete experiences, with scaffolding to help all learners develop their independence on their own developmentally appropriate timelines. In normal times, we have classroom systems and expectations to aid us towards these goals. However, these are not normal times, and much of the time management support needed will be tended to by you, the parents at home. We understand this challenge, and please know from our view – you’re all doing beautifully.

I have seen pictures and heard stories of small nooks taken over by children, schedules rewritten by older siblings, and lovely messes where work has clearly taken place!  Many of you are even offering lessons  to other parents, connecting about ways to help each other navigate these times, and being amazing community leaders and collaborators! Others of you are trying to make the weekly classroom schedules work for your homes and personal schedules, while also managing the need to work from home and support your child in this new, but temporary, period of distance learning. Whatever your lives look like at home, I hope each and everyone of you knows that you are handling this as best you can, and that our teachers are happy to be with you on the journey of making it work. It will look different for different families, yet we will all get through this together. This is not an easy task, and we definitely understand the challenge of navigating and supporting such work with young people! If you’re struggling to support your child’s expectations for school or schedule, just know it is alright to simply do what you can.

Remembering who we are and what we value is so important during this time. As our name implies, we are a ‘house of peace,’ though our current circumstances suggest that we’re like a village of condos, apartments, yurts, and houses who function in and work towards peace! While that doesn’t roll off the tongue, this ‘village of peace’ is what I hope you’re experiencing from your households. To this end, I ask for your help with a challenge…

Every one of you is doing your part to make this work. What your spaces look like at home is perfect for you and your child. We are in this together, and in order to act with solidarity, I’m hoping that you could each send us a picture of your child’s workspace at home. This picture could include schedules, desks, coffee tables, whiteboards, an epic pencil-sharpening area, or just your kitchen table! No children are required, just materials and space. The objective of this picture is to show how you’ve made space for Casa di Mir in your home. We know it takes a lot to make this successful, and the work you’ve done should be celebrated! You’ve welcomed our groups of online learners, schedules, and Zoom meetings into your homes, and that clearly has an impact. Please take a picture and send it in- (sgresham@casadimir.org).

In order to help share information and answer some questions, I will be hosting Community Level Meetings throughout this week. Please find the dates, times, and links in our Weekly Announcements from today. I hope to see you there!

While our teachers are the best people to ask specific classroom questions, please know that I encourage you to reach out to me with ANY question, if you’re needing help. Either I can help you, or I can direct your question to the right person. Please don’t hesitate!

Please feel free to reach out and ask questions, and if I don’t see you in our Community Meetings, I’ll see many of you on Friday for our Materials Exchange!

Take care, Tyler Bourcier Head of School

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First Week Under Continuation of Learning Plans

Dear Casa di Mir Families,

Welcome to the first full week of operating under our Continuation of Learning plans. Let me shout from the rooftops to all of you parents, “We see you working hard to make this successful! We hear your challenges with space, devices, and time at home! We hear your need for a vacation!”

Learning happens everywhere, so when you feel stressed about this moment, I would encourage you to relook at your laundry, for example. As one of our parents said, “You could fold together with your child, and choose the best sock for a sock puppet play!” One of our biggest hopes is that you help to engage their curiosity, celebrate learning, and help them to create calm during this time.

While this week will include a lot of troubleshooting as we bring everyone on board with our classroom plans, please keep a few general things in mind.

  1. Catch moments where success is found or joy is experienced! Record them for reflection and laughter at a later time with your children.
  2. Give yourself plenty of patience in navigating logistics this week.
  3. Communicate (you or your children) frequently with teachers, and ask questions.
  4. Be kind to yourselves. This moment requires flexibility, constant adaptation, and patience. Like Elsa is known to say, it’s ok to, “Let it go!”

Our community continues to show our colors during this emergency, and it brings me such joy! I have seen people offer tech help, watched many classes be offered to everyone, and caught glimpses of the great projects that students are doing at home! Keep those stories and pictures coming, and please send them to your child’s teachers directly. As you envision building on our community connection during this virtual period, please send your ideas my way. My sincerest gratitude goes to each of you!

An update on our Continuation of Learning plans:

Communications-

We’ll be sending out Weekly Announcements, as usual. Every Monday, these will be sent out, and they will contain general school information. If you’re not receiving this on Mondays, please reach out ASAP to sgresham@casadimir.org to let her know. We are not holding public office hours at our campuses, but please know that our administration is operating fully, just more remotely. We’re doing our part to stay distant and flatten the curve.

Additionally, every Friday, we’ll be sending out Weekly Friday Updates to each classroom’s families. These Updates will contain information about the past week, and specific needs and schedules for the upcoming week. The format of which we’re sharing our schedules/links via these updates may change in upcoming weeks, and many of you have offered ideas on how to do this differently. Your feedback continues to be helpful as we navigate this together.

Technology-

With so many people moving to on-line platforms right now, we’re in good company while we work through logistical challenges! Here are several tips to make your remote-lesson experience more successful using Zoom.

  • Multi-page galleries- there may be times where a child can’t be heard, due to a larger group. Consider helping them to type a question into the chat box.
  • Light source- the ideal is for a light source to be in front of a child, behind the computer’s camera, so that there isn’t a glare. Try to keep bright lights away from behind the child when using Zoom.
  • Volume- it may help each child to understand how to read the volume meter of their personal mic. That way they can be aware of their own voice level.

Also, Zoom has a lot of functions that we’re not utilizing right now. While we’ve considered the option to record lessons, so we can offer them to families who weren’t able to attend, there are challenges with this. Please know that until otherwise shared, we are not recording lessons, and that we’re expecting that you don’t either. Thank you for understanding and following this directive.

Please feel free to reach out and ask questions. We are in this together, and we are here for you.

Take care, Tyler Bourcier Head of School

Casa di Mir Montessori

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