Hello Harding Families and Community,
As we launch into the 20-21 school year, we embark into our second phase of distance learning. I never thought that this pandemic would find us entering the fall school year social distancing and wearing masks, but here we are. I wanted to share a message with you that I have shared with our staff. This is a trying time, it is hard. Do your best to lead with humility and grace. Breathe, laugh when you can and look for the positive in every situation - it’s there, sometimes a perspective shift is all that you need.
Harding Hawks are resilient. They did a great job last spring and are certain to become more and more proficient in the use of technology and in navigating new systems. They are creative thinkers and will rise to this challenge as I have seen them do so many times before.
We will be asking more from your children this fall as we have worked hard to improve their distance learning experience. They will be in 3-4 learning blocks with their teachers and classmates. It will be a more interactive and project based experience. We aspire to make their learning fun! We will continue to offer our literacy, math and social and emotional tiered support and specialists will be pushing into their breakout sessions and offering extra 1:1 or small group support where needed.
UCSB will be offering the same enrichment activities such as the Young Author’s Program and Community Based Literacies. We will be launching our IB Maker’s Space and Outdoor Nature Space in September providing students the opportunity to create, design, re-image and make projects to inspire and to build student agency.
Remember, learning opportunities are everywhere. Learning may look different and it is not what anyone expected, but your children are still learning. Rich learning opportunities happen in daily life and every family holds valuable knowledge.
Also, you are not alone. Harding teachers and myself have had a huge learning curve in pivoting into distance learning. You can help as there are many roads to learning. When you talk with your children, and listen to them, you are exchanging ideas, answering questions and helping them make sense of their world. It’s a way to achieve something teachers often struggle to accomplish ~ providing a student with sustained one-on-one attention. Just conversing with your kids about anything and everything is an incredibly powerful way to foster literacy and learning. Encourage your kids to read and read to them. One of the potential benefits of the pandemic is the luxury of time to read a book. Reading builds vocabulary, fuels the imagination and fosters independent learning. Whenever you can, let your children choose the reading material — they’ll be more invested in it and maybe become a Harding Millionaire!
And, finally, be gentle on yourself. This is a historic interruption of education. Don’t expect things to go perfectly. The distance-learning era may even have some benefits. If we can come out of this with children who are more thoughtful, more connected to their families and more concerned for others, what a gift that would be.