April 5 Message from Mr. Dotoli

April 5 Message from Mr. Dotoli

 
Dear Families,
 
I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy, even finding some moments of joy during this challenging time. 
 
Thanks to everyone for partnering in what appears to have been a mostly successful first week of distance learning. I am really proud of the way teachers and parents are coming together to ensure that our kids get live instruction, independent practice on IXL and other apps, plus lots of reading and writing (just like we always prioritize at HA). I also love that we've gotten a bunch of more holistic electives going like meditation, fitness, chess, knitting, coding, games and even a middle school movie night. If you haven't had a chance to jump in for one of these, please give it a try next week. 
 
I think everyone has managed to check in with us in some way (survey, counselor, teacher, or advisor). It's clear that the pandemic is challenging for everyone but that it particularly hits hard on people with the fewest resources. We want to do everything we can to be supportive. The admin team did a second and then a third round of technology distribution so hopefully all our students have what they need on that front. We are starting to get the individual and small group counseling schedule from the winter back up and running, and anyone who might need some new support is welcome to reach out to Ms. Baber (ebaber@harlemacademy.org). Contracts are starting to go out for next year, and Mr. Smith (lsmith@harlemacademy.org) is ready to work with anyone who needs help figuring out their payments. Teachers are planning lessons that they think will work for the whole class, but they are also checking in individually and want to here from you about any additional needs for your child.
 
For my part, I want to give our overall program another week and then will send out a survey to get everyone's take on how it's going. However, in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me if you 1) have stories of particularly commendable efforts from the team, 2) have anything that is of immediate concern related to your family or HA that I should know, or 3) just want to check in.
 
Finally, while the days of the week often blend together, Sunday remains a little different in our family as our church has been pretty good about bringing folks together in various virtual ways. I only mention it here because our minister has been very thoughtful and forceful with reminders that issues such as poverty, racism, homophobia and other biases against the LBGTQ+ community, and physical and mental health neglect are not diminished but more often exasperated during a crisis such as this. We can only take on so much and have the tendency to crawl into our own little worlds and stop paying attention to some of the vigilant work that is needed. Of course, taking care of ourselves and our families is key, but it's also important to leave a little space to remember our classmates and their families, our neighbors, and anyone whose circumstances leave them more vulnerable on this day or any other. I just wanted to end my note by sharing a reminder of my commitment to this work as an individual, parent, and member of an HA community where I know such work is valued.
 
Please take care, stay in touch, and have a good day.
 
With best wishes always,
Vinny