July 27, 2020 message from Mr. Dotoli

July 27, 2020 message from Mr. Dotoli


Dear HA Families,

First off, thanks to the 37 families who jumped in for our Zoom call today and to the 60 families who have already filled out our Fall Learning Survey.  My kids' public school in Washington Heights has over 700 students, and they still aren't getting that level of engagement!

For everyone, I want to emphasize a couple of points that came up from our discussion about our fall program:

  • All HA teachers will be providing online instruction for all students; this includes core classes (which will be live), electives and small group instruction, weekly conferences with students, and bi-weekly conferences with parents.  
  • All students will need time for fitness and social activities.  We can accomplish this through a combination of providing some additional online activities, supporting families in organizing some activities on their own, and eventually adding some school-based activities for all students at each grade level.
  • Students who are supervised at school will not get any programming that is different than students learning from home, and every student who can learn from home should do so, because:
    • students at home get the same instruction
    • students at home can learn without wearing a mask or following the other strict protocols we need to put in place
    • we have a limited number of spaces and are trying to save them for situations where learning from school is absolutely required.
  • We will try our best to accommodate changes that individual families may need during the year and will make any adaptations that we can or must to support safety, learning, and overall wellness.

In the surveys so far, most families are choosing to learn from home.  However, we have more families choosing the school-based supervision option than we expected, and it seems like some families are choosing it because they think being at school will provide the play and socialization that has been missing since the pandemic started.  As a dad myself, I really empathize with this concern, but we have to try to tackle our kids' needs to play and socialize in different ways.

A couple of important requests:

  1. If you haven't had a chance to fill out the Fall Learning Survey, please do so by tomorrow, and please make every effort to choose the learn from home option if that can work.
  2. If you filled out the survey saying learn from school but think you can switch to learn from home because of the additional information from today, please fill out the Fall Learning Survey again, and we will use the new results.
  3. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to Ms. Davis or me.

Finally, I want to be clear that we are not trying to have families feel guilty in any way about which option they need; we just want to get to an overall plan that ensures everyone is best positioned for safety and learning.

With thanks always,