Harlem Academy teachers and staff are taking extraordinary measures to ensure that our students continue to thrive at the highest academic levels. Our response to the current crisis is rooted in our School Creed, which begins with "I am bold and creative" and closes with "I don't give up." Please read below to see how our staff, parents, and students are working together to learn, connect with, and support each other.
Our first priority in both planning and operations is the safety of our students and team.
Fully remote programming ensures that teachers can optimize their lessons for a distance format, consistently providing creative and powerful opportunities for connection, engagement, and differentiation.
Every day on-site supervision is available for families whose circumstances require it, with the facility open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details on safety are included in our Pandemic Response Plan (link is external) submitted to the New York State Education Department. Key features include:
- Separated pods of 10 to 15 students - each with its own entrance, desks placed six feet apart facing the same direction, single-use bathrooms and staff rooms, and auxiliary rooms for quiet work, stretching or yoga, and socially-distanced mask breaks.
- Limited building access - limited to the participating students and a small group of dedicated staff, all of whom complete a daily screening questionnaire and temperature check before entering the school. All meetings and events with other constituents are remote.
- Healthy habits - everyone wearing a face covering in common or shared spaces and strong emphasis on hygiene.
- Facility enhancements - plexiglass barriers at entrances, medical-grade HEPA air purifiers in all shared spaces, upgraded HVAC system, touchless soap dispensers in all bathrooms, and touchless hand sanitizer throughout the facility.
- Expanded cleaning protocols - a deep cleaning and disinfection each evening and staff supporting with intermittent cleaning during the day.
We build and maintain relationships that support social, emotional, and physical health.
Individual check-ins are scheduled by teachers and advisors each week to guide each student in holistic wellness, living the creed, and ultimately maximizing their use of our program to thrive at the highest academic level that they can.
Community meetings are held weekly for each division to reflect on and enhance our efforts to live the school creed and publicly acknowledge commendable acts.
Meditation classes are offered throughout the week to continue to strengthen our collective toolkit for navigating challenges.
Other activities include fitness classes and movie nights, offering time to connect and enjoy time together as a whole community.
Small group sessions hosted by our counselor provide regular social and emotional support.
We emphasize joyful engagement, high expectations, and individualized support toward the continued development of core academic skills.
Engaging instruction is anchored by interactive, live classes during a 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. class schedule.
Guided independent practice in math and reading takes place on several excellent online platforms that allow teachers to monitor progress and provide feedback.
Laptops and school supplies were distributed to ensure every child is ready to learn from any setting. (For students on site, all supplies and materials are stored and labeled individually.)
COMMUNICATION & FAMILY PARTNERSHIP
We continue to value our interdependence in the realization of all our goals.
Morning meetings are held for primary and elementary families at the start of each week so that they can remain abreast of the goals for the week and how we can work together to ensure success.
Monthly individualized updates to families outline academic progress and individual work the student has done with their advisor or teacher over the past month.
Weekly individual sessions provide time for teachers and advisors to work with students. However, primary families are invited to join any time, and elementary and middle school families are invited to join for one meeting each month.
Expanded financial aid is available for families whose income has been impacted by this crisis.
Frequent communications reinforce partnership by keeping families informed about the school's response to COVID-19, program updates, and opportunities for support. Past communications are available here.