July 20, 2020 Summer Letter

Dear Families,

Indeed, this is a summer like no other.  Usually, in mid-July, we are finalizing packets to send to families, announcing classmates and teacher matches for the fall, while also working our way through registration of our newest families at 610 Henry Street.  

This summer, we are meeting weekly as a summer planning committee – a group of 40+ staff members and SLT parents – to try to make sense of each wave of guidance coming from the DOE, to shape plans that work for our community. 

The summer committee started by reflecting, and writing a values statement.  This, along with ongoing family feedback, is driving the work of our summer planning committee.  

Here’s what we know so far:

The DOE has given us models to choose from.  There’s also an option to apply for an “exception.”  This is our next step, which will happen on July 23rd.  By August 14th, we’ll submit our full plan, for approval by August 21st.  

That means, we won’t know the exact, approved details of our plan and model until August 21st, so we’ll have to wait until at least that date to send out summer packets and more specific information about the fall at BNS. 

Join us for a family forum on Thursday, 7/23, at 4:00.  Zoom link is shared on Konstella.

 We do not have any additional news that we will be announcing at this meeting.  Instead, this will be a time for families to ask questions and share thoughts.  If attendance exceeds the zoom room limit, we’ll offer a second session at another time TBD.

The DOE summer calendar for school planning teams:

Families should refer to the DOE site often for a calendar and other information.  Dates are subject to change:  Return to School 2020

If families would prefer full-time remote learning with a BNS teacher instead of a hybrid model, they will have 3 weeks to sign up for full time remote learning with a BNS teacher.  This form became available on July 15 and should be submitted by August 7th.   

There are still so many unknowns.  We want to assure families that we are making the best plans we can to offer support for a wide range of needs: both learning needs and childcare needs.  

What we are applying for, as of now, is a model that allows for:

  • a hybrid in-person/remote option
  • full time in person learning option for students with IEPs and special circumstances
  • full time remote learning option  

We don’t know if this will be approved. 

On remote learning days, days when a student is absent, or when a family has opted into full-time remote learning, there will be curriculum/instruction from BNS teachers via Google Classroom.

This is in alignment with our 610 Henry Street sister school, BCS. By offering the same hybrid model, we will be able to align schedules for families with children who attend both BNS and BCS.  

Again, this is all just a draft of what we will apply for.  We’ve been reminded by our Superintendent’s team that schools cannot release specific schedules for the fall until late August, when they have been approved.   We do not yet know if our exception request will be approved. 

Our summer planning committee has branched off in four directions:

  • Planning for instruction in the fall
  • Advocacy for safety and safe building conditions
  • Advocacy for the use of outdoor space and creative approaches to returning in the fall 
  • Communicating with families

Thank you for taking the time to fill out our BNS returning and reflecting survey.  To date, we’ve received 472 out of about 600 responses (not including our graduates or new admits).  Amazing!  Please complete our survey if you haven’t done so yet.  This is not a commitment, but is just to help our planning.  Our committee is using this information to do as much planning as we can while we await next steps from the DOE. 

In addition to thinking about scheduling and making safe plans for our return, one branch of this committee work focuses on advocating for safe building conditions, necessary for our return.  See an important letter from the committee about that aspect of reopening here

The committee members are considering ways to expand our outdoor learning programs (Forest School, Shore School, the farming study, green recess, Naturalist school, swimming, and so many more!) to increase the number of students who can attend a BNS program on a given day.  They are also advocating for nearby street closures and outdoor covered enclosures to provide more learning space for BNS and BCS students (while also advocating to the city for similar options to be offered to families of children in any DOE school). 

BNS parents have created a petition calling for street closures around all public schools and for equipment to support outdoor learning.  The petition cites numerous articles about the importance of outdoor learning.  

Please know that the health and safety of all members of our community are our priority.   As the work of each committee develops, we will reach out to families to share what we’ve figured out so far.  

We will be in touch, perhaps we will see you on Thursday!

Anna and Diane

Join us for a family forum on Thursday, 7/23, at 4:00 here.  Zoom link is shared on Konstella.

We do not have any additional news that we will be announcing at this meeting.  Instead, this will be a time for families to ask questions and share thoughts.  

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