BCD faculty and staff are diligently designing our return to in-person learning next fall. We have established BCD Together, an effort within which we have convened several task forces – Academic, Health and Safety, Finance, Infrastructure: Facilities and Technology, and Well-Being – under the umbrella of a unified Nerve Center (BCD’s School Leadership Team) to work through various scenarios and models for next fall. We are actively considering state, local, and national guidance knowing that best practice will likely come from a combination of sources. Please note that as we plan for next year our primary goal is to teach every student, on campus, every day. With this goal in mind we are focusing on the following objectives:
Fully deliver on our mission throughout the COVID environment
Focus on health and safety - follow best practice guidance for a return to campus/in-person learning
Enhance the sense of community among all constituents, students, families, faculty and staff
Preserve our financial future
Communicate our plan effectively among and across various committees and constituents
While guidance from national, state, and local sources is still coming in almost daily, we hope to have a firm plan in place by mid to late-June. In all likelihood, this plan will include smaller class sizes (current guidance is 10 students per class), stepped up health, hygiene, and disinfecting measures (we expect to exceed CDC guidelines), and physical distancing requirements. Though we are pointing towards the resumption of in-person learning, we are also planning for scenarios such as bi-modal and Bulldogs Connect (which will be new and improved based on what we learned these past few months) in the event that in-person learning is not possible. We will be ready to start school in August no matter what the latest guidance tells us, and we will be flexible in case we are asked to pivot from one scenario to another.
BCD Together update to parents as of June 18, 2020
Already we have made significant progress in enhancing health and safety at BCD. We are installing touchless sinks in bathrooms, we are conducting a comprehensive review of our HVAC systems, we are buying individual desks for each child, and more. I’ll be sure to provide a comprehensive update of all of our protective measures in a future email.
Though the 10:1 class sizes are still the law of the land, Governor Polis has intimated strongly and publicly that cohorts of 20 or 25 will likely be in place for the fall. Regardless, we now know that in a 10:1 or in our traditional 18:1 environment we can offer in-person learning, all day, every day, for every child while maintaining the safety and well-being of all faculty, staff and students. So, unless we are mandated to start in distance mode, we are planning to be in-person in the fall. Again, we only know this because of the hard work and dedication of our task forces.
Given our focus to offer in-person learning this fall, we will not be offering a bi-modal option where students will be able to receive a BCD education from home while the rest of our students are at school. The reasons for this decision are many, including:
Our faculty are experts at in-person teaching and learning. Although they quickly adapted to the requirements of Bulldogs Connect last fall, they work best with students present in their classrooms.
Focusing simultaneously on in-person learning and online learning splits our teachers’ attention, limiting their effectiveness in each endeavor. Again, if we are required to go fully online, we are prepared; however, living in both worlds at once limits our ability to fulfill the promise in our mission.
BCD MODELS OF INSTRUCTION
Prudence dictates that we plan for multiple models of instruction for the 2020-21 school year. Below please find some basic information on three potential options. The last is the most likely and it represents our current and most in-depth planning.
In-Person 18:1+ - This is the model Governor Polis will most likely choose; thus, it is our most developed.
Best in class distance program improved from what we delivered in the spring
Every student on campus, all day, every day
Similar homeroom/advisory structure that we normally have
Students will have access to same Specials classes throughout the year, though they will be offered in different rotations
Continued excellence in core academics and Specials, differentiation, counseling, etc.
Maximum use of outside time, recess, breaks
PS classes return to licensed ratios and capacity
Young Preschool – 12 students with a lead and an assistant teacher
Preschool – 14 students with a lead and an assistant teacher
Prekindergarten – 16 students with a lead and an assistant teacher
Preschool specials continue – World Language, Movement, Music, Science, Library
Regular schedule for core subjects including literacy blocks (K-2) and math blocks (3-5); however, subject acceleration will not occur.
Learning Center creating strategic plan to support all students and teachers.
Each grade will receive two Specials per trimester, rotating each trimester. Specialists will push into cohorts to limit their exposure and prep times.
French and Spanish taught 2x per week, all year long. The cohort model means World Language choice in grades 3-5 will be suspended for 2020-21.
Latin remains as is in 4th and 5th, 2x per week.
All grades in block schedule with 6 core class periods a day.
Arts/PE and Explore will also occur each day
Teachers will rotate into cohorts to limit exposure to ensure live instruction
Explore’s model is still under discussion but will occur within the grade level (not mixed grades)
Increased time for advisory and recess.
In-Person, Less Than 18:1 Ratios – We have developed models for these ratio guidelines, and we know it is possible to deliver our program within them. We won’t, however, dive into the scheduling and staffing of these models at this time as we don’t believe they will be the option the Governor chooses.
Every student on campus, all day, every day
Utilize every classroom on campus for a homeroom/advisory/pod
Some PS classrooms would likely be in other buildings
Utilization of Specialist as homeroom teachers in innovate ways
Continued excellence in core academics with Specials, differentiation, counseling and other supports.
Maximum use of outside time, recess, breaks.
BCD would be hiring more teachers as well as several paraeducators to ensure planning time, breaks, and other coverage.
Bulldogs Connect – To be used should the State or County close schools to in-person learning
Best in class distance program
Increased live instruction and engagement at all ages
Better instructional technology
Greater focus on assessment, including a more complete understanding of required and optional offerings
Simplified Specials offerings
Maintain community-builders and performances such as Assembly, talent show and grade specific celebrations.
Jump Start Camps: We remain hopeful that we’ll be able to offer our Jump Start Camps the week of August 3rd. If you haven’t yet registered and you are interested, please do so soon!
Lunches: We have confirmed that for the 2020-21 school year, we will suspend our contract with Wholesome Foods and will require a Pack-In/Pack-Out lunch program for all community members. This will limit campus visitors, reduce waste, and decrease custodial demands, giving more time for custodial staff to clean, disinfect, and sanitize.
Dress Code: It is unlikely that we will be able to meet in community for Assembly. As a result, we will suspend Friday Assembly Dress. Fridays will now be Spirit Dress days. Both dress code vendors (Tommy and Lands’ End) will be hosting summer sales soon.
Late Start Day Change: During the 2020-21 school year, the first Friday of every month, will be a full collaboration day for faculty and staff with no live instruction. We will no longer have late start Wednesdays. Students will be at home and will engage in pre-recorded lessons and independent work the 1st Friday of each month. (Insert link to new KEY DATES – if we have them)
Gala Is Postponed – Current and anticipated guidance makes the prospect of a 300+ people gathering in October less and less likely. As a result, we have postponed Gala. We will make a decision on potentially rescheduling the event (or conducting a virtual event) later this fall when we know more.
Athletics: Current guidance suggests we will be able to offer a modified version of our fall athletics including girls’ volleyball, boys’ soccer, and cross country. While it is unclear if inter-school competitions will take place, with modifications, we will be able to practice and play within our school.
After Care (After 3 at BCD): We are committed to offering After 3 at BCD as we know it is a necessity for many of our families. How After 3 at BCD will work will be dependent on what type of cohort interactions are determined by the State and the number of families interested. We know that we will only offer unlimited After3 at BCD and no specialty classes or drop in coverage. You’ll receive a survey regarding Before and After Care soon.
Outside Time: We will fully utilize our outdoor spaces and the Twin Lakes. We will continue to have multiple daily recess periods and our play structures, balls and other equipment will be available for use (minus the PS sandbox).
Masks: We will be following CDPHE and BCPH guidance. Currently, employees and children twelve years or older are required to wear a mask. Children younger than 12 are not required to wear a mask, and children under 3 years of age should not wear a mask. We will be tracking this guidance closely and updating as necessary.
We continue to work on the many details of our school program, and when more guidance is offered we will report back with news of parent/teacher conferences, carline and drop off, and our school calendar (though we don’t anticipate any major adjustments at this time). We are especially focused on how we’ll support and nurture community-building for students and families as we know this is a critical element of our school.
Lastly, I want to reiterate again how much we are looking forward to seeing you and your children in-person in August. Our children are desperate for the academic and social engagement that our anticipated program – every child, every day, all day – offers, and we find ourselves equally in need to connect with you and your families.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we have crafted these plans in an incredibly difficult and rapidly changing environment. We hope to have more for you in mid-July when further guidance is available. In the meantime, enjoy your summer, be safe, and stay healthy.
Yours in partnership,
Additional updates will be posted to www.bouldercountryday.org as we are able to announce them.
We write to you today with heavy hearts, hurting for those members of our community and the greater world who have and continue to suffer the injustices of systemic racism. We grieve withthe people of color in our community and beyond over the continual loss of lives as a result of an unjust system, and we stand with those who are underrepresented, misrepresented, and disenfranchised, all of whom have far too much experience with prejudice, inaction, and inequality.
The events of the past weeks, beginning with the brutal murder of George Floyd, magnify the urgency of work in social justice, privilege, bias, and identity. While we reflect on and are grateful for the growth our community has experienced in these areas, we acknowledge our shortcomings and recognize we have still have so much more work to do, individually, as a school community, and as a larger, global society.
Today, tomorrow, and for years to come, we understand we must demand more of ourselves. As educators, we have a profound responsibility to work with young people daily in our efforts to dismantle the systemic racism we know exists both within and beyond the borders of our campus. We are and will remain hopeful that a BCD education will empower our students to become future leaders who will work to end racism, prejudice, and discrimination in all of their forms. We invite you to stand with us.
Thank you for your partnership, and please look for an email from Sterling Kranjcec (School Counselor) and Randi Reinhold (Coordinator of Equity and Inclusion) containing resources regarding how to talk about these difficult topics with your children.
John Suitor, Kath Courter, Jill Johnson, Dan Welch, Gabe Hernan, Susan Boyle, Ann-Marie Tewey, and Julie Griffith
We are so proud of the 4 BCD alumni featured in this video project by the Wunder Collective (headed by BCD alumna Kristian Moley) about inspiring, young change makers. Sydney, Ruthie, Reese, and Elizabeth share their 8th grade Capstone projects and their passions. Well done, Bulldogs!
Good citizenship is the most important lesson Boulder Country Day teaches because good citizens become great leaders. This year, I had the chance to interview four graduating 8th Graders, all of whom will wow us one day. They will end their BCD careers this week presenting their capstone projects which focus on community service. In the midst of a pandemic, when self-management becomes mandatory and expectations become lax, these four students maintained their commitment. They have taken the opportunity to do good despite having several doors close in their face including the one that connects them with the world.
I hope you watch and consider their stories. I hope you’re inspired. I hope you know the future is bright. And I hope you make a choice to do more good, if for no other reason than because it is such an easy one to make.
On the beautifully sunny morning of Friday, May 22nd, Boulder Country Day School celebrated the graduation of their 8th grade students in a very unique way. Families, including loved ones living far and near, joined a graduation Zoom where speeches were made, students celebrated, and promotion awarded. Students and their families then came to campus and lined the parking lot facing toward the school, spaced in accordance with social distancing guidelines. The ceremony was performed from the front lawn by loud speaker by Head of School, John Suitor. From their cars, often poking out of their sunroofs, the graduates enjoyed stories from their years spent at BCD. To close the event, each student was ‘called forward’ to receive their diploma and other tokens of celebration. As the families exited the parking lot, they were waved off by teachers and other BCD families lined up along Nautilus Court as they drove through their final carline at BCD. While different, it was a spectacular morning that no one will forget.
On May 18th, BCD 3rd grade teacher, Amanda Demler, rode her bike 85 miles to visit all 13 of her students at home. She left her home at 7:00am and rode from house to house on a trip that included 7 hours of riding and 5 hours of socializing from a distance.
While her students know of her athletic abilities, when the idea of a bike ride to every single house first came up on a class Zoom meeting, they were unsure. “That is very far!,” said Ryan Welch.
Demler, who has been a teacher at BCD for 16 year, says, “All of my students know that I have a passion for endurance sports. So I asked myself, why not?” As a 12-timed competitor in Wisconsin’s notorius Birkebeiner race, a 55K ski marathon, she has exemplified for her students what passion and commitment look like.
“This epic adventure was not only a way for me to see the smiles of my students and drop off a card and treats, but a way to show them that they too can do great things to inspire even in the middle of a pandemic. No matter what storm you go through you should use your talents to pitch in and make things better for someone else,” says Demler.
Thank you Ms. Demler for making a difference and thank you to all our teachers who have gone the extra mile this spring. You’re the best!
Beginning on March 30th, BCD will launch ‘Bulldogs Connect,’ our distance learning initiative. Since March 13th, our faculty has collaborated virtually, working our hearts out for our students and families, to design a distance learning program that we hope will serve them well. For our teachers, their classrooms and their community of students are their world. Having to teach from a distance runs counter to what they know and love: connecting with students and families on a deeply personal level. They are extremely enthusiastic to maintain this positive community and connection and cannot wait to go ‘live’ with the rollout of our Bulldogs Connect, on Monday, March 30th.
We recognize that our parents and guardians are critical partners in this process and it will take a collective effort to ensure we are successful. We also understand that many parents are feeling overwhelmed and under skilled for what lies ahead. Please know we are here to support you in any capacity. There will certainly be bumps in the road and practicing patience, kindness and positivity will be essential for all of us.
Congratulations to Kath Courter, Head of BCD's Preschool, and our fabulous preschool faculty for being recognized by Colorado Shines with a quality rating of 4. Among 8 local competitor Preschools, BCD received the HIGHEST!
Each year, Boulder Country Day School welcomes artists-in-residence to work with students from Preschool through 8th grade for a week-long, deep dive share of their passions and skills that creates an environment of collaboration and inspiration for their community. All art blocks for the week are taught by visiting artist and will culminate in end project in mediums ranging from musical performances, to dance, to ceramics to paintings. Students will share their projects with our grandfriends who will attend Grandfriends Day on Friday, March 13th.
Embracing the arts throughout the year and in various capacities is a priority for Boulder Country Day School and we revel in taking a special week each year to celebrate them. “We believe the Arts are a vital and necessary part of our curriculum, and the evidence shows that students who receive a robust arts education are better prepared to engage in the critical issues facing our world today,” John Suitor, BCD Head of School.
“Art Education is important in school because in art we work on our critical thinking skills; creativity is as important as literacy in today’s world. To be successful in life you need to have great ideas. You need to be able to communicate those ideas and that is what we do in art. We are learning how to find solutions to creative problems,” Londa Bevins, BCD K-8 Art Teacher.
This year’s visiting Artists include:
Working with PS: Kaleidoscope Music Studio – KMS promotes fine motor skills, feeling the music with movement, listening with your heart and ears, how to sit still, how to play a game, how to listen/take turns/accept help, how to play instruments & how to have FUN!
Working with K-2: Todd Redmond– Potter and clay-artist, Todd Redmond, has previously worked with BCD middle school students during BCD Arts Week. This year Mr. Redmond will work with K-2 students.
Working with 3-5:Cathy Faughnan, modern impressionist painter, will share her techniques for painting everything from landscapes to creatures to people.
Working with MS: Kutandara, the Boulder-based Zimbabwean marimba dance organization will enchant middle schoolers with custom workshops filled with playing, singing, and dancing.
BCD students will also have the chance to show off their artwork from this school year to their parents at an evening Student Art Show held on Thursday, March 12th from 4:30pm - 6:00pm in teh Middle School Activity Room.
On February 26th, our Athletic Director and CU Women's Basketball alumna, Randie Wirt, attended the 2020 Inclusive Sport Summit hosted by the CU athletic department. What a great opportunity for both Coach Wirt and our school to benefit from such a wonderful institution right on our doorstep.
For several years running, usually around the time reenrollment contracts are due, parents have asked me about investing in PS – 8 education. “College is so expensive,” they say, “Shouldn’t we save our resources when our children are younger so that we can afford to send them to the college of their choice?”
We love this! In 8th grade health class student did something called The Compliment Project. Students take turns sitting with their backs to the whiteboard while their classmates write compliments about them. The students are studying social-emotional health and learning how we thrive when we feel a sense of love and belonging. This is the third year this activity has been done in this class and the kids LOVE it. They love to write as much as receive the compliments. They are often overwhelmed with emotions when they read what their classmates say.
A group of BCD 7th and 8th graders were invited to participate in the ACE Scholarship School Choice Civics Day. They had the opportunity to sit on the House floor while they were in session, tour the Capitol building, meet the Representative for Boulder County, Edie Hooton, and have a quick meeting with Governor Jared Polis. BCD was one of six schools who had the opportunity to participate.
On January 30th, Boulder Country Day middle school students participated in the annual Model United Nations exercise. In teams, students represented a member country by researching it, writing resolutions on current issues it faces, and defending those resolutions at a gathering called the MUN General Assembly. Through this process, students learned about international relations, developed empathy, and gained a better understanding of how issues across the world affect us all. As an authorized IB Middle Years Program (MYP), BCD uses this curricular enhancement to support the IB goal of developing globally minded students.
‘It helps you to be more aware of the world around you so that you know more than just what’s happening the U.S. - you know about the entire world. It also teaches you that history effects everything and it’s not just something you learn because you have to.’
On February 25 from 6:30pm - 8:00pm, Jenny Hecht will speak at BCD. Based on the work of Dan Peters, Jenny will lead a convesration through which we will explore the twelve primary causes of anxiety in gifted individuals, including those specifically connected to correlating overexcitabilities and will offer ideas and skills to support those struggling with them. This will be a talk however you are welcome to bring your child along so that s/he can learn tips to manage their anxieties and advocate for themselves more effectively. This event is brought to BCD by the Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented organization (BVGT.)
About Jenny: Jenny Hecht is a local Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in the area of gifted children, among others. She has a passion for supporting the specific social-emotional needs of gifted individuals, particularly the existential dilemma so many face beginning at a very young age. She is also a certified yoga instructor.
During the week of January 7th – 10th, all BCD middle school students participated in the BCD Seminar. The BCD Seminar is modeled after the Aspen Institute Seminar and is intended as an opportunity for BCD students to stretch their intellectual thinking. With over 60 years of experience, the Aspen Institute Seminar is designed to help people of all ages and walks of life to reflect upon the most important questions facing us as human beings and as leaders.
Each night, BCD students were assigned texts by various authors, both ancient (including Aristotle) and current (including J.K. Rowling). The texts were used to prompt students to think about complex human issues such as: Is goodness something that is in humans or is it something that needs to be taught and learned? Is it something we as humans are born with or must choose to act on? In-school discussion were then led by guest moderators, Todd Breyfogle, Director of Seminars for the Aspen Institute, and Allyson Sudbourough, Teacher Effectiveness Coach for Denver Public Schools.
As you can see, the texts present some really big concepts. Students were advised that while the texts are difficult, to not be discouraged because Seminar is intended to be a laboratory in which—together—they will try to figure out what the texts say and mean, both on their own terms and for us as humans today. They were also reminded that seminar discussions thrive on questions. So, very often it is the seemingly simplest questions that can provoke the most meaningful discussions.
Students began the seminar by examining the painting of “Icarus” who is seen plunging into the water after his wings have melted. The bystanders seem unfazed by Icarus’ fall and do not appear to be making any effort to rescue him. An open discussion of human nature then began on whether or not Icarus should be saved. The conversations remained lively from there on out.
Moderator Todd Breyfogle shared that his discussion of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (on friendship) with the BCD 7th grade students was one of the best he had ever had, with students OR adults! This is quite a compliment coming from the Director of Seminars at the Aspen Institute. There seemed to be a sense of pride in our students as they realized they could read, understand, and discuss Aristotle. Another thing our moderators and Mr. Welch noticed was how BCD students appreciated the opportunity to discuss big topics that do not necessarily have a right or wrong answer are not designed to lead to any particular conclusion, by rather serves to stretch themselves intellectually and challenge them personally.
“BCD students are remarkably capable. They devoured a dense selection from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and were ready to engage in conversation, armed with questions and opinions. It was one of the best conversations I’ve had on Aristotle’s understanding of friendship, whether with adults or younger people.”
–Todd Breyfogle, PhD, Managing Director, Seminars, The Aspen Institute
At the end of the week, students created personal mission statements or wrote letters to their future selves about some of the important things they had learned about themselves from the process.
We hope the seminar experience of deep learning through community discussion will remain a meaningful touchstone for these students for many years to come. We would also like to extend special thanks to alumni parent former board member, Jay Orris of Peak to Peak Management, for bringing this opportunity to BCD many years ago and for his ongoing support of the program.
Personal experience statement by Mills, 7th grade.
I thought the Middle School Seminar would be an interesting way to learn about morals and ethics, but also learn about my classmates’ opinions and ideology. I ended up learning those things in addition to learning about human inclinations when someone is in trouble. It was interesting to hear what my classmates thought about whether humans are by nature good or bad. We read a very moving autobiographical piece by George Orwell, called “Shooting an Elephant”. It ignited an hour-long conversation about whether shooting the elephant in the story was morally right, even if Orwell feared for his life if he didn’t kill the elephant. We also discussed a painting portraying Icarus flailing and drowning in the Aegean Sea, as onlookers refused to help. This initiated a conversation about whether humans are born good or bad, or whether it’s a learned behavior. I found this conversation interesting and was intrigued by my classmates’ thoughts.
I was positively impacted by the experience of sharing our thoughts. The Middle School Seminar was inspiring and gave me lasting insights into my peers, human nature, history and the world as a whole.
Texted used in 2020 BCD Seminar
6th grade: Risk and Reflection
Session 1: What is our nature?
Intro, Painting (Icarus)
Plato, “Ring of Gyges” (shortened version)
Session 2: What is success?
Ayyappa Paniker, "Horse Play" (Poem)
Sandra Cisneros “Eleven”
Session 3: What is resilience?
J.K. Rowling "The Fringe Benefits of Failure"
“An Unlucky Man?” A Tale from Nigeria
7th grade: Commitment and Community
Session 1: What is our nature?
Intro, Painting (Icarus)
Mencius, On Human Nature (short excerpt)
Session 2: What do we commit to?
“Story of Fire” A Sufi Tale
George Orwell “Shooting an Elephant”
Session 3: How do we live together?
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (on Friendship)
Luther Standing Bear, “Indian Wisdom”
8th grade: Courage and Purpose
Session 1: What is our nature?
Intro, Painting (Icarus)
Chuang Tzu, “Woodcarver”
Session 2: What gives us Purpose?
“Seneca: On the Shortness of Life” Translated by John W. Basore
Chimamanda Adichie, “Danger of a Single Story”
Session 3: What gives us Courage?
“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” Ursula K. Le Guin
BCD’s Kindergarten program stands apart in its breadth of offerings and student support. Students are known and nurtured everyday by a faculty of many including their classroom teachers, their teachers in world language, science, innovation, music, art, physical education, and library, as well as, school counselors, literacy specialists from the BCD Learning Center, the Head of Elementary, and our Head of School. At BCD, every member of our faculty seen in this picture will be involved in the education of your student. Contact us to schedule a tour at (303) 516-4148.