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:
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,