Details for the 2020-21 School Year
As we indicated last year, the administration was committed to having students back on campus this fall. We worked tirelessly over the summer developing plans, working with our community partners, meeting with public health and state educational officials, and working through several types of schedules. But in each scenario, we came back to the same question, “Is this the best plan to keep our students and staff safe?” Although the state provided guidelines to open, many of which you have probably heard about, most of them were extremely difficult to accomplish in a high school setting. While all of them were sound recommendations, there was no way we would be able to meet the social distancing guidelines, transportation expectations, cohort parameters, bathroom standards, and classroom structure that would in any way benefit our students. It was not an easy decision, but after watching what is happening in other high schools across the country as they reopen, we made the determination we would start the year by learning from home in order to keep everyone safe.
The Adjustable Instructional Model (AIM) provides our students the best possible way to remain on track and safe during these trying times. Our AIM, which is explained in greater detail in the handbook addendum creates opportunities for students and staff to meet in person on Wednesdays, when transportation will be provided by the sending towns. (Under most of their models, they are not transporting K-8 students on that day.) While this is in no way ideal, this day will provide a way for students who make arrangements in advance to come to school to receive extra help, work on labs, work out, see a counselor, etc. We encourage all students and families to take some time and read the AIM addendum in the link above.
We are very aware that we are not in this alone and this decision impacts everyone differently. We also know that this unprecedented school year will present unique challenges to our community. You have our word that we will continue to make decisions that place our students and staff in the safest possible situation and we truly hope that our families will help us in this endeavor. The Academy has attendance and academic rules that align with state law. With families and our school working together, we can support our students by fully engaging in the educational process.
We are also making significant advances in the area of social/emotional support. We know during this time our students and families may need more support than is typical. While these plans are not completely finalized yet, please know we are working to increase this area of our program and will provide additional information as it is ready. It is also important to note that we will be offering some form of athletics this year. While it may end up looking different because of the requirements placed on us by the leagues in which we play, we are committed to offering some sort of athletic competition for our students.
Although we plan to use AIM for the first semester, we are also committed to getting our community back on campus as soon as it is safe to do so. If the situation warrants it, we may even be back before the second semester. However, based on what we are seeing in other schools that open, given the lack of real-time public health data provided to us, and with an understanding that some of the state requirements are almost impossible to implement in a secondary school setting, we do not see a return to campus anytime soon. We very much hope to be proven wrong.
We have listed some key dates below. It is important to note, all students and staff will need to follow the health protocols such as wearing a mask and completing a health screening before coming to campus.
Professional development for staff has been scheduled for August 24 and 25 which will be held in person at the Loos Center for the Arts. The schedule is almost complete and will be emailed out to attendees through their school email.
Upperclassmen Material Pick-Up
Upperclassmen should make an appointment to come to school on their assigned day to pick up their supplies for the semester. Each student will have an individual bag made for them that will include all of their books, art supplies, and any other materials they may need based on their schedules. These days are August 26 for seniors, August 27 for juniors, and August 28 for sophomores.
Most residential students, who also received a separate communication, will be moving onto campus on August 31. We have made arrangements for residential students to receive their needed supplies on September 2 during their first week as part of The Academy community.
All new students, who should have received a separate letter, are expected to attend school on either September 1 (A-L) or September 2 (M-Z), based on their last name. During these days, students will receive the supplies they will need for the first semester, including their iPad.
Start of Classes
Classes begin for everyone on September 3. Our focus will be on establishing a quality classroom community, building relationships, and providing instruction on the technology that will be used during the semester. Curricular instruction will begin on September 8.
In any school setting, there needs to be consistency and stability in order for students to learn and grow. Although this program was developed while considering many possible contingencies, we also know there may be times when we have to adjust something because it is not working, or because circumstances force us to. We will be collecting data from students and families at certain parts of the year through an electronic survey, which will be used to make any needed adjustments. We are all in this together and your voices and perspectives are important. We know this is not ideal for anyone and we all just want to get back to “normal,” but we also know that we are not going to deviate from our core values even while we are not on campus.
Our doors are always open, and we hope everyone in our community stays safe and healthy.
The Woodstock Academy is an independent, day and boarding, co-educational, college preparatory high school for grades 9–12 and postgraduates located in Woodstock, CT. The mission of The Woodstock Academy is to prepare all students by providing diverse opportunities through a rigorous curriculum and a variety of programs in order to cultivate the necessary skills to become lifelong learners and global citizens.