Burbank Family Update
28 August 2020

Burbank Family Update

Dear Burbank Families,

To say that this year has been unusual is to push the boundaries of understatement.  We are facing a global challenge unlike any in living memory, and we have all needed to be resourceful, flexible, and patient as we find solutions to our common problem.  This is true both for our lives in general, and for the coming school year.  Though school will, by necessity, be different in so many ways, Burbank’s commitment to our students will not waver. 

Burbank’s educators remain dedicated to building relationships and community, nurturing energy and inquiry, and guiding the learning of every one of our students.  We all look forward to a time when we will be able to return to Burbank together safely, but when we do, we will be stronger for having met the challenge presented by remote learning and armed with the new ideas, tools, and methodologies that we have been developing to answer this historic moment.  

There is a great deal to share with you about the new year, but we will start with the following information: 

First day of School:

Our school year will begin on Wednesday, September 16th. The first day, and every Wednesday during remote learning will be a half day of school.  You will receive more information about how to access remote learning during the first week of school in the upcoming weeks.  

Remote Learning Schedule: 

The slide show linked here outlines the remote schedule that was presented at the School Committee Meeting.  Some of the highlights of the remote model are: 

  • It is much more rigorous than that of the spring and is as close as possible to replicating a regular school day.
  • Each day begins and ends with a class meeting designed to build community and focus on social emotional learning.
  • The remainder of the day is filled with academic workshops that will begin with a short whole-class lesson followed by individual and small group instruction. Children will work on and off the screen during these workshops reading, writing, solving mathematical problems, and practicing skills. Teachers will work with small groups of students throughout the day, differentiating their instruction for the children in front of them.
  • There will be common break times for our younger students and a universal lunch/recess time for everyone in the school to allow families to eat together. 
  • The schedule is consistent throughout the district to allow for collaboration and clear routines for students, staff, and families. 

As with any school year, children spend the first four to six weeks of forming connected and well-run classroom communities. The same will be the case this year.  The beginning of the year will be filled with opportunities for community building, activities to practice digital routines, and independent work as we prepare for the workshop model.  Parents and guardians are invited to learn more about our remote learning program at our Remote Learning Information Night on  September 3rd at 7 PM.  I will send a link to the program soon.

Upcoming Information: 

I know that everyone is eager to learn who their teacher will be this year, and it pains me that we have not been able to provide that information as we could in a typical year.  The many factors that we take into consideration to create a successful classroom experience for all were complicated by the revision of the entire school schedule and teaching approach.  This vital information will be sent to you as soon as is humanly possible.

Finally, I am happy to let you know that one of our early summer brainstorms has proven to be very fortuitous. Before we had any idea what September might look like, we planned and ordered supplies for “Remote Learning Kits” to provide students with everything they would need in the likely event of at home learning.  These kits will be distributed to families in the near future.  This means that we will not be sending home class supply lists for you to purchase.  As we proceed into the year, you may need to replace pencils and crayons if your child is an avid artist, but for now we hope it is a bonus that you do not need to worry about supply shopping.

Yours,

Seeley Okie
Principal