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Updates and Messages

May 26, 2020
 
Return to Learn 2020-21 video: Mrs. Baylis introduces our Return to Learn team and outlines the work being done to prepare for a return to on-campus classes in the fall.
 

Dear CHS Community,

In response to the Covid-19 health crisis, CHS has formed a task force named Return to Learn whose goal is to prepare for the anticipated 2020-21 school year. We are actively preparing for the reopening of campus in the fall and planning for various scenarios that will allow us to hold classes in-person. As guidelines from the CDC, the state, and local health officials continue to unfold, CHS will develop appropriate learning models to be implemented at different levels of impact of Covid-19. The work of careful preparation to provide a safe, healthy, and engaging learning environment is already underway, and we remain committed to providing a top-quality Christian education for our students.  In the process, we are drawing upon the best expertise available, both within the CHS community and the community-at-large.

Having gathered information from a range of sources – local, national, and international – the task force has created seven committees to focus on specific areas of planning: (1) health and safety; (2) operations and facility; (3) schedule; (4) academic program; (5) activities and events; (6) communications; and (7) wellbeing and support. Because the implications of social distancing and health protocols are far-reaching within a school community, these committees will coordinate with others as well as make recommendations particular to their area. Through these efforts, we will employ every practical measure to safeguard the health of our students, families, and staff.

At the end of this school year, the Return to Learn team will be sending a short survey for parents and older students to provide feedback on this year’s distance learning. Your input is valuable as we look toward next year. Additionally, we plan to hold some live (Zoom) meetings during the summer to give updates, receive feedback, and answer questions. Those dates will be communicated via email. 

CHS will continue to uphold our mission by offering a program that is academically and spiritually robust in all learning contexts. As always, that mission represents a partnership between the school and our families, and we are deeply grateful for your support, confidence, and prayer, now and in the weeks and months ahead. We on the Return to Learn team are grateful for the opportunity to serve the students, families, and staff at CHS through this work, and we prayerfully anticipate the ways the Lord will work all things together for His glory at CHS.

Gratefully, on behalf of the Return to Learn team,

Kim Baylis

May 22, 2020
 

CHS will not be hosting a summer camp this year.  We regret not being able to provide this service for our families.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact John Naeher, Director of Operations at jnaeher@kingsmen.org. If you had already registered our business office will be sending you a full refund. Thank you for your understanding,

John Naeher

Director of Operations and Student Life

May 18, 2020


Weekly Upper School Distance Learning Update.  Latest notes: last parent meeting will be combined for both MS and US
parents at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, May 27; locker clean-out schedule; parent resources.

May 11, 2020
 
Weekly Upper School Distance Learning Update.  Latest notes: upper school parent meeting this Thursday, May 14 at 8:00 PM; locker clean-out schedule; parent resources.
 
May 6, 2020
 

Dear CHS Community:

Earlier yesterday, I envisioned different points in this school year and truly enjoyed the memories of the “senior tunnel” that welcomed students to campus on August 28, the visions of parents with their children enjoying a Kingsmen Café breakfast before the morning bell rings, the drop-in classroom visits where I watched skilled teachers mentoring eager students, and so many other fantastically wonderful snapshots of the school year. I am still in process of crystalizing the memory of March 12, the day we held our last campus-based classes, and the evening our The Little Mermaid cast and crew wowed the audience in our gym with an exemplary performance of the spring musical.

On March 13, caution regarding the spread of COVID-19 led us to quickly shift our learning delivery to a distance format and we have all been living in the center of tension between our desire for safety for our community and our desire to reopen our community. Yesterday, Governor Lamont declared that all Connecticut public school buildings would not reopen for the remainder of the spring semester. Before yesterday’s announcement, school buildings in our state had been closed through May 20. CHS will align with the governor’s decision and will continue with distance learning throughout our final day of classes, on June 10.

I know this news is unwelcome to most, and I am truly sorry that this course of action is necessary. I am particularly feeling for the Class of 2020 and their parents, many of whom have been part of the CHS community for 13 years. I want to be clear that this new announcement about campuses being closed for regular classes does not necessarily mean that some form of live graduation will not occur. Dr. Parrish is determined to offer the very best commencement allowable by the social distancing expectations of that day to the Class of 2020. Several options for our graduation exercises are on the table, and CHS will continue to work with the families of our senior class to craft plans for all possible scenarios.

More information about the final several weeks of school will be coming to you through Mrs. Smith and Dr. Parrish. I want to thank both of our principals for their steadfastness during this unusual time. As you know, Mrs. Smith will be retiring at the end of this school year after forty years of service at CHS. While our attention has been fixed on honoring the seniors in the Class of 2020, we will remain patient for the right opportunity to fittingly and wholeheartedly share our gratitude and love for Mrs. Smith. Please look for information about a forthcoming event.

It is also important to recognize the wonderful job the CHS faculty has done through this pandemic. These superb teachers continually share new ideas with each other and clearly have the needs of your children in mind as they enthusiastically enter each new school day. I want to also thank all CHS parents for the significant extra effort you have invested in the education of your children – particularly the parents of our younger students. Quarantine days will soon be behind us, and I pray we re-embrace the good habits of old, while also incorporating some of the new and helpful routines we have learned through this family-centered season.

Finally, I want to share with you that our Senior Staff spends significant amounts of time and energy on our preparations for the fall of 2020. Different medical experts and different news organizations paint somewhat divergent pictures of future days in this battle against COVID-19. While we cannot predict with any certainty what social restrictions, if any, will remain in place by August, I can assure you that CHS will start the fall with the very best plan in place to educate your child. The school had three days to shift to distance learning in March. We now have months to plan for different scenarios. Kim Baylis is leading our Return to Learn committee – which is eager to open with live classes in the fall, but is also preparing for a streamlined, parent-friendly delivery system for any or all students who cannot attend live classes. Ms. Baylis and her team of eight administrators, teachers and parents are peering through different lenses (instructional, social, physical, and safety) as they create a vision and plan for the fall.

Thank you for your perseverance through these extraordinary days. Throughout all the change, please know that the love of our Father and the joy of Christian community remain eternal and unchangeable forces.

Grace and Peace to you,

Brian J. Modarelli Head of School

 
May 4, 2020
 
Weekly Upper School Distance Learning Update.  Latest notes: seniors and end-of-school-year events; student engagement and assessments; middle school and high school parent meeting this Thursday, May 14 at 8:00 PM.
 
April 27, 2020
 

Weekly Upper School Distance Learning Update.  Latest notes: sharing prayer requests; student workload relative to Thursday schedule; middle school and high school parent meeting this Thursday, April 30 at 8:00 PM.

April 20, 2020
 
In response to student and parent feedback, the Upper School distance learning weekly schedule is being modified to accommodate later start times and regular opportunities for reflection, creativity, worship, exercise, and service.
 
April 9, 2020
 

Dear CHS Community,

Governor Lamont is expected to announce an extension of the closure of Connecticut’s public schools today, with a date of May 20, 2020 as the newly proposed day when campuses will reopen to students and teachers.  Of course, federal and state health officials will continually monitor COVID-19 to inform the governor on possible extensions to the May 20 date.  

CHS has shifted to a distance learning paradigm for an indefinite period of time.  We will reopen our physical campus when the federal, state and local health experts inform us it is safe to do so.  The CHS return date will not be before May 20.   Our academic year is slated to finish on June 10, 2020, the originally scheduled calendar date for the last day of classes.

The school realizes that a safe return date for one family might not coincide with a safe return date for another school family.  Our Senior Staff is currently designing plans for families who live with higher levels of medical risk to be able to continue with distance learning once physical classes resume.  We are also evaluating our time-honored, end-of-year events to craft the best strategy for each of them.  

Please have a blessed Easter and a wonderful spring break.  

Grace and Peace,

Brian

April 8, 2020
 

Dear CHS Families,

Greetings to you as we approach Easter Sunday and prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus two millennia ago and the reality of that event in today’s world.  

In just a few hours, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is expected to address the residents of the state with a COVID-19 update.  It is likely today’s speech will include new information on public school campus closures for this semester.  As of today, Connecticut public schools have been closed by Governor Lamont through April 20, 2020.  

Assuming Gov. Lamont provides an update to the issue of school campus closures, the CHS Senior Staff will judiciously assess the contents of today’s speech and communicate our intentions for CHS classes and CHS end-of-year events with you as soon as possible.  The Senior Staff has been developing contingency plans for certain end-of-year activities, dependent upon the date that our campus will reopen.  

The Senior Staff at CHS is committed to providing a strong distance learning program for our students while the congregating of students and adults on campus is deemed unsafe.   However, we genuinely look forward to the date when our students are back in the classroom and joyfully learning in a community of physical presence.  

Please let me take this opportunity to highlight two forthcoming parent meetings.  Dr. Parrish will be hosting a meeting for parents of middle school students tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., followed by a meeting for parents of high school students at 8:30 p.m.  Links to the meetings were sent to parent emails on April 7.  

Please enjoy the God-designed colors of spring, the warmer weather, and the week-long gift of spring break!

Grace and Peace,

Brian Modarelli

Head of School

 
March 31, 2020
 
Latest update letter from Head of School, Dr. Brian Modarelli.  Highlights: spring break is still on; no return date set yet; virtual social events for students; moms in prayer still going strong; webinar this Thursday.
 
March 29, 2020
 
Weekly Upper School Distance Learning Update.  Latest notes: spring break; teacher expectations and communication; tech readiness for middle schoolers; student workload; virtual parent meeting 4/9; great online resources.
 
March 23, 2020
 
Weekly Upper School Distance Learning Update.  Latest notes: streamlining and simplifying our distance learning processes; weekly virtual meetings with Dr. Parrish for parents of middle school and high school students; and additional resources.
 
March 17, 2020

Top of the morning to you, CHS Community,
 

The CHS faculty and staff are currently crafting the final touches of our e-learning launch, scheduled to begin at 8:00 tomorrow morning. The life-on-life educational model we typically enjoy will be temporarily replaced with a distance learning platform. Please expect a significant amount of communication from the school over the next several days.

While the plans in place are very good, we certainly anticipate hiccups inherent within the technology-based learning paradigm. Please be quick to contact the school’s newly created help line (techhelp@kingsmen.org) with any software or connectivity issues. We will collect data on these calls and on the solutions to the issues, and incorporate that information into a FAQ list for the school community. High school students are asked to contact AppleCare for any hardware issues with their iPads.

Flexibility, persistence and grace are overarching themes that we, as a Christian community, will anticipate of each other. When future generations look back at this moment in time and reflect on our responses, I pray they see a spirit of unity and a strong sense of trust in God’s providence.

Grace and Peace,

Brian Modarelli
 
 
March 13, 2020
 
Dear CHS Families:
 
Over the last few days, different people have commented to me that it must be difficult to be theHead of School in today’s coronavirus mania. With a smile I let them know that I would muchrather have my job in today’s climate than that of a financial planner.
 
The CHS faculty and staff met this morning to collaborate and refine our plans to move from a traditional classroom setting to a distance learning platform. While nobody would choose to enter this temporary pedagogical paradigm, I can assure you that the overarching spirit of the CHS team is to gracefully embrace the new realities and expertly offer the very best to your children.
 
You will receive information from the principal of your division regarding the details of implementation of our distance learning plans. Please look for this communication in your inbox in the late afternoon on Monday, March 16.
 
In the meantime, I want to respond to some frequently asked questions:
 
Will Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, be considered Snow Days?

Yes. No assignments will be sent home on the 16th or 17th. Teachers will be on campus those days in further preparation for the distance learning launch on Wednesday, March 18. All student activities are cancelled until further notice. The campus will only be open to faculty and staff.
 
When will CHS shift back to traditional on-campus classes?
 
Health care specialist and political leaders are both driving components of the decisions informing our return to normalcy. At this point, neither the health professionals nor the political leaders can offer a reliable prediction of future action. Hence, it is most expedient to say that CHS will utilize distance learning methodologies for an indefinite period of time. CHS will promise to give parents as much notice as possible once a return-to-school date is determined.
 
Is school canceled?
 
No. Our approach is to continue delivering lessons through a distance learning format. Teachers will still be working full-time throughout the remainder of the year.
 
Will the school year be extended into the summer?
 
No. Our last day of school will still be June 10.
 
Please look for frequent communication from the school over the next several days. Also, please be encouraged to bring your questions to me or to any of our administrative team. It is a joy to serve you and a privilege to equip your children for the future God has designed for them.
 
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Brian Modarelli
Head of School