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Roles & Expectations: Parents/Guardians

This Guide provides insights about how we all can intentionally align online/home learning with CDS Learning Beliefs. It also provides guidelines about how CDS faculty and families can leverage digital and experiential learning to bring this curriculum to life.

The Active Role & Expectations of Parents/Guardians in Online Home Learning

  • Establish routines and expectations: be sure that your child(ren) are appropriately dressed, fed and prepared for learning before home learning begins for the day
  • Define the physical space for your child’s study. Provide an environment conducive to learning (access to technology, safe and quiet during daytime)
  • Monitor communications from your children’s teachers via ParentSquare/Email
  • Begin and end each day with a check-in:
    Engage in conversations on posted materials and assignments
  • Take an active role in helping your children make sense of this way of learning
  • Establish times for quiet and reflection
  • Encourage physical activity and/or exercise
  • Remain mindful of your child’s stresses or worry
  • Monitor how much time your child is spending online
  • Keep your children social, but set rules around their social media interactions
  • Balance time spent engaging in online and offline learning
  • During synchronous online times, we ask that a caregiver/parent be nearby
  • Support emotional balance by providing ample room and time for reflection, physical activity, conversation, and play
  • Communicate questions/concerns with teachers in a prompt and timely manner


An Introduction to Online/Home Learning

At Children’s Day School, we believe that teaching and learning happen best in person. That said, in the event of a prolonged school closure, we believe it is important to provide continuity and connection for our students by offering an online/home learning plan that is aligned with grade-level content and learning goals and provides students with a routine and planned opportunities to continue to think, learn, reflect and grow under the guidance of their teachers. With this goal in mind, the academic program administration team has developed the following document to outline our approach to online/home learning. This document defines the responsibilities of each member of the community, the basic structure and expectations for each division, and the platforms that we intend to use to support our online/home learning plan.

California Association of Independent School (CAIS) Guidelines

CAIS will count school days during closures as minimum days requiring 3.5 hours of learning activities each school day. Schools have the option of requiring more time for daily learning but the minimum day is the baseline requirement from CAIS.
Parents and teachers should plan for students, grades two through twelve, to spend a minimum of 3.5 hours each day in learning activities. Teachers will create and share learning activities via an online platform.

For grades 2 – 8 learning activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Activities that leverage the use of technology such as online learning, app-based lessons, video lessons, teleconferencing, etc.
  • Textbook based learning, reading, workbooks, and/or packets of work sent home
  • Interactive or hands-on lessons
  • Other activities as designed by instructional staff to meet learning objectives for the grade and subject area, and to align with the school’s instructional approach

Grades pre-kindergarten through first will develop their own requirements.

CDS School Closure Protocol

In the event a school closure of more than three days is necessary, we will inform the community immediately through a text and phone alert with our emergency notification system (One Call Now) and a ParentSquare note.

The first two days will be treated like a weather-related closure to allow faculty and staff an opportunity to prepare for online/home learning that will begin for students on the third day of closure.

Once we begin online/home learning the experience will vary depending on the grade of a student. We will offer connections and assignments through video interactions with classmates and teachers.

It is our expectation that all CDS students engage in the online/home learning provided by CDS faculty and staff. These are not optional activities but, rather, a way to maintain continuity of instruction. If a child is sick or unable to complete assignments for any reason, the family should notify the teacher and division head.

Teachers and staff who are healthy and able to work remotely will be “on the clock” from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. each school day. The specific expectations and platforms differ by Division and are outlined below.

Two Key Words Regarding Online/Home Learning

Asynchronous: Students engage in class materials and complete work at their own pace, typically within a given timeframe: without real-time interaction. Currently, Seesaw (LS) and Google Classroom (MS) are asynchronous experiences.

Synchronous: Students engage in real-time, together, virtually, using a platform like Zoom, or others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my child fall behind and how will you address that?

We understand that you might be concerned that your child is missing out on critical content and skill development during this time of remote learning.  Over the spring break, our faculty worked to identify the critical content and skills to work toward at each grade level for the remainder of the school year and we are confident that our home / online learning plan will provide opportunities for students to continue approaching grade-level learning goals.  At the same, time we know that conditions for learning are not optimal and that we will need to be strategic in our work to ensure that all of our students meet their individual learning goals.  Our academic leadership team is already exploring strategies that will help to address this challenge and we are confident in our ability to do this work.  We know our students well and have the resources we need to adapt and differentiate our curriculum and teaching to meet needs that arise as a result of this temporary campus closure.  We, like many others in the education community, encourage you to remember the big picture and take the long view when considering the impact that temporary distance learning will have on a lifetime of learning.  While learning from home is different from learning on campus, there are great opportunities for your children to continue to develop the 21st-century learning skills (creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking) that frame the CDS approach.  How can your child continue to be creative, collaborate, communicate and think critically while learning from home?  What routines, structures and activities can you engage in as a family that might nurture these skills? To learn more, you can read this message to families from Denise Pope at Stanford’s Challenge Success. 

What is the rationale behind the balance of synchronous and asynchronous engagement? Why aren’t you doing a full schedule of synchronous teaching?

Leaders in the field of designing for online learning remind us that it is important to see asynchronous learning experiences as equally valuable as synchronous ones. According to Global Online Academy, a leader in the field of online learning design, “asynchronicity allows students time to work at their own pace, to take time to compose ideas, and to express themselves in ways that might not be possible in real-time. In addition, asynchronous work allows students to absorb content, prepare assignments, and complete projects offline: it’s a way to avoid hours of staring at screens. 

Our schedules have been developed with the following key questions in mind, What types of learning experiences require synchronous connection and which synchronous experiences can be turned into asynchronous experiences? Feedback from both students and families expressed a need to be mindful of the amount of synchronous engagements we are providing due to 1) a desire to minimize screen time and 2) the challenge of scheduling.  Sustainability, flexibility and wellness have been key drivers of our decision making regarding the schedule.  It turns out, we are not alone.  To learn more about schedules and how other independent schools are approaching the challenge of scheduling for online learning you can read this study from Global Online Academy.

What if I want more than the teacher is offering?

We recognize that some of our students and families are eager for more school learning engagement than is being required by the core classroom teachers.  In these cases, we remind you that our ECP and LS specialist teachers are offering a robust menu of weekly engagements for our students to complete, and are summarized in the weekly Sunday posts.  Additionally, our Butterflies and Extended Care program are also offering a menu of weekly engagements that keep kids learning, playing, and connected to their CDS home.  If you are still looking for more, our division heads and academic leadership team have curated a list or recommended online learning resources for you to explore at home. 

What if I want less?

Every student and every family is unique and will respond to the current context in ways that make sense and meet needs that are equally important.  Learning at home and online during a public health crisis is an entirely new way of life for all of us.  It is NOT business as usual.  It is important to honor your experience and make choices that make sense for your family’s well being, and to do that with confidence during this time.  If that means, prioritizing and limiting the amount of time spent on online home learning, to spend more time on house chores and being with family, then we support you to make that choice.  As you prioritize and make choices about which assignments to complete, we recommend that you prioritize assignments from your child’s core classroom teachers in the major subject areas (language arts, math).  We also encourage you to speak directly with your child’s teachers and/or advisor to seek help in prioritizing and managing the workload.  No child or family should leave this experience feeling like they have failed at online / home learning.  We are here to support you and committed to ensuring that all of our students and families can engage and participate with confidence and success.

How will I know how my child is doing and who do I get support from if things aren’t going well?

While we are learning from home, many of the same structures and systems remain in place for supporting students and communicating concerns.  Your child’s teachers continue to be the first point of contact when you have a question or concern about your child’s learning.  Likewise, if a teacher has a question or concern about your child’s learning, work habits or well being, they will likely reach out either to your child (MS) or you as the parent.  Teachers are continuing to provide regular feedback about learning by commenting on work in SeeSaw (ECP, LS) or on assignments submitted in google classroom.  Teachers are also continuing to meet with our learning support team and specialists to check-in and problem solve when challenges arise.

I am struggling with finances, how can CDS help?

We have started to talk with families and define a process for how best to understand and evaluate true needs within the scope of the school’s finite resources. Paul Galvin, our Director of Finance and Operations is available to talk with you about the process and options for support.


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