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.