This Week in Upper School 3.20.2020

Friday, March 20, 2020
Pride in Excellence and Community
Three weeks ago, we began discussions with faculty and students about the need to prepare for an anticipated school shutdown due to the spread of COVID-19. Teachers made emergency lesson plans as well as packets and resources in the event of a school closure, and students were told to bring home all materials each day.  Thursday, March 12th, the news came to close the school, and on that Friday, teachers, administrators, and IT worked together at school and from home to prepare for remote learning set to begin on Monday.  
This was no small task, but true to form, our amazing educators rose to the occasion!  On Monday at 9:00 am, teachers and students greeted one another across the Internet using Google Meet or Zoom so that they could continue building our AEC community during social distancing and so that learning could continue.  Amid all the stressors surrounding this global pandemic, it has been impressive to see the great learning experiences students are having each day. Kol hakavod to our AEC faculty! 
This week in High School, the AEC Advantage was front and center as student learning did not skip a beat! Students engaged in excellent discussions about the impact of art on society, the Cold War, great literature and plays, the Holocaust, the global pandemic and social distancing, and different ways to create art. They analyzed charts and graphs and shared information, research, and news they found on relevant topics related to Covid-19.  They learned and reviewed math concepts and grammar and vocabulary in Hebrew, Spanish, Mandarin, and French. They played music, discussed and wrote poetry, and laughed, and talked with one another, all from their respective homes. It is great to see so many smiling faces each day behind illuminated computer screens! 
A hearty congratulations to Liahm B. for winning a Silver Medal at the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest for his poem “Pessimistically Optimistic.” This is Liahm’s second year in a row winning at the national level.  Kol Hakavod. Mazel Tov to Judah H., who won the Gold Key award at the national level of the Scholastic Arts & Writing contest! Both Judah and Mr. Herringshaw have been invited to participate in the awards ceremony in July at Carnegie Hall in NYC! 
Coronavirus is not stopping Financial Math seniors from learning about “the real world.” Students continued their study of insurance and  today learned the difference between PPOs, HMOs, HSA and more. Next week they will study how to shop for health insurance and analyze their auto insurance policies.
Tips for Parents Adjusting to Virtual Learning
From your AEC School Counselors
There is no academic emergency right now!  These are unprecedented times and adults and children alike are working to adjust and cope with what is our new normal.
First and foremost, you are a parent.  Decrease the possible pressure you place on yourself to be the main educator or academic teacher at home.
Learning will look different than it did in in-school classrooms.
In order to thrive in stressful times children need supportive and stable relationships with the adults in their life.  Make time to listen and help them manage their expectations, fears, concerns and emotions.
Expect learning at home will be like a rollercoaster.  One minute you look around and all is going perfect, according to plan, and you feel like you have this home learning thing down.  Thirty seconds later, chaos ensues, meltdowns are happening and it is insanity. BREATHE, BREATHE and BREATHE. Then... BREATHE some more.
Model emotional control for your children.  Recognize when you need to tap out, step out or ask for help.  Practice the pause; pause before responding, pause before reacting, pause before speaking.      
Many parents are doing triple duty: parenting, working and teaching.  This is a huge ask on your emotional resources.  Make sure to take care of yourself and practice good self care.  Just as the airline industry says, put on your oxygen mask first before placing one on your child.
Lean on your support system.  Social distancing does not mean social disengagement.  These are times when social support of family, friends and community are vital to our  overall well being.
Reach out to AEC counselors!  We are here for students, faculty, AND parents.
Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Reading will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.
May we lean into the good stuff that remains.