April 2nd Update: School Closure Through End of School Year

 

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1335 Calle Bouganvilla Thousand Oaks, California 91360     805.492.3569 www.bridgescharter.org



2 April 2020


Dear Bridges Community,


It is with heartbreak and regret to announce to you that Bridges Charter School will be following the recommendation of Governor Newsom, State Superintendent Thurmond, and the Ventura County Health Department in our decision to close our school site through the remainder of the school year. 


We know the impact of this decision will be felt deeply by all in our community, and with this in mind, we have delayed the decision as much as possible, but recognize that our community safety is the most important factor to consider. 


Distance Learning

Although our school site will be closed, this does not mean that learning will end. Rather, we have transitioned all of our classrooms from site-based, classroom-based instruction to distance learning. All of our classrooms are currently up and running as Google Classrooms, and we will continue this Distance Learning model through the end of the school year. 


At Bridges this model includes both asynchronous and synchronous instruction for all students; student learning and academic growth will still be closely monitored, and services for our most at-risk students will be provided to the greatest degree possible from a virtual setting. 


Though we have transitioned to this model efficiently, we also are in the process of working out logistical kinks, we are re-working new recommendations from the county and state, and we are working on ensuring that all students in our community are receiving equitable access to learning. 


We want to underline for you that Distance Learning is not a minute-by-minute replacement for classroom based learning. Instead, we expect that you develop a rhythm for your family system that flexibly integrates the required elements of the Distance Learning program provided by your child’s teacher. 


At a very minimum, we expect that you will make every effort for your child to participate in the live whole group and small group instruction provided by your child’s teacher in addition to supporting your students through prioritized assignments given by your child’s teacher. 


Whole Child Learning in a Virtual Setting 

As a school focused on Whole Child development, we recognize the most important facet of this abrupt and unprecedented transition is to ensure the emotional health and stability of our students and their families. 


Our teachers have recognized the most important need right now is to sustain personal connections with their classroom communities, to continue supporting personal connections with their students, and to provide as much guidance for families as possible. Our current goal is to make a personal connection with each student and/or their families at least once a week in addition to the classroom instruction taking place via live or scheduled video. 


If you are struggling with implementing Distance Learning in your household, please reach out earlier rather than later. We have resources available to support your family who can provide 1-1 or small group support. 


Common Distance Learning Platform

Everything necessary for your child to successfully participate in Distance Learning is available on this central website: https://sites.google.com/bridgescharter.org/bridgescharterschool/home


Resources for our Community 

Technology: If you are still in need of a chrome book or wifi hotspot to successfully engage in Distance Learning, please let your child’s teacher or Ms. Cindy know 

(cindy.mccarthy@bridgescharter.org


Meals: Free meals for children ages 2-18 are available at local CVUSD schools: https://www.conejousd.org/Free-Meal-Information


Information about Talking to your Children about COVID-19: 

Finding the Upside: https://inservice.ascd.org/finding-the-upsides-in-an-uncertain-time/

 

Policy Information: https://inservice.ascd.org/a-whole-school-whole-community-whole-child-approach-to-responding-to-health-crises/


Talking to your children: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/helping-children-cope-with-changes-resulting-from-covid-19

 

Talking to your children: https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/


Live Weekly Parent Meditations

https://sites.google.com/bridgescharter.org/bridgescharterschool/mindfulness-with-marcy-ahn?authuser=0


Other Needs: If you are a high risk family and need help with grocery shopping or other errands, please let me know and I will match you with a family who is able to help. 


Supply Pick-Up

Although we were able to offer a supply pick-up early in executing this process, we no longer feel it to be safe for our employees or families to do another supply pick-up, therefore we will continue providing assignments, books, and supplies digitally. If you need help accessing any supplies necessary for Distance Learning, please let your child’s teacher or administration know. 


Opportunities and Gratitude 

This scenario is not ideal for any of us, and I am incredibly grateful for our teachers, staff, students, and their families who have navigated this transition with kindness, grace, and intentionality. 


We appreciate your continued empathy as we work out the kinks involved with quickly transitioning to a new way of doing school. 


Transitions and hardships provide opportunities for reflection, connection and therefore growth. We recognize we are also in a position to harness opportunities for connection with each other in new ways, and we have the unprecedented opportunity to re-vision “school”. For this we continue to hold enthusiasm despite the instability. 


I also want to extend particular gratitude for the essential employees in our Bridges family who are tirelessly serving our community. We are cheering you on from the side lines, and if you need anything from our community including encouragement, please reach out. 


With great appreciation, and in partnership, 



Dr. Kelly Simon

Director, Bridges Charter School 



NOTE: I will be hosting two zoom sessions next week for Bridges Parents to offer more information about our Digital Learning platform in addition to answering questions that you may have. Please RSVP on parentsquare.

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