As we consider various scenarios for the 2020-2021 school year, know that we are engaged in significant planning to better understand what is safe, what is practical, and what is aligned with the Roeper mission and philosophy.
Our teachers and staff members have been engaged in a variety of task forces to plan and coordinate program for this semester and the fall. As we think through the operational and governance needs necessary to guide our school into the next year and beyond, we will be expanding this work.
One area that will be essential for us to better understand is the impact of the home learning program on our students, our teachers, and you – our parents. Most of the scenarios we will consider will include some form of distance learning; we need to know what has worked, what has not, and how this type of teaching and learning impacts the health and well-being of our community.
As we begin to gather this data, we will start with a survey of our middle and upper school students and all of our faculty and staff. We will expand our data collection in the next couple of weeks to include our parent body. This data will help guide us in our planning and provide a deeper understanding into the health needs of our community.
The physical and mental health challenges our community continues to face as a result of the coronavirus, our extended time under a stay at home order, and the economic consequences of the pandemic have placed greater strain on each of us. What can we do to support each other and our students? How do we address the anxiety, stress, and health challenges that we experience now, and will continue to work through after the threat of the virus has passed?
Our parent organization, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), has partnered with Dr. Suniya Luthar to help schools gather data to study resilience in all teachers and staff and in 6th through 12th grade students as we work through the difficulties of this pandemic. To support this work and to gain greater insight into our community, Roeper will be participating in a survey called – “Doing well in the face of stress”. Dr. Luthar, the lead clinician in this study, is the Chief Research Officer of Authentic Connections (AC) and has previously been on the faculty at Columbia University’s Teachers College and at Yale University. More about her research publications, honors and awards may be found at SuniyaLuthar.org.
The results of this survey will help Roeper build upon our strengths and address areas in which we can improve, given our recent shift to distance learning. Authentic Connections will analyze the data and report back aggregated results along with recommendations on how we can improve well-being among all members in our community.
We are counting on the honest responses of our students in guiding us on areas most needing attention, so please encourage them to respond to each survey question truthfully. All of the survey responses are completely anonymous. There is no way for anyone to trace a response back to an individual (even IP addresses are not recorded)!
To ensure maximum usefulness of the data, we strongly encourage all students in 6th through 12th grade to complete the survey. However, you have the option to have your child opt out of the survey. Please send an email to your division director if you would prefer that your child not participate.
After we complete this student and faculty survey, we will expand our outreach to include all parents on both campuses. We want to hear your perspectives on the successes, and the areas of improvement for our distance learning program. As we shape the scenarios that will guide our decision making, your voice is critical in providing insight and perspective.
I thank you in advance for sharing your insight; I am grateful for your willingness to participate, and hope that the data we collect will benefit all of us in the Roeper School community.