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Upper School

Marnie SadlowskyTed ParkerDear Families,

It probably goes without saying that we continue to be in challenging times – especially for those who are committed to educating children in a school like ours, one that is so committed to student-centered learning in the context of a full range of engaging courses, clubs, and activities; a flexible schedule, with so many opportunities to discover strengths and passions; and a full slate of community activities such as assemblies, King Talks, and special presentations.  We are also aware – and many of you have said this to me personally – that it is impossible to come to consensus on the “best” way to do everything. Such is the nature of our historical moment. However, throughout our extensive research and subsequent planning, we have stayed grounded in the following:

  • Prioritizing the importance of being able to be together each day on campus.
  • Prioritizing our commitment to academic excellence and the student experience, holding our commitment to our students’ growth as learners, people, and responsible, engaged citizens of our country and world – just as we did prior to COVID-19.
  • Committing to a safe environment that follows the health guidelines we are receiving every step of the way, being prepared to pivot in and out of our schedule and program smoothly.

The results of our planning are to make significant changes to the way we use space and time in the Upper School, particularly in terms of our commitment to making it possible for students to come to campus and to be with their teachers in person as much as possible. 

Marnie Sadlowsky, Associate Head of School for Program, Head of Upper School
Ted Parker, Associate Head of Upper School, Academic Dean


Teaching and Learning 

Our Upper School Schedule for 2020-2021 includes the following highlights:

  • After we create sections of each course, we will divide the US student body into two cohorts, A and B. US siblings will be placed in the same cohort. Each cohort will follow a week that includes:
    • Two days learning in classrooms with their teachers and classmates from their cohort.
    • Two days learning online, engaging actively in a range of online lessons and group work, and in some cases joining the other halves of their classes via video-conference. We expect students will be able conduct their two online learning days at home or under King supervision at the Italian Center.
    • Remote Connect Wednesdays, when students will engage from home in large-group activities like assemblies, King Talks, and club meetings as well as in one-on-one video-conference office hours with their teachers.
    • Here is a visual of our schedule.
  • Advisory will meet daily for students in both cohorts, and lunch provided by FLIK will be served to Advisory groups.
  • To concentrate students’ learning time, classes in four of our eight color periods will be active at a given time. After an interval of some weeks, we will alternate, running classes in the other four color periods. We plan to utilize a special schedule in May 2021 for students to consolidate their learning from classes in all eight color periods before the Summer Break. 
  • We have moved students’ “sixth” major courses (with the exception of all music and art electives) out of the schedule for this year, asking those students to take them at a later time.  Jessica Landis and her college counseling team have already begun to individually counsel those students through choosing their five majors. In addition, we are offering several AP courses fully online through a new partnership with One Schoolhouse, an online consortium of independent schools.

Learn more about the schedule by watching these videos:

Part 1: The Model (4:32)
Part 2: The Strategy (5:22)
Part 3: The Components
      3a: Blended Learning (2:42)
      3b: Remote Connect Wednesday (4:12)
      3c: A Modular Schedule (3:12)

Physical Space

  • We anticipate the use of the Italian Center for students to be on campus during their online learning days
  • Our staffing has increased to reduce class sizes and allow for social distancing
  • Daily cleaning of classrooms
  • All desks arranged 6 feet apart, facing the same direction
  • Directional signs to allow for social distancing 
  • See videos explaining the physical space use in the Upper School