Steve Hancock Written by  Apr 06, 2020

Update from the Headmaster: Your Feedback on Distance Learning and More - April 6, 2020

Dear Parents,

Thank you to the hundreds of families who completed our recent survey. I was pleased to see that over 90% of you feel the school is serving the boy’s needs during this time. We have read every comment and taken to heart what families are telling us about this time of distance learning. As you might imagine, the comments run the gamut from positive to frustrated.

First, I want to acknowledge that doing school remotely is difficult and challenging. Not only have our teachers implemented the most significant educational pivot in history, but you have had to change in so many ways as well. This type of learning is especially difficult for our youngest learners. This way of doing school is temporary and not ideal. I am so proud of the teaching staff who is adapting and changing to this situation daily. Thank you for continuing to partner with us.

We have begun “live” classes in each grade over the past weeks. Some families have asked for more of these classes, and some have asked for less. We are trying to balance both the academic and social/emotional needs of our boys. PDS is a wonderful community, and we want boys to see each other and interact to help with the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Our youngest boys will continue to utilize Zoom classrooms to help them feel connected. Instruction will continue to come through videos and emails to help families plan school into each unique family scenario. Our older boys are developing more of a routine with live classes, and we are continually evaluating and analyzing what is best for boys in this less than ideal situation. Learn more about how we are keeping our boys safe with Zoom.

I have learned from the survey that some of you have incurred additional expenses for childcare. We are looking at ways in which we can help, but don’t have answers right now. I can tell you now that we will be issuing lunch and after-care refunds once we know how many days we will be away from school. If you were registered for an after school adventure that did not occur, you will not be billed for those events. I anticipate sharing additional information once the crisis has died down on or before May 1.

A few weeks ago, I shared that our campus would remain closed until we have further information from the health authorities and government. I feel confident that we will not be back together again during April. As soon as I know more information, I will certainly communicate with you. We remain very hopeful that we will be back together as a school community this academic year.

It is my goal to continue to communicate with PDS families on Mondays and Wednesdays. Monday will be an email communication, and Wednesday will be through our weekly newsletter - the PDS Express. All of my communications are archived at pdsmemphis.org/covid19. While we have canceled many things in April, please note that we continue to have school holidays on Good Friday (April 10) and Easter Monday (April 13). I hope you can utilize this time to celebrate all the promises of Easter.

The leadership team of PDS meets daily to discuss this very fluid situation. We are praying for our PDS community and the broader community of Memphis, the United States, and the World. I encourage you to do the same.

Sincerely,

Steve Hancock
Headmaster

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Steve Hancock

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Presbyterian Day School (PDS) is a private, Christian preschool and elementary school serving 500 boys from 2-years-old through 6th grade.

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