The recent statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocating for the physical return to school is a poignant reminder for all families with school-age children of the value of face-to-face learning. As we speak, this value is currently being felt in our community as area fields and day camps repopulate with children quenching a degree of human interactivity and place-based learning after a screen-filled spring of distance learning.
The pandemic’s forced closure of schools will lead to profound and rippling lessons to be applied within our K-12 educational community for years to come. Teachers, schedules and technology have been tested, not to mention parents who have shifted gears and managed learning from the kitchen table while juggling professional lives. Schools have experienced an unplanned shift never seen in the likes of modern education, and while the probability of more distance learning has loomed on the horizon, most schools were not hankering to jump on the bandwagon quite yet. Many of us would likely concur that kids benefit from having a physical school in their lives.
As area schools’ reopening plans emerge this summer, small schools may be best positioned to succeed due to their manageable small class sizes and ability to safely and effectively social distance students and teachers on their campuses. Research continues to prove small class sizes are most optimal for student engagement and performance, and this fall, large schools may well be tested as they potentially reconfigure space and schedule to accommodate students and the learning they deserve.
Here in Severna Park, St. Martin’s Episcopal School, a small preschool-through-grade-eight private school, has been actively preparing for a full-time and full-week return that will keep all students and staff safe while promising an active and meaningful learning environment in and out of the physical classroom. Our 8-acre campus allows for multiple entryways and zones for the three distinct age groups whom we serve. Adaptations and protocols will be implemented to ensure a healthy and secure space while minimizing and mitigating risks.
It may temporarily look a little different than the school our students left behind in mid-March, but as a small school and as our mission promotes, we will adjust and accommodate to best meet the needs of our students and their families. With flexibility in mind as well as information and wisdom from federal and local officials and the regional educational organizations with whom we collaborate, we are seeing a path back to site-based school come September 8, 2020.
St. Martin’s is an affordable and independently accredited preschool-through-grade-eight school committed to building students of confidence, character and compassion. For more information about enrollment, contact Kira Dickson, director of admissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-647-7055.
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