Brookstone DLP Week Two

We’ve just finished week two of our Distance Learning Plan! Congrats Cougars! That’s quite an accomplishment! You continue to amaze us in the ways you are creating, connecting, collaborating and caring! We are blessed with the most wonderful community.

Some highlights you may have already seen here, here or here. But there were many more – too many to even highlight! So enjoy a few of the other brights spots from the week as we continue to connect to one another as a Brookstone family and yet stay home to stay healthy!

So in no particular order, here are some wonderful moments from week two!

Mr. Sullivan’s Weekly Check-in

Earlier this week, Mr. Sullivan, principal of the Middle and Upper School, sent a little video message to his Middle and Upper School students! I love hearing him speak Afrikanns at the end! 🙂

He later held Zoom meetings with each and every grade level!

Athletics

Our athletics department continues to push our athletes to stay in shape while at home! Not only through PE classes for our younger ones, but through workout challenges for our older ones! Here’s Coach Mason demonstrating below!

Servant Leadership

Our Servant Leadership Department has been hard at work encouraging our families to help out in a variety of ways during this time. Thanks to Meghan Blackmon and Sara Varner for their tireless efforts. You can click here to read more and to find ways you can help!

Pictured below is one of our very own, Nancy Rushin, who has taken it upon herself to help out her neighbors by cleaning up around their house and garden area.

Lower School Playdates and Passion Projects

Mrs. Leigh Anne Floyd, our Lower School Principal challenged our kids to have virtual playdates! What could be cuter than three year olds chatting away via the internet?

She also challenged our kiddos to take some time to pursue new hobbies or interests with their passions projects. Here is one student practicing to be a vet and taking up gardening!

Art

Our Art teachers have been hard at work engaging students at home! It’s simply amazing what our students are able to create.

Grace

We’ve also learned a lot! And one thing we’ve learned is that grace is so very important during this time. We are in the most unique time of our collective lives. Everything we are experiencing is historic. And we are all in this together. This article was shared with all of our faculty and it speaks volumes into the hearts of our teachers and administration.

Gratitude

We continue to hear from parents who are grateful with how the DLP is going for their families. Parents, thank you for taking the time to share!

 Dear MS teachers,

Just wanted to drop you a quick line to tell you how much I appreciate the tremendous effort you are putting into distance learning.  My daughter is doing well despite all the changes around her and it’s a large part due to the structure and activities she is getting from the daily assignments.

I really don’t know how you’re doing it while holding down the fort at home, but again, we are truly grateful!

Of course, I cannot wait until everyone can be back together again–what a celebration that will be!  We will surely value the simple things, even annoyances, we once took for granted, and who knows what other meaningful lessons we’ll learn from this.  I’ve come to realize that there’s a place for each of the “fruits of the spirit” in getting through this challenge, and hopefully, that will carry on for a long time. Take care!

I can’t really say thank you enough – we are beyond grateful and impressed with Brookstone’s ease of transition into distance learning. From a parent’s perspective (and I know it was most likely NOT so easy on the back-end), it was as if Brookstone flipped a switch that Friday morning and everyone knew precisely what to do, how to do it, and when. Clayton has been excited and engaged the entire time, and it truly is amazing to watch. We have said it before, and I know we will say it again, but thank you for all you do. Thank you for having an incredible team surrounding you and thank you for being such a source of encouragement to our little ones. We are forever thankful. Hope you are well and healthy. Hug your Clorox!

We are so proud to be Brookstone Cougars now and always. You all are going above and beyond right now and honestly, the outpouring love is felt and so deeply appreciated. Thank you dearly for all you do! Stay safe, well, and in a deep state of trust. Much love.

Thank you Technology Department!

If there is ever a time to be grateful for technology – it is now. On most days, you call on the Tech Department to replace a broken computer cord or investigate why the WiFi is not working. But most recently, we have called on the Tech Department to be an integral part of how we have temporarily restructured learning, almost completely moving to a virtual teaching and learning plan. The Tech Department stepped up in a way that is definitely a cut above the rest!

Once our Distance Learning Plans were established, they researched viable tech tools, instructed teachers on how to use them, labeled and tagged computers for students to take home, and developed a plan to ensure that the process would be as seamless as possible. All of this happened in a very short amount of time with all teams working across divisions. As we move forward in this distance learning journey, they continue to be everyone’s “right-hand person,” checking on students and calling families to walk them through tech issues. They have worked tirelessly to help Brookstone continue a legacy of loyalty, perseverance, honor, service, and respect and should be recognized for their unwavering leadership. Why Brookstone? Our Technology Department is why.

A Senior Perspective

The Class of 2020 has been on everyone’s mind as the end of their senior year has certainly not gone as planned. I asked Helen Farrar, my Ambassador Prefect, to share with me some of her thoughts on how this is going for her thus far. It serves as a reminder to all of us to keep this sweet class in our prayers! This is certainly not the way they imagined ending their years at Brookstone.

Some would think this break from school is exciting or relaxing. While both are true, my mind is racing. As a senior and a member of the class of 2020, I am losing the second half of my final year at Brookstone. And yes, we might be back on April 6th, but we also don’t know. There is a chance I will not go back for another day of high school. A chance I won’t give my deliberate life speech, go to my senior prom, or have a senior skip day. Other seniors will not have their final season of tennis, baseball, golf, soccer, or track. My senior year plans have already been changed, as I was going to Jamaica next week with about 30 of my classmates. We are missing time to soak up the last few months together at Brookstone. Everything is changing. Nothing will be the same for the class of 2020.

Who would have expected that I would be sitting in my living room talking to my teachers and peers on Zoom instead of in a classroom? A lot of students think school is boring and something they are forced to do. But I think after being at home for a week without seeing anyone, we have realized differently. Despite the tests, homework, and other assignments that come with school, we all love being there. The people at Brookstone make it worth all of the work. Yes, we are still connected and have not lost all communication, but there is something missing for me. Talking to people in person has another effect. It is easier to communicate with others.

Despite all of this, I believe Brookstone has done an incredible job of preparing students. They are focused on helping us succeed, even if that means having Zoom calls daily. The work we are doing feels like I am still going to school every day. My teachers have done an amazing job of keeping things as normal as they can be. I am staying positive through this entire experience because things change every day. My hope is that this pandemic will come to an end soon, and we will be back to school. 

An Update from Marty Lester, Head of School

Lastly, see below the most recent email from Mr. Marty Lester reflecting on the past few weeks and looking ahead.

Dear Brookstone Families,

One week into distance learning, our students and teachers are posting about their experiences, grade chairs are scheduling zoom meetings, and our coaches are sending workout plans and tips on how to stay healthy. Thank you for building connections and sustaining relationships, even at a distance. It would be impossible for me to overstate the excellent work by faculty and staff in preparing the school for this. I am very grateful for the commitment of teachers and staff to the students and to Brookstone. Likewise, it is difficult to adequately acknowledge the tremendous job you as parents have done and continue to do. Thank you for your support and partnership. We know that distance learning can create different challenges and opportunities depending on your unique circumstances and your child’s age. Spring Break is coming, and we encourage all of our parents, students, and faculty to take this time to rest and recharge.

As our understanding of the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, and as local, state, and federal decision-makers adjust their requirements in the face of changing conditions, we have decided to extend DLP through April. While we maintain a wait-and-see posture regarding the end of the year, it is our current plan to welcome all students back on Monday, April 27.

The month of April contains many significant events in the life of all four divisions. Some, like Prom on April 18, we are postponing—not canceling—with plans to reschedule when it is safe once again to gather in large groups. The annual Blue and White Day scheduled for April 24th will become a virtual competition – a time for school spirit to shine. Look for more information following spring break. Our divisions will be sharing details about any other postponements and changes through the weekly emails. 

Of course, we remain eager and ready to restart campus activities should anything change that would make that possible between now and April 27. In the meantime, we once again encourage parents to practice good social distancing with their children’s activities, and I ask that you read this informative article (“Social Distancing: This Is Not a Snow Day”) to ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to protect your children and your community. In particular, please read the section focused on social gatherings for children. Please know that when I or others insist on physical distancing and implore you to stay home, we’re doing it because we care about you. With every decision, we must also consider the broader implications of our actions on the greater public health. Let’s work together to help one another through these difficult times. 

During this time of distance learning, Brookstone will be “open” virtually for teaching, advising, counseling and many other aspects of school life. It will be different, but it still will be Brookstone because the most important part of this school is its people. 

Sincerely,

Marty Lester

 

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