Hello CA Parents,
I do hope that you and your families are doing well. I joked in a video to the students yesterday that it has felt like 17 years since we moved to virtual instruction. While that was clearly an exaggeration, when looking back at some of the pictures from the beginning of the school year, it certainly feels like a LONG time ago that we were all together.
I’m writing today with two purposes in mind:
- To provide a one-stop shop to find some good information about the year just completed.
- To share timelines for sharing planning for next year.
Let me start with the latter.
We continue to make good progress on planning for next school year, even though so much remains uncertain. Next week, I will hold a Town Hall during our regularly scheduled Wednesday, June 3 Leadership Lunch at 12pm. There will be no limit on numbers, and therefore no registration. In addition, we will record the session for folks who are unable to join live. The link to attend will come from Ali Page early next week. During that session, I will unpack some more detail regarding next school year – with a little thought exercise that might prove illuminating.
On Thursday, June 4, I will write the weekly CA Curious blog that will cover some of the details from the webinar. You can find that in the CA Weekly email. Our next community update is planned for Friday, June 19, after faculty have had a chance to do the first wave of organizational planning. That will go out via a direct email from me.
For details of our current planning, please see this website. This site can also be accessed through the “hamburger menu” of our caryacademy.org website (far right, yellow box, three lines). And, yes, the hamburger can be meatless if you’d like.
Where to find some other really good stuff about Cary Academy
I don’t know about you, but the switch to all virtual work as put a huge strain on my email inbox. Information is flowing so fast and furious that it can be hard to keep up. To help you out, I thought I’d share a few key links that might let you catch up on things you missed this spring.
Our new public-facing website launched this spring, and we’ve relocated our CA Curious blogs. They first appear in the CA Weekly and give insight into the innerworkings of CA. To see how we’ve been using Dialogue to foster community, even at a distance, check out this entry from Danielle Johnson-Webb. If you want to understand how our planning next year is informed by our mission and vision, check out this entry from Heather Clarkson.
We’ve had to create some new methods to celebrate our seniors this year. You don’t have to be a member of the Class of 2020 to join in the fun. Check out the comprehensive site here, even watch a bit of the live (now recorded) ceremony. The N&O ad, linked on the site, features pictures of all the seniors and all the wonderful colleges they will be attending in the fall.
In case you missed it or need a reminder that we actually were on campus together this year, here is a link to the virtual ? The Magazine of Cary Academy that was released in April. That issue covered most of the second trimester.
Finally, I’ve been trying to lift the spirits of our students with a few videos attached to my daily emails, some of which you may have seen on our social media. Fair warning, one student deemed my humor “odd:” April Fool’s Day | Insiders’ Tour of CA | Charger Report Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3.
Finally, really this time, a HUGE thanks to those who stepped up in our spring CA Fund drive to support families in financial need and the campus adjustments needed to prepare for next fall. Here is a special thanks, featuring David Snively.
I hope you are all doing well on a beautiful Friday afternoon.
As you are aware, the public-health response to Covid-19 continues to evolve rapidly. I’m writing to provide a short video update and a web resource to help you follow our planning for a safe and successful start to next school year.
There is much we do not know at the moment, so our current planning is defined by flexibility and doubling down on what we know we can control – learning from this spring to create the most flexible and responsive teaching and learning framework possible for next year and beyond. Toward that end, our faculty will be shortening their summers by three weeks to collaborate on creating a robust digital core that can anchor anything that comes our way – and yet remains true to our mission and strategic vision.
As our planning evolves, I will continue to update our families on new developments. We will update this website regularly throughout the summer and continue to hold virtual coffees and lunches to answer questions and keep families informed.
As some of you may know, May 1 is traditionally the day where seniors commit to their college of choice. At Cary Academy, it is also a day where we hold a senior picnic to celebrate. With that event being canceled due to the coronavirus, a spectacular subcommittee of the PTAA sprang into action to surprise seniors this morning with a yard sign and a goodie bag slung over the doorknob.
A huge thanks to the following parents: Malissa Larsen (PTAA President), DeAnnah Baker (Grade Level Coordinator), Amy Marshall (Grade Level Coordinator), Bonnie Reed (Grade Level Coordinator), Elaine Courts, Robin Dorfman, Kimberly Eheman, Jenn George, Lisa Kerns, Kimberly Logel, Elisabeth McMahon, Melissa Matton, and Donna Walker.
You can look to some of our social media sites for pictures, but I have included a few below with Ms. Holland and Mrs. Jones – who were invited to help out with delivery this morning.
It has been a joy to work alongside such a dedicated group of PTAA parents this year, as we’ve worked to sustain our sense of community while physically distancing. Thank you to all who have joined our virtual coffees, dialogues, and leadership lunches. Attendance has been astounding. Keep an eye out in the CA Weekly for more opportunities to connect. Of course, more out-of-sight for parents has been the community building happening between students and faculty. Advisories, clubs, and affinity groups have been important sources of support and fellowship. In addition, student-run spirit weeks and the Earth Day celebration brought learning and levity into our virtual community. While some events have had to be canceled, it was a joy to see the US talent show launch on YouTube last night.
We are looking to narrow down end-of-year celebrations. This has taken longer than we might have liked, but we have wanted to hold out as long as possible for any opportunities to meet up face-to-face. We are now looking much more closely at the May calendar and will get details out in the next week. Thank you for your flexibility as we seek to balance many different competing wishes and needs.
Planning for 2020-2021
This morning, in a virtual Town Hall with employees, I shared some information about our planning for next school year. With all that still remains unknown regarding the virus and governmental or health guidance, we are beginning with what we can control. We have started working groups on academics, policy, health and safety, and facilities and campus operations. We believe there a lot of positive takeaways from this term, and that we will be prepared to start the school year strong and ready to meet ongoing challenges.
To aid our planning, we will be seeking some formal feedback from students and parents in the coming weeks.
We entered this crisis from a position of strength, which will allow us to meet financial headwinds. Our just completed admissions season was among the strongest on record and we have not seen any unusual patterns since.
However, we do recognize that the stay-at-home orders have hurt some of our families — and that impacts are still emerging. In my last email, I mentioned that we have launched an Emergency Tuition Assistance Program, with consideration deadlines of May 15 and June 15. Parents seeking more information should contact Heather Clarkson, director of admission and financial aid.
I wish you all a great weekend, I and hope to see some of you (at a safe distance) on the trails tomorrow for our 5K!