March 19, 2020

Dear Families,

Remember when we were all stressed out about having to start school late due to the bus driver shortage? That seems like an awfully small problem in comparison to what we're currently handling! COVID-19 has created perhaps the most wide-scale social, educational, financial, and logistical disruption that any of us have ever faced (or ever will). As unsettling as it is for your family and the Northwood community, it is equally unsettling for our staff members in the context of their own lives both within and beyond their jobs here at Northwood School. Despite this tumultuous situation, our staff members have pulled a proverbial rabbit out of a hat and launched distance learning for 400 students with just three days of preparation. I am truly astounded by what they have been able to accomplish in such a short time. 

There have been countless instances this week of our staff members going above and beyond. Some have cancelled personal or sick days in order to come to work to prepare. Some spent hours every day disinfecting items in classrooms. Others adjusted their work schedule to be able to arrive early or stay late so families could pick up materials at a convenient time. Everyone has offered help, suggestions, and moral support. Many of our educators have learned to use online platforms that they had barely even heard of a week ago while also planning for the next several days of instruction and grading work that’s been completed to prepare for issuing report cards. Our SAU and building administrators, food service staff, technology director, custodians, and the bus company have all been working around the clock to cut through red tape, tackle logistics, anticipate needs, and develop plans to get kids and families what they need to be successful in a distance learning model.

There have been already and will continue to be many challenges to overcome, questions to answer, and problems to solve as we navigate this new normal over the next couple of weeks. Our staff members are working incredibly hard. Many of them are working from home to teach your children while also supporting their own children's distance learning. Many of them are impacted by changes in their spouse’s work schedules. Many of them are experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, and sadness. Through this all, their commitment and dedication are unwavering. Our staff members care deeply about the academic and social success of your children and are determined to work through all of the challenges we will face in the coming weeks to preserve the continuity of instruction as well as the sense of community that makes our school so special.

Thank you for your positive messages, patience, and offers of support to our staff members in the last few days. As we greeted families who came to pick up materials on Wednesday, we received many appreciative and supportive comments. Many of our faculty and support staff have received positive emails and social media posts from parents as well. It has been a great morale booster for our staff to hear those kind words. Thank you for the opportunity to lead an amazing staff and serve such a strong and supportive community. I have never been more proud to be the principal of Northwood School. 

Take care,