Two Rivers Families,

As we approach the end of our first semester together, it is with deep gratitude that I serve with and beside you in supporting your children’s remote learning. I know personally that parenting, working, and sustaining family and self through a pandemic is complex and challenging. From where I stand as your executive director, I have never seen a more engaged and committed village. You are doing great! Breathe. You are making a difference in your students learning. Last week I encouraged our staff to take time over the break to pause, celebrate your impact, reflect, and refresh. I am encouraging you and our students to do the same!

As we head into the winter break, I want to provide you with an update about our plan for the third quarter. Based on our review of local and national health and safety indicators and survey feedback, we will continue in our remote posture through the third quarter. Our survey results showed that a majority of families prefer that their students continue learning remotely (63%) and that a significant majority of staff remain uncomfortable with onsite activity (80%). As a community, we are hopeful and interested to learn more about the use of COVID-19 testing strategies and vaccines to increase safety; however, to date, these options do not change our overall outlook or our plan for the third quarter.

Next quarter we will continue growing our capacity for small, specialized onsite activities. Specifically, on January 21, we will launch “Learning Hubs” through a partnership with AlphaBEST, our before and aftercare provider. AlphaBEST will initially support remote learning onsite at Young in three classrooms for Two Rivers students who are not finding success remotely. Each classroom can support up to nine students and will be led by two AlphaBEST staff members. Thus far, we have reached out to nearly fifty K-8 families identified for support by school teams. We have registered nearly twenty students for the available 27 spaces.

As we think about quarter three and beyond, we are actively building a model for limited onsite connection and instruction in grades PS3 and PK4. It is our hope that we can start small and grow onsite instruction for our youngest scholars. Our school teams are currently grappling with designs to identify the best path forward for in-person options for early grades. Even as we build the model, we are staying true to our design principles and our decision making protocol for being on site. We will plan to share an update on planning in this area when we return in January.

We will continue to structure opportunities for students to experience joy and receive in-person support. Our overall approach will remain the same: Do what our staff, families, and context tell us is safe while doubling down on a robust remote option that we know is vital for all students right now. We will also continue to ensure that every opportunity will remain optional for staff and students. You can find a summary of the survey insights from staff and families and our plan for the third quarter here.

The new year is fast approaching, and the future for our students is incredibly bright and exciting — we all need to rest and restore to get our full shine on when we come back together. I look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

In peace and gratitude,

Dr. Kristina