"CHCA is not closed. Our buildings are closed, but
we are actively engaged in remote benchmark learning during this time."
This can be a scary and confusing time students. An emotional impact is likely on both kids and adults stemming from the Coronavirus as well as related news coverage and conversations. We encourage parents to engage in conversations about this with their child and help them process any fears. The following resources as good starting points:
Resources for Talking to Your Kids:
- The ABCs of COVID-19: CNN and Sesame Street Coronavirus Town Hall for Kids and Parents
- Live Science: The Ultimate Kids' Guide to the New Coronavirus
- Healthline: How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus
- Psychology Today: How to Talk to Your Anxious Child About the Coronavirus
- NPR: Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
- Steve Calechman: Coronavirus, Wildfires, Oh My: What to Say to a Child Who’s Scared By the News
General Information for You:
- Ryan Atkins '07: 8 ways to be productive while social distancing (I would know)
- Washington Post: Social Distancing Simulator
- Johns Hopkins Interactive Map
- Problem with your high speed broadband/Wi-Fi? Free 60 Day Access from Charter
- Hamilton County Public Health
- ODH: OH Dept of Health
- CDC: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- 04/24/20 Email: Remote Learning Extended through End of Year; Survey Feedback, Assessment, Faculty In-Service 05/01/20
- 04/20/20 Email: Finishing Strong by Randy Brunk
- 04/03/20 Update: Gr 3-12 Athletics Suspended until 05/01/20
- 03/30/20 Email: Remote Learning Extension through 05/01/20
- 03/19/20 Email: A Message from Randy Brunk
- 03/18/20 Email: A Brief Status Update
- 03/16/20 Email: Dr. Nick's Message to the Class of 2020
- 03/14/20 Update: Service & SOS Activities from now until 04/05/20
- 03/13/20 Email: Perspective as We Head Into Spring Break
- 03/13/20 Email: Private Music Lesson Program Distance Learning
- 03/12/20 Email: Update and Instructions for School on 03/13/20
- 03/12/20 1:47 PM All Call
- 03/10/20 Email: Important CHCA COVID-19 Update
We have begun our fifth week of remote learning at CHCA and with Governor DeWine’s announcement this week, we now have five more weeks to go. I want to share with you the feedback we have received and the work our faculty has been doing to continue perfecting our practice. This new educational methodology has gone from a stop gap measure for two weeks of remote classes, to a new way of doing school for the fourth quarter. Our teachers and administrators have risen to the challenge and thrived in this new environment. At a time when schools nationally and locally have been riddled with complaints and frustrations with a lack of academic progress and relational engagement, your feedback has been abundant and overwhelmingly positive.
Over the course of four days, we had 985 responses to the remote learning feedback survey with participation rates high across all grade levels. When asked about your overall experience, 88.4% of our families rated it either good, very good, or excellent. From the beginning, we have emphasized with faculty the need for CHCA’s remote learning to be highly relational, which is one of the unique strengths of a CHCA education. When asked how well our teachers are connecting with their students, 92% said that it met or exceeded their expectations. When asked about the amount of schoolwork for their child, 72% responded “just right” while 18% felt “too much” and 11% said “too little.”
As our teachers have been adjusting to this new environment, they are also continuing to refine how to best teach remotely. We have been having ongoing internal conversations on best practices for online and remote teaching and learning. Our first conversation centered on “priority benchmarks”—what are the key big ideas and enduring understandings that must be learned to successfully move on the next grade or the following course. Teachers analyzed their curricula for the key points of focus to achieve 4th Quarter benchmarks and then built their units accordingly for a remote environment. Teachers have been innovative, creative, and engaging in reworking their lessons and scaffolding of work. In the Lower School, the first two weeks of remote learning were review and enrichment of “big ideas” already covered. But these past two weeks, they have been moving their classes forward, tackling new concepts to fulfill the benchmark learning for the year.
An important part of education is assessing what students know and are able to do, and this also needs to look different in a remote learning environment. Many schools have gone to pass/fail for the rest of the school year. This is because they either do not believe their students have the capability to learn in this environment (due to access to technology, parental support, special needs, etc.) or teachers are not able to appropriately assess their learning. At CHCA we believe that our students have the ability and means to continue learning in this environment and our teachers are thinking through new ways to authentically assess their students in meaningful ways. We owe this to them and to you! Their work is not to check a box or jump through an academic hoop. They have worked hard and assessing them matters! This will look different than in a purely traditional setting. In the Upper School for instance, we will not be having cumulative final semester exams. We will be assessing what your student has learned and where they can still continue to grow. This may be assessed in a variety of ways such as a Zoom presentation, a project, an interview, or essay. And we will continue to assess them and ourselves as we move into next year. In the Fall, we intend to utilize a different standardized assessment that will evaluate each student’s learning over this past year and what concepts may need to be reviewed or remediated with a specific learning plan for each student. Despite these differences in our current learning environment, we remain committed to delivering the best Christ-centered, academically rigorous education to your student.
We are creating another faculty in-service/work day on next Friday, 05/01/20 so our teachers have time to prepare for the next month of remote learning. Students will not have class next Friday as teachers work collaboratively and plan for the remainder of the year.
In closing, on this Faculty Appreciation Day, I want to thank all of you for the overflowing love and kindness you blessed our teachers with today. We so appreciate your support and partnership with us during this difficult time as we navigate the current situation in our world. And that is why this education matters so much. We know that we are not only preparing our students for next year’s class or for a college course load. We are preparing them to be salt and light in a broken world, agents of redemption to demonstrate God’s Kingdom. They will use creative minds and expanded hearts to bring change and hope and shalom. What we do here matters eternally! Who knows how God will use these next five weeks to shape these young people into the leaders who will navigate the next “unprecedented times” for the glory of God! CHCA’s best days are ahead.
Dean Nicholas ▪ Upper School Principal, Gr 7-12
I’d like to first and foremost thank you for your overwhelming support and encouragement during these challenges we’re all facing together. It is our top priority to keep our community healthy and our children well educated. We don’t take for granted what a huge commitment that has been on your part. Please know you have been a blessing to our teachers and administration here at CHCA. Given Governor DeWine’s announcement that schools will continue with remote learning for the remainder of the school year, we will press ahead to complete the year with excellence, doing everything we can to ensure teachers and students are well equipped for success along the way.
As we work to finish this year strong, we also prepare to face a new landscape as school reopens in the fall. With that in mind, I’d like to share with you some key thinking and updates on behalf of our administration.
The Current Landscape
Dr. Dean Nicholas will continue to lead the charge on remote learning, and you can expect to continue to hear from him in the coming days and weeks. We are already paving the way to finish strong, as our students are not only engaging regularly with teachers and their peers, they are serving, observing chapels, performing, athletic training, creating weekly newscasts, and the list goes on.
While few things feel certain at this time, one thing in which I am certain is the knowledge, resourcefulness, agility, and resilience of our teaching staff. Within a little over a month, they have mobilized a remote learning platform that has our students engaged and reaching toward their learning benchmarks. The survey results after just a week-and-a-half of remote learning, showed 88% overall parent satisfaction with CHCA’s remote learning experience, and 92% of parents and 94% of Upper School students felt personal connections with teachers met/exceeded their expectations. So, while the majority of our community is very pleased with how we’ve pivoted to this new format with very little time to prepare, we believe we must also continue to learn and grow in our execution. Dr. Nicholas will be sharing more detail around this later this week. We remain committed to researching best practices, supplying critical resources, and facilitating ongoing training for our teachers, all to elevate this new learning experience for your children. We will also continue to seek your input to better understand the experience on your end as your students are learning, adjusting, and growing in this new format as well. Knowing that continual improvement is key to our remote learning approach, we will consistently work to optimize the experience for our students. More to come on that.
We are scouring our go-to resources to consistently evaluate the latest thinking, data, and research relating to school planning during a pandemic. To that end, we are: (a) closely monitoring school responses and best practices on national, state, and local levels, (b) connecting with peer independent schools across the country to share ideas and information, and (c) working with governmental leaders and school associations to respond and prepare for what’s next. We believe it is prudent to begin to assess likely scenarios going forward and would like to share with you what we are considering as most likely to happen as we look ahead:
- We expect that some senior events will be moved to the summer months, and as soon as we have clarity on all of that, the Upper School administration will share with our seniors and the broader community.
- Next fall, we expect that things may look a little different for schools:
- New recommended or required safety measures will likely be in place to ensure children and faculty are interacting with those practices in mind.
- Schools may experience some intermittent closures (similar to previous flu outbreak closures) in isolated areas should there be indications of a COVID-19 flare up. These decisions might impact various parts of a state as opposed to the whole state. We will be ready should CHCA be affected.
Without taking our eyes off remote benchmark learning goals to finish this year strong, we are committed to robust scenario planning for the upcoming ‘20/’21 school year in order to provide an outstanding year for your student. I’m amazed at what our faculty were able to accomplish with just a few days’ notice. We now have four months to prepare for the start of next year, so rest assured, we will be ready to face the new reality, however it unfolds. We are committed to being leaders in “what’s next” to maximize educational quality and provide a safe place for students and staff to gather for learning.
There are four key areas on which we will be focusing:
- Student and Staff Safety. We have a task force who will be researching, planning, and working diligently to ensure all CDC protocols are enforced to ensure your children and our staff are protected while here at school. There will likely be many emerging practices we will be implementing in order to keep everyone safe upon re-opening our doors. We will ensure all families are well informed.
- Educational Fluency and Quality. While we are blessed with great facilities, we have proven that CHCA is more than just top-notch facilities, we are a learning community who can thrive not only when we gather in our buildings, but even when we can’t physically be together. That stated, we will continue to grow in our ability to shift seamlessly between the two, remaining agile should an immediate shift come upon us. Just to give you a glimpse, we are focused upon ensuring mastery of learning benchmarks, assessing activities best done in synchronous environments and how asynchronous learning can support that, evaluating appropriate assessments to understand student progress, determining quality student connections among peers and teachers during times away, promoting teacher collaboration time to ensure quality within and across grade levels, and ensuring clear communications with all concerned. And importantly, given the unexpected interruption this spring, in early fall we will employ a standardized assessment for all students to supplement our understanding of each student’s progress, and using those results to inform instruction and identify any interventions, if needed. Suffice it to say, we are committed to blending the innovations required in this moment with proven educational practices to continue to deliver the high-caliber academic preparation that you have known and expect of the CHCA experience.
- Financial Oversight. We are keeping an eye on projected enrollment for next year and so far, we are looking very stable. We are thankful for that. We know that some of our families could be experiencing financial challenges that might persist even with a re-opening of the economy. While we pray and trust that most of these concerns will be short term in nature, we encourage you to reach out to help us understand your situation before making a decision to leave CHCA due to a short-term financial need. We will do what we can to help.
- Staff and Parents at Work with Children Out of School. Top of mind in our planning is a potential scenario where students will be asked to engage in remote learning from home, but their parents will be asked to be at work. This is challenging to consider, but we will brainstorm approaches to provide families with options should this occur.
While there are still many unknowns, I’m grateful for the constant that is the community of CHCA. Together, we are creating a stronger, more flexible, and more resilient CHCA through the partnership of outstanding faculty and committed parents, supported by a board and administrative team who are ready to go the distance. The story we’re writing in this chapter of CHCA’s 30-year history is that despite the challenges these unprecedented times are presenting, we consider this time an opportunity to build an even stronger CHCA, where students thrive and view the current events with hope and confidence as Christ-followers. Thank you for being a part of this story.
Randy Brunk, Head of School
From: Taylor, Eric <Eric.Taylor@CHCA-OH.ORG> via tweet
Hello Eagle Nation,
I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. I know this is a difficult time for all of our student athletes, coaches and fans. Our coaches are working hard to stay connected and keep their athletes engaged from a distance. Seeing our coaches as well as Coach Atallah keeping our Eagles active thru social media, zoom and the many other platforms has been incredible. OHSAA has not yet communicated the new plan for postponement other than we can not begin athletics again until after 05/01/20. As specific details come out we will communicate them. Stay safe, be active and remained focused
03/13/20 Update: Gr 3-12 Athletics from now until 04/05/20
From: Taylor, Eric <Eric.Taylor@CHCA-OH.ORG> via email
Dear Parents of Student Athletes,
Based on the recent mandates by Governor DeWine and The OHSAA, all athletic practices, scrimmages, games, and weight room sessions have been suspended T 03/17/20 - Su 04/05/20.
With the return to schools tentatively set by Governor DeWine for 04/06/20, the following is the TENTATIVE plan:
- M 04/06/20 - F 04/10/20: MANDATORY Practices and/or Acclimatization (if required)
- Sa 04/11/20: All Scrimmages/Regular Season Contests may begin.
- Tournaments will remain on dates as currently scheduled.
All Youth Sports will follow the same protocols.
We know that our CHCA athletes are very intelligent, disciplined, and determined. We encourage them to work at home to continue to develop skills to the best of their ability. We will continue to communicate with families as more information becomes available.
Eric Taylor, Athletic Director
Dear CHCA Families,
Due to today’s announcement by Governor DeWine, we will be continuing with remote learning through May 1st. You will be hearing more from our administration in the coming days. We will also be sending communication later in the week requesting feedback from you and your student(s) on the experience so far. Thanks for partnering with us as we navigate this new educational landscape.
Dean Nicholas ▪ Upper School Principal, Gr 7-12
On Behalf of the Head of School's Office
Good afternoon CHCA Community,
We hope you are all having a great Spring Break. Given the continually changing landscape of the State’s COVID-19 responses, our administrative team continues to meet throughout this week to effectively plan for the transition to remote learning. On 03/23/20, I will communicate a broad and detailed plan to parents about what remote learning will look like at CHCA beginning 03/25/20.
Enjoy the rest of your Spring Break.
Dean Nicholas ▪ Upper School Principal, Gr 7-12
On behalf of the Head of School’s Office
Dear Senior Families,
When we had our Senior Coffee two weeks ago, none of us could have imagined the situation we now find ourselves navigating. And with every national, state, or local press conference, the landscape shifts again. I’m sorry to be intruding on your Spring Break but I felt it necessary with all the worry and concern in our community, especially as it relates to the remainder of the year for the Class of 2020. Everyone desires answers and assurances right now but we need to wait and see how this situation develops in the coming days and weeks. But I will promise you two things:
I was reminded by a friend yesterday of a passage in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic work Life Together, that in Christian community, we are not just to be with each other but for each other as well. This is one of those times where I want you to know that we are both with you and for you. Let’s all be praying for the Class of 2020, CHCA, and all those who face this crisis. Please try to enjoy your Spring Break.
As of now, all CHCA and SOS sponsored volunteer efforts are cancelled through 04/05/20. This includes all events, trips including the Spring Break Immersion, SOS activities that occur off campus, and the 03/27/20 Cincinnati Service Immersion.
Students who would like to volunteer on their own should use caution and exercise good judgement. We recommend confirming that your activity is happening before going as plans are still changing quickly. Two events we're aware of are:
- Walnut Hills Community Gardens: 03/16/20 - 8:45 a.m.-4:00 p.m. - If interested, text or call Gary Dangel, Walnut Hills Food Access Coordinator at 513-751-7100.
- Great Parks Volunteer Cleanup - 04/18/20, 04/25/20, 05/16/20
While you are remote learning, submit service hours by emailing a picture of your signed, completed form to Jenny.Doan@chca-oh.org
From: Woodin, Lydia <lydia.woodin@CHCA-OH.ORG>
Following spring break, the Private Music Lesson Program will extend two distance-learning opportunities to students. Each student in our program can choose an option per week that school is conducted remotely, and you do not have to elect the same choice each time.
For some, the choice that works best will be clear due to schedule or your child’s learning style. For others, you may feel it appropriate to consult your private music teacher for insight as to which option might better suit your student.
Ultimately, our goal is to continue providing excellent instruction and partnering with you through these current extraneous circumstances. We welcome your feedback on this experience so that we can fine-tune it to best serve your students during this time.
Details for the options below will be worked out during the in-service time following spring break. Although we may not begin these distance-learning lessons until the 25th, it is our intent at this time to provide lessons to all our students during the week of the 23rd.
1. Schedule a FaceTime or Skype lesson with your teacher. This is good option for students who will be home and available for their lesson at an agreed-upon time. FaceTime/Skype lesson times are at the mutual discretion of the parent and teacher. Teachers participate with students similar to in-person lessons. Following the lesson, teachers email an assignment list for future practice. Lessons are scheduled for a 30-minute block.
2. Share recordings of assignments with your teacher. This is a good option for students who may not have a set schedule or for whom making recordings to share with their teacher provides positive motivation to practice in preparation. Teachers view submitted content and provide their own response video(s) with corrections, practice suggestions, and/or further assignments. Following the video response, teachers email an assignment list for future practice. The total time for viewing student videos and creating response videos will be approximate to a 30-minute lesson.
Have a wonderful spring break, and I’ll be in touch soon!
Our executive team has been meeting late into the evening to appropriately respond to Governor DeWine’s statements today as well as the rapidly changing landscape surrounding COVID-19.
In an effort to keep our community well-informed, we will be sending out regular communication and posting the latest updates on our COVID-19 webpage which will be live tomorrow afternoon. We will be updating you with information as developments continue.
Following the Governor’s statement regarding school closures from March 16 through April 3, we will not be holding face-to-face instruction in our buildings until April 6th. Upon return from Spring Break, operations will continue although some adjustments will be made in how instruction is delivered. In order to best prepare teachers for this new mode of instruction, we have added two faculty in-service days on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24. On Wednesday, March 25, CHCA will move to age-appropriate remote learning. We will provide more specific information next week.
- School PK2 – Grade 12 WILL be in session tomorrow. Students in Grades 4-12 will need to bring their devices to prepare for remote learning.
- For questions regarding school-issued devices, students should see their building administration.
- All students should take necessary materials home with them tomorrow, including their devices and instruments.
- CHCA’s Spring Break will continue as scheduled the week of 3/16.
- All school-sponsored travel has been suspended until further notice.
- All athletic activities are awaiting further clarification and guidelines from OHSAA. As soon as we receive that we will pass along to our community.
- All other extra-curricular activities are suspended until further notice. The school calendar will be updated with cancelations and postponements tomorrow.
- During this remote learning time, our maintenance team will proceed with deep cleaning of each campus.
Even though students will not be on our campuses, we will be providing benchmark learning remotely. This is an important frame of mind for each of us: CHCA is our learning community; it is not our buildings.
These are very unprecedented times, but rest assured, we view this as an opportunity to make us a better school. More detailed communication will be sent tomorrow.
Dean Nicholas ▪ Upper School Principal, Gr 7-12
On behalf of the Head of School’s Office
Good afternoon, CHCA families. This is a brief message to let you know that we are in proactive coronavirus planning discussions for post Spring Break. This includes planning for the fact that students MAY not be returning for face-to-face learning. So two important notes: We are notifying students in all buildings that in the event that they do not return to buildings after Spring Break, they need to bring home all necessary instructional materials. This includes bringing home materials such as books, folders, devices, and their daily school-issued devices, which are being handed out to them today. Second, please be watching your email as we will be sending a more detailed communication regarding our planning to the community later today.
Jennifer Murphy ▪ Marketing Communications Director
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you touch or use frequently.
- Get plenty of sleep and eat a well-balanced diet.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.