"When the announcement was made that we would be transitioning to Virtual School — first for two weeks and then for the remainder of the school year, our hearts sank, and broke for our kindergartener. We had no idea how things would go, whether and how he would have opportunities to make and strengthen connections with his teachers and among his classmates and how we could best support him during this time of uncertainty and transition."
"With a young child in first grade, Virtual School was as much of an adjustment for me and my husband as it was for our son. To be honest, I struggled with the format at the start. That said, our teachers and administrators have blown me away. They have demonstrated an openness to feedback and a bias to action. I connected with my son’s homeroom teacher and the Head of Lower School during the first week of school to share my struggles and concerns. Both were very open to hearing my worries.
"We have one son in fifth grade at Sewickley Academy. Overall, our experience with Virtual School has been extremely positive. We credit that to both our son’s teachers and to the school itself. In discussions with our friends who have children in other schools, I am learning how fortunate we are to have our son at Sewickley. While they are complaining that their children do schoolwork for only 15 minutes a day, or are learning mostly via generic YouTube links, we feel that our son’s learning has continued in the same personalized and productive fashion according to established lesson plans. The teachers create lessons via video or links that the kids can watch when their individual schedules permit, which for our son is basically as soon as he wakes up, and of course, they have lessons and discussions via Zoom. Homework assignments are either emailed in or answered via Google Classroom. The teachers are available throughout the day to provide additional instruction as needed. My level of interaction with our son over his daily homework assignments is no different than before this began. Sure, certain subjects are optional and grades won’t be issued; however, we see those only as realistic concessions for the uniqueness of this situation and a way to alleviate unnecessary stress while still providing educational opportunities appropriate for this grade level."
"My husband and I have two daughters enrolled in the Lower School. While we are adapting like every other family, we've found the Virtual School experience provided by SA for our daughters to be a positive experience. We feel like our daughters' teachers are making genuine and effective efforts to maintain the planned goals for learning, while providing some much needed comforting support, during this unfortunate situation.
"The night before Virtual School, we were not sure what to expect. Thankfully, in the beginning of this new learning approach, the Sewickley teachers started slow, and provided time for the students to get climatized to their new learning situation. Although, the children were well-versed in using My Sewickley as a primary vehicle for communication, they also had to learn to depend/learn other formats (such as Zoom, Google classroom, Google meet, Educreations) and adapt to this new style of learning.
"How the world has changed in just a span of few months?! Just four months ago, we were enjoying the holidays, and two months prior to that we were enjoying Thanksgiving with family and friends. I am sure we have all learned a huge lesson that life and our world cannot be taken for granted. That we should appreciate our world, families, friends, community, school, work, travel, dinners and lunches in restaurants, Starbucks, sports, shopping, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic was a great surprise to us all, I am sure no one expected the world to be affected!
"These unprecedented days, occurring as our youngest daughter prepares to graduate, have given our family time to reflect on the senior school that has been there for both our girls over the past four years."