April 1, Online Classroom Highlights
April 1, Online Classroom Highlights

Dear ICS Community,

Hello! My recent messages to you have centered on changes we have made as a school to adapt to the new world that COVID-19 has created. Today, though, I want to move in a different direction and highlight the wonderful things that are happening in our online classrooms as our teachers and students embark on a new journey of learning this week. I recently read that as many as 1.4 billion students around the world are currently learning online. ICS has now joined that number and we are all uKNIGHTed in our pursuit of finding new and creative ways to engage with one another, express ourselves, grow, and think critically.

Mrs. Hansen shared a devotional with the faculty on Tuesday that summed up what you can expect from our teachers as we move online. She mentioned Mr. Rogers, the influential host of the show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (I highly recommend Won't You Be My Neighbor? a documentary on Mr. Rogers) which ran for many years on public television in the US, and the influence Mr. Rogers had on her life. His focus was on teaching children what peace, goodness, and grace look like.

Mrs. Hansen said that, as a child, "Mr. Rogers learned to be an observer, and what he learned he put in motion to bring a greater sense of good to a changing world."

To the teachers she shared, "We are observers. A hundred times a day, you [our teachers] love on the students, support them, and adjust through thick and thin...when they don't quite understand things and are frustrated. You will also be there for those wonderful 'aha' moments of learning or when they simply want to talk. Though we are online, we will continue to observe many times a day and grow together through the process."

Whether you're a student, parent, or teacher, let's be observant as we walk together down paths that are new for all of us. We will experience things we have never experienced before and grow through those experiences together.

Here are a few highlights, quotes, and pictures from our online learning this week in middle school and high school:

Middle school and high school teacher comments:

"I loved seeing my students! Breakout rooms were the best part of Schoology Conferences because the students could see each other, and I could pop in and out of their discussions and hear what they were talking about." - Ms. Lafferty

"It was good to see them. I thought the group chat was a good way for students to provide feedback and respond, especially students who are normally quieter." - Mr. Williams

"I was able to multitask better since students could type questions without interrupting class and I could answer them at my own pace." - Mrs. Hoang

"It was GREAT seeing the students, asking them to turn on the camera and mics to greet one another! It was also good to pray together!" - Mr. Moore

Here are a few highlights, quotes, and pictures from our online learning this week in the elementary school:

Elementary school teacher comments:

"Parents in the background seemed very happy and appreciative. I had fun reading to Grades 1 and 2 today."

"There seems to be a lot of engagement in Related Arts too...I have enjoyed being able to connect with more parents than in the past and I think this has turned out to be a great chance for parents to see all that is happening during the school day and how great their kids are doing!"

"Online counseling has been great so far; I am glad to see their faces and it has been my pleasure to help them to navigate through some of their concerns."

"The individual Zoom conferences were definitely my highlight today, and both my students and I are looking forward to our small group conferences later in the week."

"It's been awesome to see the kids creating 'magnificent things' and Mrs. Martin and I have been inspired by some of their work to think about how we can do things a little differently next year to continue fostering this creativity. It's also been really cool to see the kids collaborating with their siblings across grade levels."

"Parents have been able to access everything and are very appreciative of everyone's hard work. Some parents are finding the videos and clear directions very helpful. "

"The kids have been doing their work and they are engaged in the discussion boards and having fun leaving comments."

Here is a note from a parent:

"Mrs. Du, I just want to write you a note to express our deep appreciation for all that you're doing. Speaking as a teacher, I know how much thought and preparation you must have put into every one of your lessons. Your instructions are very clear. Your rapport is very warm and friendly (yes, we can even feel it on this side of the internet!). Your activities are very creative. Your approach is very encouraging and engaging. And best of all, you always reach out to your students with your heart. Your passion for teaching is so evident, and I thank God for giving you such a wonderful gift."

As you can see from what's been shared in this letter, this first week has been full of new developments in each classroom. The resources that the teachers have discovered online and have implemented have been outstanding. In an effort to aid all of the parents in your quest to help your children flourish in this environment we have developed an ICS Online Learning Hub located on the ICS website under "Academics". Please use this link to access the page and remember to keep coming back to it as this page will continue to change and grow as the days pass and more resources are discovered.

Thank you for your support during these final weeks of the 2019-20 school year. We have decided to maintain the ICS school calendar as it is. The last day of school remains June 4 and will be a half day. Please keep an eye out for further updates from my office. It is a pleasure serving you and seeing your children grow and develop. God is good.


Dr. J.P. Rader