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Ricks Center for Gifted Children

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Ricks Center for Gifted Children

Message from the Director

message from the Director

Craig Harrer

Dear Ricks Families,

I hope you've had a restful Spring break and continue to enjoy good health and quality time with family. Thank you for your outpouring of support, questions, and feedback over the past couple of weeks. We miss each and every one of you. School is just not the same without all of the children's bustling bodies and voices echoing throughout our classrooms and hallways.

The leadership team has analyzed current research on distance learning, and the survey data obtained from families, teachers, and students, and aligned it with our vision and values to create a process for advancing student learning for the remainder of the school year. Throughout this experience, we remain committed to helping our students experience a heightened sense of their abilities as gifted learners while sustaining their intellectual engagement, resiliency, happiness, and hope. Our work should also help parents gain a greater understanding of their children as learners, be clear on the organization and schedule of learning, and be sustainable for all of our community members.

Distance Learning Plan

Based on our current information, we remain optimistic and excited to reunite with you and your child(ren) in person on April 20th! Our process for distance learning will resume Monday, March 30th, and continue through April 3rd in the manner we engaged in prior to our spring break. (The week of March 16th-20th)

Starting the week of April 6th, Ricks will be moving to a three day per week distance learning schedule. Classes and programs will take place on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, for the remaining weeks of school closure. With this new 3-day schedule, we will be adding two student contact days to our calendar. The updated plan allows us to accommodate any extensions in the April 20th social distancing mandate. The April 20th starting date would require us to extend our calendar through June 9th. If the school closure is extended, we will add two student contact days for every week of the extension to our calendar up to June 19th. June 19th would remain as a hard stop for the school year. Camp would begin June 22nd. (Please see the attached updated calendar indicating the changes.)

Research, Data, and Values

While distance learning has served as a vehicle for bridging the gap created by social distancing, at Ricks, we believe that gifted learners should experience a level of social engagement that cannot be duplicated entirely in an online experience. Research in distance learning supports this assertion and supports limits on screen time for all of our students. Our teachers have utilized this information to create more project opportunities for students that can take place offline and streamlined their interactions and lessons with screen time limits. We hope that parents, students, and teachers will find the two days off as an opportunity to catch up on critical aspects of their lives and foster their own sustainability during this challenging time.

As we continue through this process, we want to work with every family to meet their individual needs. The plans for distance learning reflect our shared values and are customized to the varied developmental levels within the school. Therefore, each division director will be following up with an additional email detailing what this will look like at the EC, Primary, and Middle School levels. Please continue to reach out to us with your questions and ideas.

I am genuinely grateful to be a part of this inclusive and supportive community; thank you for your cooperation, compassion, and reciprocity.

Health, peace, and salutations,

Craig

Craig.Harrer@du.edu