Stuart Hall School
2020-2021 School Year
The plan for the 2020-21 school year, our 177th, addresses the logistical and financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As an independent school, Stuart Hall benefits from the ability to be nimble and responsive to change, as seen in our rapid switch to a successful remote learning platform last spring. Our faculty, with the support of creative administration and staff, were able to adapt their teaching techniques quickly and effectively to meet new challenges. They are in tune with each student’s personal learning style and can help each child navigate the difficulties of changing educational environments, reducing anxiety in these stressful times.
What drives our plan is the desire to optimize your child’s learning experience within the constraints of the uncertainties surrounding school openings, social distancing, and the ability of our boarding students to travel. So much is unpredictable and outside of our control in the world right now, that we want to offer a program that is predictable, excellent, and consistently deliverable as the pandemic waxes and wanes.
- A world-class core 3rd-12th grade curriculum teaching interdisciplinary thinking and 21st-century skills
- A stellar educational experience throughout the academic year – whether on campus or from anywhere in the world via state-of-the-art audio and video immersive distance learning
- Expert faculty of experienced educators, adept at collaboration and combined in-classroom/remote learning
- A program focused on the whole child: intellectual, social, and emotional well-being
- A safe learning environment, structured for social distancing with large classrooms and intentionally small classes
- Personalized college counseling to help families navigate these unusual times
- Enforcement of health and wellness guidelines in accordance with the CDC and state regulations concerning Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols
Hear What Our Teachers Have to Say:
"During my years at Stuart Hall I have been amazed with the students and our team of incredible teachers. I'm excited to be working more closely with many of them as we grow this program. It will focus on communication and collaboration between all of us and our students. We will take advantage of our small class sizes and the incredible technology and space available at the Eastham Center downtown where we have a huge opportunity to work closely with our town and local businesses. While we are doing something completely new and innovative, I am confident in our success for our students because of the teachers and the resources we have before us. Students embarking on this journey will be receiving an education that will inspire and equip them for their future. I am excited to be a part of this journey with each and every one of those involved." - Hunter Murray, Science Faculty
"In a time of uncertainty, there is hope at Stuart Hall. With a team of highly qualified and talented educators as well as a student-focused administration, your child will continue to be known and loved. I am especially excited to work alongside Mrs. Caran to provide a rich learning environment full of performance-based learning, service-learning opportunities, and authentic assessments catered to your child's needs and interests. It has always been my desire to explore Staunton and its many resources as well as collaborate with other grade-levels and moving to the Staunton Campus will allow the 5-6 class to do just that. Above all, your child's well-being is my top priority and I will continue to facilitate learning in a supportive and structured environment. I believe success in moving from in-person to remote learning lies within the teacher's ability to instill a sense of ownership and advocacy for one's learning. This happens by developing strong relationships with students and I am thankful to have the ability to grow and learn with your child during Project 177." -Jennifer Bartley, Grades 3-6 Faculty
"While maintaining my commitment to help each student learn to communicate effectively and think critically, I look forward to providing more individualized instruction and support, creating interdisciplinary experiences in collaboration with a talented faculty, and more fully integrating technology and the resources of the Eastham Center. My classes will combine the college preparatory literature and writing instruction I have been proud to offer for the last six years with an adaptive, skills-based approach responsive to each student’s needs and interests, whether through remote learning or in person." - Ashley Fleming, Language Arts Faculty
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How Will Classes Be Held?
Classes will be held such that students can attend them from anywhere in the world, whether conditions allow for in-person meetings or not. When we are permitted to hold face-to-face classes, students in grades 7-12 will meet in our new downtown Staunton building, The Eastham Center, where the technologically integrated classrooms allow teachers to create daily learning experiences that serve both those students who can come to campus and those who need to learn remotely. Students in grades 3-6 will meet in large classrooms on our main Staunton Campus, with access to science labs, a more advanced library and resource center, and collaborative work spaces. Having 3rd-6th grades on the main campus also makes drop-off and pick-up of students easier on parents who have students in both divisions.
What do you mean by Core Curriculum? What courses will be offered?
Course offerings will cover a wide range of classes in English, Math, Sciences, and Social Sciences/History, including Honors and AP. For students of world languages, courses are available online through Virtual Virginia. We will continue our advisory system that supports community building among students and faculty and provides teachers with an opportunity to monitor the academic and social well-being of each student.
What about the Lower School classes? What do you mean by 3/4th and 5/6th classes?
We will have a skill level-based curriculum for a combined 3rd and 4th grade class and another for combined 5th and 6th grade classes. Stuart Hall faculty member Alisa George has agreed to teach our 3/4 class and Jenn Bartley and Julie Caran will lead our 5/6 grade classes.
Why are PreK-2nd not included in the Forward Ever/177 plan?
There are two reasons that our youngest Dragons are not able to participate next year, both related to the pandemic. First, if the state of the world allows students to meet in person, it would be nearly impossible to keep these little ones safely apart for social distancing. Second, if we are forced to return to remote learning, students this young are not well served to materially benefit from remote learning platforms. While we did our best to keep these age groups socialized during the remote phase this spring, we realize remote learning for this age group also puts a significant burden on parents, many of whom are also trying to work from home.
Will graduation requirements be affected?
Graduation requirements will be flexible given the constraints imposed by the pandemic response. All students will be given reasonable opportunities to graduate.
What faculty are part of Forward Ever/177?
An exciting team of teachers has agreed to participate in the Forward Ever/177 program.
History/Social Sciences: Brad Arnold , Corrie Park, and Tim Layne
English/Language Arts: Ashley Fleming, Brenna Layne, and Kelsey Sorge
Math: Maria Nava and Dylan Sorge
Science: Hunter Murray and Daniel Snyder
3rd-4th: Alisa George
5th-6th: Jenn Bartley and Julie Caran
What do you mean by synchronous and asynchronous classes and curricular resources?
Grade 7-12 remote learners can either participate in a class as it is being taught, or access assignments and materials online. Because classes in grades 7-12 will also be recorded this year, remote learners have the new option to watch classes after the fact. This will be especially appreciated by our students on the West Coast who had to rise at 5:00 a.m. this year, but will also be a boon to local students who can’t come in person because of illness, transportation issues, internet glitches, snow storms, or if we again have to close the campus due to the pandemic.
Can my local student be a remote learner?
Yes! For the 2020-21 academic year, students have the option of attending classes in person when possible (following CDC and Virginia state guidelines), attending only remotely, or a combination of the two.
Will classes and advisories include both in-person and remote learners at the same time?
Yes, when circumstances allow local students to be on campus, grades 7-12 will have remote learners participating and interacting remotely with their classmates from around the U.S. and the world.
Will college counseling be included in tuition?
Yes. As a college preparatory school, Stuart Hall offers college counseling throughout its program. Additionally, college counseling can be offered in person or remotely, rain or shine. The college application and acceptance process has changed markedly due to the closure of schools and testing facilities, and our college counselor will keep students apprised of the changes and help them successfully navigate this journey.
Will there be a learning specialist this year?
No, not for the 2020-21 school year, although ESL may be added remotely for a fee, depending on demand. Please consult with our admissions staff to discuss the appropriateness of our program for a child that might need learning support services.
Will there be advisories?
Yes. Advisories are an integral part of Stuart Hall's academic, social, and emotional support network. These classes give students an opportunity to interact with teachers and each other in a meaningful way, and allow advisors an opportunity to monitor the academic and social well-being of individual students in their group. They have proven to be particularly relevant during the remote learning phase of the spring semester.
Will there be opportunities for students to continue studying in the arts?
We hope to scaffold arts opportunities onto our core program. Due to changing circumstances in a pandemic, any art, theatre, or music opportunities would be fee-for-service partnerships with local organizations, or clubs organized and run by parents and volunteers.
Will there be opportunities in athletics?
We hope to scaffold sports opportunities onto our core program. Due to changing circumstances in a pandemic, sports opportunities would be fee-for-service. Depending on circumstances, they may be league affiliated, partnerships with local organizations, or clubs organized and run by parents and volunteers.
Will there be extracurricular activities?
Stuart Hall students have always taken the lead in identifying their interests and community needs and finding ways to meet them through organized clubs and activities, and they will continue to be able to do so next year. In addition, the school will continue to have a student government, publish a yearbook, and promote the Honor Code through our prefect system.
Are there buses and other transportation available?
Delivering bus service consistent with the requirements of social distancing--necessitating one student per seat--is cost prohibitive, so transportation will not be available this year.
With no food service, what will students do about lunch?
Options will include bringing lunch from home or purchasing from downtown restaurants. Ww hope to set up a pre-order system with a rotation of local restaurants. No matter what students eat for lunch, 7-12th graders will enjoy socializing together in the new Student Center at the Eastham Center. The cost of purchased lunches will not be covered by tuition.
What is the plan for the 2021-22 school year?
A dedicated team of administration and staff will be working together to develop a financially sustainable program model for the 2021-22 school year and beyond. We anticipate incorporating all the advantages of the Eastham Center, our new downtown campus building, including an expanded student center, a full commercial kitchen, and classrooms and learning spaces with integrated technology. Boarding and day students will socialize while watching friends perform on the student center stage during karaoke nights or while cooking meals with dorm parents and staff.
The academic program will be based on the latest research on how students learn and will incorporate the technology required to captivate and hold the attention of the current generation. The curriculum will capitalize on the talents of our faculty and the creativity of our students, allowing them to fully explore subjects about which they are passionate. We will also continue to develop our emphasis on well-being and life skills, ensuring even better social and emotional
support of our students. This emphasis will likely incorporate natural resources of our surrounding mountains and community resources for service learning and internships.