2020-2021 Reopening Plans

Academic and Social-Emotional Growth

On-campus or remote, at Charles River School, progressive education remains our tradition. While this year might look different in a number of ways, our commitment to academic outcomes - deeper understanding, high achievement - remains the same.

To help prepare students for myriad learning landscapes, this year at CRS and beyond, our faculty will focus on developing student agency and fostering independence. This will "look" different at each grade level as teachers help students use inquiry and optimism to see what's possible.

The CRS Difference

Academics remain a key priority at Charles River School. In order to deliver effective academic instruction, we must first focus on our students’ safety, social belonging, and sense of esteem, all of which have been impacted by this virus.

Our first weeks back together will primarily involve:
  • Opportunities for social connection
  • Exposure to technology tools we will be using throughout the year, whether in-person or remote 
  • Activities centered around building self-confidence and self-reliance to encourage student independence
Each of these is crucial to ensuring academic success for every student.

There will be a greater focus on inquiry and independence (e.g. executive functioning skills) and social-emotional learning in the curriculum. Teachers understand and will assess and account for the impact of disruptions on curriculum and skill-building, while also helping students to progress and engage in new material. 
What is the role of an inquiry teacher or parent?

At CRS, our teachers are not founts of wisdom, here to pour knowledge out to our students. Instead, our masterful teachers are skilled facilitators, learning designers, coaches, and co-learners. Likewise, when learning from home, there is no expectation that parents will be founts of knowledge. Rather you will be co-conspirators in the learning and discovery process.

In-Person Learning

Students will begin the year in-person learning best practices in technology, time management, and communication for those times when we may need to be remote.

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • What will the classroom environment look like?

    • Each grade-level class will be split between co-teachers. There will be no more than 12 students in a room with a teacher.
    • All classes will be permitted and encouraged to use outdoor spaces for learning.
    • Masks will be worn all day, with built-in mask breaks for all students and staff.
    • All classrooms are large enough to allow for at least six feet between individuals.
    • Each student will have access to their own personal classroom materials.
    • Specialist classes will be held outdoors under the event tents, and time has been built into the schedule to allow for thorough cleaning between classes.
    • To build strong connections with specialist teachers and maximize safety, we have redesigned our schedule into modules. Students will meet more frequently with one specialist at a time for three weeks, before transitioning to the next module.
    • Students will use their devices in the classroom to learn important technology skills and to mitigate limitations resulting from safety measures.
    • Each classroom will be equipped with a class iPad to allow students who opt for remote learning to Zoom into the classroom at specified times to connect with the class or the teacher.
  • What will cohorts look like?

    • Previous and current teachers will work together to compose cohorts based on the social-emotional and academic needs of each student.
    • Cohorts will be able to come together as a whole class in outdoor spaces.
    • Co-teachers and teaching teams will communicate regularly with each other to ensure all students’ needs are being met and the curriculum is consistent and comprehensive across the grade.
    • Cohorts will move through the school spaces as a unit and will not mix or switch with other cohorts in indoor spaces.

Sample Schedules

Remote Learning

Planned remote learning this fall will look markedly different from the spring. This time around, we have had ample time to learn new technologies and strategies, reflect on our experiences in the spring, and carefully plan for potential remote learning going forward.

Our preparation has included:
  • A week-long professional development course by Global Online Academy that provided insight on how best to teach online.
  • School-wide reading of "Neuroteach" by Glen Whitman and Ian Kelleher.
  • CRS-specific professional development sessions on blended learning, student agency, and assessment.
  • Dedicated ordering of supplies to ensure all students, whether in person or remote, have everything they need to learn in the immersive, hands-on CRS way.
  • A careful look at our schedules and structures to enable all students to learn in an accessible, equitable manner.

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • What will remote learning look like at the PreK-3 level?

    In the youngest years, students learn most effectively through play and social connection. Remote learning poses unique challenges in this age group in particular, which we will overcome through short, frequent live check-ins, streamlined content delivery and communication, and explicit skill-building to foster independence in even our youngest learners.
    • Students can attend several synchronous Zoom sessions each day, including morning meetings, important skill-building lessons, and an end-of-day meetup.
    • CRS has implemented a 1:1 device program. All students in grades PreK-3 will be issued an iPad, which they will use for both in-person and remote learning.
    • Students will access materials and assignments through SeeSaw.
    • We will be using a new "folder feature" in SeeSaw; all specialists will organize activities in folders by grade.
    • The Learning Support Team will be available to support students learning from home.
  • What will remote learning look like at the 4-8 level?

    As learners grow, the opportunities for agency and ownership of learning increase as their sense of independence and responsibility develops. To encourage and support this independence, teachers and parents take on even more of a facilitator role by providing students with a general structure for daily learning that they can personalize to meet their own learning needs, coupled with age-appropriate skill-building around organization and personal advocacy. These are complemented by an understanding that these learners are still playful children who need frequent hands-on exploration, social connection, and collaboration just like their younger peers.
    • CRS has implemented a 1:1 device program. All students in grades 4-8 will be issued a Chromebook, which they will use for both in-person and remote learning.
    • With new technology in the classroom, students will be able to attend more of the school day's in-class lessons via Zoom.
    • Students will access materials through Google Classroom.
    • Grades 4-6 will have one Google classroom for each specific grade, and in a change from the spring, an additional grade-specific Google Classroom for every specialist (for example: Grade 4 Art, Grade 4 Music, etc.)
    • Grades 7/8 will continue to have a separate Google Classroom for every subject area.
    • The Learning Support Team will be available to support students learning from home. 
Charles River School is a PreKindergarten through Grade 8 independent school that honors the pursuit of academic excellence and the joy of childhood. We nurture each child by igniting curiosity, encouraging creativity, and cultivating intellectual engagement. Our graduates know themselves, understand others, and shape the future of our diverse world with confidence and compassion.

Charles River School admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational or admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.