Children's School Division Director
e-Learning Reflections and Testimonials
These honest and thoughtful reflections express the value of e-Learning with The Colorado Springs School’s agile and nimble plan, backed by masterful teachers who know, love, and celebrate students – even from a distance.
Natellie Ryan P’35, P’33, P’31
Parent of a soon-to-be PreKindergartener, a PreKindergarten student, and a 1st grader
I am so thankful for all of my kids’ teachers! What started out as a potentially stressful time has resolved itself into a rewarding opportunity learning alongside my sons. I am so impressed with how the teachers have so quickly changed the structure of how they teach to accommodate the situation. They have kept it fun, interesting, and used resources beyond what I thought was possible like bringing the Georgia Aquarium into our living room. However, I know now for sure that I am not a homeschooling mother.
Carol Song P’34
Parent of a PreKindergarten student
E-Learning is definitely a new concept for us all to get used to, and it can be particularly new and challenging for young children. But Mrs. Lawson and Mrs. Rainbowstar have done such a great job with launching this new way for our kids to learn. We’ve been enjoying our daily e-Learning activities and assignments that they’ve created for us, and I’ve been learning about new things as I go through the activities with my son as well. The themes we have been learning about have been great for connecting different areas of learning and extending activities we can do at home as well. I also appreciate having access to Epic and Bookfix with our class password. It’s a great resource for us to have not only for the assignments, but also to continue using for my son to read books online.
These uncertain times and sudden change in routine can definitely be challenging for a young child to get used to, but having this alternative school routine for our son to follow and look forward to everyday has been helpful for keeping a sense of normalcy during these times. We also appreciate that Mrs. Rainbowstar and Mrs. Lawson have continued to try to keep everyone connected through our weekly class Google Meets and our individual meetings as well.
Yvanne Vieuille P’34
Parent of a PreKindergarten student
One of my major concerns when my son started to use the e-Learning platform that CSS developed for the Pre-K students was the amount of time he would have to spend behind a screen, executing computer-based activities in order to comply with the program. My doubt dispelled when I saw the way my son’s teachers succeeded in putting together an online program that perpetuates the philosophy of CSS. Each lesson and activity for the day rely on a concrete theme which offers a mix of academic instruction, real world examples, hands-on experiences, and nature-based education that challenge my son in many ways and keep him connected with a natural environment. The learning material that is delivered every week goes beyond the virtual content of the online program. This is particularly noticeable when my son is seeking, for example, to acquire new knowledge or skills by observing spiders, counting birds outside, learning and drawing about life in a pond, sorting objects surrounding him, experimenting physical or natural phenomenon related to the lesson of the day, or expanding his vocabulary and writing skills based on the stories that are to be read every day.
Furthermore, the e-Learning program has the great advantage of presenting a range of exercises and real-time sessions that can be tailored to my son’s needs and interests. Every day, the program offers all sorts of activities that he is excited to be part of.
The e-Learning process at CSS has truly exceeded my expectations. It has been evident that the teachers in 1st and 3rd grade have truly gone above and beyond in their attempts to continue to provide instruction to my girls. They are still teaching new content and continue to provide challenging activities that they can do at home. The live lessons have been invaluable, and I believe that we would have had a completely different experience had it only been pre-recorded lessons. I really appreciate the daily feedback that they give, which drives them to work hard. The teachers are always so positive as they conduct the lessons.
While both girls would much rather be at school with their peers, I feel that CSS has done everything that they can in order to provide the social and emotional support that a child needs. In 1st grade, for instance, they provide multiple opportunities for students to participate in yoga and mindfulness sessions. Both 1st and 3rd grade dedicate times where students could engage with one another in a more social setting where they continue to let students share things that are important to them and to just be kids. Finally, I love that they are also given opportunities to have lessons with their Co-Curricular teachers. These lessons have always been a highlight during their school day, and so they really appreciate seeing these teachers.
Dr. Sarah Bartz P’31, P’29
Parent of a 1st grader and a 3rd grader
I don’t want to sugarcoat it for anyone – these past couple months have been difficult in so many ways and the transition to e-learning was tough for both kids and parents. However, the reasons we love this school (amazing teachers, sense of community, friendships, compassion, etc.) are making a difficult situation a little brighter for my kids. Days before the first week even started, her teachers contacted me to check in. They teachers wanted to understand my goals, my fears, and my family’s challenges. And throughout the past month, they have continued to focus on my individual child’s emotional needs while still providing a top-tier education with small group teaching sessions and full class socialization opportunities. They’re offering everything from optional morning yoga to extra online tutoring to afternoon dance parties. I can’t even imagine how difficult the transition has been for the teachers yet they are providing more than I expected and doing it with a smile.
Alison Christerofferson P’28
Parent of a 4th grader
I have a unique perspective on e-Learning because I have one child at CSS and one child in public school. While I cannot fault any school for how they have handled this challenge, I can say that CSS is exceeding my expectations. I have been beyond impressed with how CSS has handled this challenge. While there is no substitute for in-person school, I truly believe that CSS is doing as much as they possibly can to make this a positive experience both academically and socially. What has impressed me the most is how CSS has converted to e-Learning and done it with heart. Students are still known, cared for, celebrated, and delighted over! I’m also impressed by the fact that CSS is continually asking for and responding to feedback. While I would not call this situation easy, there has been a certain joy for me in getting to have a bigger window into my child’s education than I otherwise did. Thank you, CSS teachers! I am enjoying watching your masterful teaching up a bit closer!
Marcia Quezada P’27
Parent of a 5th grader
I was very surprised about how orchestrated and organized e-Learning was from the very beginning. Of course, as a parent, I was a little concerned about the start of this new journey called e-Learning, but after listening to the sessions and realizing the great job, patience, and dedication the teachers are putting in on a daily basis, I truly feel blessed to give my child the opportunity to be a part of CSS. The teachers’ efforts and motivation has stood out above all.
My child is very committed, and I see how enthusiastic and excited he is about learning through this new method. He’s eager to learn and see his classmates and teachers every day! I would say he has become more mature and independent during this process.
Hollie Horvath P’26
Parent of a 6th grader
From day one of e-Learning has gone extremely smoothly. Our son has been able to attend classes, access assignments, including when they are due, and submit assignments with minimal parental intervention. He emails teachers often if he has questions, and they all have responded promptly.
We really appreciate that the students get regular online class time with all of their teachers. Our son has been enjoying e-Learning – he really appreciates that they are allowed to chat and play games with their classmates in between classes – it really allows the students to connect socially.
Sarah H. ‘26
6th Grade student
At first e-Learning was challenging and confusing, but for the most part teachers have been really good about engaging students and helping us understand everything clearly. Plus, I got to learn many new life skills that I would not have learned if we were still at school. Like executive skills. It took me a little while to figure out Google Calendar and Google Hangout, for example, but I know that those skills will be very helpful for years to come. I hope we get to be back on campus in the Fall, because I really miss everyone, but I am glad that CSS has continued my education so well using e-Learning.
Stacy Moorhead P’34, P’26
Parent of a PreKindergarten student and 6th grader
I think that it has been an adjustment of course for all of us, but I am finding that with my 6th-grade daughter, she is actually reaching out more to her teachers and asking more questions. In the past, we have pushed her to talk to her teacher and ask questions and she was more reserved. I feel like she is engaging a lot more with them. Our son in PreK has been a lot more engaged as well. I have heard several times that this is the most that his teachers have heard him talk and we at times have to mute him so he will stop talking over others.
I have friends in public school districts that have said how bad of an experience they have had. I feel like CSS has done an incredible job at this. I know that it has been a tremendous amount of work for both faculty and staff and I am grateful. I think that our Director of Middle and Upper School, Nicole Goyette has been absolutely AMAZING! She never falters, has excellent answers and never leaves us feeling like she or CSS has no clue what is going on. And she still has a smile on her face every time I see or talk to her and that helps a lot.
Kristin and Kevin Penn P’26, P’24
Parent of a 6th grader and 7th grader
When we interviewed at CSS four years ago, experiential education was presented to us as (paraphrased) “experienced-based education that pushes students outside of their comfort zone and helps them to be more resilient and adaptable to be able to face whatever situations life throws at them.” We at CSS have grown accustomed to this being a certain way… outdoors, epic trips, outside of the classroom, camping, etc. I truly feel like if our goal is to push students outside of their comfort zone, this e-Learning situation is accomplishing that goal.
Here at the Penn household, we have encouraged our boys to take more ownership of their work, manage their schedules, advocate for themselves if they are stuck. We are also asking them to be “okay” with unforeseen change. The classes aren’t the same, the learning tools aren’t the same, frankly the “sameness” isn’t the same. We are asking them to figure out how to be adaptable, appreciative, creative, and independent in this trying environment. There are days when we fail miserably as a family, but we try to reinforce these intents. These are the same qualities we would have hoped our boys might emulate had they been rained on for two days straight while enduring collapsing tents on Walkabout.
If you were to ask either of our boys about the last eight weeks, they would tell you they miss seeing their teachers and friends, but both feel like they’ve grown learning to manage their time. Both Kevin and I are working significantly more than usual given the turmoil in our respective work situations, so the boys have been forced into self-reliance and independence that they’ve embraced.
Has this experience been a teaching moment and growth opportunity for our boys? Yes.
Given the privileged life our family enjoys, has this taught our boys something about dealing with life’s adversities and how to roll with it? 100%
In the end, that’s probably a more important teaching moment that CSS has helped us teach our boys that will likely endure longer than their learning the quadratic formula or the names of the provinces in Australia.
Lee Ann Williams P’19, P’21, P’23
Parent of a graduate, an 11th grader and a 9th grader
E-Learning at CSS, while not anticipated or expected, has given our family opportunities for growth, for which we are grateful. We have increased our home connectivity ability, created a special space for each member of our family to work/school from home, had a family dinner together every night for weeks, and learned how to better interact with each other while sharing the same space 24/7 for weeks. I believe these e-Learning weeks have given my kids the gift of experiencing a more independent method of approaching their studies thereby further preparing them for what they will face in college.
My daughter says, “E-Learning is like a faster-paced class, which I don’t mind. Learning the material is similar, but the downside is not seeing people from school.”
Whitney R. ‘21
11th Grade student
While e-Learning is certainly not ideal, I have found that all of my teachers are working very hard to fit each individual class’ needs. Even though it may have been difficult at first, I believe that students and teachers are adapting particularly well at CSS. My favorite part about e-Learning so far has been the Spirit Week put on by the Upper School Forum (Student Council). The best way to deal with an unusual situation is to make the most out of it, and I think that the school is doing just that.
Leggatt K. ‘20
12th Grade student
My overall thoughts on e-Learning are mixed. I am thankful that I have such great teachers who adapt to the overall situation fast and accurately. I do however miss being in person for classes. It has been hard for me personally to adjust to it. It has just put senioritis on steroids. So it is difficult but the teachers are engaging me every day with new tasks to keep me occupied and so we can finish out the school year strong.
I think one thing that has stood out about e-Learning is how many events have moved online. With everything coming up in May – NHS Induction, Upper School Awards Night, Senior Tribute, Senior Capstone share out. We are moving all of these event online and seemingly they are all going smoothly. The e-Gala was fun to be a part of. The school is doing a fantastic job at moving everything online and in a mostly smooth fashion.
One thing stands out among all else to me. Mr. Shubach said in a letter to the seniors, “You are part of the largest cohesive graduating class in history by a factor of millions. Every time you meet someone from the Class of 2020, no matter how distant, you will have an immediate connection because of this shared experience.” As a senior, yes it stinks that this is happening, but we have to look at the bright side and realize that everyone is going through this and that we will get through this…together.
Children's School Division Director