A Reflection On the Pandemic Anniversary

March 13, 2021
Faculty fostering community at the Winter Celebration carline parade

A Look Back

It is hard to believe that it is March 2021. Many of us are looking back at the past year in amazement and dismay. This month marks the one-year anniversary of many school closures. Education was shaken, and multiple closures and shutdowns took place with no real certainty of when or if they would return only one year ago. As we look back at the highlights, a reel of uncertainty and hurt swept our world that produced disbelief and, for others, a scramble to hold on to normal. We are approaching one year since widespread “stay at home” orders were mandated. March 5, 2020, marked the first school closings in America. By March 25, 2020, every public district in the country had shut down in-person instruction and launched its mad scramble to reinvent learning from remote locations. For us at CSS, ironically, Friday the 13th was our last day on campus for that school year.

Today, as mass vaccination sites are eagerly working to produce protection for the American public, we all want to reflect and look forward to better days. Here on the CSS campus, students are rounding the corner and approaching the final week of Experience-Centered Seminars, and we are grateful. Below are just a few of the things we are proud to recap on the 2020-2021 school year!

Kindergarten 100 Day Celebration, Things That Fly Seminar, Upper School Biology

Accomplishments and Highlights for 2020-2021

  • We forged ahead with plans for in-person learning, an opportunity we don’t take for granted as some schools in some parts of the country have yet to re-open.
  • As a community, we greeted each day with a thermometer. Carline became synonymous with celebration as it meant we were grateful to come to campus for another day.
  • We embraced teaching and learning in outdoor spaces – outdoor lectures, science labs, Plein air painting, art classes, band practice, drumming, rhythmic ribbons and movements, physical education, and even outdoor lunch. We have a newfound appreciation for our 28 acres.
  • The emergence of the Middle School afternoon activity block with activities like chess, disc golf, mountain biking, and Upper School running club and book club.
  • A sharpened focus on Black History Month with highlights including, Hands of Service project, the Tuskegee airmen keynote speaker, and Soles for Service shoe drive and art installation.
  • The drama department took creativity to new levels with productions like Fiddler on the Roof (on the Terrace), the outdoor Revue, the Upper School Radio Play, and Children’s School Dessert Theatre season.
  • The Festival of Lights Campus Parade and Winter Celebration of the Arts pulled us together at a time of year typically filled with anticipation and excitement.
  • Project-based curriculum highlights: PreK gained math skills and phonemic awareness but also studied scientific method and simple machines, Kindergarten took on the bat theme of study and recently celebrated 100 Days of School, 1st Grade partied after publishing books and made their public speaking debuts with Famous American speeches, 2nd Grade partnered with Catamount Institute for Fall Adventure on campus and kicked off a year of curiosity and design, 3rd Grade’s Solar System projects will be out of this world and then they will begin studying Colorado Pioneers for the Wax Museum, 4th grade buzzed with excitement for electricity/circuits and built moveable light bulbs first semester and is starting their independent study, 5th graders presented diseases, disorders, and injuries in a medical conference format along with microscope exploration, Middle School Artist-in-Residence, 8th-grade Ancient Civilization projects are a rite of passage, and in English, students gained skills to write about a controversial topic, 9th Grade National History Day projects received top honors and day after day high school students committed to Advanced Placement courses.
  • We sought to preserve the simple things. Recess, lunches from the dining hall, the Halloween parade, and pumpkin-carving, dodgeball and a Homecoming dance on the Quad, the Children’s School Valentine’s parties and the Winter Book Exchange, Matchwits, and Model UN competitions, harvesting the school garden, National Honor Society’s clothing drive, and Spirit Week dress-up days helped students achieve levels of normalcy.
  • Athletics! Sports were a substantial social-emotional outlet for our Upper School students and provided an outlet for physical fitness and dedication to the team.
  • We bravely planned seminars, albeit a little closer to home: Fall Adventures on campus, Middle School Seminars, Upper School Experience-Centered Seminars, and soon-on-the horizon Children’s School Colorado Expeditions, Seminar III, and 8th Grade Walkabout.
  • We engaged parents with Meet & Greets and hosted the New Family Welcome over the summer and later through virtual parent-teacher conferences. Our Parents Association supported new carline procedures and the care and keeping of our community with Carnival popcorn, hot cocoa bombs, crafts, teacher appreciation meals, and even a virtual trivia night.
  • Porch deliveries were made as a “shout out” for our generous Claremont Society donors and as 8th graders gained acceptance into the high school.
  • Baskets and auction donations are pouring into the Advancement Office as a team of dedicated volunteers is planning this year’s e-Gala & Auction, the school’s largest fundraising event of the year.
  • And yes, plans are underway for end-of-year celebrations, including the Class of 2021’s Commencement Exercises set to take place on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

Artful Recovery ECS, Middle School Utah Backpacking Seminar, The Science adn Sta

No one could imagine the happenings that would manifest from the pandemic. As we look back on the start of this year, we have made strides to hold to our mission to prepare students for a dynamic world with leadership, ingenuity, problem-solving skills, and personal integrity.

3rd Grade e-Learning Science Experiments, Middle School Robotics Activity, Model

The journey has not been easy. We realize that the disruption to our daily routine was vastly interrupted; shifting from in-person classes to distance learning can make the journey even tougher, but we remained committed and engaged to keep students learning and growing.
PreK Hands of Service Project, Middle School Art, Upper School AP Psych

Although we still are unsure of when the pandemic will end, the faculty and staff are committed, brave, and engaged in furthering CSS’s mission and vision and reaching students where they are. The number of stressors and uncertainty that engulfed both adults and children was never anything that we expected. Our country has felt the drain, exhaustion, financial upheaval, and disbelief. However, teachers genuinely have been the heroes of the pandemic. The social-emotional health and well-being of students have greatly enhanced due to their heroic efforts.

THANK YOU, CSS FAMILIES and TEACHERS!


Sincerely,
Tambi Tyler
Head of School
Faculty fostering community at the Winter Celebration carline parade
Kindergarten 100 Day Celebration, Things That Fly Seminar, Upper School Biology
Artful Recovery ECS, Middle School Utah Backpacking Seminar, The Science and Sta
3rd Grade e-Learning Science Experiments, Middle School Robotics Activity, Model
PreK Hands of Service Project, Middle School Art, Upper School AP Psych