by Bernie Noe, head of school
We are at the end of the 2019-2020 centennial school year and what a year it has been! For the first three-quarters of the year, Lakeside faculty, staff, and administrators were working on a range of projects, including Our Work Together; identifying the competencies and mindsets we will be teaching students beginning in the 2021-2022 school year; and developing and collecting feedback on a new school calendar and our minimester term, the Lion Term. And for the last quarter of the year, we transitioned to remote learning, recreating the school online. I am proud of how hard the faculty, staff, and administrators worked to do both, covering a lot of ground in one year!
Lakeside students always bring their best game to school, but I have seen something in the remote period that is truly extraordinary: In difficult circumstances, our students quickly adapted to online learning and did so with good spirit and even enthusiasm. I know this period has been hard on our students, and some much more than others, and I am proud of the resilience and determination they have shown in the face of this pandemic. The seniors in particular, who lost their senior spring, have supported one another and joined enthusiastically in all of the online activities. They continue to lead the student body in this remote period.
It is a privilege to work with all our students, grades 5 through 12!
As I have mentioned in my Virtually Lakeside updates, our planning for next year is well underway. In preparing for the coming school year, we are keeping the safety of our student and adult communities foremost in mind, and we are in close contact with officials at Public Health — Seattle & King County. We assume that we will be in phase four of Washington state’s Safe Start plan in the fall, which will mean that groups of up to 250 people can be together, if they are socially distanced. Given this assumption, we are planning to open both Middle and Upper schools next year using a blended model of in-person and remote education. This would mean that all students would be on campus for some portion of their education and work remotely at home for the remaining portion. The blended model will continue in some form until social distancing guidelines are no longer in effect. We do understand that some students may not be able to come to campus, and we are working on how we will accommodate students’ needs based on their individual circumstances.
To support our goal of offering students a world-class educational program — including athletics and the arts — in a blended setting, Global Online Academy will be conducting a weeklong training this June for the entire faculty and administration. I am excited about being in a virtual classroom setting with our amazing and inspiring faculty, including all our new teachers. In many ways, this work will advance our re-envisioning. Learning more about how to integrate technology with teaching competencies and mindsets in a blended setting will further enable us to prepare our students to live joyful lives of meaning and service in the world they find when they graduate.
I know you have a multitude of questions regarding next year. As King County progresses through the Safe Start phases in the next two months, we at Lakeside will continue to refine our plans for the fall. As external circumstances evolve, all of us will need to adapt and change, and we will keep families informed of our decisions. In mid-July, we will email all of our families — including families of our new students — as much planning information as we have at that point. On Aug. 3, we will send families the school’s traditional summer mailing, along with updates to information about reopening. Unlike other summers, I will be around most of the time, working on all aspects of opening in the fall, so feel free to be in touch!
To conclude, you have been an amazing parent and guardian community, supporting us at school and offering help when we needed it. I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated your resilience and positive attitude.
Have a great summer, everyone.
Bernie Noe is Lakeside’s head of school. You can reach him at Head'sOffice@lakesideschool.org and 206-440-2714.