An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Felicia Wilks, assistant head of school/Upper School director 

The last month-and-a-half has been an exciting time, as many students returned to campus for in-person classes. Their excitement contributes to the palpable joy here at the Upper School.

We surveyed students after their first rotation on campus to learn more about the details of their experience and ways to improve our on-campus and remote approaches. While there were some technical difficulties in the first few days, students across all grade levels raved about the ways their teachers continually strive to engage and educate them.

When asked to describe when they feel most connected to school, students studying remotely and students who came to campus made similar observations: They felt the most connected in small groups or during one-on-one interactions with their peers. For remote students, these connections happen in breakout rooms during a class, calls on Teams, and texts. For students able to come on campus, the opportunities to connect happen in classes during collaborative work, and between classes when they walk (socially distanced!) to their next class. For many students, seeing their peers walking across campus, the ability to say hi and wave to someone with whom they are not in class, is one of the small pleasures of this past month. Feedback from our students who are staying remote helped our student support team plan events designed to ensure remote students also have opportunities to casually connect with their peers outside of class. 

Regular feedback from parents and guardians, students, teachers, and advisors helps us continue to meet the needs of our students as we settle into our blended learning mode. Please do fill out the parent and guardian survey shared here; the survey will close on Friday, March 5 at 1 p.m. And encourage your students to complete the student survey as well — their voices continue to be of primary importance!

Dates and events for March

Review the Inside Lakeside email for Upper School highlights and the full calendar for information about PGA, college counseling, and other school events. Watch for email updates regarding reopening, including important information about testing, contact tracing, and the daily health checks.

Remember to review this visual explanation of when students can get tested and come back to campus after traveling or gathering.

  • Week of March 1: Grades 9 and 10 on campus.
  • Friday, March 5: Picture retake day.
  • Friday, March 5: COVID testing for students in grades 11 and 12.
  • Week of March 8: Grades 11 and 12 on campus.
  • Wednesday, March 10, 8-9 a.m.: Upper School parent and guardian Zoom webinar with administrators. Invitations will be sent a week in advance. A recording of the webinar will be posted the following day on the parents and guardians webpage.
  • Friday, March 12: COVID testing for students in grades 9 and 10.
  • Friday, March 12: Picture retake day
  • Week of March 15: Grades 9 and 10 on campus.
  • Monday, March 15, 7 p.m.: Parent and guardians webinar with Julie Lutton, Likes, stories, and follows: Helping students navigate social media safely and according to their values. Invitations will be sent a week in advance. A recording of the webinar will be posted the following day on the parents and guardians webpage.
  • Friday, March 19: COVID testing for students in grades 11 and 12.
  • Week of March 22: Grades 11 and 12 on campus.
  • Friday, March 26: COVID testing for students in grades 9 and 10, plus students in 11 grade taking the ACT on Tuesday, March. 30. 
  • Week of March 29: Grades 9 and 10 on campus.
  • Tuesday, March 30: ACT testing for students in grade 11 on campus; students in grades 9, 10, and 12 remote. Juniors taking the ACT will receive detailed instructions closer to the exam date. 

Felicia Wilks is Lakesides assistant head of school and Upper School director. Reach her at USDirector@lakesideschool.org or 206-440-2721.