Due to their status as an “essential service,” our Preschool and Pre-kindergarten programs have been operating in-person since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, following strict health and safety guidelines. Additionally, per California state mandate, K-12 programs in a given county will be permitted to open for in-person instruction ONLY if key indicators of COVID-19 incidence in that county fall below the “Monitoring/Watch List” thresholds for 14 consecutive days. However, schools can apply to their county authorities for a “waiver to open,” even if the county is on the “Watch List.” Given Stratford’s robust safety plans and the successful safety track-record of our on-campus Summer programs, we are in the process of applying for county waivers where they are being offered in the counties in which our schools are located.
Each county has a unique waiver application form and some have requested supplementary materials IN ADDITION to our standard Reopening Guidelines manual. Click the links below to see the specific information unique to each county. Updates on the waiver approval status are also indicated below.
- Orange County -- Orange County Waiver Application (approved 8/25)
- San Mateo County -- San Mateo Reopening Guidelines Addendum (updated 10/1)
- Alameda County -- Alameda County Guidelines Addendum
San Francisco County
San Francisco De Montfort
San Francisco 14th Ave
San Francisco Middle School
Santa Clara County
Reopening of Santa Clara County K-12 Schools - A Parent's Guide
Note: This is produced by the Santa Clara County Public Health.
Santa Clara Winchester
Santa Clara Pomeroy
San Jose Middle School
Sunnyvale Raynor Middle School
Sunnyvale De Anza Park
Sunnyvale Washington Park
August 10, 2020
The health and safety of our school community continues to be our top priority. Please know that all decisions we make derive around our community of learners, our committed educators, and dedicated staff. Recently, Governor Newsom announced the guidelines for opening schools this fall. The restrictions include orders to follow county level data monitoring before reopening for in-person instruction. To resume in-person instruction for elementary age students, a county must be off the state's COVID-19 watch list for 14 consecutive days. We continue to explore options and review guidelines, while working very closely with county health officials to open our school, safely.
While we continue to work with county health officials to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible, we have determined it is in the best interest of our school community to formalize the decision for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade to return to school in an initial model of distance learning. Please be aware that as measures with COVID-19 continue to evolve, we will develop our decisions and practice. It is our absolute desire to open for in-person instruction as soon as it is safe and approved to do so. We are ready! We are prepared for all scenarios and adaptable in our practice to meet the needs of our school community.
Our leadership team has worked throughout the past several months to continue to develop our Distance Learning program, with considerations given to the feedback received from many families on last year's Distance Learning survey.
Between now and the start of school, faculty and staff will focus our attention on preparing for a seamless back-to-school transition, starting the school year with distance learning, working through the logistics of a virtual back to school, which would include community building, distribution of materials and technology. We will send more information about our updates to the program, family orientation, and student/teacher meet and greet. You can look forward to your child’s teacher sending you the details of the distance learning schedule, which will align with a traditional school day, with an anticipated start time of 8:15 am with morning gathering/character development for all students.
We are committed to remain in communication with you as additional plans are finalized and hope that this decision enables families to better plan for the beginning of the school year. We absolutely look forward to communicating the details of in-person learning as soon as we have approval. However, rest assured that your child is in great hands with our distance learning program until we can meet again.
August 8, 2020
- Daily Health/Temperature Checks
- Safe Distancing & Stable, Consistent Groups
- Increased Sanitation, including frequent hand-washing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces
- Face-coverings -- required for both staff and students (note that age guidelines and situations excepted from use will be guided by local health departments)
- Nap time procedure safeguards -- During preschool nap times, mats are placed head to toe (not face to face), and each child’s bedding is stored separately and sent home for frequent washing
July 29, 2020
- First Day of School
- Our “Return to Campus” families will start the school year, as planned, on Monday, August 24 (in the operational mode required by local mandates -- fully on-campus, fully distance learning OR hybrid -- see next point below).
- Our “Fully Online” Early Childhood Education (ECE) Preschool/Pre-K and Middle School Online Programs will also start on Monday, August 24.
- To accommodate high demand, our Online Academy Program for Grades K-5 will start on Monday, August 31.
- How we plan to Return to Campus: On Monday, August 10, 2020 (14 days prior to the start of the new school year), we will confirm how we will start the school year based on local/county directives -- fully on-campus without restrictions, fully distance learning, OR on a hybrid schedule, due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions.
- Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten programs are universally permitted to conduct in-person schooling -- in fact, we have been successfully and safely operating our in-person Summer@Stratford camp programs for this age group for the past several weeks. Per the timing outlined above, we will confirm whether we will start the on-campus Preschool/Pre-K school year on a hybrid schedule (due to capacity restrictions) no later than 14 days in advance of our school start day -- by August 10.
- “Waiver to open” application: As previously stated, HOW we return to campus will be determined by local/county mandates and regulations. As we shared last week, on July 17, California Governor Newsom set forth a “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework,” which requires that K-12 schools in a given county be permitted to open for in-person instruction ONLY if key indicators of COVID-19 incidence fall below the “Monitoring/Watch List” threshold for 14 consecutive days. As an addendum, schools can apply to their county for a “waiver to open,” even if the county is on the “Watch List.” Based on the application, the county will determine whether a school’s particular circumstances and safety plans merit an exception. Given our robust safety plans, we are in the process of applying for a county waiver. As of this writing, we cannot be certain as to when we might receive a response from the County Department of Health, but we will keep you informed.
- Return to Campus -- over the past several months, we have been diligently preparing to welcome our students back to in-person school SAFELY. We have already started equipping our school and training our staff in our robust on-site safety protocols. As mentioned above, we opened our campus for in-person Summer@Stratford camp programs, wherein we successfully implemented safe distancing, face coverings, health checks, and sanitation procedures, and the vast majority of our camp families reported having a very positive experience.
- Fully Online -- in response to parent feedback, we created our fully online program options to serve families who prefer NOT to return their children to campus, given the current COVID-19 environment. We developed these programs with great attention to detail to ensure that we deliver an experience truly on-par with our on-campus learning, including more shared experiences and interactions to ensure students stay connected with their peers and remain a vital part of our school community. Earlier today, our Online families received additional communications to confirm your choice to enroll in the Online program so we can begin the on-boarding process. Note that the opt-in period for our Fully Online programs is open through Friday, July 31.
July 27, 2020
- Traditional School: full on-site instruction, if there are no regulations that restrict our classroom capacity
- Intermittent Distance Learning: to respond to governmental mandates and/or COVID incidences on-campus
- Hybrid Schedule: a mix of traditional school and coordinated distance learning to accommodate capacity limitations required for safe-distancing and stable-grouping regulations
Since March, the impact of the global pandemic of COVID-19 has deeply affected the communities we serve. While no one person could have fully predicted or anticipated the magnitude of this disruption, we are proud of our dedicated educators who continue to stand united in our commitment to provide your child with a safe and secure learning environment while delivering the academic excellence you expect. Thank you for your resilience, patience, and support of our efforts throughout this period.
Behind the scenes, an extraordinary academic task force composed of principals and curriculum-design specialists and experts from across our organization began designing multiple paths to support our return to school in the fall. The plans in development include agile practices, responsive to what we know now and to what we do not yet know – public health mandates and guidelines that will be in effect in August and throughout the next school year.
While details are still being refined, we wanted to share the following high-level direction and assurances with you, as we look ahead to what school will look like in the fall:
● We plan to fully resume on-campus instruction in the fall.
● We are also preparing “hybrid” plans for combined learning at school and online, in the event that school class sizes are restricted or incidences of COVID-19 force intermittent school closures.
● We recognize that some families may be reluctant to send their children back to an on-campus environment in the fall. Therefore, we will also offer a FULLY ONLINE option that will approximate the rigor and richness you expect at but be accessible entirely from home.
As we develop these plans, your feedback is very important to us. As a next step, to help us evaluate interest in the “Fully Online” program, we will send a short survey next week, and we would greatly appreciate your input. Following that, we will share more detailed plans in early July.
We thank you again for partnering with us as we work toward this “new normal.” We miss you, and we are eager to welcome your child(ren) back to school in August.
May 29, 2020
As this most extraordinary school year careens to its end, we wanted to share some observations and reflections on the past several months, and to preview our plans for the return to campus in the fall. We look forward to the 2020-21 school year; to reuniting with colleagues and students; to school-year rituals and traditions; to another year of joyful learning and personal growth, informed by lessons learned during our distance-learning experience.
Planning for School Year 2020-21
When it became apparent that shelter-in-place policies would be in effect through the end of this school year, and after we had completed several cycles of distance-learning, we turned our attention to School Year 2020-21, creating a school-reentry team tasked with developing a responsive return plan, a blueprint focused on safely returning students and teachers to school buildings and classrooms in August, but with alternative models for multiple contingencies, for unknowable circumstances. Comprehensive planning now will allow us to be nimble and responsive to multiple scenarios we might face next year. Modeling now will minimize the effect of potential disruptions next year. “Luck favors the prepared mind,” said Louis Pasteur, and this seems an especially fitting time to be heeding the advice of a biologist!
Our school is a member of a consortium of schools and therefore has the expertise, resources, and networking capability of a large organization. Our Education Team is composed of fifteen full-time experts trained in curriculum design, instructional coaching, information technology, early childhood and gifted education, online learning, and much more. Our Education Team is highly involved in return-to-school planning, in the creative modeling conducive to contingency-plan development, and, most importantly, in summer teacher training in anticipation of next school year.
To date, our task force has established priorities aligned with our school’s mission and goals for students, created an August return-to-campus plan, and is building out support systems for several potential contingency plans. They will continue this work throughout the summer, and we will apprise you of major developments as they occur. But here are some highlights and a high-level overview of the task force’s thinking.
Our commitment to the health and safety of our school community is paramount. We will abide by all state and local statues, heed the advice of health organizations, notably the CDC, and maintain a clean and healthy environment within our schools. Additionally, we will implement several strategies to encourage behaviors known to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Quality Academic Programs
The distance learning experience proved to be highly fertile grounds for teacher development. Teachers, who initially felt constrained by the online platform, quickly learned new techniques – in some cases through training implemented by our Education Team, more often by visiting each other’s Zoom classrooms. They learned to use new technologies and adaptive learning programs; they adopted new techniques and modified their own practice to personalize learning, as needed, and to ensure engagement for all. Students who had been somewhat reticent in their four-walled classroom were asking questions and taking intellectual risks, seemingly more comfortable in an online setting. We must never forget what we have learned in the past three months! When we return to our classrooms, we should preserve and extend those learnings, continue to use the adaptive programs and asynchronous learning options that worked so well for many students, and strive for a seamless integration of traditional and modern learning techniques.
We have every intention of returning to campus for the opening of School Year 2020-21. If at that time or later in the school year, shelter-in-place or reduced-occupancy mandates are imposed, we will be ready to transition to one of several teaching and learning models, among them (1) a period of distance learning or (2) a hybrid of distance and on-campus learning (necessary, for example, if classroom capacity limits are imposed). Again, an uninterrupted traditional school year is our fervent hope, but every imaginable alternative scenario is being explored.
Commitment to Improvement
The school has committed to investing in computer hardware and software upgrades to aid in any hybrid accommodation we may face, and also at the request of our teachers, who, during the distance-learning period, learned and developed creative uses for instructional technology and learning programs, which they hope to continue using.
Summer and school year 2020-21 teacher training will focus almost entirely on blended learning techniques – how to develop curriculum and programing with clear through-lines that seamlessly integrate traditional and modern teaching pedagogies, synchronous and asynchronous learning, in-person and digital experiences.
A Caring Atmosphere
Our primary goals for distance learning were to:
● Engage students in learning that approximated the rigor and richness of their traditional school experience and
● Provide continuity and connection for all our children – a sense of normalcy and joy that comes from daily interactions among teachers and students.
In all of our distance-learning interactions with students, we tried to bridge the digital gap with some playfulness, some fun, and other manifestations of care and connection. In advisory meetings and in academic classes, we incorporated elements that supported social-emotional health. During our months apart, social-emotional learning was more relevant than ever.
When our students, your children, return to school in the fall, their excitement around reuniting with old friends is likely to be tempered with some anxiety. Students will be looking to their teachers for guidance on how to return to once familiar learning contexts and routines, and we intend to be prepared to meet them where they are. The youngster who left his second grade class in early March and is returning in August as a third grader may need a little TLC and a bit of time to warm up. How we open the school year and reorient children are critically important pieces of our planning.
Onward, with Optimism!
The events of the past few months, along with daily doses of pandemic news, have turned some of us into armchair epidemiologists, and reintroduced many of us to science principles last encountered in high school biology. I found some comfort in having a passing familiarity with terms common to nightly news reports – virus, RNA, antigen, antibody, exponential growth – grateful that I knew enough science to follow the story, grateful to my high school biology teacher who regularly assured us of the relevance of what she was teaching. Especially this year, I am grateful to be a teacher. I am proud to have been part of our school’s teaching team, who, undaunted by difficult circumstances, conducted their fine work from a distance. From Zoom rooms and makeshift classrooms in their homes, they continued to nurture children, propagate knowledge, and develop skills and habits of mind to last a lifetime. As we begin to plan for next school year, we are still driven by the mission and vision that attracted us to teaching in the first place, and we are reinvigorated by the creativity and inventiveness unleashed this year in response to extraordinarily challenging circumstances. We end the year as we began, grateful for the opportunity to teach and to learn. Onward to an excellent future!
You can expect to hear from us throughout the summer as we further refine our plans for next school year. Stay well, and please stay in touch. Thank you again for your continued partnership.
April 29, 2020
March 27, 2020
We would like to begin with a sincere note of thanks, not only to you, our parents, for your incredible support and agility during this unprecedented time; we also send a heartfelt thank you to all of the nurses, doctors, medical teams, and first responders for their selfless commitment to keeping our community safe.
As we approach our first full week of Distance Learning … in one word, it’s been inspiring! Inspiring to see how students embrace this new way of learning. Inspiring to see our parents join us as partners in continuing their child’s education. Inspiring that in spite of navigating life under a Shelter at Home mandate, we see the connection and warm smiles of our students and teachers -- all working together to be engaged and passionate about learning in this new way. Nurturing this connection with teachers and classmates is key to helping your child feel secure with a sense of normalcy at a time of serious disruption.
We are also inspired by parents who have taken time to share feedback -- we are listening carefully and in the days and weeks ahead, you will see enhancements to our various distance learning programs based on the constructive feedback received!
Next week, we look forward to augmenting the distance learning schedule with more content and connection. In preparation, you should expect to receive an email from your child’s teacher that provides an outline of coursework and goals for learning in the upcoming week. Please know that your teachers are an email away if you have any questions or concerns. We understand that as parents, you are shouldering multiple responsibilities, and we remain available to help support you and your child through these unprecedented times.
At the time of our March 20 email update, we anticipated reopening our campus on April 20. However, on Wednesday, March 25, several California counties announced the extension of school closures through Friday, May 1. Although we all look forward to returning to our physical classrooms, we are confident that our robust distance learning program will continue to deliver an accelerated learning approach that goes well beyond what many schools are providing, or have chosen not to provide during this critical time. Our distance learning program offers a significant degree of educational continuity. Similar to summer, without a program in place, students can quickly fall behind at a critical time in their education.
As challenging as this period is for all of us, life will get back to normal, and we will return to our campus. When we do, students who have continuously taken part in our distance learning program will enjoy a seamless transition, and should be well-prepared to matriculate to the next grade level*.
As we shared with you in prior communications that kicked off our Distance Learning Program, our education team has taken a very thoughtful and intentional approach to how distance learning can be most effectively accomplished for the various program levels. For details on the specific objectives, goals and benefits we are targeting for the program in which your child is enrolled, please visit our Distance Learning page here.