Dear AmPark Family,
I write to you with continued hopes for good health and resilience as we settle further into this “new normal” of remote learning and the state of PAUSE. More than anything else, we want to always emphasize that we are here for you and are committed to maintaining a place of nurturing and love for our children. As the Chancellor has shared in his updates, schools will remain closed through April 29th and school will remain remotely “in-session” during the Spring Break of April 9th – 17th.
We know that many of our children and families were looking forward to a time of rest after such a quick transition to remote learning during a time of great fragility. The Department of Education also recognizes this and has shared resources for “theme days” for schools to participate in. It is our intention, that participating in these days will provide students with engaging topics to discuss and discover while lightening the traditional work load. At AmPark, offering choice and trusting in our teachers to use their knowledge of their students are aspects of our instruction that we pride ourselves on. Additionally, many staff members began their planning in advance of the DOE’s sharing of resources. To that end, participation in these overall themes may vary by class. We will make activities public on our blog so that you may choose additional offerings.
As we are still “in-session” our staff will continue to be here for your children as needed, however going live for instruction and office hours will be limited in order to provide a break from scheduled days and provide more opportunities for family time. We know that social interaction is especially crucial these days and we will still provide touchstone points across the week for groups to come together virtually for fun activities. We will share these events with links in classrooms on Monday. Until the 17th, work does not have to be submitted formally, aside from the daily attendance question. This question is still very important to complete. If you anticipate your child being absent for religious or other reasons, please let your teachers know in advance so as not to receive outreach calls.
The theme days are as follows:
Thursday, April 9th: Overall Theme: College and Career Day - “A Day in the Life...”
Objective: Engage students and families from all backgrounds with celebrating their goals for the future, including their journey to meaningful careers. Younger learners will engage in fun activities with their families envisioning their future and older students will have new opportunities to plan for their future in whatever field might be of interest to them.
Friday, April 10th: Spring Break Family Fun with the Arts!
Objective: Over two days, students and families are invited to explore together active arts making adventures in Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts and the Moving Image. These activities will allow students and families to come together on projects across disciplines that will allow students to express themselves and share their talent with their school communities.
Monday, April 13th: Overall Theme: Exploring science in the home!
Objective: To provide students and their families an opportunity to engage in design challenges and opportunities to explore the natural world from home. These interactive activities will allow for hands-on learning of the design process and provide students the opportunity to engage in virtual trips to the natural world from home.
Tuesday, April 14th: CS4All’s Create, Compute, and Community Day
Objective: We want to give students and parents of all ages a fun and engaging introduction to computer science. These ideas are designed for every student and family to engage in activities that show how computational thinking can be used to solve problems and express every child’s identity.
Wednesday, April 15th: Health and Wellness
Overall Theme: Wellness Wednesday: Discover How You Can Be a Wellness Champion while staying indoors and practicing social distancing with Physical Education activities and Social, Emotional and Mental Health Education activities
Objective: As a system, the NYCDOE uses the Supportive Environment Framework to support the mental, physical and emotional wellness of each student and to ensure a safe, welcoming & affirming environment for all students, families and educators. During Wellness Wednesday, students and families will have a chance to learn about these domains of wellness through instructional enrichment and experiential activities.
Thursday, April 16th: World Languages
Overall Theme: Over the course of World Languages Day, students and families will explore cultures and languages as assets in a global society.
Students and families will explore and make connections to rich diversity of languages and cultures in New York City. Students will build on the core concepts of World Language learning: communication, comparisons, connections, communities, cultures, as well as lifelong learning:
o To understand how exploring and understanding the world around us makes us better global citizens
o To develop an understanding of Spring celebrations around the world
o To explore the music and art of another culture
Friday, April 17th: Spring Break Family Fun with the Arts!
Objective: Over two days, students and families are invited to explore together active arts making adventures in Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts and the Moving Image. These activities
will allow students and families to come together on projects across disciplines that will allow students to express themselves and share their talent with their school communities.
Please continue to be safe and take good care of yourselves. I know we are a community minded group and have likely been strictly adhering to city guidelines around social distancing, staying home, wearing masks, and avoiding groups. Despite the challenges, the safer we can be the sooner we can all be together again and I look forward to that day. I also want to again recognize and thank the essential workers that continue to go in and do their jobs in order to keep us fed, safe, and cared for.
We wish you and yours Pesach Sameach and a Happy Easter.
Kelly, Bonnie, and Francisco
A Note on Social/Emotional Support from Mike Molloy to All:
To the Ampark Family,
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to check in with many parents and children, both here in the Ampark community as well as other families around the Bronx. I thought it might be useful to send over some of the major takeaways from these conversations with families.
- There is no perfect or correct way to navigate this emotional and unsettling time. Parents and students are attempting to figure out how to establish and maintain routines that work best for them. There are countless and varying factors that contribute to how a family functions most effectively and parents and students should be mindful when they are becoming self-critical. There is no script for how to do this best; what works well for one family might look drastically different for another.
- Being compassionate and forgiving to ourselves and our loved ones is important.
- Open and honest communication with children will help them. Even with the very little ones, explaining how things are different right now and normalizing that this time can be emotional can help children who are feeling anxious. With that being said, try your best not to scare children. Work to find a balance between protecting children while providing them with information to help make sense of what’s going on.
- Adults should be mindful of placing our anxieties and worries onto our children.
- People, and children in particular, are resilient. There will come a time that normalcy will return. This may take processing loss and anxiety but we do have the resiliency to bounce back.
- Take advantage of the support of others. Whether it’s here at Ampark or through friends or family members, reach out to those who make you feel supported and happy.
- Online learning is new to everyone! Everyone involved in online learning is trying to adapt to these new learning platforms. Online learning is a great place to practice being compassionate and forgiving to both ourselves and others! I hope these points provide you with even one piece of information that is beneficial at this time.
Please remember that myself and Ana are here should specific emotional needs arise. Sending you all thoughts and peace and love during this time.