Last Updated: Thursday, March 26 at 1:39 PM

Dear City Garden Families,

Each morning this week, our staff has gathered virtually via Zoom to check in, support one another, and plan for how we will serve all of you during this time. This new way of operating is strange and different—we are a “high touch” community, with one another and with our students and families. So, not being together is hard. Not being with you is hard. We miss all of you! We have been working to incorporate some of our community rituals and practices into our virtual meetings, and we are working at staying connected to one another. We have begun each day with all of you on our hearts and minds, wishing each of you well.

The task of transitioning our learning community to a “distance learning” model has admittedly felt daunting. Our educational model is centered around following each child, meticulously preparing the physical classroom environment, and building community together. We are essentially asking our teachers to put together an entirely different way of educating their students than they were trained to do. We know that we cannot do all of the things we normally do from a distance, but we have been working hard to make plans that will keep us all connected and will meet our students’ needs.

Ensuring all of our families have access to food, responding to urgent mental health needs of students and getting all staff and students set up with technology devices and at-home internet have been our first areas of focus. We will continue to focus on these things and to meet the urgent needs of our families. If you have a need, please reach out.

As we have been meeting and planning for what City Garden “from a distance” looks like, we have committed to centering equity and interrupting the characteristics of White Supremacy Culture:
• Sense of Urgency
• Perfectionism
• Worship of the Written Word
• Defensiveness
• Quantity over Quality
• Paternalism
• Either/or Thinking
• Power Hoarding
• Fear of Open Conflict
• Individualism

(You can read this article on White Supremacy Culture that we and many antiracism groups utilize regularly.)

Admittedly, this is hard. We have some families who have been ready and eager to implement Montessori at home for nearly two weeks or who have expected us to be ready with a comprehensive plan the day we returned from spring break, while we have other families who have lost jobs, don’t have steady access to food or housing, or are working in hospitals and living under intense mental and physical stress. For some families it will be immensely challenging to also take on the new role of school educator in their child’s life during this time. We are trying to be mindful of this during our planning. Many City Garden staff are now watching their own very young children full time and others are also being tasked with educating their children through this time each day as well.

With all of this in mind, we are striving to develop a plan that meets all of our families’ needs, that is doable for staff and that centers equity. We know it will be imperfect and a work in progress, and we ask for your partnership.

As we implement our distance learning plan, we invite you into our community ABAR work in newer and deeper ways. We invite you to join us in resisting White Supremacy Culture as we embark on this new and different journey as a community. We ask you to be patient, and flexible, and to prioritize your own physical and mental health, as well as your children’s.

Rolling out City Garden’s Distance Learning Plan

Each of you has received an email from your children’s lead guides giving you some initial resources that you and your children can explore. The next couple of weeks will be heavily focused on getting everyone set up with the learning platforms their classrooms will be using, as well as checking in with students emotionally. This is an extraordinary time we are living in, and all of our guides believe it is essential to prioritize connection and mental health and wellbeing. Each level is also ready to share initial learning plans and materials with students and families.

We would like to get learning materials to all students over the next several days. Because we can only have a few people in our building at a time, to protect everyone’s health and safety, we have to distribute materials in phases. We realize that it is inconvenient for some families to have to come to school more than once. We apologize and are doing the best we can, given the constraints. Please note that if you are not able to come to school, a staff member will deliver your child(ren)’s materials to your doorstep.

Learning Materials Distribution Schedule

Junior High – will be distributing materials individually to students on Thursday

Upper Elementary – Parents and students are asked to pick up materials in a “drive through” approach in the City Garden parking lot on Thursday, March 26th between 4-6 pm or Friday, March 27th between 4-6pm. If you are unable to pick up materials at this time, we will deliver them to your home.

Lower Elementary – Parents and students are asked to pick up materials in a “drive through” approach in the City Garden parking lot on Monday, March 30 between 4-6 pm or Tuesday, March 31st between 4-6pm. If you are unable to pick up materials at this time, we will deliver them to your home.

Primary – Parents and students are asked to pick up materials in a “drive through” approach in the City Garden parking lot on Monday, March 30 between 4-6 pm or Tuesday, March 31st between 4-6pm. If you are unable to pick up materials at this time, we will deliver them to your home.

We will continue to build out our distance learning plan, and we may need to make some changes along the way as we try out new things. We will work to connect with each family to see how you are doing and what you need.

Thank you for all of your support and for being an important part of the City Garden community.

I hope you are taking good care of yourselves!

In partnership,

Christie

Christie Huck
she/her/hers
CEO/Executive Director