May 23, 2020
Dear SMS Families Enrolled for the 2020-2021 School Year:
We are delighted that your family will be a part of our Salem Montessori School community for the 2020-2021 school year. It is an exciting year for us as a school: 2020-2021 will mark our first year offering Elementary grades. We look forward to growing our Elementary program in the coming years as our students matriculate upward. All of our staff are returning to the school in the fall.
While it may seem early to be thinking about the new school year, the recent events have left families with a number of questions about what the next year will look like. While we do not have answers at this time, we assure you that the Board and School Administrators have been actively working on this topic behind the scenes and are committed to finding a solution that has children attending SMS on school premises provided that it is safe to do so. We have appointed an Ad-Hoc Committee that is meeting regularly and will guide the Board’s recommendations on the topic. The way we see it, there are three likely outcomes before us:
Outcome 1: We return to school normally as scheduled in the fall.
We understand that we may need to re-implement social distancing after several weeks or months. It is our goal to create a situation that allows us to move nimbly between the options outlined below and offer continuous, uninterrupted delivery of best-in-class Montessori education to our students. If on-site classroom learning is significantly reduced, rest assured that the Board will consider a reduced-tuition model
Outcome 2: We are able to return to school but in a modified fashion.
Our goal is to safely maximize the amount of time spent in the Montessori environment. Under this outcome, that time could be modified with smaller groups of children per classroom, staggered begin and end times, etc. We have developed plans that could allow children to spend some time on school premises (both outdoors and indoors) every week but on a reduced basis. The classroom time would be intentionally supplemented with distance learning. This model, depending on how much and for how long the in-classroom experience would need to be reduced, may have tuition modifications.
Outcome 3: We are not able to return to the classroom at the beginning of the school year due to state or local regulations.
In this case, there will be a robust and interactive distance learning curriculum offered, with frequent Zoom meetings and activities. If distance learning is required for a sustained period the Board will consider reduced tuition to account for the reduction of in-class learning. We have learned much from our experiences with distance learning this spring, and we believe that we can offer an outstanding program for our families. We sincerely hope that Outcome 3 does not come to pass, but we will be prepared if it does.
While we cannot know the trajectory of the virus or the situation at the start of school, we remain committed to open and regular communication with our community. Salem Montessori School’s success has been built on the strong foundation of our parent community. The Board and School Administration are committed to providing you a safe and fair Montessori experience in 2020-2021. You can expect the next update from us by June 30th. Should you have more specific questions about the school’s contingency plans, please do not hesitate to contact Julie Smith, Head of School.
JoAnn White, Board Chair
Julie Smith, Head of School