"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

Friends Seminary Distance Learning

The purpose of the Distance Learning Plan is to provide a framework and information about the online learning experience taking place in the Friends Seminary community, whether during normal programming or a forced campus closure and distance learning for all. Online learning will be a part of the Friends Seminary learning experience for all students in one form or another during the 2020-2021 academic year. For Upper School students in Grades 9-12, all academic classes will happen online. For students in Grades 7 and 8, portions of their academic classes will happen online. For Grades 3-6, one day each week will involve online programming. Even for our youngest learners, for whom we have planned in-person learning each day of the week, Friends will strategically use elements and tools of online learning to prepare for the possibility of a forced campus closure. Lastly, Friends faculty members will use their extensive training in online teaching to help support students who are unable to return to campus and whose families have opted into their division-specific Distance Learning Only Pathway (DLOP).

Using our experiences in online learning from Spring 2020 and online Summer Bridge courses, and drawing on over 3,000 hours of summer professional development, the Friends Seminary community has worked hard to prepare rich online learning experiences for all of our students. Whether a planned part of the school year, or due to an unplanned campus closure, Friends has taken proactive steps to put students, faculty, and families in a position to be most successful during any planned or unplanned periods of online learning.

Table of Contents

Friends Seminary Guiding Principles for Online Learning

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Maintaining and Building Community

    Relationships—all of them—are crucial to learning and the personal growth we aim to foster. The Friends Healthy Fall Reopening and Distance Learning Plans both include specific elements for maintaining the human connections between teachers and students, between students and their classmates, advisors and advisees, divisional Meetings for Worship, and student-driven programs like Clubs. In addition to preserving the strong Friends academic program, the school has proactively built in structured and unstructured opportunities for community building and social emotional development in the context of planned or unplanned online learning. The health and safety, social and emotional well being of our students are our top priorities.
  • Providing Simplicity in Structure and Routine

    While we navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic and potential school closures, maintaining a predictable structure and routine will help build comfort, reduce anxiety, and put all members of the community in a place to learn and grow. For this reason, each division’s schedule is built to allow for easy transitions between in-person and online learning. That is, if there is a forced campus closure, and we must shift to online learning for all, students and teachers will continue with their same daily schedules and enjoy the predictability and simplicity that this affords.
  • Rethinking Time

    In order to maximize health and safety and to best support in-person and online learning for all Friends Seminary students, we have greatly simplified the academic schedules for the 2020-2021 academic year. Additionally, children thrive when they can rely on developmentally appropriate routines. Schedule grids for the Middle School and Upper School can be found here. These daily schedules will remain the same for in-person and online learning. Some key elements of this year’s daily schedules:
    • A weekly schedule. The 8-day rotating schedule with 8 class periods in the Middle and Upper Schools offered a great deal of variety and flexibility in scheduling for the academic program. However, the simplicity of a repeating weekly (Monday-Friday) schedule better serves the needs of our community at this time.
    • A slightly later start to the school day for Upper School students (8:45 AM).
    • More uniformity in length of classes (60 or 65 minutes) for MS & US Classes.
    • In the Upper School, a longer lunch/collab/community period in the middle of the day. This time was invaluable during Spring 2020 distance learning in helping students connect with teachers and each other for academic and emotional support, and for community building.
  • Reducing Platforms and Simplifying the Learning Experience

    Learning Management Systems

    Since Spring 2020, Friends has taken steps to identify and leverage a small suite of platforms to support learning in the different divisions, while reducing the total number of platforms that students need to learn to successfully navigate their classes—in person or online. Importantly, the School has identified and mandated the use of a single, developmentally appropriate, Learning Management System (LMS) for each division.

    This means that each student will have a single place to visit to find and engage with their class materials and assignments. For example:
    • All class materials (videos, PDFs, pictures, slide shows, etc.) and links
    • All assignments and activities
    • Zoom Links and Passwords
    • Schedule of upcoming assignments neatly organized for easy access and completion
    • Feedback from teachers on assignments and student work
    • Much more

    Below find links to each Learning Management System with a few student-perspective videos to give a brief overview of what to expect when using these platforms.

    Grades K-2: SeeSaw
    • VIDEO:  September 8 SeeSaw Parent Orientation Zoom.  (Password: z^6eVv5* )
    Grades 3-4: Google Classroom
    • VIDEO: Student Perspective of joining a Google Classroom and completing a sample assignment.
    • VIDEO: September 8 Google Classroom Parent Orientation Zoom.  (Password: sGW0d?LK)
    Grades 5-12: PowerSchool Learning
    • VIDEO: Student Overview of PowerSchool Learning (Web Browser)
    • VIDEO: Student Overview of PowerSchool Learning (iPad App)
    • VIDEO: Student perspective on completing a sample assignment in PowerSchool
    • VIDEO: Student perspective on viewing teacher feedback on a sample assignment.
    Specific protocols for the use of each Learning Management System were developed and documented over the summer to help support teachers in their use of these platforms and to help standardize and simplify the student learning experiences.

    Division heads, technology integrators, and classroom teachers will share information and provide ongoing training and support to help students and families to navigate their Learning Management System.

    Video Conferencing: Zoom

    For class meetings, Friends will continue to use Zoom Conferencing. All Friends Seminary students have unique Google Logins that can be used to sign in to Zoom. However, students do not NEED a special account to use Zoom—they may join any meeting using the link (or Meeting ID) provided by their teachers.

    Teachers will provide ongoing support for how to make the best use of Zoom for synchronous classes and activities. To supplement this, here is a brief overview of how to:

    Google Suite for Education

    Teachers and students will continue to make (developmentally appropriate) use of the Google Suite for Education products for learning, collaborating, engaging, and sharing. As students progress from LS to MS to US, teachers will begin leveraging more G Suite tools and functionalities. In particular, teachers will make use of:
    • Gmail (email)
    • Google Documents
    • Google Slides
    • Google Forms
    • Google Sheets
    • Google Calendar
  • Limiting Screen Time

    While any online learning will necessarily rely on technology and screens, we want to be mindful of the amount of time that our learners spend on screens – We strive to balance time using technology with time away from devices.  The divisional schedules, made to pivot easily between in-person and online learning, all include features that allow students to take screen breaks between each synchronous meeting. 
  • Supporting All Families to Successfully Engage with all Learning - In Person and Online

    Each division will have plans for checking in with each student and family as the school year progresses.  In particular, we will work to ensure the emotional wellbeing (and health & safety) of the students and to ensure that students remain prepared to engage in planned online learning (from the Reopening Plan) or in the event of a forced campus closure and distance learning for all.

Communications

Families, Students, and Faculty and Staff will receive various communications from the school. In order to provide some predictability and consistency, we will attempt to follow the framework below:

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

Technology Requirements for Distance Learning

The Friends Seminary Distance Learning Plan presumes that students and families are able to maintain digital communication (email and internet). Further requirements for devices and networking differ by age group and are spelled out within each divisional section. 

In the event of a forced campus closure, Friends Seminary has taken steps to ensure that all students have access to devices that will allow them to meaningfully engage in Online Learning:
Grades K-8:  All students will be equipped with school-issued iPads.
Grades 9-12 will use their BYOD devices.
Here is a link to the LS Digital Citizenship Guide
Here is a link to the MS iPad Responsible Use Policy.
* Parents of Lower School students will also need email access in order to support their child(ren)’s work.

For Middle and Upper School students, a mobile device with Wifi and/or a cellular data plan may be viable for some tasks and may supplement online learning with the primary device (iPad/Laptop).

The Technology Department will be available to help with issues related to school-provided devices or problems accessing distance learning resources. If issues arise, parents or students may access support by starting a help ticket (https://bit.ly/fsremotesupport). Submitting a ticket will allow the team to review, prioritize, delegate and respond to issues efficiently.

If needed, an email can be sent to remotesupport@friendsseminary.org to create a ticket as well.  If it is determined that a device is broken or in need of service, families will be directed by Tech Department staff on how to proceed.  

Below is a technical checklist that students and families may use to ensure they are prepared for Distance Learning:
  • Confirm your student’s device is connected to your home Wifi network
  • Confirm that download and upload speeds on the device are 3 Mbps or greater by going to https://fast.com/ 
  • Verify your student can log in to Gmail (for grades 5-12) and their Learning Management System (grades K-12):
    • SeeSaw for Grades K-2 (using home QR Codes, distributed by homeroom teachers)
    • Google Classroom for Grades 3-4
  • If using an iPad, confirm it is on iOS 11 or higher.
  • If using a computer, confirm that the latest version of Chrome is installed (Chrome is the preferred web browser for online learning - some media will not display correctly on other browsers).
  • Confirm the Zoom Client application / App is installed 

General Distance Learning Guidelines for Parents

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Help Your Child(ren) Connect

    Work with your child to make sure they have basic connectivity (see the above Tech Checklist) and also access to each platform that will comprise the Distance Learning Plans. This may require checking in with your child frequently during the first few days and less frequently once they are accustomed to the various forms of interaction.
  • Define a Physical Space for School Work

    It is helpful for a child’s learning to have a dedicated space for work that they may enter and leave when they begin and end their school work.  Alternatively, if it is not feasible to have a physical space dedicated to work, having a space that can be transformed daily into a “school work” space and then returned to its original condition can be helpful for maintaining the separation between school and home for students in a distance/online learning environment.
    • Identify a place that can be as quiet as possible.
    • Please have as few visual distractions as possible in the background.  The best backgrounds are neutral walls.  Please avoid backgrounds that include items and features that might not be a part of everyone’s home (pool, large patio, outdoor space, etc.).  An added benefit would be good lighting, specifically front-lighting.
    • Ideally, the location will have a strong WiFi signal
    • Adult supervision should be factored into choosing a learning location as age-appropriate
  • Monitor Communications from Teachers and Help Students Access and Organize Their Work

    While the school has taken proactive steps to simplify the learning experience for all students during distance learning, parental support – especially at the beginning of distance learning – will be instrumental in helping students hit the ground running.  Parents are partners in education always, especially during distance learning.  Expect more communications from teachers to both students and parents during distance learning.

    For younger children, parents will play a critical role in helping students access information, lessons and feedback from teachers.  As our youngest learners do not yet have access to email, many communications from Lower School teachers will go directly to parents.

    For Middle School and Upper School students, the use of the PowerSchool Learning Management System by all teachers will mean that all upcoming activities and assignments will be automatically listed and organized for students to view when they log in.  Even with this added organizational support, parents may choose to help students synthesize information about assignments and help students plan their time accordingly.
  • Check In With Your Child(ren) Regularly and Communicate Feedback to The School

    In addition to monitoring communications from teachers and helping organize schoolwork, parents can support distance learning by checking in with students at the beginning and end of each day.  As stated earlier, the health and safety and emotional well being of each student is our top priority.  Additionally, as the School continues to improve its online learning program, teachers will regularly solicit feedback on the online learning experience of students and families.  Please communicate any feedback, commendations, concerns, and ideas to your child(ren)’s advisor as they arise.

    Morning Check-ins:
    ‘What will you be working on today?'
    ‘What will you be learning today’?
    ‘What is your schedule or plan for the day?’

    Afternoon Check-ins:
    ‘What did you learn today?’
    ‘How did your plan for the day go?’
    ‘What went well today and what, if anything, was frustrating?’
  • Encourage Physical Activity

    When learning at home, it is important and helpful for learning for students to engage in some daily physical activity and to avoid extended sedentary periods on a screen.

    • If possible and deemed safe, try to have students exercise and/or get outdoors daily – short walks, runs, bike rides, and fresh air.
    • Take frequent breaks – stand up, stretch, and stay nourished (snacks) and hydrated. These things happen automatically during a normal school day, but during distance learning, it will be important to intentionally sustain our bodies and minds.
      • For Middle and Upper School students, each synchronous class during online learning will be followed by at least a 15-minute break - this is a great time for students to regularly take a short break from the screen and to get some physical activity.
      • Teachers engaged in online teaching may choose to include short breaks in the middle of their classes to support this.
  • Monitor Your Child’s Amount of Online Activity

    Distance learning will ideally include a healthy balance of online and offline activities. Since this balance may differ from child to child, please monitor your child’s levels of engagement and focus. Parents should also monitor non-school related online activity to ensure a healthy balance. Discuss limits to screen time and monitor social media use.
  • Support Healthy Social Interactions

    During distance learning, students may miss their classmates and other social relationships afforded by in-person experiences.  While Friends will work to create opportunities for social and non-academic online experiences, please support students in connecting with friends and relatives appropriately.

Zoom and Online Learning Etiquette and Expectations

See below for expectations and etiquette regarding synchronous Zoom classes.  For online learning expectations outside of synchronous zoom meetings, please refer to the divisional online learning plans below.

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Preparing for online (Zoom) meetings

    • Be prepared with a charged (or plugged in) device.  Consider charging your device overnight so it is fully charged at the beginning of each day.
    • Dress appropriately, as you would for school.
    • Make sure you have access to all the class materials that you’ll need in advance.
    • Log into any platforms that may be used during your class (E.g. Learning Management System)
    • Close any unnecessary or non-academic applications or windows on your computer.
    • Consider removing your mobile device from your work area or placing it on “do not disturb” mode.
    • Find a quiet place to join the meeting that is free of background noise and visual distractions (see the section on “Define a physical space for work” above).
    • Be on time!  Even better, be a few minutes early, so that the class may actually begin on time.
  • Participating in online meetings

    • Make sure your microphone is muted when you’re not speaking.
    • Keep your Zoom camera ON for the duration of the meeting unless explicitly instructed otherwise by your teacher.
    • Be present - close all additional applications, windows, or anything else that may draw your attention.  Consider putting mobile devices (and your computer/iPad) on “Do Not Disturb” mode.
    • Follow rules and guidelines shared by your teachers.
  • Recording

    • You may not record online classes in any way unless explicitly instructed to do so by your teacher as a part of an assignment.
    • You may not take pictures of or record classes, teachers, or classmates in online meetings.
    • Teachers may record classes to post afterwards, but you may not distribute these recordings.
  • Practice Academic Integrity

    • All academic integrity rules and guidelines that guide our teaching and learning are still in place (for US students - pages 32 and 47 of The Handbook).
    • If you have questions about using resources or collaborating with classmates, check with your teacher.
    • You should accurately represent your access to tools and resources (such as internet connectivity and devices) to your teachers and advisor.
  • Ask for help if you need it

    • Reach out to your advisor, teachers, Jason, Hassan, Erin, and Karin.
    • Remember to check your email and your classes’ PowerSchool pages every day for class materials and information about online meetings.
    • If you need tech help, email helpdesk@friendsseminary.org and copy your advisor.
  • Using Zoom

    • To access your class, click on the link that your instructor provided for you.
    • If you haven’t downloaded the Zoom app on your computer or iPad, you will be prompted to do so.
    • When you join the Zoom meeting, you will get a pop up; select “Connect with Computer Audio” and “Join with Video” when you are prompted. (If you don’t see these when you enter, you will find them at the bottom right of your screen.)
    • If you enter the class and have trouble with audio/video, look at the bottom left corner of your Zoom where you should see “Test Speaker/Microphone.”
    • If you are still having trouble connecting, email helpdesk@friendsseminary.org and send your teacher an email explaining the issue.

Center for Peace, Equity and Justice

In these uncertain times, the bonds of community can bring comfort, while empowering us to make a difference in the world. To that end, the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice is virtualizing its programs for community education and engagement. From lunchtime interactive sessions to an evening speaker series, from distance volunteering opportunities to family empathy-building activities, such programs can enhance self-understanding, strengthen familial relationships, and foster service to others. Expect ongoing communications from CPEJ staff with upcoming opportunities––both synchronous and asynchronous––to engage our heads, hearts and hands. CPEJ is staffed with specialists in identity development, mindfulness, service learning and civic engagement, global education, conflict transformation, restorative practices, inclusive practices, community building and social-emotional learning. They are available to support students, parents/caregivers, faculty and administrative staff.

Support Services - Social, Emotional, and Academic

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • School Psychologist and Counselor

    Our psychologist and counselor are available to parents, students, faculty and staff during these challenging times. Should you like to connect, please email your divisional counselor to correspond or to set up a time to speak by phone, zoom meeting, or if possible - in person.  Each support team member will include the information below as part of the divisional online learning plans.

    Lower and Middle School Psychologist–Samantha Meltzer: smeltzer@friendsseminary.org
    Upper School Counselor–Karin Spitzer: kspitzer@friendsseminary.org

    Should you or your child need immediate emotional support, you can access NYC Well or Vibrant via text, chat or call. If your child has an out-of-school provider, please also reach out to them. In an emergency, please dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
  • Academic Center Support (Grades 7-12)

    The Academic Center will offer tutoring support for students during school hours, and during select hours before and after school. A schedule for the Academic Center can be found on the Academic Center Power School page, which all students can access. All Academic Center activities for 2020-2021 will be virtual, held in a dedicated Zoom meeting room that is overseen by Academic Center staff and peer tutors.  As you think about accessing the services of the Academic Center, keep the following norms in mind:
    • Students may drop-in to the Academic Center Zoom meeting room any time that a staff member is scheduled to be there. Students are advised to consult the Academic Center Power School page to determine when the appropriate staff member will be available to help them.
    • Students may also schedule appointments for guaranteed availability by emailing the appropriate Academic Center staff member. Appointments will be made during scheduled Academic Center hours. If scheduling conflicts arise that prevent students from accessing the Academic Center during its normal hours, students may email Academic Center Director Clayton Raithel for additional availability (craithel@friendsseminary.org).
    • All Academic Support will be conducted live via Zoom meeting, rather than through asynchronous support (paper editing, etc.). The physical Academic Center space will not be available for tutoring sessions.
    • Students should complete a short pre-visit form before arriving to the Academic Center Zoom, regardless of whether they are dropping in or coming for a scheduled appointment. The form allows students to upload their work in advance of their arrival.
    • All other information regarding the Academic Center, including staff contact information, additional policies, and Zoom information, can be found on the Academic Center Power School page, which will be updated throughout the year.

Lower School Distance Learning

Below, please find information pertaining to the planned online learning as part of the Friends Reopening Plan, online learning that takes place in the case of a forced campus closure, and online learning for students who elect to participate in the Distance Learning Only Pathway (DLOP).

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Planned Online Learning

    As part of the Friends Reopening Plan:

    Grades K-2:  Students will learn on-campus Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  While there may be elements of learning that take place online (e.g. Learning Management Systems), there is no distance learning planned for these grades.

    Grades 3-4:  Students will learn on-campus Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  There will be online programming on Wednesdays.
  • Lower School Distance Learning Only Pathway (DLOP)

    Please click here to view a copy of the presentation for LS DLOP families on Thursday September 3rd, 2020.

    Lower School DLOP Guiding Principles
    • How can we provide Distance Learning experiences that thoughtfully connect children to their classroom community and families to school?
      • All students in the Lower School (in-person and at-home) will be part of an ~18 student homeroom composed of two ~9 student Pods.  Whether a student is in-person or at home, they are equal members of these school communities.
      • Polycom (Zoom appliance) devices have been installed in each classroom on campus over the summer so that students may “Zoom” into on-campus activities at any time.  Here’s a brief video of what this might look like.  
        • DLOP students should expect to Zoom into their classrooms for: Community building activities, homeroom level programming, grade/division level programming, meetings for worship, and community periods.
        • Especially in the opening days and weeks of school, when community building and social-emotional well-being are the primary focus for all community members, DLOP students should expect to Zoom into their classrooms with high frequency.
    • How and when might DLOP students learn alongside (digitally) their in-person class mates?  When would learning best be supported by synchronous online experiences and asynchronous at-home experiences?
      • Here is a short video giving a sense of what it will be like for a student at-home to participate in a class happening on campus.
    • What are the components of robust distance learning (synchronous and asynchronous) experiences?
      • Frequent, Regular, and Predictable/Consistent Communication
        • Parents continue to be partners in learning, supporting their younger child(ren) as they engage in online learning.
        • Weekly and Daily “one-pagers” with schedules, activites, and Zoom links.
        • Ongoing dialogue between parents, homeroom teachers, and DLOP support staff.
      • Consistency, simplicity, and predictability in accessing class materials (LMS)
      • Making student work observable in real-time and asynchronously (LMS)
      • Review & Feedback from homeroom teachers (LMS, email)
      • Regular opportunities for one-on-one and small group meetings (Zoom).
      • A balance of synchronous/asynchronous and screen/non-screen activities (see principle #4)
      • How might we balance our synchronous/asynchronous activities and our screen/non-screen activities during distance learning?  How and when can asynchronous learning be supplemented by synchronous meetings with teachers?

    Possible Learning Modalities for Students in the Distance Learning Only Pathway
    1. All together (HyFlex).  Synchronous lesson for all students (either in a Pod or by homeroom).  In-person students at school, DLOP students Zoom in.  Here is a brief video showing what it looks like to hook two rooms on campus up with Polycom devices.  Students at home would join in the same way they do here.
      1. DLOP students may have opportunities for supplemental “pull-out” with their homeroom teacher(s).
    2. In-Person Synchronous / DLOP Asynchronous.  In-person students have a live lesson at school.  DLOP students engage with the lesson at home using an asynchronous lesson (on the Learning Management System).
      1. Homeroom teachers will determine whether it is possible for DLOP students to: 
        1. Join in-person students (HyFlex) for the beginning/end/none of the lesson.
        2. Have a quick check-in with homeroom teacher(s) and/or DLOP support staff later in the day to check-in on progress/review/solidify lesson.
    3. (Grades 3 & 4 Only) Parallel Synchronous.  In-person students have an in-person lesson with one homeroom teacher, DLOP students have a synchronous online lesson (Zoom) with the other homeroom teacher (there is not one designated DLOP teacher and one designated in-person teacher → this can change day-to-day and period-to-period).

    Homeroom teachers will determine which modality to use for each lesson and will communicate this with families on weekly/daily one-pagers and will post identical information to the grade-level Learning Management system. 
  • Devices

    All Lower School students will be supplied with a school-issued iPad to use for learning on-campus and online.  Students will receive training during opening days and throughout the school year from their homeroom teachers and the Lower School Technology Integrator for how to care for and use iPads for learning.  Here is a link to the LS Digital Citizenship Guide.
  • Daily Schedule of Classes

    In the event of a campus closure, Lower School students will continue to follow the same daily schedule as they did during in-person learning.  

    Some activities (especially community-building activities) will continue without alteration, on Zoom.  Some learning activities will take place during real-time (synchronous) online lessons, while others will require that students engage in individual work at home on their own time (asynchronous).  Each week and each day’s schedule will be shared by the homeroom teacher in advance so there is clarity on what to expect and how students can navigate the distance learning experiences.  This will provide for the following:
    • Students will have frequent and regular large group, small group, and individual check-ins with their homeroom teachers and classmates.
    • A predictable routine to allow for more effective family planning around supervision and learning support.
    • Opportunities for both asynchronous ["on your time"] and synchronous ["real time'] learning experiences.
  • Expectations of Families and Students

    Parent/guardians s are expected to check their email inboxes each morning to confirm the upcoming day’s activities.  Students are expected to engage in synchronous and asynchronous activities when they are scheduled (please see the Zoom etiquette section above).  Using their Learning Management System, students (with the assistance of parents/guardians/learning support) are expected to engage with and complete learning activities and assignments.
  • Workflow

    As stated in the introduction section of this Distance Learning plan, the school has identified and mandated the use of a single, developmentally appropriate, Learning Management System (LMS) for the lower school grades as follows:

    K-2: SeeSaw

    This means that each student will have a single place to go to find and engage with their digital class materials and assignments during online learning.  Specific protocols for the use of each Learning Management System were developed and documented over the summer to help support teachers in their use of these platforms and to help standardize the student learning experiences.  For example, all students in a homeroom (comprised of two Pods, and possibly including DLOP students) will be together in a single LMS classroom.
  • Lower School Support Services

    Sam Meltzer will be offering individual counseling “check in” sessions for all students via phone, Zoom, or in person, when possible. A parent, teacher, or student can contact Samatha via phone or email directly to set up a time. Email: smeltzer@friendsseminary.org, Phone: 646-979-5130.

Middle School Distance Learning

Below, please find information pertaining to the planned online learning as part of the Friends Reopening Plan, online learning that takes place in the case of a forced campus closure, and online learning for students who elect to participate in the Distance Learning Only Pathway (DLOP).

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • Planned Online Learning

    As part of the Friends Reopening Plan:

    5th and 6th Grades:  Students will learn on-campus on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  All language classes will happen online.  Co-curricular Wednesday programming will be online.

    7th Grade:  Students will learn on-campus on Mondays and Tuesdays.  All language, dance, and music classes will happen online.  Co-curricular Wednesday programming will be online.  Students will engage in online learning on Thursdays and Fridays.

    8th Grade:  Students will learn on-campus on Thursdays and Fridays.  All language, dance, music, and math classes will happen online.  Co-curricular Wednesday programming will be online.  Students will engage in online learning on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Middle School Distance Learning Only Pathway (DLOP)

    For students in the DLOP, all academic and co-curricular activities will happen online.  Please see Pankti’s welcome letter to DLOP families from September, 2020.

    Academics:  When class is happening on-campus, DLOP students will Zoom into the physical classrooms to join their classmates and teachers.  Here is a brief video preview of what this will look like.  For classes originally planned for online (language class, planned at-home learning), students in DLOP will proceed as normal.

    Physical Education, Dance, and Recess:  DLOP students will be able to Zoom into their dance classes.  However, they will be unable to Zoom in for their physical education classes due to the physical spaces those classes inhabit.  Instead, these students will engage in asynchronous physical education activities provided by members of the PE department.  This can happen when their on-campus classmates have PE or at another time.  Similarly, with recess, DLOP students will have opportunities to take a screen break and engage in physical activity as they see fit at home.

    Supplemental Support:  Advisors of students enrolled in DLOP will plan to briefly connect with each student at least once a week to check in on academic progress and to help ensure that these students are having a productive and successful online learning experience.  These meetings are also opportunities for DLOP families to provide feedback and suggestions for how the experience can be improved.


    Expectations of All Students

    All students are expected to check:
    1. PowerSchool for all information regarding class activities and assignments.  This includes at the start of each class period and frequently throughout the day.
    2. Students are also expected to check their school email regularly and at a frequency of at least once a day.  
    As part of online (and in-person) learning, students will be expected to engage with:
    • Content to read and/or view.
    • Log in to Zoom for a live class video discussion.  Please see above for information on Zoom etiquette and expectations.
    • An online forum or discussion board for exchanging ideas.
    • Online instructional games or other activities.
    • Other work to complete and submit.
    • Something experiential.  Group activities, art projects, singing -- lots of possibilities!
    • Follow all rules as outlined in the Friends MS iPad Responsible Use Policy.
    • Stay engaged in the classwork and avoid distractions. Turn off any phones or other devices during class time.
    • Work independently, with minimal assistance (at most) from parents, tutors, or other family members.
    • Maintain academic integrity and honesty in their work.
    If students or families have questions about these expectations, they are encouraged to reach out to:
  • Workflow (submitting work and receiving feedback)

    SUBMITTING WORK

    In an effort to simplify and streamline the online learning experience for students, teachers have been instructed to make use of the MS Learning Management System PowerSchool Learning) to the greatest extent possible.  This includes for the distribution and collection of assignments and activities.  Even so, for specific assignments, teachers may ask students to submit work in a few ways, including:
    • Submitting an assignment through PowerSchool Learning (primary means)
    • Sharing a Google Drive File
    • Completing a Google Form
    • Emailing a photo or scan of your work (math problems or a drawing for art class, for example)
    • Attaching it to an email
    • Other methods
    Each teacher will post information about assignments, instructions, and due dates on PowerSchool Learning.


    RECEIVING FEEDBACK

    Students may receive feedback from their teachers in a variety of ways, including:
    • Comments on a Google Doc or Sheet
    • Work returned through PowerSchool Learning
    • Email
    • Recorded message or live video chat
    • Other methods
  • Daily Schedule of Classes

    All middle school students will have the same daily schedule during online learning that they do during in-person learning.  In the event of a full campus closure and distance learning for all, students will attend classes at the same times they did before the campus closure.
  • Meeting for worship and advisory

    Students will have Meeting for Worship 3 days per week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Whether students are at school or at home, MFW will always be virtual in order to maintain appropriate social distancing. Advisory is scheduled on Tuesday and Friday mornings and when students are at school, Advisory will be in person. For 7th and 8th grade students one of these meetings will be virtual each week. These community meetings are an essential element of the MIddle School experience;  we know these spaces anchor our students and help them to have a sense of connection to their fellow classmates and the School. 

    World Languages & 8th Grade Math
    A strength of the Friends Seminary Middle School academic program is the ability to offer choice for students in which language(s) they study, and, in the 8th grade, the ability to place into multiple levels of math to offer the right balance of support and challenge for each student.  This flexibility is harder to manage in person with health and safety practices  that we must uphold this year; students in a single language or 8th grade math class may be in as many as four different pods.  For this reason, these classes will all happen online (even if the students are physically present at 222 E 16th Street).
  • Physical Education and Dance

    Dance classes will happen synchronously through Zoom for all 7th and 8th grade students, including students in the DLOP. Dance classes happen in person every other week for 5th and 6th grade. Students in the DLOP will be able to attend Dance remotely. 
    Physical Education classes will happen live at school with social distancing guidelines in place for all Middle School students.  The new constraints for PE does prohibit most group sports but will allow remote students to do many of the same fitness activities as students are doing at school. They will be able to view these classes through Zoom as well.
  • Music

    The nature of singing and playing wind or brass instruments makes these activities particularly dangerous for in-person learning. Therefore, performing arts classes for grades 7 and 8 will all happen remotely. Instrumental classes for grades 5 and 6 will happen remotely on Wednesdays. Fifth and sixth graders will also receive more general music instruction from their music teacher in person on Friday, but they will not play instruments at that time, with the possible exception of the strings instruments. 
  • Clubs and activities

    In order to build and maintain community, the Middle School will continue to offer clubs and other community building activities during in-person time and during Wednesday online programming.  This will continue as scheduled  in the event of a forced campus closure.
  • Middle School Support services

    Sam Meltzer will be offering individual counseling “check in” sessions for all students via phone, Zoom, or in person, when possible. To sign up for a meeting, students can call or email Sam to schedule a time slot. smeltzer@friendsseminary.org, 646-979-5130
    Sam will also offer optional, virtual support groups to Middle Schoolers. Zoom invitations will be available on PSL and students will be reminded of meeting days/times at MFW. If students would like to participate, they will just click the link and join the group at the start time. The groups will provide an opportunity for students to identify feelings, social-emotional challenges, learn coping skills, tools, and strategies, and get support from Sam and their peers. 
  • Devices

    All middle school students will be supplied with a school-issued iPad to use for learning on-campus and online.  Students will receive training during orientation and throughout the school year from their teachers, advisors, and the middle school technology integrator.  Here is a link to the MS iPad Responsible Use Policy.
     

Upper School Distance Learning

Below, please find information pertaining to the planned online learning as part of the Friends Reopening Plan, online learning that takes place in the case of a forced campus closure, and online learning for students who elect to participate in the Distance Learning Only Pathway (DLOP).

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • Planned Online Learning

    As part of the Friends Reopening Plan, all students in grades 9-12 will take all their academic classes online.  During Wednesdays, US students will engage in both in-person and online co-curricular and academic support programming.
  • Wednesday Tutorials

    Part of Wednesday programming will include a period set aside for tutorials – opportunities for students to engage in 1-on-1 and small group sessions with their academic teachers for enrichment and support.  Individual teachers will connect with their students to schedule these tutorials.  Students may also reach out to their teachers to schedule a tutorial.
  • Upper School Distance Learning Only Pathway (DLOP)

    For students in the DLOP, all academic and co-curricular activities will happen online.  For upper school students, this represents only a small departure from the planned Fall 2020 program.  In particular, DLOP students will zoom into campus to join their podmates and teachers during in-person programming.  Here is a brief video preview of what this will look like.
  • Devices

    All upper school students will be required to supply their own computing device as part of the upper school Bring Your Own Device program beginning in Fall 2020.
  • Daily Schedule of Classes

    Please click here for a copy of the Upper School academic class weekly schedule for 2020-2021.  More information about in-person and online Wednesday programming will be shared each week.
  • Expectations for All Students

    All students are expected to check:
    1. PowerSchool for all information regarding class activities and assignments.  This includes at the start of each class period and frequently throughout the day.
    2. Students are also expected to check their school email regularly and at a frequency of at least once a day.

    As part of online learning, students will be expected to engage with:
    • Content to read and/or view.
    • Log in to Zoom for a live class video discussion.  Please see above for information on Zoom etiquette and expectations.
    • An online forum or discussion board for exchanging ideas.
    • Online instructional games or other activities.
    • Other work to complete and submit.
    • Something experiential.  Group activities, art projects, singing -- lots of possibilities!
    • Follow all rules as outlined in the US BYOD program.
    • Stay engaged in the classwork and avoid distractions. Turn off any phones or other devices during class time unless instructed otherwise by your teacher.
    • Maintain academic integrity and honesty in their work.

    If students or families have questions about these expectations, they are encouraged to reach out to:
    • Kate Reynolds (Head of Middle School)
    • Hassan Wilson (Assistant Head of Middle School)
    • Erin Mumford (Upper School Dean of Students)
    • Karin Spitzer (Upper School Counselor)
    • Denman Tuzo (Upper School Office Assistant)
    • Benjie Messinger-Barnes (Director of Online Learning)
  • Workflow (Submitting Work and Receiving Feedback)

    Submitting Work

    In an effort to simplify and streamline the online learning experience for students, teachers have been instructed to make use of the MS Learning Management System (PowerSchool Learning) to the greatest extent possible.  This includes for the distribution and collection of assignments and activities.  Even so, for specific assignments, teachers may ask students to submit work in a few ways, including:
    • Submitting an assignment through PowerSchool Learning (primary means)
    • Sharing a Google Drive File
    • Completing a Google Form
    • Emailing a photo or scan of your work (math problems or a drawing for art class, for example)
    • Attaching it to an email
    • Other methods

    Each teacher will post information about assignments, instructions, and due dates on PowerSchool Learning.


    Receiving Feedback

    Students may receive feedback from their teachers in a variety of ways, including:
    • Comments on a Google Doc or Sheet
    • Work returned through PowerSchool Learning
    • Email
    • Recorded message or live video chat
    • Other methods
  • Grades, narratives and exams

    For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Upper School will return to a normal schedule of grades and narrative reports.  Information about possible final exams will come at a later date.
  • Upper School Support Services

    Karin Spitzer will be offering counseling “check in” sessions for all students via phone or Zoom. To sign up for a meeting, students can email Karin directly at kspitzer@friendsseminary.org

    Karin will also offer optional, virtual support groups for Upper Schoolers. The groups will form based on student interest and needs. These spaces will provide an opportunity to connect, develop coping skills, and get support from peers. Please contact Karin to learn more and/or collaborate on ways to improve wellbeing and cultivate resilience.
Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.

 
FRIENDS SEMINARY
222 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
P: 212-979-5030
F: 212.979.5034