INFORMATION AND UPDATES ABOUT COVID-19.
We continue to track news and global response to the outbreak on a daily basis and adapt our plans as the situation develops. The safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority, and we will continue to respond to changing circumstances as readily as we are able.
Campus is closed to all students, faculty, and staff. Only authorized Bancroft facilities staff are permitted during this time as they continue to clean and disinfect campus.
An alternative learning platform started for students on Wednesday, April 1. Please reference all school communications and helpful resources below. We will continue to communicate with families through email and update this webpage. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.
- Update From The Head Of School - 5/8/20
- Update from the Head of School - 4/21/20
- Update from the Head of School - 4/10/20
- Upper School Remote Learning Ground Rules/Procedures - 3/31/20
- Parent Q&A on 3/31/20 and 4/2/20 - 3/30/20
- Upper School Learning Platform Information - 3/27/20
- Middle School Learning Platform Information - 3/27/20
- Lower School Learning Platform Information - 3/27/20
- Bancroft Learning Platform Information
- Bancroft Parent FAQ
- Coronavirus Update - 3/18/20
- Coronavirus Update - 3/12/20
- Coronavirus Update - 3/10/20
- Coronavirus Update - 3/3/20
Dear Bancroft Community,
As our time in alternative learning has progressed, our faculty, students, and families have continued to find creative ways to engage in active learning, give back to those around us in need, and celebrate each other. While the impact of COVID-19 has prevented our return to campus, it has also provided us with a unique opportunity to double down on our values and showcase why there is no better place to work or go to school than right here at Bancroft.
Our administrative team has carefully designed a calendar and schedule to provide flexibility and stability for students, teachers, and families. As I noted in my last letter, classes will continue to be held from Monday through Thursday, with Fridays reserved for valuable professional development for our faculty. Our campus will remain closed until at least June 5. Administrative staff and teaching faculty will continue to work remotely during this timeframe, and we expect to provide further guidance on how long campus will remain closed later this month.
While we will continue to do all we can to fulfill our mission and support our community members, Bancroft has not been immune to the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19. It appears likely that the health and economic consequences of the pandemic will continue through next year. Therefore, we are taking a cautious financial approach to best position the school for the challenges ahead.
The School's budget uncertainty for the coming academic year flows from COVID-19-related challenges, which may dampen enrollment as our community's need for tuition assistance grows. We also expect to incur additional costs to safely re-open the campus, plan for and support social distancing within the School, and ensure even more robust remote learning should additional physical closures be required. Our business office team is working hard to manage expenditures for the remainder of the current fiscal year and plan appropriately for next fiscal year, so we can fulfill our commitments to students and employees for the long term.
Thank you to the many families who participated in our recent survey in partnership with ISM. The results speak to your experience, as 82% of respondents gave us an 'A' and 13% gave us a 'B' for our overall response to COVID-19. While we are grateful for your endorsement of our efforts, we are also committed to doing even more to stay engaged with you.
I would like to provide some updates and answers to questions you may have as the academic year winds down.
FINANCIAL RELIEF FOR FAMILIES IN NEED
This unprecedented situation has profoundly impacted our economy and caused unforeseen financial burdens for many families in Massachusetts and across the country. Closed businesses, reduced income, and job loss have been far too common, and the Bancroft community is no exception. Our goal is to do everything within our power to support our families through these tough times and ensure they are able to remain part of our School community. To ease the burden on families who are suffering financial hardship, the Board of Trustees has authorized changes in our usual business practices to:
Suspend late fee charges for all current accounts through the end of June
- Suspend late fee charges for all current accounts through the end of June
- Defer first payment toward next year's tuition until July
- Alter the pace of payment plans to allow more time to pay next year's tuition
- Offer a process for immediate financial assistance requests arising out of COVID-19
For additional information on the application process for emergency financial relief, please contact Director of Admission and Financial Aid Sean Ganas by May 22nd.
As we prepare to return pre-paid fees to families for lunch and aftercare programming for March, April, and May, you will be presented with options as to how those funds can be distributed. The following choices will be made available to you in a communication from the business office:
- Credit your account for this year or next year
- Have a refund check sent directly to your home
- Donate the money to the OneBancroft Fund (see below)
Just as many in our community are struggling, others are reaching out and asking, "How can I help?" To support our community, our families, and our School through this difficult time, we are establishing the OneBancroft Fund. Donations to the Fund will assist Bancroft families in need by allowing increased financial aid. Several generous friends of the School have already stepped forward with gifts, and we hope, if you are able, that you will join them.
BUILDING OUR COMMUNITY
Prospective families continue to demonstrate a strong interest in Bancroft. They are recognizing the value of Bancroft's strong community and individualized approach to teaching and learning, particularly in these unprecedented times. We need your continued help welcoming these families into our community and in spreading the word to others in your neighborhoods who could thrive here. May 12 we will host a virtual open house. Please help us get the word out as we host an outstanding experience for these families.
CARING FOR EMPLOYEES
Bancroft faculty and staff are the backbone of our school and have been tremendous in their perseverance through these uniquely challenging circumstances. We have invested a lot to hire, develop, and retain a very talented and dedicated faculty and staff, who create a special community. We are committed to compensating our employees, including our hourly staff, throughout this year and into the next school year. Bancroft School employs over 120 people who have continued to provide much-needed services throughout this pandemic. In order to support our employees, we applied for and were approved for a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government. This program provides low-cost loan funds to be used by businesses like ours to continue to pay employees during the COVID-19 impact.
Last year we refinanced the school's bond debt. This helped to reduce our annual payments, consolidated loans, and made additional capital money available exclusively for much-needed campus enhancement projects. A substantial campus-wide safety and security upgrade is being completed — new cameras, doors, fire alarm system, and door lock system are coming online shortly. In addition, we have been upgrading classrooms and public spaces in the Upper School and expect to continue this work over the summer.
Our attention is focused on those upgrades that will enhance our ability to provide social distancing and appropriate resources for all of our students and faculty when they return to campus. It feels a little odd to be spending money now, but the truth is we need to consider how best to prepare for a return to campus with social distancing in place, update our campus technology infrastructure, and position our school to move into the future with strength.
As things have become increasingly disrupted in the world around us, I am reminded daily of how fortunate my family and I are to be a part of this school. The entire Bancroft community continues to be there for each other and step up to challenges for the betterment of our amazing students. As we all buckle down and finish the semester strong, our administrative team and I will continue to communicate updates as we have them. Your partnership means everything to us. Let's continue our extraordinary teamwork.
Head of School
Dear Bancroft Community,
The past month has challenged us all in many different ways. Between social distancing, adapting to our alternative learning platform, and balancing professional lives with caring for ourselves and loved ones at home, there is no downplaying the strain that COVID-19 has put on all of us. One of the more challenging parts about all of this has been the uncertainty of not knowing what the full extent of this pandemic will be or when it will come to an end. While I cannot answer all of the big questions, I hope this letter will provide more clarity about the remainder of this school year.
ALTERNATIVE LEARNING EXTENDED
As you likely have heard, Governor Charlie Baker announced today that schools in Massachusetts are to remain closed through the end of the school year. Bancroft will continue with our current alternative learning platform through the end of the academic year. We will continue to offer academic programming four days each week, with Fridays reserved for faculty professional development as they manage learning in this new environment. While we would all prefer that circumstances allow a return to in-person school, we know it is in the best interest of our community's health and safety to do our part in slowing the spread and effect of COVID-19.
CEREMONIES AND CELEBRATIONS
Even though we cannot assemble as usual, we still want to honor the good work of our students and faculty and celebrate their many accomplishments. To this end, we have begun to reimagine in-person events and year-end activities—all our major spring community events and award presentations—with the goal of making them as special and meaningful as we can. Although we continue to develop the details, be assured that we are committed to hosting virtual closing ceremonies for Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools during the week of June 1-5. Detailed information on these ceremonies will be provided in the weeks ahead.
CLASS OF 2020
While our extended time away from campus certainly will have an impact on our entire community, our talented and deserving class of 2020 will undoubtedly be feeling the loss uniquely. Unfortunately, they will miss out on many of the traditional once-in-a-lifetime rites of passage that culminate a high school career. Our seniors have worked tirelessly during their time in our Upper School accomplishing personal milestones in the classroom, on stage, on playing fields, and in the community. While nothing can take the place of spending the final semester with friends on Shore Drive, we are committed to working side by side with these students to create memorable moments as best we can. Upper School Head Lisa Baker and Dean of Students Robin Silverman will be working directly with faculty, staff, and students to ensure our seniors get the recognition and praise they deserve. In addition to something on June 5, we are already considering the idea of a postponed, in-person graduation ceremony for our seniors, but it is too early to commit to a specific date right now.
LOOKING AHEAD: INVESTED COMMUNITY
Our faculty and staff will continue to work collectively and collaboratively to provide the highest quality academic programs via our new learning platform. Our teachers have been tremendous in their adaptation to using technology and designing engaging learning environments for all students. They have utilized professional development days on Fridays to collaborate and hone their lessons and will continue this practice through the end of the school year.
We are grateful to our families for all of the input they have provided as the new learning platform has rolled out. Working together, we will continue to grow even stronger. Please keep communicating with us, and know that in addition to communicating through email and the portal, teachers are readily available to speak to students, parents, or guardians.
We also recognize the financial implications of this pandemic for many families. If the COVID-19 crisis has caused changes in your family financial situation, we are here to work with you. Director of Admission and Financial Aid Sean Ganas is available to speak with families about their financial aid needs. Sean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we continue to trend towards a healthy enrollment for the 2020/21 school year, Bancroft is not immune to the economic downturn brought about by this disruption. We are planning as carefully as we can, and we have been especially grateful to those of you who have reached out to assist the Bancroft Fund in this challenging economic time.
I am working closely with our business office and Board of Trustees to conduct a thorough financial analysis of our budget for the rest of this year and next year. In the midst of planning for next year, we have already taken the following actions with respect to the remainder of this year and the summer.
- We have already begun providing fee refunds for school lunches, transportation, and aftercare.
- We are committed to paying our employees throughout this school year, including supporting our hourly employees whose work schedules have changed due to the campus closure.
- We are also planning for summer programming, creating several alternative scenarios for summer learning, summer camp activities, and the Worcester Partnership program. We will make further decisions and announcements about these programs in the next several weeks.
In true Bancroft fashion and in the spirit of resiliency and hope, our community has made the most of this trying time. Teachers have rededicated themselves to provide a substantive learning experience filled with innovation, active learning, and creativity. Students have persevered to own their learning from home. Parents and guardians have partnered with us to ensure the success of our new learning environment while also managing their own personal and professional changes. We have all shown what it means to be a Bulldog. For that, I thank you.
Head of School
Dear Bancroft Community,
As we wrap up our second week of alternative learning, I am impressed with--but not surprised by--our school's ability to adjust. Everyone has faced our new reality head-on and with a positive, can-do spirit. While we have identified areas for improvement, I have seen many more success stories of our expanded learning laboratory and meaningful work all across our virtual campus. I am writing today to provide a review of the last several weeks and some clarity to other important areas as we move forward.
Designing the Learning Environment
Faculty have been working incredibly hard to pivot to a new teaching platform while still providing a meaningful and engaging academic experience. As a school, we made a conscious decision to shorten classes to create a healthy mix of independent and collaborative work and not overwhelm students with "screen time." Teachers are balancing the synchronous and asynchronous workload so students can manage these expectations alongside the other realities of their home and personal lives. They continue to collaborate with each other to troubleshoot technology, discuss best practices, and share ideas around their experiences. We have also made ourselves readily available to students and parents and will continue to be flexible and sensitive to individual household and student needs. It is imperative that both our students and faculty be able to detach from school life at certain points of the day and be particularly mindful of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being during this unprecedented time. Remember that we are all in this together and here to support one another.
Launching the Health and Wellness Portal
I am very excited to share that, thanks to the good work of our Physical Education and Athletic Department, school counselor, and school nurses, we are launching our Health & Wellness portal. This team is here to help provide us all with resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle as we are restricted to our homes. Everything from family exercise activities to healthy eating are covered. Our faculty have been encouraged to integrate these initiatives into their active learning where possible and I encourage each family to utilize the great work of our Health & Wellness team. It is available to everyone within the Bancroft portal. You can expect to hear from a member of this team in the coming weeks as I have asked them to check up on every family to see how you are doing.
Supporting Social and Emotional Development
Students have picked up right where they left off before spring break, taking ownership of their community and developing new and creative ways to engage. Teachers have commented on their resilience in their new classroom environment. Students have been staying in Zoom meetings after classes to communicate and interact with each other. They also continue to think of others during this challenging time, and many student-driven initiatives to serve others around Worcester are being developed. It is comforting to know that our students have not forgotten what is truly important and maintained their commitment to our school's values. Keep an eye out for updates on the student kindness initiatives, including one emerging now from our Lower School.
Fostering Family Connections
Our parents and guardians have also shown their resilience, both in their flexibility around our new learning and communication platform and in their support of one another. This includes the fantastic work of our PFA leadership with their individual family outreach and partnership with our division heads to organize meetups and other gatherings. These meetings will continue as a place for updates, questions, and interactions. I invite Bancroft parents and guardians to join our newly established private Bancroft Parent / Guardian Facebook group to share ideas on quarantine related activities, recipes, books, or any other topics of interest. We've already seen some great dialogue and activity, and I hope you will take advantage of this important network.
Our community has not been immune to the impact of this pandemic. Many of us have connections to health care professionals on the front lines or know individuals who have contracted the virus. Others have been impacted financially as businesses have been idled. It is important that we support one another when possible. Whether it is finding a way to support local nonprofits like the Worcester County Food Bank or our friends at Nativity School, or continuing to practice social distancing and hygiene to protect our loved ones and health care workers, we hope you will do your part in taking care of each other where you are able.
There are still many uncertainties as we look ahead to the coming days, weeks, and months. Our administrative team continues to meet regularly to plan and make informed decisions as circumstances develop and unfold. We are also taking into consideration financial implications for families and our employees, rethinking spring school events, and our own timeline for admissions activities and school calendar. My commitment to you is that we will not shy away from these conversations and decisions. Instead, we will continue to be transparent, collaborative, and work in the best interest of our students and school.
As things currently stand, we are scheduled to be back on campus on May 4. We are, however, internally preparing for the possibility for a more prolonged time away from campus should it become a reality. In either case, our academic school year will formally end on Friday, June 5.
Thank you again for your resolve and partnership in this dynamic and uncertain time. The last several weeks have shown the strength of our community. I look forward to seeing even more examples of great work and perseverance from the engaged citizens of Bancroft.
Head of School
Dear Upper School Families,
We hope this finds you all safe and well. As we begin our remote learning journey together, we acknowledge that this is new and uncharted territory. We continue to use "what is best for students?" as our guiding question in everything that we do. We know that children thrive when they feel supported and when they have clear expectations for protocols and behavior. With this in mind, we wanted to provide some clarifying points about procedures in the coming days. It is critical that students check their emails and their Portals throughout the day. They should start this evening if they have not already.
How will synchronous meetings be held and scheduled?
- Classes, advisory, and other meetings on campus (e.g. class meetings), will be scheduled using Zoom and Google Meet. Students will find information and links to these meetings on their student Portals.
- There is no need to sign up for any sort of account to access any of our virtual spaces. Clicking on the links to the meetings is all that is necessary.
- We suggest that students start the process of logging into their classes/meetings a few minutes ahead of the start times so that they are able to work out any technological issues, if necessary.
- Students should also be prepared with any supplies needed for each class so that teachers and advisors can make the most of the synchronous time that they have with the students.
- If students have any questions about how or when to access a class, they should reach out directly to their teachers or advisor.
When will advisories meet?
- Our Advisors remain the primary sources of support for the students. As such, we have scheduled three synchronous advisory meetings during this first full 7-day rotation: Wednesday, 4/1 at 8:30 am, Tuesday, 4/7 at 11:45 am, and Thursday, 4/9 at 8:30 am.
- Advisors will be in touch with their advisory groups with the links to those meetings.
- In addition, advisors will be available remotely from 8:30-9:00 a.m on all of the other mornings during this week and next.
What about free periods or study halls?
- During our period of remote learning, we will be cancelling all study halls.
- If a student has a free period/study hall scheduled during any one of the four class periods in a given letter day, they do not need to check in with anyone; if that free period is the first block of any day, they do not need to "sign-in" with the Upper School office (by emailing email@example.com) as they would if we were on campus.
- Students are only responsible to be present online for classes and/or scheduled meetings.
- If students had a regularly scheduled meeting with a teacher, please reach out to that teacher to verify a time for the meeting.
What are the ground rules for remote learning?
- While our Upper School Code of Conduct, including the Acceptable Use Policy, will apply in our virtual learning environment, we have written additional ground rules to help students and teachers create and maintain productive learning. Please review these guidelines carefully and feel free to reach out with any questions.
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if a student cannot participate on any given day.
We remain committed to supporting our students and families to the best of our abilities and are confident in the strength of this community to rise to meet this new challenge. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, thoughts, or concerns.
All the best,
Upper School Head
Dean of Students
Lisa Baker would like to invite you to a parent Q&A about the remote learning process.
Please join her on Tuesday 3/31 from 5:00-5:45pm, or Thursday 4/2 from 9:30-10:00am, using the below Zoom link.
Meeting ID: 205 567 4533
Dear Upper School Community,
I hope this message finds you well. The last two weeks have been a bit surreal for all of us. I greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the ongoing process of shifting to a remote learning environment that retains our Bancroft signature. Trey's message yesterday outlined our schedule for April in terms of days of school as well as our larger educational goals. It also provided an FAQ page with helpful information as we make this transition. This message is intended to provide you with more detail about how we are going to roll out our Upper School program.
Synchronous & Asynchronous Learning
We are committed to Bancroft's mission and to our students' growth and progress. We also acknowledge that remote learning is a different structure than our usual approach to school and may need some explanation. There will be times that we will meet with students in a "synchronous" environment which will require students to access a "classroom space" through Zoom or Google Meet at a specific time. Other learning and work will be done "asynchronously" or in other words, in the student's own time and space. This may mean that students are engaging in discussion boards, reading text on their own, working with peers, accessing screencasts and videos, etc.
We expect that synchronous classes will meet for between 15 and 45 minutes in a given letter day depending on the goal for that day. Asynchronous work will occur between meeting dates and will be approximately 30-60 minutes depending on the workload required during the synchronous meeting time. Remote learning does not distinguish between "classwork" and "homework;" rather, the focus is on learning time overall. In a given rotation, students can expect to have approximately five hours of total work for each four-block class.
Specific directions and expectations will be shared by individual teachers through the Portal or Google Classroom. Weekly assignments will continue to be posted in the Portal in advance. Student learning will continue to be assessed.
Teachers will be available for one-on-one conferences/help sessions depending on students' needs. Teachers may hold these sessions later in the day.
College Board has made significant changes in expectations for classes as well as testing methods. Here is a link to the most recent information. Actual testing dates have yet to be determined; however, there are shifts in terms of content requirements as well as tests being administered at home through personal computers.
Class of 2020
Class of 2020, I am so sorry this is happening to you in your senior spring. I wish we could return you to a more normal experience. What I can tell you is that this move to remote learning will not change your graduation status. Please do not worry about "credits"—just keep learning and leading. We are going to do all we can to hold on to end of year events that celebrate you and your accomplishments.
We had expected our senior class to launch their co-op projects starting April 27. Mark Taylor has reached out to all of our co-op partners. They have been highly complementary of Bancroft students and are interested in helping us to find ways to maintain our seniors' connection with our community. However, it is not realistic to be able to provide the same experience as we have had in past years. Additionally, we are not yet ready to let our senior class go. We need to have the seniors back with us in May. Although the AP exam schedule could affect our timing slightly, I expect seniors will continue in their regular class schedule until May 15. We would use the last two weeks of May to create several different choices for students to engage with our community and to participate in transitional activities as they move on to their college lives.
Attendance and Communication
We will continue to take "attendance" in classes. If your student is unable to attend classes, please send a message to US Attendance (email@example.com) as usual.
Advisors will be reaching out to their students by Tuesday to do a quick check-in. We understand that there are new stressors and responsibilities at home that may not always line up with our school schedule. This is normal and to be expected. You are not alone. We will get through this together and our students will stay at the center of all of our work.
We need to keep lines of communication open now more than ever. Please do not hesitate to reach out by email or phone. We can all retrieve voicemails remotely. Robin Silverman and I will be setting up the first of a series of "Coffee Talks" on Tuesday, March 31. I hope to see you there!
All the best,
Upper School Head
Dear Middle School Families,
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. As at the end of any long school break, the teachers and I are eager to connect back with you and your children. We have all been working throughout break to educate ourselves about distance learning, to plan what learning will look like for the students, and to find ways to support you in this process. I hope you have been able to read the letter that Trey sent last night, especially the FAQ.
We are not expecting you to homeschool your children. Under any circumstances, parenting pre-adolescents is a big job. Supporting their social and emotional needs at this time adds to your responsibilities. While you may have to do some supervision, especially around attention to the schedule, our teachers will handle the classwork with them. If your child cannot participate on a given day we do ask that you email attendance (firstname.lastname@example.org) as you would ordinarily do.
We are keeping the same daily schedule with some slight modifications. Our morning activity/clubs time will be a break and all classes will be an hour long. All classes, with exception of physical education, will meet during the normal time slots on our seven day rotation. Classes will include around 20-30 minutes of direct instruction by the teacher using a video platform, or other direct teaching model, allowing the rest of the time to be spent on the assignment. Teachers will be available during the entire class time and we are expecting that students will complete their work during the scheduled class time and will not have additional homework. Our physical education staff and School Nurse Janice Morello are working on an all-school health and wellness plan.
Families with children in our Hope Graham Program will also be hearing from Matt Ganas early next week regarding specific scheduling and programming details.
It is important that we work to maintain a sense of community during this time of remote learning. Advisors will continue to be the primary contacts for your children and will be checking in with them daily during half time. We will also be looking at ways we can connect as a middle school community.
The teachers will be working Monday and Tuesday to work through more details. They will continue to use Google Classroom to conduct lessons, which students are familiar with. We will be sending out information soon about any additional platforms we might use.
Thank you for your support and continued partnership as we navigate this different learning path for your children. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have as we go forward.
Lower / Middle School Head
Dear Lower School Families,
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. As at the end of any long school break, the teachers and I are eager to connect back with you and your children. We have all been working throughout break to educate ourselves about distance learning, to plan what learning will look like for the children, and to find ways to support you in this process. I hope you have been able to read the letter that Trey sent last night, especially the FAQ.
As your household is adjusting to handling your own responsibilities along with your children, we recognize that your primary job is helping them with their own social and emotional growth. I was chatting (via FaceTime) with my second grade granddaughter last night and she asked me if I was scared about the virus. She then admitted she was a little scared which we talked through. I suspect you are having similar conversations with your children. These conversations are helpful for everyone.
We are not expecting you to homeschool your children. You will undoubtedly have to supervise a bit, but if there are questions or frustrations about the work, please get in contact with your child's teacher. If your child cannot participate on a given day we do ask that you email email@example.com and the classroom teacher as you would ordinarily do.
While we will be finalizing more details on Monday and Tuesday, what we envision is a morning of work for your children. Some will be done directly with the teacher via a video platform and some will be independent. As you know, the teachers sent home packets with two weeks of work to get started. You will be hearing from your classroom teacher on Tuesday with more detail including class schedule and expectations. The children will also have their "specials" as part of their regular classroom learning.
Families with children in our Hope Graham Program will also be hearing from Matt Ganas early next week regarding specific scheduling and programming details.
It is important that we work to maintain a sense of community during this time of remote learning. There will be special spirit days, perhaps times when the classes eat lunch together with the teachers, and even a version of Friday Share. We want you and your children to feel connected to us and each other.
More details will be coming next week including how to access the video platforms. Thank you for your support and continued partnership as we navigate this different learning path for your children. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have as we go forward.
Lower / Middle School Head
Dear Bancroft Community,
I hope this email finds you and your family safe and well. As we wind down our spring break, we are faced with the reality of our move to an alternative learning platform. I am writing today to provide a bit more information about this transition and to update you on the great work that our faculty and staff have been doing behind the scenes to ensure we continue to engage our students in meaningful ways.
Our faculty, staff, and administrators choose to work at Bancroft because we believe in a mission to serve, mentor, and educate dedicated and passionate students. We also believe in our students' ability to take ownership of their learning as citizens in a complex global community. While COVID-19 will temporarily take away our opportunity to be with one another physically, we will not allow it to break our spirit or change our focus on what matters most.
This situation will require flexibility and patience from all of us. Bancroft has never been a place where we shy away from a difficult situation or a challenge. What has always defined our school is a caring community that picks each other up in times of need. We will all do our best to move forward together.
- A Focus on Active Learning
- Building Skills for Progress
- Honoring Student Voice & Choice
- Encouraging Inquiry & Creativity
- Preparing Students for The Future
Our academic leaders have been working over the past two weeks to design an environment for student learning and engagement in the midst of this public health emergency. Division Heads Beth Beckmann and Lisa Baker, Director of Community Engagement Mark Taylor, Hope Graham and Learning Support Director Matt Ganas, and Auxiliary Programs Director Carrie Whitney have aligned these goals with our school's mission to inspire the work of our faculty.
Our platform has been tailored to meet the needs of each division, and each student will have a developmentally appropriate educational experience. Our teachers will be utilizing e-mail, the student portal, Google tools (Hangout and Classroom) and Zoom to interact and facilitate lessons. These are tools that students will be familiar with as they have been part of the curriculum already. During the first few days of classes we will be practicing and training students about how to access these resources and optimize their access during this time. Parents looking for advice on supporting students during this time can find helpful information here.
Classes will begin on Wednesday, April 1 which we have designated as an A Day in our rotational schedule, and continue until Thursday, April 9. We will hold professional development days for faculty on Fridays to provide time for curriculum development and reflection on lessons learned. The full schedule is provided below. Please note that Patriots' Day (Monday, April 20) is a holiday and no classes will be held.
Division specific schedules with times for classes and other activities will be sent from Lisa Baker and Beth Beckmann to families in preparation for the start of school on Wednesday, April 1.
We have consciously created divisional schedules that will allow time for the things that are critically important and unique to our school. Advisories, health & wellness activities, Hope Graham tutoring, and time throughout the day to work with other students or directly with faculty are all built in and will supplement class time.
We understand the unique situation many parents now find themselves in working from home and we will work with families on the need for flexibility. Whenever possible, classes and lessons will be recorded and made available for students that aren't able to attend. Please know, students will not be staring at their computers all day. We are adjusting classes to create a balance of screen time and periods away to do impactful work in other ways.
Two full days of professional development on Monday and Tuesday of next week are currently being planned for faculty that will include technical training from our IT partner Ounce IT as well as time for curriculum planning. Division heads have already had preliminary meetings with faculty, many of whom are reimagining what their classes will look like in this new format.
Despite the closed campus grounds and our temporary separation, the Bancroft community remains unified. We will face this transition together with our usual positive attitude and strong work ethic. Communities persist and thrive in moments like these. We are here for each other. The information you receive from the Division Heads will provide much more specifics and will help answer questions that you may have regarding this new platform.
I understand there will still be questions and concerns about other issues you may have as things move forward. I will continue to address these questions in the coming days and weeks. Our primary focus has been to provide stability for you and your family as we transition to a new academic setting. As we return from spring break, you can expect to hear more frequently from us. We also welcome hearing more from you. Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions and ideas for us to consider.
For some additional advice and resources, please click here for FAQs related to remote learning. This is also available on our COVID-19 response page which includes contact information for our staff.
Now more than ever, I am thankful for your support and partnership.
Head of School
Dear Bancroft Community,
These next two weeks were supposed to provide a break from the normal routines. This is certainly not what any of us had in mind. As we adjust to the emotional and physical challenges of disrupted schedules, social distancing, and isolating ourselves, it emphasizes how important the school community is to all of us.
Just a week ago, our goal had been to prepare for a limited time away from campus and an eventual return to normalcy. With each day, it is more clear that government protocols for limiting personal interactions are extending. When making decisions during this time of uncertainty, we have weighed many factors to help us plan the best way forward. Our priorities are to put health and safety above our own comfort and to find ways to support each other through this period, no matter how long it lasts. We are now faced with the reality that school will need to look different upon our return from break and that the timeline for this alternative approach is likely to be extensive.
I have been in contact with the Bancroft administrative cabinet this week, and we have determined that our best course of action is as follows:
Campus will remain closed until Monday, May 4.
In setting this date, we have considered governmental guidelines and the advice and experience of other schools. This date allows us to plan and make decisions with more clarity, plan a robust virtual learning experience for students, and helps us to take a measure of control in an otherwise uncertain and evolving situation. This involves the cancellation or rescheduling of school related activities, extracurriculars, athletic practices and competitions, and all other external events. Campus will remain closed except to critical personnel, namely our Campus Enhancement team.
An alternative learning platform will begin for students on Wednesday, April 1.
In preparation for this transition, our faculty and staff will have a two-day online training on Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31 with the help of our Information Technology partner, Ounce IT. In addition to our existing tools -- the portal, Google tools, and email -- we will expand our capacity with additional resources as needed. Our academic leaders will guide the work of preparing our faculty. This team includes Division Heads Beth Beckmann and Lisa Baker, Director of Community Engagement Mark Taylor, Hope Graham & Academic Support Director Matt Ganas, and Auxiliary Programs Director Carrie Whitney. They will work closely with our teachers to ensure a structured and engaging learning environment for all our students. We will provide parents and students with more information prior to April 1.
Co-curricular Programming Alternatives
Of course, our school provides more than academic programming, so we are also looking at ways to engage students virtually in other activities during the weeks ahead when we are not physically present on campus. We will consider clubs and student groups, as well as the important community built around our advisory system (6-12) and classrooms (Pre-K-5). We will encourage the development of lesson plans that allow movement and activity, just as we would on our campus. College and personal counseling and learning support will be available remotely. We are also aware of the likely need for additional emotional support, and we are considering this in our planning.
Our older students (grades 6-12) each have a device and access to wifi at home, however if that access is threatened we are aware that Spectrum is offering free service to those in need. Our younger students can also access technology, and the teachers have additionally provided paper packets of materials for work at home for the first two weeks. Our teachers will maintain regular contact with our students which will look different across grades and classrooms. Worcester Public Schools, Nativity School, and the Worcester County Food Bank are providing food access during this time for families that may need it. I hope you will consider supporting these organizations during this time if you are in a position to do so. We will continue to be in regular contact via email as our primary source of communication. We have set up a page on our website with all of our communications on our COVID-19 response as well as helpful links to the Centers for Disease Control and others. We will also continue working with the PFA leadership and room parents to support our families throughout this time apart.
I hope our decision to close campus until May 4 will remove some of the speculation and uncertainty. We greatly appreciate your flexibility in this fluid situation. Should things improve in the midst of this timeline, we will do our absolute best to adjust accordingly and provide as much of the normal quality of care and education that we possibly can.
We certainly realize the strain that this crisis is putting on all of us. Thank you again for your support and partnership as we navigate through this challenging time together. I encourage you to continue to use the weeks ahead to take a break and focus on health and safety. We will be in touch with more information next week as details are solidified.
Head of School
Dear Bancroft Community,
As the situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve here in Massachusetts, our administrative team is regularly meeting to work on a specific course of action going forward that puts the health and safety of our school community first. We are monitoring the Centers for Disease Control's and Massachusetts Department of Public Health's recommendations and gathering as much information as we can to inform our decision making.
To better enable our facilities team to effectively and thoroughly clean our campus, we will be closing Bancroft effective at the end of the school day Friday, March 13. This includes the Bancroft Field House building, Fletcher Athletic Center, and all outdoor locations including athletic fields. No students, parents, or staff will be allowed on campus during the course of the break - with the exception of our facilities team who will work to ensure the campus stays clean and disinfected.
While we have yet to finalize a specific course of action for our return from spring break, we will release an update by Thursday, March 26. In the meantime, please have your children bring all necessary class materials including laptops and devices home with them in the event we transition to remote learning.
This week has presented unprecedented challenges that our school, state, country, and world are coping with minute by minute. Despite the chaos and uncertainty we are all seeing daily in the news, the Bancroft community has continued to provide the highest level of care, support, and education to our students. We will continue to keep you updated as we make decisions going forward or as news of any directives affecting our school are made.
In spite of all that is happening, I hope that everyone has an enjoyable and relaxing spring break. Thank you for your continued support and partnership.
Head of School
Dear Bancroft Community,
As we continue to monitor the latest developments related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to provide you with an update on the steps we are taking at Bancroft to respond to the spread of this disease.
Today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts. He has urged us all to work together to limit the spread of the virus by following recommended personal hygiene protocols and taking steps to create social distance whenever possible. He also outlined new recommendations to limit the spread of the virus by further curtailing group travel. I am writing to provide an update on our response to these recommendations.
In compliance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Governor's office, we have canceled our Spring break trip to Costa Rica. We have been in touch with participating families. We continue to monitor the locations and timing of our planned Summer trips and will make decisions accordingly.
In his address today, Governor Baker urged schools to cancel domestic out-of-state trips. Following this recommendation, all Bancroft out-of-state travel programs, including athletic trips to Florida, the fifth grade trip to Camp Kieve in Maine, and the seventh grade trip to the Hudson Valley in New York have been cancelled.
SPRING BREAK TRAVEL
We are asking everyone in our community to carefully consider travel plans, factoring in the likelihood of travel interruptions, the possibility of quarantine upon return, and the potential impacts these could cause to your family and others. Please know that if you do require quarantine post-travel (or in other cases not related to travel), we will do our best to provide remote accommodations for your student.
We know many of our families may elect to travel over the next several weeks for Spring break. We suggest you:
- Regularly monitor the CDC website both prior to and during your travel for the latest advisories and recommendations. Specific risk classifications can change quickly and their website is the best resource for up-to-date news and information.
- Inform School Nurse Janice Morello if your travel plans include any cruise ship travel or to one of the countries classified by the CDC at level 2 or 3 for COVID-19.
- Stay aware of local restrictions and health advisories for domestic travel.
POST-BREAK RETURN TO SCHOOL
You have likely heard the steps many colleges and universities are taking to protect their communities from Coronavirus. We are also carefully considering our options and preparing as best we can as the situation evolves.
While we don't anticipate having to implement remote learning, to be proactive, we are asking that students and faculty bring home all class materials and laptops just in case.
For the most current updates on Coronavirus precautions, please visit the CDC website. Bancroft continues to follow CDC recommendations to maintain clean and healthy facilities and instruct our staff and students on disease prevention methods.
We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as this situation evolves. We will provide additional information as it affects the Bancroft School community If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.
Head of School
School Nurse - Janice Morello, RN - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Bancroft Community,
With the novel COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak continuing to dominate the recent headlines around the world, we wanted to inform you of the steps that our school is taking to ensure that the health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to report that the risk of COVID-19 remains low for the general public in Massachusetts at this time, the situation is evolving everyday. We are closely monitoring information made available to us by the CDC as well as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and are following their recommendations. We are also still in the midst of influenza (flu) season and many of the preventative measures to protect against both these illnesses are the same.
- Wash your hands with soap & water
- Keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth - Germs spread this way
- Use alcohol based hand sanitizer
- Clean & disinfect commonly touched objects like door handles and faucets
- Stay away from people who are showing signs of being sick
- Stay home from school or work when you are sick to avoid infecting others
Our facilities and operations staff have been doing a thorough job on campus regularly disinfecting and making sure hand sanitizing stations and soap dispensers are full.
As spring break approaches, many of you will be traveling either on vacations or student trips. The CDC has provided information about the Coronavirus for travelers. As it currently stands, our student trips to Florida and Costa Rica in March as well as Haiti and Yellowstone in June are scheduled to go on as planned. We will continue to monitor these locations and follow any recommended travel restrictions.
As with any complex issue around health and safety, children may have questions or concerns about what they are seeing and hearing on television, social media, or at home or school. NBC News has put out an article with tips on talking to children about the coronavirus that you may find helpful.
We will continue to closely monitor the latest reporting on this issue and follow recommendations from the CDC and MDPH. Our School Nurses Janice Morello, RN and Jim Kamosky, RN are here as resources should you have any questions or concerns.
Head of School
Janice Morello, RN
Carol Botty, LMHC
Head of Lower / Middle School
Head of Upper School
Director of Summer & Auxiliary Programs
Director of Operations
Director of Athletics
Director of Hope Graham Program & Academic Support
Chief Advancement Officer
Director of Admission & Financial Aid
- Update From The Head Of School - 5/8/20
- Update on Reunion 2020
- Worcester Partnership Golf Classic Update
Dear Bancroft Alumni,
I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and safe. The past few weeks have challenged our families in many ways. Between social distancing, adapting to an alternative learning platform, and balancing our lives with caring for ourselves and loved ones at home, there is no downplaying the strain that COVID-19 has put on all of us. I am very proud of the good work happening all across our community and the ways our faculty and staff are rising to the challenge. As the impact of COVID-19 evolves, we continue to be guided by our school's mission and core values to think creatively, adapt, and support one another.
Our faculty, staff, and administrators choose to work at Bancroft because we believe in a mission to serve, mentor, and educate dedicated and passionate students. We also believe in our students' ability to take ownership of their learning as citizens in a complex global community. While COVID-19 will temporarily take away our opportunity to be with one another physically, we will not allow it to change our focus on what matters most. Faculty have rededicated themselves to provide a substantive learning experience filled with innovation and active learning. Students have persevered to own their learning from home, and families have partnered with us to ensure their success. Here is a recent note from a parent:
"I am so grateful for your talent and creativity in developing a rich virtual learning environment that provides my daughters with academic and social growth. With so many things changing, it is comforting that Bancroft remains consistent to its mission and values. Thank you for guiding my children during these unusual times."
Our families, like so many, face the daily stresses of the economic downturn and the anxiety of not knowing what the future holds. We recognize this current situation has financial implications for many, and that some families will require unanticipated financial aid this year. Our goal is to do everything within our power to ensure they are able to remain part of our School community by providing temporary relief where needed. In response, we have created the OneBancroft Fund which will help provide new resources to meet unforeseen financial aid requests, today and in the months to follow. Your support for this fund will provide critical assistance to Bancroft families who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
During this extraordinary time, we look to the Bancroft community to help keep our school and our students moving forward. This school has given so much to so many of you. You can help us ensure that Bancroft tradition continues. We sincerely appreciate your consideration of supporting the OneBancroft Fund.
I am thankful for your continued partnership.
Head of School
P.S. If you are able to support Bancroft, please consider making a gift by June 30 for the greatest impact. With the recent passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, additional tax incentives are now available related to charitable giving. Please consult your tax advisor related to your particular situation.
Dear Reunion 2020 Classes,We at Bancroft hope you and your families are faring well while navigating COVID-19 as our new normal. This email is to update you on how Bancroft is responding to the situation.
Yesterday in consideration of the health of our community and as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Head of School Trey Cassidy communicated to faculty/staff, students, and parents the School's decision to close the campus until Monday, May 4th.
As a result of the campus closure and guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to restrict social gatherings, Bancroft has made the difficult decision to cancel Reunion 2020 scheduled for May 1st & May 2nd.
This decision did not come lightly and we are devastated at cancelling an event that we look forward to each year. As the future becomes clearer we will discuss alternate plans to celebrate the classes ending in 0's and 5's, as well as to honor the recipients of the 2020 Alumni Awards.
For the Class of 1970, we would still like to create and distribute a 50th Reunion Memory Book, so please continue to submit questionnaires and photos so we can put together this special memento for you.
We ask that you please assist us in spreading the word with your classmates and friends. We will continue to keep you updated through our Coronavirus Response webpage, social media channels and email. However, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at BMcNamara@BancroftSchool.org.
Thank you and thinking of you all!
Brianne McNamaraAlumni Engagement Officer
SAVE THE DATE
Worcester Partnership Golf Classic
Monday, July 27, 2020
The Haven Country Club
369 Cross St, Boylston, MA 01505
For more information, contact Charlie Aleksiewicz at (508) 854-9236
Director of Marketing & Communications
Director of Operations
Janice Morello, RN