• Coronavirus Information

The Alexander Dawson School is carefully monitoring the current and most relevant information related to the spread of the coronavirus in the US and Las Vegas through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD). We have been in contact with SNHD to ensure we are following all recommended protocols at this stage, per their guidelines, and we will continue to use them as an important resource as the situation changes. Our first priority is always the health and safety of our community and, as new information about the coronavirus is made available on an almost hourly basis, we are emphasizing a calm and steady approach to response planning.

Below you will find the latest updates, as well as some helpful resources.
Dawson Update: March 27, 2020

Dear Dawson Community,
 
I don’t know how you’re feeling in your home, but even though we are a full two weeks into our school closure, very little feels settled or routine to me. This “new normal” doesn’t feel anywhere close to normal yet, and I still find myself trying to anticipate on a daily basis when the next wave of information and changes may come to our city and our new way of life. It can feel like a futile task (the lesson here: don’t become too attached to plans), and yet absolutely necessary if we at Dawson hope to stay even half a step ahead. I don’t know what the right balance is of information intake for future projections and planning (and hindsight will always be 20/20), but I do know we are giving every aspect of school operations—from distance learning to remote administrative management—our total commitment, attention, and effort every single day. We are all doing our best to control and manage what we can under circumstances few have ever experienced, and I remain very proud of this community’s response. To pivot—in less than five days—from total classroom instruction to total distance learning is an enormous challenge, yet our Dawson families have continued to be supportive, patient, and trusting, and it means everything. Thank you.
 
Here’s what you need to know now:
  • Distance learning challenges: I want to take a moment to acknowledge the challenges of distance learning, particularly for those families with younger children. No, distance learning is not the same as what your child receives here on campus. The very nature of the format we must use now—virtual—makes any comparison to recreating a Dawson classroom environment impossible, and the burden on parents to help and support their child with online learning is very real. In-class comparisons, then, are not the point; the better question is whether our faculty are creating an asynchronous distance learning curriculum that is both engaging and allows for a pace of instruction that is best suited to each child. Based on everything we know about distance learning, Dawson faculty are doing an outstanding job. Still, here is a relevant article on the nation-wide switch toward distance learning in schools that may be insightful. I encourage parents to continue to communicate with your teacher about your child’s experience and reach out for additional help. In addition, visit the MyDawson resource board on distance learning for additional resources and ideas to help you and your child adjust to this new learning environment. We know distance learning at these young ages has its challenges, but we are here to support your family. 

  • Summer Programming: I am very pleased to announce that the Alexander Dawson Foundation Board of Trustees has approved the School’s plans to provide four weeks of optional summer programming to all of our Dawson families—current families, newly-enrolled families, and our graduating class of 2020—free of charge. This summer programming will focus entirely on skill building in reading, writing, and math. Families can enroll for one week of learning or for all four weeks depending on the needs of your child, and instruction will be individualized to each student. More details to come in Roxanne Stansbury’s Monday update.

  • Make-up School Days: I am equally pleased to announce that Governor Sisolak’s office has stated that all private schools in the state engaged in distance learning do not need to consider adding make-up days to the end of the school year. With the very real possibility that a school closure could extend beyond the current April 16 deadline, this is good news.

  • Spring Break: Spring break is April 6-13, and while it is unlikely anyone will be able to do much outside of their home, I ask that our Dawson faculty and staff community use this time to relax and recharge. Distance learning will not take place during the week of spring break, and beginning April 6, I encourage families to consider delaying communication with your child’s teacher or Dawson staff members until after April 13 to ensure these hardworking individuals have the opportunity to take some time to be with their families and practice self-care.
While Governor Sisolak closed all Nevada schools until April 16, we are monitoring what other schools and districts across the country are doing, and we anticipate that our city’s school closure may be extended. When we receive an update from the governor’s office, whether it is to resume school or extend the closure, I will update the Dawson community immediately. 
 
Until then, please take care of one another, continue to communicate with the School when your family needs additional support, and stay safe.
 
With gratitude,
 
Carola E. Wittmann, Ph.D.
Head of School
The Alexander Dawson School
 

Coronavirus Updates & Information

List of 7 items.

  • A Letter from the Head of School: March 20, 2020

    Dawson Update: March 20, 2020

    Dear Dawson Community,
     
    First and most importantly, my sincere hope that this message finds you all well, healthy, and safe. Secondly, to those in our Dawson community who are providing any type of essential service to the residents of Las Vegas, I thank you on behalf of everyone at The Alexander Dawson School. Without you, our ability to continue doing the work we do to educate children may not be possible.
     
    Today is Friday, March 20, and we have completed our first three days of official distance learning and the first two days of remote campus operations. To call this a whole new world is an understatement, and yet there is not a Dawson community member who hasn’t risen to the challenge—faculty, staff, students, families, and the Alexander Dawson Foundation trustees all included. Our community’s efforts are simply incredible, and our commitment to each other bodes well for the near future as we continue to watch and wait for the next phase/directives in the fight against this historic coronavirus pandemic. 
     
    There is a lot we still do not know—how long-distance learning will last, when and if the city will go into a shelter-in-place, etc.—but we will continue to do our best to control what we can and keep our students motivated to learn. Here are the important things to know right now:

    • Distance learning update: Please continue to use the grade-appropriate distance learning tools and follow your teacher’s recommended lessons and programming. Our faculty are working tirelessly to deliver the best age-appropriate distance-learning experience possible, and they are constantly refining and improving the programming.

    • Distance learning resource board: Continue checking the MyDawson Distance Learning resource board (located behind the password) for all updates on distance learning, technology support, and other helpful social-emotional resources from our Dawson counselors.

    • Laptops, workbooks & instruments: Several families have yet to pick up their child’s requested laptop, workbooks, and musical instruments. Please understand that if the city goes into a shelter-in-place mode, no one will have access to campus. If you still need to pick up these items, you must email Maria Mercado at mmercado@adsrm.org so she can give your name to security and let you know the days and hours that are available for pickup.

    • Campus closure/remote operations: The School is closed and has moved almost completely to remote campus operations. The hours of remote operations are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. If you need anything outside of distance learning and technology support, please email your program coordinator or Maria Mercado.

    • Email communication: Our goal is to communicate to you every Monday (from Roxanne Stansbury, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning) and Friday (from Carola Wittmann, Head of School), though we will also communicate on an as-needed basis when we have new information to share related to school days, directives from our state government and/or CCSD, etc.

    • Social media and website for general Dawson coronavirus updates: We will continue to share general updates on adsrm.org/coronavirus, but remember that the MyDawson resource board will have more specific and detailed information for our school community. We are also sharing fun videos and helpful resources on our social media feeds via InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

    • Wellness reminders: With so much uncertainty, it’s very easy to feel a lack of control over our environment and our future. The most basic recommendations and advice out there right now to help us feel some form of balance and optimism are also some of the most important: 
      • Create a daily routine for your family and stick to it as much as possible.
      • Make sure your child takes multiple screen breaks throughout the day and gets up to move around.
      • Exercise, whether it’s simply taking walks around the block, stretching in your living room, or jumping rope in your backyard. Get your family moving!
      • Do emotional wellness check-ins at the end of each day. Talking through your concerns and anxieties as a family is helpful to your family’s overall wellbeing and your child’s sense of security and comfort.
      • If you are a work-from-home parent now, here is a helpful resource from the Harvard Business Review with some tips and strategies on how to find some semblance of work-family balance. 
    Our next scheduled communication will be from Roxanne Stansbury on Monday, March 23. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help. 
     
    Be well and stay safe.
     
    Carola E. Wittmann, Ph.D.
    Head of School 
    The Alexander Dawson School
  • Free Summer Programming for Current & Newly Enrolled Students

    Head of School Carola E. Wittmann announced on March 27 that the Alexander Dawson Foundation Board of Trustees has approved the School’s plans to provide four weeks of optional summer programming to all of our Dawson families—current families, newly-enrolled families, and our graduating class of 2020—free of charge. This summer programming will focus entirely on skill building in reading, writing, and math. Families can enroll for one week of learning or for all four weeks depending on the needs of your child, and instruction will be individualized to each student. More details to were emailed on March 30 in Assistant Head of School Roxanne Stansbury’s Monday community update.

    Learn more about our free summer skills-builder program for Dawson students at adsrm.org/summer2020.
  • A Letter from the Head of School: March 15, 2020

    Dawson Update: March 15, 2020

    Dear Dawson Community,
     
    At 3 PM today, the Clark County School District (CCSD) and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced the mandatory closure of all CCSD schools, including public, charter, and private schools, beginning Monday, March 16, until at least Monday, April 6, 2020, but only if CCSD determines it is safe to resume normal school operations at that time. 
     
    For our Dawson community, here is what you need to know now:
    • The Alexander Dawson School MUST adhere to the CCSD mandatory school closure date. This means the soonest Dawson students *might* return to school is Tuesday, April 14, but only if CCSD determines it is safe to do so. We ask our Dawson families to please prepare for a minimum three-week closure, in addition to the week of Spring Break, which is April 6-13. Again, as of today, Dawson students will be out of school until at least Tuesday, April 14, pending CCSD's approval to resume normal school operations at that time.

    • Dawson faculty and staff will still be on campus Monday, March 16, to make final preparations for virtual learning plans and remote campus operations. 

    • An email from Roxanne Stansbury, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning, will go out to our school community on Monday, March 16, detailing virtual learning plans and other important information. Please be sure to keep an eye on your email inbox. 

    • Also on Monday, Dawson will launch a parent resource board on the MyDawson portal, complete with virtual learning information and updates, as well as many other resources to help you and your student get the most out of virtual learning. 

    • An introduction to Dawson's virtual learning plan will take place on Tuesday, March 17. This will allow students time to explore the new platform and familiarize themselves with the tools, lesson plans, and other class resources. 

    • Full virtual learning instruction will begin Wednesday, March 18. 

    • Please continue good hygiene practices with your child, including (and most importantly) proper handwashing technique, and consider safe social-distancing measures as well. These are proving effective to slow the spread of the virus.
    We are continuing to carefully monitor the current and most relevant information related to the coronavirus pandemic in the US and Las Vegas through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), as well as CCSD.
     
    Once again, on behalf of all Dawson faculty and staff, we thank you for your incredible support during this challenging time, and I will continue to send our community updates as needed. I know our faculty are looking forward to connecting with our students online and continuing to foster their curiosity and love of learning. It's a new world for our Dawson community, but we're ready for it!
     
    Be well.
     
    Carola E. Wittmann, Ph.D.
    Head of School
    The Alexander Dawson School
  • A Letter from the Head of School: March 12, 2020

    Dear Dawson Community,
     
    As always, the health and safety of our school community is our number one priority. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic and out of an abundance caution, the School’s leadership, in consultation with the Board of Trustees Executive Board, has determined the best course of action is to close the School beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 for a minimum of two weeks. 
     
    Here are the important things to know right now:
    • This is not a campus quarantine but a closure of campus. There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus within Dawson’s community.

    • Friday conferences: Because this is not a campus quarantine, family conferences are still taking place as scheduled on Friday, March 13. If you have a scheduled conference on Friday, please plan to attend.

    • Virtual learning: This will begin on Tuesday, March 17. Dawson faculty will spend Monday, March 16 making final preparations on virtual learning plans. Instructions for using Dawson’s virtual learning tools will be shared with families on Monday afternoon, so please keep an eye on your email inbox.

    • Campus closure timeline: As of now, the School will be closed a minimum of two weeks. As stated, the constantly evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic means we cannot say at this time when School will reopen. 
    • Aftercare: If your child is signed up for aftercare on Friday, March 13, we will still provide this service. Beginning Monday, March 16, aftercare will not be provided until the School determines when the campus will reopen.

    • Distribution of laptops and other school items: On Friday, March 13, a Google survey link will be shared with families to determine how many students will need to check out a school-issued laptop. Laptop distribution will take place on Monday, March 16. More information will be shared on Friday regarding this process.

    • Childcare: We know closing the School will create a significant challenge for many Dawson families. While we are unable to provide childcare recommendations, we want to remind our families that in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the current recommendation to families during a school closure is to practice social distancing measures. It is up to each family to determine their level of comfort with such practices.
    • Email communication: In the coming days, important family and student communication will happen through email and virtual learning tools. Please ensure you are checking email on a daily basis for the latest updates, information, and support.
       
    • Website for general Dawson coronavirus updates: We will also share more general updates on https://www.adsrm.org/about-dawson/coronavirus-updates-and-information, so please check this site, as well as MyDawson, for any updates.
    I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the incredibly professional and thoughtful way in which our faculty have responded to the move toward online learning. They have jumped into this new world with both feet, and their team collaboration and careful planning are the epitome of courage over comfort. To our faculty, thank you.
     
    To our families: On behalf of all Dawson faculty, staff, and leadership, I want to thank everyone for their overwhelming support, patience, and flexibility as we continue to navigate the new and challenging situations the coronavirus pandemic has created in not only our Dawson community, but in school communities across the country and the globe. While we know our faculty will do everything possible to help our students continue to learn and grow in this virtual learning environment, there is no replacement for the face-to-face interactions with our amazing students, and I know I speak for everyone here when I say we will miss them dearly. 
     
    More information to come tomorrow. Until then, be well.

    Carola E. Wittmann, Ph.D.
    Head of School 
    The Alexander Dawson School
  • Distance Learning for Dawson Students

    Dawson Families: Please visit the MyDawson Distance Learning resource board (behind the password) for information on grade-level distance learning plans, tech support, and resources.
  • Taking Care of Our Community

    Important Note: Taking Care of One Another
     
    Now more than ever, it is important to partner with the School and remind your child that the risk of coronavirus is not connected with race, ethnicity or nationality. Stigma will not help to fight the illness. Sharing accurate information and dispelling myths is one of the best things we can do to combat the troubling incidents of racial bias happening in schools and communities around the country against people who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander. It is essential that all Dawson parents, faculty, and staff work to dispel coronavirus myths and model for our students what it means to treat one another with dignity and care. Remember, whether it’s television, YouTube, or any number of social media apps, students are watching and listening and have likely already been exposed to gross misinformation and racist or xenophobic rhetoric related to the coronavirus; now is the time to have these discussions with your child.
  • Spring Break

    Spring break is April 6-13, and while it is unlikely anyone will be able to do much outside of their home, I ask that our Dawson faculty and staff community use this time to relax and recharge. Distance learning will not take place during the week of spring break, and beginning April 6, I encourage families to consider delaying communication with your child’s teacher or Dawson staff members until after April 13 to ensure these hardworking individuals have the opportunity to take some time to be with their families and practice self-care.

CDC Hand-Washing Recommendations

    • CDC Hand-washing PDF

The Alexander Dawson School

The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student wellbeing and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners. 
Students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.