Across our nation, no matter where you live, this school year is going to be challenging. However, we also know the vital importance – now more than ever – of doing what is best for students, both academically and emotionally. For the majority of our families, this means continuing with in-person, on-campus instruction that utilizes CDC-recommended guidelines to keep students and faculty as safe as possible. For some of our families, giving students the best distance education experience possible is the priority. No matter which option you’ve selected for your student, our goal is to make this school year one of community building, intensive social-emotional care, and innovative learning. In partnership with Dawson’s high-functioning leadership team and outstanding faculty, we will provide our students with the stability and care they need, and we will help them harness our collective community energy to emerge stronger. In addition, in conjunction with our dedicated families, we will take courageous action to equip our students with the skills and mindsets needed to lead as future advocates and problem solvers. As a whole school community, we will learn from others to adapt and respond to a global climate forever changed by the events of 2020.
Organizations like the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend opening schools with enhanced safety protocols for the good of children. In addition, our medical advisory team unanimously recommended an on-campus reopening. Our school has the affordances to employ the recommendations of national and local health organizations, and we can reopen with the health and wellbeing of students and teachers at the center of our plans.
Dawson’s administration, technology, and maintenance teams worked tirelessly all summer to develop plans and protocols designed to protect employees and students to the best extent possible. The 42 measures Chief Financial Officer Michelle Eckmann shared during the July 20 Coffee Chat will help minimize, yet not eliminate, the risk of transmission. Our school has the resources and space to provide students with the education they need during a pandemic. We are fortunate to have the ability to social distance, to employ enhanced cleaning protocols and increase cleaning personnel, to require hand washing and sanitizing, to operate with a cohort model, to temperature check and symptom check each student and employee, to increase outside airflow in our buildings and classrooms, to utilize outdoor learning spaces, to provide a quarantine space in each division, to upgrade air filters, to hire additional support team members, to hire a nurse’s assistant, to offer distance education to students who need this model, and to employ accommodations as needed.
The pandemic has created devastating educational inequities. One of our Core Beliefs states, Global citizens investigate root causes, analyze solutions, connect with people in need, and become empowered activists in the problem-solving process. Our ability to reopen our campus and adhere to all of the guidelines put forth by national and local health organizations also comes with the responsibility to educate and nurture the future leaders who will need to have the competencies to close the achievement gap created by the pandemic. A major part of our curriculum as we reopen our campus will focus on lessons that build empathy, leadership skills, social awareness, and advocacy; putting these lessons into practice will be essential as we help our students recognize their role in making our world a better place.
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.