Virginia Beach Friends School has currently entered Phase III of the Virginia Governor's re-opening plan. This page serves as a hub for parents and students for all information related to COVID-19 policies and procedures. As we look to the 2020-21 academic year, VBFS is hopeful that its small size will enable it to run in-person classes that meet and follow all guidelines established by the Governor and local/state health officials. Our mission remains to educate the whole child, developing strong academic intellect and personal character, through recognition of each child’s individual light and living the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship.
We also continue to host our open enrollment period for the 2020-21 school year, for which we have limited space. Michel Barclay, Head of School, Candice Jarden, Asst. Head of School and CFO, and Tamra Andress, Admissions Director, are available during this time to answer any enrollment related questions: [email protected].
In addition, VBFS is currently holding summer camps that meet all Phase III health and safety requirements. We are excited to offer wonderful summer programs that have welcomed students from across Hampton Roads! Please ensure to register to hold your spot.
20-21 Academic Year Reopening Plan >
Department Contact Information >
Communication Plan >
Glossary of Terms >
Online Learning Rationale >
Technology Plan >
Early & Lower School Learning Guidelines >
Middle School Learning Guidelines >
Upper School Learning Guidelines >
Department Contact Information
- School Office: Phone Manned from 10am-2pm Monday-Friday (757) 428-7534
- Head of School, Mike Barclay: [email protected]
- Academic Dean, Sandra Fink: [email protected]
- Assistant Head of School and CFO, Candice Jarden: [email protected]
- Admissions, Tamra Andress: [email protected]
- Advancement, Steve Pinto: [email protected]
- Athletics & Summer Camp, Jason Weast: [email protected]
- Technology, Joe Worst: [email protected]
- Counseling, Dee Talbert: [email protected]
All official communication from the school to parents will be generated via School Cues. It is recommended for all parents to have the School Cues app on their phones in order to receive timely updates. There are methods of communication used in addition to School Cues at each of the divisions. Please see the respective division guidelines below.
Glossary of Terms
- Asynchronous Distance Learning: Asynchronous distance learning occurs when the teacher and the students interact in different places and during different times. Students learning asynchronously are able to complete their work on their own. Asynchronous distance learning often relies on technology such as email, audio recordings and video recordings. Utilizing paper assignments is another medium for asynchronous learning.
- Google Classroom: Google Classroom is a free collaboration tool for teachers and students. Teachers can create an online classroom, invite students to the class then create and distribute assignments. Within the Google Classroom students and teachers can have conversations about the assignments and teachers can track the student's progress. VBFS is generally using Google Classroom in our Middle and Upper School Divisions.
- Seesaw: Seesaw is a platform for student engagement. Teachers can empower students to create, reflect, share, and collaborate. Students “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. It’s simple to get student work in one place and share with families, and nothing is shared without teacher approval. VBFS is generally using Seesaw in our Early and Lower School Divisions.
- Synchronous Distance Learning: Synchronous distance learning occurs when the teacher and students interact in different places but during the same time. Students taking synchronous courses are generally required to log on to their computer during a set time and may include multimedia components such as video conferencing and instruction.
- Zoom: Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video.
Rationale for VBFS Remote Learning Plan
“Virginia Beach Friends School aims to educate the whole child, developing strong academic intellect and personal character, through recognition of each child’s individual light and living the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship.”
In developing our remote learning plan in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic in March of 2020, what was most important to us as a school was staying true to our mission and creating a remote learning program that emphasizes the elements that are the foundation of the learning experience for students at Virginia Beach Friends School.
Community- Each student continued to learn in a community with their teacher and peers. From the outset, the school held synchronous morning meetings and classes from 1st-12th grade recognizing community, and its connection is so important to our students and teachers. At this time of uncertainty in our world, we wanted students to have a familiar and safe routine of getting up and greeting the new day in school with their peers and teachers. Our weekly all-school Meeting for Worship has continued, and we are delighted to have siblings and parents joining us for this community time each week.
Core Academics First- Recognizing that the skills of reading, writing, math, and science are most essential for continuing to move forward in many subject areas. We prioritized these skills for teaching and dedicated the most in-class and homework time to these. Specials were made optional or with reduced teaching and homework time.
In Class Together- We chose to have synchronous, abbreviated class days in the middle and upper school because we know many of our students find the most success when they can ask questions of their teachers, learn with peers, and engage in hands-on learning.
Keep it Simple- In addition to email, we have tried to limit the number of platforms or modes of communication for each division. We want the systems to be simple to ensure success and mastery for all. The whole school is using Zoom for live classes, meetings, and parent-teacher conferences. In Lower School, we are using SeeSaw and older students are using Google Classroom. In Middle School and Upper School, most teachers are using Google Classroom in addition to Jupiter. We have also maintained the same grading and assessments for report cards.
Let Each Light Shine- We want to keep lit the Inner Light of each child even at this difficult time. We also recognize that each student and family are experiencing this time in their own unique ways; therefore, we have given choices in the curriculum when possible, built-in lighter days to catch up on work, ensured communication lines are open with parents through conferences, held weekly Zoom parent coffees, surveyed the community, and encouraged advisors to check-in on students regularly.
Connect with the Natural World Around You- VBFS students are constantly being asked to go outside, even during virtual learning. Whether through an art assignment building a home out of natural items you find outdoors or being encouraged to read outside or bring your computer outside for Earth day or ensuring a break for outdoor play and movement, Friends School continues to encourage students to be outside during this time. Students are encouraged to find the beauty and unexpected surprises that await outdoors, whether they are on Friends School’s campus or their own neighborhood.
When VBFS has to move to a distance learning program, it is necessary for the school and student, as well as parent/guardian, to be keenly aware of the rules and regulations for safe online/digital learning.
The school has put in the following protocols to ensure its distance learning program follows the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). As such,
- The only online platforms that VBFS has cleared for use are those that have secure privacy policies in place; they include: Zoom, Seesaw, Google Classroom, Google Meet, and Google Hangouts.
- The school has controls in place to ensure no recordings of children at any time will take place during school-hosted online meetings.
- The school has controls in place to ensure no unauthorized parties can enter any school-hosted online meeting and share inappropriate content.
- School issued Google accounts are within our private domain.
Parents/Students must comply to the following policies for online/digital learning (each parent/student must sign the Distance Learning Digital Acceptable Use Policy):
- Any school-issued devices and approved online platforms/applications are for educational purposes only and will not be used to compromise the security and safety of the student, the teacher, or VBFS.
- Recording, photographing, posting, or sharing of online classroom sessions is strictly prohibited.
- All video interactions require students to wear school appropriate attire and sit as you would in class.
- Ensure that images, music and behaviors in the background during video sessions is school appropriate.
- Treat contributions made by other members of the class with respect.
- Parents are to limit their own participation in the class discussions. You may message questions or concerns to your child’s teacher.
- I understand that content filtering is dependent upon the Internet service that a device is connected to. When a school device is not connected to VBFS’ Wi-Fi network, VBFS cannot provide content filtering. It is the responsibility of parents to monitor a device’s use while it is off-campus, and the school does not accept responsibility for any inappropriate content accessed while the device is off-campus.
- Lastly, have patience with technology. We are learning together! If you are having any issues with platforms or devices, please message your classroom teacher or advisor.
Students who may have technical issues with their loaned devices should make their classroom teacher or advisor aware. Any student that does not have access to a device for the digital parts of our distance learning program, should also make their classroom teacher or advisor aware; the school has a few additional Chromebooks to loan.