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Moving into Stage 5 & 6

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Good afternoon Seahawk Nation,

We hope this rainy Thursday finds you healthy and looking forward to Friday! We have some important information to share with you, as we move into Stage 5 & 6 of our In-Person Return to School Plan.

As mentioned in many previous newsletters, DMA has been keeping a very close eye on the rising Covid-19 cases in the State, listening to our families’ feedback, researching various district plans, and of course closely assessing our own plan to determine what will work best for our DMA family to safely return for in-person instruction. After doing our due diligence, we
compiled several areas of concern.

Our first concern is that we are asking our cadets (when not in person) to stay engaged online for seven and a half hours a day via Zoom. We have looked at the attendance of districts attempting to have students logged in for that time and in our minds, it is not a good practice. To that end, DMA will be offering a condensed hybrid schedule where our cadets will be in person from 7:25 am to 11:20 am. Their classes in-person and online will be 43-minute blocks versus 82-minute blocks. This will allow our Staff to properly prepare their lessons, provide equity to the cadets logging in virtually and offer office hours in the afternoon for any cadet who needs additional support. Furthermore, the condensed model increases the amount of live instruction by 100% and decreases the amount of asynchronous work! Also, within this model, it will eliminate the need for our cadets to be exposed to other cadets not wearing a mask during the lunch block. Our full-day hybrid plan had cadets eating in their classroom, and while we will be cleaning between every class period, it still does not account for masks being off and further exposing our cadets and Staff to possibly contracting Coronavirus. Many times, schools tend to follow what everyone else is doing and follow the trend, instead of looking at their own unique set of circumstances and figuring out what exactly is best for OUR kids and OUR school.

We know this situation is extremely challenging for everyone and we believe you understand the depth, level of effort and care we put into your children each and every day. We believe in quality versus quantity and to provide the best instruction we can, given the circumstances we have been dealt. Clearly, as we learn more and adapt to our hybrid system, we will make the necessary course corrections to further provide and adopt the best educational plan possible. I can tell you this, our Staff and Administration are 100% All-In and they are a passionate, dedicated group of educators who pour their heart and soul into education. They think outside the box, hold our cadets accountable, but also possess a great deal of empathy and understanding, knowing that we are working in (I won’t use the word unprecedented, because it is played out), but, I would say the most unusual and bizarre set of circumstances any of us have ever seen. Attempting to make things normal in an abnormal situation is extremely difficult, so we are working to simplify, reduce anxiety, lessen the stress level and make things make sense for our
DMA family.

We have learned a great deal since March and especially since September, in regards to what works well and, what does not. We feel strongly that the DMA hybrid plan we have constructed will serve all of our cadets very well.

Below is the schedule beginning November 9th for all cadets who have opted for the hybrid schedule: Freshman families, you will be receiving a separate email with detail regarding freshman orientation beginning November 2nd and what next week will look like. Additionally, because we understand and hear you on the challenges around distance learning, we have made the week of November 2nd through November 6th a makeup week for all of you. No new instruction will be provided this week and you now have the opportunity to make up any work you may have missed during the first half of the semester.

Condensed Schedule (starting 11/9):

Monday – Thursday:
0725 – 0808 Block 1
0813 – 0856 Block 2
0901 – 0944 Block 3 & 4
0949 – 1032 Block 5
1037 – 1120 Block 6
1120 – 1130 Cadet Dismissal
1130 – 1230 Staff Lunch * Teachers are unavailable during this time*.
1230 – 1515 Office Hours/Planning Time/Tutoring/Small Group Instruction

Friday:
Friday will be an asynchronous day with all lessons loaded to Schoology by 0800. Cadets must answer their attendance question for each class by 1515.

We will continue to do everything possible to make the transition over from full-time virtual to condensed hybrid as seamless as possible and work with our cadets and families collaboratively for the betterment of our cadets.

Kindly,
Anthony Pullella
Commandant

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