Fall 2020 Opening of School Information for Phillips Academy Families

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Academic Experience & Key Dates

We look forward to welcoming students to campus this fall, with the community’s health and safety at the heart of our multi-phase approach. Our goal is to open campus in September in a de-densified manner, meaning that some students, faculty, and staff will initially remain remote members of our community while others are on campus.

No matter where your child’s learning takes place, it will be defined by Andover’s hallmark of academic excellence. We are planning to open school with a cohort of students on campus. As we achieve and sustain critical health and wellness milestones, we hope to be in a position where it is safe to welcome increasingly more students to campus. Our decisions will be informed by campus and public health data, made in consultation with public health experts, and led by Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington.

To execute a phased campus reopening, Andover has designed an academic experience that blends best practices for online, hybrid, and in-person models of teaching and learning.

In designing our academic program for the coming year, we were grateful to have the thorough feedback from our families offered in response to our emergency shift to online learning and teaching in the spring term. While this unexpected shift offered us an opportunity to enhance our student support mechanisms and focus on ensuring an equitable experience for our students, we learned a great deal about what our students and families need. We are delighted that our multi-faceted approach for the fall term incorporates many of the enhancements that were recommended, including regular synchronous class meeting opportunities, a return to a more rigorous grading system, and more regular communication with families. In these ways and others, those who experienced our spring emergency program will see a very different program in the fall while participating online.

Faculty have engaged in intensive professional development this summer. One aspect of their work has been devoted to One Schoolhouse, which equips teachers to design, rethink, and build courses that can be delivered in-person or online and leverages the school’s learning management system, Canvas, for active, mastery-based learning.

Faculty have collaborated with department colleagues to establish standards of excellence for student engagement and assessment. With renewed focus, every member of the faculty is prepared to deliver an immersive intellectual experience that challenges and motivates students whether they are learning on campus or at home, and helps to protect the health and safety of everyone.

Fall Term Key Dates

  • September 3-13: Online orientation for all students
  • September 10-12: Move-in days for boarding students class of 2021 and class of 2024*
  • September 14: Classes begin
  • October 24 & 25: Virtual Family Weekend
  • October 19: No classes (Students remain on campus)
  • October 20: No classes (Special schedule/TBD)
  • November 20: Final class day of the fall term
  • November 21 – December 1: Thanksgiving break
  • December 2 – December 16: Winter term begins (Off campus, remote learning for all students)
  • December 17 – January 5: Winter break
  • January 6: Winter term resumes on campus

    TBD: Move-in days for boarding students classes of 2022 and 2023*

*Details forthcoming regarding move-in process and designated times.

The fall program will offer more structure—every academic course will include at least two 45-minute synchronous classes each week.

Academic Expectations

  • As in the spring term, we will continue to understand and support the home learning environment for any student who is participating remotely.
  • All students will be required to complete an academic orientation. This online session will emphasize best practices in remote learning, giving every student the skills and resources to manage their coursework with clear expectations and greater confidence.
  • Students will benefit from a more streamlined and consistent Canvas (learning management system) experience to enable them to meet success in achieving our academic expectations.
  • In addition to regularly scheduled classes, every teacher will be available for at least two conference hours per week.
  • All students will follow a structured five-day schedule that allows for personal engagement and connection with teachers and classmates.
  • Every course is being designed to meet Andover’s highest standards of academic excellence. Every student will have the opportunity to be equally successful in the class whether they are learning on campus or at home, remote, or in person. Our fall program will strive to return to the level of challenge, rigor, and support that are core to the Andover experience.
  • The fall program will offer more structure—every academic course will include at least two 45-minute synchronous classes each week. These classes may feature some students gathered with a teacher in a classroom, while other students take part online. All students will have classes that blend remote learners with on-campus learners. We will start with the premise that no student is expected to attend a synchronous class from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. in their time zone.
  • Capturing as much of the Andover experience as possible, we have designated periods for co-curriculars, including the Empathy, Balance and Inclusion program, athletics, music, theater, dance, and Community Engagement. Some of these sessions will be offered synchronously to provide more structure and relationships in a student’s experience.
  • A student who starts on campus may continue their same classes remotely if the need arises.
  • Based on circumstances, we used the Pass/Incomplete grading scale in the spring term. This upcoming year, we will use a different grading scale with ongoing feedback that distinguishes achievement and offers specific support for improvement. A final determination about the grading scale will be made before the start of the school year. Families will receive instructor reports at midterm and end of term as follows: October and November (term 1), February and March (term 2), April, and May (term 3).