October 2020 News and Notes

October 2020 News and Notes

 

And ….. We’re Off!  (Virtually)

Chelsea School’s 44th school year began with great fanfare as we welcomed back our Head of School, Kristal Weems-Bradner, to the fold. Mrs. Weems-Bradner was beaming with pride as she addressed the students on the first day of school.

“Each of you has a wonderful opportunity to make this the best school year ever,” she said through her webcam. “Set your sights as high as you can!”

Chelsea School is beginning the 2020-2021 school year in a completely virtual format, meaning that all classes, school events, advisories, and related services are being provided through videoconferencing. With this unusual format, other changes to our time-tested school program were necessary as well, including a shift to block scheduling.

‘It’s different, but it’s still Chelsea,” said Mrs. Weems-Bradner. “We still find a way to connect with children in a personal and life-altering way, even when we’re apart. We still come together each morning as a community to celebrate our achievements and milestones, process events happening in the world, and support each other during this difficult time.”

 

Chelsea Sophomore Launches Line of Beauty Products

Savannah Robinson, a 10th grade student at Chelsea School, has launched her own company, SBS Naturals (Savannah’s Beauty Squad). Savannah’s line of beauty products include body lotion, hair and beard oil, sea moss, and hair tea. She will be premiering her products in a pop-up sale on October 3rd at Star Struck Sports in Temple Hills, Maryland.

Besides being an honor roll student at Chelsea, Savannah is also a young entrepreneur who created a line of products based on the needs of her peers. She is currently working hard to get her business off the ground through pop-up sales, word-of-mouth advertising, and social media marketing.

 

Focus on Social Justice

This year, Chelsea School is providing its students with an opportunity to explore and discuss issues that concern them regarding equality, racism, sexism, and social responsibility. In a weekly Social Justice seminar, students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to think critically about issues facing society today.

During the school closure last spring, students were looking for ways to discuss issues that concerned them, especially issues regarding systemic racism. What started as informal chats turned into a formalized program that follows a social justice curriculum. In the seminar, students are not only encouraged to speak their minds, they are also challenged to think critically, develop skills related to media consumption, and consider their individual role in the broader society.

New, Fun Programming

In an effort to promote increased student engagement in the distance-learning platform, Chelsea has rolled out new programming for our middle school students to get them moving and expressing themselves. Besides their core classes, students will now have an opportunity to take Yoga, Digital Photography, Art, Ceramics, Physical Education, Health, and a new class called Culture Club where students explore geography and world cultures.

Besides this, Head of School Kristal Weems-Bradner has made physical movement a priority for all classes, asking every teacher to incorporate movement into their lesson plans each day.

“Physical movement is so crucial for our students, perhaps now more than ever,” said Mrs. Weems-Bradner. “Screen time was a major concern for us going into this year. We wanted to try to incorporate movement into every class period to promote better physical and cognitive health.”

 

 

Chelsea Student Serves as Children’s Hospital Ambassador

On October 17th, Chelsea School eighth-grader Lucas Khelawan will be taking part in Children’s National Hospital’s Race for Every Child (Virtual Edition). This year mark’s the fourth year that Lucas will be participating in this event in an effort to raise money for a hospital that he knows very well.

Lucas has made it his mission to improve the lives of children with serious illnesses. Lucas was diagnosed with cancer in August, 2015. For the next three years, Children’s National Hospital was his second home. Lucas spent a great deal of his first year there in a medically-induced coma while receiving aggressive chemotherapy treatments. During this time, his third grade year, he was unable to see his family or interact with his classmates.

Today, Lucas is a healthy 13 year old. This November will mark two years since he completed his treatment.

Besides this event, Lucas has also started his own nonprofit charitable organization called Lucas’ Toy Chest, which provides toys to children who have to stay in the hospital for extended durations due to serious illness.

To sponsor Lucas, please visit: https://bndfr.com/d7CzY

 

Fall Fundraiser Going Strong

Chelsea School’s fall fundraiser for its virtual learning program, entitled Keep them Learning, Keep them Safe! has raised over $12,000 towards its goal of $15,000. Many Chelsea School alumni, alumni parents and grandparents, staff members, former staff members, and friends and neighbors have contributed to this fundraising effort.

All donations received this fall will go to support Chelsea’s distance learning programming. Funds will be used to provide each student with a home learning kit that includes manipulatives, technology supports, art supplies, science lab equipment, hands-on learning tools, fitness materials, and other items essential for learning at home. Besides this, money is also being requested to support Chelsea families with groceries.

To donate to Chelsea School’s Fall Fundraiser, you have two options:

Leveraging Relationships in a Time of Pandemic

This spring, Frank Mills, our Executive Director, was invited to contribute an article to the Educating All Learners Alliance discussing Chelsea School’s remarkable shift to virtual learning in March. As local districts closed for several weeks without any kind of educational programming, Chelsea School was able to quickly pivot to a fully virtual instructional model with only two days of lost instruction.  

In response to widespread school closure, a group of special education advocacy and innovation organizations has formed the Educating All Learners Alliance to support the education of students with disabilities during COVID-19.  In April, the Alliance launched EducatingAllLearners.org, a resource hub and online community dedicated to meeting the needs of all learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mr. Mills’ article can be found at https://www.educatingalllearners.org/projects-leading-by-example/Leveraging-Relationships-in-a-Time-of-Pandemic

Moving and Grooving

One of the side effects of students being quarantined to their homes this spring was that they did not have many opportunities to exercise. Perry Nichols, our veteran physical education teacher, came to the rescue! He created a class for our students called “Fun Fitness Challenges” where, using their home spaces, they were able to enjoy 45 minutes of fun (and silly) exercise. Running in place, high kicks, rapid punches, stretching, and jumps were all part of the fun. Mr. Nichols’ high energy approach was highly engaging for the students, who were all smiles despite their initial reluctance to work out. Check out a clip here: Fun Fitness Challenge Class

Old Faces, New Positions

Kristal and Frank with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

In June, the Chelsea School Board of Governors announced two exciting position changes for the school’s senior leadership. Kristal Weems-Bradner, former Dean of Students and Co-Head of School, has returned to Chelsea and has taken on the role of Head of School. Frank Mills, former Head of School, is assuming the role of Executive Director. Ms. Weems-Bradner will be responsible for the internal day-to-day operations of the school, while Mr. Mills focuses on external concerns such as fundraising, development, and sustainability.

Kristal and Frank are working hard this summer to prepare for the new school year, but would love to hear from you! You can contact Kristal at kweems@chelseaschool.edu and Frank at fmills@chelseaschool.edu.

Inside Virtual ESY

Our summer program, known as ESY (Extended School Year) kicked off on Monday, July 6th. For the first time ever, this program is being held completely online. Each day, students have classes meant to maintain and shore-up their basic skills over the summer: intensive reading tutorial, writing workshop, and mathematics lab. Once the school day is over, students are able to take part in optional “specials” that include coding, dance, fitness, yoga, and citizenship.  

This is our largest summer program ever, with over 90% of our students attending ESY. This result is thanks to Chelsea’s initiative of ensuring that all of our students have access to direct instruction over the summer. We feel so strongly about the need for continuous instruction that we offered ESY programming to all of our students, regardless of their ability to afford the five-week program. This has proved to be a bit of a financial strain for the school, and we welcome all all donations to help support this program, which we feel is essential for our students. 

Students are attending their classes using the Google Meet application. In this platform, teachers are able to deliver small-group virtual instruction that seeks to mirror the intimate learning environment that is a hallmark of our normal campus programming. The results have been extremely positive, with students turning out in great numbers the first week to get back to learning!

This program works only as well as the technology resources available to keep it going. Thanks to a number of grants from public and private foundations, Chelsea has been able to provide all of our students who need one with a Chromebook. As the virtual programming continues, the need for more Chromebooks and vital technological infrastructure increases. To contribute to this urgent area of financial need, please go to https://www.chelseaschool.edu/support-chelsea/

Chelsea School Campus Closed Through June 17

Greetings Chelsea Families,

The State of Maryland has announced that schools will be closed for the remainder of the year.  We will be continuing with our virtual school model through June 17, which is the last day of school for students.  Individual jurisdictions have set their own end-of-year dates, but we are working to ensure all Chelsea Students remain in classes through this date.

Regardless of your jurisdiction’s end date, we will allow all of our students to remain in virtual school until June 17.

Our Extended School Year summer program begins July 6.  Given the likely closure of many youth summer opportunities, Chelsea is also working to engage as many of our current students as possible.

Please feel free to contact us with questions about graduation, summer opportunities, other distance learning options, and stay tuned for more details.

Thank you and stay safe,

Frank Mills
Head of School

Chelsea School Campus Will Remain Closed Through May 15

Chelsea School will remain closed through May 15, 2020, and continue academics in a virtual classroom.

All events and activities at Chelsea School, including The 2020 Walk for Learning Differences are suspended until further notice.  The fundraising portion of the Walk will also be suspended in order to help our students practice appropriate social distancing during this time.

For anyone interested in enrollment, the Chelsea School Admissions team will continue to review applications and referrals that come in via parents, advocates, law offices, and our local educational systems. Appropriate documentation is still required, but we are waiving all application fees until further notice.   Click here for more information about admissions.

Please watch for more information and updates and contact us with any questions.

Chelsea School Campus Will Remain Closed Through April 24

Chelsea School will remain closed through April 24, 2020, and continue academics in a virtual classroom.

All events and activities at Chelsea School, including The 2020 Walk for Learning Differences and the April 2 Academic Fair & Open House are suspended until further notice.  The fundraising portion of the Walk will also be suspended in order to help our students practice appropriate social distancing during this time.

For anyone interested in enrollment, the Chelsea School Admissions team will continue to review applications and referrals that come in via parents, advocates, law offices, and our local educational systems. Appropriate documentation is still required, but we are waiving all application fees until further notice.   Click here for more information about admissions.

Please watch for more information and updates and contact us with any questions.

A Notice About Chelsea School Admissions

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

We sincerely hope that you are all healthy and safe during this challenging time.

For anyone interested in enrollment, the Chelsea School Admissions team will continue to review applications and referrals that come in via parents, advocates, law offices, and our local educational systems.  Appropriate documentation is still required, but we are waiving all application fees until further notice.  

Chelsea will continue to fulfill its mission of serving students with learning disabilities while encouraging their health and safety through distance learning.  The administrative team is working hard to offer a rigorous curriculum, utilizing a virtual classroom to provide direct instruction—our goal is structure and normalcy through academics.

Although we cannot offer tours at this time, we encourage you to contact us with any questions about our school or the admissions process.  Our Admissions Director is available for scheduled phone inquiries and through Zoom, a secure video conference portal. Please use this link to request and schedule a conversation.  When guidance from local health and government agencies allows, Chelsea will resume tours and open house events as usual.

Stay safe, and thank you for your interest in Chelsea School.

Chelsea School Campus Closed March 16 – 27

Beginning March 16 through March 27, Chelsea School will transition to virtual classroom in support of Governor Hogan’s announcement to close public schools.  Chelsea’s campus will remain closed during that time.

All events and activities at Chelsea School, including The 2020 Walk for Learning Differences and the April 2 Academic Fair & Open House are suspended until further notice.  The fundraising portion of the Walk will also be suspended in order to help our students practice appropriate social distancing during this time.

Please watch for more information and updates and contact us with any questions.