Home / Uncategorized / Beginning Sketch of Our Virtual Learning Plan


I have heard from many of you that my daily messages are incredibly comforting. You have shared that you know more about what is happening/going to happen at your child’s school than your friends who are teachers know what is going to happen in their schools.

Creating a COVID-19 Distance Learning Plan

It is hard work to move an in-person school online with no notice, but we’re doing it and we feel proud of what we’re coming up with.
For some reason, I woke up Friday morning knowing that Friday was going to be our last day in school and started acting as if it were true. Then it was true. It was really weird.
As a result, the Compass team had a 9 hour head start on everyone to prepare for the Coronavirus school closure (I wake up really early you see). Those 9 hours before the storm were like weeks in crisis time.
Our team continues to race on a pretty fast pace and our Compass team is AMAZING. I am honored to work with such a dedicated crew. They are all stepping up and hustling in different ways.

Sharing the Compass Message

Many of you have asked if you can please forward my emails outside of the Compass community. The answer is YES. You have to put a disclaimer on it – I am NOT a Coronavirus Response expert and I don’t have evidence to say that what I’m doing is the right thing to do. That being said, I’m more than happy to share what we’re dong.

In my Open House message, I literally say something to the effect of, “Charter schools are small, powerful, nimble communities that can mobilize quickly.” The Compass Community’s response to this crisis is proof.

Also, remember that the whole point of charters is that we are supposed to be innovation centers that share best practices. That’s what we do with our farm. That’s what we’re going to do with this.

As for The Compass Plan

Does anyone remember Bob Ross, the PBS painter? I love Bob Ross. He always seemed part-magician to me.

Bear with me, I’m going to make a Coronavirus Response connection, I promise 😉

  • Bob always began with a blank canvas.
  • At the 8 min mark, you’d see the background.
  • By the 15 min mark, you’d have a good idea about where this painting was headed.
  • And then at min 24, voila. He was done and it was beautiful.

Right now, my Compass School Coronavirus Response and Virtual Learning plan is at about the 15 minute mark. That is what I’m going to share with you right now.

Like Bob, I’m not waiting until I’m done “painting” to show you where I’m headed. You’re going to get it as I go, a little bit at a time. That’s intentional.

According to the Governor and Commissioner, schools are on vacation this week and “may” be Virtual Learning next week. The Ms. Brandee Spidey Sense is 99.99% sure that we will be virtual learning next Monday. I don’t know how long it will go on for. Maybe it is just a week? Maybe longer? I don’t know.

I want Compass Families to start getting ready for this now so that if/when it is go time, Compass kids and families are ready. It is important that we do the launch well. Once we “Open on Monday” Day 1 will set the tone for the duration whether it is a few days or longer than that. In no particular order, here are the 15 minute mark details about my painting (I mean my Virtual Learning Plan) 🙂

  • If you cannot get to Compass today, but you need resources, sign up delivery. For real. Do it now so that we have time to mobilize.
  • I’m going to put out a call for Parent Virtual Learning Mentors tomorrow. This is for folks who have capacity to be a resource to other parents during the “school day” for families who might not know tech as well or might be working. We don’t want to leave any students behind and I could use your help. When I put it out, I’m going to ask you to commit to one step. Don’t sign up for more than that because I want you to become and “expert” on that step level’s team.
  • We are not doing Student-Led conferences on Friday as planned. When I said that we would do them virtually, I thought we’d be in school this week, then things got crazy. Teachers are going to take that day as a Professional Development Day so that we can practice on each other and get ready for the “First Day of School” on Monday.
  • Yesterday, Compass community members were successful in raising money for our Compass families in need. It is an absolute myth that everyone at Compass is financially “all set”. That has never been the case, but it is especially not under these circumstances when people cannot work. In one day, you raised enough for every family win need to have a $75 Amazon gift card. The plan is that Ms. Julie will order these and will email them to you. Give us a little bit to make this happen, but it is coming in the next 24 hours.
  • If you didn’t contribute yesterday, but you wanted to, don’t fret. The need is going to grow and we will do more rounds of Amazon gift cards. Please continue to donate using the Compass School PayPal account.
  • If this goes on for a long time, we’re going to start snail mailing things to your home. What we sent home in the cool blue bags is enough to get us through at least one week of Virtual Learning School.
  • Many of you have said that the news is stressing you out. I would say to stop watching it and make sure that your kiddos are not exposed to it. Ms. Diane is going to continue her daily updates. You would honestly be informed if all you read was those. Point your attentional resources elsewhere. I’m a little biased, but I say point your attentional resources toward your children.
  • We will get you the passwords you need.
  • Many have asked if ALL Compass staff, including hourly employees will be paid. The answer is YES. This is an employer by employer decision. I have chosen to pay them for 2 reasons. 1) It is socially responsible to do so. 2) I can use every able body I have access to in this response and if they work at Compass in any role, they are very able.
  • Farmer Kati is staying on the farm. No, you can’t join her. She is not going in the buildings, but she is going to plant our garden. I’m only kind of kidding when I say that we may need our farm to feed the community to get through this crisis.
  • Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs are part of The Compass model in person. They will guide our online model. If you know people from other schools who use Responsive Classroom or Developmental Designs, they may be interested in what we’re doing. I encourage you to share it with them, but not until tomorrow at 8:00 am because our website is not ready yet.
  • Some have asked if this is going to be “real school” or if we are just checking the box in order to not make up days. Every school in the state will look differently because there is no time to calibrate. Compass is having REAL SCHOOL. We are not checking the box. I’m telling you to get ready now, because we’re doing this thing.
  • Choose a place in your house that will be your child’s “classroom” next week. It could be your kitchen counter (that’s where it will be for my kids). It doesn’t matter what you choose, but pick a consistent location. Start preparing it now. Tell your kiddo about it. Make it special in some way so that it is there “special place”.

Compass is going to utilize the Google Platform for all of our Virtual Learning. Parents, start learning about Google Classroom and Google Meet. Here are some resources:

The Compass Schedule

Final Thoughts for Today

Compass is going to have daily “schedule”.

Coronavirus Distance Learning Daily Schedule

Families, I know that having kids home unexpectedly for a week is hard. I know that many of you are going to attempt to work from home while the kids are “on vacation”. I have been doing this all weekend (I have an Explorer (1st grade) and a Discoverer (4th grade) at home with me while I’m planning the Compass Response. It is not easy.

However, I need you to hold it together for next week. I’m awfully partial to those darlings that are at home with you. It’s important to me that they have the best experience they can through all of this weirdness.

The Compass team and I are preparing resources to hopefully make Virtual Learning as successful experience you can. You take this week, we’ll take next week. Deal?