What I Am Certain of During These “Uncertain Times”

May 15, 2020
A message from Executive Director, Summer Dittmer

During these trying times, these unprecedented times, these uncertain times – all phrases that have become commonplace in the last 45 days. Nearly every email or letter I open, and yes, even ones that I have written, begin with one of those phrases. What I have come to realize is that these times have made our school, our programs and our community even stronger; while many educators have expressed levels of anxiety and uncertainty, at PBA, we are more certain than ever; our history of flexibility and resilience has provided a solid foundation throughout this unforeseen crisis. We have hit our fundraising goals three months in a row, classes are taught daily, instruction remains meaningful, music rehearsals are held each school day, and students are still participating in school clubs and community meetings; we have transformed in the face of adversity. I attribute part of this to our community’s prior focus on growth mindset, just over a year ago. During challenging times, a growth mindset unlocks our ability to learn and to grow, and allows us to thrive. In this newsletter, you will find many examples of how we are thriving, keeping our heads up, and pushing forward. As we celebrate teacher appreciation week, I want to recognize the incredible teachers we have at PBA who are working day and night to serve our students, and creatively as ever. I meet with them throughout the week, and one thing is for sure, we are all missing our students dearly and long to see them, sans Zoom, once again. We are beyond appreciative of our parents and staff for their positivity and support since the minute our campus closed. In the words of the legendary football coach, Lou Holtz, “How one responds in the second half, will determine what they become after the game.” With a month left of school, as we cross the finish line, we will all be stronger, smarter, and more resilient because of this journey. Our past experiences at PBA will undoubtedly make us stronger when we come out on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this seems overwhelming and extremely unfamiliar to all of us, history is being written, and we hold the pen. Together, with your continued support, the Pacific Boychoir Academy will continue to write the most magnificent story for our students and choristers, one they will remember for the rest of their lives.

 

Photo:
Summer Dittmer with Head Boy, Cadence Strange, honored by the City of Pittsburg

March 13th, 2020 - School Closure Announced

PBA Community,

As you know, the coronavirus pandemic continues to be rapidly evolving, and PBA is taking a proactive approach to protecting our community. As concerns about coronavirus have risen, the PBA academic faculty, music staff and I have been working closely with the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) and the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE). Last night I attended a COVID-19 county video conference, led by the Alameda County Health Advisor, Erica Pan and Karen Monroe, the County Superintendent of Schools; the goal was to discuss the possible closure of districts within the county. PBA has continued to stay in contact with local agencies that have kept us up-to-date on the best recommendations for how to conduct school business during this time of uncertainty. This is why we have kept our schools open until today. As of 6:00 p.m. today, the Pacific Boychoir Academy, along with all schools within OUSD will be closed to students through Sunday, April 5, the end of Spring Break. Because of the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic, we hope to be able to resume instruction on Monday, April 6, but will continually assess the conditions to determine if this is the best time for reopening school. There will be no rehearsals or previously scheduled events throughout the closure, including this evening’s Studio Launch and Listening Party and the Shakespeare production.  We will notify families when these events are rescheduled. During this period of closure, our school will receive a deep cleaning.

Hopefully this time will allow all students, choristers, school staff and families to do what they need to do to keep themselves healthy and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is an imperfect solution, because ACPHD experts tell us that unless children stay in their homes away from other people for the duration of the closure, then they still run the risk of potential exposure.

Choristers can expect updates from the music faculty regarding any additional performance postponements or cancelations. Our day school families will receive lessons and instructions within the week, including information on laptop and book check out that will be available within the next few days. Day school faculty will provide assignments to our students throughout the closure using Gradelink and other platforms that our students are already familiar with; families can expect to hear from teachers by Monday, March 16. This effort is not designed to replace in-person classroom instruction, but it will help keep students engaged and prepared to resume class when it is safe to do so. We will continue to communicate with you as information becomes available.

Again, thank you for your support and cooperation as we work together to keep our students and PBA community safe.

 

Yours truly,
Summer Dittmer
Head of School

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