Distance Learning, Spring 2020

Learning together, no matter the distance!

JGS students participated in distance learning (beginning Wednesday, March 18, just 2 days after our Spring Break) through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Because of our unique model and the dedication of our faculty and administrators, JGS was able to quickly and successfully pivot to learning virtually. Read about our transition to home-based learning in the Paradise Valley Independent.

See below for details on how distance learning was rolled out in the Spring of 2020. What are our plans for the 2020-2021 school year?

Distance Learning Rollout

Here are some of the best practices that we are using to help our students with successful distance learning:

  • Making sure our students are familiar and comfortable with navigating the online platforms.
  • Providing timely feedback.
  • Communicating, communicating, communicating! Responding frequently to student posts, questions, and comments.
  • Providing multiple touchpoints for real-time communication:
    • Daily online office hours
    • Small group lessons for direct instruction
    • One-on-one student meetings
    • Frequent parent contact
  • Letting our students know that we are here for them (and repeating the message!)

Lower School Distance Learning Implementation

Lower School Plan Summary

  • As is usual, students have individual schedules to ensure we continue meeting their learning needs.
  • 1.5 – 2.5 hours of live instruction, offered daily.
  • We are offering optional electives and Google Hangout sessions to keep everyone connected.
  • Through not graded, work completion is encouraged to keep students on top of their learning.
  • New material is taught to hold students’ interest and promote continued learning.
  • Students are reminded & encouraged to spend LOTS of time outdoors.
  • We encourage participation in fun, recorded and live JGS fitness classes.
  • Students can work within a flexible schedule or we can create a more structured schedule for them.
  • Social-emotional learning and mental health are at the core of every morning meeting & every class, every day.
  • We understand every family has different circumstances so we are flexible and here to give support!
  • Our daily communication is at the heart of making this work.
  • Dude, Be: Patient, Courageous & Kind to yourselves and others!

Lower School’s Synchronous (Live) Educational Opportunities 

The following live online sessions are provided to lower school students:

  1. Morning Meeting—Our scheduled check in with the class; activities to promote connectivity and strengthen speaking and listening skills, while practicing social skills.

  1. Math—Each child has math provided and scheduled in small groups at different times.

  1. Literature circles—Book-based language activities including reading response, comprehension, story elements, non-fiction and fiction text features.

  1. Language group—Speaking and Listening, vocabulary development, expressive and receptive language skills including Visualizing and Verbalizing, Story Champs and Expanding Expressions Tool.

  1. Around the World (Optional class)—Interest driven chat room hosted by a wide-variety of people in the JGS community. Something for everybody! Parents welcome to join and share expertise.

  1. Read aloud (Optional Class)—A story at the end of the day and a wrap-up to close out the school day. Teachers will read, but we would love parents to volunteer too!

  1.  *FLEX—Scheduled for students who have had FLEX hour in their usual JGS day (JGS students participate in a daily FLEX hour in their areas of need and/or enrichment—reading, writing, math, STEM, or a combination thereof)

Some offerings are optional, but have been designed to help meet the needs of the children both socially and academically. Current research suggests that connectivity with peers will support our students mentally and academically. None of these additions are meant to be a burden to your families; they’re provided as another way to keep our LS community together!

Lower School Student Sample Live Class Schedule

We encourage parents to print their child’s individualized schedule and to work with their child to fill in the “open” slots with the activities below. We are happy to create a detailed schedule for you, if requested! We understand that families are juggling a lot right now—there is no pressure, no hard deadlines. 


Lower School Grading

Lower School students’ work will not be graded during this period of campus closure. We will continue to take notes on student progress and plan developmentally appropriate lessons. Teachers have created extra assignments and provided more materials than students are expected to complete. Within this structure, families have the ability to select what works; some families and students wish to do more and others appreciate having less. Remember, it is the JGS way to be kind to yourself and do what is best for your family!

Middle School Distance Learning Implementation

Middle School Plan Summary

  • As is usual, students have individual schedules to ensure we continue meeting their learning needs.
  • Students receive 3 – 4.5 hours of live instruction, offered daily.
  • Social sessions are encouraged via Google Hangout to keep everyone connected.
  • Students understand they are accountable for their grades.
  • New material is taught to hold students’ interest and promote continued learning.
  • Students are reminded & encouraged to spend LOTS  of time outdoors.
  • Schedules are structured to foster an “in school” feel (as always, adapted for individual students).
  • Social-emotional learning and mental health are at the core of every morning meeting & every class, every day.
  • We understand every family has different circumstances so we are flexible and here to give support!
  • Our daily communication is at the heart of making this work!

Middle School Student Sample Live Class Schedule

Middle School Virtual Classroom Expectations and Procedures

  • Be mindful of others in the “room.”
  • Set yourself up for success by minimizing distractions.
  • Make sure that your supplies are handy: paper, pencil, computer, calculator
  • Technology: Be Prepared: Schoology & Gmail Open  
  • Google Hangout – Before the start of the lesson, mute your microphone
  • “Raising hands” – Put your name in the chat and your teacher will call on you
  • Dude, Be: Patient, Courageous & Kind to yourselves and others!

Middle School Student Daily Check List

  1. Check your JGS Gmail at least 2x times per day (morning and afternoon).
  2. Check Schoology classes. In each class:
    1. Make sure all of yesterday’s assignments were submitted.
    2. Preview today’s assignments.
    3. Check ‘Updates’ section.
  3. Look at Calendar/Schedule (print and post in your work area)
    1. Attend scheduled live classes.
    2. Check in to your teachers’ office hours as needed.
  4. Complete today’s assignments from Schoology.
  5. Please also make sure you have found an appropriate work area in your home in which to attend your live classes. This area should be distraction-free, have supplies nearby (paper, pencils, calculator, laptop, etc.) with a firm writing surface. A table or desk offers the best seating for you to be able to attend to your teacher’s instruction. Your bed, comfy chairs, and couch should be saved for independent work time. 😄
  6. Practice mindfulness, spend time outdoors, and get excercise every day!

High School Distance Learning Implementation

We strive to maintain an authentic, college preparatory education for students while taking special care to address their social-emotional needs during these weeks of uncertainty. We are leveraging the tools they already know how to use (Schoology), while we slowly introduce one or two new ones to optimize our virtual learning. Teachers check in with each student at least once per day, and encourage their students to reach out, too. We are treating this situation as a unique opportunity to practice critical 21st century skills, strengthen emotional intelligence, and deepen our community relationships through frequent communication.  

High School’s Four Essential Tools

Each high school student (and parent) has been provided these essential tools during this period of distance learning.

  1. Office Hours—Every teacher, every day!

  2. HS Staff Phone Numbers—Confused? Send a text!

  3. Daily Checklist—Helpful reminders for routine-building! (Found below)

  4. Live Class Schedule—Click the link to go to class on the day/time listed! (found below)

Sample High School Student Live Class Schedule

High School Student Daily Checklist

JGS High School students are also given a daily checklist in addition to their individulaized daily schedules. In keeping with trends in digital learning, especially at the college level, teachers schedule daily assignments and long-term projects in addition to live classes.

High School Communication

Teachers are communicating clearly, concisely, and consistently across the board, using Schoology, a platform that high school students have already been using, as the primary communication tool. 

Every student has 1:1 contact with a teacher and at least one small-group live class on a daily basis. The high school holds 3x/weekly full group Morning Meetings via Google Hangout. Teachers also use Google Hangout to hold online office hours (one hour each day Monday through Friday), allowing for less structured, more authentic conversation as well. 

High School Grading

Grades are being awarded as normal, based upon each teacher’s grading system. Each Course’s grading system is found on the Course syllabus provided by the teacher at the start of the semester and is posted on Schoology for reference. 

High School Attendance

Attendance is taken at Morning Meetings each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Personal contact is made (that morning) with students who are absent for a Morning Meeting. Parents are also notified of absences. 

Course teachers will not be taking daily attendance during distance learning. Students’ “attendance” will be measured by their daily participation in learning activities, live classes, and assignments.

We recognize that flexibility is also key at this time. As always, we work directly with students and families on accommodations as needed, while still ensuring that high school classes are completed without compromising the high standards we have set.

Our FLEX program is up and running very much like it is during “regular school!” Students “meet” one-on-one or with small groups for 2 to 5 hours each week. Using Google Hangouts to share information virtually, students are continuing their progress through the Wilson Reading Program with fidelity, as well as receiving executive functioning and math support.

Specials are going strong at The virtual Jones-Gordon School! Art & P.E. classes can be accessed live OR in pre-recorded classes.


During our distance learning, students attend live Google Meets sessions to see demonstrations and engage in a class-like atmosphere. Students are continuing to learn a diverse variety of techniques with art supplies and materials found within their homes. Students are encouraged to participate in the project presented during our live meets, ranging in complexity from household crafts such as chalk art, and collaging to print making, painting and rendering skills. Throughout the quarter, we will explore more painting, crafting, and art history projects.

Physical Education

Transitioning to distance learning for Physical Education has provided a unique opportunity for students to practice making physical activity a part of their daily routine outside of school. All our P.E. students, from 1st grade through 12th, are tracking their daily physical activity on the JGS Adventure 60 activity log each week. The goal is for every student to be active for at least 60 minutes every day.

Students are encouraged to pursue physical activity that interests and inspires them personally. Our middle and high school students have received assignments to explore different exercise/training/hiking apps and websites to discover great resources that are available to them digitally. Lower School students are encouraged to engage in physical play through building their own obstacle courses, skill practice, and exercise challenges.

Even at home, JGS P.E. is committed to building our students physical literacy and encouraging them to become ACTIVE for LIFE!

We continue to educate the whole-child during distance learning! Weekly social-emotional learning (SEL) activities are implemented by teachers as they would in-person, though now during live Google Meet Morning Meetings and class sessions. We are lucky to be a Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence  RULER school and to have a wealth of digital resources available in these circumstances. Routines such as checking in on the Mood Meter to start class are able to be maintained thanks to the online plotting method. Faculty and students continue to use the skills and language that would be used and heard while walking through campus.

In addition, students are encouraged to bring their at-school practices in-home now more than ever! They are empowered to teach their families about mindfulness, identifying emotions and strategies to regulate their feelings, and the power of acceptance (especially during a situation that is out of one’s control).  These circumstances have offered the opportunity for deep social-emotional conversations to occur more often (and perhaps more naturally) in order to build the emotional intelligence of all individuals in our community in an organic way.

As a team, we have continued individual counseling and social support. Individual sessions take place, as well as open office hours. This gives all students the opportunity to check-in with support staff from afar. In adapting to this new setting, staff and students are able to connect through emails, phone calls, and best of all­­—live Google Meet video calls. It has been a beautiful way to maintain some normalcy, and a sense of community, during an unexpected experience!

A Few SEL Ideas to Try

  • Create a gratitude jar or compliments jar
  • Keep a mindfulness journal
  • (JGS families) Check your email for the TPT SEL Activities packet 
  • Watch “Inside Out” and then create your own personal “control center”
  • Take mindful walks (notice sounds, colors)
  • Play I Spy or Simon Says (self-regulation!)
  • Play board games (following directions, turn-taking, cooperation skills, decision making)
  • Note the feelings of characters in movies or shows
  • Call a friend!

Sadly, by necessity, all athletics, after school clubs, and in-person events are canceled for the remainder of the school year. However, stay tuned for virtual events! 😄

JGS is fortunate to have a strong technology infrastructure and the tools in place to support distance learning. Instruction during this time will be delivered primarily through our standard learning management systems and environments, G Suite (Google Classroom, Hangouts) and Schoology. Students who do not have access to their own devices have been loaned school devises (Chromebooks, iPad, etc. as applicable).

The same policies in our student handbook apply to a digital learning environment.

How can my child be successful with digital learning?

  • Good time management! These are still school days. Every student needs to attend and participate like any other school day—to the best of his/her ability.
  • Effective communication! Students need to take responsibility for their learning now more than ever. Students must reach out to teachers if they have any questions. Teachers are accessible via text, phone, open office hours. There are infinite ways to get help—there shouldn’t be any excuses for feeling lost or confused.
  • Routine! It is imperative that students maintain structure and routine during the school week. Sleeping late, taking naps, is strongly discouraged.
  • Self-motivation! Digital learning is not for the unmotivated. If students are not motivated in this format it can be very difficult. Please monitor and support them!
  • Organization tools! Students should have his/her schedule available. Students should take time after each morning meeting and class to write down/record the activities they need to complete for each class, when they might be meeting online, etc. Digital learning requires extra attention to detail!
  • Technology! Students need a consistent, established space to work each day, along with an iPad, laptop, or other computer and WiFi to access their course content. If you need help with technology or access, please reach out to the teachers or team leads for assistance.

What can I do as a parent to help my child be successful?

  1. Set up a study space with limited distractions
  2. Explain your expectations for your child
  3. Monitor his/her study habits and participation
  4. Help set up a routine schedule (or ask us for help!)
  5. Encourage time outdoors and movement EVERY day
  6. Check-in on the Mood Meter
  7. Get more tips directly from our faculty and staff!

What digital tools will teachers and students use?

In Lower School, students are accessing Seesaw & Google Classroom. Middle and High School students are using Schoology & Google. Google Hangouts will be the most common way of bringing the students together. Teachers may use other tools specific to their grade or content area. Learning modules might include instructional videos, discussion boards, live lectures, small groups, and many more.

What about screen time? I am concerned…

We are, too! Teachers will be varying their activities and including many that do not require screen time. We’ve also built plenty of breaks into our schedules so that students can get away, get some exercise, and take a breather.

How often will classes actually meet virtually?

Each of the Team Leads has provided explicit details to students and parents about the daily schedules. Due to the fact that we are maintaining our individualized approach to learning, the schedule varies based on the student. All students have virtual classes daily.

How will students who start to struggle be supported?

Because we’re in touch with every student each day, we are usually aware of any issues before they become larger challenges. However, if students are struggling—academically or emotionally—parents are encouraged to reach out to the teachers and/or Team Leads. Our Support Team, Team Leads and Administration conference daily so that we stay on top of any issues that arise from this delivery model.

Will there be Morning Meetings and Advisory?


Lower School: Daily from 8:30-8:50, Foundations: Daily from 9:30-10:00

Middle School: 8:30-9:00 M, W, F

High School: 9:00-9:30 M, W, F

What about originally scheduled Early Release or “No School” days?

We will not have school or any digital learning activities on Friday, April 10th, or Friday, May 8th, or for any other days the remainder of the year that were already identified as No School days.

How will we communicate other information that would normally happen during parent meetings or special events?

We will continue to find innovative ways to communicate important information, whether through video presentations, small group meetings, or whatever is appropriate.

Other Questions?

Feel free to reach out to us!

This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Messages from the Head of School

Dear JGS Families,

The past few days I have so enjoyed seeing videos recapping our fantastic year! Our year was packed with so much learning, beautiful friendships, and loads of fun! While it saddens me that we are ending through a screen, I couldn’t be prouder of what our students were able to accomplish! They proved us so right – they can do hard things (& do it well!).

I read something this morning that sums up exactly how we feel as teachers: For many , the “one thing” is that they really love their students, and during this time of isolation and uncertainty, they miss them a lot. Being able to see the students every day kept us all going and we are grateful that you went out of your comfort zone to make this work.

Several parents have reached out to see how I am feeling during this time. The word I keep saying is “optimistic”. I think it is critical to maintain a positive mindset during uncertain times for myself, my family, and the school that I love. What the COVID world has taught me is that when people come together, magical things happen. Our team – teachers, parents, and students – came together and rapidly created something that worked despite so many obstacles. I am optimistic because I am confident that we can handle whatever is thrown our way!

The teachers are finalizing a list of things that can help keep your kids busy over the summer months! From social/emotional activities to reading, exercise, and more, you will have a hefty supply of resources! We will have them for you to pick-up on June 3rd (email from 5/19/20 for details) or we are happy to send you digital copies. Over the summer, you will be hearing from us with updates for our 2020-2021 plans.

From all of us at JGS, I hope you have a wonderful summer and we can’t wait to see you next year! Remember that you can reach me at any time. I know that we would all love to see texts and pictures.

With love,

Dear JGS Parents,

I wanted to give you an update on where we are as of today with our 2020-2021 school plans. We are expecting the state of Arizona to release information about opening schools at the end of this month. Obviously, you will be receiving updates from us throughout the summer months, but here is where we are today.

Our COVID Taskforce now includes several physicians who have offered to answer questions, review our plans, and weigh in on issues. The Taskforce is currently gathering information from around the country (and world) on best practices that we can use here at JGS.

Additionally, we plan to send surveys your way in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Summer Camps: We were unable to find a safe path forward for June, therefore, we have canceled our summer camps for this year.

Facilities Improvements: Due to COVID-19, we had to take a hard look at our campus and how to ensure our practices are sound. A few things that we are preparing for:

  1. Robust cleaning and sanitation practices throughout the school day.
  2. Most tables are being stored in an on-site container and replaced by individual desks that will be spaced 6 feet apart.
  3. All couches and rugs (harder-to-sanitize soft surfaces) will be removed from the classrooms.
  4. We have added sinks to classrooms/areas that didn’t already have them for easy access to handwashing throughout the day.
  5. We are creating dual health offices: one for well visits and a second for sick visits, in a similar fashion to a pediatrician’s office.
  6. We have created facility “zones” so that students in one zone don’t overlap with students in another zone (including drop-off/pick-up).
  7. Limiting the number of people on campus — some staff that do not need to be on campus will be working from home and parents/vendors will not be permitted beyond the front gates.
  8. Masks/shields and other barriers are under review/consideration pending CDC recommendations.
  9. We will continue to offer van transportation to/from school (West & North Valley) but students & driver will be required to wear masks. 

School Scenarios:

Plan A: “Open Campus” welcoming all levels according to an in-person learning schedule with improved physical distance preparations.

Plan B: “Rotational Campus” involves sharing the campus in a rotational style so that fewer people are on the campus at any given time. This plan includes some in-person and some virtual instruction.

Plan C: “Late Start” requires that we move our start date back to an undetermined date (highly unlikely).

Plan D: “Worst Case Scenario” is exactly what you think it is…virtual start to the school year for an undetermined amount of time.

Please feel free to reach out!

Dana Herzberg

Dear JGS,

I hope you all enjoyed the Virtual Talent Show as much as I did. While I shed some tears, it was a beautiful way to spend a Friday evening — with our JGS Family! If you missed it, please see your email for the permanent (private) link.

I can only speak for myself, but, I feel as though it took me until about Wednesday of last week to adapt to this new normal. I imagine that many of you can relate. So your question might be, “Dana, if it took you that long to adapt, what about our children?” Well, there is one thing I know without question; children are far more resilient than we are! Second, we believe in your kids and we know that they can do hard things. Finally, and, most importantly, the vast majority of our kids are doing really, really well (according to teachers & parents alike)! On that note, thank you so much for taking our surveys and for reaching out to us with positive and constructive feedback. We’ve taken all of it to heart as I am sure you have seen in our various communications. What I have heard, over the past few weeks, is that, overall, we have happy kids!

With all of that said, we are nearing the end of the school year, so please mark your calendars for the following events. We will send specific details about each of the ceremonies as we get closer. Please know that when/if we can open the campus, we plan to hold an in-person High School Graduation, Prom, and celebration for our rising 9th graders!


May 8th – Teacher Appreciation Day Off 🙂

May 15th – Professional Development Day


Virtual Middle School Sports/Awards Ceremony: 5/12, 10AM

Virtual High School Athletics Awards: 5/13, 6PM

Virtual Lower School Awards Ceremony: 5/14, 10AM

Virtual Middle School Promotion: 5/20, 5PM

Virtual High School Graduation: 5/21, 6PM

Yearbook Distribution: AUGUST 2020!


LS: 5/20/20

MS: 5/20/20

HS: 5/22/20 (for those who take final exams), 5/14/20 (for those opting out of final exams)


We are so appreciative of your continued support and interest in participating in Teacher Appreciation Week. Every year, we do a lot to celebrate our teachers and we know they feel the love. In respect of our current climate, we are encouraging notes, letters and emails to express gratitude and appreciation. If you want something delivered, please send to school and we will make sure to get notes and gifts to teachers’ homes.

Please note that in celebration of our teachers, we are closed May 8th!


If your child is continuing onto the 2020-2021 school year, please schedule a meeting with your school director by using the following links:

LOWER SCHOOL (Monica) (rising 1st-5th)

MIDDLE SCHOOL (Dana/Kris) (Rising 6th – 8th)

HIGH SCHOOL (Sam) (Rising 9th)

HIGH SCHOOL (Sam) (Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th)


Several of you have reached out about summer camp at JGS. We will notify you no later than 5/16 with what we are/are not doing. Please sit tight.


Yes, we are planning to be up and running for next school year unless we are told otherwise. We have contingency plans in the works (A, B, C). Please just know those pieces are in place and we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Current enrollment numbers sit at nearly 150 students with only a few openings left in a couple of grades! We continue to get inquiries and applications on a daily basis!

With that said, we know this is an uncertain time for everyone – please take 2 minutes and complete this very brief survey [attached] to confirm your intentions for next year.


March 30, 2020
RE: AZ Schools Closing for the Remainder of the School Year

Good Morning, JGS!

As many of you have already heard, Governor Ducey announced school campuses to remain closed through the remainder of the year.  I will be virtually meeting with my team leads within the next few hours and will inform you of our long-term structure for the rest of the year. Obviously, I am heartbroken for our children but will do everything in my power to make sure that our kids feel connected and supported in these unprecedented times. More to come…

Sending HUGE Virtual Hugs (and a few more tears),

March 22, 2020
RE: Virtual Week 2

Dear Parents,

I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful weekend. I’ve heard that many of us spent a great deal of time outdoors (allergies and all!) just to feel some sense of normalcy in the world.


We have sent a short survey (via email) to help us help your family. Please know that whatever your experience thus far, you are not alone and you are supported! This is challenging, on one level or another, for everyone. The teachers and administrators are talking all day, every day, to make sure that we are “connecting” about (and to) every student. You have a committed team and we want to help you to the very best of our ability.

EF Support for Families:

If you would like some family support, please let me know. I am happy to set up virtual meetings with you and walk you through some tips and tricks for creating and managing your child’s schedule.


I have been reading (a lot!) that it is really important to share pictures of happy moments within our community so that we don’t feel so alone in this experience. I know several parents have asked for this. Additionally, I am on groups where we are sharing things, as a school, with other schools & teachers. It’s been fun because we are gathering and trying new ideas every day. If you have pics that we could post (in accordance with our online/social media policies to protect our kids) of something happy that is happening during your child’s virtual school day, please send our way.

Virtual Hugs to All,

March 20, 2020
RE: AZ Schools Closed Through 4/10/2020

Dear JGS,

In case you didn’t hear…

Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced, “the extension of school closures through April 10, 2020. Our goal is to get kids safely back in the classroom as soon as possible while providing parents and educators certainty so they can plan and make decisions. We will continue to work together to determine what’s best for Arizona kids and schools in the face of COVID-19.”

Beginning next week, you can expect the workload to increase along with daily scheduled live classes. Thank you again for your support as we navigate our new virtual world.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend,
Dana & Team

March 18, 2020
RE: Day 1: Digital Learning

Dear Parents,

Today, more than ever, I am so grateful for technology (bet you never thought you’d hear me say that!). 🙂 Seeing and talking to all of the kids today gave us all that needed jolt of joy! Thank you so much for sending such positive feedback on our distance learning rollout! It was so appreciated! As you know, this construct/structure is new to our teachers (& Lower School Students!) and we are all finding our way. Honestly, we are finding it much faster and smoother than I had even anticipated. The teams worked tirelessly putting this together and I couldn’t be more proud of what they all accomplished. Please understand that this is a fluid process and one that will evolve over the next few days/weeks. Several of you have reached out regarding whether or not the 2 weeks is really what we can expect. Given what we know, today, 3/18/2020, my answer is what none of us want – probably not. Whatever is thrown our way, we will rise to the occasion and do well by all of our students and the community! 

A couple of housekeeping items:

1) If you need headphones with microphones, we have a few at school that we can give to you. Please let your school director know (Monica, Kris, Sam).

2) Kim and/or Tracie are at the campus most weekdays, but the remainder of us are working from our homes. If you call the school and do not get a live person, please leave a message and it will be returned promptly. Or, view the individual contact lists, provided by your director, for specific phone numbers for each team member.

3) If your family needs (any) items for your home, please let us know.

4) Please know that the Chat Rooms were created to provide a sense of community; they are meant to be a happy, safe, friendly place to share our new lives with one another.

Onto Day 2,

March 17, 2020
RE: Our Community 2.0

Dear JGS,

Below you will find information from our specials and support teams to help guide us in this journey. Please take the pieces that are important to you.

Community Chatroom
All JGS students and staff have been invited to an old-school style PRIVATE chatroom in Google Hangouts Chat. This is a place for students and teachers to interact outside of the digital classroom to feel connected. Please feel free to use this space to share thoughts, feelings, pictures, and videos. Remember that students of all ages are invited to join, so we expect everyone to remain mindful of their posts. If you are not mindful or kind, you will be removed from the group. We trust everyone within our community and hope that this tool will allow us to bond over the great things we contribute to the JGS world!

The chatroom can be accessed only while logged in with a JGS email account (check email for specifics). When you access the page for the first time, you should see a notification to join the ‘JGS Student Community’ to start chatting!

Google Hangout “Meets”
Many of our teachers are opting to hold ‘live’ virtual classes using a video conferencing tool called Google Hangout Meets. Again, this is contained to only users with a JGS email account. Teachers will send out specific links for different meeting times, but we encourage you to check the platform out ahead of time to get familiar with the tool. It can be accessed directly through links shared by teachers. Try logging in and starting a meeting – work out any bugs with your video or audio before those classes start!

Executive Function Help with Dana
As we navigate our new secluded world, one positive is that we may have found “time” in our lives to work on those skills we’ve hoped to get to but never had the time. A few suggestions:

1. Create a daily structure and routine NOW. Whatever it looks like, write it down and adhere to it. The experts don’t recommend sleeping in, taking naps, lounging all day in PJ’s. Sorry folks, it’s true! Maintaining a productive structure is important for mental health.

2. Think of some tasks that you can teach now to build lasting routines (it only takes a few weeks of doing it daily to make it happen!).

  • Making the bed
  • Daily exercise
  • Doing his/her own laundry
  • Making breakfast/lunch
  • Feeding the dog, cat, fish, etc.
  • Meditation/mindfulness (10 min/day) – see activity ideas (sent via email)
  • Journaling

Whatever your focus is, just remember that consistent routines are key!

Right now, it is important, as a community, that we adhere to the recommendations of people who know more than we do. Social distancing is painful for all of us and even more painful for our kiddos. However, we have to remember that this is necessary and is, hopefully, short-term pain.  Barb has provided the attachments regarding talking to your children.

Lower and Middle School families: You’ll notice that we have included “specials” as part of our recommendations in your students’ daily routines. Especially during times like these, we believe it is important to keep our lives well-rounded. Movement and creativity are critical for social and emotional well-being. Our specials teachers are sending some ideas for the kids to do independently and a few of the teachers are offering some virtual classes.

More virtual hugs,

Dear JGS,

Today our team met (virtually or in very small groupings, per social distancing recommendations) to plan for the upcoming weeks. Classes will begin virtually on Wednesday (3/18/20)! 

Specific details will be shared over the next few days, but I wanted to take a few moments to extend our objectives as a school community. As you can imagine, much of our morning was spent discussing how we can continue to feel connected while we are all physically separated. We have many ideas to make that happen, but I will leave you with just a few so that you have something to look forward to!

  1. Community-wide private chatrooms to share stories, texts, pictures, videos!

  2. Daily video calls with staff members.

  3. Live virtual classes.

  4. Daily and/or weekly Morning Meetings.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to ANY of us for support. We want you and your children to contact us if they have questions or just want to hear our voices. In short, you will feel as connected to us as you would like.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate some major changes. Please understand that many of our teachers are parents, too. We are all working collectively to support each other in discovering our ‘new normal’. What we promise you is that we are doing all that we can to make sure that learning will continue to take place in multiple formats (not all in front of a screen!). 

As for getting everyone the necessary supplies and loaner computers, we plan to distribute TOMORROW in a staggered format. IF we have materials for your student, we will text you individually in the morning with your pick-up time frame (in the afternoon hours).

With Virtual Hugs (& a few tears…),

Dear JGS Families,

If you know me at all, you know that this is painstakingly difficult to write…

It is after considerable thought, too many meetings to count, webinars and readings that I have concluded it is in the best interest of our entire community to close our campus for the next two weeks (with tentative plans to return to campus on Monday, March 30, 2020). Due to the fact that we are coming off of Spring Break where many of our families spent the holiday traveling around the world, the risk is just too great to ignore. Like every other school administrator around the globe, this is a decision that I have struggled with for days. In reality, none of us know exactly what to do/not do, so I have to go with what I truly believe; it is best to be in a proactive and not a reactive position. I am thinking of our families, our teachers (of whom many are at high risk), and, of course, our beautiful students. As a whole, we feel it is our responsibility to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

I am planning to assemble our amazing educators next week to put our plan for distance learning together. I know that several of them had already begun planning over the break. Our goal is to have everything ready to roll out next Wednesday, 3/18/20, which will consist of online classes as well as packets/books which we will make available to you. We will also have a plan for continuing Wilson instruction via Skype/Facetime. While none of this is ideal, we will do our best to make learning accessible from home.

I promise to be in constant contact as the situation evolves. As always, I appreciate your ongoing support as we navigate this unprecedented time in our lives.

Sending Virtual Hugs,
Dana Herzberg
Head of School

Dear JGS Community,

We will be closing school on Monday, 3/16/20, following Spring Break, in order for the staff to create short & long-term online class formats & get our cleaning practices down! Additionally, please be on the lookout for emails from Jeanine (Health Services) and/or Kris (Athletic Director) regarding sports this semester.

Dana Herzberg
Head of School

March 11, 2020

Dear JGS Community,

Following the recommendations from the Maricopa County Public Health Office and the Arizona Department of Education, we have created the following guidelines to be proactive within our community. Please note, these guidelines are subject to change as new information emerges.

If your child has any signs of illness, including coughing, stuffy head, fever, do not send them to school!  Do not assume allergies! It is required to wait 72 hours to return after a fever. A fever is not indicative of allergies.

Anyone who goes to the health office with symptoms of a cold will be sent home & be required to stay home for 72 hours.

To summarize, if your child feels ill, please KEEP THEM HOME!

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, he/she cannot return to school for a minimum of 7 days.

The Department of Health “strongly recommends getting a flu shot” (If your child hasn’t already gotten one) due to the fact that we are also in the height of flu season.

We will enact stricter, ongoing cleaning/sanitizing practices throughout the day with recommended cleaning/sanitizing supplies.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands
Wash your hands
Don’t touch your face
Cover your mouth with your arm when you sneeze or cough

If you have been on a plane or in a hotel, please stay home for 72 hours prior to returning to the campus. If you do not have symptoms after 72 hours, you may return to work/school. If you have symptoms, you may not. Remember, on this campus, we have groups considered susceptible/high-risk – pregnancy, chronic illnesses, age.

We are waiving our attendance policy for the remainder of the school year. However, in order for high school students to receive credits for 2nd-semester classes, students MUST submit work and/or participate in classes offered via Skype/Facetime, Zoom, etc.

We have received notice that our remaining field trips have been canceled. We have been in close contact with EF Tours regarding our European travels in June. As of today, no firm decisions have been made. We will keep you updated.

In an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we are no longer accepting food delivery outside of our school lunch service. Please know that that includes DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, etc. On a typical day, we often have 10-25 lunch deliveries a day. Please plan your children’s lunch accordingly.

We have been in daily contact with CAA regarding both tennis and track & field. As of today, nothing has been changed.

Please be sure that you are prepared as a family should school be interrupted. The Maricopa County Public Health Office is not currently foreseeing school closures but in the event of excessive faculty absenteeism, we may have to suspend classes.

Please contact me with any questions.

Thank you for your support,
Dana Herzberg
Head of School