We are devoted to our students' health and well-being. Our commitment includes a renewed effort to maintaining schoolwide access to learning support and additional supports in our students' social-emotional well-being during the time of COVID-19.
This unprecedented pandemic has complicated an already crucial time in every student’s development, when children are just beginning to parse out their varied learning styles, and specialists are working to find the best ways to support those varied learning styles. At St. Luke’s, we are facing these new challenges and tackling them with grace, and prioritizing reaching all students equitably, whether remote or on-site.
We have frequent grade level meetings, during which we discuss what teachers are seeing and experiencing with the students grade-wide. In these meetings, we look at how we need to reassess or alter our curricular content, assessment methods, and homework assignments during the time of COVID-19 in order to meet students where they are both emotionally and developmentally.
For students with learning differences, if a student is learning remotely, we ensure that they receive any accommodations that they require, such as extra time on tests, use of a calculator, or modified assignments, based on students’ profiles. We offer one-to-one or small group support in both the Lower and Upper School to students who benefit from extra review or instruction with a smaller student-to-teacher ratio. These meetings occur both on-site and remotely.
In our meetings with students, we help them balance the demands of several projects at once by breaking down and scheduling tasks for asynchronous projects. We work on setting goals, determining if switching strategies might aid their progress, and whether a satisfactory endpoint has been reached. No matter their learning style and their status as on-site or remote, our students receive personalized and nuanced support to help them succeed during an unparalleled and challenging time.
We recognize that COVID-19 is causing unprecedented challenges to students and their families. While the structure of St. Luke’s School has changed to address the physical safety of our students and staff, we are equally committed to addressing the social and emotional needs of our students and their families.
In addition to his ongoing contact with the grades that he is embedded with, our psychologist, Dr. Marcus, visits other homerooms via Zoom to discuss topical issues and naturalize the role of mental health in school. He is also available to meet with individual students from any grade upon request. Students engaged in remote learning can meet with him via Zoom and students who are learning in person can meet with him outside. They are able to either email him directly or let a teacher or a parent know that they would like to meet with him. He also works in partnership with the PA to create programming that is specific to the needs of the parent community. Dr. Marcus is available to meet with parents via Zoom. If you are a parent and would like to speak with him, we encourage you to reach out to him via email or call him at 212.924.5960 (x204).
We also recognize that there can be moments, especially at times such as these, that a student or family member may need immediate support. NYC Well offers 24/7 free and confidential support and crisis intervention via phone, text or chat for a variety of concerns. If anyone is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, we encourage them to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which offers 24/7 free crisis support and intervention for people in distress and their loved ones.
Dr. Marcus and Ms. Maher are part of a multi-faceted student support team, which includes learning specialists, deans, and division heads. They meet on a weekly basis to discuss the social, emotional, and learning needs of students, and how best to support them in partnership with their teachers and families.