We know we can do hard things, since we are already doing them!
No one saw 2020 coming, but in a tumultuous and uncertain year, Arbor Bay has been a rock for students and families where everything else has been turned upside-down. The staff at Arbor Bay hit the ground running when schools shifted to distance learning in March due to COVID-19. We fully transitioned to online learning within 3 days, and even ran a 4-week summer program for our kids. This fall, most of the students have been back in the building, and we are doing two simultaneous programs, online and onsite. Our focus on Educate, Enrich and Engage continues, whether we are in the same building or spread across 3 counties! We have learned lessons along the way and have met each challenge as an opportunity for growth. We are so proud of what we have accomplished with the resources we have available to us, but this year's Giving Tuesday is more important to Arbor Bay than it has have ever been before.
Lesson #1 EDUCATE: Our teachers deserve all the credit (and more) for making things work so well. Our staff pivoted quickly to recognize the individual needs of our students learning online and to construct a program that met these requirements as well as our specifications for program excellence. Our students have done great and are learning problem solving and resiliency skills that will serve them well in non-pandemic times. Day in and day out, the staff challenge our students and motivate them to be competent learners.
Lesson #2 ENRICH: We know our students progress when the education experience focuses on communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. The wrap-around services of education, therapy and enrichment programs enhance the challenge-based learning opportunities. Videos from our own Yoga, Music and PE Enrichment Specialists provide support for authentic learning, which also includes our Digital Literacy and Social-Emotional Learning programs. We are using multiple technology platforms to teach our students online, as well as onsite.
Lesson #3 ENGAGE: Although apart, we are continuing our rich school traditions that create a strong sense of community. The activities may now look different, but the goal remains the same: to build a positive and nurturing environment to shape the confidence of our students and their families. Our "Special Friends Day" included visitors from British Columbia, New Jersey, Minnesota, Boston, Illinois and all parts of California, and we met online to share Thanksgiving special activities. We also continue our typical service projects that allow our students to contribute in the community in meaningful ways.
We are extremely proud of our hard work and the benefits our students experience each day. While we have taken immediate cost-cutting measures, our expenses continue to escalate despite our best efforts. The significant financial impact due to COVID-19 has resulted in the following: increased costs for PPE and janitorial services, Chromebook distribution for distance online learning, a drop in current private student enrollment, and a surge in requests for scholarship support. In addition, we were unable to hold our Annual Spring 2020 School Fundraiser and our fundraising efforts for last year only raised 38% of what was budgeted for scholarships and general operating expenses. We are uncertain if we will be able to have our annual event this school year, as well. 2020 has been a beast, and we need your help to turn the corner in 2021.
Whether our students are onsite or online we know that "it's the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom" (Michael Morpurgo). We know we can do hard things, since we are already doing them. However, we do need your help and ask that you make a donation for Giving Tuesday in continued support of Arbor Bay School's educational program. This year, more than any year in our history, your support is crucial to ensuring Arbor Bay continues enriching the lives of our students.
Thank you for your partnership,
Dane Barca, Chair, Board of Directors
Susan Rose, Director, Arbor Bay School