The 2019-20 school year was filled with unexpected twists and turns, but resulted in tremendous growth and innovation.
Graded inaugurated three additional learning spaces – the Upper School Library, Lower School Innovation Studio, and Lower School Innovation Hub. Authors Alan Gratz and Peter H. Reynolds visited campus to work with students on creative writing, storytelling, and ideation. The Middle School held its first Discovery Week, during which students explored diverse interests. High School students organized a schoolwide trivia night to raise funds for the Graded Scholar Program. Graded parents made new friendships during Dinner with Strangers, a community-building event that brought them together for good food and conversation.
In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Graded closed its campus doors for the first time in its history and transitioned to distance learning. School events, including sports tournaments, educational conferences, and graduation ceremonies, were postponed or wholly reimagined.
Despite the challenges of distance learning, Graded community members demonstrated true optimism, resilience, and creativity. Taking advantage of available technology, students showcased their work through virtual art exhibitions, poetry festivals, and music performances. Faculty members and parents participated in the first-ever virtual parent-teacher conferences and divisional convocations. Online community-building events, including baking, yoga, and craft sessions, brought Graded families together. Graded Libraries organized a curbside checkout for students and families, providing them with abundant reading options throughout distance learning. During the June/July vacation, school educators offered more than 160 different classes via Graded+, an online vacation enrichment program.
Members of the Graded community also joined forces to help those severely impacted by the pandemic. Through the PTA’s COVID-19 fundraising campaign, Graded families provided more than 4,500 food baskets to nearby low-income neighborhoods. Students organized their own social impact projects, supplying food baskets, hygiene products, and hot meals to those facing serious economic challenges. Graded’s Learning Lab launched the Graded Beyond Boundaries Initiative, aimed at supporting local public school educators with distance learning strategies and training in educational technology. The partnership, established at the beginning of state-mandated quarantine, continues.
Graded, in its 99th year, demonstrated true resilience, and as a unified community, continued to accomplish great things!