Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Dear ICS Families,
As you know, schools in PA are closed until April 6th. Current projections lead us to believe that this date will be extended until after Easter. Of course, only God knows His plan and we are taking one day at a time, and will respond according to information we are given from the government and health officials and ultimately to how we believe God is leading.
Over the past 10 days many of us here at ICS have found ourselves saying things like, "this is so surreal" as we are adjusting to a "new normal" of working from home, having meetings over Google Meet and Zoom, and sometimes wondering when the "old normal" is going to return. For me, the third day at home last week I was cooking lunch and I pulled a pan of baked fish out of the oven. I must not have held the pan steady and the hot butter in the pan ran out of the corner and onto my wrist. My oldest son, Abe, was there and was able to take the pan from me, but not before damage was done. There is now a large burn on my wrist. It is healing and I think the scar may stay with me the rest of my life. Today I thought about how someday if I'm blessed to be 80 yrs old with grandchildren, perhaps one will ask me where that scar came from and I'll look back and remember this "surreal" time. By that time, surely I'll also be able to articulate that the "old normal" didn't actually return, but instead God did something new and good and wonderful, even though there was pain and discomfort along the way.
"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. " - Philippians 1:6
God is doing something right now in the world, in the U.S.A., in Hazleton, in ICS. He is going to finish the good work He is doing. We can be confident of that and we can be confident that it is good.
Classroom to Cloud Update As we have transitioned from classroom to cloud, there have been pleasant surprises along the way and also significant challenges. From the beginning we were fairly confident this would not be a 2-week closure so we chose to be methodical in our approach and start with one class, feeling it was best to lay a solid foundation so that we could work toward a solid program for a longer period of time. Our faculty and staff have done an amazing job, making great sacrifices to make learning possible. We are greatly encouraged by the progress being made.
While this shift from learning in a classroom to learning remotely is an adjustment for us all, we are committed to furthering education. At our teacher in-service on Monday and as we have continued to meet and pray, we are in agreement that it is not the curriculum, instruction, or assessment that has been the most difficult for teachers to adapt to, but rather the loss of the relational connections within the educational environment. Yet, by God's bountiful grace He is showing us ways to incorporate relational connection with each other and with your students during this time. ICS leadership is currently having conversations to address and evaluate alternate methods of assessment and grading, increasing our coursework to an appropriate workload for a remote learning environment and being sensitive to the variables that families face in their unique home situations. Our goal is not grades, it is continuity in learning. While there will continue to be questions as we all navigate through this transition, we are also aware of the gift that we have as a non-public, small and family-friendly school to continue education when others in the community are not as fortunate. We pray that God will be honored as we serve you in the education of your children during this unusual season. Feed The Need Update We are so glad to see that some families have been able to continue fundraising during this challenging transition. What a gift you are to ICS! Almost $18,000 has been raised! We want to let you know that we have intentionally stopped our communication about this fundraiser during this time in order to give all of our attention to making the educational transition as smooth as possible. We are grateful for everyone who is able to contribute to the fundraising effort but we don't want to add extra pressure during an already challenging time. We will re-launch the fundraiser after we are all a bit more settled. We are trusting that this too is part of God's plan and that He will "complete the good work He has started" and bring our efforts to a place of fruitfulness. In closing, we recognize that the decisions made to manage the spread of COVID-19 are far-reaching into all of our lives well beyond just education. It can be easy for our focus to be so consumed with the logistical matters that we fail to account for the emotional, relational, and spiritual aspects for ourselves and our children. Be mindful that as adults we are modeling for our children how to respond in such circumstances. This is a stressful time for all and being present, calm, and hopeful in Jesus' sufficient help will model peace to our children in these troubled times.
Thank you for your continued support, trust, and grace as we work through this process in partnership with you.
God bless you, Susan J. Selby