Turning Point School

COVID-19 Updates

This page is meant to provide timely updates specific to the school’s response and planning efforts related to COVID-19. Please refer, as we do, to the experts regarding questions about the etiology and presentation of COVID-19 as it affects public health. This is a quickly evolving situation; while new information will be sent via email to parents, faculty/staff, and others directly impacted, please check this page regularly to be sure you have not missed any updates.

CURRENT STATUS: CAMPUS CLOSED

Campus is closed, but school is open! Although our school buildings are temporarily closed, Turning Point is still in operation. All teachers are working hard to ensure that student learning continues online.

Parents can access the Remote Learning Hub here.

Turning Point Updates

May 18 Update

Dear Turning Point Community,

I hope this email finds you and your family safe and well. Please note that this update contains important updates regarding both short-term and long-term planning.

As I mentioned in my last update to families, Turning Point is actively scenario-planning for the future, both short-term and long-term. As we have all experienced, external conditions can change unexpectedly, so we must build in plenty of room for agility and flexibility. While there may not be clear “correct” answers, we are pursuing contingency plans with a measured, empirical approach based on “plausible” scenarios. This will allow us to respond nimbly to whatever is in store.

Despite these challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver exceptional education and advance every child's positive equation for achievement--academically, socially, physically, ethically, and emotionally. We will keep you well-informed along the way and, to the best of our ability, answer your questions as they arise.

Year-End Celebrations and Transitions

As we navigate through May, we come upon the usual transitions: to a new grade level, into the less-structured summer, and, perhaps, graduating and heading to high school. Transitions are always fraught with anxiety and leavened with excitement, as we leave behind the known to embark upon our next adventure.

This year, of course, there are more unknowns, and our tolerance for the ever-quickening change of pace likely feels frayed as we face uncertainty and changing circumstances each day. As humans, we are wired to create a narrative to make sense of our lives, and we can tolerate a transition so long as we feel we are "getting somewhere." In the absence of a clear pattern to slot our experiences into, we can feel distressed.

I am grateful to be able to offer the regular rhythms and traditions of school—albeit in adapted forms this spring—to soothe our need for the familiar. We are enjoying the meaningful and memorable culminating events and moving-up activities that mark the rites of passage we cherish—these shared special moments that rise above the every-day, help us to see the world through new eyes, and capture us at our best.

Even though we cannot assemble as usual, we still want to honor the impressive work of our students and faculty and celebrate their many accomplishments. To this end, we have been reimagining in-person events and year-end activities to meaningfully embody the unique spirit of our students and school. Please be on the lookout for communications specific to your child’s grade level and/or Division containing more details.

These events are not what we imagined they would be, and while we are making tentative plans to eventually come together to celebrate some milestone events such as graduation in person, I hope these online events can provide the closure and ceremony we are all craving right now. We are not postponing joy.

Future Planning

I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to provide on-campus learning in the fall, with virtual options built-in where needed, that will fully comply meet and exceed health and safety guidelines from local, regional, and national public health authorities. I am hopeful that over the next several weeks and months, we will continue to see a flattening of the curve and a return to a semblance of normalcy, including the opening of schools with precise adherence to social distancing guidelines.

That said, because things are in flux, we must be flexible and innovative in everything we do. Public health guidelines and protocols are still emerging, and we are applying these to our scenario planning in real-time. Luckily, we have enough information to plan for a few different scenarios, and I feel cautiously optimistic about Turning Point's position overall.

As part of this planning, we have already started taking steps to prepare our campus to meet and exceed the highest health and safety protocols. Items we are paying particular attention to include:

  • health screenings
  • social distancing protocols
  • the possibility of cohort classes
  • controlling hallway traffic through directional signage
  • regular and frequent cleaning of surfaces
  • regular and frequent handwashing protocol for students and faculty
  • creative utilization of space
  • staggered drop-offs and pick-ups
  • enhancements to our already excellent ventilation systems and air quality

While I cannot yet definitively tell you what our health and safety protocols will look like, I can say that unlike many of our peer schools in urban spaces, we are lucky to have a large campus that allows us to make accommodations to our existing space, with minimal disruption to student learning.

Of course, we are also planning for hybrid or blended learning—that is, combining face-to-face learning with online learning—to meet the needs of students who may be unable to be on campus, due to illness or required quarantine, for example. And if we are required to shelter at home again for an extended time, we are committed to delivering an excellent remote learning platform. Given that all the scenarios we are preparing for will include some form of remote learning, I can assure you that we will spend much of our summer building on our current program.

Primary Division-Specific Planning

We are very aware that our youngest students and their parents have unique needs for education and childcare. Therefore, while all the protocols for on-campus learning mentioned above apply to our preschool students as well as K-8 students, we are engaging in Primary Division-specific planning to meet the distinctive needs of this population.

We know that in-person learning is key, particularly for our youngest learners (and their caregivers), and we are planning accordingly so we can be flexible to meet our families’ needs. While we have not finalized our plans, we are keeping top of mind that for many Primary families, socialization and childcare are two of the most valuable elements of a preschool program (after, of course, health and safety).

We are prioritizing this area of our planning in terms of our timeline and promise to provide Primary families with specifics as soon as possible.

Summer Options

Many of you have asked about options for summer programs. I am pleased to announce that we will be offering opportunities for virtual summer camps to students during July, at a minimal cost to families. While we are still in the planning stages, we are moving full steam ahead and look forward to sharing details with you in the coming weeks as we confirm what the program will entail.

Parent Speaker Series: Navigating Loss and Grief During COVID-19

You probably have been riding a rollercoaster of feelings, some of which can hide behind others, and so you may not have pinpointed “grief.” As I have discussed in an earlier blog, permitting yourself to feel and being able to name your feelings are crucial steps toward managing emotions. As Dr. David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief points out, “When you name it, you feel it, and it moves through you. Emotions need motion."

Dr. Kessler describes a particularly potent form of grief as “anticipatory grief,” whose anxiety makes us uncomfortable. We know the world is changing, and we don't see the outcome. Dr. Kessler encourages us to find balance in our thoughts: if you find yourself thinking about the worst images, balance it by imagining the best scenario.

Because anticipatory grief happens when we project into the future with worst-case outcomes, we can help ourselves by:

  • Coming into the present. Dr. Kessler advises us to simply name five things in the room and breathe slowly.
  • Thinking about what you can control and letting go of what you cannot control. Regardless of what others are doing, you can wash your hands, wear a mask, and be physically distant from others.
  • Being patient and compassionate with others and, perhaps most importantly, with yourself.

Whether or not the health aspects COVID-19 has impacted your family, I hope you will join me for our upcoming parent education presentation this Wednesday, May 20, at 10 am. Grief expert Lauren Schneider, LCSW, from Our House Grief Center, will present on Navigating Loss and Grief During COVID-19.

Lauren will help us address the grief that our children and we might be experiencing over various losses due to social isolation and uncertainty. Additionally, she will offer guidance on how to answer questions about death that children may have related to the pandemic, whether it is specific to someone they know or a general reaction to news they are hearing. Finally, Lauren will touch on some general advice on how to speak with children when a loved one dies, which is information we all can put to good use at some point.

Emergency Tuition Relief Application

As a follow-up to the email sent to families from our CFO, Julia Yzaguirre, this past weekend, if you are experiencing a negative economic impact related to COVID-19, we welcome you to complete this application for emergency tuition relief and/or payment plan adjustments. While we do not have a deadline for submission of this application, we do ask that if you think it applies to your family, you submit it as soon as you have the information needed to complete the application. If you have questions, please reach out to Julia Yzaguirre directly and she will be happy to provide guidance.

In Conclusion

I hope this update has provided you with insight into the careful planning that is underway and some resources to help you parent confidently and navigate your feelings—the uncomfortable ones as well as the welcome ones.

Please stay tuned for an invitation to attend an all-school Town Hall meeting for parents and guardians, where I will be joined by administrators and Board members to discuss planning in more detail and answer your questions.

I am confident that we will have an exceptional program to offer, with health and safety serving as our anchor, to allow our children to come back and engage in learning together, which is how children are meant to learn and how they thrive.

Please do reach out if you have any questions. I hope you have a peaceful and productive week ahead.

Warmly,

Laura

Dr. Laura Konigsberg | Head of School

May 11 Update

Dear Turning Point Community,

As we begin a new week of remote learning, I am buoyed by the numerous ways we have seen and celebrated the strength and generosity of our community.

I hope you were able to join us for last week's Virtual All-School Assembly, a wonderful celebration of the countless ways our students, teachers, and families have been persevering through these strange and challenging times. I am so proud to see how our students and teachers have continued to learn and connect in meaningful ways. And if you have yet to see the video showing how much we miss you, it's a must-see!

Parents, you made our teachers and staff feel extra-special during Teacher Appreciation Week. From the heartwarming videos featuring our students sending thank-yous and warm wishes to the lovely surprise home-delivery of treats to every faculty and staff member from grandparents, Joann Roth-Oseary and Yossi Oseary, our hearts (and stomachs!) are full.

[Insert Julie Graphic]

My updates for today are extensive, with vital information that will inform families' long-term planning, so please read it carefully.

GIVING TUESDAY WRAP-UP

When so much is uncertain, it was heartwarming to see so many in our community willing to give generously to our Giving Tuesday Now campaign to provide tuition assistance to families in need.

Our goal was to raise $50,000 in honor of our 50th Anniversary… and we surpassed it! Thank you! A heartfelt thank-you to all of our donors for their generosity, kindness, leadership, and compassion.

If you didn’t have a chance to contribute on Tuesday, you can still make a gift to support this critical cause. Visit the campaign HERE to make your gift and help us ensure that all Turning Point students have access to quality education despite unexpected financial stressors.

WITHDRAWAL DEADLINE EXTENDED

As we make plans for our return to school in the fall (see "Future Planning" below), we know that for many families, personal finances and planning may be in flux. As a result, we will not enforce the deadline of May 31 for withdrawal (as indicated in the 2020/21 enrollment contracts). We understand that families need time to understand and discuss your unique situations and that you would also like more time to understand better how Turning Point is planning for the coming year.

In addition, we will be waiving the $700 administrative fee for the 10-payment plan – so if you are currently not on the 10-pay plan but would like to make a change, you can do so without accruing the administrative fee.

EMERGENCY TUITION RELIEF PROGRAM

We understand that COVID-19 may impact our families in many ways and to varying degrees. To further assist those who are experiencing financial difficulties, we have created an Emergency Tuition Relief and Payment Plan Adjustment Program. Additional details and a link to the application will be sent from our Business Office soon.

FUTURE PLANNING

As we move slowly but surely towards the "new normal," we must ask ourselves: how will we continue to do things better? This question will be our mantra because only through innovation will we be able to fluidly adapt to external conditions beyond our control while continuing to engage students in enhanced, meaningful learning and the deep satisfaction which accompanies authentic growth and achievement. There will be no place for the status quo. It is that simple a calculus.

We all must begin planning for a future that will require us to be adaptable and innovative in the face of unpredictability and change. Turning Point's thorough preparation and planning in light of various possible scenarios will ensure that our school can weather these changes as fluidly and resiliently as possible.

Turning Point is blessed with a strategic-thinking, thoughtful, action-oriented leadership team, including our Board of Trustees, working diligently to scenario-plan for the myriad contingencies we may face in the 2020/21 school year. We have established a working group model to address the many facets of reopening, with agile, cross-functional strategic teams charged with forecasting, designing, monitoring, and executing within their department/function. These groups include:

  • Health and Safety
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Primary/Preschool Planning
  • Finance
  • Building and Grounds
  • External Communications
  • Giving and External Relations
  • Admissions and Retention
  • Employee Relations
  • Technology
  • Student Life

In tackling this preparation, we are making the following key assumptions:

  • There will be no vaccine in the fall.
  • We must accept that prior practices and rationales may no longer be applicable at best—and illogical and damaging at worst.
  • It is likely that the school will need to adapt to various scenarios throughout the coming school year in response to ebbing and flowing of illness outbreaks, both in our school community as well as among the broader societal community.
  • Social distancing in some form will be required.
  • Educational technology in varying forms will be required.
  • Additional resources (health/safety/cleaning) will be required.
  • All scenario-planning will need to adhere to guidance from federal, state, and local guidelines; we will meet—and likely exceed—all guidelines required of us as an educational institution.
  • Childcare for working parents is a critical consideration for families.
  • Equity and access matter in all stages or phases of school operation, with or without COVID-19.
  • Innovative program models that enable increased flexibility of student entry points—considering that some students may need ongoing remote learning support regardless—will be advantageous given substantial uncertainty about how the pandemic will unfold.
  • No matter the model of learning, we must continue to cultivate each child's positive equation for achievement, encourage the pursuit of individual passions, promote life balance, build confidence, encourage play as a foundation of learning, and provide multi-sensory learning experiences.

I have deployed these teams to begin very their specific work, and we already see some very promising and positive pathways emerging. In a future communication, I will share more with you regarding the key considerations and questions that are driving our scenario mapping, as well as the likely scenarios I think we will face as a school community in the months to come.

The work ahead will require us as an administrative team to be responsible, thoughtful, comprehensive, and painstakingly thorough. Our re-entry plan must allow for flexibility, transparency, and prioritize the health and safety of our community – and we will do it as well and likely better than any of our peer schools in the public or private sectors. We are up for the task. It will also require all of us as a community to exercise patience and trust, and I ask you to please be up to that task as well.

I am aware that some schools are already announcing specific plans for reopening campus. While there are different ways to go about this work, at Turning Point we are starting by identifying what students and families need in the context of these very challenging and changing parameters. Only by putting our students first can we then create and institute scenario-planning that responds to our families and adapts to the ever-evolving circumstances.

That said, I can promise that urgency is also a driver of this critical work, and we are committed to delivering a re-entry strategy that honors your investment in this community and is worthy of our shared values. We are partners in this enterprise, now more than ever. I ask that you continue to communicate with us. We welcome your questions and concerns, your hopes and expectations.

I have managed to remain grounded by focusing on what it means to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life, engaging with others, and looking beyond myself to find satisfaction and wisdom; in other words, by practicing positivity. There is much to recommend this approach, which of course does not mean we never feel negative emotions or ignore our stress. Instead, it allows us to remain present and connected to ourselves—so that the negative emotions and stress occur less frequently, and we are able to rebound more readily. We do this for ourselves and, most importantly, for those in our care who are never not learning.

School serves a key, fundamental purpose in society, and on behalf of our entire faculty and staff, I can tell you that we feel privileged to do this work. Education truly is an essential function, and I embrace the opportunity to hone our practices to best serve the future leaders and innovators of the world—your children.

Warmly,

Laura

Dr. Laura Konigsberg | Head of School

May 1 Update

Dear Turning Point Community,

As I am sure you are aware, Governor Newsom expressed his interest in reopening schools—in particular, public schools—as early as possible, perhaps even this summer. While this is undoubtedly positive news as we plan for the 2020-21 school year, it also brings into focus some disappointing decisions we must make regarding the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Remote Learning Extended Through End of School Year

Learning at Turning Point School will take place remotely through the remainder of the school year. We will follow the existing school calendar, which designates Wednesday, June 3, as the last day of learning for students.

While we hoped to return to campus this school year, everything we have heard from our government and health officials indicates that schools across the country will, by and large, be unable to resume on-campus learning for the remainder of this academic year. This certainly will hold true in Los Angeles, where many of our peer schools have already made the call. So while I know this is no surprise to any of us, it is not the announcement I was hoping to make.

As parents, I know you now have the difficult job of delivering this news to your children. This will certainly feel like a loss for them, and children will process the news in different ways – from anger to sadness, to frustration, to apathy.

I am buoyed by the wise guidance we received Wednesday evening from Dr. Rob Evans and Dr. Michael Thompson, who reassured parents of children’s resilience, especially when parents are honest and allow space for their children’s feelings. I encourage you to find the balance between not sugar-coating the situation and catastrophizing it.

Year-End Celebrations and Summer Plans

I’m sure I’m not alone in my disappointment that this extension of remote learning means we will not have the opportunity to come together in person to celebrate the end of the year. Please know that while the situation has changed, our plans to celebrate and recognize each other in special ways have not. If anything, we are working even harder to plan thoughtful ways to honor all our students (particularly our graduates), our Parent Association, and our teachers and staff.

We hope we may be able to hold some version of on-campus events such as graduation once restrictions are loosened later this summer. In the meantime, we will find other creative and meaningful ways to mark these momentous occasions.

Clearly, our plans for Summer Camps are also in flux. What we do know is that Start-of-Summer Camp is canceled, and our Primary Duck Camps will need to be reassessed. Galileo Camps have announced that they have canceled all in-person camps this summer as well. We hope we might be able to run Back-to-School Camp with adjustments, and we will know more over the coming several weeks and months. Please know that if you registered for any of our internal camps, you will not be billed for those camps.

In the event we are not able to offer in-person camps for a block of time this summer, we are exploring ways to provide students with no-cost opportunities for virtual summer camp activities. We certainly want to stay connected with students during the summer months, and also offer options for socialization, engagement, and continued skill development.

Plans for Reopening Campus

While our teachers and program team continue to focus on ensuring the best delivery of remote learning, others of us on the administrative team have been actively reviewing national and local guidelines for the reopening of schools.

While we do not anticipate starting school earlier than the previously-announced September 1 date, we are already preparing for the likely health and safety measures that we will need to implement to ensure we are meeting and exceeding standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 upon our return to campus.

These will certainly include increased cleaning/disinfecting protocol, additional hand-cleaning and sanitation stations, and safety protocol for welcoming visitors on campus. It will likely also include the incorporation of some form of social distancing guidelines, the creation of policies for mask-wearing and other methods to prevent community transmission, and planning for potential adjustments to our regular schedule.

As I read through these national and local requirements and carefully follow how international schools are reopening, I feel increasingly confident that Turning Point School is well-poised to adjust to these challenges and continue to deliver quality education with as little disruption as necessary. We are planning for a variety of scenarios, all of which prioritize student/community health and wellness while focusing on the quality and substance of the educational experience.

I am thankful for our tight-knit community and abundant space on campus (in comparison with many other urban schools). From my communications with other heads across the country, I can tell you that many other schools are not as fortunate. For this, I feel optimistic and grateful.

Thank you all for your continued trust and patience as we carefully navigate this unprecedented situation. I will continue to update our community regularly as this dynamic situation continues to unfold, and we make decisions accordingly. Your kind words and support are the fuel that inspires me daily as I continue this vital work on behalf of the wonderful students we are so fortunate to serve.

Warmly,

Laura

Dr. Laura Konigsberg | Head of School


April 23 Update

Dear Turning Point Community,

We hope you and your family are staying safe and well during this challenging time. It seems unreal that we are concluding our fourth week of remote learning today; when we parted ways temporarily on March 13, certainly none of us could have predicted the scope of what was to come. As I mentioned in an earlier communication, in those first days we were learning to build the plane, while we were building the plane, while we were flying the plane.

There is still much that is unknown. However, I am proud to watch our plane flying more steadily each day. Certainly, there is turbulence, and course corrections will continue to carve our path forward. But I am overwhelmingly grateful for and inspired by the problem-solving, innovation, and care of our teachers and staff, and the resilience and trust of our students and families.

Experiencing the repercussions of a global pandemic is overwhelming and stressful for all of humanity right now, but being part of this community in difficult times has filled me with enduring gratitude for Turning Point School. I hope you as families have also felt well-supported and connected, to us and to each other, during these trying times.

The purpose of this update is threefold:

1. Provide you with some definitive information and answers to questions I know have been on many of your minds.

2. Let you know what we actively working to solve, and when you can expect more concrete answers.

3. Give you insight into some longer-term scenario planning that is taking place among the administrative team.


REMAINDER OF THE SCHOOL YEAR

How long will it be before we can return to school in person?

I know we all crave definitive answers and information during such an unpredictable time. As of now, California’s Stay-at-Home order runs through May 15. Certainly, this is subject to change and I think we all realize that even when restrictions are lifted, schools will likely need to follow some social distancing protocols.

So, while a final decision has yet to be made, we need to prepare for the likelihood that we will be online for the remainder of the academic year. I will give you more concrete information no later than Monday, May 4, but it would be wise to plan for an extension of remote learning beyond May 15.

This likelihood leads inevitably to questions about our usual end-of-year events, especially graduation. Please know that we are working hard behind the scenes to plan for every contingency, with the ultimate goal of honoring and celebrating our students in ways both big and small.

REMOTE LEARNING

Resiliency, innovation, and creativity is in our DNA at Turning Point, and these very elements have fueled our transition to remote learning from day one.

While never intended to fully replace the experience of in-person instruction, our rollout of remote learning has evolved beyond simply a “band-aid” solution into a robust model of alternative instruction that we continue to reassess and refine in accordance with the needs of our students.

I have spent time dropping in on classes and reviewing curriculum and projects, and I am consistently amazed and inspired by how our teachers and students have managed to maintain their high-touch engagements which fuel the learning that is still very much taking place despite the distance.

I have also been pleased to see that our free After School Clubs program is providing additional space for connectivity and community (and laughs). It's heartening to see students taking part in these organic opportunities for social connection.

I can assure you that our teachers and entire administrative staff are working harder than ever to not just replicate in-school “bricks and mortar” education through technology, but to truly transform and elevate the learning experience for students.

As we move forward with remote learning in the coming weeks, we will continue to seek and implement additional tools and strategies to be sure every learner is fully engaged and connected. We will continue to rely on our students and parents to let us know what is working well and where children might be struggling. I am grateful that the manageable size of our community allows for such caring, individualized connections.

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

You might be wondering what, if anything, is happening on campus during the Stay-At-Home order.

Because we are considered an essential business, Turning Point School is permitted by the state to remain open, maintaining very limited operations. We have implemented and are following the regulations outlined under the County of Los Angeles Public Health Social Distancing Protocol, including mandatory screening of all visitors to campus (essential workers, delivery drivers, etc.).

Our Facilities crew continues to work each day on campus, ensuring that all areas remain clean and disinfected, with deep cleaning of high-traffic areas. They are also enhancing our facility to support robust health practices when we are able to return in a fuller capacity, including hand sanitizer dispensers in common locations, such as carpool pickup/drop-off and playground areas. We are grateful to those whose continued work on campus ensures the greater good of our community.

I am also grateful to Coach Snyder who, in addition to rolling out live PE classes and staying on top of current health directives and protocols as Safety Director, has been looking after our garden and ensuring that our plants and flowers are well-tended despite our distance. It is heartening to know that the garden is blooming and growing as it patiently awaits our return.

HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOL

Because our community is smaller in size than many of our peer schools, we are very well-positioned to predict, plan for, and address issues of health and safety that we will need to face once we are able to come back together as a community in person.

Turning Point has an active and robust partnership with Joffe Emergency Services, an industry leader in independent school safety consultation. Joffe has been instrumental in helping us strategize a safe reopening of campus once we are able to do so.

While we still don’t know exactly what protocols and procedures we will adopt, I can assure you that we are planning for all contingencies and scenarios, and I will fully share with you details of those plans in advance of any return to campus. What I can confidently say now is that we are committed to not only meeting but exceeding any requirements we must fulfill to ensure a healthy, safe environment for faculty, staff, students, and families.

TUITION AND FEES

Bottom Line: Our goal for the 2020-2021 school year is to ensure there is no financial barrier to education for any current Turning Point family.

Like all other independent schools, Turning Point School relies on tuition payments to operate. We have committed to uninterrupted pay to all our faculty and staff, and the school's expenses do not cease because of these new pandemic protocols. The school's ability to retain and compensate teachers and support staff is vital to our ability to effectively carry out our school's mission and to be ready for successfully resuming normal operations once it is safe to do so. Because teaching and learning is ongoing, albeit in a format none of us could have ever imagined, Turning Point family tuition obligations will continue as contractually stipulated.

After School Introductions: When we transitioned to remote learning, we were approaching Week 3 of our 8-week After-School Introductions schedule. For those of you whose children were enrolled in Introductions classes, you will only be billed for the number of classes your child was able to attend. You will see these charges on your April invoice, which will be available through FACTS next week.

After-School Mastery Classes: Similarly, if your child was enrolled in Mastery classes, you will only be billed for the classes your child took prior to the transition to remote learning, unless you have continued to engage in these lessons remotely.

TUITION ASSISTANCE

There has never been a more important time for families to feel connected to one another and to their school community.

We are dedicated to sustaining enrollment for families who experience sudden economic hardship. Our Board, administrative leadership, and current families have coordinated efforts to bolster tuition assistance funds while our business office counsels families individually in the event that their circumstances are impacted.

By following our thorough financial aid process, which will be modified with specific questions and documentation related to the current economic climate, we will provide the individualization necessary to review each family’s needs and provide the financial support necessary to retain them.

Families who are experiencing an extreme hardship due to the economic impact of the pandemic are encouraged to contact our Chief Financial Officer, Julia Yzaguirre, to discuss tuition assistance or for assistance in restructuring your current payment plan.

HOW YOU CAN HELP OUR FAMILIES

If you are in a position to offer assistance to help keep our community whole for the coming year, we need your partnership now more than ever.

As you may know, all proceeds from the May 2 Golden Gala "Paddle Raise" were intended to support tuition assistance. Without this event, there is a significant gap to fill. Your support of this initiative will help fill that gap and provide much-needed additional assistance to those students and families in our community who are unexpectedly and deeply impacted by the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are also rolling out a virtual “paddle raise” for Giving Tuesday on May 5 which we hope will not only raise important funds for deserving families in our community but provide us with an opportunity to celebrate our 50 years in a unique one-day giving event. Stay tuned for more to come, or please contact Ilise Friedman with questions.


LONG TERM PLANNING

We are actively embracing the challenge of reimagining education, not catastrophizing or burying our heads in the sand and hoping things will be normal on the other side of this pandemic; we know they will not be normal, and we are energized by the prospect of creating something new.

The future belongs to those who are adaptable and resilient but those who also embody calm, competent planning. In many ways, Turning Point is uniquely equipped to not only weather this shifting landscape but to elevate the learning experience for our students and families. Innovation, flexibility, and resiliency are not just elements we teach our students to embrace. They are integral to the way we approach education, and how we conduct our actions as an administrative team.

In regard to teaching and learning, Turning Point possesses some distinct advantages. Because we are a small, intimate learning environment that can better deliver remote learning when we have to, we can pivot flexibly to transition between learning remotely and learning in place, which is likely to be the model for some part of next year. We feel confident in our ability to rapidly deploy remote learning across our community, or in targeted ways based on unfolding scenarios.

Looking ahead to next year, little is known about how this virus will continue to affect our lives. However, one thing is very certain – children will need to continue receiving high-quality, individualized, equitable education. And Turning Point School will continue to deliver it, no matter the physical space we inhabit.

We are meeting these challenges with calm, competent planning, and children are interacting with well-supported adults who are modeling a non-anxious presence in the face of great upheaval. I do not underestimate the great value this modeling provides the children at our school, not least because it is the water that my own son is swimming in.


CONCLUSION

As educators, we have never worked harder or been more committed to the future of education, the development of our students as global citizens, and the key role we are in the position to play.

Certainly, I fear for those children in our society who will fall through the cracks from no fault of their own but due to the intrinsic inequalities of an education system that has systemically failed to serve those children who are most in need. I am comforted to know that our Turning Point families will not have to struggle in similar ways. I wish this were the case for all children.

My hope is that we are raising our students at Turning Point to embrace the elements of critical thinking, innovation, leadership, advocacy, inclusion, courage, and compassion necessary to solve some of the long-looming societal issues that have tragically become even more stark in the light of this pandemic. This motivates me and fuels my commitment as an educator to provide them with the tools they need to reimagine and change the world. And I have no doubt they will.

In summary, please know that I will keep you updated with pertinent information as it unfolds. Most importantly, we are here for our families to connect and to explore any additional resources needed to provide information and support.

Warmly,

Laura

Dr. Laura Konigsberg | Head of School

April 3 Update

Dear Turning Point Community,

As I am sure you are aware, Governor Newsom recently announced that public schools in California are unlikely to reopen this year. Additionally, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Debra Duardo, recommended Wednesday that public school campuses remain closed through the end of the academic year. While extending school closure is a local decision that will be made by each individual school/school district, Turning Point is certainly monitoring these recommendations as we continue to make measured decisions for our own campus and community.

While we are prepared to continue our remote, connected learning for an extended period, we are not yet giving up hope that students may be able to return to campus in some way in May or June. Of course, we will make all decisions with the health and well-being of our community in mind, following recommendations and guidelines set forth by local and state officials.

We are taking a long view of our synchronous and asynchronous practices and tools as we plan our return to remote learning on April 13. Early next week, you will receive a link to a survey where you can share with us your experiences with remote learning thus far. This feedback will help inform our practices and modalities moving forward.

Additionally, we are exploring options for alternative end-of-year celebrations and Summer Camp offerings should we need them. We will, of course, keep you in the loop and share more as we come to a better understanding of how long we will need to shelter in place.

We understand the concern you all have about this global pandemic. Feelings of isolation and anxiety are expected and common. Please know you are not alone, and we are committed more than ever to helping each other navigate these feelings and experiences as a community. Our shift to a remote learning model that contains elements of community-building, in conjunction with the well-being resources we have shared, are designed to keep us all connected and grounded during this time.

Our Remote Learning Landing Page will continue to point you in the right direction for accessing resources and plans. In addition, our administrators are available to students and families for any additional help you need. Don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone at school with any questions, and we will work to connect you with the right resources.

These next few weeks will be critical in slowing the transmission of COVID-19, so thank you for following health directives going forward so we can flatten the curve as quickly as possible. On a related note, for those of you who may be sewing-challenged like me, I found these instructions for making a no-sew pleated facemask very easy to follow!

Finally, I want to acknowledge the members of our staff and of our community who are providing essential services as outlined by state and local authorities. In particular, I want to thank healthcare professionals for their unfaltering commitment to the welfare of others. I know I speak for all of us when I thank them for this profound work.

Stay well and safe.

Warmly,

Laura

Dr. Laura Konigsberg | Head of School

April 1 Blog Post: The Thing You Think You Cannot Do

Please see Dr. Konigsberg's blog post here.


March 23 Blog Post: The Ordinary Instant

Please see Dr. Konigsberg's blog post here.


March 17 Blog Post: Five Truths

Please see Dr. Konigsberg's blog post here.


March 12 Update

Dear Parents,

We are writing to let you know that with the unanimous support of our Board of Trustees, we have decided to shift to remote learning starting Monday, March 16.

School will not be in session on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, as teachers work to finalize remote learning plans. School will resume remotely on Wednesday, March 18.

While at this time we do not have a current concern of an active exposure to COVID-19 in our community, we are taking this action after consulting with peer schools and reviewing recommendations regarding “social distancing” advocated by various health experts in our community.

At this time, the campus closure will extend through Spring Break. We are hopeful classes can resume as normal, on campus, starting Monday, April 13, but we are clearly not prepared to make that decision at this time. We will, of course, continue to communicate with you regularly throughout the coming days and weeks.

Here is our plan:

  • Our campus will be closed to all students on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. During this time, we will be finalizing our remote learning plans with faculty and deep cleaning our campus. Please use this time to ensure your child has access to the technology needed as outlined in this letter sent yesterday, and take care of other necessary planning for this transition for your family.
  • Beginning Wednesday, March 18 we will initiate remote learning protocol for all grade levels. This effectively means that school is back in session on this day. You will receive detailed communication from your Division Head(s) next week with details on next steps for enabling students to complete coursework from home.
  • Students will bring relevant materials and supplies home with them starting today. We recognize that some families will elect to keep students home starting tomorrow (Friday, March 13), so we want all families to be prepared. If your child has been absent this week and you need to make arrangements to pick up supplies tomorrow, please reach out to your Head Teacher/Advisor as soon as possible.
  • During this time, all events, extracurricular activities, are canceled. We will employ best efforts to reschedule what we can.
  • We strongly recommend that parents severely limit children's in-person interactions with others. As you may know, public health authorities are predicting the continued spread of COVID-19, which could have serious impact on the health care system's ability to provide critical care. Play dates, sleepovers, mall visits, movies, etc. will all expand, rather than contain, the risk of spread.

We understand that this shift will create challenges for you as parents, as well as your families. Please know that we are committed to supporting your efforts and ability to provide your children with the opportunity to continue their learning. There will be much more to come on this, but for now, please accept our sincere gratitude for the agility, resilience, and compassion you have shown us, and each other, during this unprecedented time. We will be here to support you and your children through the coming weeks in all capacities. My blog from March 4 contains some resources you can use in speaking with your children about Coronavirus.

As always, I am incredibly grateful for the strength and support of this community. Thank you for all the words of support and affirmation you have sent in recent days and weeks. We will be back in touch soon—in the meantime, please stay connected with our COVID-19 Landing Page and keep an eye out for additional communications via regular channels. And if you have questions or concerns specific to your family or child(ren), please do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers or Division Head.

I will miss seeing all of our students and all of you in the coming weeks, and I look forward to returning together as soon as possible.

Gratefully,

Laura

Laura Konigsberg | Head of School


March 11 Update

Dear Turning Point Families,

Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we all continue to navigate these uncharted waters in response to Coronavirus concerns. At Turning Point, we have been meeting daily as an administrative team to assess the situation, develop contingency plans, and review recommendations from public health officials. We have also been sharing best practices among independent school colleagues throughout the state and collaborating closely with P/K-6/8 schools in the Los Angeles area. Our goal is to be filters, not amplifiers, of the essential information that you, as parents, should know.

Please review the information below closely so that you can be prepared for likely next steps:

POSSIBLE SCHOOL CLOSING

As you likely are aware, many colleges, universities, and schools across the country and locally are closing their campuses and moving to online/remote learning platforms.

At this time, it is not inevitable but also not unlikely that Turning Point will also need to move to remote learning for a period of time. We are continuing to look to the Department of Public Health for guidance and direction. As of the writing of this letter we have no active cases of COVID-19 on campus, nor has the Department of Public Health indicated that schools should close. That being said, conditions could change quickly, so we urge you to be ready to provide childcare coverage with very little notice.

In the event we do close our campus, we will likely use the first two days to finalize our preparations for remote learning. Starting the third day, we will move into remote learning.

PREPARATIONS FOR REMOTE LEARNING

We have spent the last week training teachers in best practices in e-learning and remote community building, and are receiving professional development in the specifics of the technology we will employ, which include Google Meetings and Zoom conferencing. While our delivery tools are tech-reliant, at the heart of this effort is the understanding that all learning is about connecting with others and fostering relationships. Our program team, tech team, and teachers have truly impressed us with their ingenuity, flexibility and problem-solving acumen.

If we do close our campus, you can expect to receive a communication from us with more information on how remote learning will work should we need to conduct classes with students at home, as well as the expectations during a period of distance learning. That communication will be sent sometime during the two days we are closed for continued training and tech testing with faculty and staff.

If we do need to close campus, students will be instructed to take necessary materials and supplies with them when they leave school.

We have scaled learning tools and strategies by division and grade level, keeping in mind the varying degrees to which parents will need to monitor and supervise, while also honoring that parents have their own professional and personal responsibilities to manage. For now, it will be helpful if you can make preparations to ensure your child will have access to learning at home. Below are the tools we are recommending, by division.

PRIMARY DIVISION

  • Be sure that your child has access to a computer, webcam, mic, and speakers. If you do not have access, please notify your Division Head.
  • Install Zoom Client for Meetings on the computer that your child would use for remote learning.
  • Ensure you as a parent are able to login to your child’s class page on Veracross to access videos/assignments outlining the learning for each day.
  • Be able to take photos of children carrying out activities to send to teachers.

If you do not have access to one or more of the tools above, please contact Sharon Cox, Primary Division Head, who will work with our tech team to ensure you are set up with these tools.

ELEMENTARY DIVISION

  • Be sure that your child has access to a computer, webcam, mic, and speakers. If you do not have access, please notify your Division Head.
  • Install Zoom Client for Meetings on the computer that your child would use for remote learning.
  • Your child may need assistance logging to his/her class page on Veracross to access videos/assignments outlining the learning for each day.

If you do not have access to one or more of the tools above, please contact Jennifer Ly, Assistant to the Elementary Division Head, who will work with our tech team to ensure you are set up with these tools.

MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION

  • Be sure that your child has access to a computer, webcam, mic, and speakers. If you do not have access, please notify your Division Head.
  • Install Zoom Client for Meetings on the computer that your child would use for remote learning.
  • Ensure your child is able to login to his/her class page on Veracross to access videos/assignments outlining the learning for each day.

If you do not have access to one or more of the tools above, please contact Jairus Brown-Jackson, Assistant to the Middle School Division Head, who will work with our tech team to ensure you are set up with these tools.

SUPPORTING STUDENTS WELL-BEING AT HOME

Here at school, we are doing our best to provide normalcy and consistency for students. While we are amazed at their eagerness to dive into learning as usual, we do recognize that students are not only aware, but may also feel anxious by the range of stories on news media and social media platforms. Here are some resources that might be helpful to you in talking with children at home:

Thank you again for your incredible support and understanding as we practice resilience and problem-solving in response to this rapidly developing situation. We are grateful for the close and tight-knit nature of our community, and our commitment to caring for one another in the face of adversity.

Again, please stay connected with our COVID-19 Landing Page and keep an eye out for additional communications via regular channels. And if you have questions or concerns specific to your family or child(ren), please do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers or Division Head.

Gratefully,

Laura Konigsberg

Head of School

Turning Point School

March 9 Update

Dear Turning Point Families,

As we approach Spring Break, we will likely see increasing concerns about the COVID-19 virus. We continue to focus on taking a calm, fact-based, and most importantly, proactive approach to ensure that we keep our community safe and have a plan in place for continuity of learning. Below is some important information to review to help us navigate the current situation as a community. Please take the time to review it thoroughly.

Promoting Good Health Hygiene

At school, we will continue to follow the guidance of community health experts and will rely on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Los Angeles County Department of Health, who instructs us to:

  • regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • avoid unnecessarily touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or a sleeve, but not hands;
  • stay home when sick and until 24 hours have passed after a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

In addition, our facilities team has taken several measures to increase their already stellar protocol for cleaning and disinfecting in order to reduce the possibility of germ and virus transmission at school. This includes:

  • Regularly disinfecting the playground, outdoor tables, trash cans, handrails, doorknobs, and bathroom sinks during school hours.
  • Our daytime and nighttime cleaning crews are deep cleaning bathrooms, classroom tables, chairs, and other surfaces at least once per shift.

What to do if Your Child is Sick

  • Please review and follow these guidelines from the CDC.
  • If your child is exhibiting any symptoms, especially symptoms of respiratory illness, please visit your health care provider. (The majority of respiratory illnesses are not COVID-19).
  • If your child tests positive for COVID-19 or if anyone you have been in contact with has been diagnosed, please stay home for 14 days and inform the school of the diagnosis.
  • If your child is sick with a fever or stomach bug, please keep them home from school.
  • When you call your child in sick, please alert us to the nature of the illness so that we may monitor absenteeism patterns.

Missed School Work

In the event that your child misses school for an extended period of time due to an illness, do not worry. Your child’s health and well-being, both physically and intellectually, are of paramount concern. We will support your child in every way possible so they continue to thrive.

Spring Trips

We will continue to stay in touch with middle school families about our plans for the middle school trips. Currently, we plan to go ahead with the local Grade 4 and Grade 5 trips to Riley’s Farm and Catalina Island, respectively. We will continue to evaluate based on the latest news and public health guidance.

Spring Break

As we head toward Spring Break, please pay special attention to travel guidelines on the CDC and Los Angeles County Department of Health website.

  • Depending on the destination, it is possible that families who have traveled to high alert countries may be asked to keep their children home for two weeks, as recommended by these agencies. Following these guidelines will ensure our school environment remains safe. The CDC currently recommends avoiding travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy, with less severe warnings for travel to Japan and Hong Kong.
  • If you are planning to travel internationally over Spring Break, please register with STEP -- the U.S. Dept. of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP sends emails in the event any new health or safety alerts are issued for your country of travel. Please also follow reputable news sources, such as the U.S. embassy in your country of travel, for any important information.

In the Event of Closure

  • Closure of the school would be determined in consultation with local health department officials. Please know we are aware that this situation changes quickly, so we are reviewing existing protocols, training, and resources to teach remotely should Turning Point be instructed to close for any period of time. While we hope that our regular learning will not be disrupted, we are prepared.
  • Details and instructions for how your family will access remote learning, should it be necessary, will be communicated via regular channels which include email from the school and from individual teachers, the Parent Square app, and through our Weekly Newsletter format. If you currently have trouble accessing any of these methods, please contact Courtney Baker at cbaker@turningpointschool.org so we can be sure you are in the loop.
  • Turning Point families without access to a tech device and/or the internet at home should contact their Division Head right away so that we can be sure you have what you need to enable your child’s participation should the need arise.

Information Links

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

State of California Department of Health

Los Angeles County Department of Health

Thank you again for your support during this time. We want to mitigate any health concerns on our campus while approaching the situation with a measured response and without elevating anxieties. While we hope that the information above is clear, there are scenarios that we cannot predict, so we will continue to communicate with you as the situation changes and evolves. We will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the health of the community, and we very much appreciate your partnership and patience as we all navigate these uncharted waters together.

I will be in touch with any significant updates or information as the situation unfolds.

Best,

Laura Konigsberg

Head of School

Turning Point School

March 2 Blog Post: Talking to Kids about Coronavirus

Please see Dr. Konigsberg's Head's Corner Blog here.

February 26 Update: Initial Measures

Dear Parents and Guardians,

With the Coronavirus in the news, we have been monitoring the situation closely and thinking about how we might respond should the spread of the virus hit closer to home. Please be assured that Turning Point works proactively with several organizations to ensure we are prepared in the event of unexpected events or emergencies:

  • The Public Health Departments in LA County and the State of California have specific resources for schools regarding Coronavirus.
  • We also retain the services of Joffe Emergency Services, a company that provides security services, community safety resources, and emergency response protocol specifically for independent schools. They have hosted a number of webinars regarding best practices in emergency response to infectious disease – both specifically for coronavirus and also in cases of severe flu outbreak or other public health concerns.
  • Turning Point School is also a member of two organizations that include hundreds of other independent school across the country and in our state – the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). Both associations are very proactive in addressing issues such as these that have the potential to affect our schools.
  • As a member of the Global Education Benchmark Group, Turning Point also has access to myriad resources about best practices in global education. This group collects, analyzes, and shares data between its 250 member schools (many of them also members of NAIS) that helps to inform our curriculum, travel experiences, and institutional support which becomes crucial when we face global challenges such as the coronavirus.
  • As Head of School, I am part of a network of other school heads locally and across the state who frequently share best practices and common issues among schools. Our schools also support each other and offer resources during times of crisis.

Across the board, we are being advised that prevention is still the best action any of us can take. The coronavirus, as far as has been reported, spreads similarly to other flu-like illnesses, which we are consistently preventing through best-practices, such as cleaning surfaces and common areas throughout the day and night, and instructing our students on proper coughing/sneezing/hand washing protocol. We ask that you do the same at home.

I hope this is helpful and reassuring. If you have any additional questions, please do let me know.

Warmly,

Laura

Event Cancellations/Postponements

All school-sponsored events and activities between now and Thursday, April 30 have been canceled or postponed.

Preventing the Spread of Germs

At school, we will continue to follow the guidance of community health experts and will rely on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Los Angeles County Department of Health, who instructs us to:

  • Regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Avoid unnecessarily touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or a sleeve, but not hands;
  • Stay home when sick and until 24 hours have passed after a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

In addition, our facilities team has taken several measures to increase their already stellar protocol for cleaning and disinfecting in order to reduce the possibility of germ and virus transmission at school. This includes:

  • Regularly disinfecting the playground, outdoor tables, trash cans, handrails, doorknobs, and bathroom sinks during school hours.
  • Our daytime and nighttime cleaning crews are deep cleaning bathrooms, classroom tables, chairs, and other surfaces at least once per shift.

If Your Child is Sick

  • Please review and follow these guidelines from the CDC.
  • If your child is exhibiting any symptoms, especially symptoms of respiratory illness, please visit your health care provider. (The majority of respiratory illnesses are not COVID-19).
  • If your child tests positive for COVID-19 or if anyone you have been in contact with has been diagnosed, please stay home for 14 days and inform the school of the diagnosis.
  • If your child is sick with a fever or stomach bug, please keep them home from school.
  • When you call your child in sick, please alert us to the nature of the illness so that we may monitor absenteeism patterns.

Contact Us

Our administrators are available to help you with any questions or concerns:

Primary Division Head

Sharon Cox | scox@turningpointschool.org

Elementary Division Head

Will Segar | wsegar@turningpointschool.org

Middle School Division Head

Gaby Akana | gakana@turningpointschool.org

Director of Athletics and Safety

Jacob Snyder | jsnyder@turningpointschool.org

Questions about Technology Access

Paul Cressey, IT Manager | pcressey@turningpointschool.org

Questions about Student Records and Immunizations

Jairus Brown-Jackson, Registrar | jjackson@turningpointschool.org

TURNING POINT SCHOOL

8780 National Blvd. | Culver City, CA 90232

www.turningpointschool.org

info@turningpointschool.org

phone: 310-841-2505 | fax: 310-841-5420