by Terry Rogers
Gina Derrickson, Director of Development at Sussex Academy, is proud of how the students and staff responded to their hybrid model of instruction which began on September 14. Derrickson explained that, despite the challenges of the hybrid model, things went very smoothly for the first few weeks of school.
“Our students exceeded our expectations,” Derrickson said. “Our teachers have adjusted to teaching online and in person at the same time. It was great to see our students back in the building. We are doing hybrid and remote learning. Our Cohort 1 has instruction on Monday and Tuesday with remote instruction on Thursday and Friday. Our Cohort 2 has remote learning on Monday and Tuesday with in-person learning on Thursday and Friday. Our remote learners are online Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is a day for teacher office hours and individual student help. We are following all of the CDC recommendations for safety.”
The CDC recommends frequent handwashing and face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Parents are also asked to keep children home if they have any symptoms of the illness, such as fever, sore throat or cough. Classes should remain small with cohorts, alternating schedules or staggered schedules and no sharing of objects. Building areas, including classrooms, are cleaned frequently, especially in areas that are touched often.
“Our staff and students are fully engaged in teaching and learning in a way which no one has ever had to prepare for,” Dr. Sherry MacBury, Dean of Sussex Academy High School, said. “Our teachers engaged in a lot of learning and planning and delivered! Our students were prepared, patient and engaged. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the Sussex Academy community.”
Students were also happy to be back in school, even if it was just for a few days each week.
“I am very appreciative of the hybrid model,” Sydney Mundok, a senior at Sussex Academy, said. “The two days in school are very helpful and it is nice to be able to collaborate with my peers.”
This year, Sussex Academy opened a new elementary school building on the Jefferson School campus on Wilson Road in Georgetown. The school houses 160 students in grades Kindergarten through fifth. The school has a maximum capacity of 240 students. The Jefferson School plans to continue operations as a private school through the end of the year but approached Sussex Academy about locating a new building there due to sustainability issues.
Sussex Academy is a tuition free public charter school which opened in 2000 as the Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences, initially offering programs at the middle school level. The mission of the school is to foster academic achievement and social responsibility in a small-school environment. Students participate in highly accelerated college preparation programs, with a focus on collaboration, service, community and the environment. Within three years, the school expanded from 225 to 325 students and, in 2012, was approved to add a high school the following year and the name changed to Sussex Academy. By 2016, the school was providing education for students in grades 6 through 12 and, in 2020, began offering elementary education.