March 14, 2020
Hello Brio Academy Families,
As you may know, Dr. David Colby, CK’s Chief Medical Officer, has declared a state of emergency for Chatham-Kent in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and has ordered the cancellation of all camps, programs and organized youth activities. This is an important step to ensuring the overall health of our community, but we realize that it throws many carefully laid plans out of order. We are partners in this journey, and in this increasingly turbulent time, we know that stability, forward-momentum and normalcy are the ultimate goal. We know that - and we have a plan in place to meet and exceed those needs.
Brio Academy will close – as scheduled – for March Break. Until we receive the all-clear from the CMO, we cannot continue in-person classes at either location.
Starting the week of March 23, we will be launching a comprehensive online learning community for all Brio Academy and Zanshin Dojo students! Through a combination of live-stream classes, custom-created video content, curated learning plans and online lesson modules, we will keep our students moving forward – together – so that all the work they’ve put into the year will not be in vain.
I’ve already had the opportunity to share this plan with some of you, and I know that you’ve expressed relief that in this uncertain time, our students will still have a sense of security, normalcy and purpose. When we’re once again able to meet face-to-face, Brio Academy students will have spent the intervening time learning and growing – in a Brio environment - so that they don’t miss a beat.
Dan and I will be working with instructors over the break to prepare the online modules and will get the information out to you later in the week about how to access the content.
I would like to remind our Brio Academy and Zanshin Dojo families:
- Your family has invested time and money into these studies, so please do not throw that away due to this event. We have a plan to offer a rich, robust online learning system, and then get back to work at the studio as soon as possible, having made progress during this temporary situation.
- More than ever our kids will need to get some exercise, mental stimulation and sense of purpose and normalcy. This is key to staying healthy and happy, and to be ready to hit the ground running once we are able to resume in-person classes!
- Having our kids stick to their routine (even if their ‘classroom’ is now their home) helps reduce anxiety in our kids. I know personally, my kids are struggling with the uncertainty the day has brought … so many things that are important to them – that they’ve been working toward and planning for – have been put into jeopardy, and I want to give them a tether to something that gives them joy in a troubling time!
- There are some HUGE benefits to having these classes online! You can access them any time, and we will even be including modules for your students to ‘try’ another discipline. Not only that, they can access it multiple times a week! This is like an all-access pass to your classes. An added bonus: We will be extending access to this platform for the remainder of the season for free and will be adding curriculum updates for the remainder of the year!
- Our small business needs your support during this trying time if we are going to survive and continue to be a fixture in this community once this passes. We have overhead expenses that have to be paid, and our incredible, dedicated teachers sincerely need to continue working for their livelihood. Our community has never faced something quite like this, and it’s my hope that through this we are opening new doors and providing new ways to offer Brio’s learning experience on-demand to our students. We are going to make it through this together!
Answers to questions you may have:
How will the online classes work?
I am planning on launching an online education portal for our students and families by the end of next week. This will give you access to dozens of hours of on-demand content, plus live streams and weekly challenges to keep the students motivated. Although it’s not how I’d planned on introducing this educational tool, I have wanted to create this online community for some time – it is going to be an incredible resource for our students – not just for this year - but for years to come.
Private music lessons will continue through a virtual meeting portal. The private music community has led the way in virtual lessons for some time, and we have rich resources to draw on in the coming weeks! Becca will be reaching out to touch base on scheduling. Now that students are out of school for three weeks, lessons can take place during the day, if that works better for you! I have been researching leading online education portals, and I will be sharing our final selection shortly. You will receive an online access key for your specific class that will have your student busy, engaged and working towards the goals they’ve set for themselves … plus some fun extras!
I will also be implementing ways for you to send in questions to the instructors and investigating platform compatibility for students to interact with each other, too. The portal will include Brio-created content as well as supplementary content from other sources to keep things fresh and exciting. Content will be updated regularly and will only be available to registered Brio families. As your student practices and learns at home, please send me videos and photos of them working so that I can share it online to help motivate and encourage other students!
What about the Recital and end-of-year events?
At Brio Academy, we are moving forward as planned toward our end-of-season events to showcase our amazing students and all of their hard work. These students deserve it! The Practice Challenge isn’t just continuing – it’s a KEY motivator for students to stay engaged and moving forward! We’re so proud of what they’ve already accomplished and we can’t wait to share our students’ sense of pride when the challenge is complete!
What about performance teams and Disney World plans?
I will contact these students in a separate email coming soon. Please email me any questions or ideas you may have. I know that if we stay positive and work together, we can ride this out and get our amazing lives back to normal.
I look forward to communicating with you again as we begin our new adventure in online learning!
Rachel Schwarz, Owner
P.S. As a side note for those of you needing childcare – Brio Academy is full of amazing, trustworthy teens and young adults that may be willing to help. I am happy to connect those who need childcare with those who are available to watch children. Let me know if this is a need you have, or if you are willing to babysit.