May 4, 2020
Dear American Academy Parents,
I hope you and your family are safe and healthy as we start this new month!
In this edition of our STEM Newsletter we are sharing a couple tips for dealing with "Zoom Fatigue" as well as our weekly STEM Project ideas and an ongoing reference to our department's communication plan for the remainder of the school year. As always, the projects linked in this Newsletter are optional - if you have some time and would like to engage your children's minds with some STEM learning, please check these projects out (and let us know how it goes!)
Much of the world is conducting business via video conference these days thanks to the miracle of ever-improving technology. While none of these tools are perfect, this period of forced social distancing and isolation would be significantly more challenging without them.
In this brave new virtual business world, a new malady has arisen: Zoom Fatigue. We are all learning a brand-new skill and way of communicating with each other while also living through a global pandemic. Communicating with other humans is challenging on the best of days, and it turns out we have a harder time decoding body language and facial expressions through a screen. If it takes even more energy than usual to just have a conversation with a co-worker, it makes sense that we would be very tiring to have several video meetings in a day. Even fun events like Happy Hours or family game nights quickly feel just like another exhausting meeting.
How can you avoid some of this exhaustion? If possible, request or schedule some meetings or conversations to be held without the video component. Just reducing your visibility in a meeting can lessen the stress. Alternatively, plan short transition periods between your video calls. Use these periods to "relax" and bring your stress level back down to normal before your next meeting. Listen to a favorite song or podcast, read an article, or get some movement into your life by stretching, going to get a drink of water, or walking outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. For more details on and recommendations for combating Zoom Fatigue, see this article from the BBC
Thank you all for being so patient as we worked through calculations and considerations for refunds for our spring STEM ECAs. It was a big job that involved a lot of people, but all ECA refunds for STEM ECAs have been processed. These refunds were all less than $100, so you may not notice when they hit your account. If you're expecting a refund, please check the account for the credit card you have on file in the School Store. If you haven't seen any refunds come through by Monday May 4, please let me know!
As a quick note, here's how we processed our refunds:
- Spring STEM ECAs that had students registered but had not yet met with kids have been refunded in full.
- Spring STEM ECAs that had students registered and successfully held all scheduled sessions with students before Spring Break will receive no refund since the class(es) finished as planned.
- Spring STEM ECAs that had students registered and began meeting with students but did not hold all scheduled sessions have received partial refunds. You should receive the amount you paid for the club minus prorated fees, supplies, and teacher/staff pay,
Thank you again for your patience and flexibility! And extra special thanks to a few of you who instead chose to donate your refund back to the school. We appreciate you so much!
Our STEM department is currently hard at work to plan out our ECA calendar for next year, so stay tuned! We look forward with hope and optimism to seeing your children in class with us in the fall!