The Elisabeth Morrow School
Inspiring Achievement and Character in Students for 90 Years.

Track 1: On-Campus

What’s a Cohort or a Section? 

Your child will be part of a group of students and staff throughout the day. We call them “Cohorts.” Your Cohort will remain the same for the school year. By maintaining Cohorts, we minimize the number of people each student comes into contact with, one of the ways we minimize risk. 

A Cohort is meant to describe a group that can share space. It defines who you can spend time with, much like the members of your household are a Cohort. But there will be times it makes sense to break into smaller groups for different learning experiences while maintaining the ability to socialize within the larger group. We call this a Section. Within each Cohort, there might be multiple Sections. 

Regardless of division, your child’s Section or Cohort will be based in one room throughout the day and spend most of their time in there. It will be a home outside your home, a place that is considered safe. 

Each Cohort has qualified educators that are dedicated to just those students and that room. In limited cases, specialists will come to the classroom, instead of classes moving from room to room. We’ll be taking full advantage of the wealth of space afforded by the EMS campus, from indoor to outdoor spaces, to give children access to more room to move while maintaining social distancing, as weather allows.

 

How do Cohorts Affect Learning? 

They don’t. In most cases, your child’s Cohort is simply made up of everyone in their grade. In larger grades, there may be two Cohorts, and in our youngest children, we’ve combined some age groups into Cohorts to give them a fuller experience. 

The academic roadmap is just as rigorous as was planned before Cohorts, where classes will be taught by a teaching team over a full day of learning. That learning will simply take place in your Cohort’s homeroom. We are still in the planning stages of understanding how additional spaces, like science labs and music and art rooms, may be used safely. 

Cohorts don’t just benefit our students, but our teaching staff as well. Through this experience, we’ve been provided the opportunity to engage teaching teams while integrating specialists across disciplines. The benefit to the students is a more engaged, supported teaching staff that works collaboratively to deploy curriculum. The benefit to staff is more support and collaboration

We are proud of our academic touchstones, and will not pare down the rigor of our planned teachings because of the changes we’ve needed to make. EMS is not childcare. We are an academic institution. Instead, we will continue to move forward with the engagement of each child with the full spectrum of our educators' deep experiences and skillsets. 


Academic Touchstones

  1. Strong, intellectually engaging academics.
  2. Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) through exemplary academics and transformative student experiences.
  3. Indoor/outdoor pedagogy; experiential-based learning.
  4. Integration of social emotional and wellness.
  5. Integration of diversity and inclusion.
  6. A faculty of distinction that emphasizes growth mindset.
  7. Prioritize safety and health of children and staff above all else 

 

How do Cohorts Affect My Child’s Social Engagement? 

We expect Cohorts to be a seamless experience for most children. Cohorts are based on grade or age, so it shouldn’t feel dramatically different from your child’s previous experiences. 

  

How Will EMS Take Care of Students On-Campus? 

Please see our Health and Safety Section for details. 

 

How is EMS Taking Care of Staff On-Campus? 

We take great pride in our caring community, and that so many families expressed concern about our staff, from teachers to librarians to administrators. We care deeply about the well-being of our staff, and think Cohorts are an ideal solution. The same benefits of a Cohort apply to staff as well. When educators belong to a Cohort, the number of people they come into contact with is limited as well, and thus their risk is reduced. 

Additionally, staff will constantly be protected by masks, as well as face shields, where appropriate. In many cases, educators will remain in the front of the room behind a plexiglass shield or within a set boundary to reduce risk to students and staff. We have modified or relocated offices to ensure our staff feels safe. Online communications will be utilized wherever possible to avoid the mingling of staff between Cohorts. 

We’ve occasionally found bright lights in this undertaking, and Cohorts will offer educators support in a way we haven’t been able to achieve previously. With multiple educators in the room at any time, each staff member feels sustained. Efforts will be more collaborative, and classes won’t rely as heavily on an individual instructor. 


Chilton House- Age 2-Kindergarten

Chilton House Cohorts

Cohort

Number of Students

Number of Educators

2s

6-8

3

3s

12-17

3

4s

12-18

3

Kindergarten

16-30 (2 Sections)

5

Since enrollment is ongoing, these numbers will not be finalized until September. 

 

Our Guiding Philosophy

Socialization is key to childhood learning. With that guiding light, we are committed to providing an authentic Early Childhood and Kindergarten experience that is driven by the power of human interaction and peer connection, whether on campus or remotely.

What we’ve always known, and are all discussing in our brainstorming groups across the nation, is the common theme that the loss of socialization has a profound impact on child development. Further, we know that in young children, anxiety manifests behaviorally because, at this age range, children don’t yet have strong emotional regulation skills. It’s almost certain the last six months will have had an impact on each child. 

In Chilton House, we’ll be committed to an environment that emphasizes social and emotional learning. We’ll be working with our parents in partnership to aid our youngest students in how to deal with the constant changes happening in the world today. We will be committed to creating a culturally sensitive environment where each child feels safe, and to continuing the development, curiosity, and sense of self in these young minds. 

Drop-off and Pickup

Please note the following drop-off and pickup times for this fall:
2s and 3s: 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m
4s and K: 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Drop-off will look different this year. If your child is 4 or older you will no longer be allowed to escort them to class. A member of the staff will be waiting for your car, and will open the door for your child, ensuring their mask is on and take their temperature.  Assuming they do not have a temperature, they will then escort them to the vestibule for Chilton House, where the door will be held open by another staff member. Later this summer, we’ll provide a video overview of the process to acquaint you and your child with how this works. 

Children in our 2s and 3s Cohorts may be escorted by one caregiver to the door of the class, but may not enter the classroom. This will be strictly enforced and we remind parents that we take this measure to ensure the safety of your children’s space. Parents will also need to be masked, and will also have their temperatures measured before entry. We ask that parents do not linger outside school on their way in or out. 

If children do have a temperature, the accompanying caregiver will be asked to take them home, or they’ll be moved to the nurses office to isolate, and a parent will be called to pick them up. 

We are, of course, sad to have to abandon our handshake tradition temporarily, but we are excited to be working on appropriate no-touch alternatives that will embody the spirit of Chilton House. 

At the end of the day, parents will come to the classroom door to pick up their age 2-3 child. Ages 4-Kindergarten will be escorted to the carline for 2:45 p.m. pickup. 

In the case of siblings within Chilton House, an assistant will escort one child to the other so they may be picked up together. 

In the Classroom

Each classroom should feel like a home to our Chilton House students, where the people and the materials inside are safe. Much like children interact with their family and everything inside their home with freedom and trust, we hope our children will treat their Cohort and classroom the same way. It is their safe space. 

The medical evidence suggests that transmission amongst this age group is exceptionally low between each other and to others. Our goal in Chilton House will be to balance reasonable measures with the needs of children in this age range during these highly formative years for social engagement and learning. 

We’ll meet or exceed CDC guidelines at all times, while also trying to provide reasonable expectations for the students and an authentic experience for them. Students ages 2-4 will struggle to keep their masks on all day, and they’re likely to contaminate their masks.  To ameliorate this, we will ensure handwashing and sanitation practices are part of our daily routine. 

Each day students will come into the classroom, put their belongings away in assigned cubbies and immediately wash their hands. Their day will then follow the same routines as previously in Chilton House, including choice activities and Morning Meeting. Throughout the day, children will actively learn through play in collaborative large and small group instruction, choice time, community-driven projects, and gross motor experiences. Our students will move around classrooms, the newly renovated private patios, and the campus playground. 

We hope to create many options for lunch, allowing for socialization and distancing, whether sitting on the floor next to friends or outside, as the weather permits. 

When outside the classroom, or anywhere distancing cannot be attained, mask-wearing will be strictly enforced. 

Specials

Each year, we add enrichment projects to our academics. Throughout EMS, we call these “Specials.” In Chilton House, Spanish, PE, STEAM, art and even gardening are Specials we bring into our curriculum to promote experiential and explorative learning. Every attempt is being made to continue each of our Specials in modified and safe ways. 

Music is an essential part of the EMS experience, and we fully plan on engagement with children with some modifications. Each classroom now has its own set of instruments, and singing might take place outside. 

We are exceptionally proud of our new Early Childhood STEAM Lab called Exploration Alley, and are still planning how it can be strategically utilized, with all surfaces and materials cleaned after each small group exercise.

In each case, we’ve made accommodation for reduced sharing of materials. Each child will have their own devices (if appropriate by age), and writing and drawing tools. In most cases, these activities will take place in a Cohorts’ classroom. Each child will have their own napping mat, and we will launder all sheets and blankets weekly. 

Field Trips

All evidence suggests the best way to ensure the safety of all our students and staff is a closed campus. For that reason, there are no field trips planned at this time. 

Athletics

PE will still take place in the gym or outside, where we’ve marked circles that are 6 feet wide, 6 feet apart. Children will get to know the symbols and signage that helps them establish social distancing on campus, and staff is always present to assist. As long as the weather allows, we’ll make ample use of the outdoors. 

The Library

The Librarian will continue to meet with individual classes to provide a robust library and research curriculum.  The Librarian will meet with the students in their classrooms.

Children will have access to a Cohort of books, a group of books that have been allocated for the Cohort. The Librarian will curate the selection to reflect Library, STEAM and classroom curriculum as well as different genres as well as personalized preferences of the students. Staff will circulate these books in and out for variety, ensuring that each book is removed from circulation and sanitized after its been handled for at least 72 hours. Children may check out a book, read it in the library, or bring it back to their classroom and place it immediately in their bag to take home. 

An online book club will be offered to students as an optional activity.

No overdue fees are charged.  If a library book is damaged or lost, we do ask for a replacement copy to be provided

Before and After Care

As part of our partnership with EMS families, we will continue to offer Before and After Care for our Chilton House students. Students may arrive as early at 7:30 a.m., where Before Care will take place in the child’s assigned classroom, and may stay until 6 p.m. 


 

Little School- Grade 1-4

Little School Cohorts

Cohort

Number of Students

Number of Educators

1st Grade 

29 (2 Sections)

5

2nd Grade

40 (3 Sections)

6

3rd Grade/4th Grade

68 (5 Sections)

10

Since enrollment is ongoing, these numbers will not be finalized until September. 

 

Our Guiding Philosophy

It’s time to get back to school. 

Each challenge presents opportunity, and this year has been no different. We are committed to engaging deeper in project-based learning where students are meaningfully engaged in real-world experiences that will help prepare them for the critical thinking requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Cohorts and teaching teams work in our favor. 

This year, students will have a five-day rotation instead of six, where a highly collaborative classroom is encouraged. Outdoor space will be made liberal use of. We will actively engage more critical thinking skills than ever before, embracing and encouraging the natural curiosity and sense of self of our Little School students. 

We immediately expanded our long-planned Associate Teacher Program from one associate per Cohort to 6 to better aid our students. Associates are a really welcome addition to our teaching teams. They’re teachers who are recently out of school or switching careers. Associates have a mutual benefit to our staff, as they’ve been exposed through school to the most bleeding edge methods of teaching and can bring that back to our collaborative teaching efforts, while our staff can impart the deep experience they have one-on-one with children in a school setting. 

We will continue using the CORE SEL and MindUP programs to bolster the social-emotional learning in our classrooms, aided by the associate teachers. We will ask our students to also embrace our belief that from challenges come opportunities, and seek them out daily. 

Drop-off and Pickup

Drop-off will look different this year. The first change is that parents may not escort their child to class or leave the car during drop-off. If driving, you’ll come through the Lydecker Street parking lot to the entrance of Little School. Bus riders will be dropped curbside on Lydecker Street as well. A school administrator or staff member will be on Lydecker Street during drop-off to welcome each child to school. Children will exit the car with their masks already on. Temperatures will be taken at the entrances of their classrooms. Children will enter and exit through their Cohort classroom patio door directly instead of through common entries and hallways. Doors to the classroom will be held open. 

If children have a temperature that exceeds 100 degrees, they'll be asked to go home, or they’ll be moved to the nurses office to be isolated, and a parent will be called to pick them up. 

Pickup will continue to be timed as always, starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m.: 

  • 3:00 p.m.-2nd grade 
  • 3:10 p.m.- 1st grade 
  • 3:20 p.m.- 3rd grade
  • 3:30 p.m.- 4th grade 

All children will be picked up from the carline, not at the classroom. Please arrive at campus on time, and have your child(ren's) car line sign positioned on the passenger's side of the dashboard for easy visibility. Students will be escorted from the building to the Lydecker dismissal area and guided safely into their cars. While we know this is specific, it's also necessary to ensure a smooth process that protects everyone’s safety, including staff. So please remember, parents may not exit the car, so make preparations before you arrive on campus. Be sure the vehicle’s passenger side seat is clear so staff may escort your child into the car, from the curb, swiftly and safely. Children will have masks on as they leave the classroom, and may remove them only once they are in their parent’s car. 

In the case of siblings who are members of Little School, an assistant will escort one child to the other so they may be picked up together, at the latest assigned pickup time (ie: if you have a child in first grade and another in third grade, your pickup time will be 3:15 p.m. and you may pick up both children at that time). Per school policy, you must pick up each sibling from each division separately, siblings may no longer go from one division to another. 

In the Classroom

Specialty teachers will join each Cohort for a few weeks at a time (or project) before changing Cohorts. 

Our Little School students will continue their daily instruction in Language Arts, which includes skill building in reading, writing, and speaking. Math instruction will continue daily, and social studies will be presented a few days a week. Morning and Afternoon Meetings will continue daily, to teach community building, which will take on a new meaning this year after all of the isolation our students have experienced. 

Specials

We’re most excited about how Cohorts will really bring our project-based learning to life. Each of our activities: art, science, foreign language, gardening, STEAM and, of course, music, will receive a focus we’ve never had before. Instead of experiencing these activities once in a while, the specialist teachers will now be part of the Cohort, and will teach each Special every day for a few weeks at a time, allowing students to really dive into the subject and connect with it more meaningfully. 

We are excited to add foreign language learning to Little School, where Spanish and other languages will be provided via a virtual platform. We’re happy to report that the Rutgers horticulturalists we’ve worked with on our gardening program for first- and second-graders are busy reconfiguring their curriculum to work with our new safety parameters. The Collabrium will allow us to check items from the maker space out into our Cohort for use in our classroom. STEAM teams will be part of the classroom experience, and two-three times a week, will engage our Cohort members in STEAM projects. 

Music is the most fundamental Special we offer at EMS, and we fully plan to continue bringing singing and instruments into our children’s lives. Children will sing with masks on, or 15 feet apart, either inside or outside. Our third-graders will be allowed to begin learning strings or percussion instruments, but no woods or brass this year. Our fourth-graders that have already begun instruction in woods or brass,will be able to continue, but will work exclusively on fingering exercises (they will not be blowing into instruments). Ensemble will continue in this vein. 

Field Trips

Field Trip Friday will persist, and while we won’t be leaving campus, immense opportunity now exists to bring places we could never visit back to campus. Museums and other cultural destinations have worked hard to provide virtual and live, guided experiences for students from afar. We’re proud to support these institutions and broaden our student’s view of the world. 

Athletics

The goal is to be physically active and to interact socially,play, and be creative. In Little School, there are so many options. The stream and woods are effectively a second playground. We go out in kinds of weather, only limited by dangerous winds or temperature drops.  

Recess helps students achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day for children and adolescents, improving strength and endurance, enhancing academic achievement, and increasing self-esteem. Our recess plan allows students to socialize safely and stay fit. All equipment and spaces are cleaned throughout the school day. Cohorts will have areas specifically marked for them, and masks are required on the playground.

PE will continue in the gym, where 6-foot circles are clearly marked to help students achieve distance, and the gym will be sanitized between classes. Students will not change for PE, but rather will wear their PE clothes on days they are scheduled for PE. Please see the dress code for more details.

The Library

Every two weeks, a new selection of books will be selected from the library and made available to a Cohort, and only that Cohort. Those books will then be taken out of circulation and sanitized before being cycled into another Cohort. Additionally, students and teachers can request specific books from the library that the teacher would need to pick up. Students can not, for now, browse books on their own for safety reasons.

Before and After Care

The student and faculty Cohort groups will remain together during after-school hours. Each Cohort will have a snack, spend time outdoors, receive support in completing homework, and have additional time to socialize with peers. The hours are from dismissal time until 6 p.m. A separate classroom will serve as each Cohort aftercare space.

Adventures will begin for our students in October, although details are pending. We hope to host both virtual and on campus classes through our Adventures program.


 

Morrow House 5th-8th Grade

Morrow House Cohorts

Cohort

Number of Students

Number of Educators

5th Grade 

43 (3 Sections)

5

6th Grade

41 (3 Sections)

5

7th Grade

40-44 (3 Sections)

5

8th Grade

40-41 (3 Sections)

5

Since enrollment is ongoing, these numbers will not be finalized until September.

 

Our Guiding Philosophy

A central mission in Morrow House is imparting the skills for students to thoughtfully navigate a challenge. Over the last six months, our students used every tool they’ve learned to make sense of what is happening in the world, how it affects their families, and continue moving gracefully towards success. Providing the opportunity to return to campus is the best way for us, as educators and parents, to help their momentum forward into the world as fully formed individuals.

Our students have relationships with each other as well as staff, and have formed a community that serves as a fundamental part of their development. Our goal this year will be to give them their community back, both in person and online, when necessary. 

We’re modeling a 10-day schedule, based on a Monday-Friday calendar, and will switch from semesters to trimesters to better accommodate co-curricular and Specials. 

While our Cohorts will remain large enough to allow our students to congregate with their entire class, their learning groups will be limited to roughly 10 students, based on math level.  

We will welcome a new psychologist to campus who will specifically work on social and emotional development with our students, continuing the CORE SEL tenants our students carry from Little School: global citizenship, stress-management, self-reflection and regulation, and self-care practices. 

Specialty teachers will join each Cohort in 10-day rotations before moving to another Cohort. We are seeking to provide the full Morrow House experience to our students, from music to athletics to arts, modified in smart ways when necessary to protect the safety of our students. 

Importantly, we will still try to make space for the independence that Morrow House students usually enjoy as part of their development, while still maintaining the safety standards demanded by current circumstances. This is a new world, but our students will still succeed in it. 

Drop-off and Pickup

Drop-off remains in the same location as last year. The first change is that parents may not escort their child to class or leave the car during drop-off. Children will exit the car, with their masks already on, and have their temperatures taken by a member of staff. Assuming they do not have a temperature, they will then proceed to the appropriate entry. Grades 5 and 6 will enter Morrow House from the exterior doors. Grade 5 will enter directly into to the newly renovated fifth- and sixth-grade wing and grade 6 by the library. Grade 7 with enter near the Mexican Corridor. Grade 8 students who are arriving before 7:50 will enter the Library through the doors closest to the Courtyard. After 7:50 a.m. they will use the main door to Morrow House. Once the school day begins, students will enter through the main door, check-in, and head to their assigned classrooms.

The following locations will be used by students in the before care program. Grade 5 will be in M20. Grade 6 will be in M3. Grade 7 will be in M9. Grade 8 will be in the Library.

At the appropriate time, students will leave the before care locations and head to their classrooms.

Later this summer, we’ll provide a video overview of the process to acquaint you and your child with how this works. 

If children have a temperature that exceeds 100 degrees, they’ll be moved to the nurses office to be isolated, and a parent will be called to pick them up. A nurse or staff member will escort the child to the caregiver in the courtyard. 

At pickup, children will be directed by Cohort to a staging area along Next Day Hill Drive, as they wait for pickup. Students will be advised to remain in their Cohort, and as a reminder, parents may not exit their car. 

Siblings that attend different divisions will not be able to be picked up together this year, but must each be picked up from their individual division for safety reasons.

In the Classroom

Students will largely be based in one classroom, within the Section of their Cohort. Their instructors will rotate in and out of the classroom, which will look a little different this year. Teachers will remain in a specially marked space in each classroom at the head of the room. Students will remain at their desks, masked and socially distanced from one another. Within the classroom, they’ll be connected to their classmates at home on the Remote or Flex Tracks and will be able to interact with them. This experience speaks to the nature of the workforce these students will be entering, where coworkers may be in a desk next to them, or across the world. 

A big change will be the time we’ve provided to transition between classes, which will allow students a moment to breathe and reset, and for instructors to sanitize and transition. Students will still meet with advisors daily over lunch. 

Students will still receive daily instruction in math, history, science, English, and world language from the teachers assigned to their Cohort. We will continue to offer language, allowing students to choose between Latin or Spanish.

Specials

Because students will remain in their Cohort and in their learning group, electives (classes the students choose) will largely be replaced this year by Specials. Students will be scheduled as learning groups and together through a rotation of courses, such as those below. While this is a change from recent years, these experiences will fulfill our goal to provide a well-rounded education for our students.

Science Lab will remain open, with students working in small groups that allow for sanitization between groups. 

Students will have access to art in small groups, emphasizing projects where materials are not shared. This opens opportunities into projects like digital photography. 

Music is the most fundamental Special we offer at EMS, and we fully plan to continue bringing singing and instruments into our children’s lives. Choruses and large group ensembles will not be an option this year, but students will be able to sing within their Cohort in Voice Lab, albeit with masks. Orchestra will not be offered, but our students will still be able to practice instruments. In the case of woods and brass, they will work exclusively on fingering exercises (they will not be blowing into instruments) at school. 

We plan to offer theater, although it may focus on drama instead of musical theater. Dance will still be offered, but we expect dancers to wear masks. 

Field Trips

Our field trips for the fall have been canceled. As we did over the spring term last school year, teachers will continue to build virtual field trips that engage students in the monuments and movements critical to their understanding of the curriculum.

Athletics

PE will continue in the gym for grades 5 and 6, where 6-foot circles are clearly marked to help students achieve distance, and the gym will be sanitized between classes. Students will not change for PE, but rather will wear their PE clothes on days they are scheduled for PE. Please see the dress code for more details. 

In grades 5 and 6, we will continue to emphasize movement and development of the skills that will come into play in our interscholastic sports opportunities in grades 7 and 8. 

Our seventh- and eighth- graders will practice in sports that can be played with physical distancing or those that center around skill-building. We hope to emphasize cross-country, or soccer or football skill building, where students will work individually with equipment. Other opportunities will be offered asynchronously for students to work on independently like yoga, walking, and Pilates. 

The Library

Following CDC and American Library Association guidelines, stacks will be closed for browsing by students and faculty. Research will be conducted via the Destiny Library catalog online, and requests for materials will be made to the Morrow House librarian. Books will be checked out and handled only by the librarian, who will locate, check out, and deliver the books to the classroom. When appropriate, the librarian will curate selections of books needed by subject teachers and deliver those books to serve as “in-class” resources on a book cart. When those books are to be returned, the librarian will see that the books are quarantined for 72 hours. After 72 hours, books will be reshelved. 

Before and After Care

The student and faculty Cohort groups will remain together during after-school hours. Each Cohort will have a snack, spend time outdoors, receive support in completing homework, and have additional time to socialize with peers. The hours are from dismissal time until 6 p.m. A separate classroom will serve as each Cohort aftercare space.

Adventures will begin for our students in October, although details are pending. We hope to host both virtual and on campus classes through our Adventures program.

Read about Track 2: Remote ->