Posted by Phoenix West Rotary "West Side Story"
Our guest last Thursday was Koren Lane, Head of School for Candeo North Scottsdale. Koren hold a Masters Degree in Education. After moving to Arizona from Chicago she was hired by BASIS schools as the Lower School Director. She wrote the curriculum for the current BASIS K-5 program. She left Arizona for a corporate trainer position in Las Vegas but teaching adults was not the same and when an opportunity arose to work with Candeo she moved back to Arizona. 
Opening a new school in a pandemic presented all new challenges. Candeo was marketing the school by renting rooms and holding information nights but the Stay At Home Order made that format impossible to continue. With everyone staying at home the school hired a PR and Market-ing firm and took to social media targeting mom groups and pre-school families. The pivot was a success and Can-deo North Scottsdale filled up to capacity and is currently on a wait list for enrollment. 
In order to open the building safely to students on August 17th, the administration had to fig-ure out how to choreograph the movement and placement of students around campus. The first step was creating "tracks." Students are assigned a track that places them in the building for three weeks then at home for one week doing distance learning. This enabled the school to reduce their already small class size by 25%. (Normal class size at Candeo is 18 in Kindergarten and 22 in grades 1-8). Fewer students in the classroom makes it possible to create the social distancing that is required for reopening. The school also identified “zones” around campus where outdoor les-sons can take place in shaded and misted areas. Students will also get “mask breaks.” 
All students have the option of not coming back to the physical school and completing the school year via distance learning in Google Classroom. If a student decides they want to change their selection they can modify their enrollment to in-person at the start of each quarter. In middle school, students will not change classrooms but rather teachers will move from classroom to classroom throughout the day. 
Lunchtime was yet another challenge. Candeo added additional time for lunches and will again utilize "zones" throughout the school. Students will rotate between zones on a weekly basis. One week kids may need to eat in the class-room, but the next week they will be able to eat in a shaded area outside, followed by a week in the cafeteria and so on. 
This innovative plan had been applauded by other schools and the focus of some local press on how to successfully plan for reopening this fall. Koren believes that this format can be scaled to meet the needs of much larger schools and she looks forward to welcoming back the kids in a few short weeks. 
Best wishes to Koren, her staff and students for a successful year. A book in her honor will be donated to an Osborn District School