Distance Learning Handbook

Central to Mid-Pen’s mission is the relationship between teachers and students.

The Distance Learning Handbook holds that relationship dear and manifests as an extension of our mission. In the event that the school needs to activate distance learning in order to keep students and adults in our community safe, this handbook will outline the expectations the school has for students, families, and teachers in our community.

This Handbook also appeals to our Core Values in the following ways:

  •  Respect: Students and adults alike should approach each other with respect. Distance learning can take its toll on many. Respectful and open communication between students, families, and teachers can often lead to workable outcomes.
  •  Kindness: We will all need to be kind to each other in the face of the challenges ahead. Teachers will be as understanding and accommodating as possible. Families and students should extend the same kindness to teachers, who also face challenges in this new work environment.
  • Acceptance: Accepting each other—foibles and all—will be especially important in these times. We all need to accept that we may fall short occasionally, even though we will all be doing our best.
  • Responsibility: We still expect students to show responsibility for their academic work, which includes completing work in a timely manner, communicating with teachers early if issues arise, and demonstrating academic integrity.

Our guidelines will help us all live out our mission and values in challenging times.


Before we get to the guidelines, we need to talk about equity. Mid-Pen’s teachers, administrators, and staff all understand that each student comes from a unique place and circumstance. Some students find it easy to find a quiet workspace at home; other students may have to share a room with siblings and parents studying or working from home; still other students may find it necessary to babysit younger siblings during school hours.

Please know that we are cognizant of these challenges that some of our students and families face. If, for any reason, a student or family cannot follow one or more of our guidelines, please communicate early with teachers to let them know. For example, if a student needs to babysit siblings, they can work out with their teachers when and how to manage camera use. We hope that students and families feel comfortable speaking to a Mid-Pen adult (teacher, Core advisor, trusted administrator, etc.) should they need reasonable accommodations. 

We also appreciate that it may be difficult for students and families, especially those new to our community, to reach out proactively for help. The beginning of a school year is always a time when trust and respect are first established, and it can be challenging to do so with distance learning. Classroom and Core teachers will do their best to be mindful of students' struggles and will aim to reach out proactively.

Aspects of the above are based on the work of the American School in Japan, Lick-Wilmerding High School, Sacred Heart Preparatory, San Francisco University High School, Urban School, and Woodside Priory. We thank them for sharing their thinking with us, and we encourage other schools to use our handbook to help develop their own.

(Updated August 11, 2020)