Upper School Online Learning Plan

We want to keep our PDS community connected! Send us photos, brief videos and reflections that we can share on our PDS digital platforms about Panthers Online learning HERE!

A Note About Technology:

  • Please review the Acceptable Use policy and technology guidelines in your PDS Handbook.
  • If you have questions about the apps you have installed that are being used to facilitate Panthers Online learning, contact Lauren Ledley, US Technology Coordinator at lledley@pds.org.
  • Please check the status page for updates regarding the status of Schoology, Seesaw and other school technology platforms.
  • Contact help@pds.org if you have technology access issues not related to issues that providers such as Schoology and Seesaw are experiencing.

Coursework Assignments, Instruction, and Communication

By the start of each 7-day cycle, coursework will be posted on Schoology for that cycle of classes. Updates will be provided on Sunday nights.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to check Schoology and their PDS email EVERY SCHOOL DAY, beginning at 8:00am. Attendance via advisors takes place at 8:30am.

Lessons and/or Assignments

  • Teachers will create a lesson and/or assignment for each class meeting during the 7-day rotation.
  • Classes will be asynchronous (learning is delivered as online instruction and assignments, and classes are not occurring with the class members at the same time).
  • Students can expect approximately 1 hour of work per class meeting each school day.
  • Students are expected to complete and submit the daily assignments and classwork by 8:00pm.

Office Hours/Teacher Student Communication

Teachers are available to “meet” virtually with their students 1:1 during the school day. They are available both during class time or by appointment during the school day until 3:45pm.


  • Advisors will continue to be the primary point people for advisees.
  • Every school-day morning via email or Schoology, Upper School advisors will communicate with their advisees. Students will have until 3:00pm to reply.
  • Synchronous (virtual advisory group) meetings will be held during Advisory Block on Day 1 of each cycle, 9:15 -9:55am, either via Schoology or GoogleMeet.


  • At 8:30am each school day, advisors will reach out to their advisees and take attendance.  Students must reply to their advisor by 3:00pm and acknowledge their attendance.
  • Parents/guardians must email Janet Mayo, their class deans, and their advisor if a student is sick.

Other Information About US Remote Programming

Library Resources

The US Library faculty and staff stand ready to help you engage fully with Panthers Online learning!

US Library hours are 8:00am-3:45pm on school days, and the Librarians are available by email for questions and to schedule individual Google Meet times as needed. General times and links will be posted to Schoology and through email for meetings to help with book recommendations, get research help. or just say hello!

Amy Matlack amatlack@pds.org

Nadia Graham ngraham@pds.org

Community Time 

  • Community block (9:15 - 9:55am) will continue to be a time when the Upper School comes together to foster community and connection among our students and faculty through Advisory and Class Meetings, Gathering, Affinity Spaces, Clubs and Council. We will meet both synchronously and asynchronously during Community blocks. Agendas for our Community Time will be published weekly. For information about Student Life contact Dean of Students Elizabeth Monroe. 
  • We also plan to have asynchronous outreach and some synchronous opportunities for community-building and connection during C&C block (2:15-3:20pm).

AP Courses and Exams

AP classes will continue remotely. The College Board has decided to administer shortened 45-minute exams to be taken remotely at home. The College Board is offering free online review courses for faculty and students and is also archiving them for convenient access. For the latest updates from the College Board, please see here.

Health and Wellness Classes

  • Dr. Candy Shah will post on Schoology the necessary materials for the health topics to be covered with written assignments for students to complete and submit.
  • Virtual discussions for some topics will occur during a scheduled Google Meet time assigned to a student.

Athletics and Spring Sports

  • Athletics practices and games will be suspended for the duration of the time that school is out of session.
  • Coaches will communicate with their teams on a weekly basis via email to maintain team connection and offer individual training programs and support.
  • Coaches will be available to answer questions and offer suggestions for individual training
  • Email or call Upper School Athletics Director Tim Williams with general athletic department questions, as he will be checking and responding to emails and phone calls.
  • Expect updates as feasible when there is more clarity about the possibility of resuming school and regional athletics games and tournaments.


  • Samantha Dawson and Alex Portale will be available during school hours to respond to emails and meet virtually by appointment to support students and families regarding school related academic or social emotional areas of concern.
  • For additional mental health and crisis resources please refer to the Mental Health Resources on the pds.org Health page

Learning Support

Samantha Dawson will be available during the school day by email or Google Meet to support students and families during online learning or have needs arise that require accommodations or support.

College Counseling Office

  • The college counselors will continue to provide support to students and parents through email as well as individual and small group virtual meetings.
  • College counselors Sarah Graham, Cindy Michalak, and Christina DeCesare will also have virtual office hours throughout the school day.
  • Parents and students should email your child’s college counselor to schedule phone calls or virtual appointments with one of the college counselors during office hours.
  • College seminar lessons will continue for juniors, with all juniors receiving a new college seminar lesson once per cycle.
  • In particular, with seniors hearing back from colleges this month, we encourage seniors to schedule an appointment with their college counselor by April 5 to discuss the decisions they’ve received.

The primary goal of our College Counseling team is to help ensure that we support our work with seniors, juniors and their families. Please know that college admissions offices are actively discussing how to respond to this unprecedented time—which impacts nearly every high school student in the country—and make changes to next year's admissions cycle accordingly. We'll be sure to keep the students and families with whom we work posted as these updates and changes evolve.

Email, Phone Calls and Virtual Meetings: Email is the best way to contact the college counselors to ask questions or to set up a time to talk. We are also happy to speak with you or your seniors and juniors over the phone or through Google Hangout/Zoom. Please email your child's college counselor directly to schedule a time. Meetings can take place 9:00am-5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

College Seminar: New College Seminar lessons and assignments are shared once per cycle. Following our syllabus and adapting it as needed, our lessons this spring will focus on helping juniors continue to explore colleges remotely and complete application work that can be done at this phase of the process.

Standardized Testing: While some of the recent dates for college admission testing were canceled, colleges are aware of this, and we expect that there will be changes and allowances made in the 2020-2021 admissions cycle in light of this current unprecedented situation. Many colleges, among them HarvardUniversity of VirginiaBoston UniversityTufts University, and Case Western Reserve, have already made statements to that effect, and we believe other colleges will follow suit.

SAT: Multiple test centers around the country canceled their March 14 SAT administration. Nationally, the College Board has now canceled the May 2 SAT administration. The College Board will share additional information regarding future test date registration directly with students who were registered for these exam dates. If you are planning to take/retake the SAT, we recommend registering for the June SAT now. If you are unable to take the June SAT, know that there are currently additional opportunities to do so in August, September, and October (and November and December, for regular decision rounds).

ACT: The April 4 national test date has been canceled. If you are planning to take/retake the ACT, we recommend registering for the June ACT now. If you are unable to take the June ACT, know that there are currently additional opportunities to do so in July, September, and October (and December for regular decision rounds).

Subject Tests: While it's true that a handful of colleges currently state that they "recommend" Subject Tests (no college in the US actually requires them anymore), we anticipate this could change in the next admissions cycle. Students who were planning to take Subject Tests in June or August should discuss these plans with their college counselor, particularly if they now need one/both of those test dates to take an SAT.

Exploring Colleges: Although nearly all colleges have canceled their campus visit opportunities for the foreseeable future, there are still many resources to support juniors in researching colleges. We've discussed many of these resources in college seminar this semester and will continue to highlight steps your students can take. In addition, college admissions offices have been hard at work developing new online tools to help prospective students explore their campuses remotely. These include online information sessions, live chats with admissions officers and current students, and expanded virtual tours. We are also fortunate to have the option of connecting you with some PDS alumni who have attended colleges your juniors are considering. 

And please consider following us on Instagram (@pdscollegecounseling), where we'll be posting snapshots of campuses we've recently visited as well as other information to help you learn more about a variety of colleges

Upper School 7-Day Sample Schedule

  Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Advisory Advisory Check-in
8:00am - 3:00pm
Advisory Check-in
8:00am - 3:00pm
Advisory Check-in
8:00am - 3:00pm
Advisory Check-in
8:00am - 3:00pm
Advisory Check-in
8:00am - 3:00pm
Advisory Check-in
8:00am - 3:00pm
Advisory Check-in
8:00am - 3:00pm
Period 1
8:05am - 9:15am
Community Time
9:15am - 9:55am
Advisory Upper School Gathering    Class Meetings Council Meeting Final Peer Group Meeting
for 9th Grader
Affinity Groups

Period 2
9:55am - 11:05am


Break 1
11:05am - 11:20am

Period 3
11:20am - 12:30pm
12:30pm - 1:05pm
Period 4
1:05pm - 2:10pm

Break 2
2:10pm - 2:15pm

Period 5
2:15pm - 3:20pm
After School:
Teacher will be available "to meet" through 3:45pm
*** Faculty are available for their students during their respective teaching blocks (e.g., if a student has A block with a teacher, that teacher will be available for students during A block).***