Birchwood Home-Study

In response to Ohio’s COVID-19 “Stay at Home” order, Birchwood has transitioned to home-study instruction. While our utmost concern is the safety and wellness of our community during this challenging time, we remain committed to equipping children to lead a life of becoming – growing, thriving and flourishing – through the development of intellect and character.

On this page, you will find video messages from our Head of School Mr. Debelak and our Director of Curriculum Mrs. Debelak, examples of student “virtual planners” by grade level, ways our community is staying virtually connected, how you can connect with Birchwood, and a link to all of our coronavirus communications and other important resources and galleries.

Stay in touch by revisiting this page, submitting your stories/videos, and following Birchwood on social media.

Mr. & Mrs. Debelak’s Welcome to Birchwood’s Home-Study

Virtual Planners

Students work from virtual planners that are updated each week and sent to both the students and parents. The hope is that students utilize the time from 9 am to noon on their assignments each day for the sake of joint activities. The amount of time spent varies by grade level and student’s needs or interests. Flexibility and understanding are emphasized, knowing that each family’s circumstances are different and times may vary depending on each family.

Additionally, teachers set aside virtual office hours from 9 am to noon and between 3 and 4 pm to help students, parents, or caregivers thrive in the midst of these circumstances. We invite you to click below to see an example of the weekly communication that is shared with kindergarten families as well as a virtual planner for second grade and sixth grade Birchwood students:

K Weekly News

2nd Grade Virtual Planner

6th Grade Virtual Planner

Google Classroom and Zoom

Students individual assignments are uploaded by subject specialists in Google Classroom each morning. There, students see what assignments they will be working on that day in reading, math, science, language arts, social studies, gym, art, or Creative Problem Solving. They also receive notifications regarding Zoom classes/meetings for the day as well as any links from teachers regarding assignments, instructional videos, messages of encouragement, and feedback regarding past work. 

An inititative unique to Birchwood is a new cross-disciplinary program, begun with students in grades 5-8, called the My Pandemic Curation Project. Social studies teacher, Mr. Joe Parrino, kicked off the project by discussing the power of a primary source in this video to his students.

Messages to Students from the Head of School

Connecting with our Families  

Each week, Birchwoods Head of School, Mr. Charles Debelak, connects with students and families through videos that inspire by applauding the wonderful work students are doing, discuss with parents the silver lining of cultivating self-agency, and explain the mechanics of new programming as Birchwoods home-study program continues to evolve to best serve our students and families.

Read Aloud

Preschool through eighth grade students are enjoying the benefits of storytelling via video and live storytelling times using Zoom. During their home-study, Birchwood students are continuing on their journey to become avid readers by enjoying and celebrating good literature during at-home readling times and as they hear the language of good stories and the style of great authors as teachers read aloud some of the best in children’s literature. Classics and award-winning literature, from times past and today, are fostering a love of reading and respect for literature’s place in life and development.

7th & 8th Grade Leadership Team

Members of Birchwood’s seventh and eighth grade Leadership Team are working with their Birchwood advisors to come up with creative ways to communicate a variety of themes to our community during our home-study, via video messages. Working together, students and staff have created and shared Birchwood’s quote of the week from our “finish strong” fourth quarter character campaign, a fun ditty from a popular nursery rhyme as part of the April 20-24 Community Engagement theme of “spring cleaning,” and weekly special birthday celebration messages.

Celebration of Community

The Birchwood community has always thrived because of the close partnership between the school, parents, and students. Through this unique change that we all are facing, the comradery and celebration of community have blossomed within Birchwood’s Google Classroom and on our Facebook page. Here our students and families participate together to celebrate weekly themes such as Fine Arts Week, Harvest for Hunger, and Family Games Week.

Interested in Scheduling a Tour

Our Admissions Office is Open  

During this time when our physical campus is closed due to COVID-19, our Admissions Office is open remotely. We invite you to connect with Birchwoods Director of Admissions Linda Miyares to learn more about Birchwood School of Hawken, ask questions, and begin the admissions process. You can email Linda at

Share Your Story

Dear Birchwood families – we invite you to share your home-study experiences with us. We welcome your stories and videos. Please send them to Director of Marketing & Public Relations Cindy McNaughton at

Coronavirus Communications

Birchwood School of Hawken is closely monitoring coronavirus updates, including recommendations put out by the CDC and local health organizations, to ensure that we make well-informed decisions with regard to risk management. Please click here for links to coronavirus communications sent to our community.
These days of uncertainty make us reflect on who and what truly matters. We have become even more aware of how much we appreciate our school and its people. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for all the work and effort you put in to keep the learning and community life going right now. The transition to online schooling for us and our kids has been smooth. We are impressed with the speedy yet thoughtful and compassionate way of establishing this new routine.
Birchwood Parent