Tiger Talk! August 14, 2020

August 14, 2020

Hello Friends,

I am sure you are tired of my long letters, but we keep planning and moving “forward in faith,” as our individual school plan falls nicely into place. I am so happy to share this next round of information. Thank you for your surveys! At this point, results show 70% of students will return to full instruction on-site, and 30% will choose remote learning.

This past week I was able to meet separately with all four teacher levels. I thank them SO MUCH for their time and ideas. They were a tremendous help ironing out details for us. We ended up revising the one schedule I was trying to make for remote learning to sync with in-person instruction. We left with four separate schedules by level that are tailored to best fit each age group’s needs. I can’t express strongly enough how lucky we are to have these professionals in our building. They didn’t take the (one schedule) slightly easier way out, where they would teach only the four major subjects and have extra teachers to relieve them for breaks. They chose to be in class all day from 7:30-3 with no scheduled breaks, offering full on-camera remote access for those choosing to homeschool. They will teach with the camera facing the Smart board/front of the room all day.  Middle school teachers will move between classes. Younger students will have one invitation to join the class (with a code) and stay logged in all day. Middle school students will have three to four codes; one for each teacher. These codes will come via email and can be used all year through Google. The camera may be turned off after each class, for transitions, when students have lunch and snack breaks, and at recess.

Know that if you choose remote learning it is a form of homeschooling, and you will be required to have your child attend class all day. The students at home will be muted to avoid class disruptions. Teachers will tell you how to ask them questions. This question time will not likely be in live time, as the priority and focus will be on those in the classroom. This varies for each grade. Fourth through Eighth graders will be able to use chat and email on their own and may interact. The younger students will need full parent support.

My teachers are so dedicated and ready to get back to work. I talk daily to many principals in this state and throughout the country, and I can tell you that we are offering the best option for our families, thanks to the willingness and flexibility of our teaching staff and our integrated technology. Here is what we know now, a week later! Again, anything can change at the state level. Regardless, we are ready for whatever life brings us!

Meet the Teacher Day! 

We decided to offer an “Optional Meet the Teacher Day” on Friday, August 28th from 12-3 pm. Teachers will send out a sign-up genius for their homeroom families to meet if they are interested. It will be outdoors, rain or shine. These will be in 15-minute time slots (Please be prompt and do not congregate).

Everyone, Please take note of your location for Meet the Teacher Day:

Pre-K, K,1, and 2  Kindergarten Courtyard to the right of the school

Grades 3-5 Main entrance on the front patio

Grades 6-8 Outside of the back gym doors (between the gym and rectory)

VERY IMPORTANT! Start of School Staggered Start Dates: 

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR GRADES 3 to 8 WILL BE SEPTEMBER 3rd! It will be a full day of school. Remote learning will start that day as well.

 AFTERCARE STARTS SEPTEMBER 3rd!

SEPTEMBER 1st and 2nd will be NOON DISMISSALS for half of the students in grades Pre-K through Second Grade ONLY! 

We will have a staggered return to school so that we can distribute books/iPads to remote learners. Primary teachers (PreK-2) will teach from 8-12 noon, and upper-level teachers will distribute belongings to all remote learners from 12-3 pm. It will be based on last names, so be sure to come to school on the correct day with last names beginning A-L on September 1st and last names beginning M-Z on September 2nd.  

Remote learners: All books and iPads will be prepared and packed in a bag or crate for you to pick up at school for all remote learners on September 1st and 2nd. Please know your date based on your last name and location based on grade level. Only those belongings will be prepared on the assigned date. Arrive anytime between Noon and 3 pm. 

No sign-up genius will be sent for this. Parents may have to wait their turn if they come at the same time. However, it should be very minimal traffic, based on numbers.

Tuesday, September 1st: First Day for in-person Preschool through Second Grade learners whose last names begin with letters A to LOnly preschool through Grade Two (last name beginning A-L) will be in the building. It will be a noon dismissal. That day, from noon to 3 pm, 3rd through 8th-grade teachers will hand out books and iPads for anyone doing remote learning (Last name beginning A to L ONLY) in grades PK-8. Please note the pick-up locations, as that is where your supplies will be. 

(Main patio) PreK-Fourth Grade remote learning materials will be distributed by Ms. Frederick, Ms. Waritz, and Ms. Cripps.

(Gym patio) 5th through 8th Grade remote learning materials and iPads will be distributed by Mrs. Achenbach, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Limmina, and Mr. Colligan.

Wednesday, Sept. 2nd – Same exact plan as Sept. 1st  except with only PreK-2nd graders reporting with names ending M to Z. All Students with names ending A-L will remain at home that day*Noon dismissal.

*Remote learners with last names ending M-Z will pick up the same as above. Same locations!

Thursday, September 3rd – All students Preschool through 8th Grade will be present. This will be DAY ONE for 3rd through 8th grade, a full day for all, and the first day of remote learning in all grades! I can’t wait! 

Important Note…

New building entrances for the school day: To keep children in safe cohorts and with limited exposure to any other class, we will utilize all available entrances. This will be your child’s entrance and exit every day for at least the first 6 weeks. Remember, every child (Preschool through 8th Grade) must wear a mask to enter our building. There are NO exceptions! Nobody enters the building except students and staff for the first six weeks of school. We hope to be able to ease up on these restrictions as soon as possible.

Entrances are as follows! 

Preschool 3– 9th and Scott Street side doors. The teacher is present. The assistant waits in class.

Preschool 4– 10th and Scott Street side doors. The teacher is present and the assistant waits in the classroom.

Kindergarten-  Kindergarten side door in the paved courtyard. The teacher will greet students outside and escort them in. The teacher assistant will be in the classroom.

First Grade and Fifth Grade– Main entrance to the building. Mr. Shields will greet students at the door and send them directly to their classrooms.

Second, Third, and Fourth Grades– Back door Gym entrance (the path between gym and rectory). Mr. Colligan and  Mrs. Angelo will great them and be sure they go directly to class. Mrs. Angelo will keep an eye in the hallway on the main floor to avoid congregating.

Sixth through Eighth Grade – Students will enter and exit using the cafeteria (Ballad Room) double doors on 10th Street. I will greet them and send them directly up the back stairwell to their classes. Mrs. Burbage will stand in the hallway on the top floor (outside of the library) to be sure students go directly to class.

Our school day will remain at 7:30 am 3:00 pm. At dismissal, teachers will walk all students outside using the designated exit doors. Your child’s teacher may assign you a number code for picking up your child at dismissal. Please do not take it personally. I really do not recognize anyone with masks on. We need to be safe! Each child will be assigned a number. You will simply say your child’s name and code number. Please be sure to share this number with grandparents/friends who may also pick up. 

Friends,

I think we are offering the best program possible. I am so proud that my teachers are willing to teach online all day, every day.  I know this is new, but they are already almost pros! Last year was practice for the real deal this year.

We are able to offer our remote families a full day of curriculum, five days a week. Thank you to my staff! Your child’s teacher may share the teaching schedule on the first day of school or sooner. Homeschool parents, please be prepared to have your student attend class from 8 am-2:45 pm each day. Obviously the preschooler remote learning day will have a mid-day break due to nap time.

Please be prepared daily when you drop your child off. We are not permitted to use our water fountains! Please be sure to send water bottles, lunch (or order it), and snacks for your child to last them all day (and through aftercare). No food or drinks will be distributed to anyone from our staff (other than our cafeteria service at lunch). I will provide more details about lunch later. Mrs. Michele has some ideas for selling snacks. This will be different from previous years. If you forget your child’s lunch, water bottles, or snack, you will be called to return with them.  There will be no charging lunches and ordering that day. Meals will be prepared based on lunch menus only.

Recess will be outside. Teachers will teach outside as often as possible, so that teachers and children may remove masks. Fresh air is important. Children will have access to play equipment, and it will be sanitized frequently.  We will install cellular access points outside of Kindergarten, the gym, and the main lobby. Therefore, iPads will work outside, close to the building.

We will still do our emergency drills. We will begin with a Code Yellow in September with me guiding it and walking and talking everyone through it. I will also do one announced fire drill, and it will be the same as always- fast exit and quiet. The only difference is it will require a mask for everyone (including preschool). This will be done in late September.

We also have walkie talkies for every teacher. We are able to communicate with classrooms in various ways (PA system, walkie talkies, email, and cell phones). School safety remains a top priority!

COVID-19 testing for staff! 

All staff members will have COVID Testing the week before school starts and will have results prior to our return. After this initial testing, we will all be retested monthly (25% of us per week at a time).

Specials:

Kindergarten through 5th Grades will have no specials during the first week of school. During the second week of school, we will add gym! That schedule will be determined later. Special teachers will now be helping with these new protocols and assisting homeroom teachers throughout the day.

Attendance

We will still call those parents of absent children. We may use the school messenger phone call option. This will only apply to in-person learners. Class attendance for remote learners will be taken by the teacher and entered directly into Powerschool.

A student absent from remote learning will have to see a peer about what they missed. Teachers will not provide additional work or 1:1 re-teaching. Since we are available all day, we will not record any classes. They will all happen in real-time. If a family chooses remote learning, the responsibility falls with the parent to stay on top of lessons. I have great faith and total confidence in you! Our parents did an outstanding job from March through June. You got this!

I am sorry this is so lengthy. Believe it or not, this is not everything I still need to share. But it is a great start! I will be back in touch next week. Enjoy the remaining weeks of what will surely go down in history as one of the most interesting summers of all time.

“Let us thank all those who teach in Catholic schools. Educating is an act of love; it is like giving life.” ~ Pope Francis

Stay well and be safe!

Mrs. White 🙂

Please excuse typographical errors!