ACS Newsletter 8/23/2020
CONSTRUCTION & SCHOOL PLANNING UPDATE
We are very excited about our upcoming school year which starts on September 8th! Our building and outside areas are looking like a real school! This week they began to install the outside lighting and hung the ALAMANCE COMMUNITY SCHOOL letters on the front of the building! That was quite a treat to see! Each day, something new is installed and/or completed! Our school is going to be so beautiful!!
We remain committed to opening with Plan B & strictly following the health and safety guidelines from the NCDHHS. We do need your kindness, support, empathy, and cooperation. I ask again for you to please be patient with us as we navigate not only opening a new school, but also opening school during the coronavirus. We all face many challenges and some of our plans may work and some may not. Know that our intent is good and every decision we are making is to ensure that all staff and students are safe, that learning resumes in a meaningful and purposeful way, and that we can open and stay open.
Since there is so much information each week, I will put the newer information at the top of the newsletter.
ASSESSMENTS: Virtual assessments/sessions will occur this week. Everyone should have received the information about the sign up times and sign up genius links via email on August 19 for K and 1st grade virtual assessments and the 2nd and 3rd grade one-on-one virtual sessions. You must have a current email in the SchoolMint system. We cannot send this information via text message. If you signed up via Sign Up Genius, the link for the virtual assessment/session will be emailed to you.
TEACHER ASSIGNMENTS, COHORT ASSIGNMENTS (M/T OR TH/F), & SCHEDULES: All families (Plan B & All Remote) will receive notiﬁcation regarding teacher assignments and the daily schedules for in person learning and remote learning on September 1. Families choosing Plan B (in person 2 days per week & remote), will receive their Cohort Group assignment (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) on September 1.
ACS VIRTUAL SCHOOL TOUR & CURRICULUM NIGHT & DRIVETHROUGH OPEN HOUSE: On Wednesday, September 2, we will have a Virtual Curriculum Night, Virtual Meet the Teacher, & Virtual School Tour. The grade level teams will explain the daily schedules, the ﬁrst six weeks of school, expectations, and the curriculum.
Since our parking lot and carline will be completed, we will host a DriveThrough Open House event at the ACS campus in the evening on Thursday, September 3. At the Drive-Through Open House, we will have locations where you can drop off your donated books, supplies, etc. We know that many of us (staff, students, and parents) feel a bit anxious about starting the year at a new school, in addition to starting school in a very different way. Our goal is to alleviate any anxiety or stress before our ﬁrst day of school. We want to provide an opportunity for students, parents, and teachers to “meet” each other and “see” the school. We are busy planning for these events and will share more details by September 1.
Thank you to many of you that have completed your child’s registration this past week. We have gone from 150 incomplete registrations to under 100. However, we still need your help! We cannot request your student's records, make teacher assignments, and assign them to a cohort until their registration is completed in SchoolMint! Please take time - ASAP - to complete the registration process for your students. If you have questions about completing your student's registration, please email: email@example.com.
We know that this is a very stressful time for everyone and some of you may be having difﬁculty uploading some of your student's registration documents and completing the Registration Process.
You can bring us a hard copy of these documents on Tuesday from 12:00 – 3:00 and we can take a copy or we can scan the document/s with our iPhone or iPad. We will then send the documents to our data processors to upload to your SchoolMint account so that you can Complete the Registration Process for your student. ACS will have someone at Crosslink Community Church in Mebane on: Tuesday, August 25 from 12:00 - 3:00 PM
The documents that we can take a copy or scan for you are:
‣ Birth Certiﬁcate
‣ Proof of Residency
‣ Parent/Guardian Identiﬁcation
‣ Student Health & Immunizations
We will also have someone at Crosslink on Wednesday from 10 - 4 for families that need more assistance with the registration process than just dropping off a document or needing a document scanned.
To ensure everyone's safety, on Tuesday and Wednesday, someone will be located at Crosslink outside at the back of the church under the awning.
You do not have to park. You can stay in your car and drive up to our spot under the awning in the drive-through lane at the back of the church and we will assist you.
Crosslink Community Church is located at: 3445 Old Hillsborough Rd, Mebane, NC 27302
PLAN B & THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL - SEPTEMBER 8TH:
With Plan B, we will implement a Monday/Tuesday schedule for Group 1 (half the class) and a Thursday/Friday for Group 2 (the other half of the class) with Wednesday as a deep cleaning day in between the two groups and then another deep cleaning on Friday after dismissal. When students are not physically present in school, they are participating in remote learning.
Given that our ﬁrst day of school for students is Tuesday, September 8th, this means that Group 1 will only attend 1 day (on Tuesday) and Group 2 will attend on their regular days - Thursday/Friday (2 days).
We have notiﬁed all the families that qualify for a loaner device from ACS. We will distribute the loaner devices to the parents/ guardians of those students on September 8th, the ﬁrst day of school.
We have been researching for families some devices that are a minimal investment and would be able to run Raz Plus, IXL, Google Meet, and Seesaw - which is what the elementary students will need to be able to do on a device. They will not need something incredibly complicated or “fancy”. We have created an ACS 2020-21 Remote Learning Device Buying Guide to assist families with purchasing devices for their students. Here is the link to the ACS 2020-21 Remote Learning Device Buying Guide
Even though Crosslink wasn’t an option for in person assessments before school starts on September 8th, one aspect of the Ready to Open requirements by NCDPI and the Ofﬁce of Charter Schools for all new charter schools is to secure a temporary site with an Education Certiﬁcate of Occupancy (CO) as a contingency location. My job as the Managing Director is to plan for every possible scenario, which at times has been quite challenging during a pandemic. Right now, we are on track to open on September 8th with Plan B (reduced capacity) regardless of if it is at 195 Kronbergs Court in Haw River or at Crosslink Community Church. I cannot nor can anyone predict what will happen with manufacturing, the delivery of goods and equipment, etc. due to the coronavirus. By obtaining a temporary permit to use Crosslink Community Church, we are ready for any situation
MASK WEARING & BREAKS:
The Governor has said that all students & staff in Kindergarten - 12th grade are required to wear a mask at school. As of today, the ONLY exception to this is is a child (or staff member) has a medical or behavioral disability and cannot wear a cloth face mask. However, they will need to wear a face shield. We will handle these situations on a case by case basis. We know that wearing masks will be difﬁcult for most students and staff. Therefore, breaks will be built into the daily schedule for staff and students to go outside, stay 6 feet apart, and take off their masks. Breaks will be taken at the teachers discretion and as often as they determine are needed. Teachers will be able to conduct lessons outside, as weather permits and social distancing can be maintained, to allow children and staff to remove their masks for longer periods of time.
REMOTE LEARNING & GUIDELINES FOR ATTENDANCE & ASSIGNMENTS:
During remote learning, the state has given us very clear guidelines regarding attendance & the submission of assignments for days that students are at home for remote learning. In Senate Bill 704 that was adopted by the State Legislature on May 20, 2020 it states:
• Schools must ensure that remote instructional time, practice, and application components support learning growth that continues towards mastery of the standard course of study. The Plan shall include work measurement guidelines appropriate to each grade level, including deadlines for submission of assignments and methods to assess and grade learning during remote instruction.
• Schools must track and report attendance on remote instruction days, including protocols for determining attendance, the reporting system to be used, and how attendance procedures will be communicated to parents before remote instruction begins.
If you choose to enroll your children at Alamance Community School, on the remote learning days there will be expectations for recording daily attendance, following the ACS curriculum which is aligned to the NC Standard Course of Study, participating in the school and state assessment program, and completing all the assignments that are given by the teacher. All families will be expected to sign an electronic acknowledgement form that they have read the ACS Remote Learning & School Entry Plan, in addition to the ACS Parent Student Handbook. The acknowledgement form will be sent later in August.
We are trying to be ﬂexible with families since we know that many parents have to work during the day. However, the expectation is that assignments (that are grade and age level appropriate) will be completed, even though students might complete their assigned work at different times or a teacher records attendance at different times throughout the day. All families during the remote learning days will need to complete the assignments given by the teacher and the teacher will take attendance - just like they would during "normal" school. Per the state, we will have multiple ways to collect attendance on a school day, Monday - Friday.
A student is considered present for daily attendance during a remote learning day:
• If a student completes their daily assignments, either ofﬂine or online
• Using Seesaw to complete assignments & tasks given by the ACS teacher
• Logging in to watch recorded lessons and meetings
• Using Raz-Plus to complete independent reading and tasks
• Using IXL Math to complete math tasks and practice and/or
If a student uses a daily check-in via:
• Live Whole Class Morning Meetings
• Live Virtual Specials
• Live Interactive Read Alouds
• Live Small Guided Reading and Math Groups
• Live and Recorded Empathy and Social-Emotional Learning Lessons, read alouds, & check-ins during the week
• Daily Google Check-in Form - this will be a very quick & simple form that can be submitted
GENESIS ATHLETICS VIRTUAL LEARNING CAMPS, BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL:
Genesis Athletics, our Before & After School Care provider, has been actively planning how to ensure parents feel supported and students are learning during remote learning. The reality is many parents are or will have to physically return to work. In order to alleviate the pressures and stress that come with ﬁnding reliable and safe childcare as well as ﬁnding the time to support their online learning, Genesis Athletics in collaboration with Alamance Community School is offering an off-campus program to support families. The goal of the program is to provide safe and reliable childcare, as well as providing a space and time for students to complete their school work. The Genesis Athletics Virtual Learning Camp will be offered 5 days a week. The days that students are not on campus for school, this is an alternative to a babysitter or large childcare facility. The Camps will have a structured schedule with a designated times students will get on their personal devices and complete their assigned school work for the day with the support of a staff member and other classmates. If you have any questions, or if you would like more information, please contact Evelyn Kreiley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 585-738-7360.
RECESS AND BREAKS:
“How will recess and other non-classroom activities will look during the coronavirus and Plan B reduced capacity?” The CDC guidelines and in “Lighting the Way Forward: North Carolina’s Guidebook for Reopening Public Schools” states that in Plan B (reduced capacity), we must “avoid mixing students in common areas.” For example, we will need to stagger recess by class, restrict hallway use, and avoid taking multiple classes to the restrooms. Furthermore, we are to ensure that there is at least 6 feet between staff and students in any outdoor setting. On July 20th, the NC Department of Health and Human Services stated that schools are “not to use larger playground equipment that cannot be disinfected between uses until social distancing requirements can be eased”.
Therefore, as you can see, based on these guidelines, recess becomes quite problematic to ensure the safety of the students and staff. We will still have 30 minutes of recess, short movement breaks, and breaks to go outside and remove the masks (while staying at least 6 feet apart).
Recess will look and feel different than it has in the past. We are looking at purchasing individual play equipment, such as jump ropes, hula hoops, balls, sidewalk chalk, etc. that students can use separately when outdoors, in addition to having physical activities that students could do individually, such as yoga, zumba, calisthenics, etc. With the NC ACCESS Grant, I have asked to purchase outdoor furniture (nice metal picnic tables, etc.) for outdoor classrooms for this fall. This will enable us to ﬁnd places on our campus that will be conducive for creating some nice outdoor classroom spaces. However, we will need to invest in some good “tents” for shade. I know that we are going to need assistance from families with donations of individual play equipment and shade for the outdoor furniture/classrooms.
Click here to see our Amazon ACS Recess, Outdoor, & Technology Wish List that families can purchase items and donate to the school. Of course, you may be able to ﬁnd these items (hula hoops, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, etc.) at other locations for a better price. Also, many teachers are hoping to get enough hula hoops to also help children with social distancing.
Leslie Paynter, M.Ed.
We are currently looking for an experienced Bus Driver with their CDL license and a safe driving record. So far, we have had ﬁve interviews with potential candidates and unfortunately, none of them were viable options. We have continued to advertise, but are not receiving any qualiﬁed applicants. If you know of someone that might be interested in some part - time work, please have them email me at: email@example.com
FAVORITE ARTICLE FOR THE WEEK TO SUPPORT REMOTE LEARNING & SCHOOL REOPENING
This article in Kid’s Heath entitled Coronavirus (COVID-19): Helping Kids Get Used to Masks, has some really good advice and tips to help your child get used to wearing a mask before school begins on September 8th.
BOX TOPS FOR EDUCATION
ALAMANCE COMMUNITY SCHOOL
School ID: 9683495
Download the ALL-NEW Box Tops app. Register & type in Alamance Community School to link your account. Shop as you normally would, then simply scan your store receipts to ﬁnd participating products. The app will automatically credit your school's Box Tops earnings online. It’s so easy!!
SCHOOLMINT & REGISTRATION
The start of the school year is quickly approaching and there are still 98 registrations that have not been completed. We need your help! We cannot request your student's records, make teacher assignments, and assign them to a cohort until their registration is completed in SchoolMint!
Please take time - ASAP - to complete the registration process for your students. We need this information to complete class lists, cohort assignments, and student curriculum accounts.
If you have questions about completing your student's registration, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEFORE & AFTER CARE
The Before and After School information provided by Genesis Athletics is on our website at: Before & After School Care. There is a Registration Form that you can complete. If you have any questions, or if you would like more information, please contact Evelyn Kreiley at
email@example.com or at 585-738-7360
Be sure to tell your friends and family that they can still apply to attend ACS for the 2020-2021 school year. Here is the link to apply: ACS Application
CALL FOR EXTRA LEGOs, BLOCKS, BUILDING TOYS & BOOKS
If you are doing “spring cleaning”, we would love to have any extra Puzzles, LEGOS, blocks, and building materials for our LEGO/Engineering class and classrooms. Also, if you have children’s books (all levels) that you are no longer using, please set those aside for us too!
ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES
HOW TO TALK TO CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19
The National Association of School Psychologists has developed this resource for parents regarding how to talk to children about COVID-19. National Association of School Psychologists
LARRY FERLAZZO - NY TIMES BLOGGER - TEACHING K-12 ONLINE RESOURCES
HIGH QUALITY FREE WEBSITES & APPS - High Quality Educational Resources and Apps
FREE BOOSTERTHON RESOURCES - Boosterthon Access Code: AtHome Boosterthon on Facebook
GUIDANCE FROM NCDHHS on SCHOOL REOPENING SAFETY - StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12)
NC Kids - NC Kids is a digital library with online books available in ebook, video, and audio formats. The library collection ranges from beginning reader to young adult. You can also access these books on the go with the Libby App from NC Kids. A library card is required in order to borrow books from this digital library.
STORYLINE - Storyline, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.
Don’t forget to check our website and Facebook page for previous messages & more school information! www.alamancecommunityschool.net and