It’s hard to believe that the start of our school year is almost here! Building and opening a
school during the coronavirus has been a long and challenging adventure, however I know the moment we see our first student on September 8th, the stress and anxiety of the past several months will have been worth it! We are honored and humbled that you are entrusting us with the education of your children.
Many of the staff expressed how much they enjoyed meeting our future students last week during the virtual assessments. I chuckled when a parent let me know that her child was disappointed when the “testing” was over. 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).
Participating in classes and being fully engaged with their teachers on the first day and every day is integral for our student’s achievement. Enrollment, school attendance, and participation have serious financial ramifications and determines our funding levels so it is critical that all of our students, in person and remote, complete their registrations, check in with their teachers, and are engaged on the first day. With 88 incomplete registrations, not only is it difficult to finalize the class lists, it also complicates our budgeting and fiscal planning. Therefore, it is imperative that if you still need to complete your child’s registration, you do this before Tuesday, September 1st. If you have questions about completing your student's registration, please email: email@example.com.
Our hope is to send out Teacher and Cohort (Group 1 - M/T or Group 2 - TH/F) assignments on September 1st. However, the state system, PowerSchool, where all of the student information is entered to create class lists and assign teachers has been having technical difficulties and at times has shut down. Also, significantly more families chose Group 1 (M/T) as their preferred cohort. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide Group 1 (M/T) to all that listed it as their preferred days. Therefore, priority must go to the families that truly need the Mon/Tues cohort for work or childcare.I will keep you posted if there is a delay with the teacher assignment notifications with PowerSchool on September 1st.
We are excited about our Virtual Curriculum Night on Wednesday, September 2nd and
the Drive-Through Open House on Thursday, September 3rd.
ACS VIRTUAL CURRICULUM NIGHT, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2: The grade level teams will explain & answer questions about the daily schedules, the first six weeks of school, expectations, the curriculum, and attendance. A Zoom link for the Grade Level Virtual Curriculum Night will be sent Tuesday evening via email. The presentations will begin at the time listed below. We have staggered the times so that families with children in multiple grade levels can attend. The presentation will be sent to families after the event, so if you are unable to attend, you will be able to view the slide show.
TEAM VIRTUAL CURRICULUM NIGHT TIMES:
• Kindergarten @ 5:15 PM
• 2nd Grade @ 6:00 PM
• 3rd Grade @ 6:30 PM
• 1st Grade @ 7:00 PM
DRIVE-THROUGH OPEN HOUSE ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3rd
To avoid possible traffic issues, cars must continue to move and we are staggering the times for each grade level. Families with children in multiple grade levels can come at the time they prefer. If you have classroom supplies, have them bagged and ready to go and you can hand the bag of supplies out of the window to the correct grade level team. Because this is a drive-through slowly and wave event, cars and staff cannot stop and chat.
If you have a larger donation to drop off (books, blocks, recess equipment,etc.) or if you need to complete your registration for childcare with Genesis Athletics, you will do this first and will be directed to the back of the building on the gym side. After you drop off your donation and/or register, you will rejoin the drive-through open house line.
Drive-through Times: (Families with children in multiple grade levels can come at the time they prefer)
• Third Grade @ 5:30 PM
• Second Grade @ 5:45 PM
• First Grade @ 6:00 PM
• Kindergarten @ 6:15 PM
*More Drive-Through Open House details and a map of the route will be sent to families on Wednesday, September 2nd.*
On Friday, I received word from the NCDHHS that we could have the Genesis Athletics Virtual Learning Camps on site as long as we could isolate them from mixing with the other cohort and we continued to follow the safety guidelines. Since we have some unused rooms, I am very pleased to announce that we have arranged for the Genesis Athletics Virtual Learning Camps to operate at ACS, in addition to the Before & After School Care. The Virtual Learning Camp students & staff will have access to their own entrance and exit and their own bathrooms. We feel this is a huge benefit for our families! Available spots are limited based on cohort selection, so if you are interested in the on-site (at ACS) Genesis Athletics Virtual Learning Camp, you will want to enroll ASAP! Please contact Evelyn Kreiley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 585-738-7360.
As I stated in last week’s newsletter, we remain committed to opening with Plan B & strictly following the health and safety guidelines from the NC Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS). More than ever, we will 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.
EASY ACS FUNDRAISING!!
SHOP AMAZON, SUPPORT ACS
Anytime you shop Amazon, you have the opportunity to support Alamance Community School. Start your shopping at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/84-2196063 and a portion of your eligible purchases will be donated to ACS!
You can also select ACS as your Smile charity of choice. Visit smile.amazon.com and sign in with your Amazon username and password, if you are not automatically logged in. Click get started and then search for Alamance Community School to choose your charity and continue through the set-up process to confirm.
SUPPORT ACS WHILE GROCERY SHOPPING @ HARRIS TEETER
ACS is participating in Harris Teeter’s Together in Education program! Our account number for ALAMANCE COMMUNITY SCHOOL is 6842. You can simply tell your cashier (during check-out) that you want ACS’s account number (6842) linked to your Harris Teeter VIC card. Once the account number is linked, every time you shop during the program, 2% of your Harris Teeter brand purchases will be contributed by Harris Teeter to our account. It’s that easy!
BISCUITVILLE BREAKFAST AFTER DARK FUNDRAISER - MEBANE ON OCTOBER 13th
For just one night each year, Biscuitville reopens all of their restaurants from 5 PM to 8 PM and serve breakfast for dinner. 20% of all sales that evening are contributed to participating schools and local community organizations. ACS is registered to participate on Tuesday, October 13th at the Mebane Biscuitville location.
We are currently still looking for an experienced Bus Driver with their CDL license and a safe driving record! We are continuing to advertise and really want to provide this service to our families that need transportation! However, if we cannot find a driver, we cannot run the bus. If you know of someone that might be interested in some part-time work, please have them email me at: email@example.com
Leslie Paynter, M.Ed.
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
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
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.
FAVORITE ARTICLE FOR THE WEEK TO SUPPORT REMOTE LEARNING & SCHOOL REOPENING
"4 Strategies to Help Students Feel Calm During Distance Learning" by Lori Desautels in Edutopia Ways to guide elementary students to regulate their emotions and feel connected to their teacher and peers so they’re ready to learn.
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 88 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
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