Updated: Aug 13, 2020
CONSTRUCTION & SCHOOL PLANNING UPDATE
This past week, work continued on pouring the sidewalks and on Friday, they began paving the parking lots and the carline!! Inside, they were painting and ceiling tiles will be installed this week.
I’ve decided that since I am so short, I want some of those nifty stilts (see picture above)!!
I ask that each of you please read the newsletters from start to ﬁnish each week. My goal is to try and answer or address, to the best of my ability, many of your questions and concerns.
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).
COHORT PREFERENCE SURVEY:
On August 7, the Cohort Preference Survey was sent to families to get information about their preference for the Monday/Tuesday (Group 1) cohort or the Thursday/Friday (Group 2) cohort. Preference priority will he given to families that need certain days due to a work &/or a childcare situation. However, we may not be able to accommodate all preferences. The Cohort Preference Survey is due on Friday, August 14 at 5:00 PM
TEACHER ASSIGNMENTS & CLASS LISTS:
Class lists & teacher assignments will not be made until the end of August. All families (Plan B & All Remote) will receive notiﬁcation regarding teacher assignments on September 1.
ALL REMOTE LEARNING COMMITMENT FORMS:
On Thursday, July 30, we sent the All Remote Learning Commitment Forms to all families if they want to commit to a remote only option. Those forms were due on August 7, however we gave families an extra day and stopped accepting them yesterday on August 8. Families that chose ALL remote learning are “locked in” until November 23 (at the end of the trimester/12 weeks) and cannot change to Plan B until after that time. Now that the forms are in, it looks as if we will be able to assign a teacher or teachers to teach only those remote learning students. We will begin making those decisions and developing a schedule for those students. Teacher assignments, class lists, and an exact daily schedule for the all remote learning students will be given to families on September 1.
If a family on Plan B chooses to switch to all remote learning during the trimester, the same guidelines for remote learning would apply, the family would need to complete a Remote Only Commitment Form, and they would be "locked in" for the Remote Only option until the end of the trimester on November 23.
The Bus Transportation Application was due on August 7 at 5:00 PM. However, we gave families a little more time and they had until yesterday to turn it in. Space on the bus will be very limited to only 22 students and priority will be given to those that transportation is truly a hardship. So far, we have families that reside in Alamance, Orange, and Guilford County that are requesting bus transportation. We will review all the applications and make a determination of who will receive bus transportation. From there, we will look at the addresses and decide the bus route and the community drop off and pick up locations (such as a shopping center or church). We will let families know if they will receive the bus transportation by August 24 and will distribute the bus route/schedule and the community drop off and pick up locations to those families by September 1.
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
On June 21, we sent out a technology survey to determine the technology needs of our families. So that we can begin planning for these needs, the deadline to complete the survey was August 7. Of all the surveys, the Technology Survey has had the most participation with 267 responses. The question was asked: “We have access to technology other than a cell phone (computer, tablet, chromebook, etc.) at our home in case there is a need for virtual/remote learning next year.” Of the 267 responses, 50 families report that their student does not have access to a device. We will make sure that these 50 students have a device to borrow from the school so they can complete their remote learning assignments. Also, the majority of families reported their internet connectivity was either excellent or good. 12% stated their connectivity was fair and 1 person said they had poor internet service. As a new school, we will not receive the CARES ACT funds & resources that the existing schools received last spring. This means that we will not have an abundance of devices or hot spots to loan. Therefore, on our Amazon Wishlist, we will list some devices that families could purchase and donate for a student in need to borrow and use at home.
ASSESSMENTS & CONTINGENCY PLAN:
Part 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. Crosslink Community Church very graciously said that we could use their site temporarily, if needed. However, their CO is not for educational use which is why we ﬁled for a Temporary Use Permit with the City of Mebane. Because our building is under construction and we will not be able to occupy it until September, if we obtain the temporary use permit, there is a possibility that we could use the space to conduct some assessments for Kindergarten - Third Graders in late August. However, the coronavirus may dictate what we can and cannot do for in person assessments, so we are also investigating possible virtual assessments. 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) at 195 Kronbergs Court in Haw River. I cannot nor can anyone predict what will happen with manufacturing, the delivery of goods and equipment, etc. due to the coronavirus. Therefore, if we are able to obtain a temporary permit to use Crosslink Community Church, we will be ready for any situation.
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 email@example.com or at 585-738-7360.
Recess & 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, 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. I will work with our teachers and staff on creating a wishlist for play equipment & shades on an Amazon (Recess/Outdoor Wish List) that families could purchase and donate to the school.
ACS DRIVE-THROUGH & VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE & CURRICULUM NIGHT:
Since our parking lot and carline will be completed before the end of August, we would like to have a Drive-Through Open House event on our ACS campus. We are investigating some innovative ways to have our drive-through on the same evening as our Virtual Curriculum Night & School Tour. 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. Also, the grade level teams can explain the daily schedules, the ﬁrst six weeks of school, and the curriculum. The staff is beginning to plan for these events and are working on some fun and creative ideas. Dates and times will be announced in the next few weeks.
Last, but not least, we have a waitlist for each grade level, so please make sure you have started the Registration Process if your child has been offered a position. For those that have been offered a position, but have not begun the registration process, they risk having their admission offer rescinded to allow families on the waitlist the opportunity to attend. As long as the student’s status in SchoolMint is "Registration in Progress," the student will not lose their spot. However, please begin ﬁnalizing and completing your student’s registration.
Leslie Paynter, M.Ed.
ACS FAMILY SURVEY LINKS
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!!
**A big thank you to one of our parents, Andrea Paduchowski, for helping get us started with Box Tops!**
SCHOOLMINT & REGISTRATION
If you have questions about your SchoolMint account or questions about uploading records,etc., please email Sara Boileua at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-479-1442 extension 725.
If you have been offered a spot for your child to attend, I strongly encourage you to accept the offer and begin the registration process ASAP.
Also, make sure that you are contacting your child’s doctor and school offices to access their records for the registration process. If your child’s doctor’s appointment isn’t until the summer, upload all the other documents and in that spot, upload a picture of the doctor appointment date.
As long as status is "Registration in Progress," you will not lose your spot. We understand that it is still difficult to get certain documents and appointments and that many students will not receive a final report card until mid-June.
FAVORITE ARTICLE FOR THE WEEK TO SUPPORT REMOTE LEARNING
"Bringing the Beneﬁts of Your Morning Meetings Online" by John S. Thomas
To give his students a sense of stability, an elementary teacher shifted his morning meetings to asynchronous home learning. He says that, “The biggest challenge we have is helping our students return to school not traumatized by this situation. Their social and emotional health should be our number one goal so they return to us with their spark and love of learning intact. Morning meetings and reﬂection are the foundations of that social and emotional work.”
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