August 24th - 28th: Professional Development Week, Childcare Provided
August 31st - September 4th: Professional Development Week continues, No Childcare
September 4th: Virtual Meetups with Teachers
September 7th: Labor Day—No School, No Childcare
September 8th: First Day of School
Every school is struggling with which decisions are the “right” ones to make, and, in many instances, we may not know what is “right” until we have the benefit of hindsight. Even then, we may not know. With that in mind, the “right” decision is one that considers public health guidance, the law, our mission, our culture, and our community’s safety. What is “right” for one school may not be right for another. As a community, we pride ourselves on being extraordinary, and never has being ordinary felt like it could be a win. To have an ordinary day at school would feel like a gift right about now.
As we head into fall, there are many uncertainties. If there is one certainty, it is that CHA is committed to providing students and families the best educational experience possible. As we begin to navigate the school year, our teachers are at the forefront of my mind. They are being asked to return to class leading dual modalities, in-person and online while utilizing new and untested equipment. With this in mind, Professional Development will occur August 24th through September 4th, providing teachers with additional time to train so that we can implement both programs to the best of our ability. The first day of school will be September 8th, 2020, and the last day of school will move to June 18th, 2021.
As we pioneer these programs, your patience and grace are appreciated. The job we have now is very different than the job we were trained for. It is rare that someone is asked to pivot so quickly into a new position with little time for training while being watched and judged by the community and at the same time trying to provide the best experience for the students that we love and care for deeply. And yet, we did so through REACH. We learned, we laughed, we cried, and we doubted our ability to accomplish what we’d set forth to do, but remained committed to our mission of developing global leaders, problem solvers, and life-long learners, one child at a time. Your partnership was paramount to our growth and success.
We ask again for your partnership and patience. We know that we are only as successful as our students are, and we stand committed to providing the highest quality education and experience. In the words of John Lewis, “I believe if you see something you want to get done, you cannot give up, you cannot give in. Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Never lose that sense of hope”.
Key Dates Calendar – You can find an updated copy of the Key Dates Calendar 2020-21 on the website’s Parent Portal. Ms. Strachan is updating the school calendar to reflect these changes.
Fall Re-Opening Planning Survey – Thank you to everyone who completed the survey and contributed questions for the FAQ we have compiled. We know that you all have a lot of questions; we have done our best to answer them. You can read the FAQs on the Parent Portal. If upon reading the FAQ you decide you want to change the option you have already selected, please complete the survey again. In the FAQ, you will also see that you will have the option to switch from in-person to online or online to in-person after school starts. You will need to notify us by Wednesday of the current week that you would like your child to switch, and the change will take effect the following Monday. Parents will not be able to move back and forth between the two but may move from in-person to online or vice versa in the first trimester. We will also be able to switch your child from in-person to online if someone in your household needs to quarantine for 14 days. The survey will close on Friday, August 7, at 4:00 pm, and we will share the results the following week. If we do not hear back from you, we will assume you are happy with the in-person option.
Our current plan, based on the results submitted so far (80% of students), with 57% of students opting for in-person and 43% of students opting for online, is to have the online students join the in-person classes using a tablet or laptop. Lessons will run as Teams meetings with the teacher using their laptop, interactive board, and the Swivl tracking AV system so that students who are working from home will be able to interact with the teacher and the class in real-time. You can see an example of a Swivl being used to support synchronous learning here. Each core class will have an Instructional Assistant who will act as moderator and tech support to the students who are joining from home. We have not done this before; no one has done this before. In all honesty, we will not know how well this works until we try it. We are willing to give it a go to best meet the many and varied requirements of students, staff, and parents as we try and achieve our two goals of keeping everyone safe while continuing to provide the highest quality educational experience possible given the challenges of the current situation we find ourselves in. If this solution does not work, or a significant number of students opt for/switch to the online option, we reserve the right to adjust the plan to meet the instructional needs for students and teachers. If OSPI/WFIS/Governor Inslee mandates that all schools go online, we will switch to REACH 2.0, which you can find out more about in the FAQ.
CHAPTER Message to the CHA Community - As the new school year rapidly approaches, we wanted to share a note to provide our CHA family with transparency into how we are taking on the challenges we face as a community and perspective on how we plan to achieve our Mission in the coming year.
Never has CHAPTER’s purpose been more relevant, nor fraught with difficulty. As a group of parents volunteering to support our students and our fellow CHA families becoming their best selves, we share the anxieties that those receiving this mail struggle with each day. We worry about the health of our loved ones and fear the consequences of COVID’s spread within our communities and households. We wrestle with how to avoid sacrificing our children’s continued educational growth while also ensuring their physical and mental health. We try to navigate complexities around screen time and exercise. We ask ourselves our role in the current critical conversations around race and justice in America, and how to talk to our kids about it. And meanwhile, we try to show up each day for our families and at our workplaces, not allowing our uncertainties to heighten the general sense of fear and uncertainty that seems to permeate everything we do.
It’s a lot. In the face of carrying such unprecedented burdens, we’ve pushed ourselves to be clear on our role and to be focused on how we bring CHAPTER’s resources to bear to be better than we have ever been at fulfilling our purpose.
CHAPTER’s mission is to Enrich Education, Promote Child Development and Well Being, and Build Community. We don’t make policy for CHA. We don’t guide the curriculum. We don’t oversee the performance of faculty or staff. Our job is simply to serve as a proxy for the universal desire of CHA parents to finds ways to enhance our children’s experience, and specifically to facilitate the fundraising and volunteer activities that CHA families can contribute to that ensure our kids can have an experience that is above and beyond the phenomenal foundation that CHA provides.
We discussed all of these realities at our Summer Board meeting (minutes here). We agreed that, first and foremost, health and safety were paramount, and that CHAPTER should focus on supporting anything and everything that can ensure the Well Being of our families. We also agreed that Enriching EducationandPromoting Child Development was the next symbiotic priority to Well Being – that ensuring that our children can continue to learn and engage with their classmates was critical and that anything that could be done to facilitate that should be considered and approved. Finally, we agreed that we would need a modified approach to Building Community, given that in-person activities are mostly a non-starter for the foreseeable future, and we can only take so many virtual events in our lives. With all of this, we wanted to share a few points:
Each year we aspire to spend the entirety of CHAPTER funds raised from the prior year, and this year is certainly no exception
Our investments this year primarily focus on facilitating educational models that CHA is uniquely piloting, which will go as far as possible in enabling both in-person and virtual learning. For the immediate, CHAPTER is funding the purchases of the Swivls, iPads, Boxlights and individual student desks to assist in these efforts.
We’ve reserved a small amount of funds to enable flexibly addressing needs over the course of the year as we experiment and learn
We feel good that Bright Horizons and CHA are extending themselves more than normal from a financial and operational perspective to rise to the challenges we face, and that CHAPTER funds are supplementing already enhanced investments to keep our kids safe and provide continuity in education
We foresee challenges with fundraising given our inability to do a gala and live auction, and we also worry we may run into unexpected and meaningful needs for funds during the year
In short, we are likely to need the support of CHA parents and families more than ever. We will need to extend grace to staff and faculty as they put themselves at physical risk out of devotion to our children. We will need to be patient with each other as we all try to navigate all of this together. And we will need the collective creativity and energy of our amazing CHA family to help us get through each day and each trimester better than the one before. None of this will be easy. It’s a lot. But we can do this with the spirit of community and commitment to our families that has always been at the core of CHA.
As always, please reach out to CHAPTER if you have any questions. The group of volunteer parents on the other end of the line are eager and thankful for your engagement and support, and can’t wait to come out of the other side of this year having come closer to being our best selves than ever before.
If you are looking for insight into the structure and focus of our organization, you can find about CHAPTER’s mission and bylaws on our web page, and in the members’ section of the Parent Portal.
CHA Uniform Swap Appeal – Our Uniform Swap volunteers are doing a great job getting uniform out to parents. They tell me they are running low on size 5-6 and size 7-8 items, particularly for girls. If you have been having a clear-out, we would love to receive your gently used (i.e., no stains, holes, rips, or tears), washed items. The items can be dropped off at school Monday - Friday between the hours of 9:00 and 4:00. Thank you in advance! If you would like them to check for items for your child, please complete the form you will find here. The volunteers will contact you via Teams (so use your Teams email