In this update:
- Important Upcoming Dates
- In-person Kindergarten Option
- CHA Mask Policy
- School Supply Pick Up
- REACH Devices for Students
- Family Heat Map
Important upcoming dates:
- August 24th - 28th: Professional Development Week, Childcare Provided
- August 31st - September 4th: Professional Development Week continues, No Childcare
- September 2nd: Kindergarten through 2nd Grade Supply Pick-Up at CHA
- September 3rd: 3rd Grade through 5th Grade Supply Pick-Up at CHA
- September 4th: Virtual Meetups with Teachers
- September 7th: Labor Day—No School, No Childcare
- September 8th: First Day of School
We are about to embark on a school year that requires parents to support our children in new ways. The concern of how to keep the “School You” and “Home You” separated while working and providing educational support for your child is at the forefront of your mind. You can attest to how difficult it can be to disconnect from work in the digital age where we have 24/7 access. It’s no different for children. With 1st-5th going virtual, it is vital to help create clear boundaries and end times for where school begins and ends at home. Teachers will send home a REACH grade level handbook with school supplies, but in the meantime, here are a few helpful tips from Big Life Journal to help:
Create a Special Place for School Work
- Even if children are not leaving for school, they can use their backpacks as storage to avoid losing or damaging school materials and helps keep materials in one place.
- Distinguished spaces help children maintain focus by decreasing the amount of outside interference.
- A change of atmosphere from the “school room” helps create separation and puts your mind in a different space.
Distinguish Roles As Mr. Rogers Did
- Use a visual reminder for your role. Mr. Rogers put on tennis shoes and a cardigan to distinguish work from home. CHA students will do this by wearing their uniforms, either daily or PE, depending on the day of the week. We will save Dress Uniform for special occasions.
- Have a morning opening. Sing a song, read a poem, or recite your family mission. Doing so allows children to separate the person they sat across from at breakfast and the one who will support them with school work.
- Wear a badge. Create an ID badge with your role as a learning support coach and remind your child that you’re not the teacher and to direct questions to the teacher.
- Instead of going hoarse reminding children about what is due, encourage your child to check their assignments in Teams and Class Notebook.
- Remind them to follow their Teams calendar. These digital notices allow more parent time rather than mixing school with the home. Help them set up their notifications so that they are useful, but not disruptive.
- Have your child post their schedule where they can see it as a visual reminder of what their day looks like when it comes home with their school supplies.
- Have your child set alarms for the end of the day, just like the traditional school bell. Provide a defined end to the school day.
- If children have school-related questions, have them contact their teacher via Teams or add them to their planner to discuss the next school day. Doing so ensures they get addressed.
Schedule Out Time for Each Role
- Use online calendars to show all the different due dates, appointments, and to-do lists. Use color-coding to keep roles separated.
- Use online organization and tracking tools. Similar to calendars, these are great for keeping all your roles organized and accessible.
- Add “me” time to your day. Even 5 minutes of “me” time allows you to remember to honor your value.
In-person Option for Kindergarten - After reviewing additional guidelines and much conversation, I’m able to provide in-person for Kindergarten students beginning September 8th. As the Kindergarten classes are the only self-contained classes and don’t move from class to class, we’re not exposing them to a larger pool that would increase their exposure. These classes will function similarly to that of the camp we’ve run for the past 9 weeks with a 2:15 ratio, which keeps our numbers similar to those that are currently attending camp. It is imperative that our youngest learners receive the foundational introduction to school as they begin their educational journey that our older students have previously received. Our kindergartners are new to a school setting, expectations, technology, and way of learning. They do not have the advantage that older students do with a year or several years of schooling behind them. Additional information regarding Kindergarten will be sent out separately. I understand this does not meet the needs of the upper-grade level parents who want their child to attend in-person as well. First through fifth grade will not be changing to in-person at this time, and parents should continue to plan for their child to begin the year in REACH.
CHA Mask Policy – Please note that there has been a slight change to the CHA Mask policy. Gaiters, along with masks with exhalation valves, are not permitted. You can read the full policy here.
School Supply Pickup – At the top of this email, and on the School Calendar, you will see the dates for School Supply pick up. Families are welcome to pick-up supplies by driving through the CHA parking lot at the appointed time. Teachers will greet families at their cars with all of the supplies needed to begin the school year virtually, including test papers in envelopes (please do not open), homeroom schedule (the full academic schedule will be sent home once students have been placed in their groups), Leader In Me guide, math manipulatives, planners, school supplies, handwriting books & paper, construction paper, laptops and chargers, grade level REACH handbook, plus other fun goodies. We look forward to seeing you then!
Student Devices for REACH 2.0 - A couple of people have asked what type of device their child will need for REACH. I know there is some advice being passed around, so I thought I would share my opinion with you based on our experience during REACH 1.0. Your student will need access to a networked device. Teams works best when you are using the desktop client, not the browser version, and folks had all sorts of trouble with Safari last time around. For that reason, I recommend a device running Windows 10, and I suggest a screen size of about 11”. At school, we have a mix of Lenovo 100E, 300E, Surface 3, and Surface Go devices. A touch screen is helpful if your budget will stretch to it, a keyboard is necessary.
4th and 5th Graders will have their own Surfaces, which we will give you to take home at supply pick up the first week of September. For K through 3rd, we will have devices we can lend you if you cannot provide your own (that’s assuming that our supplier comes through with the laptops we have on order!). If you are in need, let email [email protected] and you will be added to the list. If you have a device and want to see if it will work, send [email protected] a message so that Mrs. Morlidge can share your child’s credentials with you to test out Teams. School devices will be handed out with supply packets on the school supply days listed above. If have any other school tech-related questions, please message Mrs. Morlidge. Thank you!
TEAMS – Returning parents who are checking Teams will see that your grade level parent channel was promoted a couple of weeks ago. This means that the old posts from last year are still there if you scroll backward. It does not mean that the wrong information has been posted to your channel, just that it’s from last year. For your convenience, we have prepared a Teams User Guide that covers the basics for parents who have not used it before. Once we have students in their homeroom classes, which will happen the week beginning August 24th, we will load the students to their Teams. We will send home a tutorial that you can go through with them to make sure they get to class on day one, and teachers are preparing a grade level handbook for being successful in REACH. The teachers, including our Technology Teacher, Ms. Gorski, will also spend the first eight days of school making sure that students are able comfortable using teams before academic classes start.
Family Heat Map – Now that we have just about everybody’s TADS information in, Mrs. Morlidge has updated our Family Heat Map. This map shows where CHA families are located so that you can plan carpools when school is in session and playdates at a distance. Full contact details are on the school website’s Student Directory. Opportunities to mingle are a bit limited at the moment, but we are planning for a time when they won’t be. You can view the map by going to the Parent Portal and clicking on the green Family Heat Map button. Please email [email protected] if you do not wish to be included in the map.
Holly Senaga, Head of School