Campus Updates

November 06, 2020

In this update:  

  • Important Upcoming Dates 
  • Rally-Up Pizza Party
  • Veteran’s Day Channel
  • Snow Days
  • Diwali Celebration
  • Fall Food Drive 
  • Materials Pick Up
  • End of Trimester Celebration
  • Parental Controls
  • Green Team
  • Virtual Book Club Talk
  • Family Feature
  • Update on COVID-19
  • Specialists’ Newsletter 
  • Reminders 

Important upcoming dates:   

  • November 10 – Fourth Grade Virtual Coffee Chat 
  • November 11 – Veteran’s Day – Free Dress - Red, White & Blue Day 
  • November 12 – Materials Pick Up – Last one for November 
  • November 13 – November Childcare Signups Close 
  • November 13 – Diwali Celebration 
  • November 17 – Fifth Grade Virtual Coffee Chat  
  • November 17 – All Grade Level Teacher Meet & Greet for REACH students
  • November 18 – ParentWiser Parenting Class 
  • November 18-20 – Parent/Teacher Conferences, Childcare Provided – Free Dress 
  • November 23-25 – No School, Childcare Provided – Free Dress  
  • November 26-27 – Thanksgiving/No School, No Childcare 

Dear Parents,    

Children have always known more about what’s going on than we realize, even before the flood of images and information became available to anyone with access to the internet. Teaching parallels parenthood in some fundamental ways. Moms and dads can never predict or prepare for every struggle our children will have to withstand. But parents possess a wealth of wisdom, instinct, and knowledge to draw from. We know our children deeply. We have an innate sense of what they need from us, even when the particulars of a new situation take time to puzzle through. 

Deep down, we already have a sense of what our children and students need from us right now. They need us not only to speak our truths but to listen deeply to theirs. We need to tell our young children and students, through words and actions, that they are loved. To make sure they know that while they might have to face some sad and scary parts of the world, they’ll never have to face them alone.  Here are four things that Justin Minkel a writer for Education Leadership shared that we can do this year and in the better years to come, for children who need us now more than ever. 

1. Teach Them to “Look for the Helpers” - Mr. Rogers was arguably the best person in history at helping children make sense of calamity, from racial hatred to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. A Washington Post story captured his approach in its title of an article about him: “‘Some Sad and Scary Things’: Mister Rogers Consoled Kids by Telling Them the Truth.” 

2. Teach Them to Be Helpers - Parents and teachers are helpers and nurturers by nature. We sometimes forget that children need the chance to do some of that helping and nurturing, too. 

3. Listen! - Many of our greatest teaching moments happen when we stop imparting our own wisdom and take time to learn from the wisdom of children. 

4. Be There - In moments like these, we can feel insufficient. But think of a time when you were struggling with a personal crisis or the weight of world events. You may have appreciated a friend or family member’s insights and advice, but probably the thing you needed from them most—and were grateful for—was simply their presence. Having a loved one at your side doesn’t magically reduce the savagery the world sometimes displays. But in the bleakest of times, what we often need most is for someone we trust to walk alongside us as we make our way. Our children need to know we’re there for them now more than ever. 

Rally-Up Pizza Party - Thank you to CHAPTER for sponsoring this celebration. It looked like everyone had a lovely time and the treats were well-earned!

Veteran’s Day Channel - Do you have a family member or close family friend who has served in the United States Military? Would they be interested in sharing their story or photo with our community? We are looking for Veterans to record a short video clip and/or submit a photo here so our teachers can share with students, and so we can pay tribute to those who have served. 

Snow Days – As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, it’s time to review our plans for snow days. Like everything else, the situation is a little different, so we want to clarify the plan. In the event that we get the level of snow that would usually cause a closure, the first day will be a snow day for everyone so that we can all enjoy being kids again.  The second day would be a regular online school day for students in our REACH program, with the difference that teachers will be teaching from home instead of their classrooms, which may cause some impact depending on how much notice we get of the closure. In-person students in K and 1st will have snow days and no classes. Please take a minute to review our Emergency Closures web page to make sure you understand the plan and are set up to receive notifications. 

Diwali Celebration - Holding true to who we are at CHA means finding ways to celebrate the traditions that we’ve created and look forward to year after year.  “Reimagine” has been the coined phrase for this year as we look to still do our events and celebrations, but in a different way.  With this in mind, CHA will celebrate Diwali on Friday, November 13th.  Your child’s grade level teachers will create the schedule for the day.  Each student will be provided with supplies to make a paper diya, using a tutorial made by Anvika, a CHA Alum. There will hopefully be a step-by-step dance tutorial also to add some movement and music to the day.  Students are invited to wear Indian festive dress or clothes if they like. 

Fall Food Drive - Chestnut Hill Academy has a long history of helping our local community by hosting a Fall Food Drive. This year, the 5th grade Lighthouse Leaders will host the Food Drive while partnering with Renewal Food Bank in Bellevue, and this will be our 19th year of partnership with the Renewal Food Bank. More people are utilizing the food bank than ever before, and they rely on donations from our generous CHA community to provide food for families through the holidays and into the new year. If you’d like to donate, please bring non-perishable items to school when you drop off or pick up your child or supplies anytime from Nov. 9 - Nov. 17.  Most requested items: canned meat (tuna and chicken), soups, boxed pasta meals, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, toilet paper, toiletry items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap. Thank you for supporting CHA Lighthouse and Renewal Food Bank. 

Materials Pick Up – Pickup on Thursday, November 12th will include materials for the 16th and 17th of November, along with materials for the week of November 30th through December 4th. Your child’s teachers will specify what is included and needed for each week in their grade level newsletters.  

End of Trimester Celebration – In recognition of the upcoming completion of our first trimester of REACH 2.0 we are planning a drive through Meet and Greet so that online students can see their teachers on Tuesday, November 17th. You are invited to drive through at the following times:  2nd Grade 12:00 – 1:00, 3rd and 4th Grade 1:00 - 2:00, Kindergarten 2:00 - 3:00, 1st and 5th Grade 2:30-3:30. We look forward to seeing you in-person!

Parental Controls – Mrs. Morlidge has been asked by several families for advice about managing students’ devices at home. Her opinions are influenced to some extent by her role as an educator (she would like to believe we can teach students to make good choices), but mainly by her experience as a mother of three naturally curious, tech-savvy children with whom she was regularly playing catch up regarding monitoring their use of technology. The first thing to do is implement the controls available to you on your home device itself, for example Microsoft Parental Controls or Apple Parental Controls. You may also want to consider a longer-term solution, which will be helpful when your child and their friends have their devices on your network. There are both hardware and software solutions to do this. OpenDNS is a download that works with your existing router (the device that brings the internet into your home) to filter internet content. Circle Home Plus is a device and subscription service that pairs with your existing router and lets you pause access to the internet, create time limits, and add content filters to all devices on your home network, plus manage phones and tablets outside the home. Some internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon offer parental control features that apply to all devices on the network, too. You can find helpful information from Common Sense Media here

Green Team – Virtually Saving the Planet - Now that we are getting in the groove of learning online, we would like to bring our CHA Green Team back to keep reducing, reusing, and recycling a part of every day, even from home. This year, all students in Grades 3-5 can participate in Green Team. The first step is for students to send Mrs. Fox an email or Teams message letting her know they would like to be invited to the Green Team. Then, watch posts to find out about when monthly Teams meetings will take place and to share ideas and information with others. We hope your child can join Mr. Kolb, Mr. Rees, Ms. Thakre, Ms. Stuart-German, Chef Spence, Mr. Heinz, and Mrs. Fox in learning and growing as Green Team leaders! 

Virtual Book Club Talk - We’d love to welcome you to a continuation of our Book Club Talks next week on November 13th, 2020, at 12:00 PM.  We’re still identifying some speaker/trainer opportunities for future sessions, and for this coming talk time on the 13th, we’d like to extend the topic of conversation that we initiated in our last session, which centered, to some extent, around what it means to stay true to our mission of raising “global leaders” as that pertains to conversations with children about race and current events.  As we watch the unfolding of this election season and the deep divide present in our country, we invite you to join us on the 13th for dialogue around how we effectively support student engagement in and understanding of the civic process.  The goal is not to engage in political debate, as we recognize and respect that the political beliefs within our community are vibrant and varied, but to identify how we teach children to be active citizens, agents of positive change, and constructive communicators.  Or is that to some extent a political debate of its own?  You can weigh in by registering to join the conversation here

Family Feature - We all miss the regular, “traditional” opportunities for connection, and those organically occurring conversations that typically take place in our hallways and gallery areas. As we continue to explore varied, different ways to connect, I’d love to introduce and feature families via Facebook or Teams. If you’re interested and willing, just use the Form link here to answer a few questions and upload a couple of photos, and sometime over the course of this school year, we will feature your family on our CHA Facebook page or Teams Parents channel. Thank you!  

CHA Specialists’ Newsletter – You can view this week’s newsletter here. If you have any questions about the content, please contact your child’s teacher directly. You can find all our teachers here, and you can find information about the individual programs here

Reminders: 

  • Parent Ambassadors - If you’re willing to be a “parent ambassador” this year, which would involve an occasional email introduction to families asking about the grade level in which you have a student, please send a quick email to Mrs. Stuart-German. Thank you!   
  • November Camp Sessions - All sign-ups must be submitted by Friday, November 13th, at 3:30 PM. If you have any questions, please email Kaylee Strachan at [email protected]. These days are free dress for students. 
  • Sibling Admission Info Session – On Thursday, November 12th, from 12-1 PM, Mrs. Stuart-German will be hosting a virtual Sibling Admission Info Session via Zoom to answer questions about the admission process.   You can register here
  • Yearbook Photo Submissions - Please submit the photos with a brief description here and use the access code: chestnut.  
  • Vakker Photo Ordering - Just a quick note that this Saturday, Nov. 7th is the deadline to order portrait packages and save 20%. Chrome is the recommended browser for this site. Orders are accepted after the deadline at regular price, and will be sent to the parent’s home. How to view & order:  
1) Go to vakker.com  
2) Click on “your images” and click on your school.  
3) Enter using this password: CHA2020F  
4) View your images, select your favorites, and place your order.
  • ParentWiser - How to Raise Successful Kids Without Overparenting (11.18.20) -Register at www.parentwiser.org/events  or directly on Eventbrite 
  • Previous issues of Campus Updates can be viewed here

Thank you, 

Holly Senaga, Head of School 

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