In this update:
- Important Upcoming Dates
- Return to School
- Staff Vaccination
- Internet Issues
- Mid-Winter Break Childcare
- Middle School Admissions
- SPARC Institute
- Gifted Resources
- Virtual Resources
- Teams Updates
- Specialists’ Newsletter
- Family Feature
- Faculty Feature
- COVID Update
Important upcoming dates:
- January 9 - Virtual Open House
- January 15 – Re-Enrollment Begins
- January 15 – Material Pickup for REACH Students
- January 15 - Professional Development Day - No School, No Childcare
- January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No School, No Childcare
- January 19 – Second Grade to Return In-Person
- January 20th - “Managing Anxiety, Stress and Parenting”
- January 22 – Material Pickup for REACH Students
- January 22 – Math Day
- January 29 – Material Pickup for REACH Students
- February 5 – Material Pickup for REACH Students
- February 12 – Lunar New Year Celebrations
- February 12 – Material Pickup for REACH Students
- February 15 – President’s Day – No School, No Childcare
- February 16-19 – Mid-Winter Break – No School, Childcare Provided
- February 26 – Material Pickup for REACH Students
This has been a difficult week for many as we watched the events unfold at our Capitol as well as the aftermath that has transpired. It has been confusing and upsetting. We know that these feelings are not reserved for adults alone. Part of our state’s mission for education is to prepare our students for effective, collaborative, and civil civic engagement. The events make it abundantly clear that our schools must engage and empower students, from an early age, with opportunities to participate in civil conversations, examples of effective civic engagement, and tools to find peaceful solutions to community problems.
At school, some teachers considered it appropriate to make space for students to process and have discussions about the riots and violence in the news. I believe it is important that schools support students during times like these and teach them how to engage in civil conversation on controversial topics. I am appreciative of our staff for the work they did and will continue to do in offering a safe welcoming environment for all our students. Although we adults may still be processing the news, our children are looking to us to help them feel safe and make sense of the world around them.
If families are looking for resources on how to talk with their children, “Explaining the News to Our Kids” from Common Sense Media provides helpful developmentally appropriate considerations and tips for conversations with children as young as under 7 through teenage years. Also consider reading the article “Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers” published by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
Re-Enrollment – We will be extending re-enrollment to our families beginning Friday, January 15th through January 29th when contracts and deposits will fall due. I value your continuation as members of our community. In a year that has tried us all in numerous ways, we’ve triumphed together. I’m beyond grateful for your partnership and look forward to many more opportunities as your child continues to grow in their leadership at CHA.
Return to School – With the new guidance from the DOH for schools, we will be moving forward with inviting our second-grade students to return in-person beginning Tuesday, January 19th. Parents have the choice to have their child remain online or to attend in-person. Our goal is to return third-grade shortly after Mid-Winter break and look to returning fourth and fifth graders shortly thereafter. An online option will remain available for the remainder of the school year.
Staff Vaccinations – Some parents have asked when the staff will be vaccinated or when they’ll have access to the vaccine. The criteria a staff member meets will determine which phase within B2 to B4 they fall. Staff are not required to be vaccinated. Bright Horizons will cover all costs associated with vaccination for every staff member. You can find out if it’s your turn at findyourphasewa.org
Internet Issues – We would like to apologize for having to cancel classes yesterday afternoon, and to let you know what has been going on. Shortly before Christmas, we upgraded our Comcast Business service to accommodate the increased throughput from our recently upgraded Wi-Fi network. This required Comcast to switch out their modem, which seems to have been the root cause of the problems. They have been out 4 times now, and on each visit, they switch out a different component – the cable, the modem, etc. Yesterday, the tech that came onsite found an issue with the modem authenticating to Comcast, which he says he has fixed now. While onsite the technician also found a physical issue with a cable splitter and changed it out for a new one. He then ran several signal tests from CHA to the Comcast office and found the signal to be strong and clear. From his perspective, the modem should not have any further issues. Network Architects, who provide our technical support and have been working with Comcast on this issue are 95% confident that the problems should be resolved. So, let us keep everything crossed and hope that they are correct!
Mid-Winter Break Childcare - There will be no school the week of February 15th for Mid-Winter Break. Although CHA will be completely closed on Monday, February 15th (President’s Day), there will be camp available on Tuesday - Friday. Sign-ups are available here. Operational hours for camp are from 8:00am-5:00pm, with snack and activities beginning around 9:00am. Extended day packages do not include camp dates. Camp will be charged on a weekly basis only, as daily reservations are unavailable at this time. If your employer has the back-up care benefit, we do accept BUCA and Microsoft SchoolsOut reservations. If you utilize either of these back-up care options, you do not need to sign-up here (only through the back-up care portal which you will receive an email confirmation for). Lunch is available for purchase like a normal school day on the February lunch order form. If you pack a lunch or snack from home, please remember we are a nut-free facility. Please note that charges for childcare and lunches are based off of sign-ups, not actual attendance. This sign-up site closes Friday, February 5th at 3:30pm. Any sign-ups after this time will be considered late, and a $50 late fee will be charged to your account. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email Kaylee Strachan.
Middle School Admissions – As middle school admissions deadlines are approaching, please send any transcript requests to Kaylee Strachan as soon as possible to ensure that they can be sent in a timely manner. In order for CHA to send your child’s records, we do need a signed form stating your permission to release that information. Please feel free to reach out to Kaylee with any questions.
SPARC Institute – In the fall of 2021, Chestnut Hill Academy will open admissions to the SPARC Institute. We will expand from the coordination of resources to include the piloting of a first-grade classroom for gifted scholars. We look forward to this addition and will share further details of the program next week in Campus Updates.
Gifted Resources – In the recent Davidson Young Scholars newsletter they share a list of academic competitions for gifted students. The list covers a range of topics that may be of interest in joining. You can view the link here.
Virtual Resources – The beginning of the new year is a great time to review systems that are in place especially with most of our parents and students working and learning from home. It also provides opportunities to discuss the “why” behind how our habits can support our success. A student’s understanding of the importance of being prepared and beginning with the end in mind helps them understand how they are to achieve their goals and find success. The following article provides suggestions on how to establish a positive environment for continued learning. https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/parent-tips-and-tricks-for-distance-learning
Teams Updates - A few new features have been added to Teams. One of them is the ability to see key channel details at a glance. To do this, click on the ‘i’ in the top right corner of the channel, which will open a pane to the right of the screen where you will see the channel description, members, recent contributors, updates, and pinned posts. Click on the ‘i’ again to turn the pane off.
Microsoft also announced the withdrawal of the useful features from Office Lens Windows version. The product manager told me they decided not enough Windows users were using it, so they are only going to develop the iOS version, which is fine if parents are doing the scanning, but what should students use? The Windows 10 Camera app can scan images as docs. If you have a 1080p camera (school devices do not), you can choose the Document icon to take the picture (it’s quite clever - it can tell what the doc is & what is the background). If you are on a school device and have a regular built-in camera, you take the photo of the doc, then open the picture (using the preview thumbnail at the bottom right corner of the app) and choose the Document filter from the top toolbar. When you apply the Document filter, the app saves the photo to Pictures / Camera Roll on the device, from where the student can attach to an Assignment / Email, etc. The Camera app also gives you the ability to ‘Share’ using Class Notebook or Snip and Sketch. The Snip and Sketch app does a neat job of tidying up the scan & has inking options, as well as save and copy options. Teachers will be explaining this to students, but they may need a little support.
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.
ParentWiser - is hosting clinical psychologist, Dr. Lisa Damour on January 20th at 4 pm to present “Managing Anxiety, Stress and Parenting”. Dr. Damour’s resume is long and mighty with her monthly column for the New York Times, best-selling books, weekly podcasts, and private practice. Dr. Damour will teach us how to keep pressure and tension from reaching toxic levels and she will coach us on how to support our children in cultivating these skills. Register at www.parentwiser.org/events or directly on Eventbrite.
- Snow Days - 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.
- Yearbook Photo Submissions - Please submit the photos with a brief description here and use the access code: chestnut.
- Previous issues of Campus Updates can be viewed here.
Holly Senaga, Head of School