August 9, 2020
Hello and Welcome!
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! While this is not a typical school year, I have no doubt that the challenges we face as we navigate this ever changing climate, we will overcome together. Currently, teachers and staff are preparing for our official opening on August 17, and will be communicating with you this week to determine device needs as well as provide you with classroom and virtual schedule details.
This letter is to inform you of important dates and events associated with the beginning of the school year. As in previous years, families will receive a newsletter that will keep you up to date on school events, though I may be communicating more frequently (through direct emails) as details you need to be aware of become available. Our Highlands Community Calendar is also a great source of information. Visit our school website to access the calendar and other information.
It is our hope that this year, though it may be challenging, will offer many great experiences and accomplishments for your child(ren). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to working with you and your child(ren) this year!
Kristen Duskey, Principal
Please join me in welcoming the following new staff members!!
- Andrea Anderson joins our staff as our Speech and Language Pathologist.
- Tasha Hussman is our new school nurse.
- Kristin Combs has joined our staff as our Resource Room Teacher.
- Tenneal Lujan is joining our counseling staff this year and will be at our school every Thursday.
- Kelly Engel will be teaching our second All Day Kindergarten program.
- Allie Barcellona is joining the Highlands Staff and will be teaching 5th grade.
We are so very excited to welcome each and every one of our new and returning staff members~ They will be strong additions to an already wonderful community!
Teacher Assignments~ We have had some changes!
At this time, due to our enrollment numbers fluctuating and our desire to keep class sizes small, the following are our class configurations for this year.
Ms. Galeone - All Day Kindergarten
Ms. Engel - All Day Kindergarten
Ms. Ozuna - First Grade
Ms. Holloway - First Grade
Mrs. Jenne' - Second Grade
Mrs. Rojas - Second/Third Grade Combo
Ms. Coles - Third Grade
Mrs. Carter - Third/Fourth Grade GATE Combo
Mrs. Beatty - Fourth Grade
Mrs. Burkhardt - Fourth Grade
Mrs. Barcellona - Fifth Grade
Mrs. Blas - Fifth Grade
Mrs. Jungen - Fifth/Sixth Grade GATE Combo
Mr. Brown - Sixth Grade
Mr. Jenne' -Sixth Grade
Monday, August 10:
Teachers will be calling on August 10th (after noon) and on August 11th to determine your device needs at home. We will be using chromebooks for Grades 1-6 and Kindergarten will be using iPads for their learning.
Our goal is to have ALL FAMILIES ready to go with devices, headphones, and internet by August 17th.
Teachers will also be asking for you to make an appointment with them for Thursday or Friday of next week. This appointment will be for one parent and their child to meet their teacher, see their classroom and receive the device/materials they will need to begin school on August 17th.
Upon arriving at the school, you will need to call your child's classroom phone (the teacher will provide the number when you make the appointment) and wait for the teacher to escort you into the building. You will enter the side door closest to your child's classroom, will be required to wear a mask and encouraged to use the hand sanitizer that will be located by the door. The teacher will escort you out of the building through the same door when your meeting has concluded. We are hoping that our creative alternative to meeting your child's teacher and seeing the classroom will ease our student's anxiety and perhaps raise their level of excitement for the new year.
Additionally, I realize that many families and neighbors of our school would like the opportunity to tour our new building. Please know that we would like nothing more than for this to happen!
At this time, we are still completing construction inside the school and and are unable to host large groups. To this end, I would like to offer tours of the building after school hours beginning the first week of September (Tuesday the 1st). Tour groups would be limited to 10 people and you would need to contact the front office to reserve your spot. I will be providing tours Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays at 3:45 pm each week for as long as there is interest or until we are able to safely hold an Open House for everyone.
I appreciate your understanding and your patience~ This is a truly supportive community and I cannot wait for you to enjoy your new school!
Virtual Learning Schedule for Highlands Elementary
It is the goal of Highlands Elementary to provide a learning schedule that meets the needs of staff, students and families. We feel that it would be beneficial for families, especially those with more than one student, to follow the same schedule for recess, lunch break, and specials.
While teachers may vary what they teach during their instructional blocks, we will be staying on the same "bell" schedule school wide. Communication will be key to our success! We strongly encourage you to contact your child's teacher with any questions or concerns that may arise and they will be checking in with you on a regular basis as well. Together, we will have a successful year, whether in building or virtual!
Morning Meeting, Attendance, Set Expectations for day, Answer Student Questions
Math Lessons (Whole Group, Small Groups)
ELA Lessons (Reading, Writing, Whole Group, Small Groups)
Specials (prerecorded by the specialist teachers: Music on Monday and Wednesday, PE on Tuesday and Thursday, Library on Friday. Live instruction may be incorporated with alternating grade levels if Virtual Learning is extended)
ELA/SS/SCI (Integrated Units)
Counselor lessons every two weeks
Band and Orchestra for 5th/6th Grades
Feedback and Independent Learning Time for students K-6
Band and Orchestra for 5th/6th Grad
Feedback and Independent Learning Time for students K-6
Highlands Elementary - 2021 School Year
What Parents Can Expect From Their Teacher
All teachers will foster personal relationships with each student. Teachers will use a blend of different communication methods in connecting with students, including:
Personalized responses to student discussion boards
Large and small group Google Meets with students
Teachers will create classroom expectations for their students and establish a regular routine and schedule for when students will be expected to log-in to the course and how teachers will be supporting students. For secondary students, connecting online with each teacher will normally occur once per day, per each class. Elementary students will meet online with their teacher two to three times per day (mix of whole group and small group). Both secondary and elementary teachers will be expected to provide small group student instruction as needed.
All teachers will provide timely and meaningful feedback on student work using clear, concise and understandable language. Teachers will monitor assignment submissions and communication with students to remind students of missed and/or upcoming deadlines. Teachers will provide parent/guardian access to their student’s google classroom/seesaw progress via email notifications.
All teachers will record all instructional Google Meets and save them so that those students who are unable to meet during the designated time will be able to view the instruction. Flexibility will be provided for all students as they are not always going to be available during the assigned time to participate in the class.
Teachers will take daily attendance for their classes in Infinite Campus. We will be flexible if a student is unable to “participate” during the allotted time. Students will be marked present if they are progressing through their coursework anytime during anytime during the day. Follow normal school’s absence reporting procedures.
Teachers will be mindful of a student's emotional needs and will reach out to parents if additional support may be needed or requested by the parents.
Friendly Reminders and Requests
Regarding Public Release of Student Directory Information
The Boise School District complies with federal law (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) as it relates to the release of student directory information to the public. To learn more, log on to www.boiseschools.org, and go to Parents & Patrons > Parent Information > FERPA Form. You may also pick up a FERPA form at your school, or call the Clerk of the Board at 208-854-4123 to obtain a copy of the FERPA form.