First Week of School 2020

August 21, 2020

Start to a New Year

Dear Audubon Families,


I want to start by saying how fortunate I feel to be the principal of our wonderful school. Getting to see families yesterday and interact with kids was such a great feeling after being away for the past 5-6 months. I know that not everyone is happy about starting the school year in a remote setting while some really feel that this is what is best. Regardless of how you are feeling about how we will start they year I hope that you know we are here to support you and your child the very best we can. It wont look traditional and we will have some issues along the way but that does not mean we cannot make it a great year for our kids.


As we dive into the year let us all continue to give each other grace and practice patience. There is no doubt that there will be things that work amazingly and others that cause us moments of frustration. On Monday morning we will join 50+ other schools in attempting to log into a video conferencing platform. That means we may have some glitches. Our teachers have spent countless hours preparing for some amazing lessons and learning opportunities for your kids - some will go smooth and some may not. We will continue to learn with the kids and make it a memorable year - for all the right reasons.


I look forward to the day we all get to connect back in person and we can say hello face to face, but until then I wish you, our Audubon community, the very best for a great school year. We will make it through as long as we work together. All of our kids are counting on us and I am positive we will not let them down.


Wishing you health and wellness!


Aaron Ford

Principal

Audubon Elementary

What Should I Expect the First Day?

The first week of school, regardless of online or in-person, always looks different than most other weeks. That will be no different this year.


On Monday all of our classes will be starting the day with a video welcome and message from Mr. Ford that will be posted on the Audubon website. Around 8:05 students will click their teachers name from a list on the Audubon website and join a virtual class meeting through WebEx. If you have never used WebEx before I would suggest starting a little earlier and make sure you have the right windows open.


The first day will be more about getting to know students and introducing the rest of the week. Each grade level will be invited to a specials class during the day as well to be introduced to the specials teachers. There will be a special link to the specials virtual meeting on the website as well.


The reality of the first day is that students and families just need to navigate to our Audubon website (www.d11.org/audubon) and click their teachers name. From there, they will get instructions on the rest of the day and how the rest of the week will go.

what does the rest of the first week look like?

Monday will lay a foundation for the rest of the week. During the first week students will be introduced to Schoology and how to navigate that learning platform. Some of our younger grades (K-2) may start introducing Seesaw as well. There is no expectation that students or families are proficient at any of this prior to the first week. We will take it slow and work through it together.


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the first week will also be different because not all of our students will be at home for their learning for those full three days. We will have small groups of students coming into the school for their beginning of the year assessments. Due to the students being in the building and the teachers having to help with some of the assessments there may be more self-guided and independent work than on a typical day. Some of that work may include writing a letter to the teacher introducing themselves, doing a Schoology scavenger hunt or a variety of different things.


Teachers will communicate with students and families what the learning expectations are for the first week on Monday. The entire goal of the first week is to make connections, work out some of the bugs and make sure we can navigate the digital world (along with everything that we sent home).

What Will Week 2 and Beyond Look Like?

Week two will begin to become more focused on routines and introducing new pieces of learning for students. We need to ensure that students are comfortable and confident with their technology and the use of those platforms before we really start introducing new academic content.


We will continue to develop relationships and as kids become used to the day and structure of remote learning we will continue to extend our learning deeper into the day.


The length of the learning day will eventually get to a 5-6 hours of work per day. Some of this learning will be online with their teacher, some will be by watching videos and pre-recorded messages and some of the work will be offline. A typical day will begin at 8:00 for students and include reading and writing, math, specials, science, social studies and socio-emotional lessons. The day should start wrapping up around 1:45 - 2:00 though students are always welcome and encouraged to continue practicing skills outside of the "school day".

Assessment Information for Next Week

To begin the school year, we traditionally do a variety of assessments to understand where students are at academically. This allows us to support students’ needs in a much better way. As with everything to begin this year we are having to modify how this will look.

We are going to invite students into the building in small groups and provide a socially distant opportunity for students to take their assessments. To do this in a socially distanced format we are going to ask families to sign-up for a 1/2 day next week with limited slots for each grade level.


Due to the amount of students and that length of some of the assessments, 2nd - 5th grade will have 1/2 day opportunities on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 1st grade students will have assessment opportunities on Tuesday or Wednesday. Kindergarten students will all come on Thursday. We encourage families to sign-up all of their children on the same 1/2 day so you do not have to make multiple trips. If scheduling all of your children on the same 1/2 day presents a problem, please reach out and let us know and we can make some accommodations for you.


To help some of our families with this we will have district bus transportation for those students that are normally eligible for transportation. They will run each 1/2 day to support those students. We will send that transportation information on Friday of this week. For all other students that would normally walk or get a ride we will need the support from our families to help get the students to school safely.


If you and your family do not feel comfortable having your student come to school due to COVID-19 reasons please reach out to Mr. Ford and we will make the necessary accommodations to have the assessment(s) done at home. You can email him at aaron.ford@d11.org.


Please click here to sign-up for the assessment date and time that works best for your family.

Thank you!

What Does Health Screening Look Like for Students/Staff/Visitors in the School?

All district staff (even those from other buildings or departments) must complete a health screening prior to entering any district building. This screening asks a variety of questions to check for the common symptoms associated with COVID-19. If a staff member has any new onset of symptoms that cannot be explained for another factor (an asthmatic who coughs) then they are asked to stay home until symptoms have passes or they can be attributed to something else. The exact same process will be implemented for any adult visitor in the building.


Each of our families is asked to perform a health screening on their children each day prior to sending them to school. We will not be preforming health screening on students as they arrive. The things that parents should be doing and looking for each morning are:



  • Feeling feverish, having chills, or a temperature 100.4 or higher
  • New or unexplained persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose or congestion


If any of the above symptoms are present, keep your child home, inform the school of symptoms, and reach out to a health care professional about possible COVID-19 testing and next steps for treatment. If a student exhibits these symptoms, or develops them at school, they will be moved away from other students and we will call you to come and pick them up.


The district has provided a letter and guidance document that you can review by clicking here.


We really need your help as families to check your child daily to maintain the health and safety of everyone at Audubon.

What Should my Child Expect to See if at school?

As a student (or adult) enters the building they are going to start seeing some different things than they are used to. The first big difference is that we will all be wearing masks. All staff and all students will be required to wear their mask while inside the building. A couple of exceptions to this is if their is a medical reason to not wear the mask or staff has been given permission to take their mask off if they are alone in their classroom with the door closed. You may see staff teach virtually without their mask so please know it is still being done with appropriate safety protocols in place.


You are going to see hand sanitizer in every student and teacher space to help with hand hygiene. Students will be asked to wash their hands frequently throughout the day and help wash their learning area (with soap and water).


Students may transition to different parts of the building by walking as a group outside to keep hallways limited to one direction at a time.


Students will see desks spread out more, additional space required when eating lunch and different protocols at recess time to keep the physical contact to a minimum.


All in all, students, staff and families will see many changes while at school and we are doing all of these to try and help keep everyone safe and health.

Breakfast and Lunch Program

Each day we will have a breakfast and lunch opportunity for all District 11 students. This program will be different from the summer program as it is only for D-11 students and meals will be charged/purchased based on a families full pay/reduced/free meal status.


The first week of school any student can come for breakfast and/or lunch. We will have tables set-up outside to allow for social distancing. We would ask that students come to the east side of the school and enter the gym through the doors near where supply deployment happened. You will get a meal and then head back outside to eat in the fresh, clean air. We can and will serve students that are in D-11 but not current Audubon students (siblings or others from the neighborhood). We will charge the meal to their student account. If you are a parent the needs to come and pickup a meal for your children you will follow the same process as above to get a meal.


Beginning the second week of school we will only offer seated meals for those students that are already in attendance for one of our special population groups. We will being a "Grab-and-Go" meal option for all of our other Audubon families in the community. This will also follow the above mentioned fee procedures and is limited to D-11 students only. The "Grab-and-Go" option will be five-days a week and will be only at lunch time. Students picking up a lunch will also be given a breakfast for the next day.


We want to continue to serve our students and the community and hope you will join us by participating in our daily meal option.

Open House - August 25, 2020

We will be hosting a Virtual Open House this year to welcome you to the 2020-2021 school year and share some information as we get started. This will be led by Mr. Ford and after the general presentation he will be available for a Q&A sessions for all our families. We will also record the Open House for later viewing if you are not able to make it.


A few of the specifics for the Open House:

Preschool Updates

Here is a special message to our preschool families as we get ready for the beginning of the school year. Thank you all for your patience as we navigate the various changes that have been coming the past few weeks as to when we will start preschool and what it will look like.


On Monday you will be getting some additional information about the beginning of the year and what it will look like. Each family will be getting a choice board of activities that they can start engaging in for the week of August 24th. Ms. Cassie will send that out once the district has finalized its plans on Monday.


Also, each of your students will be included in our iPad technology distribution once they arrive. We are anticipating a mid-late September roll-out of these devices and Ms. Cassie along with Mr. Watson in our library will be helping you once they arrive.


We love having you as part of the Audubon family and look forward to a great year!

Band and Orchestra for 4th and 5th Grade

This year will still plan to offer band and orchestra to our students. In previous years this was only an option for 5th grade students. Beginning this year we will also plan to offer these classes to our 4th grade students as well.


We do still plan to start these courses during our distance learning format and more information will be coming in the next few weeks about what it will look like, how to sign up and how to get more information. Students and families that are interested should watch for this info from their classroom teachers and through Dojo.

How Can I Get Involved?

We love our family and community involvement at Audubon and even though we are going to be in a virtual format to start the year we want to make sure you have the opportunity to be involved. Two ways that you can really have your voice heard and be part of some decision making processes are to be part of the School Accountability Committee (SAC) and joining our Parent Teacher Association (PTA).


The SAC is an accountability committee for our school. They work closely with the principal and other staff to help make some of our financial decisions, look at and share school wide data and help provide resources to our families. Each of our meetings this year will have a focus that is driven by the needs of our school and our community. We would love to have you join us for our first SAC meeting on Thursday, August 27th at 6:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome. The link to join the virtual meeting available by clicking here.


Our PTA is a parent and teacher run organization that really supports all of our students and staff at Audubon. Some of the things that PTA has done in previous years to help our school include:



  • Sponsoring the Fun Run
  • Purchasing a water bottle refill station
  • Helping with the school decor by getting us a beautiful mat for the front hallway
  • Sponsoring classes and students for field trips
  • Adding to our school technology
  • Selling Audubon Spirit Wear


If you are interested in joining or asking any questions about PTA please send them an email at auduboncopta@gmail.com. The first meeting of the year will be in September.

Distribution Updates

If you have not been able to pickup your child's supplies yet please plan on stopping by Monday to get those. We will be available from 7:00 - 3:30 to pass them out.

Thank you to everyone. We will get through this together!