The Parsons Happenings
February 26, 2021
In this edition...
State Superintendent's Statement
Child Lures Prevention Information
Read Across America Week
RBES Parent Survey
Black History Month Door Contest
Relay for Life Campaign
Instructional Resource Review
Attendance Reminders and Updates
Spring Book Fair Information
Media Center Updates
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 will be a Digital Learning Day for ALL students in Gwinnett County Public Schools. Students will participate asynchronously from home on this day.
Message from Your Proud Principal
In educational news, the United States Department of Education has denied our state's request to be exempt from federal testing requirements for this school year. However, the US Education Department did share that states can request waivers for accountability. College Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) requires schools to have 95% participation on federal test such as Georgia Milestones. If approved, the waiver would exempt schools from this type of accountability during a pandemic. I have attached below the letter from Richard Woods, State Superintendent, for you to read.
As soon as we receive more information from our district's Assessment and Accountability Office, we will share this information with our community. For now, we do not have any specifics on the administration of the Georgia Milestones except we will be administering it to our students in Grades 3-5. The dates for testing can be found on our school's calendar. Although federal testing may not be the best thing during a pandemic, we will definitely make the best of the situation. The data we receive on each of our students who take the tests in grades 3-5 will be used to develop learning goals based on students' strengths and weaknesses.
On a high note, we celebrated Black History Month with our first annual Door Decorating Contest. A special thank you to our judges, Greta Aramburu, , Amita Perkins, and Qiong Ly. They had the difficult tasks of determining the winning door on each grade level and the overall winner! Be sure to check out some of the doors below.
Proud to be your principal,
Statement from State School Superintendent Richard Woods on U.S. Department of Education testing, accountability decisions
February 24, 2021 – “On the evening of February 22, all states received information from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) regarding assessment, accountability, and reporting requirements for the 2020-21 school year (that letter is linked here).
The good news is that USED is inviting states to request a waiver, for the 2020-21 school year, of the accountability and school identification requirements in federal law. This would apply to CCRPI along with the identification of schools for state support (CSI and TSI). As soon as we receive additional information from USED, Georgia will seek all available flexibility from these requirements.
Unfortunately, there is disappointing news as well. USED has made it clear they will not waive federal testing requirements for 2020-21. This means Georgia will have to proceed with administering the Georgia Milestones assessment this spring. I completely disagree with this decision, and believe it shows the continued disconnect between Washington, D.C. and the realities of the classroom. At this point, our focus is on ensuring this disheartening decision does not harm the health and safety of any Georgia student.
USED’s letter mentions remote administration of state tests. We have thoroughly investigated this option and it is not achievable from a logistical, connectivity, or security standpoint. We are unaware of any states that have accomplished remote administration of a secure standardized test on this scale without major issues.
However, USED also specifically states in their letter that “certainly, we do not believe that if there are places where students are unable to attend school safely in person because of the pandemic that they should be brought into school buildings for the sole purpose of taking a test.” Additionally, the federal requirement that 95% of students participate in assessments will be waivable according to USED’s letter.
Georgia has already worked to reduce the high-stakes nature of testing this year. The State Board of Education approved my recommendation to reduce the weight of Georgia Milestones EOCs to 0.01% of students’ final grades, and I directed school districts with flexibility contracts to use input from teachers and parents, placement committees, class performance, and formative tools instead of Georgia Milestones to make student promotion/retention decisions. We have also waived the summative TKES evaluation for 2020-21 – meaning teachers will still receive observations but will not receive an end-of-year, scored evaluation.
With these changes in place to remove student and teacher consequences, the federal removal of the 95% participation requirement, and the clear direction of USED that students should not be brought into school buildings for the purpose of taking a test, I have communicated to Georgia school districts that they should not require virtual students to come into the building solely for the purpose of taking Georgia Milestones, and should ensure that parents understand this option is available to them.
I appreciate the flexibility offered by USED around accountability and school identification. I am disappointed by their approach to testing, and I continue to believe that high-stakes standardized tests in the middle of a pandemic are not necessary, wise, or useful. At this point, we are working to ensure maximum flexibility around testing and to ensure the health and safety of every Georgia student.”
Child Lures Prevention
Read Across America Spirit Week Dress Up
Help us celebrate Read Across America and show your love for reading by participating in our daily dress up. Click on the document below for each day's theme.
RBES Parent Survey
Welcome, Mrs. Coskun!
She will be joining our 3rd Grade Team on Monday, March 1, taking over Ms. Simpson's 3rd grade class after her recent resignation. Be sure to give Mrs. Coskun a warm Parsons' welcome! She has heard so much about our Parsons' family and she is so excited to be a part of our PRIDE!
Parsons First Annual Black History Door Decorating Contest
Our Overall First Place Winner was Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Vengurlekar. Congratulations to all our winners!
Parsons Elementary School
Relay for Life Stronger Together One Time Gift Campaign
February 24th – March 31st , 2021
We are Stronger Together! We can do so much more together to beat cancer! We would like to challenge each family to give a one-time donation to help us reach our Parsons school 2021 Relay for Life goal of $2,000. If we could have 200 families give $10/each, it is within our reach!
This year has been a very challenging one with only half of our students here in the building. So, this would be a fundraiser that would be easy for every student and staff member to be able to support, whether you are a Roomie or a Zoomie.
As the American Cancer Society's most successful fundraiser and the organization's signature event, the mission of Relay for Life is to raise funds to improve cancer survival, decrease the incidence of cancer, and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their caretakers. Won’t you help us with this most important mission of raising money to help cancer patients?
We all have someone in our life that we know or love that has had cancer. You can make a donation in honor or in memory of that person. Once your donation of $10 or more has processed on MyPaymentsPlus, you will receive a link to a Padlet that you will be able to upload information and a picture about your person you are honoring with your donation.
Instructional Resource Review
Attendance Updates and Reminders
We've also had a few parents ask the following question about attendance, so we wanted to share with everyone just in case you had the same question...Why was my child, who is an in person student, marked absent from school even though they completed the work digitally on the day they stayed home? For students who are "in person" learners, their classroom teacher takes attendance based on if they are "in person" in the classroom. If the student is not present in the classroom, they will be marked as absent even if they complete the work from home digitally. Make up work is expected from all students when they miss a day.
Support Autism Awareness
You are now able to place your order for this year's Autism T-shirts. You can find the order form attached below. Orders started on February 16 and will continue until March 16, 2021. If your child is digital you will be notified when the T-shirts are ready for pick-up from the school.
Please keep these dates in mind for planned Autism activities:
On March 19, 2021, donate $1.00 and get an autism puzzle piece to be decorated at home and bring them back to school the week of March 22nd- 26th, 2021. We are planning to use the decorated puzzles on the trees in the school hallways.
On April 2nd and April 30th, students may wear something blue to school and donate $1.00.
We need your participation to make this event a success! All proceeds will go towards Autism Speaks Organization. Brought to you by the Parsons Special Education Department.
Thank you for helping to support a great cause!
Parsons Spring Book Fair
The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to Parsons Tuesday, February 16 - Monday, March 1! We have many shopping options for you including:
- Sidewalk Shopping in the Car Rider Lane on Wednesday, February 17th from 10AM - 6PM (except during Early Release dismissal) for all our parents, students, and digital learners.
- You can shop online from Scholastic and have the books delivered to your home
- You can shop using the flyer or Google Form and have books ready to pick up at our regular Curbside Checkout or delivered to your child's classroom
- Your child can shop in person if they are currently at school.
The following in-person classes will have the opportunity to shop at the Book Fair on the following days. Please either send in a check or load money using the Scholastic eWallet option if your child would like to purchase items from the Book Fair. Note: Any remaining funds on the Scholastic eWallet can be used at the Scholastic Online Store or at a future Scholastic Book Fair.
- Melts, Lawson, Arrington, Simpson, Isom-Jones, Yoo --- February 22 & March 1
- Bradley, Pipe, Lee (1st), Davis, Perkerson, Kuny, Down, Vengurlekar, Russell --- February 16 & 23
- Na, Rogers, Cummings, Cline, Kim (2nd) --- February 24
- Wren, Sheppard, Vickers --- February 18 & 25
- Cisic, Bonds, Bell --- February 25
- Kim (KK), Gambrell, Lee (5th), Austin, Turk, Piper, Miller, Monaco, Park --- February 19 & 26
- Read Across America Week ~ Wear your Pajamas and read a good book!
- American Red Cross Month
- Exceptional Childrens Week
- Irish American Heritage Month
- National Nutrition Month
- Social Work Month
- Womens History Month
- Digital Learning Day #2
- Read Across America Week ~ Wear a hat and celebrate!
- Dr. Seuss' birthday
- Read Across America Week ~ Wear your sunglasses to "see" all the great books you can read!
- Read Across America Week ~ Wear red to celebrate all the books you have "read"!
Doing our part to stop the spread of Covid-19
Please use the COVID-19 Morning Checklist to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Please continue to follow the guidelines each morning when sending your in person student to school. We have seen a slight increase of cases in Gwinnett and we want to make sure we are ALL doing our part.
Each school in our district has a trained Health Response Team (HRT). If a suspected case of Covid-19 is reported at our school, the team follows set guidelines and procedures. Please be assured that you will be contacted by an HRT member if your child has been identified as 'close contact' to someone in our school who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The most important thing we can do is continue to wear our masks, practice social distancing, and wash hands regularly. We are #STRONGERTOGETHER when we all do our part.
Media Center Information
All students can still get library books during digital days using curbside checkout. When ANY student is digital, curbside checkout is available. Curbside is not available for in-person students when they are actually in the school building. The Media Center staff always wears gloves and a mask when they handle books and also quarantine books based on GCPS guidelines. It is easy to check out books even if students are at home learning digitally. Here are some guidelines:
- Books must be placed on hold by midnight each Sunday night for pickup that week. They will go off hold if they are not picked up. All books are shelved each Friday and not held over to the following week. Students should only place books on hold if their parent/ neighbor/relative is able to pick up the books that particular week.
- Parents will receive an email on Monday morning letting them know the books are ready to pick up.
- Parents drive through the car rider lane on Wednesday or Thursday between 11:30 - 1:00 based on the first letter of their last name. A-M come on Wednesday & N-Z come on Thursday. Library books will be given through the window or placed in the trunk as requested. Parents will not exit their car.
- Students should place only one graphic novel and one book from a series on hold at a time so others can enjoy these books too.
Library books can be kept for 2 weeks before they need to be returned. When students are finished with a library book, they can return it either to curbside checkout or to the book return outside the front of the school. Books must be returned before new books are checked out. If students checked out books this week at school, those books need to be returned before getting new books.
- Students who are digital get to place one extra book on hold since they might not be able to get library books as often as in-person students. When students are learning from home, they are all considered digital learners for library curbside pickup.
- The Gwinnett County Public Library also offers curbside pickup with later hours and weekend pickup options. Students can login to the Public Library using their student number and 4-digit birthday as their pin just as they use for Beanstack to log reading minutes for the Parsons Schoolwide Reading Challenge.
- Visit Ms. Britt's eCLASS page for more information about curbside checkout along with videos to learn how to place a book on hold.
Join us for the next PTA meeting by Zoom on March 5th at 9:00 am. Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 795 8921 9374 PASSCODE: lioncub
PTA Celebrates Black History Month: Historic Pioneers
Did you know that Rosa Parks was not the first person to defy bus segregation laws? Or that in 1962, an African American commanded a U.S. Navy combatant ship? There are many incredible accomplishments of the African American community members that are not well-known, or that have been lost to the past.
How To Talk To Your Child About Racism
Psychologists say it is important to encourage children to celebrate their differences—diversity is a strength. For parents of color, this may involve celebrating your heritage and affirming their features and skin tone. For others, this may involve educating your child to become a better ally.