The Glacier Bear Connection


Welcome to the Glacier Bear Connection, our school newsletter.

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AUGUST 17, 2020

Principal Post

Dear Glacier Bear Families-

I would like to welcome you to Sherrod Elementary School. We offer exciting opportunities for growth and learning from third grade through fifth grade, both in person and through At Home Learning, as well as a unique opportunity to be part of our Blended Academy that offers educational opportunities for K-5. We are glad you are in our school and part of the Glacier Bear Family.

The Mat-Su Borough School District and Sherrod Elementary believe in the alliance of parents, community, and school staff to help support all students to reach their full potential. This partnership is the foundation of all learning. We encourage all parents to be active participants with their children in the educational process whether their learning approach is brick and mortar schools or At Home Learning or our Blended Academy.

Staff at Sherrod are ready to face the many challenges COVID-19 has flung at us over the last 5 months. We are ready to see our students back in school, eager to start another school year. Our staff have been working around the clock to become knowledgeable regarding new learning platforms in order to be ready to switch from in person to at home learning. We are very hopeful to stay in school as long as possible. We can only do that with your help, please keep your child home if they are feeling sick. It's imperative that each and every one of us do our part to keep our schools open.

As we embark on this new journey of a very abnormal school year, I know that we all can do our part to keep our schools OPEN, keep our students safe and strive to making this one of the most memorable years! THANK YOU so much for your dedication and support as we all navigate through our Smart Start Mitigation Plan! Thank you for sharing your precious babies with us! We will love them as if they were our own!

We Are Sherrod Strong!!!

Lorri Cook, Principal – Sherrod Elementary

What to expect at school this year?

All schools in the MSBSD are working to open schools safely in accordance with the Alaska Smart Start guidelines. Sherrod Foundations Team met August 6-7 to make necessary mitigation plans. The intent of this newsletter is to give you an overview of the changes. Our full mitigation plan will be posted on our school website and can be found here.

Keeping Schools Open!

  • Follow the district mask guidelines. Opportunities for students to have a mask break will be incorporated during class time through out the day in a safe and distant way.
  • Social distance as much as possible and within reason.
  • Most students will stay with their homeroom teacher for all academic areas.
  • Students will go out to recess with their homeroom.
  • Recess will be zoned into 3 zones. Each class will be assigned a zone to play in for the day. Classes will rotate to a new zone each day.
  • Students will eat lunch in their homeroom.
  • Students will wash their hands when they get to class, before/after lunch, recess and specials. As always they will wash after using the restroom or as needed.
  • Library, PE and Music will rotate & sanitize materials so they aren't shared between classes.
  • Students will have their own materials, labeled with their name, stored in a manner that can easily be transported if needed.
  • Students will be taught how to maintain social distancing in halls, classrooms, at recess and during dismissal.
  • Curbside early pick ups or late drop offs.
  • Extra cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day in common areas including bathrooms, handrails, etc.
  • Use of water bottles instead of drinking fountains.
  • Absolutely, NO sharing of food.
  • Individually wrapped treats or trinkets for celebrations only.
  • All adults entering the school must wear a mask.
  • At this time, Volunteers are not being allowed in the building as they pose a greater threat to cross-contamination.
  • Doors open at 9:00 am, students report directly to their classroom.
  • Dismissal: Parent Pick-ups at 3:30 pm; Bus dismissal at 3:40 pm

Academic Excellence

Typically, students participate in skill level grouping where students are placed in flexible academic skill groups to provide tailored instruction. This model is often referred to "Walk to Read" or "Walk to Math"!

At Sherrod, we firmly believe that this model of "Walk to Read" and "Walk to Math" provides a leveled approach to meet needs, it is problematic with the current health and safety needs of limiting the number of contacts in a given day. At this time, all students will be in their homeroom class, however all students (at home and in person) will use the Mat Su Virtual Learning (MSVL) platform for ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies as well as Google Classroom. Exceptions to this may be students who need a replacement core or specialized instruction as outlined in their special education IEP.

Academic success will include the following changes:

  • In the event of school closure, parents interface with only one teacher.
  • In the event of school closure, students seamlessly transition to instruction at home.
  • While at school, students use Mat Su Virtual Learning with some time on the computer, some time directly with the teacher, and some time engaging in other independent work.
  • Teachers will have a data dashboard to see how every student is responding to the online instruction, allowing them to plan for intervention and extension by individual student needs.
  • When/if At Home learners transition back to school they just continue on in their courses.
  • Teachers can customize the content as a student shows growth or needs acceleration.
  • District is preparing MSVL platform for all elementary students, anticipated release date is September 1 for both At Home Learners and for In Person.
  • Teachers will utilize Google Classroom for classwork, homework and other special assignments until MSVL is ready for full implementation.

Morning Drop Offs

Due to lack of space to properly social distance in the mornings, Sherrod will allow students into the school starting at 9:00 am, they will report directly to their classrooms. School starts at 9:15 am but students are welcome to be dropped off any time after 9:00 am. If you arrive early, please park and wait with your student in your car until 9 o’clock. We will be working to ensure that students are not congregating at the door. We appreciate your understanding about not dropping your child off before 9:00 am. Once entering school, students must be in a face mask, covering both mouth and nose.

---- School Hours ----

Don't forget!

School hours are from 9:15 a.m until 3:45 p.m.

Due to Safety Precautions: doors open for students at 9:00 a.m.

Call the office before 2:45 pm with any changes to end of day transportation.

Any transportation requests after 3:00 pm may not get to your child by dismissal.

We truly appreciate your cooperation and understanding!

NEW Dismissal Times

In an effort to minimize the number of students in the hall ways at the same time, parent pick up will begin at 3:30 pm. The pickup line is located in front of the school along the sidewalk. Students will be staged on the grassy areas waiting for their ride to arrive. Students are expected to wear their mask during this time until they have safely entered your vehicle. Look for a staff member in a neon vest to assist you in getting your child.

Students who are taking the bus home will be dismissed at 3:40 pm.

Early Release of Students

We understand that there are times you will need to pick up your child from school. In order to provide a safe and secure school, we have new expectations for any visitors at Sherrod.

Due to COVID-19 and striving to minimize COVID exposure, we are asking that parents ring the doorbell to request your child.

After verifying identification, we will ask you to wait in your car. A staff member will get your child and escort them out to your car. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we navigate COVID Smart Start.

New Staff at Sherrod

Please help me welcome the following staff to Sherrod:

  1. Lena Andrist: 3rd grade Teacher
  2. Caroline Ben: Intensive Resource Teacher
  3. Lisa Dorame: 4th grade Teacher
  4. Kristi Adams: 4th grade Teacher
  5. Megan Mickelson: 5th grade Teacher
  6. Rochelle Ray: Physical Therapist

We are so excited to have these new faces join our amazing Sherrod team.

Morning Show

5th grade students will be participating in our daily announcements. Various students will be selected to announce the news of the day called "The Morning Show". During the morning show, we will feature a "virtue word of the week" and discuss different ways students can model that virtue. Each week, classes will select a student of the week who has demonstrated that week's virtue. Those students will get a chance to announce their name during the morning show.

At-Home Online Learners

At-Home Online Learners:
We are excited to be offering Mat Su Virtual Learning (MSVL) for our At-Home Learners. Students should expect contact from their At-Home learning teacher between August 19-August 26. At that time, your At-Home learning teacher will be setting up an appointment for beginning of the year assessments and device check-outs.

Classes for At-Home learning will begin September 3. Your At-Home learning teacher will set up a parent training via zoom to help educate you on what to expect from the MSVL platform and how to best support online learning.


Nurse Dana is asking all of our families to take your child's temperature before sending them to school. If you have any questions or anything health related, please feel free to give Nurse Dana a call at 761-4103.

Nurse Dana also wants to remind us to frequently wash our hands with soap and water.

Hallway Expectations

Our Hallways are an extension of our classrooms, the staff of Sherrod is constantly looking for ways to make our school safer for students. Our goal, when traveling in the hallway, is to have the least amount of distractions of learning while passing to lunch, recess, specials, or any transitions within our learning time.

Guidelines for Success for Hallways:

Single file

Straight line

Passing on the right

Zero Conversation

Velcro dots have been placed 3' feet apart to help students maintain social distancing while transitioning in the hallways. Please talk with your child about the importance of keeping their hands to themselves, maintaining a safe distance from classmates and avoid touching walls.

Before and After School Activities are OPEN for business!

MSBSD believes , and research supports , that it is essential to the physical and mental well - being of students to return to extra - and co - curricular activities to the maximum extent possible. There will likely be variations in what sports and activities are allowed to take place. This may lead to inequities; however, MSBSD endorses the idea of returning students to school - based athletics and activities in any and all situations where it can be done safely.

Look for permission slips to come home in the next few weeks for Cross Country and other school activities!

Lunch Expectations

In an effort to keep our classrooms as a small cohort, we will be eating in the classrooms. Hot lunches will be delivered to the classrooms for purchase or for free/reduced cost. Students who eat a hot lunch will be charged accordingly, so please remind your child your expectations of purchasing hot lunches (especially those pizza days). See hot lunch menu below

Due to the need for cleanliness and avoiding contaminating surfaces, microwaves will NOT be in classrooms this year. Please plan accordingly when you are making those cold lunches.

See flyer below for ideas on how best help your child be successful during lunch time.

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Hot Lunch August 19-31

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Mark your calendars


  • 8/19: Virtue of the Week: EXCELLENCE
  • 8/19: First Day of School
  • 8/23: Virtue of the Week: SELF-DISCIPLINE
  • 8/24: TENTATIVE XC begins 8:15 am
  • 8/25-9/14: MAP Assessments
  • 8/25: TENTATIVE Walking Club begins 3:45 pm
  • 8/30: Virtue of the Week: HUMILITY

  • 9/6: Virtue of the Week: JOYFULNESS
  • 9/7: NO SCHOOL
  • 9/11: TENTATIVE 911 Patriot Day Singing at the pole 9:20 am
  • 9/13: Virtue of the Week: CLEANLINESS
  • 9/20: Virtue of the Week: CREATIVITY
  • 9/27: Virtue of the Week: ASSERTIVENESS

  • 10/1: TENTATIVE Basketball Begins
  • 10/4: Virtue of the Week: UNDERSTANDING
  • 10/11: Virtue of the Week: PATIENCE
  • 10/14: End of Q1
  • 10/18: Virtue of the Week: RESPONSIBILITY
  • 10/25: Virtue of the Week: MODERATION
  • 10/25-10/30: Red Ribbon Week Spirit Week
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