Dolphin Tales

Fall Planning Edition (for Parents & Staff Members)

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Link to Blended Learning Plans

In the two articles later in this newsletter, both of which have already been shared, you will see how our district and schools have been working diligently to develop plans for the safest possible return to school in the fall.


On June 30th, Governor Whitmer and the State of Michigan released the Return to School Road Map. This Road Map highlights different recommendations and plans for schools based on specific COVID phases our state is facing. To view the Road Map, click here. Phase 4 in the Road Map highlights the importance of 6 feet of physical distancing within schools. Additionally, among many other things, the road map recommends the following in Phase 4:


  • "As able and appropriate, schools should try to cohort groups of students to isolated hallways or areas that can be monitored."
  • "As able, specials (like art, music, and library) should be brought to the classrooms instead of having students move to different locations."
  • "If all students cannot fit in the classroom space available, a school may consider implementing a staggered school schedule that incorporates alternative dates of attendance or use of virtual teaching. If a staggered school schedule is adopted, schools should partner with community organizations to identify safe spaces where children can engage virtually, especially if family members work and children cannot be home alone."


At Doherty, we are excited to share with you our up to date plans for Blended Learning, which would can be categorized as an option under Phase 4 in the state's Return To School Road Map. The Blended Learning option features two days of live instruction and three days of remote instruction for students. In sharing with you these plans, it is important to note that, at this point, Blended Learning is only an option. It is not yet the final determination. This determination will really be based on which phase our district is in at the time in which school starts.


The link below (which will be shared with parents, staff, and leadership) gives you a visual map with a series of short screencasts linked to the visual map that highlight key areas of our planning (see picture above for what the visual map looks like). We would like to give you time and space to review these details. Please note that several aspects of our day are not included in these planning screencasts. Whatever is not included is not due to oversight. Rather, we have to wait on some items, as they will require concrete district decisions. For example, you will not see plans for our arrival scenario in Blended Learning yet because we are waiting on more details from the district regarding bus plans & options.


By July 10th, we are hoping to ask for feedback from you regarding our Blended Learning plans. Please stay tuned for that feedback invitation opportunity on or right after July 10th. In the meantime, we hope that you appreciate the details provided in these screencasts.


CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DETAILS & SCREENCASTS FOR BLENDED LEARNING OPTION AT DOHERTY

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Lakers Online: A Remote-Only Learning Experience

The West Bloomfield School District is pleased to announce our remote learning instructional pathway, Lakers Online. As we shared in our Classroom to Cloud Framework for Instruction, a remote learning option would be available for Fall 2020. Lakers Online will provide a rich, rigorous learning experience for our students from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. The classes will be taught by West Bloomfield teachers and are aligned to our standards, resources and requirements.


To learn more about Lakers Online and to register, please visit our website at: Lakers Online webpage. In addition, we will be hosting informational sessions as well as an opportunity for your questions to be answered.

Please see the timeline below for more information:

  • Prospective Student Question and Answer Opportunity: Tuesday, July 14 at 7PM via Zoom
  • Student Commitment Deadline: Monday, July 27
  • Student/Parent Orientation: Thursday, August 13 at 10AM and 7PM
  • Classes begin: Wednesday, August 26
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Preparing for a Safe Return This Fall

Various scenarios are being considered for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, not knowing what the public health situation will be in August. The West Bloomfield School District will continue to work closely with and follow recommendations from public health officials and the governor's office, as they consider options and make decisions about the next school year.


Because of the unique challenges of this moment, we are already in the process of planning the details associated with various potential scenarios. The district has assembled a task force of administrators, principals, teachers and parents to join us in our planning efforts. Meanwhile, each building has assembled a leadership team to fine tune details at the building level. Throughout the summer we will update you on our progression.


We know that this is challenging for you as parents/guardians, and we are trying to help navigate you through this ever changing time as it relates to careers, childcare, staying healthy, and the overall safety of your family. Please keep in mind that the health and safety of our students and staff is of most importance.


Discussions at our most recent district task force meeting included looking at different factors related to each topic, including parent feedback that has already been offered:

  • Ensuring high quality instruction for students whether they are learning remotely or on site.

  • Hand-washing stations and protocol.

  • Determine virus exposure self - reporting procedures for staff, families, and students.

  • Some degree of physical distancing.

  • Consider transportation safety and social distancing measures on buses and bus routes.

  • Create signage, visuals, and markings to communicate student, visitor, and staff expectations.

  • Personal protective equipment and sanitization.

  • Isolation room and quarantine measures.

  • Screening for symptoms in students and staff, including temperature-taking.

  • Blended Learning and Online schooling

  • Monitoring access to school facilities.

  • Meals/lunch in the classroom.

  • Car line expectation and routines.

  • Develop options for Child Care/Kids Klub.

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Possibilities for What Learning Will Look Like in the Fall.

Given the circumstances and uncertainty of COVID-19, Doherty Elementary and the entire West Bloomfield School District is already developing plans for several potential scenarios of what learning may look like for the fall through our Classroom To Cloud Initiative. Please note that our ultimate hope is to have all of our students with us five days a week, full time in live instruction. At the same time, we know that this may not be possible. Thus, we are working hard to be prepared for various scenarios.


You will be happy to know that Doherty has over 35 staff members involved in spending time this summer to iron out the best possible details at the building level for big anchors like live instruction, remote instruction, school culture, and safety. One of our staff core values is "All Hands In," and I am truly grateful to have such high levels of participation from our amazing staff. As you become more acquainted with the Doherty Family, you will quickly find out how involved and committed our entire staff is when it comes to helping ALL of our kids grow towards their fullest potential.


Ultimately, these are the scenarios for which Doherty Elementary and the entire district are planning:


  1. Full Return to School: All students and staff on campus five days a week.
  2. Blended Learning: 2 days of live instruction and 3 days of remote learning.
  3. A Family Option for Remote Learning Only: Families that do not feel ready to send their kids back to school will have the option of choosing remote learning five days a week.
  4. Remote Learning for All: In the event that school needs to stay closed, all students learning remotely full time.


Over the course of the summer, you will learn more about the details of each scenario, so please stay tuned. We will also be asking for feedback as we share details. Your feedback will be valuable to us, so please take the time to read our summer communications and note when we request feedback.


In the meantime, you can also visit our district website to learn more details: CLICK HERE to review all items related to the Classroom 2 Cloud planning.

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WBSD & Doherty Supports Equity, Diversity, and Unity

The communication below was sent out to our families weeks ago, but I wanted to be sure to include it in this newsletter for those families that have yet to see it.


Dear West Bloomfield families,


Like many of you, we’ve been paying close attention to the protests and demonstrations against the systemic and institutional racism in this country. To be clear, the West Bloomfield School District does not tolerate racism or injustice of any kind. We believe in equity, diversity and unity for all.


To our Black families, you are not invisible. We see you, we hear you and we are here for you.


To our Black students, you matter. Your life matters. Your education, health and prosperity matter.


Even though we may be apart, we stand together against the injustices, police brutality and racism facing the black community in this country.


Black Lives Matter and we stand with you during these difficult times.


Together we are Team WB.


Sincerely,


Dr. Gerald Hill

Superintendent

West Bloomfield School District


WBSD Message to Students - June 4--Video Message from Dr. Hill


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As the principal of Doherty Elementary, I am fully behind Dr. Hill’s district statement. At Doherty, our mission, in partnership with families and the community, is to provide a safe place where all children can learn, laugh, and grow together into lifelong learners. We can not achieve that mission without your help. That is why we are asking all of you to join us in our strict opposition to racism and discrimination. Furthermore, we ask that you join us in strengthening race relations and promoting equity in our nation through education, unity, and a commitment to consciously tackling bias right here in our West Bloomfield community.


We hope to instill a message of empathy for all people and provide space for our faculty and students to speak their thoughts, learn through listening and engage in speaking up and out for what they believe to be important and true.


Our final episode of Worry Warriors (part of our morning announcements) can be viewed by clicking here (or by clicking the video below this article). It’s an episode I invite you to watch with your kids as a way to have meaningful dialogue about equity and opposing bias that is developmentally appropriate for all of our kids. Using books and stories to help open up meaningful dialogue is a great place to start when exploring this topic with your children. That’s why I chose to use a book for this particular Worry Warriors episode.


Below are some worthwhile resources that you can use at home to engage your child in meaningful conversation about race, inclusivity, diversity and standing up against injustice and racism. Embracerace.org has also published an excellent document about talking to your child about race, which can be helpful in starting an important conversation in your home.


Book lists - reading to your child and with your child about race and about the experience of different groups of people can help build empathy and increase knowledge about the experience of others. Below is a book list that can guide you towards books that have themes and messages to spark conversation with children of different ages.


https://www.embracerace.org/resources/26-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-resistance


Other books to pursue include the following:

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio

  • It’s OK To Be Different by Todd Parr

  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena

  • Little Humans by Brandon Stanton

  • Ganesh and the Little Mouse by Anjali Joski

  • Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

  • Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

  • A Place for Pluto by Stef Wade

  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

  • All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman


Dr. Hill’s statement and this message is really only the beginning. As a white male with privileges I did nothing to deserve, I know the work in growing positive racial relations in our community starts with me. I look forward to growing for a better future for our kids, and I am excited to partner with district leadership and our district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce to continuously improve how we operate as a school, a community, and a nation.


Educationally Yours,


Scott Long

Worry Warriors Finale

Social Story for Wearing a Mask

Dear Doherty Families,


At this moment, we do not know what school will exactly look like in the fall. The good news is that the West Bloomfield School District is already making plans to prepare for various scenarios.


As we plan, we believe it is important to at least prepare for the possibility of wearing masks when in school. With this preparation, we believe it will be helpful to explicitly teach our kids how to wear them and why it is important.


Just like a firefighter wears a mask to stay safe while fighting a fire, Doherty Dolphins can wear masks to stay safe while fighting COVID-19.


Face masks can be a bit uncomfortable to wear at first. Here are some tips to make wearing a mask easier, especially for our children:


  • START SMALL: Parents, prior to asking your child to wear the mask, let him/her become familiar with it. Consider the following steps over time:

    • Holding the mask

    • Bringing the mask toward their face

    • Touching the mask to their face

    • Fitting the elastic over their ears

    • Keeping it on for specified amounts of time


  • Slowly increase the time you have to wear your mask. Start with 5 minutes everyday. Then increase the time by 5 minutes each week. Try having your child wear it while doing an activity they enjoy (i.e. iPad, computer game, watching TV, etc.);


  • Parents, you can model what it looks like when you wear your mask and practice alongside your child;


  • If your child doesn’t like their mask, ask them why? Is it too hot? Is it too hard to breathe? Is it scratchy? Figure out the problem together;


  • Read the Social Story that is attached at the end of this newsletter throughout the summer;


  • Reinforce the behavior: provide a reward for keeping the mask on for a certain amount of time (remember, start small), purchase a personalized mask with a favorite character or topic, wear the mask while doing a favorite activity, wear your masks together on a short outing (a walk, etc.);


  • Practice wearing your masks as a family;


Later this summer, when you find out who your teacher will be, you will get to see what he/she looks like in a mask.


Have a wonderful summer Doherty Dolphins. Stay safe!


Love,

Your Doherty Family

Follow the Doherty Family on Social Media

We have a ton of great things happening at Doherty all of the time, and we want to share those great things with you as frequently as possible. To get quick updates, cool pictures, and other news, please be sure to check us out on the following:

  • Twitter: @Long_DohertyWB
  • Facebook: facebook.com/DolphinsWB
  • Instagram: @DohertyWB