JFK Parent News
Edition 5, Issue 4
Greetings to JFK Families!
Each day that we can keep school open is a great day! We are now in December and another month is before us. It has been a very unusual year in all aspects of life in and out of school. We will continue to practice wearing masks, social distancing, and washing and sanitizing hands frequently.
A friendly reminder to not drop your student(s) off even a few minutes before 7:30. We cannot have students wait in the front entrance to be able to socially distance them. School clocks and bells are set off of cell phone time, so please check the time on your phones prior to dropping your kids off in the morning.
MAP testing is going on during these weeks prior to the Winter Break. Please make sure your student(s) gets plenty of sleep and eats a healthy breakfast if they don’t eat breakfast here at school.
Winter parties will happen on the afternoon of December 22nd. Activities and food will be planned and provided by the school. The District COVID guidelines of no visitors/volunteers in the buildings are still in effect.
We will be sending out a virtual sign-up when we return from Winter Break for January parent/teacher conferences. Conferences will be virtual again like they were in the fall.
There will be no school from December 23-January 1, 2021 for Winter Break. School will resume on January 4th.
The JFK staff wish you a very safe, healthy and happy holiday season as you spend time with your immediate family.
5th Grade Virtual Vocal Concert
5th Grade Families, this year we will be sending a video showcasing our 5th graders music talents. We are preparing a few selections using our African Drums, I am looking forward to sharing it with you! We will notify you when the video is available for viewing. Look for it around the 3rd week of December. This video will take the place of an in-person concert that was originally scheduled for November 5th.
JFK K-5 Music Educator
Upcoming Dress Up Days!
Festive Hat Day
Wednesday, December 16
Wear your festive winter headgear--hats, headbands, or headbands!
Festive Sock Day
Thursday, December 17
Wear your festive holiday-themed socks!
Friday, December 18
Let's pretend we are cuddled up at home watching movies! Wear your PJs to school!
Tuesday, December 22
Dress like the Grinch, wear green, or any character from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
Winter Break--No School!
Wednesday, December 23-January 1
Monday, January 4
Inclement Weather Information
School Related Cancellations and Postponements
It is important to be prepared for the winter storms and extreme cold that every South Dakota winter brings. Please read the following information so you are aware of the procedures for school related cancellations and postponements.
District leaders rely on experts from the National Weather Service and city/county officials when we make decisions on school cancellations, late starts or early dismissals.
Cancelling School/Late Start
When a severe storm hits the area, or is forecast, we start contacting local officials as early as 3:00 a.m. We communicate with our Operational Services Department, the Weather Bureau, the City Street Department, Sioux Falls Transit, and our transportation contractors. It is our goal to decide whether or not to cancel school by 5 a.m. to allow time for parking lots and sidewalks to be cleared, food services to prepare meals and the bus company to begin operations. In the event that school needs to be cancelled or delayed, families will be alerted via a ParentLink phone call. These calls will generally be sent between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. to accommodate families whose children are picked up by buses at 6:45 a.m. Announcements are also made on the District’s website, Sioux Falls School District social media sites (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SiouxFallsSchoolDistrict/ and Twitter: twitter.com/SFSchools ) the SFSD app, and over the local radio and television stations.
Because the public schools have a limited rural area, it is often possible for Sioux Falls to have school when nearby towns may not.
Storms occasionally move in during the day, making it necessary to assess whether or not to dismiss school early. We choose early dismissal only under the most extreme circumstances. In most cases, it is safer for students to remain at school due to the need for transportation and proper supervision. In the rare instances when schools are dismissed early, families will receive a ParentLink phone call and the information will appear on the District’s website at www.sf.k12.sd.us, and our Sioux Falls School District social media sites (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SiouxFallsSchoolDistrict/ and Twitter: twitter.com/SFSchools ). Announcements are also made over the local radio and television stations.
Notifications refer to dismissal “one hour early” or “two hours early” because of the number of different building schedules. In addition to noting the early dismissal, announcements about evening activities are normally included.
It is very important that every family has a plan for early dismissal. Be sure your student knows where to go in case no one is at home. Parents/Guardians are urged to talk with their student about his/her safety during winter weather emergencies.
Be Safe This Winter
The school system offers these suggestions concerning cold weather and
1. Listen for a ParentLink phone call regarding school closings, late starts, or early dismissals. Check the District’s website at www.sf.k12.sd.us for updated information. Follow us on our Sioux Falls School District social media sites (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SiouxFallsSchoolDistrict/ and Twitter: twitter.com/SFSchools ) for updated information. Announcements will also be made on local radio and television stations. (Please avoid calling schools or the Instructional Planning Center. Phone lines are needed for emergency communications.)
2. Make sure students are properly dressed for predicted weather conditions so they are prepared for walking or waiting for a bus in the cold or for being delayed on a bus in a weather-related situation.
3. Students should not arrive at school until the scheduled time for outdoor staff supervision or the breakfast program begins.
4. Develop a plan and inform your student about where your student will go if school is dismissed early.
5. School officials will use their best judgment about school closings, late starts, or early dismissals, but please remember that a parent has the right to keep children home or to pick them up from school early if they feel weather conditions require this action.
Steps to Take While Waiting for COVID Test Results
Who Do You Know?
by Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent
As educators, we often say graduation is the culmination of a student’s K-12 experience. But, in our school district, there are a number of learners who choose to never graduate. It’s not because they didn’t complete their coursework or fulfill all of the requirements for graduation, but rather because they are life-long learners who stay in school to teach others.
These people are voracious learners, always searching for something more to accomplish, some way to make an impact, and approach their work with an attitude of service. They embrace the challenges presented by their students and enjoy the conquest of cracking the code that allows them to connect with each learner.
It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher, and a super-human person to be a teacher during a pandemic.
Nominations are now open for the 33rd Annual Dr. John W. Harris Sioux Falls Teacher of the Year. For more than three decades, local business Vern Eide Motorcars has sponsored this award because it believes success is a two-way street. Strong businesses need strong schools and successful public schools need successful, locally owned businesses that are invested in the community.
Perhaps that reciprocal relationship became even more apparent during the 2020-21 school year. After schools and businesses closed in the spring, teachers went to work transforming in-person instruction to online learning in a matter of days. Was it perfect? No. But the school closure heightened the need for students, parents, staff members, and the community to access quality education, maintain a sense of normalcy, and practice resiliency.
Sioux Falls teachers turned their kitchens into classrooms mounting white boards and projecting virtual lessons on the walls to help their students stay on track. They held virtual meetings with students to check on their health and well-being. They managed their “classroom” of 25 students, some while also occupying their own young children in the background because daycares were closed.
Teachers were heralded as heroes at the start of the pandemic and they are still heroes today. We know they will continue to be viewed as such far into the future when the pandemic becomes a distant memory.
While the concepts they are teaching have stayed the same, nearly every other aspect of their profession has changed. Classrooms look different. Routine practices like lunch and recess have been modified. They wear face coverings, making it harder to teach and to connect personally with each student. These people, whose hearts are bigger than their bodies, pour every ounce of energy they have into children who are “educationally” their own.
Do you know a teacher who has gone above and beyond? Do you have a few minutes to tell us how that teacher has supported your child and others during the past year?
You have until Monday, January 25, 2021 at 5pm to submit a nomination. Thanks to Vern Eide, the winner of this prestigious award receives a $4,000 cash prize. While that prize is certainly a generous perk, we can guarantee that every nominee on the list will feel even richer just seeing their nomination and knowing their hard work is recognized and appreciated.
How to Get a Library Card
If your child will be absent or late, please make sure to call the office prior to 8am. We also have an attendance voicemail that you can call any time to report an absence for your child.
If you need assistance in person, please make sure to ring the doorbell on the far left wall of the foyer so that we may assist you through the intercom. If you are dropping off items for your child, please bring them to the table in the foyer, bag them, and put your child's name and room number on the item for delivery. We check the table periodically throughout the morning.