From the Principal's Desk

Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts

Safe Return-To-School - Here We Go!

We are so excited to welcome students back to the school for those who are able to join us at this time. Texas Center for Arts + Academics has compiled suggested guidelines to follow based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Texas Education Agency (TEA), and national and state fine arts organizations. These guidelines have evolved into our standard operating procedures called the TCAA Back-To-School Health Plan.


Please join me tomorrow, September 15, at 6:00 p.m. on Facebook Live as I walk students and families through the steps and procedures that we will take as a school to keep everyone in the building healthy.


I will discuss everything from arrival to dismissal procedures and everything in between - in-class procedures, fine arts classes, and cafeteria procedures.


Please also find the TCAA Safe Return-to-School Health Plan attached to the JupiterEd email with the link to this newsletter.


For students and families who are continuing with At-Home Learning past October 13, please join me for a Facebook Live on Monday, September 21, at 6:00 p.m. to learn more about how we will deliver online instruction and the supports that we are putting in place for these learners.


As a parent myself, I understand what a difficult decision it is for families to decide which learning environment to choose. Our mission is two-fold: To create a safe, healthy learning environment where students thrive at-school and to deliver robust, scaffolded online instruction for students who are learning at home.


If you are still on the fence about this decision, here's a link from the CDC for items to consider when making this highly individualized choice.


Deciding between In-School Learning and At-Home Learning: A Decision Making Tool for Families


To say this is a A LOT of information to digest and process is an understatement. I appreciate, more than words can convey, everyone for your support and spirit of working together as we make and implement these plans and procedures. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at jennifer.jackson@fwafa.org if you have questions. I am here to help.


Creatively yours,


Dr. Jackson

Safe Return-To-School Health Plan

TCAA’s goal is to prioritize the reopening of school as safely and as quickly as possible given the many known and established benefits of In-School learning. In order to enable this and assist our schools with their day-to-day operations, it is important to adopt and diligently implement actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 inside the school and out in the community.


Re-opening our school will require families to support school actions that will moderate the risk of in-school transmission regardless of the underlying community burden.


In order to keep everyone healthy in our school, we have adopted the following six core practices as recommended by the CDC and Texas Education Agency.


Six Core Practices to Keep Everyone Healthy


Symptom Screening for Students, Staff, Visitors


100% Compliance of Face Coverings


Vigilant Hand Washing and Sanitizing


In-Class Procedures that Maximize Social Distancing


Limited Use of Shared Objects


Frequent Disinfection of High Touch Areas

Daily Student Health Screening

Keeping everyone on campus healthy will take a true partnership among all stakeholders. We are asking that parents conduct a health screening of their student each morning prior to arriving at school.


Covid or otherwise, illness decreases a student’s ability to learn and puts them at risk for spreading illness to others.


Check in with your child each morning for signs of illness.


  • Fever (100.4 or greater) or chills

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in cough from usual)

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Severe headache

  • Unusual fatigue

  • Sore throat

  • Significant muscle pain or body aches

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks (longer than 15 minutes without a mask)


Contact Nurse Kay Armstrong at 817-924-1482 extension 111 or kay.armstrong@fwafa.org if your child is presumed or confirmed with COVID-19.

Face Coverings: A New Dress for Success Item!

100% Compliance of Face Coverings is an important component within our six core prinicples. The following our the guidelines regarding face coverings:


Cloth Face Coverings or Masks

  • Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts will enforce the use of cloth face coverings.

  • Cloth face coverings or masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms.

  • Appropriate and consistent use of cloth face coverings or masks is most important when students, teachers, and staff are indoors and when social distancing is difficult to implement or maintain.

  • Cloth face coverings or masks should be at least 2 layers of fabric thick (if you can blow out a candle with the mask on, it’s not thick enough).

  • Neck gaiters, buffs, bandannas, and masks with exhalation values or vents are NOT acceptable face coverings or masks.

  • Choose face coverings or masks that

    • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

    • Completely covers the nose, mouth, and chin

    • Are secured with ties or ear loops

    • Include multiple layers of fabric

    • Allow for breathing without restriction

    • Can be washed and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

  • Disposable masks should be changed out and any form of cloth masks must be washed frequently.

  • Students must have multiple face coverings or masks each day. Consider providing your child with a container (labeled resealable bag) to bring to school to store their extra face covering when not wearing it. It is also recommended for students to have a labeled resealable bag for contaminated fabric face coverings.

  • Students who come to school without a face covering will be provided with a face covering for the day and parents will be notified by the front office.

  • Label your child’s face coverings clearly with a permanent marker so that they are not confused with those of other children.

  • Explain the importance of wearing a face covering and how it protects other people from getting sick.

General School Health Guidelines

The following are the general health guidelines that we will follow as a school.

  • Students will have instruction on effective hand washing. Elementary students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer throughout the day including before eating and following restroom breaks. All secondary students will be encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer regularly. Hand washing instructions have been posted in all of the restrooms in the school.

  • Teachers and staff will be expected to wash and/or sanitize their hands regularly.

  • Hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom, at all entrances, and throughout common spaces such as the cafeteria.

  • All students need to come to school with a water bottle labeled with his or her name. Water fountains will be available for filling of water containers only. Water fountains that are not bottle fillers will be closed.

  • Students, teachers, staff, and visitors will be encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or in their elbows, if tissues are not available. Because face coverings or masks are porous so you can breathe, coughs and sneezes WITH the mask should still include covering your sneeze with tissue or elbow. It is important for students to have more than one mask at school at all times. After a sneeze, the student should discard the mask and replace it with a fresh one.

  • Restrooms will continue to be disinfected daily, and classrooms will have surfaces disinfected daily.

  • Plexiglass will be installed in high-traffic public areas (reception desks, cafeteria cashier area, etc.)

  • Classroom doors will be propped open during transitions to reduce high-touch areas and promote air circulation.

  • Staff will have access to disinfectant wipes to sanitize high-touch, working surfaces, and shared objects regularly.

September 18 at 7:00 p.m. - Student Choreography Concert

Student Choreography Concert is an annual opportunity for our students to gain additional choreography experience and showcase their own work.


The Student Choreography Concert, directed by FWAFA students, Trinity Smith, Alyssa Stevenson, and Isabelle Vivas, will feature all styles of dance – including solos, duets, and small group pieces.


This event is FREE, however TCAA will be accepting donations to help cover staffing, production, and technology costs.


The evening will kick off with a LIVE Panel Discussion - Behind the Screens: Q&A Panel with Student Directors and Choreographers of the 2020 Online Student Choreography Concert. After the Panel Discussion, the concert will be available to view for 48 hours at artsacademics.org/live


Behind the Screens Commercial

SCC Commercial

Artsathon: TCAA Through the Ages

We are excited to kick off our 75th Anniversary Celebration with Artsathon: TCAA Through the Ages, a virtual time capsule of our past, celebration of our present, and announcements and discussion to get us excited about the future of our organization. From the first rehearsal of the Denton Civic Boys Choir in 1946, which laid the foundation for Texas Boys Choir, Inc., to growing and evolving to where we are today, Texas Center for Arts + Academics has always supported the talents and creativity of our students.


This year, we learned that even when we cannot perform in person, the show must go on! Artsathon: Live! was a tremendous success this spring, and we couldn't wait to bring it back! We invite you to join in the celebration by participating, watching, and helping us meet our goal.


This fundraiser will serve as the final cap to our annual fundraising drive, and there will be opportunities throughout the evening to support the great work of the schools, premiere choirs, and programs. Tune in on Facebook Live Sunday, September 27th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for performances from current TCAA families, faculty, and alumni, interviews, announcements, and prizes throughout the evening!


Make sure you “Like” the Texas Center for Arts + Academics Facebook Page and invite your friends and family to the Artsathon: TCAA Through the Ages Event on Facebook so everyone can tune-in to see your segment. Thank you for helping us make this a successful and fun event!

At-Home Learning Attendance Policy

Per Texas Education Code (TEC), 25.092, students must attend 90% of the days a course is offered (with some exceptions) in order to be awarded credit for the course and/or be promoted to the next grade level. This requirement remains in force during the 2020-2021 school year.


Students will demonstrate attendance when learning in the At-Home Learning model by responding to the Attendance Check question in Google Classroom each day.


The Attendance Check question will open in Google Classroom at 8:00 a.m. and will close at 11:59 p.m. each day.



Elementary students (3-6) will demonstrate being present to their first academic rotation teacher.


Secondary students (7-12) will demonstrate being present to the classes that they have that day on the modified block schedule.


  • On Mondays, students will answer Attendance Check questions for all 8 classes.
  • On Tuesday/Thursdays, students will answer Attendance Check questions for their odd classes.
  • On Wednesday/Fridays, students will answer Attendance Check questions for their even classes.

Transition Plan for In-School Success

We will phase in groups of students over a 3 week period to transition from our 100% At-Home Learning plan to In-School Learning and practice the TCAA Back-To-School Health processes and procedures that are being put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


Students who choose In-School Learning on the Back to School Commitment form who are showing a lack of attendance or academic progress in the online environment based on their progress report, on a Section 504 plan or Individualized Education program, or have extenuating circumstances were notified last Friday that they will report to school on September 21 and continue with In-School Learning until the end of the school year.


To clarify, this group of students will join us for all three weeks of the transition period and then continue on with In-School Learning for the remainder of the year. If a family needs to change their commitment form to At-Home Learning at some point during the year, we ask that requests be emailed to me on or before the due date (two weeks prior to the end of each six weeks).


Students whose last names begin with letters A-L will come to In-School Learning from September 28 to October 2. Students whose last names begin with letters M-Z will come to In-School Learning from October 5 to October 9.


During these 3 transition weeks, all students (both In-School and At-Home) will continue to follow the Asynchronous Learning plan with Zoom meetings starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 1:30 p.m. Students are encouraged to bring their own technology device as we have checked out all of our devices at this time. Although it is encouraged, technology devices are not required, especially in our elementary grade levels. Teachers will have materials accessible to all learners at school.


Students in grades 3 and 4 will eat lunch at their regularly scheduled time from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Students in grades 5 to 12 will eat lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. During this transition time, students will need to bring a ready-to-eat lunch (and snacks) and water bottle. Food may not be shared with other students.


Asynchronous Academic and Fine Arts Flex time will continue at its regular time during the day. For grades 3 and 4, this is from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and for grades 5-12, this is from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


More information about how In-School Learning and At-Home Learning will be implemented will be shared in the coming weeks through this newsletter and FaceBook Live presentations on September 14 and September 15 at 6:00 p.m.

Back to School Nights - Transitioning to In-School Learning

For students who are transitioning to In-School Learning during the 3-week phase in process beginning September 21, we will hold Back-to-School nights that will provide an opportunity for students and families to walk the building to understand where all of their classes are located and for middle and high school students to be issued a locker and practice opening the locker. These Back-To-School Nights are as follows:


Monday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m. - Back to School with TCAA on FaceBook Live. Our Interim President/CEO Dr. Thomson and Interim Superintendent/CAO Dr. Vaughan will discuss measures the district will take to prevent the COVID-19 virus from entering the school and practices that have been put in place to respond in the event that we have a test-confirmed case in the school.


Tuesday, September 15 at 6:00 p.m. - Back to School with Dr. Jackson on FaceBook Live. I will outline the procedures and routines that we will follow to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and provide an opportunity for students and families to ask questions about our health plans.


Back-To-School Nights - We ask that students and families adhere to the current Tarrant County health order and wear a mask.


Wednesday, September 16


6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Grades 3 and 4

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Grades 7, 8, and 9


Thursday, September 17


6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Grades 5 and 6

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Grades 10, 11, and 12

Shot Records and Medical Forms Needed

Please send your student's shot records to Nurse Kay Armstrong at kay.armstrong@fwafa.org


The following records are needed:

  • All NEW students immunization record
  • 7th graders’ Updated immunization record with required Tdap and Meningococcal


For students who begin In-School Learning during our transition period starting September 21, we also need the following medical forms:

  • Medical Certification (complete with physician’s signature)/Travel/Medical Release
  • Parent/Physician request for Administration of Medication Request by School Personnel

In-School Learning: Dress Code Requirements

Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts and its performing groups are uniformed organizations. The following provides general guidelines for all students; however, each performing group or artistic discipline may have more specific dress code standards.


Students and their families are responsible for understanding and complying with the requirements of their chosen disciplines. In addition to the school uniform, additional uniform items, costumes and luggage may be required depending on a student’s fine arts group.


The Dress Code is established to teach grooming and hygiene, prevent disruption, minimize safety hazards, and create a sense of equality and unity on our campus. Uniform compliance is a positive learning experience for students involved in professional training and will help individual students learn specific responsibilities.


Once a student is enrolled in school, he/she should obtain the required uniform items.


Students are expected to be in dress code beginning the first day of school. Violations in dress code will result in a Silent Lunch Detention.


Standards of Dress


Shoes


Students must wear closed-toe and closed-heel shoes, clean and in good condition, no heels over 2 inches, no flip-flops, sandals, slippers, moccasins, or steel-toed boots


Spirit Dress Days


Every Friday is Spirit Dress Day. Throughout the year, we also have Free Dress Days.


  • Spirit dress consists of standard blue colored blue jeans in good condition without holes, or other approved uniform bottoms worn with the 2020-2021 FWAFA Spirit Shirt.

  • On half-days at the end of each six-week period, students are allowed to wear any FWAFA spirit shirt.

  • Free dress consists of clothing of the student’s choice, as long as it is in keeping with the standards set by the dress code. Length of clothing and coverage of the body must be consistent with uniform standards of dress. Students and families will be notified of dates for Free Dress through JupiterEd. sult in a silent lunch detention.



Tops


  • Red or blue Flynn O’Hara Uniform FWAFA-logoed polo shirt

  • White or light blue uniform oxford shirt with button-down collar, short or long- sleeved

  • FWAFA sweatshirts, cardigans, or hoodies sold through FWAFA or Flynn O’Hara Uniforms and worn over a dress code shirt



Bottoms


  • Flynn O’Hara Uniform plaid skirt no shorter than two inches above the knee

  • Flynn O’Hara Uniform plaid jumper that comes to the top of the knee (worn with oxford shirt)

  • Khaki pants or shorts no shorter than two inches above the knee with a black or brown belt or khaki skirt



Overall Appearance


  • Students must show respect for the academic environment by being well-groomed while attending school or school-related functions.

  • FWAFA uniforms will be worn in a clean and neat manner.

  • Students shall not wear any clothing or accessories that distract from or interfere with the education of themselves or others or is in any way disruptive to the learning environment.

  • Shirts must be worn tucked in at all times.

  • Visible undershirts must be white.

  • Apparel other than designated school uniforms is not to be worn at school unless the principal gives special permission to do so.

Juniors: Two Dates Announced for PSAT

CollegeBoard has recently announced that a second date is available to administer the PSAT/NMSQT test. The two dates are Thursday, October 29, 2020 and Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

11th graders have the opportunity to take the test one time on either date. The January 2021 administration will have the same benefits as the October PSAT/NMSQT, including eligibility for programs administed by National Merit Scholarship Corporation. More information on how to register for the test on either date will be sent to 11th graders and their families this week.


9th and 10th graders will be able to take the test on January 26. Information on how to register for that date will be communicated in October.

Online Performances

This year our online performances will be available to our families and community for FREE, from anywhere. Events will vary in format. Some will be pre-recorded and some will be livestreamed. We will also host live introductions and panel discussions from our students and faculty before the shows. We will accept donations during all online performances to help cover costs of staffing, production, and technology for each show.


TCAA is proud of our Fine Arts faculty for their creativity and innovation, but most of all for their dedication to our students. They have worked hard all summer to ensure we could still provide quality fine arts instruction and productions to our families. The best way to show your appreciation and help support our students is by Making a Donation to Texas Center for Arts + Academics.


Don't miss the first performance of the year: Student Choreography Concert | September 18th

Clayton After-School Care

When we begin to transition back to In-School learning, Clayton Afterschool will be our after-school provider. Please visit their website at www.claytonyouth.org to find more information about their program and secure your child’s spot.

In-School Learning and At-Home Learning Information

All students who choose In-School Learning will report to school on Tuesday, October 13, at 8:00 a.m. with dismissal at 3:45 p.m.


Unless our school is required to close by the Texas Education Agency, we will offer both In-School and At-Home Learning models for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.


If you would like to change your commitment from one learning environment to another, this can be done by emailing me (jennifer.jackson@fwafa.org) two weeks prior to the end of each grading period.


The deadlines to make a change for each six weeks are as follows:


2nd six weeks - September 11

3rd six weeks - October 23

4th six weeks - December 4

5th six weeks - February 5

6th six weeks - March 26


In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more detailed information on the routines and procedures that we will follow to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 when students, teachers, and staff return to the building. This will include procedures for daily symptom screening, arrival, dismissal, cafeteria and lunch procedures, face coverings, in-class procedures, shared supplies, procedures for fine arts and PE classes, etc.


Likewise, I will also be sharing more detailed information about how At-Home Learning will transition to a predominantly asynchronous model, support for students from our online mentors, curriculum resources we will be using, etc.

Required Attendance and Extra-Curricular Activities

Per our Student Handbook, students are required to be in attendance at school to attend any after-school organizations, clubs, or rehearsals. During 100% At-Home Learning, students demonstrate attendance by responding to the Attendance Check Question in each of their classes for the day. Be sure to complete these questions, prior to the club/organization meeting or rehearsal.
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PTSO: The Heartbeat of FWAFA

Family ambassadors are needed for each grade level 3rd -12th to be a resource for new FWAFA families. If you have student who has been at FWAFA 1 year or more PTSO will help you as you help new families navigate our school. Email Natoya.Alee@wnc-re.com for more information.