Kindergarten Connection

October 26, 2020

Welcome to Our School!

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From Mrs. Healey

Beginning November 16, we plan to increase the face-to-face instructional time for all Kindergarten Academy students from two days to four days each week. What excites me about this opportunity besides the obvious (more instructional time spent directly with kindergarten staff), is that children can get into a more consistent, predictable routine with school, and families can have more time to spend together without the educational demands of remote learning. Wednesdays will be the only remote learning day and all students will attend school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

There are several factors that have influenced our decision to bring back our kindergarteners for more instructional time. First, our building and staff sizes allow us to increase face-to-face time at the Kindergarten Academy while continuing to maintain social distancing when students are here. Second, we have partnered with medical professionals to do our own monitoring of the virus. Also, a recent study out of Brown University suggests that schools are not the "superspreaders" that they were once thought to be with COVID-19 due to mitigating risk measures. Additionally, several of our neighboring school districts have brought back their youngest students with much success. If conditions change and we are unable to make a change to more face-to-face instructional time, we will inform you as soon as possible.

In this newsletter, you will find additional information about our Increased Face-to- Face Model that is scheduled to start on November 16th. If after reading through the information, you still have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me. My contact information is at the bottom of this document.

Once you are finished reading over this newsletter, click on the link below or find the same link in the email message sent with this newsletter link to complete the intent survey. The survey will close at noon on October 30th.

How will the Kindergarten Academy mitigate risk in the Increased Face-to-Face Model?

  • The health and safety of all stakeholders will continue to be addressed through our Phased Reopening Plan. Here are just a few highlights: wearing masks, maintaining social distance guidelines in the classroom and cafeteria, sanitizing work areas between groups of students, and frequent hand washing/sanitizing. For more details, please see the Phased Reopening Plan on the Kindergarten Academy page of the district website.
  • Students will stay with the same peer group throughout the day. This includes lunch and recess.

How will my child's teacher provide instruction to all students?

  • Teachers are able to have two thirds of the students in their classrooms at one time and still maintain social distance guidelines. They will rotate students into the classroom for instruction in all areas of our curriculum. They will also continue to meet the needs of their students during small group literacy instruction. In some cases, they may use some co-teaching strategies with their partner teacher to best meet the needs of all students.
  • The Instructional Assistant assigned to each class will supervise the students when they are not receiving direct instruction from the teacher.

How will the Instructional Assistant support learning when my child is not with the teacher?

  • Students will rotate in and out of the classroom during the day. They will spend about one hour per day with the instructional assistant assigned to that classroom. Instructional Assistants will be assigned a learning space closest to the classroom. That space will also allow for social distancing.
  • Instructional Assistants will support learning with the activities that they typically do during the school day. These activities include opportunities for students to preview, practice and extend their learning based on instruction from the teacher.
  • The Instructional Assistant will provide learning activities that meet students at their instructional level as outlined by the teacher.
  • While assigned to the Instructional Assistant, students will also attend their Fine and Applied Arts classes of music, library, physical education, and art. This will account for 30 minutes of the hour on those cycle days when the special classes are scheduled.
  • Instructional Assistants may also supervise the daily developmental playtime already built into teachers' schedules to allow teachers to work with small groups of students.

How will transportation be impacted with increased Face-to-Face time?

  • Students will continue to sit with their siblings where applicable on the bus.
  • Students who are not sitting with their siblings will sit in a seat on the bus with one other kindergarten student.
  • Students will wear masks when using district transportation.
  • We will have a staggered check in time for those students being picked up by private vehicle. Families that are picking up their children at multiple schools will be asked to check in with our School Dismissal Manager app between 1:45 and 2:00. Those families that are picking up just their kindergarten child will check in between 2:00 and 2:15. All check ins will be monitored for compliance.
  • Students whose parents walk to the porch for pick up will continue to follow that routine.

What will Wednesdays look like?

  • Wednesdays will continue to be a remote learning day. They will look similar to what is currently happening. Students will have a whole group Zoom meeting. Your child could be assigned a small group or individual "check in" time.
  • There will be several activities to complete that preview, practice and/or extend learning.
  • All remote guidelines for attendance will remain in effect on Wednesdays.

We are looking forward to...

  • More instructional time for students with kindergarten staff
  • Minimizing the gaps between instructional days
  • Consistent and predictable school routines
  • Increased opportunities for peer interaction
  • More chances for students to participate in Fine and Applied Arts classes

Mark Your Calendars!

October 28

  • Parent Teacher Conferences Begin

Week of November 16th

  • Increased Face to Face Model Begins

November 25th - 30th

  • Thanksgiving Break