Quail Call

December 18

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Dear Families-Read on for the News

Update: New dates for Holiday Break! No School December 21 - January 4

January 4 - teacher workday

Quail’s Eye View

Dear PPCS Families,

I’m writing to share information about Board deliberations and decisions related to the second semester, which begins on January 26.

The board has decided to continue with our Remote Yet Connected model until Covid-19 is no longer spreading in our community. This model prioritizes student, family, and teacher safety by emphasizing high-quality remote learning and reserving in-person learning space for our youngest learners (K-3rd) and students receiving special education services. It also features outdoor “meet-ups” on Wednesdays, which enhance learning and connection.

At the same time, we will make some changes to enhance connections and provide students in all grades with more opportunity for face-to-face engagement. School space will continue to be prioritized for K-3 and special education. Teachers in 4th - 8th grade will work closely with Ms. Branen to determine ways to increase safe opportunities for face-to-face learning and connection, especially for students who are struggling with isolation and online learning. You will receive more specific information about these changes - many of which are already underway - from your students’ classroom teacher.

To enable continuation of this model, the board authorized the use of PPCS’s funding reserves as needed to retain the support staff who have been with us during the first semester. This is essential because the additional Covid-relief funds we received from the federal government will run out at the end of this calendar year. The board has also authorized a teacher work day (no school for students) on January 4 for some of the additional planning time needed.

The board’s decision closely follows a recommendation made by a task force composed of board members and teachers. That group reviewed data from surveys of PPCS families and teachers as well as data related to Covid-19 in our region and information about transmission and risk in school environments. We have also been informed by your helpful public comments, which have given important insight into the different perspectives and experiences of specific families and teachers.

In making this decision, we are aware that we will not satisfy everyone. We know that some of you are ready for in-person learning for all grades, and some of you feel that we should return to a fully remote model. Palouse Prairie’s small size and highly trained teaching staff allow us to be extremely flexible and nimble in meeting student needs. These same factors mean that we weigh each decision in light of how it will affect our dedicated community. We believe that the continued and enhanced Remote Yet Connected model will strike the right balance.

We are heartened that a vaccine has now been approved and will (one day) be widely available. We are also encouraged by signs that in-school spread is low when careful precautions (masks, social distancing, etc.) are followed. At the same time, we are sobered by the distance we still need to travel. Our country has passed the grim milestone of 300,000 deaths from Covid, and the spread of the virus is increasing in Idaho as a whole and locally. We will come out the other side of this pandemic, and we want our community to emerge intact, with healthy students, families, and teachers, a love of learning, and strong connections. With your help, we know we can do this.

Thank you for your support and dedication. We wish you a restful break, happy holidays, and a bright new year!


Jessica Bearman

PPCS Board Chair, on behalf of the PPCS Board of Directors

PS. Find information about Board meetings here. https://palouseprairieschool.org/school-board/

Service and Compassion-This Month's Design Principle

Service and compassion: it's something we often talk about but rarely get a chance to witness in our society. When we do, it quickly gets brushed aside. Life moves at such a fast pace it is easy to push through our days and not notice little moments: the man at the front of the line offering to pay for someone’s groceries or a woman holding another mom’s infant so she can finish her lunch. We often forget that it’s the little gestures that make a big difference. Everyday someone needs an extra helping hand, a compliment, or a kind face willing to listen.
It’s a different story when it comes to the students and families at Palouse Prairie. Countless times I have witnessed our crew show up to help serve and spread kindness. Some have come to help spread mulch on our playground. Others put together care kits for families in quarantine. Families have bought an extra meal to give to those in need. Students have taken time to write a kind note or give a gift to another crewmate. These are just a few of the many ways our PPCS community has shown up to provide service and compassion. Our third-grade crew can help to remind us all the ways we can help others. They know the simplest act of compassion is to wear a mask in public. Another 3rd grader likes to hold the door open for someone or help their parents clean the house. Fourth grade is supporting a local food drive. Fifth grade created mailart to send to our frontline workers.
So as we head into this Holiday season let us all remember we can offer a helping a hand, we can be a little more patient and we can help spread a little more joy. Kindness is contagious, maybe even more so than COVID.

Happy Holidays!

Fourth Grade Showing Service and Compassion

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Fifth Grade and other PPCS students Showing Service and Compassion

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"Our Year" book

This year's yearbook may look a little different. This year we had to make some changes and with these changes brings new opportunity to collaborate. When you click on the button below you can add any photos you have taken at home or on the road that shows your kiddo "at school". It could be a project they completed, going out on a scavenger hunt the teacher made, or a funny face they're making while zooming with classmates. We want to acknowledge how hard our students and families have been working to keep going and to keep learning.

Dear PPCS Parents

We are planning to start a PPCS Parent Book Club to get together to discuss books about parenting and mindfulness. The first book will be "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting" by Dr. Laura Markham (she is the creator of www.ahaparenting.com).

If you are interested, please plan to join us on Thursday, January 7th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Zoom info will follow with a reminder closer to the date.

If you would like to join but the time is not right or you would like help accessing the book, please let us know and we'll do our best to help make it work for you.

Thank you,

Catherine Strickland catherine.hogue@gmail.com

and Erin Kawamata erinemiko@gmail.com

Spread the Word...

After School Art Program

Registration is now open for

Spring Semester After School Art Program

The Prichard Art Gallery’s After School Art Program kicks off next month. This session we welcome back the talent of Palouse artist and teacher Jennifer Rod, whose fresh and innovative classes provide a space for color, play, and inspiration to students K-5 every semester.

ASAP IN PERSON: Each student is assigned their own socially distanced seat and individual art materials. Everyone is required to wear masks while they are in the gallery. Students are dropped off and picked up at the front desk and escorted to and from the classroom to ensure safe practices. Surfaces are thoroughly sanitized before and after classes.

ASAP ON ZOOM: The ZOOM camera will be set up in the gallery classroom and there will be an additional educator on ZOOM to help engage and encourage the students. The Prichard will provide the materials for each project to be picked up curbside at the beginning of each month. We will ask for reusable supplies to be returned at the end of the semester so we can use them again when we are able to go back into all in-person classes.

Register by clicking on the link below or contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Call 208-335-3586 or email PAGallery@uidaho.edu.

Click HERE to Sign up.

COVID Help Now Line

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