Bertha Buzz

Community Newsletters

Issue #9: February 3, 2021

Greetings Bertha Neal Families,

I hope this message finds you well and that you are having a safe and enjoyable winter. I cannot believe it is already February. Below, you will find updates to the 2020-2021 school year at Bertha Neal. One major update you will find deals with arrival and dismissal for in-person families. We deeply appreciate your patience and flexibility with these times of the day. In short, we are going to be tweaking our procedures just a tad, and those updates can be found below.

On another note, the food service department continues to release their monthly food calendars for breakfast and lunch. This includes listing the opportunities for food pickup for virtual families. These will continued to be shared during my morning announcements. If you are not getting my morning announcements, using your child's computer information you can click this invitation to join. https://classroom.google.com/c/MTQwMzA4MDU2NDEx?cjc=qgcnlzs


Overall, we hope your 2021 is off to a rocking start with many more great months ahead. As always, if you see something below and have more questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

Take Care,

Mr. Cawson
Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director

Arrival and Dismissal

When we started the school year, we embarked on a journey full of change. Thanks to all of you, our wonderful students and amazing staff, we have handled it all like champs and our kids are safe and enjoying school when in their classrooms. Part of the change was how we do arrival and dismissal. To start the year, we developed a system that emphasized safety, but also was efficient. That system is highlighted in the video below.

https://youtu.be/uu8Rrv7dXXg

As of this week, we have implemented a couple of tweaks to our system to alleviate traffic congestion near parked cars and get more vehicles out of the road. We did this by asking families to please keep to the right and use the outer edge of the lot when dropping off or picking up your child. We feel it has helped a lot! So, thank you! Here is a video highlighting those changes...


https://www.loom.com/share/4ff7d272f1d34dd4ba07eccf73a7975a

Finally, we ask that all students be ready to enter or leave the vehicle with all items ready to go upon arrival and dismissal. If there happens to be difficulty, we ask that you park your vehicle or pull forward out of the loading/unloading zone to help your child so that we do not hold up the line. Our goal is to keep the line moving. We appreciate your partnership with this.

Count Day

Wednesday, Feb. 10th, 8:30am-2pm

930 West Main Street

Durand, MI

It is very important that all in-person students are present on count day and that all virtual families check-in with their teacher on count day. Your help is very much appreciated.

President's Day: No School

Monday, Feb. 15th, 8:30am-2pm

930 West Main Street

Durand, MI

There will be no school on Monday, February 15th.

Picture Retake Day

Tuesday, Feb. 23rd, 9-10:30am

930 West Main Street

Durand, MI

More information will be sent home!

Theme Day: Mismatch Day!

Thursday, Feb. 25th, 8:30am-2pm

930 West Main Street

Durand, MI

All money donated will go towards our wonderful PTAC! We thank you in advance for your support of our school and students!

Winter Reminder

With winter here and in full swing, there are some reminders concerning winter clothes. Bertha Neal classes go outside every day, weather permitting. That is, if it is not snowing heavily, or the temperature isn't too low, students will go outside. We ask that you please send your child in with the appropriate winter gear. This means:


- a winter coat

- a winter hat

- winter mittens or gloves

- snow pants

- boots


Please make sure your child's name is on all items. If possible, sending in an extra hat and extra gloves to keep at school will also be helpful. If your child does not have certain items, s/he will still go outside, but may need to stay on the pavement depending on the playground conditions. If they do not have certain items, we do our best to provide them with one. Whenever this happens, the teacher takes note. If this continues to happen, we will contact families. Please let us know if you are in need of winter clothing, and we will do our best to find something for your child.


Speaking of winter clothing, we only have a short amount of time for recess. At first, it will probably take students a little longer to get everything on. However, with time it will get easier and faster and we ask you for help with this. We have already noticed that it is getting faster each day! Please work with your child at home by practicing zippering, buttoning, etc. Our teachers do their very best to get students ready, but in the end there is only one of them in each classroom. If s/he can get ready on her/his own, s/he will get more time outside.


We deeply appreciate your help and partnership with this. Recess is a critical part of the day and we want all students to be able to get outside and participate.


Warm Regards,


Mr. Cawson

Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director

Attendance

In-person students need to be in school when possible. If an absence is inevitable, a communication should be made to the main office letting us know of the absence. Virtual families must also maintain contact with their child's teacher 1-2 times a week via phone, email, or other classroom utilized system/app. Students who are struggling to be in school in-person or struggle to connect virtually will possibly be referred for truancy. We appreciate your support with this.

Food Service

Virtual learning students/families can expect weekly meal pickup opportunities at the high school on Tuesdays this month from 4:00-5:30. The dates this month are...

February 2
February 9
February 16
February 23

Friday meals for in-person students will be available on Thursdays at the end of the school day for students to take home. Please call the food service office at 989-288-8957 if you have any questions.

Issue #8: January 15, 2021

Greetings Bertha Neal Families,


On Tuesday, January 19th, Bertha Neal will resume in-person instruction, as well as continue with virtual instruction as we did during the first marking period. We are excited to welcome back families who chose in-person learning and families who chose virtual learning for the third marking period. This communication will work to serve as a refresher for families in order to feel comfortable in Bertha Neal’s routines and expectations beginning on the 19th for in-person and virtual households. Below, please find some highlighted areas with reminders to help with an efficient transition on Tuesday. As always, thank you for your continued patience, support and understanding!

School Hours

Bertha Neal’s in-person school hours will be from 8:30 to 2:00, Monday through Thursday, with Fridays reserved for Remote Learning Fridays. Students will be able to enter the building beginning at 8:15, Monday through Thursday to receive breakfast and get settled with their teacher. Contact hours for the main office will be Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 3:30pm. For some reason if you are unable to reach us, please leave a message or send us an email.

Arrival and Dismissal


  • Doors will open at 8:15am daily for students only. Dismissal will be at 2:00pm daily. Following the safety recommendations, only staff and students are allowed in the building.

  • All students will be able to get a FREE breakfast upon entering the building.

  • We will continue with our drop off and loading zone in the East lot next to Bertha Neal. The link below will take you to our community newsletters. It is highly recommended that all in-person families reread Issue #1 to get acclimated again to our procedures and expectations. The video below will also help you get familiar with these procedures.

  • Arrows will be in the hallways to direct the flow of traffic.

  • When picking up your child, please bring your placard with your child’s name on it. If you do not have one, a sheet of paper with your child’s name and teacher will work. Please ask your child’s teacher or the main office for a new placard.

  • A valid ID will be needed when picking up your child. Please also make sure your approved contacts of who can pick up your child are up to date in the main office. Also, please be patient with us the first week or two during arrival and dismissal.

  • All bus riders must wear a face covering during the entire ride.

Face Coverings

As a reminder, face coverings are still required for all students K-12 at all times. Preschool students have the requirement in the hallways, common areas and on the bus and we strongly encourage them in the classroom.

Neal Necessities

Our Neal Necessities is ready and waiting to help make sure students have what they need this winter. A form will be sent home and posted this Tuesday asking families to fill it out if any items are needed for your child. All students, in-person and virtual, are able to complete the form.

Breakfast and Lunch

All food service is FREE through the end of the school year. Money for lunch and breakfast is not necessary as each child can receive a free breakfast and lunch daily. Food pickups will also be available for virtual families. Those dates will be communicated on our Facebook pages and through our morning announcements. Food menus can also be found here.

Virtual Content

Lessons will continue to be posted each day by 8:15am. This includes Mr. Cawson posting daily announcement videos Monday through Thursday. In addition, Fridays will remain Remote Learning Fridays where teachers will use their time to communicate with virtual families and help make sure their platform is functioning efficiently for all. We ask that you remember that teachers are maintaining their office hours so if you reach them after hours, please be patient with waiting for a response.

Theme Days

Bertha Neal has periodic Theme Days throughout the school year. The remaining days are below. All students are encouraged to participate. If you have not done so already, this year we are asking that you consider donating a one time, $10 donation, to the PTAC. This money can be sent in with your child or dropped off in our 24/7 secured box outside of the main entrance. Families can also pay using Venmo. You can download the app and search for BNPTAC@gmail.com to send a donation. Thank you for helping to support our PTAC and Bertha Neal!


1/28 - Camo Day

2/25 - Mismatch Day

3/17 - Wear Green Day

4/29 - Sports/Jersey Day

5/27 - Beach Day

Benchmark Testing

Upon returning to school, students will eventually begin winter benchmark testing. A separate communication for how this will work for virtual families will be coming home soon.

Count Day

Count Day is February 10th. It is important to have your child in attendance on this day. For virtual families, a Google Contact form will be sent on this day. Please be sure to fill it out and return to your child’s teacher.

Issue #7: January 4, 2021

Bertha Neal Families,

Happy New Year to you all! Hard to believe it is now 2021. It is going to be a great year ahead! While I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing winter break, we are very eager to see our students again. From January 4th through January 15th, all students will remain virtual. Beginning January 19th, students will have the option to remain virtual or return in-person. If you have not submitted the district survey to select your preferred modality, please reach out to the main office to record your selection. In addition, we will also need to know if your child will need to utilize Durand Area School's transportation. For students who are returning to in-person learning, it is highly encouraged that families take a look at some of our earlier updates below regarding arrival and dismissal. This way students are comfortable and confident in the routines ahead. Teachers will also spend lots of time getting students accustomed to the routines whether they are in-person or virtual during those first two weeks we return.


We are also extremely excited to offer our first event of the new year called "Cocoa-to-Go". On Friday, January 8th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, families will be able to bring their Bertha Neal Railroader to the school and receive a to-go packet of hot cocoa and a cookie. In addition, families will have the opportunity to request any needed winter apparel or school items for their child. Please refer to the following flyer for more information.

https://www.smore.com/9h8tc

Below, please find various updates to help get 2021 off to a rocking start. As always, please contact the main office if you need anything at all.

Robert Cawson
Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director

Report Cards and Attendance

Report cards will be mailed out for the second marking period on January 15th. All elementary grade levels utilized a pass/fail system this first semester. In kindergarten, this includes an "In-Progress (IP)" grade as a possibility. This is the first formal report card for kindergarten this year which includes grades from the homeroom teacher and not just special areas. Also included with this report card will be any attendance letters if necessary. Keep in mind, attendance is crucial whether your child is in-person or virtual. Attendance has a direct connection with a student's overall success in school. Please look over the report card carefully when you receive it and communicate with your child's teacher if there are any questions.

PTAC Meeting

January's PTAC meeting has been cancelled. We will look to hold our next meeting virtually on February 10th at 6:00 pm.

End of Year Tuition Statements for Preschool

Families who were deemed tuition families during the calendar year of 2020 will be receiving an end of the year summary that includes the total amount paid for preschool tuition. You will NOT be receiving this document if your total payments were $0. This total includes deductions of refunds that may have been issued because of COVID-19 and any school closures. If any tuition money was refunded to you in 2020, that amount would be subtracted from tuition paid in 2020. Keep in mind this total also possibly includes money paid for the previous school year and the current school year. For example, your child attended our 3-year-old program last school year and you made tuition payment from January through May of 2020 and then again for our 4-year-old program this school year from September through December. Please look this document over and let the office know if you have any questions.

Home Connection Tips

This article presents tips with helping students returning back to school, especially virtual school.

https://blog.chocchildrens.org/back-to-virtual-school-10-tips-to-help-kids-transition-after-summer-break/


This article, Nine Things All Children Need to be Resilient, gives families simple strategies with practical actions for each.


https://spark.adobe.com/page/jZL9Huk4LxpW0/


The video below shares helpful strategies and modeling to support families with reading aloud to their children at home. Feel free to include this resource in your classroom newsletter or communication with families.


https://youtu.be/6QVfbYvPaAM



Comic Kids Yoga provides free yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation videos for kids. Through interactive adventures that build strength, balance, and confidence - kids will learn mindfulness skills early.


https://youtu.be/k71xY0hgZJU


https://youtu.be/yE1NEiVf2Gk

Issue #6: December 4, 2020

Bertha Neal Families,

We are less than 3 weeks from winter break. I just have to take a moment to commend our entire community, staff and students for the outstanding work everyone is doing this year. While we have certainly had our bumps and bruises, we are doing commendable work in regards to exercising patience and flexibility with each other during these extremely challenging times. I do not want that to go unnoticed, so thank you for everything all of you are doing. From teachers maintaining learning platforms, to students doing a wonderful job wearing face coverings when in-person, to families continuing to be so supportive of our outstanding teachers and staff. Thank you. Below you will find the most recent updates.


Two resources that will be helpful while we continue remote learning are below. One is an invite link to our social and emotional learning page. There are an abundance of resources for everyone. The second one is an invite link to our morning announcements page. This is where I post our brief morning announcements each day and identify any needed announcement. Please join this page if you have not done so already. Please also remember that Friday, December 18th is records day for teachers.


Morning Announcements Invite Link

SEL Invite Link: Mrs. Allen


Here is to a wonderful upcoming break for you and your families.

Robert Cawson
Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director

Report Cards

Second marking period report cards will be distributed to all kindergarten and first grade families on Friday January 15th. These report cards will be similar to what we did for the first marking period. Some important items to note are below...

- Grades will be Pass/Fail in all content areas.

- Kindergarten and first grade students will receive report cards.

Attendance

While remote learning, attendance per the state of Michigan is still required. Research shows that attendance and participation is directly linked to student achievement. Teachers are continuing with their two-way contacts and are asked to let the office know if a particular student is not engaged. Please do work to communicate with your child's teacher as our connection to our students is our priority; especially during these times. If there are difficulties that hinder learning remotely, please communicate with your child's teacher and the school so we can identify a plan of action to move forward with.


It is important to note how we consider attendance in a 100% virtual format. Students merely logging on will not count as being in attendance and engaged. Here is what we look for while remote learning in regards to attendance...


  • Student must be actively participating in live sessions and/or completing learning activities posted on Google Classroom or SeeSaw on time. If a student is going to be absent from a session, it should be communicated with the teacher in advance.
  • Complete two-way contact forms or be in regular contact with their child's teacher via phone, email, or virtual meetings at least twice a week.


Those who struggle with this will be sent an attendance communication in an effort to identify a plan to better support you and your child; especially upon the conclusion of each marking period.

Durand Area Schools Food Service

DAS will be doing free food pick ups at two locations on the following dates...


Durand High School - Tuesday, December 8th and December 15th from 4:00-5:30

Durand Middle School - Thuesday, December 10th and December 17th from 11:30-1:00


Families can pickup for themselves and others! Please remain in your car and wear a mask upon arrival.

Bertha Neal Packet Pickup

Please come to Bertha Neal to pickup your child's supplemental learning materials between 8:15 and 2:15 if you have not already. These materials help to guide and support your child's learning, especially when remote. Contact your child's teacher if you have any questions.

Specials

We are encouraging families that have questions, comments or concerns regarding our special area courses for kindergarten and first grade to reach out directly to those teachers. Each of those teachers has their own Google Classroom established and is ready and willing to help where needed in your child's learning. Their emails are found below and they are happy to assist with any content specific or technology needs!
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PTAC Meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 9th 2020 at 6pm

Zoom Meeting

Please contact the main office if you are interested in attending and a link will be sent to you on the day of the meeting.

Ugly Sweater Day!

Wednesday, Dec. 16th 2020 at 8:30am-2pm

Virtual

Come join us remotely for an Ugly Sweater Day! Attend those live sessions wearing a sweater of your choice to help get in the holiday spirit!

Pajama Day!

Thursday, Dec. 17th 2020 at 8:30am-2pm

Virtual

Join us remotely for our annual day before break pajama day! Wear your favorite pajamas while attending your live sessions with your teachers.

Community Resources

Please take a look at the resource below as it identifies many resources in our community and beyond. There are a variety of resources to support with holiday and winter help. Please do help share this with others.

Kindness Calendar

Below, please find a Kindness Calendar that you and your family are welcome to use. What better way to spread joy and positivity during these times.
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Issue #5: November 2, 2020

Bertha Neal Families,

It is hard to believe the second marking period is upon us. First and foremost, we would like to welcome all families who are entering a new learning format with their child. Whether they are returning to in-person learning or gearing up for a marking period of virtual learning, we welcome all of you in your new modes of learning. I highly encourage all families who have made a change to scroll down this page and check out Issue #1 that was released on September 6th. This community update will give you a good idea on how arrival and dismissal will work along with how you can engage your child into our daily announcements from home; plus a few other topics. In addition, please refer to this video for a good overview of our before and after school procedures which we feel are going incredibly well thanks to all of you and your support along with our awesome staff.


https://youtu.be/uu8Rrv7dXXg


With the first marking period now behind us, teachers are working hard to complete their records. Report cards will be sent out electronically on Tuesday, November 10th. We have greatly appreciated all of your patience, flexibility and understanding throughout the first marking period. As we move forward every day, week and month, we will continue to listen, reflect and tweak our platforms to best meet the needs of our students. Of course, our teachers will continue to reach out and communicate frequently regarding your child's progress. Ultimately, all kindergarten and first grade students just finished the bulk of their fall benchmark testing and so reports and information will be going home soon to communicate those results.


Finally, beginning next week on Thursday, November 5th, our wonderful Food Service Department will provide all students with an extra breakfast and lunch for Friday, November 6th. These items can be taken home on Thursdays and stored for the following day of remote learning. Please refer to the updated food service calendar which will be provided below.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. We are all doing our very best during these trying times, but with you and your support, it makes it that much better.


Sincerely,

Robert Cawson
Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director

Virtual Book Fair

Bertha Neal is happy to announce that it will be hosting a Virtual Scholastic Book Fair beginning next week! Between November 2nd and November 15th, you can support our school and help your child discover new books, favorite characters, complete series, and more! Visit our website at http://www.scholastic.com/bf/berthanealelementaryschool


All orders will ship home with free shipping on book-only orders over $25. All purchases benefit Bertha Neal! You can also combine orders with another friend or family to reach the $25 needed for free shipping. Visit the page listed above to get started shopping and have fun browsing the books with your child!

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Hearing and Vision Screening

Virtual students will be eligible for vision and hearing testing next week on Friday, November 6th. Call the number provided to schedule an appointment. In addition, in-person students will begin their screening next week. They will begin with preschool students. If they are unable to get through all of our students, they will schedule another day or week to return.
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Biggby Teacher/Staff Appreciation

Thank you for all of the love and support. Recently, the Biggby in Swartz Creek had families nominate schools for some coffee appreciation on Facebook. Thanks to such a wonderful community like ours, Bertha Neal was one of three selected schools. As a result, our building will be delivered coffee and cider next week. While the coffee and cider are greatly appreciated, our teachers and staff thoroughly appreciate all of the love and support from all of you, especially during these times. So thank you!
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As a reminder, there is no school on Monday, November 2nd! Have a great 3-day weekend!

Issue #4: October 19, 2020

Bertha Neal Families,

Thank you so much for your continued patience and understanding with the assessments we are required to administer. We are continuing to do our very best to emphasize safety while also providing a learning environment for your child to thrive and enjoy. Picture Day seemed to be a great success! For families who could not make it, or their child was absent, we will be holding our retakes on Monday, December 7th between 1:00 and 3:00 for all in-person and online students. An update will go out as the date gets closer.

Have a wonderful week!

Sincerely,

Robert Cawson
Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director
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Retake Picture Day: Monday, December 7th between 1:00 and 3:00

Homecoming Spirit Week

Monday, October 19th - Quarantine Day (wear your pjs)

Tuesday, October 20th - Zoom Meeting Day (dress partially nice)

Wednesday, October 21st - Class Color Day (1st Grade is Gray, Kindergarten is blue, and Preschool is black)

Thursday, October 22nd - Blue and White Day

Benchmark Testing

On Friday, October 23rd and Friday, October 30th we will be performing onsite testing for virtual families. The letter below was sent out. Please refer to your child's teacher for further communication on scheduling testing appointment times. Students will have their temperatures checked, must wear a face covering and will take about 20 minutes to finish the assessments. We ask that parents/guardians remain in their vehicle during their child's testing.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sqzXmzudRBmeGOWht8VQnSAsauM6ASlsfnYYzsVr17s/edit?usp=sharing

2nd Marking Period

Any online student from the first marking period that is planning to return to in-person for the second marking period must have this form filled out.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HvWjJscsEBpM37PTkMvHUIPUdIMiakiot-eFWEq-rEE/edit?usp=sharing


We must have this form in the office by Tuesday, October 27th. Forms received after cannot be accepted and thus students will remain virtual until the 3rd marking period. We appreciate your understanding as this allows teachers time to plan for any roster adjustments and maintain safety precautions.

Theme Day

Our next Theme Day is Thursday, October 29th. Students can wear black and orange in the spirit of Halloween and Fall. Any donations received go towards our wonderful PTAC which supports our students and our teachers. We have asked that families consider making a one time $10 donation. Contact the office for any questions.

Neal Neccessities

If your child needs a coat for the upcoming winter, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher or the office. We have plenty of coats to provide!

PTAC Meeting

Thank you to all those who attended our first ever virtual PTAC meeting on Wednesday, October 14th. We will hold our next meeting on Wednesday, November 18th at 6:00. Those who are interested in attending can contact the main office to be added to our invite list. The day before the meeting a link will be shared with you so that you can attend. We appreciate and welcome new faces!

Attendance

All teachers are attempting to make 2 weekly contacts with all virtual students and their families. It is imperative teachers and families work together to find time to discuss their student's progress. In addition, the Michigan Department of Education requires those weekly contacts made by teachers. Please do everything you can to find time to fill out the Google Forms being shared by teachers for attendance purposes. We appreciate your support in your child's education.

Issue #3: October 5, 2020

Bertha Neal Families,

I hope this update finds you well. Hard to believe we are already in October. With that said, the colder seasons are upon us. Please make sure to send your child with warm attire as the teachers encourage outdoor play whenever possible. Below you will find further school updates. As always, if you ever have any questions, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Robert Cawson
Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director

Picture Day Information

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Attendance

The state of Michigan requires at least two documented 2-way contacts a week. Thus, teachers will be sharing a Google Form and encouraging virtual meets. These things are documented and accounted for regarding attendance purposes for ALL virtual learners. As you know, the Michigan Department of Education and the governor's office have made it clear that this go around with virtual learning is much different than it was in the spring in a sense where we are tracking attendance and giving grades based on work completed and observations made this fall. Please be sure to follow your teacher's communications in how they have it structured for their class and ask any necessary clarifying questions as they come up.

Morning Arrival and Breakfast

It is important to note that breakfast is served between 8:15 and 8:30. We are noticing many students entering the building after 8:30 and still needing to eat breakfast. We kindly ask that you have your child to Bertha Neal closer to 8:15 so they can eat in the classroom. Otherwise, they end up missing much of their academic learning time and the teacher cannot move on with their instruction with students entering the building after 8:30 and eating breakfast until 8:45.

Hearing and Vision Screening

This will take place during the week of November 2nd and will begin with preschool students.

Devices

Students in K-1 will be bringing their devices home daily. The rationale behind this is in case they get sick or have to quarantine per the health department guidelines, the device allows students and families to transition to remote learning more efficiently. Please be sure to send your child back to school daily with their device, charging cable, and with it being fully charged. We thank you for your support with this!

Benchmark Testing

This week, students will be starting NWEA testing. This is a benchmark assessment that helps us to identify where students are at academically and what services we can further provide to help them with their academic growth. Bench assessments are still required per Michigan Department of Education. The assessment is required for in-person and virtual students. For virtual students, a flyer is attached below to help you with your child's device and making sure they are set for the testing date listed. This flyer lists everything you need to do prior to the test and the day of the test. Please let your child's teacher know if you have any questions. In the event technology difficulties arise, we will help to work through it to the best of our ability. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Theme Day and PTAC Meeting

Our first PTAC meeting of the year will be Wednesday, October 14th. It will be virtual. Please contact the office to ask for the virtual link if planning to attend prior to October 14th. A link will be given to you prior to the meeting.

Our next Theme day is Thursday, October 29th and it is Orange and Black Day! A $10 donation can still be donated to the PTAC at any point. All donations are greatly appreciated!

Neal Necessities Coat Request

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Issue #2: September 21, 2020

Hello Bertha Neal Families!

I have to say we have gotten off to an awesome start to this school year. It has been amazing to see students back in connection with their teachers and forming those PK-12 relationships. We know there is a lot of newness surrounding us, whether it is the in-person changes/adjustments we have had to make this school year or the virtual platform your child and their teacher are working on together. We greatly appreciate your continued kindness and patience while we work through these new times. Given that this is so new to all of us here at Bertha Neal and in Durand, I would like to ask that we all remember that teachers are teaching during the day. For our virtual families and their students, the teachers are providing information on their platform for you and your child. Please carefully read the information to answer any questions you may have. In the event you are having a difficulty or need questions answered, teachers will respond to you in a timely manner. This year has been and will be an exciting one and the continued partnership between the school and home are crucial to our students'/your child's success.

Thank you for all you do to continually support us!

Theme Days

Bertha Neal has its very first Theme Day of of the school year this week on Thursday, September 24th. It will be hat day. Below you can find the other Theme Day dates sponsored by our wonderful PTAC. All money raised helps to support our school and is greatly appreciated. This year, we ask that you consider donating a one time, $10 donation, to the PTAC. This money can be sent in with your child with the slip that comes home this week. Money can also be dropped off in our 24/7 secured box. Please be sure to put your child's name with the donation. Thank you for helping to support our PTAC and Bertha Neal!


9/24 Hat Day

10/29 Wear Orange and/or Black Day

11/24 PJ Day

12/17 PJ Day

1/4 PJ Day

1/28 Camo Day

2/25 Mismatch Day

3/17 Wear Green Day

4/29 Sports/Jersey Day

5/27 Beach Day


***A new option this year is that families can pay using Venmo. You would download the app and search for BNPTAC@gmail.com to pay your $10 donation.

Breakfast and Lunch

All food service is FREE through December 31, 2020. Money for lunch and breakfast is not necessary as each child can receive a free breakfast and lunch daily. Please coordinate with your child's teacher.

Neal Necessities

Robert Kerr and Bertha Neal we’re blessed with a $12,000 donation from the 100+ Women Who Care to support our Kerr Closet and Neal Necessities programs. These programs provide clothing and school supplies to students in Durand. This is a tremendous blessing and a huge win for our students. A huge thank you goes out to the 100+ Women Who Care who acknowledge and recognize the importance of the Kerr Closet and Neal Necessities.

Face Coverings

As a reminder, face covering are required for all students K-12 at all times and strongly encouraged for all PK students. For PK students, face coverings are required on the bus and in all common areas. This means our PK students still need to come to school with a face covering in order to enter the hallways and make their way to class. We appreciate your understanding with this. The first two weeks of school have gone superbly well and our students are doing a wonderful job keeping each other safe.

PTAC Meetings

All PTAC meetings are virtual this year and are being held on an as needed basis. The next scheduled meeting is set for October 14th at 6:00. The link will be posted on here and on the school website the day of the meeting.

Arrival and Dismissal

A huge thank you to all of our Bertha Neal families as pickup and drop off seems to be improving daily. We appreciate everyone who has been following the procedures by staying in the loading/unloading zone loop, remaining in their vehicles when possible, and remaining patient as our staff works to quickly unload/load students each day. Safety remains the number one priority during these times and we could not do it without you. We do ask that if you have to get out of your vehicle, to please have a face covering. In addition, if your child has buckling issues, we ask that you pull forward and out of the way to help them buckle so that way other cars can continue moving freely. This keeps the traffic flow moving. Thank you for your support!

Flower Beds

A huge thank you to Mrs. Spreeman for the work on our flower beds. They look incredible!
Big picture

Issue #1: September 6, 2020

Welcome Back Bertha Neal Families!

How exciting it is to welcome back all of our students for the 2020-2021 school year! Your continued patience, flexibility, and understanding have been deeply appreciated as we continue to navigate through these very different times. Of course, there are many changes since we were last in school, and we understand that some of the changes are not ideal. However, safety for all will remain at the forefront while we continue to emphasize our relationship building with you and your child. Things may look different, but we are still eager to provide a positive and wonderful school experience for your child. Please keep reading to understand some of the changes and expectations for the start of the school year. Here’s to a wonderful school year!


  • First Day of school (K-1 and ECSE) is Tuesday, Sep. 8th and is a full day of school. BN full day times are 8:30-2:00pm.
  • Preschool begins Sep. 14th and will run Monday-Thursday. Full day is 8:30-2:00 with 3’s 8:30-10:30 and part day 4’s 11:00-2:00.
  • Students can enter the building at 8:15 and will go directly to their classroom.
  • Students will also be out of the building no later than 2:05 daily (11:15 on half days).
  • Breakfast will be served at the entry point of the building. Students will receive their breakfast on the way to their classroom.
  • Students will be eating lunch in their classrooms with their teacher.
  • Breakfast and lunch will be free for ALL students through December.
  • All students and staff (K-1) are required to wear masks/face coverings at all times. Eating and drinking along with some mask breaks will be the exception for students.
  • PK students are strongly encouraged to wear masks/face coverings in the classroom, but will be required to wear them in the hallway and on the bus.
  • Please send a bottle of water to school with your child as drinking fountain will be closed until further notice.
  • Following our School Roadmap Guidelines, Bertha Neal will be closed to all visitors.
  • More information will follow for pickup and drop-off procedures this year. See below.
  • Device agreements must be turned in for a child to receive their device. If one is turned in, they will receive a device on Tuesday. Please coordinate with your child’s teacher.
  • Our daily schedule for the 2020-2021 school year is 8:30am-2:00pm for our full day schedule and 8:30-11:10 for our half day schedule.


I really hope this information is helpful to you, your family, and your child. We know the challenges that 2020 has brought, and we are all in this together. At any point, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss questions or things on your mind for this school year.


Warm Regards,

Mr. Robert Cawson
Bertha Neal Principal/Preschool Director
rcawson@durand.k12.mi.us

989-288-8832

Little Railroader Mornings with Mr. C!

Every day, I will have the morning announcements posted on my Google Classroom and shared with your child's teacher. This will serve as our traditional announcements for all in person and online families. They will include birthdays, important updates, and other events. Check with your child's teacher about accessing these or have your child join the Google Classroom using this link.

https://classroom.google.com/c/MTQwMzA4MDU2NDEx?cjc=qgcnlzs

Online Students

  • Daily lessons from our teachers for K-1 will be posted in Google Classroom by 8:30am.
  • Students may work at a time that is convenient for them and your family throughout the day.
  • Students are not required to be online during their traditional class time or necessarily during school hours if it is not convenient for your family.
  • Students, teachers, and families will work together to document two 2-way mentor communications per week. This communication will serve as attendance for our online students under the guidance we received from the state. This communication can be email, phone calls, Google Meet sessions, and other means of having individualized conversations regarding your child's academic progress.
  • Students can return to in-person learning if expressed in writing at the beginning of the next marking period. Students can go to virtual learning at anytime, but that also must be expressed in writing for attendance purposes.
  • All registered online students have been invited to pick up their device at the Administration Building. If your child does not have a device yet, please call us at the main office.
  • The remote platform for preschool will be communicated ASAP through your child's teacher.

Arrival and Dismissal

As we prepare to embark on this adventure through the 2020-2021 school year, safety will remain the top priority for us all. Given the circumstances this pandemic has brought, we have had to shift many of our procedures and traditions to continue to emphasize safety for all. This includes our pickup and drop off procedures. As we prepare for the first day of school on Tuesday, September 8, we will be launching a new routine for pickup and drop off procedures. We will be launching the use of our brand new student drop off and loading zone in the East lot next to Bertha Neal. We ask that you review these new procedures. We look forward to welcoming you and our students back!

This video will also help you get familiar with these new procedures.

https://youtu.be/uu8Rrv7dXXg

What’s the Loading/Unloading Zone?

For the safety of our children, it is extremely important that we all become familiar with the proper procedures for dropping off children in the morning prior to the start of the school day. We cannot afford for our children to be harmed because expectations for drop off and pickup are not followed. It’s going to take the commitment of all of us: parents, families, administrators, teachers, and children to ensure that we make Bertha Neal the safest school it can be. The Bertha Neal Staff will assist with the Loading/Unloading Zone process each morning and afternoon.

Purpose:

  • continue to ensure that only approved individuals will pick-up your child

  • reduce various directions of traffic in the parking lot

  • reduce the interaction between any children and adults who are not approved to pick those children up by restricting the entrance to the elementary school from anyone besides staff and students

  • prevent individuals from accessing our building and children without an approved purpose

  • continue to emphasize safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Procedural Overview:

  • The loading and unloading zone is in the East Lot next to the gym. This is the designated drop off-pickup area in the morning and after school. DO NOT leave your vehicla unattended in this lane.

  • This is also used as a fire lane. No vehicles should be left unattended here between the hours of 8:30 and 2:00.

  • The loading/unloading zone is for student drop off and pickup only. Adults may not exit the vehicle.

  • When using this area, pull as far forward as the lane or vehicle in front of you allows.

  • Pull all the way down to the "Loading Zone Ends" sign located at the yellow line. This is a single car lane. Do not double the lane or idle your vehicle.

  • Children should ALWAYS exit vehicles curbside (to the right), so please adjust any car/booster seats to enable safe exiting from your vehicle. Your child should be 100% prepared to exit the car with all their belongings.

  • We will be working on encouraging independence. We understand there may be difficult mornings. If exiting the vehicle becomes an issue, please find a parking space and a staff member will assist you.

  • Once your child has exited, their door is closed, and the lane is clear of others exiting, you will be dismissed to exit the zone promptly and safely. Please do not sit and watch your child enter the school with the help of our staff.

  • Children should never exit the vehicle on the left side.

  • The zone will be staffed before school and after school. It will be staffed at 8:15 each morning and beginning at 1:45 in the afternoon. Please do not drop off students before this time or if a staff member is not easily visible in the loading/unloading zone. If a child is to be picked up prior to 1:45, please contact the main office ahead of time to coordinate and use our two-way buzzer communication system located at the main entrance.

  • Staff will be staggered throughout the building and outside to assist with students walking to their classroom since adults other than staff are not allowed into the building.

  • Handicap parking in the lot will be used on an in need basis. Please coordinate with the main office ahead of time.

  • Please be patient with this system, as the safety of all remains our top priority.

Bus Riders:

Students riding the bus to and from school have essentially the same routines as before. Students will be escorted off and on to the bus by staff. When a bus arrives, students will be taken directly to class and served a breakfast if needed. At dismissal, students will remain in their classrooms with their teachers until their bus arrives. At that time, students will be taken to their appropriate bus. Staff will be stationed outside and in the halls to supervise and help with these transitions. Remember, face masks/coverings are required by all children and adults on the bus.

Students who come to school after 8:35am or leave before 1:45pm:

Our school day runs from 8:30 to 2:00 pm. Any student who comes to school after 8:35 or who leaves before 1:45 will need to be signed in or out at the main lobby just outside the main entryway using our buzzer communication system.. Any student who arrives after 8:35 am or who is pulled from class prior to 1:45 will require a note to excuse the absence. Students in our part-day programs will coordinate with classroom teachers to help make arrival and dismissal efficient and safe for all. Unless otherwise noted or worked out with school staff, families with students in these classes should still plan to use the loading/unloading zone.

Students who come to school by car between 8:15am-8:35am:

There is only one entrance and arrows to follow for drop off and pickup. Please refer to the video for further details.Students who arrive by car will be helped out and guided by staff to the West Doors (main entrance if weather is bad), for entry into the school.Please do not pull in to the bus loop.Beginning September 8th, only students and staff will enter the elementary halls to go to their classrooms.


Dismissal and emergency cards:

Preschool classrooms will begin dismissal procedures at 1:45. K-1 will begin at 1:50. Students will be escorted to the gym and sat at their cones by class where they will be dismissed as parents pull into our loading/unloading zone. Please be sure student emergency cards are on file as they will be checked as needed at dismissal. Bringing an ID just in case is required. If a student is to leave early and to avoid unnecessary calls to classrooms at the end of the day, and sign out delays, please send a note in with your child in the morning so that we know your child is not riding the bus.

  • The person signing-out the child must be on the registration card; no exceptions. We will not accept verbal requests to add an approved pick-up guardian on the phone. Please understand that the child will not be released to anyone not on the card. In order to ensure student safety, the building maintains a list of individuals who are authorized to obtain the release of students in attendance at school. This list is kept on the back of the student registration card that the parent/guardian provides to the teacher.

  • Custodial parent/guardians may amend this list, and all changes to this list must be made in person. We cannot accept changes over the phone, via text message, or email.

  • No student may be released to the custody of an individual who is not the parent or guardian of the student, unless the individual's name appears on this list.

  • Certified copies of any court orders or divorce decrees provided by the custodial parent, which restrict a parent's ability to seek the release of his or her child shall be maintained in the office.

  • In the event of an emergency, the building principal may release a student to an individual not appearing on the approved list ONLY if the parent or guardian has contacted the building principal and approves the release. Early excuses for emergency reasons should be requested in writing by the parent or guardian. Reasons for release must be submitted to the main office. The person seeking the student's release must sign the child out outside the office.

Picking-Up Students at the End of the day (1:45-2:05):

All parents are asked to follow the traffic flow of the lot and proceed to the loading/unloading zone. Please pull forward as allowed by the traffic and staff in front of you. Please have your placard (you will receive one the first week of school) displayed in the front windshield on the passenger side. If you do not have a placard to start the year, a sign with your child’s name and teacher will be sufficient. Please have your ID available in case we do not recognize you.


Poor Weather Conditions:

On mornings of bad weather (i.e. rain, sleet, snow, etc.), staff and students will improvise to continue to emphasize student safety. This means students may be redirected to the main entrance or gym entrance pending the day's conditions as those areas are entirely protected from precipitation of any kind. This type of information would be communicated as families arrive to drop their child(ren) off at school.

Other Safety Reminders for the Parking Lot:

Just a few reminders to help minimize congestion as well as hazardous conditions:

  • Please drive slowly through the parking lot following the arrows.

  • Please do not park in the parking lot unless the morning becomes problematic or other needs exist that you have coordinated with the school ahead of time.

  • Watch for cross walk and road traffic as you enter and exit.

  • Do not use the Bus loading/unloading zone unless you have coordinated with the school ahead of time. This area should be designated for only certain scenarios and after all bus traffic has cleared.

A note from Mr. C, Principal and Preschool Director:

As you know, 2020 has brought its fair share of challenges, and parking lot safety is always something to emphasize. Combining that with the surrounding circumstances, we knew we had to change up our before and after school procedures. At the same time, we do not want families feeling like their child will be expected to walk alone into the building unaware of where to go. Thus, you will still see your fair share of staff members when you pick up and drop off stationed outside for the purpose of support and continued relationship building which we pride ourselves on. In addition, teachers will be maintaining connectivity throughout the year to address needs and any concerns families may have, whether online or in-person. By having this loading zone, we feel we can still promote relationships with all staff and students while also keeping safety at the forefront for everyone.

Please be sure to share these procedures with a babysitter, grandparents or someone else who might be picking up your child(ren) and be sure these people are on the emergency cards ahead of time. In addition, an ID should always be brought just in case we do not recognize who you are.