Palmer High December
Welcome to December
I hope this newsletter finds you all well and warm. We are coming off the Thanksgiving break and one of the coldest stretches I can recall for the month of November. I hope that you found time to enjoy family and friends over the break and that you've had a joyful start to the beginning of our Holiday season.
December ushers in the end of the first semester in our schools. This Friday we have a building wide deadline for late work. The purpose of a deadline is to avoid an avalanche of late work for teachers to grade on the last week of the semester. Like all rules, there are exceptions to the rule, and teachers have the discretion to accept late work on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that are out of students control, and this will be a consideration when accepting late work as we wrap up the semester. Parents can do their part by monitoring their students’ academic progress and encourage them to complete any late work they have this week.
I have aired some of our academic struggles in newsletters in the past this year. There are more students that are struggling academically than usual. There are students that need to focus on engaging in learning again. We are developing plans for credit recovery models for second semester. This is a list that causes concerns because these students are not on a track to graduate on time. As a parent, I ask you to pause and find out if this is the case for your student? If so, I encourage you to partner with the school to find solutions to motivate the unmotivated. Reach out to school administration or your student’s counselor.
To conclude on a positive note, kids continue to be happy here at Palmer High. We continue to strive to foster a culture of caring in the school. Even the students that are doing poor academically express that they like being here. We just need these students to turn the corner and appreciate their academic pursuits as much as they do their social lives.
Thank you for your support in resolving these challenges,
Attendance- To Send or Not Send Your Student to School?
Attendance is as poor as it's been in decades. On average we have 25% of students out on a daily basis this school year. To put it in perspective, attendance Pre-Covid would stay below 10% on average.
Attendance is a major variable in a student’s success. To summarize one of the many studies out there on attendance, the National Center for Education Statistics quoted in one of their studies, teacher effectiveness is the strongest school-related determinant of student success, but chronic student absences reduce even the best teacher’s ability to provide learning opportunities.
I translate this thought into, google classroom and access to the work being done in class is never as good as sitting in that class with the teacher providing direct instruction. If your student is asking to stay home because they can keep up in the google classroom, don’t buy that. The google classroom platform serves the purpose of sharing assignments for student that are out but it certainly doesn’t replicate what is going on in the class from day to day.
I feel there is a need to acknowledge that one of my early messages of the school year was to keep your kids at home when they have virtually any symptoms. While this is one of the best mitigation factors for decreasing the spread of Covid, some thoughtfulness of if it's best to send them or not should be considered.
We can offer Covid test at the school to provide peace of mind if you’re questioning whether to send them to school or not. Our school nurse can administer a test and have results in 20 minutes. We ask that you send them directly to the nurse’s office wearing a mask. Palmer Junior Middle School has a Covid Tech that is doing curbside testing that you are welcome to use. We also have Covid antigen test that we can provide for families to have at home, courtesy of the Mat-Su Health Foundation. Just swing by the front office and inquire if you are interested in test kits to have at home, free while supplies last.
As far as the big picture goes with Covid, the district dashboard shows every school in the green status. That's a first since the beginning of the school year. The cases for the district have been declining since late October. The transmission rates have decreased, so there is hope that we are moving in the right direction. Thanks for all your patience and understanding navigating these challenges.