Notes from Miss Estrada - Summer Update
I hope you are all finding ways to enjoy some downtime this summer. While the current situation has certainly made adjustments to the plans we all had for summer, hopefully you are able to use the break from school to spend time with your family while staying safe.
I want to take a moment to share an update with all of you as I know there are many questions about the upcoming school year. Understandably, families are anxious for information about options they will have for their children and what school will look like, whether in a distance learning or an in-person model. I will provide you with some information in this newsletter based on decisions that have been made and approved by the NMUSD Board of Trustees in alignment with orders from the State of California, county, and local health guidelines. I recognize how difficult it is to wait for answers amidst an environment that seems to be changing almost daily.
Your children are the heart of Newport Elementary, and we want them to remain with us through sixth grade. The connections students make with their peers and staff at school shape their future. While the road ahead remains unclear, all of us at Newport Elementary want to be a part of the relationships your children develop in school. We are committed to supporting those relationships this year even if we have to do so from a distance. Equally important is your child's academic development. As we plan for the upcoming year, we will strive to continue supporting their academic success and guide them in being their personal bests.
While we are all anxious to have students return to school for instruction in classrooms, we must do so safely and with the appropriate authorization. The NMUSD Board of Trustees has approved three possible levels of instruction for NMUSD schools in addition to a 100% virtual model. At the bottom of this email, I have copied the three possible levels of instruction for NMUSD schools. NMUSD is currently planning for the possibility of either Level 2 (in-person) or level 3 (distance learning) for the opening of the school year.
Some common questions parents have are listed below. While we don’t have all of the answers at this point in time, please know we are taking full advantage of the time we have this summer to prepare in the best way possible this year.
I will continue to share updates with the Newport Elementary community as decisions are made and information becomes available. I appreciate your patience and understanding.
I am here to support every child, family, and staff member at Newport Elementary. There are challenges ahead, but we will continue to learn from one another and grow as we progress through the uncertainties of the upcoming year. Newport Elementary remains committed to being the best on the beach, and we will all get through this together.
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay connected and keep being awesome!
Frequently Asked Questions
At this time, schools in Orange County are not authorized to open for in-person instruction. NMUSD schools are scheduled to begin on August 24th. It is possible schools in Orange County will be able to open by then. The Interim Superintendent of Schools in NMUSD, Russell Lee Sung, has committed to making a decision about how schools will open at least two weeks prior to the start of the school year.
If schools in Orange County are authorized to open for in-person instruction, what will it look like?
NMUSD is preparing for the possibility of Level 2 (in-person) instruction. Even if schools start in a distance learning model (Level 3), we want to be prepared to bring students back to school as soon as it is safe for students and staff and we have authorization to do so. The Level 2 model for in-person instruction will include a half-day of classroom instruction (morning or afternoon) with a teacher and a number of students who may safely be present in a room with appropriate physical distancing. The remainder of the day will consist of extended learning activities outside of the classroom with additional school staff members. Parents will have the ability to opt-out of the extended learning portion of the school day. Teachers will focus on the major work of the grade level for classroom instruction and will use the presence of other students to assist them in engaging in each other’s ideas about important concepts all while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.
Will distance learning (Level 3) look the same this school year as it did last spring?
We all learned a great deal last spring. When schools closed on March 13, teachers and students had to adapt, almost overnight, to a completely different paradigm for learning. For the fall, we have an opportunity to reflect on last school year and to plan for the future. If we are in a distance learning model, teachers will engage in daily live interaction with students. More importantly, we will use the benefit of what we learned to maximize the daily live interactions with students. It would not be healthy for students to spend six hours a day on Zoom, but we can make smart use of the time we have to provide students with opportunities to engage in interactions with each other and to receive meaningful feedback from a teacher.
Will teachers receive training on how to best meet students’ needs in distance learning?
NMUSD’s Director of Education Technology, Dr. Jenith Mishne, is an expert in distance learning and is working closely with a team of NMUSD teachers to develop the 100% virtual model parents may choose for this school year. In the event of Level 3 (distance learning), NMUSD teachers will benefit from the planning that is in place for the 100% virtual academy. Additionally, Wednesday afternoons will be devoted to ongoing school-wide investigations into best practices of distance learning. The teachers at Newport Elementary are an extraordinary group of educators with a level of commitment that is second to none. I am confident in their unwavering commitment to your children and to a cycle of continuous improvement where we all reflect as a team and benefit from the successes in each of our classrooms.
Supporting Children's Mental Health and Social-Emotional Needs
Apps, articles and resources for helping children navigate this challenging time, manage stress, regulate emotions, and process their feelings.
10 Tips to Help Kids Manage Anger, Be Calmer, and Learn Self-Regulation - Article by UnSelfie author, Dr. Michele Borba.
Social-Emotional Learning At Home - Created by NMUSD Behavior Specialist, Amy Becke
Here are links to all the ones I have previously sent out.