Principal's Corner

Beginning our Virtual Reality in the Positive Way

Welcome to the 2020-21school year at Jamaica Elementary School!

August 3rd, 2020

Dear Jamaica Families,

As we embark upon this new school year together, I know that many of us are waiting in anticipation for the days we are able to see all of our students on campus in our classrooms again. The beginning of each year can bring excitement, as well as nervous energy to your child and your home. This year, though we will begin our classes through distance learning, I know that our school community is ready and excited to see our students once again, even if it starts in the virtual setting. The teachers and support staff at Jamaica are veterans at welcoming and nurturing our K-6 learners, and they are eager to meet their new students this year.

I am grateful to our families for your support during our closure last year, and how hard you worked with our teams to continue to strive to keep our students learning. So, as our scheduled summer break closes, we are ready to support you and your families in the best ways possible as we enter this new age of learning together. I know that many of our families are feeling anticipation with the unknown. It is important to acknowledge how much change and transition has occurred for our staff, students and families over the past few months. With that said, I know that our team is prepared to support your student’s academic needs, as well as their social and emotional development as best we can. Our students are resilient, and we know that with your teamwork, we can continue to help them thrive.

With that said, thank you for trusting us with your child. With your support and assistance, we will help your children grow and develop to their fullest potential as we support them virtually at home, as well as when they return here to our campus. Do your best to engage with your child in their learning each day, and to reach out when you have questions to your teacher or administration. We are navigating distance learning together at this time. Please do not hesitate to email or call as soon as you develop a concern. Not only are we here to nurture and educate your children, it is also our role to offer support to our students' parents. A strong parent-teacher partnership will reinforce the educational process for everyone.

Your teachers will be in contact with you next week to share our next steps with you and introduce them to their new grade level classrooms. I know that they can’t wait to see everyone’s faces again. If you have any questions as we start the year, you can email me at or call the office to schedule a meeting or speak to me on the phone. I welcome our partnership and your feedback. I look forward to meeting many of you this year on campus and in the future when we open at the upcoming Jamaica events. Together, we can do anything!

Yours in education,

Mrs. Andrea Helart


Governor's Executive Order

or anyone seeking clarity on the Governors announcement yesterday regarding AZ school openings. Local admin and school boards will be working hard to clarify this plan.

From AZ State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman:

COVID-19 has challenged the education community. Today's Executive Order issued by Governor Ducey gives our school communities more data, resources, and policies to support safe learning in the new school year, whether schools opt to provide in-person or distance learning.

✔️ By 8/7, the Arizona Department of Health Services will create reopening benchmarks based on public health data

✔️ Full funding for distance learning

✔️ Continuity of pay for all educators, including hourly staff

✔️ Face covering requirement

Additionally, while local schools set their academic calendars, Governor Ducey's Executive Orders affect school calendars:

✔️ School facilities closed until 8/17

✔️ Schools can start distance learning before 8/17

✔️ Schools can continue distance learning after 8/17 as long as districts or charters provide an onsite learning option for at-risk students while enforcing physical distancing + safety protocols

To learn more about Executive Order 2020-51, 2020-44 and 2020-41, please see @azedschools 2020 Executive Orders: School Reopenings FAQ:

Connecting with your teachers

Class lists will be distributed to teachers during the week of July 27th. All teachers will be reaching out to families in their homerooms classes to introduce themselves, give information on Class Dojo, (our parent communication tool), and give an overview of what to expect the first week. Families will be invited to a grade level virtual orientation for Google Classroom at the end of next week. So, please ensure the office has your current phone number and email, as this will ensure that we can keep proper communication lines open at all times to support you.

Supporting Your Distance Learning

4 Tips for Parents Using the Class Dojo Mobile App


At the start of the school year, our campus will be under construction. Please be sure to follow any signs to get into our campus safely, as our office staff may be working from classroom locations as necessary while our office updates take place.

Our campus is open to families who need to submit registration paperwork, purchase school shirts, or obtain information.

Feel free to contact Ms. Bell or Ms. Lay in our front offices should you have any questions.

**Please note that per the governor’s order we will require a face covering on campus until the state requirement is lifted. Thank you in advance for working with us to keep our staff and students safe.

Counselor’s Corner

We are thrilled to be able to welcome a new counselor to campus this year to support our students and families. We have built a counselor’s corner on our school’s website. She will be posting tips, tools, and resources to support your children both on site and during distance learning. In addition, she will be providing small group and individual counseling for any students who may be in need of support. Teachers and admin will be reaching out to families to see how we can support you all during this time!

Nurses Nook

We are thrilled to welcome Mrs. Olivia Sandoval as our new school nurse this year. She will be here full time to offer support to our families this year. Please be sure to look for important information and resources on our school website. She will be posting a monthly newsletter to support our families.

SPECIALS During our Distance Learning

We are excited to welcome back Mr. Branchik in our Physical Education and Ms. Suetterlin for Music. We also thrilled to welcome Miss Bixby in our Art Department. She will be joining us in Spring.

During distance learning, specials teachers will be posting grade level recordings in your teacher’s Google Classroom page. Specials lessons are encouraged throughout the week, and students may post pictures or responses within the Google Classroom to engage with their teachers after their lessons. Teachers will be working to support parents with additional resources and ideas to help keep our students engaged and active in distance learning as we start the year.

August-Back to School in the Virtual World

Struggling to Understand how to adapt to your childs struggles-Let's see it through their eyes

Do you have a student who struggles with a learning disability? If so, try to take a look through their eyes to see what they may need to succeed and how they may be struggling. is a fantastic resource for teachers and parents alike to help them understand how to navigate their students needs. In the time of distance learning, this may be an invaluable resource for parents and educators alike.

A look at our school year

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Families are welcome to call into the office or come in anytime between 7:30am-3pm. School shirts will be available. All dress code requirements for on campus attendance are listed in our school handbook, which can be found on our Jamaica Website.

**Dress code will be enforced, and students will be required to change if they do not follow dress code. There will be NO exceptions.

For any virtual learning environments, please ensure that students are dressed in school appropriate clothing, as they will be visible in their distance learning classroom (i.e.: No swimming suits, appropriate shirts and bottoms required.)
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