The Creek Connector

July 13 Edition

What I Know For Sure.....

I hope that each of you have been enjoying your summer vacation. Some of us are staying close to home while others are venturing out and enjoying new sights and sounds of summer. Indulge in your vacation in all of the ways that make you happy. That is all that matters.


While you are resting, I want to take time each week over the next four weeks to give you updates and considerations as we prepare for the opening of schools. I can't imagine how inundated you must be by news, friends and others with information about the opening of school and what it will and will not look like. There is rhetoric happening about should we open or not and how we should open or shouldn't. There are announcements and announcements about announcements, yet we still are not sure where we are and where we will be.


As Oprah ends every magazine .....this is what I know for sure: Some things never change and some things do. Change is the key constant in our lives and our existence. Even as you read this, you are different in this moment than in the moment before. There are certain acknowledgements that we must recognize when facing change:

-Change is real

-Change is not personal

-Change is constant


We must also pull upon our strategies for facing and successfully navigating change:

-Be mindful and present

-Push through fear

-Alter your perspective

-Develop resilience

-Adapt


It is not easy moving out of our comfort zones. They inform us of our reality and there is a certain amount of peace that we find in those zones. It is sometimes necessary to get out of our comfort zones and to push through fear. Sometimes change requires taking risks and dispelling the known. This is one of those times.


What we know for sure - We have to let go of how we have always "done" school. Our open school events will look different, our arrival and dismissal of school will look different, our schedule will look different, how we provide instruction face to face and remotely will look differently, and the list goes on and on. These changes are not bad or scary or unnecessary. They are necessary and different. There will be choices that we have to make about how we accept and engage in these changes, but before we can engage with the specific changes, we have to reflect upon and engage with our change mindset.


Take time over this week to think about your personal mindset about change, and celebrate the strategies that you use to help you navigate it well. Also, consider where you struggle with dealing with change, and consider some of the strategies above or others that may help you to overcome barriers in those areas. There is no change that will take place that you and your children and us collectively as a school family and community cannot execute with excellence. It is the mindset about change in general that will determine the ease or difficulty of our success. Make no mistake, we will be successful, but how we navigate change will set the path in which we get there.


What we know for sure - Some things never change: Our purpose, mission and vision does not change. We will still be focused on Cultivating a CREEK (Community, Respect, Excellence, Equity and Kindness) Community of Excellence and we will still be focused on our mission which is to prepare our students to succeed in a global society through a quality education.

We will continue to reach towards achieving our goals for student success for all students.


The expectation is that we engage in teaching and learning that leads to mastery for all students. We will not be in an emergency mode as we were operating in during 4th quarter of last year. Regular student engagement and attendance (face to face and remotely) and high quality teaching and learning is still our priority and expectation for our school community.



We have always had a deep care for our students and their well being, and we will extend this care through more formalized social and emotional discussions, lessons and support through advisory periods. We will help our students to make social and emotional connections with strategies they know and through strategies that we will share. High school students need support and guidance in this area as much as any other group of students, and we will support them as they continue to grow into the young women and young men that they are becoming.


Each parent, student and staff member must have a shared sense of accountability and responsibility to one another to navigate the upcoming changes successfully together. Our families, staff, teachers and students will thrive and support will be provided. People will still be our focus and excellence will still be our goal.


The upcoming changes will be navigated with grace, tenacity and exuberance, because we are about #CREEKLIFE and we model it for for our children and our school community. This year will be no exception.


What we know for sure as well - Some things do: Safety protocols that are in place for the safety and health of our teachers, staff, students, families and visitors will change many of our structures and processes for the upcoming school year. There are three options of school delivery based on state guidance: Option A: School as "normal" if the virus is under control; Option B: School is a blended face to face and remote model if the virus indicators are generally moving in the right direction; Option C: School is fully remote if the virus indicators are critical.


We are currently planning our scenarios for Option B, which are the most complicated, so that we can be prepared if we start with this option. We will also plan for Option C and A once we are done, because we could move between the three options during the course of the year. Each option requires structures and processes that are different than our "previous regular" ones. Again, there are no changes within these options that we cannot execute with excellence successfully. Having a positive mindset about change and strategies to navigate change will help us to navigate those changes successfully together. In the midst of changes that are on the horizon, we can take on the shared responsibility for the success of our school because we are #CREEKSTRONG!


Over the course of the next four weeks, we will send out our newsletter with updates, some more general in nature and others more specific, that will help us to scaffold the upcoming changes. We will share tidbits for navigating change, changes, and other items of interest and need as we prepare for excellence even in the midst of the unknown.


For every answer there will be more questions. For every question there may not be an answer. Prepare to sit a bit with ambiguity and uncertainty even as we start the new year. This is a journey that we will take together. We will not do this alone.


Please know that we are working tirelessly to ensure that you are more than supported and that you have all that you need to take steps on this journey with confidence. Your safety and preparedness for the new school is our priority and we will not stop thinking about what will be in the best interest of you, our students and our staff. We are working every day with a spirit of love, respect and care. Continue to enjoy your summer vacation. Until next week....


"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." ~Viktor E. Frankl


"Sometimes in the waves of change we find our true direction." ~Unknown

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PTSA Officer Interest

As we move forward with the new year, we will need to continue to have a strong PTSA to support the needs of our students, teachers, staff and families. Below is an interest form that has been created to identify potential candidates for our PTSA officers and committee chairs. We will continue to solicit committee chairs for various committees throughout the year as well. Information from the interest form will be reviewed and candidates will be contacted for additional support and training as move closer to our election process.


Please review the entire form and consider if you are interested in helping to support the needs of our school community and all students, our mission and our vision through one of the roles. If you are, please submit your interest using the form.


We encourage EVERY parent and staff to join our PTSA as members through the summer and in the fall as well, so there is an opportunity for everyone to be involved in the support of our school. Additional information and links to join the PTSA as a member will be provided later this summer.


Please complete the PTSA officer interest form on or before 5:00 pm on Thursday, July 17.


https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MCHSPTAInterestForm

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Welcome Class of 2024 Mavericks!

Welcome Class of 2024! We are so excited that you are joining our family. We have special back to school items planned just for you and your child:


- During the weeks of July 13 and July 20, we will have a welcome wagon to reach out to you personally to welcome you to Mallard Creek High School. Staff members will call and review information for the upcoming school year and gather additional information if necessary. You can ask questions and we will filter and answer those either at that time or at a later date.


- You will receive a personalized post card in the mail that details information about our remote Freshman Orientation. We are working hard to provide orientation information that will help you and your child to successfully navigate our school and their beginning path towards graduation.



If you have had any address changes over the summer, please reach out to our Registrar, Ms. Cassino at christine.cassino@cms.k12.nc.us.

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Seniors - Class of 2021

Congratulations Class of 2021! We are so proud that you have worked so hard to make it to this moment. Parents, we want you to know that we will support the needs of your children as they matriculate through their senior year and prepare for college and beyond. We will have a new College Advisor this year and we will send out his information later this summer. Additional Senior information will be disseminated later in the summer and throughout the school year.


Senior Portraits


If your child is a senior, and you have not reached out to Cady Studios regarding your child's senior portraits, please see the message from them below:


Congratulations Class of 2021! You’re finally a Senior and we have some information regarding your senior portraits. Please click on the link for a 90-second video from our School’s Exclusive Photographer, Cady Studios. Be sure to watch the entire video and fill out the contact form, so you will receive information on how to schedule your Senior Portraits. cady.com/2021"

Mallard Creek High Summer Contact Information

Please feel free to contact me or the team this summer. The contact information for various staff members and our summer office hours are available online on our Website and below:

https://schools.cms.k12.nc.us/mallardcreekHS/_layouts/15/CharMeckSchoolFiles/school_announcementdetails.aspx?id=776.


We are on a Monday-Thursday schedule, and we have times set aside to schedule appointments for registration when necessary.

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Regular School Attendance

Regular school attendance is important for all students. North Carolina law says children ages seven to 16 must attend school. We have processes and procedures in place to help support and improve regular school attendance. Parents and students also have the responsibility to support and ensure regular school attendance. Students should attend school daily on time. Barriers to regular school attendance should be shared with your child's Counselor or our Social Worker, Ms. Reba Brown.


If we are participating in remote learning during any portion of the school year, regular school attendance will look differently, but is still important and expected.


School and home are expected to work together to ensure that students are "attending" school while at home to stay involved and engaged in learning. The following are several areas in which will help home and school promote and ensure regular school attendance in a remote environment:


1. Regular Contact - Students, teachers and parents should stay in regular close contact with one another through such venues as email, text, social media, Canvas and other learning technology resources. Home and school must be responsive to one another on a consistent basis to ensure that we stay in contact with one another.


2. Connectivity - We will help to ensure that students have the necessary technology resources that they need to stay connected, such as Chromebooks and hot spots. We are working on a plan to ensure that students have the technology that they need to stay in regular contact and engaged in learning.


3. Relationships - Once students and families have what they need to work remotely, students, families and staff must create and re-enforce strong relationships with with one another, which will be key to keeping students involved in school and learning. Teachers, counselors and other staff may be building in online checks with students to foster additional care and as we work to support the academic, mental, social and emotional health of our students. It is also important that students are connected to other students, so it is key that students engage in class or small group chats and other activities that are designed for students to engage with one another.


4. Participation: Students should actively participate in classes daily. Parents and staff must monitor and support student participation to help ensure that students are engaged in learning. Participation is more than simply logging on. Participation is engaging in assigned learning activities on a regular basis. Staff and families should reach out to one another if there is a question or concern about participation. We should at home and school celebrate participation of our students/children for continuous motivation.


These are just a few areas that will help support regular attendance in a remote environment. Attendance remotely and at school is important. Families, please reflect on your child's attendance and engagement and consider the strategies that may be helpful to ensure your child's regular attendance in the new school year. Additional strategies will be shared a we move through the summer and the school year.

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Communication

Communication is key and there are many ways that you can stay abreast of information as we begin and move through the school year. It is important to regularly update your contact information, so that you can receive important school communications. If you need to update your cell phone number, preferred email address or address, please complete the form below:


https://forms.gle/pyLGZhyALCwEwqu47


We are all Creek Family, and how we communicate with one another is as important as what we communicate. Kindness and respectfulness are two of our key components of CREEK LIFE, and we have a responsibility to be kind and respectful to one another and others as we communicate. This is not just the responsibility of MCHS staff members, but also of our families, students and the greater school community. When communicating with one another, please infer positive intent, and be kind and respectful in your tone, words, and mannerisms. Even when we are emotional about a situation, we can choose to respond kindly and respectfully, and to refrain from just reacting. We can solve any problem together and kindness and respect helps us to do so while maintaining and even improving our relationships and bonds between one another.


In the midst of the Pandemic and uncertain times, it is especially important to communicate effectively with one another. Below are a few strategies to consider as we communicate with one another at the Creek:


-Stop, Look and Listen to Actively Listen Effectively.

-Be Empathetic

-Ask Questions

-Paraphrase for Clarity, if necessary

-Focus on the Issue , not the Person

-Be Kind and Respectful

-Be Genuine

-Be Flexible

-Use Affirming Responses

-Seek Solutions



Please utilize any or all of the communication modes below for school wide communication throughout the year:


All Staff Members have Email Addresses listed on the Website.

Please update our records with your preferred email address and updated phone numbers in the form above.


Website: https://schools.cms.k12.nc.us/mallardcreekHS/Pages/Default.aspx

Facebook Page: Mallard Creek High School

Instagram: @mallardcreekhs

Twitter: @mallardcreekhs


Athletic Department Twitter: @mcmavsathletics

Website:http://www.cmsathleticzone.com/mallardcreek

Power School - Parent Portal Access - (Please register if you do not already have an account.)

Parent Access


Parental involvement is critical to a child's education. That's why CMS has provided a user-friendly web application to help parents and families become more involved in education. Parents can check their child's homework assignments, attendance reports, grades and other items from any computer, any time using PowerSchool. There is also an app for the Parent Portal that can be downloaded for ease of usage.



Parents will be able to set up their own accounts with access information provided by the school. (Please email your child's counselor for your pin if you have not signed up before. The contact information is listed in a link in the communication section of this newsletter.)


Parent Login:

  1. CLICK HERE to Navigate to the Parent PowerSchool Portal.
  2. Click the PowerSchool button.
  3. Login with your parent PowerSchool username and password information (please contact your child's school if you have questions about this information).
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Summer Reading

Summer is always a great time for leisure reading. This summer is no exception. Below are a few articles about summer reading that may include some options to add to your or your child's summer reading list.


https://www.cmlibrary.org/


https://www.rhteacherslibrarians.com/latest-buzz/high-school-summer-reading-checklist/



https://www.oprahmag.com/entertainment/books/g26765235/best-beach-reads/

Back to School Calendar

Our CMS calendar was revised in May and reflects an earlier start date. The updated school calendar is listed below. Please make a note of the dates, so that you and your family can plan accordingly for the school year. If we follow a Plan B option for students, students will have face to face instruction as a part of a cohort of students. A calendar that includes face to face instruction weeks for the various cohorts will be included in the back to school mailing in early August.


https://www.cms.k12.nc.us/communications/calendars/Documents/2020-2021%20Academic%20Calendar%20052620.pdf

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Bell Schedule Change - Tentative Adjustments

Our start and end times may be adjusting to assure safe arrival and dismissal for all. Students will be arriving around 6:30 if they are bus riders, which will give us time to conduct safety screenings. The arrival times of each bus are not yet set in stone, but please keep in mind that the report time will be earlier for bus riders. More specific information for specific buses, bus riders and cohorts will be shared later in July and in back to school mailings in early August.


Car Riders can begin to arrive at the same time and our arrival window will expand to ensure that we have enough time to conduct safety screenings for each students at their vehicle upon arrival. School tardy times will be much later. For families this means that students cannot be dropped off anywhere on campus during arrival. Families will have to gauge arrival times to ensure that you allow enough time to come to school and move through the line. Again, students will not be able to be dropped off anywhere on campus during morning arrival. Students will have to remain in their cars until they move through the line to the front of the school for the safety screening to be conducted. We are working on plans to ensure an efficient arrival process, and we all have to work together to follow outlined expectations to ensure a safe and successful arrival for all.


Students who drive to campus will continue to be able to do so. Procedures for how to purchase a parking pass and parking spaces will be updated and shared later in the summer.


The specific procedures for morning arrival will be shared later in the summer once they are solidified. We just want you to begin thinking about the changes that may occur to begin to pre-plan accordingly.



Dismissal will begin at 1:45 and students will be dismissed differently this year to ensure the safe dismissal of all. Dismissal announcements will begin shortly after 1:40 and students will be dismissed in waves from classes until at least 2:15. Teachers will remain in classes with their students until all students have been dismissed. Students cannot be released from class at dismissal until the appropriate time for walkers, car riders and bus rider groups. Students must be picked up from campus by 2:30.


Early dismissal will end at 1:00. Students will not be able to be released from the front office for early dismissal after that time.


In the past, some students have been on campus waiting for rides home until late into the evening. Families will need to begin to pre-plan for transportation home for their children. Most students are bus riders, car riders or drivers. Please consider which mode will help ensure that your child is off of campus by 2:30.


The specific schedule for dismissal will be shared once solidified later in the summer. Please begin to pre-plan which mode of transportation your child will use during dismissal daily.

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Technology

Students will be closer to one to one this year and more Chromebooks will be disseminated to students at the start of the school year. Details regarding the disseminating process will be shared once solidified in August.


Students who have hot spots and do not use or need them will be asked to return them to school, so that we can disseminate them to students and families who need them to effectively engage remotely from home. Again, details regarding the collection and redistribution of hot spots will be shared in August once solidified.


Canvas will be the learning management system used by everyone for the new school year, so students will be engaging in a similar way for each subject. Our teachers and staff will use a variety of digital and print resources to help support learning in the new year. Information about class content will be shared during our remote open house, which is currently being planned and scheduled.

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Options - Next Steps

As you are aware, there are three school options for the upcoming school year. Option 1 is fully face to face and close to the "regular" school experience that we are use to. Option 2 is a blended face to face and remote school option where students will be placed in cohorts and be face to face one week and work remotely for two weeks in a repeating fashion. Option 3 is a fully remote option where all students are working remotely from home. We may move between any of those options during the school year. We should find out soon which option we will begin school with. An announcement is expected from our Governor later this week.


Some families may be considering their children being fully remote during part or all of the school year regardless of the state selected option. I anticipate that the district will send out a survey form to see which families want to consider the option of their children learning fully remotely as a part of our school offerings. I do not know when the survey will be disseminated. As soon as it is available, it will be sent out to families. If one is not planned by the district, we will send one out for our school to see which of our families would like to consider that option.


Once we receive this information, we will be able to continue to reflect on our schedule to consider how to possibly accommodate the selection. We are currently working hard to create processes and procedures for the various plans, and this information will help us to further create processes that serve all of the needs of our families. Again, we are in process of creating our processes and procedures. We will send out more specific information as we move through July.

Have a Great Summer Vaction!

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