News from New Haven

Posts from the Principal

What's happening?.... Planning for our return

I hope that this finds you healthy and enjoying these days. I feel like it has been a lifetime since I last had the opportunity to speak with everyone. Before we begin, I apologize, but this letter is LONG. I've tried to include a "one stop shop" of as many answers and informative pieces as I could. I've tried to "chunk" them by topic for your convenience.


Admittedly, I am disappointed that our circumstances for what we remember as "normal" don't look much better than last spring. I am mourning a bit for the loss of that "start of school excitement". I miss our students deeply, but we are looking at this in through the lens of Opportunities OVER Obstacles. New Haven still has the same amazing and passionate teachers and staff- we are just going to find out of the box ways of sharing that.


The district will be sending out information regarding the newly adopted school calendar and the options being provided for families for our return to school.


Boone County Schools Re-entry Plan Options


Our Board of Education met on Thursday, July 16th and decided upon the calendar and school re-entry parameters for our school district. They took into consideration the parent survey results, in addition, to feedback from all stakeholders. It has been acknowledged that their is not a "perfect" decision that meets any families specific needs, and the decision was made to give parents the best options that we could while following all health and safety guidelines. At the end of the day, we recognize that each family needs to make their own decisions for what best meets their needs.


The district does have a web page that is continually updated with specific details pertaining to the re-entry planning. You can find that here: Returning to School Options.


The district will also push out a parent survey that is asking for specific choices for each of your children that attend Boone County schools. You will need to complete 1 per child please. We will use this data to pinpoint specific numbers per classroom. This data is critical for specific planning at NH. Many parents want to know exactly WHAT hybrid model we will be following, and truthfully we can't determine that until I know exactly how many students will be selecting the "In person" model.


I wanted to take a minute and try to offer an additional explanation of the information presented at the board meeting.

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This graphic explains the 2 options being given, and the levels of safety that we may fall in within the school year. Currently, we are in the YELLOW level due to the Covid restrictions in place by the state and health department. If we were to start school tomorrow in this state, for those families that select In-Person Instruction - it means that their child would come to school a portion of the week OR a hybrid model and then also receive remote instruction the other portion of the week. If the restrictions would be lifted and we entered the GREEN level- our students who select In-Person instruction would begin coming to school everyday (M-F- like what we consider normal operations)
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This graphic goes into a little more detail as to WHAT the options will actually look like for our kids, specifically looking at the Virtual Model for our students. If you are considering HOME SCHOOLING your child, I would recommend at least selecting the virtual model so that you have access to all of the programs that Boone County & New Haven have to offer. This also keeps you in the loop of changing standards and educational mandates. This would still offer the flexibility of supplementing instruction if you would like. The requirement is up to 4 hours of instruction 5 days, and you do have a teacher that would be checking in with your child, but not on a daily basis. There is the potential to be assigned a teacher that IS NOT a NH teacher. The virtual model will be using Boone County teachers from across the district to meet the varying needs of all of our learners.


This model is for those learners that are self-directed, or will have some additional support available at home. There is attendance requirements to this piece and grades will be a component as well. If you select this model you are making the decision for the 1st half of the year. You will not be able to change your selection mid year back to in-person unless we are in a green status.

What will the IN-PERSON "HYBRID" model look like?

I'm sure that this will be a very important piece to your decision making- as a parent this is what I would need to know. However, it's a domino effect because in order to tell you exactly what we are doing, we have to have a number of who is selecting virtual and who is selecting in person. What I can share, is that our district is looking specifically at 2 different hybrid models:

AACBB (same kids come on A days, C is remote for everyone, B days are for the other 1/2 of students) OR A week (m-th) Friday remote and then B week (m-th) Friday remote. There will be a common remote learning day regardless of the hybrid model selected simply for disinfecting and cleaning purposes. We have very rigid guidelines for the cleaning and disinfecting that we will be doing to keep everything as sanitary as required for a safe and healthy environment.


We are working with our feeder schools (Gray/ Ryle) to communicate what students we've selected for A or B days so that families are on the same schedules. As a parent as well, I understand many of the needs of family scheduling.


Please do not misunderstand though, I'm sure there will be some need to rearrange and make changes. If I am able to accommodate needs to help you out I will- as long as it doesn't put our balances out of wack or affect moving other students.


What will your children be doing while remote learning? Students will not be doing any of our blended learning programs while AT school. While at school they will be receiving personal instruction and participating in activities that can only be done while together. They will be completing their protocol minutes for Lexia, Dreambox, etc. while remote learning. They will also have access to recorded lessons and activities, in addition to meeting with small groups in google classroom. Many students will also receive work to complete at home (it will be given while they are at school by their teachers) We will also have some teachers available at different times of the day for questions and follow up if needed. Let's be honest, nothing replaces face to face instruction, this is what we are experts at. I have a lot of professional learning lined up for our staff regarding on-line delivery of instruction. Although, much of it was learned on the fly last March and April, we now need to refine those skills. We will also have access to a toolbox of additional resources to streamline communication and instruction. Admittedly, this will be a work in progress for all of us (home and school).

STUDENT RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

Please complete a survey for EACH of your children that attend Boone County Schools. The survey is open until next Thursday, July 23rd. It is crucial to planning purposes that everyone respond, so we can plan and communicate information to you about re-entry for our students.


ENGLISH- Parent Survey


SPANISH- Parent Survey


FRENCH- Parent Survey


JAPANESE- Parent Survey


ARABIC- Parent Survey

Safety - Q&A

Besides the actual schedule, this is what is on all parents minds. I have a senior in HS this year, and although I know she will take precautions I still need school assurances. I know you need the same things.

I will add the caveat that we are in an ever changing informational era- so, some of these protocols could change any day based on recommendations from consulting agencies.


What does going to school look like?

* Bus: Bus routing will be a little later this year. Students will not be entering school until 8:30 am. Bus drivers will have a very detailed cleaning protocol to complete before and after routes, and will need the additional time to complete this after picking up HS/MS students. So please know that your "pick up" time in the morning will be different this year. Buses will run the same route everyday and it will be your responsibility to know what hybrid model your child is on.

Students will be required to wear a mask on the bus at all times. Students living in the same household will be asked to sit together. The seats backs are high and do offer separation between students. Because of the hybrid model, there will naturally be less students on each of the buses providing more seating and space. Students being bused will be dropped off in our bus loop and will be released at a stagger to enter the building.

* Drop off: Students will still enter the building at the A hallway doors, and already staggered their entrance because of the natural drop off flow. We are anticipating that more students will be dropped off this year. Doors will open at 8:30 and their will be masked staff monitoring the entrance as normal.


Entering school: Students will not be gathering in the gym/cafeteria/MPR as we have in the past. They will remain masked (Mantra: "You move- You mask") and will walk to their homeroom classrooms. All staff will be in hallways and outside of their classroom doors. Upon arrival to their classroom doors, classroom teachers will use a digital thermometer (no touch) to take students temperatures. Students will unpack and begin morning routines. All students will have a hand washing routine upon entering the classrooms. Almost all classrooms have sinks within their rooms. Those that don't will have a very specific plan as well.


Classrooms- Each classroom has been measured, and student seating has been designed so that they have individual working area that is 6ft away from other students. While students are working in their areas they don't have to be masked. However, if they move- they mask. If they work with a teacher in small group- although they will be across from each other- they will be masked. We will have opportunities for students to not be masked just to give them (and their ears) a break. Each classroom will have additional masks provided my the district just in case. Each classroom will also have hand sanitizer and hand soap that will be used throughout the day. "Washing" breaks will be included in each student's day.


Breakfast: Those students needing breakfast will have it delivered to the classrooms. Breakfasts will be bagged with all needed supplies within the bags. They will be able to eat at their seats. Breakfasts will HAVE to be pre-ordered. There will be a procedure for this, but it will take some time to get a routine going.


Contact tracing- We will keep a roster for every homeroom, for every day students are present and will record who they come in contact with that day. For example: on the roster for "Monday" - we will know all students who are in that homeroom- what bus they rode- what adults worked in their rooms, what unified arts teacher they had that day, etc. We will keep these logs on file.


Visitors: Because of all of the contact tracing and the need to keep exposure to various people to a minimum we will not be permitting visitors or volunteers into the school.


Lunch: We have measured the cafeteria and cafeteria tables. We are able to sit 2 students (directly across from each other) at each table and allow for social distancing. We can fit a total of 70 students in the cafeteria for eating. We will also have our gym set up with desks (distanced) for lunch as well. We have marked table seats with paw prints (see pick below) so that students know exactly where to sit. We have also measured and placed paw prints on the floor in the cafeteria so that they remain 6 feet apart while in line. They will be masked while waiting in line. Lunch itself will be contactless. The lunch menu will be pushed out so that students know what the options are, but they will be limited. There will be some "hot" choices, but they will be foiled. Lunches will be put in individual bags with condiments, and disposable wrapped utensils for students. There will be NO trays used for lunches this year. There will be additional time built between grade levels for complete sanitation of the eating areas. Students will also have scheduled time before AND after lunch for washing. Those that pack their lunches will be able to go directly to the gym and have a place to begin eating their lunch as well. We also recognize that lunch is the "favorite social time" for many of our kids. Clearly, this will be limited because of the distancing, etc. They will be able to talk with each other, but we are also making plans to have something presented to the kids for their entertainment- it may be a short educational video or perhaps some music, etc. We are thinking about options with our kids in mind.


Instructional pieces- We are working on a schedule that looks logistically at "traffic" within the building, making sure we don't have multiple classes in the halls at the same time, no crossing traffic patterns, etc. We will also have our unified arts teachers either teach from homerooms, or have them pick and drop off classes. Some unified arts classes will be able to instruct from their own rooms, while others don't lend themselves to that. For example, music will more than likely be done from each homeroom, where gym will be able to use our Multipurpose Room (MPR) and still allow social distancing. We will make the determination of that schedule once we have all of our final numbers.


Dismissal- dismissal will have to begin earlier in order to get everyone out safely. We are looking at dismissing by bus, which would allow for the least amount of students in the hallways at a time. Parent pick up will have to be the last called because we don't have a location to safely hold students in a distance fashion. (This is based on our pick up numbers from last year) Again, this specific plan will be tackled once we know exactly how many students we have, and on what days they are attending. It may not end up being as difficult to manage as we are planning for. (A girl can hope)


Precautionary Measures- We have installed multiple hand sanitizer stations around the building, including hallways, 2 in the cafeteria, entering the building, etc. There will be hand sanitizer in every classroom, in addition to, liquid hand soap for every sink. Students will have scheduled hand washing breaks.


Cleaning- Each classroom will be disinfected every day. We are also looking into purchasing electrostatic sprayers with EPA approved, hospital used disinfectant that would be used daily. These have the power to spray all surfaces that are non-irritating, non-corrosive, and are no rinse required which kill 99.99% of bacteria/viruses. Unfortunately, these sprayers are extremely expensive. Our hope is to have at least a couple that we would use in addition to the cleaning protocols in every space. We are also working to adjust our custodial teams schedules so that we have more staff to clean and attend to common areas throughout the day.


What if a child is running a fever? We will be taking the temperatures of every person (staff and student) that enter the building. For those that have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be put in a designated area away from other students. Parents will be called and will have to have a plan for someone to pick up their child immediately. We will follow district protocol in notification of anyone that has come in contact with anyone with a fever. Confidentiality will be practiced, but notification will be made to all that it pertains to, which is another reason why we are contact tracing daily. Students who are running a temperature of 100 or more (whether they came to school or not) are required to remain at home and cannot return to school until they are fever free for at least 72 hours (without medication). More information about attendance procedures and options for remote learning will be given from our district. We will be following ALL recommendations from our health department and will follow their lead in protocols.


We are discussing every aspect of our daily school life and viewing it from a very specific lens to address all concerns. There will always be a varying scenario that we will have to address as it comes up. I can assure you that many hours and a great deal of thought and collaboration with varying agencies have been put into the re-entry planning up to this point.

I will continue to communicate with you our plan, specific to New Haven, and how it applies to our daily routines.


I will be sending out additional communication to our community to keep you abreast of everything that is unfolding. I will also try to answer questions that arise and share them with all parents. I will be emailing and posting this information link on FB and our webpage.

Communication Platform

One thing that I wanted to ensure for all of our stakeholders is that we have a communication tool that will streamline access. For us, it will be a 1 stop shop platform. We will begin using BLOOMZ as our communication platform. There will be no need for Remind, Dojo, signup genius, or constant contact because bloomz is all of that and more. It will allow parents and teachers to communicate securely and privately, allows sharing of student work, videos, etc. , allows parents to sign up for field trips and volunteer opportunities, student work portfolios and behavior updates, as well as, school wide messaging.


I will send out our school code for you to join in August when we send out homeroom teacher information. Please be on the lookout for that, as we will use this system as our main form of keeping everyone up to date with all things New Haven.

Homeroom information & Open House

Homeroom teachers: With about 4 weeks to school opening we still have some planning to do. Parents have been asked to complete the district survey by next Thursday, July 30th. I am hoping to be able to send out teacher information to all of our families by the first week in August. Again, this is another situation where I need to know who is selecting In-person and who is selecting virtual to finalize class lists. We have all the lists drafted, but there may be some changes based on in-person numbers per classroom.


Open House: I know there are many families new to New Haven and have inquired about tours, meeting the teachers, etc. We are still finalizing some plans, but open house will definitely take on a whole new look this year. We will be introducing our teachers through video, and each teacher will do a personal video for their classes. We will also create somewhat of a "virtual tour" but have limitations also due to general safety protocols. However, we are also working out a way to have an open house type of on-line meeting with each teacher so that you have a chance to meet and talk to them. More information will be sent out as we get into August.

KY TEACHER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

We want to share and celebrate with our community that Mrs. Stephanie Groathouse has been selected as a 2020 Valvoline Teacher Acheivement Award winner. The selection committee has narrowed down hundreds of nominees from across the state to the top 24, and our very own Mrs. Groathouse (Gebka) is a finalist. The next step is selecting the top 3 from each level (elementary, middle, high). We are so proud of Mrs. Groathouse, and of course are all hoping she is picked as THE KY Teacher of the year!
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Making some improvements to welcome our students back!