Lucille M. Nixon School
from the principal
October 29, 2020
Dear Nixon Families,
It has been wonderful to greet arriving children each school day since October 12. I look forward to the time when all of our students will be able to return to learning in our classrooms. I have noticed how willing the children have been to do their best to maintain distances, play in the designated “zones”, find their way to the place to line up outside their classrooms at the start of the day, wash their hands over and over, and perhaps most challenging, avoid (nearly all) talking while their masks are off and they are eating. I was frankly surprised that we had no tears among our kindergartners saying good-bye at the Tolman gate to their parents. Clearly you prepared them well for this return to school.
I have noticed how many of our students have mastered Schoology and Seesaw, joining zoom sessions and submitting their work. I have noticed students helping each other when they have questions or technology problems. I see them speaking up, asking questions to clarify their understanding and reading with their teachers online.
I remember writing last spring that our pandemic situation was going to provide opportunities for learning that we might not have chosen for our children. The children seem to understand that the circumstances of their world are demanding a different kind of behavior on their part. We are all adjusting our choices and our actions in order to help take care of each other. We worried before the students returned that they might not be able to comply with some of the necessary precautions of wearing masks all day, remaining within their cohorts even at play, staying in desks separated from others by 6 feet, etc. etc. We worried that children might not master the use of all of this technology. They have exceeded our expectations and are teaching us everyday how remarkably flexible and resilient they are.
4th and 5th grade Changes
I am happy to share the good news that all of our Nixon 4th and 5th grade students will remain in our Nixon school community and will be taught by Nixon teachers. There were two meetings this week to work on the placement of students based on parent choice of hybrid or distance learning options. All principals and teachers across the district have wanted to keep their school communities together, and some creative plans have emerged to try to achieve this. We have been very fortunate that the numbers of Nixon families choosing distance learning and hybrid learning have worked out to allow for one distance-only class in each grade level and two hybrid classes.
We will have some 4th and 5th grade students changing teachers, just as we have had at our other grade levels. Parents will receive an email by 5:00 pm on Monday evening, November 2 letting you know to which teacher and which cohort your child has been assigned as we move into this next phase of reopening. Teachers at each grade level are trying to make these transitions as smooth as we can get them. The instruction has been well coordinated within the teams all year and that will continue.
Our schedules will be the same for distance and hybrid classes each day of the week, except for kindergarten hybrid students who come each day either morning or afternoon. Having the same schedule makes it possible for hybrid teachers at 1st through 5th grades to provide instruction to all students - whether in the classroom or at home – at the same time. At our upper grades, teachers can continue specializing in one content area and teach all students (hybrid and distance) together. It allows us to plan grade level activities at 1st through 5th which include both hybrid and distance students. Aligning our schedules also enables our distance teachers to share in supervision on the playground and interact with children who may no longer be in their classroom.
We really appreciate the high level of support from parents of hybrid learners in completing the health screener before school each day. Thank you for doing this extra early (before 7:30 am) in the midst of what may be very hectic mornings. Our arrival process is far more efficient than it would otherwise be because so many of you manage to do this each time your child is coming to school. ParentSquare is accessed through the PAUSD Parent ID Portal.
Our process for picking up students at the end of the school day is still being refined. It helps tremendously when the adults picking up hold up a sign or put one in the car window with the child’s name in large, clear print – either the one we provided or one you have made yourselves.
Please remember to socially distance yourselves along the path on the Tolman side of campus. On the Stanford Ave side, adults picking up can remain in their cars and simply drive through the pick-up line. If you have the student’s name and room number on a paper visible to us, we can call out for the student to come forward to get in your car. It is not safe to have students walking around in the parking lot, so let’s try to stay in cars and see if we can keep the line moving. All of these new procedures are an experiment of sorts and we will keep trying to improve.
We have been working on plans to reopen the classrooms for months now. I am hoping that we can manage to achieve a “steady state” before Thanksgiving break – a state where the routines are familiar and our focus is clearly on teaching and learning.
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