Here is a PDF of the slides that were presented during our Zoom meeting with Alma families on October 7.
Below are additional notes that were shared with Alma families.
Regarding our successful Family Orientations:
Our tenth year began with a first ever outdoor orientation. Thank you all for making the time to come and helping to make this a really special Alma event.
It was wonderful to see and meet everyone in person and for scholars to get to spend so much time one on one with their teachers.
We knew that it was really important to spend time preparing to launch this unique school year. Our experience last Spring taught us that the biggest challenge with remote learning is making sure that scholars make the effort to sign on and make the time to do the work each day, without all the normal structures of school that help them do that.
Regarding scholar attendance in Remote Learning:
So far our shared work– you as parents and our Alma staff– has led to great success with getting our scholars online and engaged in their schoolwork. For the vast majority of you whose scholars are learning remotely, we realize that remote learning has put a lot of additional challenges on you and your family.
THANK YOU for all the work that you’ve done to make sure that your scholar is ready to learn each day. We are a crew and a community. When your scholar shows up, it encourages the rest of their crew to do the same. So far it’s working– let’s get to 100 percent!
Regarding the Groundbreaking Ceremony for our Frederick Douglass Campus:
We also celebrated a special milestone for our Frederick Douglass Campus→ our groundbreaking for the new Frederick Douglass building!
In a little more than a year, our Frederick Douglass scholars will have a beautiful new home on par with the facility that our Ottiwell scholars have. Like the Ottiwell building it will have top of the line air filtration, lots of light and lots of space for scholars to learn, meet and play.
I also wanted to share this because it’s important for us to remember that we will get through this pandemic and that we have a lot to look forward to on the other side.
Regarding the Family Needs Survey that we conducted:
Last month we surveyed all of you on what your current needs were. Thank you to all of you who completed the survey, gave us input and shared your needs with us. We really appreciate having this information and it has helped us to prioritize how we respond. Many of you were very supportive of the work of our school staff in the face of all these challenges. We appreciate your kind words and we passed them on to our staff. There were also three major needs that emerged as the most common and the most urgent among our families.
Update regarding P-EBT benefits (Link leads to blog post)
Regarding reopening plan updates:
We are planning to bring back all K-1 scholars (Group B) in person Monday through Thursday at the end of October if it is safe and feasible in addition to our Group A scholars who are already in the building.
The rationale for focusing on bringing back as close to full cohorts of K-1 as we can are grounded in three of our Priorities for this year: Health and Safety, Promoting Equity and Rebuilding our Academic Core
- Health and Safety:
- From a health and safety perspective, the data to date bears out that young kids without underlying conditions are the least susceptible to adverse health risks from the virus. Young kids are also likely to experience a lot of adverse health effects— physical and psychological— from having to stay indoors.
- Promoting Equity:
- Our families with younger kids have some of the biggest need when it comes to childcare, particular our families with fewer resources. From our recent survey– about 80% would return to in person.
- Rebuilding our Academic Core
- These are the scholars who tend to have the least success overall with remote learning and for whom educational gaps now may be the hardest to remediate in the future
- Focusing on bringing back entire cohorts, as opposed to select scholars, will ensure that we don’t also take undo resources away from our remote learning program, which will continue to be the way the majority of our scholars are learning.
If you choose to opt in to remote learning, this means that your scholar will be remote for the whole seven weeks, beginning October 26. Families who opt-in to in-person learning can choose to opt into remote at any time during the weeks, but once you are remote, you must remain remote until our next stage of reopening after the seven weeks are over.