4-6-2020 Message from our Principal

 

 

Dear Parents,

I know some of you are working from home as well and have separate devices for your students than the one you are working from. I will try to post a link to our daily lessons on here as well as to your email so your children can access them independently from you. Thank you for your adaptability in this time!  I appreciate your patience and understanding as I myself am adapting to many new and technological things.  Thank you for all that you do!

Ms. Hendrix

 

4-6-20

Hi, SJS Parents! 

Welcome to our distance learning instructional information for the month of April. The staff has been virtually conferencing and working hard to meet the many-varied needs of our school families as a whole. In these times, there is no “one-size fits all” solution. Based on the survey that you took last week, for each family in our school there is something unique that makes this situation a challenge in one way or another. With that in mind, we have developed some of the guidelines below to help serve you and continue to provide an education that is academically centered, but also keeps in mind these challenges. The learning curve for us as a staff has been a big one. Three weeks ago, we entered this with a short-term mindset and have now switched to a more long-term plan. Thank you for taking this journey with us and being so supportive. The kind emails I have received, the nice comments on Facebook, and those of you who are simply checking in to say “hi” has made a world of difference. I’m just one human trying to guide our staff and families to navigate this unique situation with faith, resilience, and continued education. I’m not perfect, none of us are, but please know that we miss your students each day so very much. Being in our classrooms surrounded by their stories, personalities, and questions is where we thrive and distance learning just cannot replace that feeling, but we will certainly try. 

 

Many Blessings during this Holy Week, and Always, 

Mrs. Makruski

 

Instructional Days for April: The instructional days will be April 7th, 8th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. These will be days that students in grades K-3 will have an assignment sheet in their packet and grades 4-8 will have online work assigned through Google Classroom. 

 

Required Work/Changes: After the survey, we brainstormed ways to meet the needs of all families- some want more work, some want less. To help with this, we have set-up a new style of daily activities. They are now split into “HAVE TO” activities and “CAN DO” activities at all grade levels. Each day the students will have 2-3 subject areas with activities they must complete on that instructional day and then other activities centered around different subject areas, specials areas, etc. that will be provided as “can do” activities. These are optional for those students who want/need more to do or want to take their educational journey further on a certain day. It’s a way to shape this experience to better meet the needs of each family/student. The “have to” and “can do” activities will be clearly marked. The “have to’s” will be taken for a grade. The “can do’s” will not. 

 

Changes to Instruction: With this new month and format, you can expect a lot more distanced direct instruction coming from your child’s teacher(s). For the subjects that are listed as “have to” subjects on each instructional day, there will be some kind of teaching that goes along with it. This might be a video recorded by the teacher, a screencastify, a voice-over of them explaining something, or a live teaching session via Google meet, etc. This will look different according to grade levels and topic, as needed.  For grades 4-8, this will all be sent out through Google Classroom. For grades K-3, the videos, links, etc. will be sent through the parent’s email so they are accessible to the students without them having to learn Google sign-ins and Classroom at this time. Many K-3 parents answered that they were not comfortable switching to an online platform at this time, so this is the path we have chosen. We very much look forward to providing these materials for you. 

 

Our kids miss their friends: This was the most commented thing on the survey notes. Our hearts break for these kids and the social experiences they are missing during this time. Each class is going to be scheduling one or more Google Hangouts/Meets during each set of instructional days so the students can see each other. We have a master schedule we are working off of to try to make sure none of the times overlap for families with multiple students at different grade levels. Hopefully seeing each other’s faces and talking a little (or a lot) will help in this area. 

 

Other ways of connecting: One of the things that makes us special is that we are small and connected. In order to help keep that vibe, in the “CAN DO” section for each instructional day, you will find a daily challenge/spirit activity that is the same across all grade levels. If you choose to do the activity, we ask that you send a pic or video to Mrs. Whiteman at gabie.whiteman@sjs-amherst.org so we can compile and share them! 

 

Technology: When all of this began, there was an opportunity for families to borrow a device to make distance learning happen at home. Perhaps, you didn’t think you needed one at that time, but now feel you do. If that is the case, please email Mrs. Makruski at amy.makruski@sjs-amherst.org and we can make that happen! 

 

Additional Packet Pick-up: If you are not able to pick up student work for students in grades K-3 today, April 6th, the Door D area will also be accessible on Tuesday, April 7th from 9 am-9 pm. 

 

Work Turn in: We are currently working on a plan for work being turned back in for grades K-3, some families have scanning capabilities, others don’t. As soon as we decide on a solution, you will know. 

 

Printing: I saw an advertisement that Staples stores are offering printing of materials for families that may not have access at home. I just wanted to mention this here in case one of our families has that need. 

 

Teacher Availability: On instructional days, the teachers are available via email during normal school hours and most have some evening availability, as well. If you have a need, please email them and they will do their best to respond. If a hangout/meet is required or requested, they will schedule a time for that. Please be patient as most of the staff has young children at home that they are also helping with school work and taking care of. We know it is hard for everyone at this time. 

 

Edmentum: If you have a device at home to access the Exact Path Edmentum program, this is a great way for your child to continue to practice skills that they are personally ready to learn. If you need their login information, you can contact their classroom teacher and they will try to help. 

 

Facebook: If you are a social media person, the school has a Facebook page where pics and information is shared all year, but particularly during this time. If you don’t already “like” us, please do! (St Joseph Parish School)

 

Teacher Reach-out: The staff is planning a few fun things over the month of April to reach out to our students and share ourselves with them. Stay tuned for planned events and reach-out opportunities. 

 

Upcoming Events: Events that are being cancelled or postponed due to this situation is one of the hardest parts for everyone. We have all had things we are looking forward to and so much is still up in the air. Here is what I know right now:

STEM Showcase: If we return, we will look into rescheduling this. There are some amazing projects this year and we hope to be able to show these off. If we do not return, we will decide the future of these projects then. 

Musical/Aladdin: If we return, we are planning a modified version of the full musical to still give students an opportunity to perform. If we do not return, Mrs. Kermes and Mrs. Whiteman are thinking of other creative solutions. 

First Communion: At this time, this event will not take place on May 2nd as originally scheduled due to all masses still being cancelled on that day. When we know more about how long Mass will be held off, it will be rescheduled. 

Jesus Day: This is cancelled at this time and we will work on pairing this back up with 1st Communion when we know more. 

Spring Concert: If we return, we will still have some kind of concert in May. If we do not return, this will be cancelled. 

Columbus Trip: This has been cancelled and we are working on refunds. There will also be the option for students who will be taking the DC trip next year to apply their already paid funds to this trip. A separate email will be sent. 

May Crowning: This is on-hold depending on the future of First Communion, if dates do not line up, this will not take place in the traditional way this year. We have not ruled out an alternative, but no decisions have been made. 

Field Trips: Any trips that were scheduled in May, even if we return, will be cancelled. 

Graduations: Preschool, K, 8th grade- all are on hold for now until we know more about the future of school. 

Other 8th grade privileges like painting the rock, ceiling tiles, etc. are all on hold. Miss Baker may add some of the famous artist research to the “can do” activities for 8th grade, but there is no official plan for any of these to take place. 

Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Son event, etc. All of these events are cancelled for right now. If there is a decision made to do something when this clears up, an announcement will be made at that time. 

Rock the Challenge: if we return and the company that puts this on is still willing, we will have this event.

Trojan Trot- cancelled- we are looking at an August date to reschedule.

*These are all of the things we compiled and discussed, I’m sure there may be more, but this is what we know, so far.

Overall, this situation seems to be changing daily. As soon as we have something figured out, a new challenge presents itself. I have been trying to communicate as clearly and thoroughly, as possible. If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher or myself. You are all in our constant prayers. I pray that we are all given health, safety, strength, and resilience during this time. 

 

Hi, SJS Parents! 

Welcome to our distance learning instructional information for the month of April. The staff has been virtually conferencing and working hard to meet the many varied needs of our school families as a whole. In these times, there is no “one-size fits all” solution. Based on the survey that you took last week, for each family in our school there is something unique that makes this situation a challenge in one way or another. With that in mind, we have developed some of the guidelines below to help serve you and continue to provide an education that is academically centered, but also keeps in mind these challenges. The learning curve for us as a staff has been a big one. Three weeks ago, we entered this with a short-term mindset and have now switched to a more long-term plan. Thank you for taking this journey with us and being so supportive. The kind emails I have received, the nice comments on Facebook, and those of you who are simply checking in to say “hi” has made a world of difference. I’m just one human trying to guide our staff and families to navigate this unique situation with faith, resilience, and continued education. I’m not perfect, none of us are, but please know that we miss your students each day so very much. Being in our classrooms surrounded by their stories, personalities, and questions is where we thrive and distance learning just cannot replace that feeling, but we will certainly try. 

 

Many Blessings during this Holy Week, and Always, 

Mrs. Makruski

 

Instructional Days for April: The instructional days will be April 7th, 8th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. These will be days that students in grades K-3 will have an assignment sheet in their packet and grades 4-8 will have online work assigned through Google Classroom. 

 

Required Work/Changes: After the survey, we brainstormed ways to meet the needs of all families- some want more work, some want less. To help with this, we have set-up a new style of daily activities. They are now split into “HAVE TO” activities and “CAN DO” activities at all grade levels. Each day the students will have 2-3 subject areas with activities they must complete on that instructional day and then other activities centered around different subject areas, specials areas, etc. that will be provided as “can do” activities. These are optional for those students who want/need more to do or want to take their educational journey further on a certain day. It’s a way to shape this experience to better meet the needs of each family/student. The “have to” and “can do” activities will be clearly marked. The “have to’s” will be taken for a grade. The “can do’s” will not. 

 

Changes to Instruction: With this new month and format, you can expect a lot more distanced direct instruction coming from your child’s teacher(s). For the subjects that are listed as “have to” subjects on each instructional day, there will be some kind of teaching that goes along with it. This might be a video recorded by the teacher, a screencastify, a voice-over of them explaining something, or a live teaching session via Google meet, etc. This will look different according to grade levels and topic, as needed.  For grades 4-8, this will all be sent out through Google Classroom. For grades K-3, the videos, links, etc. will be sent through the parent’s email so they are accessible to the students without them having to learn Google sign-ins and Classroom at this time. Many K-3 parents answered that they were not comfortable switching to an online platform at this time, so this is the path we have chosen. We very much look forward to providing these materials for you. 

 

Our kids miss their friends: This was the most commented thing on the survey notes. Our hearts break for these kids and the social experiences they are missing during this time. Each class is going to be scheduling one or more Google Hangouts/Meets during each set of instructional days so the students can see each other. We have a master schedule we are working off of to try to make sure none of the times overlap for families with multiple students at different grade levels. Hopefully seeing each other’s faces and talking a little (or a lot) will help in this area. 

 

Other ways of connecting: One of the things that makes us special is that we are small and connected. In order to help keep that vibe, in the “CAN DO” section for each instructional day, you will find a daily challenge/spirit activity that is the same across all grade levels. If you choose to do the activity, we ask that you send a pic or video to Mrs. Whiteman at gabie.whiteman@sjs-amherst.org so we can compile and share them! 

 

Technology: When all of this began, there was an opportunity for families to borrow a device to make distance learning happen at home. Perhaps, you didn’t think you needed one at that time, but now feel you do. If that is the case, please email Mrs. Makruski at amy.makruski@sjs-amherst.org and we can make that happen! 

 

Additional Packet Pick-up: If you are not able to pick up student work for students in grades K-3 today, April 6th, the Door D area will also be accessible on Tuesday, April 7th from 9 am-9 pm. 

 

Work Turn in: We are currently working on a plan for work being turned back in for grades K-3, some families have scanning capabilities, others don’t. As soon as we decide on a solution, you will know. 

 

Printing: I saw an advertisement that Staples stores are offering printing of materials for families that may not have access at home. I just wanted to mention this here in case one of our families has that need. 

 

Teacher Availability: On instructional days, the teachers are available via email during normal school hours and most have some evening availability, as well. If you have a need, please email them and they will do their best to respond. If a hangout/meet is required or requested, they will schedule a time for that. Please be patient as most of the staff has young children at home that they are also helping with school work and taking care of. We know it is hard for everyone at this time. 

 

Edmentum: If you have a device at home to access the Exact Path Edmentum program, this is a great way for your child to continue to practice skills that they are personally ready to learn. If you need their login information, you can contact their classroom teacher and they will try to help. 

 

Facebook: If you are a social media person, the school has a Facebook page where pics and information is shared all year, but particularly during this time. If you don’t already “like” us, please do! (St Joseph Parish School)

 

Teacher Reach-out: The staff is planning a few fun things over the month of April to reach out to our students and share ourselves with them. Stay tuned for planned events and reach-out opportunities. 

 

Upcoming Events: Events that are being cancelled or postponed due to this situation is one of the hardest parts for everyone. We have all had things we are looking forward to and so much is still up in the air. Here is what I know right now:

STEM Showcase: If we return, we will look into rescheduling this. There are some amazing projects this year and we hope to be able to show these off. If we do not return, we will decide the future of these projects then. 

Musical/Aladdin: If we return, we are planning a modified version of the full musical to still give students an opportunity to perform. If we do not return, Mrs. Kermes and Mrs. Whiteman are thinking of other creative solutions. 

First Communion: At this time, this event will not take place on May 2nd as originally scheduled due to all masses still being cancelled on that day. When we know more about how long Mass will be held off, it will be rescheduled. 

Jesus Day: This is cancelled at this time and we will work on pairing this back up with 1st Communion when we know more. 

Spring Concert: If we return, we will still have some kind of concert in May. If we do not return, this will be cancelled. 

Columbus Trip: This has been cancelled and we are working on refunds. There will also be the option for students who will be taking the DC trip next year to apply their already paid funds to this trip. A separate email will be sent. 

May Crowning: This is on-hold depending on the future of First Communion, if dates do not line up, this will not take place in the traditional way this year. We have not ruled out an alternative, but no decisions have been made. 

Field Trips: Any trips that were scheduled in May, even if we return, will be cancelled. 

Graduations: Preschool, K, 8th grade- all are on hold for now until we know more about the future of school. 

Other 8th grade privileges like painting the rock, ceiling tiles, etc. are all on hold. Miss Baker may add some of the famous artist research to the “can do” activities for 8th grade, but there is no official plan for any of these to take place. 

Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Son event, etc. All of these events are cancelled for right now. If there is a decision made to do something when this clears up, an announcement will be made at that time. 

Rock the Challenge: if we return and the company that puts this on is still willing, we will have this event.

Trojan Trot- cancelled- we are looking at an August date to reschedule.

*These are all of the things we compiled and discussed, I’m sure there may be more, but this is what we know, so far.

Overall, this situation seems to be changing daily. As soon as we have something figured out, a new challenge presents itself. I have been trying to communicate as clearly and thoroughly, as possible. If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher or myself. You are all in our constant prayers. I pray that we are all given health, safety, strength, and resilience during this time. 

 

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