Monday, February 1 2021

Good Morning Team!
First, a HUGE congrats on a successful first week. I know I was exhausted by the end of the day Friday, so I can’t imagine how you felt! Friday night was the first night of good sleep I’ve had in a long while. I hope the weekend was good and that you’re up for Round 2.

A few notes to get you going:
1) We’ll have a short (30 mins) Staff Meeting on Wednesday at 2pm. We’ll spend the time talking about the school wide writing project we touched on at our meeting last week. Please come with ideas-I’m excited about the possibilities!

2) No School Friday. We’re using this time for family check-ins and I hope by now you have sent out a sign up link for families. This is a day you are welcome to work from home if you prefer.

3) Music classes start this week:
Kinder: Monday at 12
Grade 1: Tuesday at 12 (Amanda) and 12:30 (Sara)
Grade 2: Wednesday at 12
Grade 3: Thursday at 12
Grades 4 and 5: Wednesday at 10am (virtual)

4) Last week you tried a few different approaches to having your kids line up after recess–some worked better than others. This week please make sure you review with your class where you’d like them to line up after recess breaks. This will be really helpful for those of us doing recess duty. Thanks!

5) Our Lottery Information Night is scheduled for February 24. Since we have to do this virtually I’d like to put together a video sharing some of the more unique parts of our program–similar to how we do it in person, and I am super hopeful you are game to support the effort. Below are the things we generally try to cover at the meeting, and these are the things I’d like to video you talking about. Please have a look at the list and find a few things you’d be willing to take on. I’ll post a google doc soon that will allow you to sign up. I’ll also ask you to share your Personal Whys (why you do what you do and why Amity)

~What Amity Means–Belonging and Togetherness
~History of Amity Creek (Someone needs to carry the torch in Scotts absence!)
~What’s Important to Us 
*Focus on the Child, Choice and Voice
*Rooted in Community: Community Based, Authentic Community
*Celebrate the Journey:  Value the journey of childhood and learning
*It’s About the People: Dynamic, fluid, spontaneous, ever growing and changing
~Unique aspects of our program 
*Community Time, Choice Time, Invitations
*Cross Age Learning, Olders and Youngers
*One class per grade—opportunity to deeply know and connect
*Parent Connections, Conversations, Café Amity, Bread and Jam
*Camp Amity
~Kinder Program
~Outdoor Education 

6) A Masking Update from the district: After further discussions with our health professionals, it was learned that most local medical centers have changed their masking guidelines and are no longer allowing gaiters, buffs and bandanas as substitutes for cloth/disposable masks that fit snugly around the mouth and nose.  

For students (or staff) who are attached to their logo gaiters, this will come as a disappointment.  We can exchange their gaiter/buff with one of our district provided masks, or,  buffs/gaiters placed OVER a mask that adheres to our requirements are permissible.  Masks with valves or otherwise vent air are never acceptable.  

February 5: District inservice day-No school, Parent Conversations.
February 15: President’s Day, No School
February 24: Lottery Info Night (WebEx)
March 22-26: Spring Break, No School

Here’s to week 2!

Monday, January 25 2021

Wow, we’ve all dreamed about the week we would go back to school, and this is it! Well, not likely exactly like we dreamed it, but a partial dream is better than no dream! I’m so excited to be back with kids and doing the thing we all love to do, and I am looking forward to many amazing weeks ahead!

Thanks for everything you have done to get us to this point, you have been incredible in every way–you have been there for kiddos and their families, you’ve stayed positive and optimistic even when you’ve had your own doubts and struggles, and you’ve shown extraordinary perseverance in the face of daily challenges (your list of challenges must be so long!) What an insane journey this has been, but I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing group of people to be on this journey with!

A few notes to get you rolling back to school full time:

1) Great job with Orientation Days last week, overall everything went really great! Remember to stay vigilant with distancing and hand washing/sanitizer (before and after everything!). This will obviously be more challenging with a full class, but we have to do everything we can to make it work. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support from me, Patti, Kim, and the EAs.

2) See Something, Say Something. If you spot something that is not working, not meeting the guidelines, or simply seems “off” please let me know immediately. We need to stay on top of meeting guidelines and the sooner we respond the better! Thanks for your help with staying as safe as we possibly can.

3) Staff meeting this Wednesday at 2pm. This will be a great chance to debrief the first part of the week and make adjustments.

4) Music, Art, PE. Below is the new Art Schedule starting this week. Music and PE are still in the planning stages as we settle in to the new routines–I’ll keep you posted!

Art-All on WebEx
K/1: Fridays at noon
2/3: Fridays at 8:15am
4/5: Wednesdays at 9am

5) Don’t forget about this great resource you’ve been working on (thanks Stephanie for getting this started!): 6 Feet of Fun Or if you want to copy and paste into the url:

6) Feb 5 is report card day, no school. Since we don’t do report cards I’d like for you to use this day for some short parent conversations via WebEx. Please create a sign up to share with parents this week. 15-20 minute time slots should work.

7) Thinking ahead, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Principals have been asking for guidance and here is what we have received from the district:
*Valentine cards will need to follow the same safe handling rules as all materials. Plan to have students bring their Valentines to school and distribute them in individual boxes or bags by Tuesday, February 9.  The boxes/bags will then sit until Friday, February 12th, when students can open them at Valentine “parties”.
*If you plan to have kids bring candy (or you’re bringing some), all candies brought need to be sealed airtight – i.e., foil-wrapped Hershey Kisses are not airtight.
*If students bring their Valentine cards with less than 72 hours to sit, their cards can be laid out on a table and misted with the electrostatic machines. (This doesn’t seem like a very good option!)
*We can talk about this at our staff meeting this week

Lastly, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the kids have been through over the last 10 months and I think we have an amazing opportunity to help them capture some of their stories from their time during the pandemic. I’d like to propose the idea of a collective writing project for us to do school wide. The idea would be something like “My Quarantine Story” (or something more catchy) where they capture a vivid memory (or two or three…) experienced over the last 10 months. The kids have stories that need to be told, and we can capture this moment in history through writing. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas about this on Wednesday at our staff meeting

January 27: Staff Meeting, 2pm
January 26 and 28: Grade 4 and 5 Orientation Days
February 5: District inservice day, No school, Parent Conversations.
February 15: President’s Day, No School
March 22-26: Spring Break, No School

Here’s to our first full week back!

Monday , January 18 2021

It’s hard to believe, but after 10 months we have students returning this week! Like you, I am both excited and full of trepidation. I’ve been tossing and turning every night this weekend, often waking up in the middle of the night with my head full of thoughts (some of which I will share with you below). In the midst of all this I was able to spend the weekend in Corvallis with my granddaughter and as a bonus I got to see my daughter and son-in-law. It was a great distraction leading in to this monumenttal week! I hope you were able to enjoy the long weekend and are feeling ready for the big return!

I know these next few weeks are going to challenge us in new ways, and I want you to know that I am here for you, whatever it is that you need. Let’s keep communication open and strong and be sure to ask for support needed.

There are going to be some things we haven’t accounted for as we head into Orientation Week, but we’ll learn and make adjustments as needed. K-3 should plan to meet on Wednesday to re-tool a little before the next group arrives on Thursday.

Some really important info and reminders to get you going this week:
1) Staff Appreciation Lunch provided by the Worbes family again! This Wednesday at noon. They’re bringing food from Nancy Ps.

2) Orientation Day is a day that should be filled with connection, fun, and setting some important routines. Routines:
-how we enter the classroom
-when and how to wash/sanitize
-getting ready for recess
-getting ready for lunch–get all lunches ready before taking off mask, try to do this at the same time so time without masks is limited
-where to wait at the end of recess
-using the bathroom (1 at time during class, 2 at time 10 minutes prior to recess breaks)
-end of the day walk to gym (K-2) or breezeway via the gym (3-5)

3) Remember, you are supposed to meet virtually with students at home on both Orientation days–this should be for some type of morning meeting

4) Classes will be individual cohorts for now (we can reassess in a few weeks). This means we will have 3 play zones on the playground: 1) swings/play structure; 2) tetherball and basket ball court; 3) wall ball to field including “nature area”. Cones will demarcate each zone and I have developed a zone rotation schedule–we will have a copy posted by the door out to the playground and one attached to the fence outside for reference.

K-2 Recess Zones

3-5 Recess Zones

5) At lunch:
-K-2 eating first and then escorted to playground
-3 (and soon 4-5) will play first and then be brought back in for lunch
-Cafeteria lunch will be brought to your classrooms, as will breakfast

6) Lots of physical breaks at desks, outside play time, and mask breaks these first few weeks!

7) Lunch time for teachers–please minimize the number of people you eat with (no more than 3 people in the staff room together). We’ll have to get creative with where to eat, and on nice days we can eat outside. On a not as important note, but still important, please be sure to wash any dishes and silverware you use in the staff room.

8) As discussed, please remember to get Kim, me, or Patti if you have a student or students with symptoms, high or low risk–having any one of these symptoms could be reason to send students home to keep everyone safe:
High Risk
~Fever of 100.4 or greater
~Difficulty breathing
~Loss of taste or smell

Low Risk
~Sore throat
~Muscle pain, chills
~Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
~Nasal congestion, runny nose, or headache

9) Don’t forget the Fun Socially Distance Classroom Ideas document started by Stephanie:

And the outdoor game link:

January 25: All in for K-3, Orientation for 4-5
February 1: Hybrid begins for 4-5
February 5: “Grading Day”, no school (as of now, I’ll confirm soon)
February 15: President’s Day, no school
March 22-26: Spring Break, no school (a beacon!)

Here’s to a great week like no other, back to school!

Monday, January 11 2021

Good Morning All!
I hope the weekend was fabulous and relaxing. Recently I discovered some amazing XC skiing out near Sisters that launches from the Upper Three Creek Sno Park, and I headed out there again this weekend–truly spectacular views!

And so we begin the move towards returning to school! I know there is a mix of excitement and hesitation/trepidation/concern right now. Hopefully by week’s end we will have a lot more clarity, a solid sense of confidence in our plan, and a feeling of excitement to welcome our students back to school. I look forward to having you all back at school and having time to connect, plan, and dream a little. Please do not hesitate to ask questions, raise concerns, and share ideas!

EAs will be around most of the week and ready to help. We also have access to Karima and Beth if we need them. Please let me know what kind of support you need this week and we’ll make it happen.

Here are a few notes to get us headed in the right direction:

1) Phase in plan–Just to be sure everyone is on the same page
January 11-15: Transition Week for K-3. Asynchronous, AM WebEx meetings.
January 19 & 21: K-3 Orientation Days. Another asynchronous week, AM WebEx.
January 18-22: Transition Week for 4/5. Asynchronous, AM WebEx meetings.
January 25: All-in for K-3
January 26 & 28: 4/5 Orientation Days. Another asynchronous week, AM WebEx.
February 1: Hybrid begins for 4/5

2) Staff Meeting on Wednesday, 1-3pm in person. One agenda item–Returning to School! A reminder to share questions you have in the google doc: Return to School Questions

3) Staff Lunch on Wednesday provided by FOA! See Patti’s email to order. Lunch will be at 12.

4) K-3 Orientation Week cohorts will be shared with you by the end of the day tomorrow (Tues). We will be splitting the classes into two groups and only doing Tuesday and Thursday, and you can use Friday to finalize things for “all-in” next week. On both Orientation Days the district is requiring you to meet virtually with the students who are at home–this will mean including them in a morning meeting via WebEx. Please figure out what time you will invite students to join you via WebEx and be sure to communicate it with families.

5) Grade 4/5 hybrid cohorts-Patti will share these with you this week so that you can send to families as they prepare to plan for having their children at school 2 days each week.

6) Cohort decision: I will let you know tomorrow what I have decided. At the moment I am leaning towards K-2 and 3-5. This will allow us to keep EAs in cohorts (Jill and Nathan in K-3, Mindy and Brad in 3-5) and not having to mix with both cohorts. This will minimize contacts on the whole. Again, I will share the final decision tomorrow.

7) Art and Music: Art will continue to be done virtually with Korey for the foreseeable future. It will stay at the normal time until the week of January 25 (when K-3) goes all-in. New schedule:
*Starting January 27: 4/5 @9am on Wednesdays
*Starting January 29: 2/3 @ 8:15am,. K/1 @ 12:00

We will develop a new music schedule this week that will begin the week K-3 returns for all-in.

8) From the district: Starting on January 19th all teachers, K-5, are to be working in the building.  This includes Wednesdays. If for some reason you are not able to be at school starting on the 19th please let me know so we can make a plan.

9) YouthTruth Survey: You will be receiving an email from me today (Mon) requesting that you participate in a district wide survey. Please make an effort to take the survey soon. Thanks! The survey will also go out to parents this week.

January 18: MLK Day, NO SCHOOL
January 19 & 21: K-3 Orientation Days
January 25: All-in for K-3
January 26 & 28: 4/5 Orientation Days
February 1: Hybrid begins for 4/5
February 5: No School, Elementary Grading Day
February 24: Amity Parent Info Night for lottery, virtual
March 22-26: Spring Break–we’re going to really need this one!

Here’s to a great week ahead, and to having kiddos back in the building soon!