ARPS Weekly Updates: March 30th - April 3rd
Photo Credit: C. Lacey, 1st Grade
Owl Families,
I hope you were able to take a few minutes over the last week to enjoy Spring Break and to settle in to the new norm. Our teachers have been working hard to prepare lessons, plan out the weeks ahead and to take a minute to breathe, as well.
In reading the plethora of information, advice, two cents and opinions of so many on social media, I'd like to point out that our focus in moving forward is to provide educational support to our students, in a way that allows them to keep their minds engaged and their learning active. Even though the jokes have been plenty, this is not "homeschooling" and we are not expecting you to teach your children (although they will need support). Here's how you can help as a parent...

  1. Read the emails from your teachers to understand the plan for each week. Teachers have been asked to provide a four lessons in reading/language arts, four lessons in math and four "other" lessons (handwriting, social studies, science, virtual field trips, writing, etc). Middle school students will see a bit more in work load based on departmentalization of subjects.
  2. Set up a time and place for your child to work on their assignments. Older students should be encouraged and held accountable for completing their work independently each day (4th grade and up). Just because they are now working from home doesn't mean we are asking you to "teach" them. We are asking, just like we would with homework, that you ensure your child is completing their work at a high standard. Behavior management, one of the biggest pieces of traditional school, is doing just this. Monitoring students to do their best and redirecting when needed.
  3. Put the live classroom Zoom dates and times on your calendar. Students are going to be graded on participation and engagement. We are asking you to make sure they are set up for success and see this as an expectation by teachers AND parents.
  4. If you notice your child struggling with concepts, communicate with your teacher. We can schedule small Zoom group lessons, parent lessons and support. The silver lining in this scenario is that everyone is in the same boat. We are all just trying to do the best we can.
  5. Do not expect extended learning or enrichment lessons from your teacher. Ouch! That sounds harsh, doesn't it? The truth is, when we have all of our students in one room, we can multi-task, have students work together on projects, etc. Teachers have a LOT of control (behavior management) of students when they are in our care. From home, we do not have that control and quite honestly, we are still trying to figure all of this out, too. Give us some time, this too, may change.

We are nervous and angry about this change; it is okay if you are too. There is no right or wrong answer to this conundrum. We are all just trying to do the best we can, communicate as articulately as possible and put together thoughtful strategies and lessons that will help to ensure our students don't regress. I can assure you that we will give our all, even when we feel like we are failing on every level. As I've watched other schools around us start communicating their education plans, or even, put their plans on hold for yet another week, I'm proud of where we are. Our teachers are being allowed to continue with their lessons where they left off a few weeks back, they are being given the autonomy to work with their teams and put their own thinking and expertise to work, and above all, they are working hard to do the right thing...because that is what they do best.

I read somewhere that what we are embarking on is not "homeschooling," it's "crisis schooling." And with every crisis comes the opportunity to learn and grow. "We are faced with an enormously potent opportunity to break free from stagnant, limiting patterns of thought, behavior and results, and take massive leaps of growth in our lives." I believe this to be true for all of us.

Tomorrow feels like the first day of school all over again, and in some ways, it is. Your teachers are feeling nervous and unsure of the unknown, just like every other "first day of school." Give your teachers grace; give yourself grace; give your children grace. We are in this together--so lean in. Please keep reading below for a message from our Board President.

Mrs. Salmeron, Principal
A message from the ARPS Board President:

As we prepare to embark upon a historical and unprecedented journey to convert our brick and mortar school into a completely “online” learning environment for an indeterminate length of time, I wanted to pass along a couple of thoughts.

To our outstanding staff, THANK YOU. Thank you for your incredible efforts to pivot to a completely new teaching platform in a matter of days. Unlike other schools and districts our staff used the week before Spring Break as a transition to online learning. As a result, I truly believe we are weeks ahead of other groups tasked with the same challenge. Our educational staff, led by Charla Salmeron and Rachel Miller and supported by our operations staff, were prepared for this transition, equipped to handle the obstacles, and have demonstrated their ability to rise to the challenge of continuing to educate our students remotely. Our teachers undoubtedly sacrificed a Spring Break week to prepare lesson plans and adopt technology platforms to enhance the e-learning experience for our students. That has not gone unnoticed, and we thank you.

To our parents, you are supported! Several board members and I, had the pleasure of attending the “all hands” meeting two weeks ago to plan for this action. I can report that each and every member of our educational staff expressed a strong desire to support and equip parents with tools to make their students successful remote learners. As a charter school, I am reminded that each of you have chosen ARPS for your student for one reason or another and in doing so you’ve already demonstrated a willingness to take an active role in your students education. We will ALL be asked to do more and do so through difficult times. We are a community at Aspen Ridge and we are here for each other. If you find yourself struggling, I strongly encourage you to reach out. Reach out to your student’s teacher, reach out to the administration, reach out to the school counselor, reach out to board members, and reach out to each other because we’re all in this together. Whether it’s lesson plan assistance or you need a roll of toilet paper for your family - we will do our best to support you through these uncertain times whatever the challenge.

Lastly, it is easy to focus on the fear and uncertainty that we are being forced to contemplate each day. But I believe that these challenges can force us to make changes for the better. To prioritize the people in our home instead of outside our home. To learn new things or perhaps just a new way of doing something routine. I encourage us all to seek out the positive aspects of this experience that may change us for the better in whatever way that may apply to us individually and as a families.

Thank you all for being a part of the Aspen Ridge community.

Randy Drennen
What's happening in our ARPS Community?
The Rock's are beautifying their neighborhood! Thanks for spreading a bit of cheer!
Mrs. Medina's "Classroom" is ready to go for Monday! (AND, she already has a student ready to learn.)
Here's one way to get the word out about how great ARPS is! Chalk it up to our own entrepreneurs and send a message around your neighborhood! Owlstanding work, River!
Jonah celebrated his birthday over Spring Break! Happy Birthday to YOU! It's been such a pleasure to watch you grow!
Our teachers worked their hearts out to prepare over 250 classroom packs to pass out last week. (Including some fun materials to keep our Owls active. Thanks, coach Zuppas!) With only the few bundles left (see above), I'd say our community is one of the most involved around! Thank you!
A fun consideration for your Owls over the next few weeks!
Updated Dates for Your Calendar
March 13-April 17: School Closure
  • March 30: Remote learning begins (again)
  • April 1st: Happy April Fool's Day! Anyone else wish this were a joke?
  • April 4th: Cancelled: Spring Gala! Look for an online auction coming soon
  • April 20th: Tentative return date for students.
  • April 27th: No School
  • May 21st: Last Day of School
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