News and information for St. Francis of Assisi School
August 26, 2020
August 26, 2020

Welcome back to the 2020-2021 school year.  I am fortunate to be the Principal of such an amazing faith-based school.  Obviously, in the midst of a pandemic, we are facing challenges that none of us could have predicted.  These challenges have impacted the workplace for many of us, changed what our households look like and how they function, and have forced us in our academic setting to develop a new way of teaching and learning.  Although we would all prefer to welcome our students back onto campus to start the school year as we have done for the past 22 years, we simply cannot do that at this time.  However, I commit to you that we have had an entire Summer to develop a reopening plan that meets the state guidelines and an academic plan that allows students, both virtually and in-person, to enjoy learning, grow in faith, stay on track academically, and be prepared for the next steps in their personal and educational journeys.  

Waiver Application and Watchlist Status:
On Sunday, August 23, Orange County was removed from the state's watch list.   As a county, once we reach 14 consecutive days of metrics in the acceptable range as set forth by Governor Newsom's office, all students in grades Kindergarten through Eighth Grade (K-8) may return on campus in a hybrid model, due to guidelines for social distancing in classrooms. As of August 25, we hit day 3 of 14 - keep the prayers coming!  Should we continue on this trajectory, the earliest we would be allowed to reopen is September 8th.  With this uncertainty in mind, we are setting plans for the first week of school to orient our families and students.  As we are updated on the waiver and the watchlist, communication will go out to the community and we will discern the most appropriate transition from online to in-person learning.  

First Day of School:
School will begin virtually for K-8 students on Tuesday, September 8th at 8:00 am.  Our Early Childhood students (Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten) will begin Tuesday, September 8th at 8:30 am and will be in person five days a week.  To assist those families with students in both the Early Childhood program and our K-8 program, we will be allowing Early Childhood students to be dropped off beginning at 7:30 am each morning so parents can return home to help their older students log on to classes. To help our older students transition to this new school year, the first week of school will be a minimum day schedule Tuesday through Friday.  The first two days of school will be used for Materials and Meet the Teacher.  Thursday and Friday will be virtual half days to allow students to meet their teachers online and learn about this new school year.  

Materials and Meet the Teacher:
The first week of school for K-8 students will follow a minimum day schedule (8:00 am - 12:00 pm).  This will allow students, teachers, and parents the time and space needed to acclimate to online learning and become more familiar with Canvas, our Learning Management System.  

We would also like to ease the transition back to school and alleviate anxiety by creating opportunities for families to meet their teachers and pick up supplies during the first two days of school. A schedule with the date and time of your family's 10 minute appointment will be emailed to you by the end of this week.  We are adhering to 10 minutes to keep the contact time for all under the 15 minute window of exposure, should anyone be asymptomatic.  If you have purchased school supplies, we do not need them to be dropped off at this time, as we understand you may be using them at home for virtual learning.  Temperatures and a COVID screening will take place before anyone is allowed on campus.  

In the spirit of efficiency, we will also be taking school pictures immediately following each student's scheduled teacher meet and greet.  Lifetouch photography will be set up in multiple locations on campus.  Online pre-ordering is available by creating an account at  Please have your child dress in his or her school uniform when coming to campus to meet teachers as all pictures must be taken in uniform.  

We love our community at SFA and want to create opportunities for connection in a safe manner.  We also want to make the return to school in 2020 something our students look forward to by continuing the tradition of our First Week of School Ice Cream Social.  This year our Spirit Committee will be adapting the Ice Cream Social to a "Popsicles and Prayer" drive through event.  Each grade level will be invited to pull through the school parking lot to receive a popsicle and a small prayer card on either Thursday, September 10th or Friday, September 11th.  We encourage you to pray with your child knowing that the entire school community is praying the same prayer together.  We hope that this small treat will inject some fun and excitement about the first week back to school.  Eastside Park is located up the hill from St. Francis of Assisi School and may be an excellent location to enjoy your special treat.

First Week of School Schedule

Tuesday, September 8
Teacher Meet and Greet / Materials pick up
Picture Day (Times assigned)
Wednesday, September 9
Teacher Meet and Greet / Materials pick up
Picture Day  (Times assigned)
Thursday, September 10
"Popsicles and Prayer"
Kindergarten - 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
1st Grade - 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
2nd Grade - 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
3rd Grade - 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm
4th Grade - 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Friday, September 11
"Popsicles and Prayer"
5th Grade - 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
6th Grade - 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
7th Grade - 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
8th Grade - 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Cohorts and Schedules:
Class lists were distributed via email Monday evening.  Each K-8 student was placed in either the Green Cohort or the Blue Cohort.  We are utilizing this cohort system to reduce class sizes and adhere to social distancing guidelines.  We want to keep the school open once we are given permission either through the waiver or the watchlist.  While virtual school continues, cohorts will have separate meeting times with teachers to take advantage of the benefits of small group instruction.  Once we are cleared to provide in-person education, we will operate under a hybrid model.  This means that students in the Blue Cohort will attend school in person on Mondays, Wednesdays, and alternating Fridays and they will receive instruction online in a synchronous manner on Tuesday, Thursdays, and alternating Fridays. Students in the Green Cohort will attend school in person on Tuesdays, Thursday, and alternating Fridays and they will receive instruction online in a synchronous manner on Mondays, Wednesdays, and alternating Fridays.  To see which Friday's your cohort will be attending, please refer to our 2020-2021 School Calendar, noting the color coding on all Fridays where school is in session. 

Canvas Learning Management System:
How online learning will look and feel during the Fall will be dramatically different than it did in the Spring. Beyond the fact that our teachers have had an opportunity to plan for online instruction, we also have the benefit of beginning to implement a Learning Management System or LMS.  A LMS is a tool used to organize all software, curriculum, and assignments for students with the ability for parents to see their students progress.  We have chosen Canvas as our LMS as it offers robust features that our school can grow into over the next few years.  This year, we will dip our toes in the water, and utilize several features that will provide organization and increased communication for our families.  Our teachers have already begun training and we are preparing training for our parents so that you are ready to use this important tool this year.

I am honored to serve as the Principal of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.  It is truly a privilege to be a part of a community where parents, teachers, and students care for each other and strive to build positive relationships that support academic and social growth.  We are strong, prepared, and ready to face this year together!

Be safe and be hopeful,

Jeannette Lambert
5330 Eastside Circle
Yorba Linda, CA 92887
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