Freedom High School
Community Brief
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

This week our online Distance Learning was made available for all students to access. Our thanks belong with the teachers and OCPS technology support staff that have worked terribly hard with very little time to get the program up and running. With 200,000 students to serve, there have been some initial connectivity issues, but the district has been working in double quick time to get access running smoothly.
Parents and students can expect regular contact from their teachers during this extended closure (schools will now be closed until at least May 1). Thank you for your patience as we transition learning to an online platform. We never anticipated that our spring break and the following weeks would look like this, but we are adjusting day-by-day. As events are changing rapidly, please visit the OCPS website regularly for the latest news and social media posts.  
With respect to this April 1 issue, we have included material that I felt would be beneficial to our Freedom families this week. Our teachers are the students' and families' first line of contact so please email them if you have any Distance Learning related questions. They may also be able to guide you with respect to certain technology issues as they frequently hear of common problems when they surface.  
Stay well and take care of one another. We'll be in touch soon.

In Patriot Pride, 
Ms. Cheryl Neely
Pictured very top: FHS student government leaders attended the recent annual Orange County Government Youth Leadership Forum. Students discussed government affairs including topics such as elections, the census, congressional districts, law enforcement, building codes, etc. There were also speeches from FHS alum Joshua Walker and Orange County School Board Chairwoman, Ms. Teresa Jacobs.  
Dates to Watch For 
3/30: Grab-and-Go Meals continue again during weekdays from 10am to 1pm - list of all 50 school sites
3/30: 3rd Quarter report cards available online through Skyward Family Access
3/30: Distance Learning official start
4/02: Online Parent Seminar
Parent Resources
In each issue we will provide resources that you may find useful during Distance Learning.

OCPS Distance Learning Resources 

Orange County Support
Below you will find a link to the Orange County Government website which provides a list of resources that our families in need can use at this time.

Students who do not have a library card can still access many features using their virtual library card. Information about the virtual library card can be found here: 

Parent Launchpad Account Setup 

Addressing Student Anxiety
Distance Learning

OCPS just finished a short video for parents & guardians that will help them understand Distance Learning. It is very well done and answers a lot of questions in under 4 minutes (link below).

If you click on the map there is another link where you can see how the coronavirus has impacted schools around the globe by day. We are fortunate here in that Orange County Public Schools rolled out distance learning on Monday until the health risk has passed (many of the countries on this map will never have this learning opportunity during the outbreak). We know our Panthers will be successful with the process until classes resume later in April.

DP community footnote: We are not alone in Orange County or Florida. The map above shows the scale of the educational disruption with governments all over the world ordering learners to stay at home in a bid to slow the spread of the disease. As of March 23, 2020, 138 countries had ordered national school closures while others had localized closures.

Special Recognition
Nicolle Armas Gomez (Class of 2020)
Hospitality Scholarship Recipient
FHS would like to recognize and congratulate senior, Nicolle Armas Gomez, the recipient of a Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Scholarship. The $2,000 scholarship, which is in conjunction with our Orange Technical College Hospitality Program, was awarded to Nicolle for her outstanding dedication, leadership and performance.

Khan Academy - FREE SAT Practice Site
Please encourage your students to complete at least 30 minutes a week of free SAT practice at  Khan Academy is an excellent way for students to get specific practice in their SAT area of need. 

Research shows that 30 minutes of week of Khan Academy Official SAT practice, helps to improve SAT scores by an average of 100 points.  Juniors and seniors who participate in Khan Academy and register with College Board Opportunity Scholarship ( make themselves eligible for scholarships, incentives, and higher SAT scores.  Who Khan? DP Khan!

Governor Ron DeSantis says all required testing for Florida's K-12 schools is canceled. Students will not be taking EOC, FSA, NGSSS, FCAT 2.0 and CFE assessments. Requirements for graduation, grade promotion and final course grades will be evaluated as if those assessments did not exist, the governor said.

Coronavirus Updates
Orange County Public Schools is in constant communication with the Florida Department of Health and Department of Education regarding responses to COVID-19.
Continue to check for the latest updates.

Working From Home (WFH)
A few tips from the business community for our students and parents now working from home . . .  
You are not alone. Before the coronavirus emergency, 29% of American workers had the option to work at home part-time in 2017-18. That's from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But only 5.3%, or about 8.2 million, worked full-time at home in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  
Major impact on families. BLS now estimates that 60% of the 118.3 million wage/salary workers (or 71 million) could work from home during the Covid-19 emergency in addition to the 5% to 7% that already have the capability. This will have an impact not just on our Freedom High School families in terms of daily life, but on business and school system computer networks in the short to medium run.  
Credit: The Wall Street Journal
Meals. Try and eat lunch at the same time each day and shut off your phone during lunch. Take a half-hour for lunch.

Breaks. If working from home for business, make sure to take 2-3 15-minute breaks during the day and that half-hour for lunch.

Motivate right after you get up. Shower, make-up, hair and clothes whether for school or business vs. lounging in your pajamas/robe all morning. Getting dressed as you normally would can get you in the proper mindset.

Dedicated space. Have a physically separate space devoted solely to Distance Learning or work.

Choose three (3) things a day. When you aren't using the regular school or business day to decide when work starts and ends, you need some other structure that lets you know when you've put in a day's work. Pick your top three priorities for each day, and share those three commitments with your parent or colleague.

Physical activity. This is essential for both students and adults working from home. Many adults wear a step counter and commit to a minimum daily step count. Students should try to get some fresh air whether it is in the backyard, biking, short runs/walks; whatever they can do safely at this time.

Human interaction. Book in video or phone calls to make sure you get human interaction. On days when you don't have many business calls, try to call at least one friend or family member in the mid-afternoon, when productivity can start to flag. As for the students, hopefully they are on line now connecting with their teachers and no doubt are tapping into multiple social media platforms. 
"Exercise for success." Do not lose sight of your goals, your dreams just because you are working from home perhaps experiencing some stress or worry due to change. Make time each day to keep improving. And the best way to do that is to . . .
  • Keep you body fit
  • Keep your heart flexible
  • Keep your mind open
  • Keep your comfort zone expanding
Social Distancing and Hygiene Practices
There are things we can do as a community to limit the spread of COVID-19 and help keep those most vulnerable safer. If you think you are sick or someone you care for is sick, visit the CDC website for directions on diagnosis and care. You can also visit the Florida Department of Health website for details around COVID-19, for all types of information that can help our families. Practice social distancing when you can, and review and exercise the prevention methods below and in the linked PDF.

The best prevention for COVID-19, and any other virus, such as the cold or flu, is to:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid handshakes
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Remain 6 feet from your peers.
  • If you are sick, please stay home and avoid contact with others.
Motivational Moment!
We ran this piece awhile back, but now that our Patriots are at home continuing their education through Distance Learning, this message deserved repeating today.


Dr. Benjamin Bloom of the University of Chicago (of Bloom's Taxonomy fame) conducted a five-year study of leading artists, athletes, and scholars. It consisted of anonymous interviews with the top twenty performers in various fields, including pianists, Olympic swimmers, tennis players, sculptors, mathematicians, and neurologists. That information was supplemented by additional interviews with those people's families and teachers. Bloom and his team of researchers sought to find clues to how these high achievers developed. What they discovered was that drive and determination - not talent - led to their success.
Florida flag

Why am I running this piece today?
Because we are only three days into Distance Learning which is something that none of us thought would be the case when our Patriots went on spring break. Freedom High School has thousands of students that have the drive and determination such as Bloom uncovered which they can tap into as we engage in this temporary learning process.  Remember Patriots, if you will draw down on your abilities and motivation, you will do just fine until such time classes return to normal.

Principal Neely
Freedom High School
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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Reproduction of this material, either written or electronically, including the general layout, graphics, analyses, and content topics without the express approval of Target Performance Systems, Inc., a Florida corporation, and OCPS - Freedom High School is forbidden without written consent.  Thank you for your support of OCPS - Freedom High School and the Orange County Public Schools. Please contact Charles Youtz at with any questions or for further information.