Dear Hermosa Families, 

As we prepare for the reopening of Hermosa’s campus for in-person teaching and learning, the health and safety of students, staff, and the community remain our top priority.
 
Wednesday October 21, is our target date to bring back an in-person learning option, beginning with a phase in for all students. This date is dependent on changing local public health data. We are hopeful that the Pima County health metrics will continue to move in the right direction. In addition to our Monday through Friday in-person option, we will continue to offer a distance learning program for students. Transitioning to these two options concurrently requires a great amount of planning and is based on our current staff and resources. Planning sessions with key staff members included the following components:

  • Offering families a choice between five day in-person instruction or a distance learning plan with flexibility between quarters, based on public health data, and on staff and resources.
  • Planning to ensure safe classroom environments for students and staff.
  • Utilization of all of Hermosa’s large and small indoor classrooms and multiple outdoor classrooms. 
  • Maximizing the campus’s 16-acre profile.
  • Providing a manageable workload for teachers.
  • Instruction related to Arizona academic standards, as well as Montessori standards and curriculum.  
  • Maintenance of 180 days of instruction, following Hermosa’s calendar.

The number of students in each classroom and community, according to family survey responses, contributed to our considerations for in-person learning. Such details included:

  • Student groupings
  • Class sizes with 6 feet of physical distancing
  • Movement throughout the day (e.g., arrival, dismissal, class transitions, breaks/recess)
  • Outdoor classrooms

We are working to finalize our in-person learning plan that reflects Hermosa’s values, virtues, Montessori model, and our Mitigation Plan. You can read and review the entire Mitigation Presentation here. This information is included as an attachment to the presentation, and provides an electronic form to address any questions you may have not addressed in the presentation. 

Thank you for your positive comments as my staff and I provided recorded lessons, prepared weekly work plans and assignments, and met with our students in live lessons and meetings. Teachers agree that presenting lessons virtually required many more hours of planning and preparation than our in-person preparation, and often resulted in some “bloopers” requiring us to re-record and reformat the lessons. Hermosa teachers preserved some of the filmed “bloopers.” We find them entertaining, and hope you will, too. We teach our students that mistakes are part of learning, and collectively we have learned quite a bit through this process.

We have carefully considered how we will continue to safely offer the use of our unique educational Montessori materials for in-person learning. Refer to each of the community tabs in Headlines for more detailed information regarding our distance learning plans and return to campus. 

Please note that all students are expected to bring their own mask each day to school. In the event a student arrives without a mask, one will be provided for that day.

In closing, my staff and I look forward to welcoming our students back to the classroom soon.

Best Regards,
Sheila Stolov
ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • October 21, 22, 23 Primary-Kindergarten Phase In  
  • October 21 Grades 1 and 4 Phase In
  • October 22 Grade 2 and Grades 5 and 6 Phase In
  • October 23 Grade 3 and Grades 5 and 6 Phase in
When planning for the upcoming school year during the spring and summer months, I choose the virtues that each teacher adds to their lesson plans for students to practice. One cannot think of a better fit for October than the virtue of flexibility. The Virtue Project defines flexibility this way: “Flexibility is being open to change. You consider others’ ideas and feelings and don’t insist on our own way. Flexibility gives you creative new ways to get things done. You get rid of bad habits, and learn new ones. Flexibility helps you to keep changing for the better.” 

The current conditions facing each of us now makes flexibility a very important virtue to practice.
In live meetings with my E-I class, I try to save a few minutes after our lesson for students to share thoughts and feelings. Recently, students have enjoyed talking about Halloween, and today one student arrived to our lesson in her Halloween costume. The children want to share their costumes and excitement with their classmates and teachers. My teachers and I have often spoken about how we can present a light-hearted entry into their day, and we have recorded some presentations just meant to make kids smile.

During this pandemic Halloween, I understand from student interactions that many will not be allowed to “trick or treat” as usual, or see their friends on this holiday. Hence, my idea for an “Hermosa Halloween.”

Here is my proposal for a “Trunk or Treat” early evening event at Hermosa. On October 31st from 5:00-6:30pm, we will open the gates and parking lot to parents and children for trick or treating. We ask that all CDC and Pima County Pandemic guidelines be followed, including social distancing and/or masks. Families who participate can decorate the trunk/hatch back of their vehicle and distribute treats to the children who are taking part in the event. This will be open on a “first come first served basis” to 75 cars, as our parking lot is limited. Please indicate your interest and response via email to colleena@hermosaschool.org by October 23rd if you wish to participate. Additional information related to this enjoyable event will be provided to the families who are participating.

Hermosa’s After School Program will begin on Monday, October 26th. The program is available to students in Primary through E-II. Activities are designed to stimulate student’s age-appropriate social, physical, and intellectual abilities through participation with their peers while recognizing CDC suggested guidelines. It is important to note that based on current guidelines related to COVID-19, we will be unable to accept “drop in” students as we have previously done. Each day of the week will have a specific focus and theme including but not limited to arts and crafts, story telling, board games, music, fun with science, and more. In addition, students will enjoy opportunities for daily outdoor play. We recognize that all children are different, and with a variety of themes, we will encourage children to enjoy activities they are familiar with while exploring new interests as well. Students will be provided opportunities to use their creativity, expend their energy physically, and challenge their minds
On campus instruction will begin with Phase-In on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Our Middle School class will have a reduced number of students and will follow all procedures outlined in the Mitigation Plan and/or Mitigation Presentation. During our first three days, students will be on campus and receive instruction in small groups from 8:30am-11:30am daily. We recognize that students planning to return to campus, especially at this age, are looking forward to the opportunity to speak to and interact with their peers. Teachers are keeping this in mind while planning these Phase-In days. Careful planning will be implemented including, but not limited to, the arrival of our students as they enter the classroom. We will use each of the classroom doors in close proximity to the sinks for handwashing upon entry. Students will be assigned a specific entry point, and will continue to use it with the associated bathrooms and sinks during the second quarter. All of the garden areas adjacent to the classrooms, porches, and outdoor classroom areas will be utilized for lessons and learning upon our return to campus. Distance learners will continue to use Google Classroom in the same manner as during the first quarter. These students will be able to listen to live lessons and community meetings, but will not be able to interact with the on-campus learners during these times. 

We look forward to seeing our Middle School students soon!
ELEMENTARY II COMMUNITY
As we return to campus, the E-II Community will be providing the following formats for learning. The on-campus program will include two individual classrooms and two separate teachers. Each class will have a reduced number of students. Additional staff to support the on-campus students will include the ESS Team. The entire
E-II building will be fully available to the returning population. They will know the many benefits of extensive space. In addition, the E-II Community will include a third, off-campus classroom of distance learners. This population of students will have a designated full-time distance learning teacher who will provide live lessons with consistent student engagement keeping students involved, motivated, and actively learning. Distance learning students will continue to use a Friday pick up and return schedule for hard copy materials on a weekly basis. The distance learning teacher will be available for communication to both online students and parents. The ESS Team will also continue to provide services to the online students who are enrolled in the ESS program. Both on-campus and distance learning students will receive lessons outlined in the established E-II Curriculum Planning Guide. 
ELEMENTARY I COMMUNITY
On campus instruction will begin with Phase-In on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Each of our three elementary indoor and outdoor classrooms will be open for on campus instruction, with each class having a reduced number of students. Please refer to the Mitigation Plan and/or Mitigation Presentation for more details regarding social distancing.

During our first three days, students will receive instruction in small groups from 8:30am-11:30am daily. On October 21st, we will welcome only our first grade students. On October 22nd, we will welcome only our second grade students; and on October 23rd, we will welcome only third year students. We have planned this entry back to school as a slower paced “welcome” after a long absence from in-person learning. Please note that every student in the E-I Community is asked to bring a mask and cloth gloves to school. If your student arrives at school without a mask, one will be provided for the day. Gloves are available for ordering through this link.

The E-I Community will include a third, off-campus classroom of distance learners. This population of students will have a designated full-time distance learning teacher who will schedule 1-3 synchronous (live) sessions/lessons each week, supplemented with asynchronous teacher-created lessons via Google Classroom, and hard copy assignments. Distance learning students will continue to use a Friday pick-up and return schedule for hard copy materials on a weekly basis beginning October 23rd. In addition, our distance learning students will also have the opportunity to speak with one of our Montessori teachers each afternoon from 3:30pm-4:00pm Monday through Thursday to ask questions regarding their assignments. 

My staff and I are quite aware of the current research regarding screen time and child development. We have tried to build our distance learning program with this information in mind. I have been following the interesting research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that began in 2018. This research reveals that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests, and some children with more than seven hours a day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex, the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning. This informative study provides information regarding how screen time affects language and communication development, sleep, attention, and children’s ability to learn. A summary of this research can be found here.

PRIMARY COMMUNITY
On campus instruction will begin with Phase-In on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Students will receive instruction in small groups as outlined in the orientation presentation. Please watch this presentation for more information and details regarding Phase-In. Check your inbox for your student’s designated scheduled time. Each of our three primary indoor and outdoor classrooms will be open for on-campus instruction, with each class having a reduced number of students. Please refer to the Mitigation Plan and/or Mitigation Presentation for more details regarding social distancing.

Families who choose distance learning will continue to receive instruction in the manner available during our first quarter. My staff and I are quite aware of the current research regarding screen time and child development. We have tried to build our distance learning program with related information in mind. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, young children shouldn't have more than one hour of screen time a day. If we consider viewing cartoons while having breakfast, watching “cute animal” YouTube videos, and your student using your phone while you cook dinner, the time quickly adds up. Many pediatricians, neuropsychologists, and Montessori teachers agree that young children need to explore their environments and develop motor, verbal skills, and cognitive skills by moving around and being curious. When much time is spent looking at an electronic device, this critical development can be delayed. Maria Montessori referred to this critical developmental time as “sensitive periods” over a hundred years ago. Her work in this area was validated by current neuropsychologists who now refer to these as “critical periods.” You can read Dr. Montessori’s description of sensitive periods by following this link.
HERMOSA MONTESSORI PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL (K-8)
HERMOSA MONTESSORI PRESCHOOL
520.749.5518

Questions about Headlines?
Contact HRT@hermosaschool.org
www.hermosaschool.org