August 6, 2020

Dear St. John’s Parish Day School,

We hope this ‘Head’s Up’ finds you all healthy, safe, and enjoying your summer days! We have been very busy at SJPDS preparing for our much-anticipated return to school. Our faculty has been participating in Parent Association supported Mini Grant days for Professional Development. They have been training in our newly required safety protocols and interdisciplinary STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Nine faculty members participated in a weeklong Virtual Classroom training and we are continuing that enhancement to our program with school-wide remote learning strategies for all members throughout the month of August. Our beautiful campus has been busy with campers and all three camps have gone very well! Next week is our last week of camps and we will begin extensive cleaning of our building with hospital grade cleaners used on all surfaces and floor waxing in every classroom.

This pandemic has created unique and ever evolving issues for everyone. As a school, our first priority is the safety and well being of our students, faculty, staff and community. Our COVID 19 Task Force (10 administrators, 3 faculty members and our Nurses) continues to monitor and adapt our safety guidelines and protocols with recommendations from multiple sources for managing the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease: Center for Disease Control (CDC), Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS), state and local health agencies offering medical webinars, zoom meetings, documented guidelines and informative workshops. SJPDS is very fortunate to be an intentionally small school with class sizes that will allow us to minimize exposures and “contact trace” our students each day. The updated Reopening Plan with details of guidelines for requirements and adaptations upon our return can be found on our website.

We understand that some families may choose to remain at home for virtual learning or take advantage of our hybrid/blended learning option with a midday dismissal. In order for us to plan appropriately, next week we will be sending a survey to parents with more details about our three options (100 % in person, 100% virtual learning, or a hybrid model 50% in person/50% virtual) requesting you to make a selection for your student(s) so that we may be prepared for September 8th. When in school we plan to take advantage of our beautiful outdoor learning environment often throughout the fall, open windows daily, and enjoy our time together while practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Please know we will work with you to offer recorded lessons, zooming or live streaming classes and physical packet pick-ups, as needed, if you choose the 100% virtual model.

It is with a sad heart that we share with you that Mrs. Olga Perez is retiring! Last week, Mrs. Perez shared with us that she has answered the call to work more extensively with her family’s Church Community in Prince George’s County, which has been heavily hit by this pandemic. She will be working with her husband (Church Pastor) and extended Church family in support of those in need. We heartily thank her for all she’s given to SJPDS over the past 16 years, and wish her relaxation and enjoyment in her retirement from teaching! Mrs. Perez shared she has thoroughly loved her years in our wonderful community and she will sincerely miss everyone. She promises to come back and visit often and will be available to substitute.

We are so very excited to share that we have been inundated with applications since HCPSS announced virtual learning until January 28th. We have decided to add a second Kindergarten and First Grade class and will still have an extensive waitlist for both classes. Our hiring team has been interviewing numerous educators and welcome any referrals from our community.

Once again, I hope this email finds you all well and enjoying your summer days! Thank you for your continued support as we work to navigate our anticipated reopening on Tuesday, September 8th. As a community, we are stronger together, even when we are apart!

Warm regards,

Lori Dembo
Head of School
Summer at St. John's
A big thumbs up for joyful summer learning! It is a true pleasure to see students enjoying our beautiful school and grounds. They are interacting (at a distance) while having fun learning and being back together in our new normal as we screen, clean and keep six feet in-between!
A Successful Contactless Used Uniform Sale
This past Saturday, the SJPDS Parents’ Association (PA) hosted the first Used Uniform sale event for the 2020-21 school year. In light of the coronavirus and efforts to physically distance, they tried out a new contactless order and pick-up format this year. We are glad to share that the event had a great turn out and we look forward to having another sale soon! A special thank you to Mrs. Kim Mcknab, our Used Uniform Chair, and to our helpers who worked tirelessly to coordinate, organize, and prep for this event. In case you missed this past sale, watch for more opportunities to purchase used uniforms in mid-August.

Did you know the SJPDS PA has a Facebook page? Like their page to receive updates about future sales, as well as other important SJPDS PA news and events.
Send us Your Summer Snapshots!

We love seeing what your family has been up to this summer! During these difficult times, many family vacations are canceled but families are coming up with new and creative plans for safe summer fun. Send your vacation pictures to communications@stjohnspds.org for a chance to be featured on our social media.
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