Knight News
September 18, 2020
CEO Corner
It is hard to believe that we have completed a month of school. We thank you for your courage, strength, perseverance, and patience as we navigate our “new normal” of virtual learning. We have accomplished a great deal in starting the new school year in the midst of a global pandemic and we owe a big thanks to our amazing teachers and staff. The pivot to eLearning has not been without issues and we will continue to address them with expediency. During my monthly report to the Board of Trustees earlier this week, I talked specifically about the challenges within our Primary Years Programme (PYP). The specific issues discussed include:

  • Vastly differing needs between the students who are learning at home and those who are learning in our supervised classrooms. For example, many parents have requested condensed timing for school work to allow their children who are learning at home to finish earlier, as opposed to waiting for the “next thing.” However, students who are in the building need additional time to complete their assignments because there is only one adult assisting eight to twelve students.
 
  • The limited prior experience of teachers in using instructional technology tools to facilitate new learning. Prior to the pandemic, PYP teachers had used technology as a means to have students practice skills, but never as a tool for providing direct instruction. We have invested in three instructional technology tools at the Lower School that we believe will support learning regardless of where students are. They are myON, Learning City and STEMscopes. Look for your children to begin using each of them in the near future.

  • Weak connections between our written, taught and assessed curriculum makes it difficult for teachers to facilitate meaningful learning activities. Our teachers were in the middle of revamping our curriculum when schools closed in response to the pandemic. We will continue that work this school year, while also leveraging the tools within Canvas to create mastery paths for students so that instruction can be differentiated to meet students' needs. 

  • A historic lack of clear expectations for recording, reporting and sharing students' academic progress. We added progress reports on the calendar this school year as a first step in addressing this issue. The functionality in Canvas has created a new found “wealth” of grades, but not necessarily in a way that better facilitates student growth or parental awareness. We will continue to refine our practices within Canvas so that grades are reported and recorded in a way that is aligned across classrooms and grade levels.
 
Ultimately, our teachers are working tirelessly to create the best experience possible for our students. The level of collaboration within and across teams of teachers has been exciting. If you engage with any of our teachers on social media, you will see them tagging each other to share new learning in the Canvas for Elementary Teachers group or asking questions about how to accomplish a specific task using another tool. We know there is still work to do, and input from our families is an essential part of the improvement process. We are asking ALL parents to complete a short survey about their experience so far this school year. Parents with multiple students at York Academy should complete one survey for each building. The survey will be open until September 30, 2020.

Stay Safe and Healthy,
Angela Sugarek
Knight Nod
Congratulations to Miguel, a seventh-grader who is our Knight Nod (formerly Student Spotlight). Miguel's nominee had a difficult time determining which learner attribute to nominate him for, since he exhibits characteristics of all of them! Ultimately, she decided on the International Baccalaureate attribute of being an inquirer. IB learners nurture their curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. They know how to learn independently and with others, and they sustain their enthusiastic love of learning throughout their lives.
 
Miguel has a love of learning and seeks out opportunities to learn on his own. He is enthusiastic when faced with the challenge of new material and always goes the extra mile to complete his lessons thoroughly and thoughtfully. Miguel has embraced online learning and participates in daily lessons. He reaches out for help when necessary, stands up for for things that he feels are important and beneficial to his peers, and tackles each task with fervor and determination. Most recently when given the opportunity to participate in a House Logo Design competition, Miguel learned how to use Photoshop and not only submitted a design for his own House, but also submitted designs for all of the Houses to be considered for voting. His nominee adds, "We are lucky to have students like Miguel at York Academy!"

Way to go, Miguel. Here's a big Knight Nod for being such a great student and positive role model!
Online Student Information Form
Have you completed the Online Student Information Form? If not, click here to complete it now. The deadline has passed and we need your help! Each parent/guardian must complete the form separately for each child who attends York Academy.

Be prepared to share your emergency contact information and provide consent regarding policies for the 2020-21 school year. As you go through the questions, some of them will pertain to a normal classroom setting. Answer them as if we were fully back in school.

Please Note: If you have not completed the form by Monday, September 21, your child will automatically be allowed to be included in photos/videos for positive marketing and social media purposes (see photo release section of the form).
Materials Pickup for Online Kindergarten Families
If your kindergartner is learning from home and you haven't picked up new materials yet, please stop by tomorrow from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Make sure to come to the glass doors/stairwell to the left of the main entrance of the Lower School on West North Street (gym doors).

Students who are learning from home will need these worksheets and materials to develop their writing, cutting and gluing skills. Our goal is to use as many paper materials as possible to best teach our youngest learners.

If your kindergartner is coming to school for supervision, you do not need to pick up these items.
Musings of the MYP Coordinator
By Mrs. Carol Alvarnaz, MYP Coordinator & Instructional Coach
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” - Helen Keller

Community is such a powerful connection for people. Think of your community. How do they support you? How do they strengthen you? How do they challenge you? How do they care for you? What have you learned from them that will enable you to be all of those things for others?  

At York Academy Upper School we are digging deep into community this year. Our students may all be learning from home, but we still want to be connected and to build community. In order to encourage these connections, we have implemented Houses at the Upper School. Students were sorted (through a scratch ticket or through a spinning wheel) into one of seven Houses:
Students are earning points for their House by demonstrating IB attributes and ATL skills within their classes. We also have special events for students and staff to participate in to earn points.

Last week we had a House Color Friday and next week we will have Hat Day Friday. Students earn points for wearing a hat to class. Over lunch our staff will do a hat stack challenge and points will be earned for each hat stacked on their head! More information for these events will be sent out on Monday!  

So ask your child what House they are a part of. Get excited with them! Encourage them to participate in House Hat Day Friday and keep listening for other upcoming virtual events. 

If you have any questions about the Middle Years Programme, feel free to reach out to me at calvarnaz@yorkarcs.org. Thank you!
Knight Staff Superstar
A huge shoutout goes to Kyle Ashby for being our Knight Staff Superstar and embodying the International Baccalaureate attributes of being balanced, knowledgeable and inquiring! Mr. Ashby was nominated three times, but we'll focus on the IB attribute of being balanced. It's critical to understand the importance of balancing the different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. When we are in balance, we recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.

While all of our Specialists knock it out of the park daily, Mr. Ashby has truly eased the transition for our in-person students by bringing Spanish to life in our classrooms. His live lessons have also made the change to virtual learning easier, educational and entertaining. His nominee says, "I love hearing my class greet him with “Hola” every week!" Thanks for all you do, Mr. Ashby. You are appreciated!
Chromebook Support
Having issues with your child's Chromebook? We're here to help. Stop by the York Academy Lower School (rear entrance) from 10 - 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays to have a tech advisor check the device. We'll be waiting for you inside the back doors of the school, so please park in the rear lot (do not use the front/main doors). Ring the buzzer under the covered porch and a tech advisor will let you in.
Notes from the Kitchen
Our kitchens have been busy making wonderful meals for your children. I’ve heard many compliments on our new chicken club sandwich, which is a fillet of chicken topped with bacon and cheese on a whole wheat bun. The students are also enjoying the Pretzel Pack (whole grain soft pretzel rod served with nacho cheese sauce) and the Picnic Pack (yogurt, cheese stick and two snack bags of crackers). All of these entrees are always served with fresh vegetables, salads or seasoned hot vegetables, fresh fruits and milk.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) recently extended the waiver by which we may distribute our delicious, well-balanced breakfasts and lunches free to all students and children under 18 in the community through December 31, 2020.

Grab and go meals are available for pickup at the Upper School from 12 - 1 p.m. (curbside by the cafeteria doors) on the days that we have school. Please only pick up one breakfast and one lunch per student per day. This applies to all area sites that are participating with this program.

With everyone’s cooperation, maybe there will be enough money in the federal budget to continue this program until the end of the 2020-21 school year. Since we are not sure if that will be the case, families of students who qualify for Free and Reduced meals should submit online applications by October 1.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, I would love to hear from you. The best way to reach me is at rarnold@yorkarcs.org.

Eat well and be healthy,
Ms. Gina
Early Dismissal
As a reminder, Wednesday, September 23 is an Early Dismissal Day. Students who are at school for supervision will be dismissed at 12:15 p.m. If your student(s) are learning from home, classes will end at 12:15 p.m. (for K-6) and 12:30 p.m. (for 7-11).

To show our commitment to higher education, students may wear their favorite college/university shirts in place of their uniform shirts on early dismissal days. All other uniform requirements remain the same, and students who do not wish to wear university or college shirts are to wear their uniform shirts.

Free meals will be available from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Upper School (curbside) for our students and all children under 18 in the community. This is a time change from our normal schedule because of the Early Dismissal.

Please note that school will not be in session on Monday, September 28 and free meals will not be served at the Upper School.
Virtual Open House Events
Even though school is different this year, we're still hosting (virtual) Open Houses! They will include an overview of the academic plans for the year and provide important information for families. Parents will receive grade level links via email soon.
 
  • Upper School Virtual Open House: Thursday, September 24 from 6 - 7 p.m.

  • Lower School Virtual Open House: Tuesday, September 29 from 6 - 7 p.m.
From the Nurses: Staying Safe & Healthy
Please keep in mind that prevention is always the best medicine. For the safety of our entire school community, if you are sending your student(s) to school for supervision, we ask you to screen them for COVID-19 symptoms before dropping them off each morning. Below is a screening tool that you can keep handy and refer to daily. To print it out, click here.
We also urge you and your family (those 6 months and older) to get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever to protect yourself and the people around you from the flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.

Thank you!
Mrs. Urey & Ms. Halloran

P.S. If your child is in kindergarten or first grade and is coming to school for supervision, it would be helpful if you could keep a change of clothing in their book bag, please. Thank you!
Monitoring the Return to School
Wondering when we may be able to go back to school? Our Safe Return Committee reviews the data provide by the Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System every Friday. The table below provides information regarding the learning model that will be used by York Academy based on the level of community spread.
Here is the data for September 11 - 17, 2020:
Incident Rate = 85.2 and PCR Percent Positivity = 7.8%
Reminder: School Store Order Pickup
If you placed an order from the York Academy Online Apparel Store, it's here! You may pick it up at either office (based on your child's grade) from 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Diploma Programme Updates (11th Grade)
Students who are taking the PSAT/NMSQT should log onto our PSAT/SAT Khan Academy Course to access practice questions.They will also want to link their Khan Academy account to their College Board account. Students may only take the PSAT once, so it's very important to prepare as much as possible. Please talk with your child and have a transportation plan in place so they can arrive early on the day of the test. Thank you!
It's crucial for DP students to be engaged and participate in all of their classes. Please share the learning expectations below with your child. We know this is an unusual time, and learning online is not ideal, but let's work together to ensure their success!
PTO Updates
Make sure to keep scanning your Box Tops and help the York Academy PTO!

The Box Tops for Education app makes earning money for YARCS easier than ever. Simply download the app, select our school and scan your grocery receipts to earn 10¢ for each participating product purchased. Now through November 25, when you scan your receipts, you could even win $20,000 for York Academy! Ordering groceries online? Just create an account at btfe.com and then email your digital receipts.

Make sure to turn on Scan Reminders in the Box Tops mobile app to receive a friendly reminder on your phone to scan your receipts. You can even customize the frequency of your reminders to match your weekly shopping routine!
Join Our Team
York Academy is seeking qualified and enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about education for the following positions:

  • Special Education Teacher (Lower School)
  • Instructional Assistants
  • Substitutes (various part-time positions)
Questions? Email HR Manager, Oneida Berrios, or call her at (717) 801-3900.
Board of Trustees Meetings
In response to COVID-19, the Board of Trustees is utilizing a hybrid approach to meetings this school year. Staff and Trustees who are able to participate in person will do so from the Lower School Library/Media Center (3rd floor). All others will join the meeting via video conference. The meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be live streamed so that anyone interested in attending the meeting may watch via the York Academy Connections YouTube Channel. Stakeholders interested in commenting on agenda items or providing feedback to the Board of Trustees have three options available to them:

  1. Submit a comment through this online form. The form will be open from the time the meeting agenda is posted until 12 p.m. the day of the Board meeting. 
  2. Submit a request to participate in the meeting by 12 p.m. the day of the meeting by sending an email with your full name to info@yorkarcs.org. A link to the meeting will be provided via email.  
  3. Attend the meeting in-person (face-covering required). Space is limited.

Please note that public comment on non-agenda items can only be made during Regular Board Meetings. 

All meetings are listed on the website calendar and on the Board of Trustees page. The next Board of Trustees Committee Meeting is Monday, September 28 at 5:30 p.m. and the next Regular Meeting is Monday, October 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Through the IB Lens

Students and parents share how the PYP develops collaboration and communication skills that support success in school, the community and future employment.
9/23
Early Dismissal
Students may wear their favorite college or university shirts in place of their uniform shirts.
9/24
Upper School Virtual Open House
6 - 7 p.m.
9/28
No School
York Academy Regional Charter School
Lower School: (717) 801-3900 | Upper School: (717) 900-5001