Happy Wednesday Falcon Families,
The start of this school year is different from any other year. Our state's governor mandated in person instruction could begin on August 17th with our district calendar starting virtual instruction on August 11th. As an educational staff, we are used to coming together for team building, collaboration, and professional learning. This year we met via Zoom, Google Meet, and small groups instead. Everyone wore masks and maintained physical distancing requirements no matter how much we wanted to hug, shake hands, or sit with our colleagues.
The first week of school was busy, busy, busy. It was so fun to see our staff back on site and excited to start teaching. We distributed close to 1,000 laptops on the Friday and Monday before school. Not only did our staff participate in professional development, they planned for instruction to include social emotional learning and acquainting themselves and students with a new learning management system. Our custodians and facilities staff worked to ensure our facilities are ready for staff and eventually for students. If you haven’t visited our Facebook page, please do. You’ll see children learning virtually for the first week of school. Thank you to everyone who allowed us to share the learning environments and the happy faces of your children.
Based on the parent feedback from the spring, we implemented a new learning management system - Schools PLP. With the various offerings of platforms, parents shared the difficulty of managing two to three learning environments and really desired to have one system for students to access. The platform offers families various options in student learning to include self-paced learning as well as access to traditional learning with a classroom teacher. One of the other things we learned from the spring move to virtual learning was that the newness of learning from home and teaching remotely was a challenge for many. We will be using this platform throughout the school year to maintain consistency should we have another school closure like last spring. Should that ever happen again, hopefully the transition will be easier for everyone.
Prior to the opening of school, school districts around the state received the guidelines and benchmarks for opening from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). The benchmarks we will be monitoring are the number of COVID cases within our community per 100,000, the percent of positive COVID cases, and the percent of COVID-like illnesses. To monitor the data and to view the benchmarks and guidelines, visit https://www.maricopa.gov/5594/School-Metrics. The data will be updated every Thursday. As of today (August 19 2020), we have one category that our community does not meet and that is the number of positive COVID cases. At 8.16%, our community is at a moderate risk of the continued spread of COVID. Our schools cannot open until the number is below 7% for a hybrid model and 5% for a traditional back to school environment.
Thank you for the patience, positivity, and kindness as we continue to work through a very challenging and unique time in our lives. We all know and understand the difficulty and inconvenience this poses for many. We want to make sure that everyone comes to school and work in a healthy environment. If you haven’t updated your information in Powerschool to include phone numbers and email addresses, please do that for us so that we make sure you get the most updated information as we continue to communicate through email, Facebook and the FHUSD website (Latest News).