April 3, 2020
Dear PPA Families,
It is with a heavy heart I write to let you know that PPA, as a part of the Douglas County School District will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.
We will continue to focus on learning remotely and strengthening our school culture the best way we know how. Heading into the third week of remote learning, we have learned a great deal and will continue to make adjustments as we go to meet the needs of our students and families. We have made meaningful contact with the majority of our PPA families, and we will call that a successful start!
I know you have many questions related to this closure, so I will attempt to answer a few here with the understanding that I will address more in the days and weeks to come.
Student belongings at school--We will develop a process for families to pick up student belongings at school and to return items, once it is safe to do so.
School activities--All in-person school activities for the remainder of the school year are cancelled. This includes all end-of-course and grade level performances.
Continuation--We will not be holding a formal continuation ceremony for our 8th graders. We recognize that these students have worked hard to complete this chapter of their education and are working on alternate plans. Details will be shared soon.
Health and Wellness--We are committed to be a support for our students and families during this challenging time. If you have counseling or mental health needs please fill out this form.
Free Meals Program--DCSD continues to offer free lunches to students in our community. Please click HERE for details.
Like you, I am heartbroken that we won’t be able to end our school year together, face-to-face. I feel like we have unfinished business. There are so many end-of-year activities that we enjoy as a community that we will have to forego in the interest of everyone’s health and safety. Trying times are what unites a community, and I am so proud to be a part of this one at this time. We will be better for all of this. The show must go on!
March 22, 2020
MARCH 23 will be a teacher work day, allowing our staff additional time to prepare meaningful lessons for our students. We will also use the day to collaborate as a team to prepare for the coming weeks of school. Families can expect teachers to begin sending lessons and activities on Tuesday, March 24. Below are some details on how school is going to “look” for the foreseeable future.
Over the coming weeks, we are going to learn a great deal--very quickly! We ask for some grace and patience while we navigate remote learning and always assume the best from each other. We love your kids and your families and miss you all terribly. This is not ideal, but I know our community will link (virtual) arms and come together stronger than ever.
We understand that homeschooling your children is not something you were expecting to do. We do not want this to be a burden for families, so we are here to support you any way that we can. PPA is no stranger to blazing a trail in education and this circumstance is no different--we will walk this path together and make changes as necessary.
What will teachers do?
For week one, we will push out all learning materials and instruction at one time, so that you can work through it as your family's schedule allows. View the video from the teacher before attempting the work, then ask questions. As we begin, you can expect around 10-20 minutes worth of work for arts and elective classes and around 20-30 minutes of work for academic content classes. Teachers will be available via email, or Google Classroom chats from 8 am to 4 pm daily for questions. If your question requires more instruction, you may receive a video or response as well. The majority of this work for the first week to 10 days will be foundational practice or enrichment to get us all used to remote learning. As we navigate our new reality, we will make changes accordingly and communicate those with all of you.
What can you do?
Make learning fun--make the most of teachable moments--cook together, play board games, read books. take virtual museum tours, watch a concert online, exercise, take a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood….the learning opportunities around us are infinite. If you don't get to all the work in one day, feel free to adjust as your family's schedule allows.
Students in grades 3-8 will be expected to use their school-issued device for online learning. If your student left his/her iPad at school over the break, we will make arrangements for you to come to the school to pick it up. If your student does not have access to a device at home, please fill out this SURVEY so we can determine next steps to support your at-home learning. Please only fill out the survey if your child doesn’t have access to any form of technology at home. Please consider using personal devices during this time.
One of the best things about our school is how it feels. Nothing can replace a morning greeting, a hug from your favorite teacher, or a brand new SHINE buck, but we are sure going to try! If you haven’t already, please make sure you are following us on Facebook and Instagram, as we will be having all kinds of there. Watch for virtual spirit days, live story time, daily polls, jokes of the day, and much more… Also, be sure to tag us in all your photos that show you SHINING while practicing social distancing. We want to connect with all of you and be a place for you to connect with each other!
March 11, 2020
On the heels of the message from the Superintendent, I would like to communicate directly to the district's precautionary plans as they relate to PPA and our community. Please read through this communication completely.
Echoing the sentiments of district leaders, the health and safety of our students and PPA community is our first priority and all of our plans are made with that in mind. We continue to partner with the Douglas County School District, Tri-County Health and the Center for Disease Control in all of our planning and preparation.
The following are a few additional preventative measures PPA has put in place to help minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 in our building:
Our building custodians and overnight cleaning teams are cleaning “high touch” areas with disinfectant solutions weekly.
We have ordered additional supplies of hand soap, hand sanitizer, and other necessary cleaning and sanitizing supplies and equipment allowing us a surplus for an extended period of time
Our classroom teachers and nursing staff are educating students on the importance of handwashing to prevent the spread of viruses. We have asked them to allow extra time for students to wash their hands before eating and when returning inside from recess. We’ve been singing songs and providing incentives for proper handwashing.
We are reminding students and staff to wash hands regularly; use hand sanitizer; avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs and sneezes; and to stay home if not feeling well.
Our building will be thoroughly cleaned over spring break.
Out-of-State and International Field Trips and Activities
DCSD has cancelled all district-sponsored out-of-state and international field trips and activities and we have as well, postponed our middle school trip to France and Italy. We have also made the decision to cancel the On Broadway Spring Dance event scheduled for March 28. This decision was not made lightly and is truly in the best interest of the health and safety of our entire PPA community.
Spring Break Travel
If you and your family have plans to travel over Spring Break, we encourage you to become familiar with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s Information for Travel. Should you travel to an area with widespread transmission of COVID-19, public health officials will guide you in quarantine requirements.
If you travel over the break, please be sure to wash your hands with soap and water often, and cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, coughing, and/or shortness of breath, please do not go to school or work, and call your healthcare provider.
Absences and Preparations for Remote Learning, Should it Become Necessary
Thankfully, as a 1:1 ipad school, we are fully equipped to meet our students’ educational needs should remote learning become necessary. Teachers will be inquiring about device and wifi access over the next few days, so we can accommodate families that might need additional resources. Additionally, please make sure you have access to learning platforms (google classroom, Pearson, iReady, etc…) at your home--gather passwords, etc..If you need assistance with this, please reach out to teachers.
Understanding that our K-2 students are not 1:1, we will be looking to fill technology gap as necessary or providing alternate paper and pencil activities.
Please know that we will communicate clearly our process as well as our expectations for online learning should that become a reality. Communication will be critical over the next few days and weeks, so please look to our usual modes of communication for updates including: schoolbzz, email, our website and Facebook.
Resources for Talking with Children about COVID-19
All of the media coverage and talk of COVID-19 can be stressful for not only adults, but also for our children. If your child is showing signs of anxiety related to hearing about COVID-19, below are some resources that can help you in talking with them about COVID-19.
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) parent resource for talking with children about COVID-19
National Child Traumatic Stress Network parent/caregiver guide to helping families cope with COVID-19
World Health Organization’s helping children cope with stress
Our PPA community is strong and I have no doubt we will pull together and make the best of whatever we are faced with. Thank you for your patience as we navigate a situation that is constantly changing.