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From the Head of School
Good Afternoon All Angels Academy Community,
It is my sincerest wish that in spite of the ongoing uncertainties taking place everywhere you have all been able to enjoy your summer thus far. Hopefully, everyone has had the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends as well as to engage in uplifting and enriching activities over the recent weeks.
This is the first of my updates for the 2020-2021 academic year and I would like to offer a heartfelt welcome to each of our new students, our returning students and, of course, all of their wonderful families.
Your school's leadership team and staff have been working diligently in order to ensure that no matter what the future brings our students we will be able to thrive and enjoy the benefits of an uplifting and cohesive educational experience.
My administrative team and I have been working on a school reopening plan for several months. A significant amount of influence and consideration was taken into consideration directly as a result of the parent survey that we conducted several weeks ago. The input received from stakeholders was crucial toward informing us as to the direction we most needed to explore. Once again, I thank everyone who participated.
We have been inclined toward implementing a particular blended learning model during the weeks since the survey but decided not to officially announce anything for several reasons. First, legal requirements in Florida pertaining to school contact hours and location for attendance purposes had to be considered. Second, we did not yet know what the surrounding school district's plan would entail and we wanted to make sure that our plan would work as seamlessly as possible with as many others as possible. Many of our students have siblings at other schools and we have tried as much as possible to take that into consideration.
Our mission is not only to support our students directly, but to support the parents' efforts as well. Without parental support and "buy-in" no plan will work. Finally, our efforts also included much time dedicated to making sure that whatever was decided, our nurturing family environment would be able to thrive accordingly. Now more than ever, our students need a safe, comfortable place in which to learn and receive personal support during these challenging times. We are committed to making sure that our vision and mission as a nurturing, inspiring school which instills academic excellence continues to take place.
Please allow me to recognize that the amount of confusion and uncertainty in our collective midst is significant. It is expected for us, including our students, to be anxious and fearful. Thus, we have intentionally tried to keep our model simple in order to cultivate a routine that encourages learning.
Everyone should know that we will work with you and the needs of your family. We feel extremely confident that we will be able to provide the educational services and productive environment each of our students will need to succeed.
One of the benefits of being a small school is that we can move quickly to troubleshoot problems in the best interests of our students. Please rely on us to do that more than ever!
AAA Reopening 2020-201 General Overview
As we proceed with our reopening plans. Please allow me to share the following bullet points with everyone for reference. These are the main considerations that guided us through the planning process:
- The Plan Adopted Must Work in all Phases of Miami- Dade County Reopening Phases- Different counties throughout the state are at different phases of opening. Counties in Phase 1 are not expected to open schools. A minimum of Phase 2 is required for physical reopening of schools. The plan detailed below is provided only under the assumption that a Phase 2 opening is possible in Miami-Dade County. Currently, Miami-Dade County is still in Phase 1. Therefore, we can only assume that, as of today, schools are not scheduled to physically open in August. We are monitoring events on a daily basis. If schools are allowed or ordered to partially open, we will implement the plan herein.
- School Improvement Opportunity- While COVID-19 has presented us with many challenges, it has also provided us with an opportunity to reinvent the school in a manner that will better serve our students and stakeholders for years to come.
- Aligning Curriculum and Technology for Improved Outcomes- COVID-19 has caused all schools to reconsider and improve the delivery of instruction using technology in creative ways. For us, this means that we will not only continue to offer an exceptional learning environment but we will also redouble our efforts so as to provide a most-impacting system of support for students at all levels. The use of technology shall be greatly increased through training and acquisition.
- Parental Realities- Scheduling and School Attendance "Flex" Plan- Our 2020-2021 reopening takes into consideration the various challenges that individuals face. We understand that different parents shall have different concerns and needs for their students and their families. Our plan seeks to provide a system of support for everyone as we undergo the changes to daily life that COVID-19 may continue to cause for everyone.
Planning for 2020-2021
Our reopening plan for 2020-2021 takes into consideration that each individual student and family is different. However, most people fall into one of several categories as it relates to preferences or needs related to COVID-19. We also understand that people may need to shift from one to the other as events develop.
We have also taken into consideration that a full-scale school closing may be ordered in the future beyond our control. It is also possible that at some point throughout the year schools may be ordered to open in full. Our plan will function successfully with each of these scenarios.
For the time being, if schools partially open in September 2020, as far as our individual daily attendance plan goes, these are our priorities:
- Keep our students and families safe. Implement a plan that allows for maximum compliance with CDC and Florida Health Department recommendations or requirements. Provide for social distancing on campus in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Also, ensure that our operating plan does not needlessly incur other safety threats, such as having students report to and from school at random hours, impede safe transit to and from school or otherwise impede common safety protocols.
- Work to ensure our plan works for everyone, including parents. As we considered the various options at hand, we paid significant attention to the various challenges and difficulties that some students and parents might face when trying to attend school under a modified attendance plan. Some will find it easier than others to remain home while others need for students to be in school as much as possible because of work responsibilities and supervision considerations. Yet others may have health concerns at home and need to minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible. Our plan seeks to address each of these situations as well as any others in between.
- Maintain a Rigorous Academic Program- As we considered many different alternatives for re-opening in September, we also made a strong determination to not only survive the COVID-19 crisis but also to use the current situation as an opportunity to improve our academic programs in ways that may have not otherwise come about. The use of technology to deliver instruction has been expanded to not provide solely for participation, but rather to provide for a more "one-on-one" individualized approach. We are excited that many of our students will likely develop skills like never before. Implemented properly, our plan will provide tremendous growth opportunities for students to expand upon current and future knowledge through the use of technology. Our shared goal is to develop adept users of technology who can synthesize multiple skills and competencies toward a desired outcome.
- Mental Health and Social Well-being- Human beings are social by nature and students learn important life skills through healthy daily interactions with others. While we will do everything in our power to maintain social distancing protocols, it is also of utmost importance for our students to resume some sort of "normal' social interaction in school. As much as permitted by law, executive order, or plain common sense, our plan shall provide for students to physically attend school each day or to work from home. I emphasize that ALL activities shall be governed by common sense at all times as we conduct all on-campus activities. This shall include, but may not be limited to, using face masks when appropriate or needed. It may also include the use of face shields at certain times. A more detailed plan regarding social distancing and school sanitation is forthcoming. We will also distribute a Zoom meeting agenda meeting calendar soon for parents to ask questions and interact directly with me or members of my staff so that we can plan together.
For 2020-2021 School year we will create and implement a regular school master schedule as we have always done. School will take place five days per week and our teachers (subject to any health considerations) shall conduct teaching and learning activities daily from school from their regular classrooms.
We are currently working to make ALL classrooms either recordable or live streamed with live streaming web cameras. It is important to note that if you chose to keep your child at home, they are required to attend live classes from home as if they were in school and they are required to submit all work assignments. It is also important to note that when students log in to classes from home, those are their normal classes that they would be attending if they were on campus that day. They are simply participating from home. Please note that having cameras installed in classrooms is only for students to remain engaged from home but that is not the only activity that teachers may implement for the home day. There are many blended instructional models (models that combine in-person and online learning). Different teachers may decide to use different techniques based on what works best for their subject areas and their particular students. Our goal is to have as many teacher trained in various approaches as possible.
If schools were to be ordered closed in full in the future, students would simply remain home all week and continue to participate in live instruction through Zoom. If schools were to be ordered fully open, all students would simply return to school to their regular classes without any problems.
We understand that some parents may have concerns. While many will want their child(ren) at school, some others may not wish to attend physical school at all. To the best of our ability we will work with each family on what works best for you and your child(ren).
This message has been provided only as an initial update. I realize many of you will have many questions that need to be answered. Situations such as transportation, lunch, testing and other important items shall be discussed soon.
At this time, I am requesting that everyone please wait to receive the parent Zoom meeting request. The situation continues to change by the day and we are trying our best to communicate clearly and to not have to change decisions too much as this causes confusion. As stated earlier, I intend to have online meetings very soon. More importantly, I am eager to develop and maintain a personal relationship with each of you in order to make sure every individual situation is known to us and properly addressed.
I promise to have a lot more information available soon.
The Rev. Kimberly A. Knight MFT
Head of School
All Angels Academy