New Horizon School

Dear NHS Families,

Welcome a new student and his family to our school community.  Joey Hunter enrolled last week in Mr. Robnett’s 9th grade class!  We hope you are happy at NHS, Joey!

Please plan to attend our Annual Meeting on May 28th at 5:30 pm.  Our Board of Directors will meet to share updates about the school, and parents will have an opportunity to nominate and elect individuals to serve on the board.  Please see the attached Annual Meeting notice and four other documents explaining how to nominate and vote.  Come and see your Board in action!
NHS Annual Meeting Upcoming.pdf
NHS Board Nomination Form.pdf
NHS Board Openings.pdf ​​​​​​​
NHS Vote by Proxy Form.pdf ​​​​​​​
NHS Voting Procedures.pdf ​​​​​​​
NHS Board Job Description.pdf ​​​​​​​

NHS’s Summer School registration forms are now available.  Please find a copy attached to this email.  We will teach math, reading, writing, and teambuilding through the theme of “Celebrating Community.  The dates are July 6th – July 31st, and tuition is $429.  If your student would like to earn .5 (1 semester) credit toward graduation, please be sure to check the box for credit, and pay an additional $75.  You may mail your registration form and payment to the school, contact Judy Colson with credit card information, or enroll and make a secure online payment on our website.  At this time, we are uncertain as to whether Summer School will take place on campus or online, and we will update you as soon as we know.  We encourage you to consider Summer School to help your student maintain previously learned skills as well as learn new skills, have a routine and structured activities for the summer, and stay connected socially.
Summer School Registration.pdf ​​​​​​​
To further our goal of building school community, and to meet the parent request for more social activities, Mr. Nordlander has graciously offered to host an evening online Minecraft group for NHS students!  This activity exists to help students to build better social connections, have fun, and maintain a sense of belonging at NHS.  Thank you Mr. Nordlander!

I visited many NHS Zoom classes this past week.  Our students are doing well.  Many are engaged in research, and many are being productive and getting tasks done around their houses.  Overall, attendance is very good.  Most students are checking in to each class daily, answering discussion posts, completing assignments and activities, attending Zoom classes, and dropping in for 1:1 help during teacher office hours.  During my visits, Mr. Hines’ PE class was focusing on emotional health, Mrs. Beavers’ Biology class was engaged in using technology seamlessly integrated with instruction, Ms. De Bruyn’s homeroom class gave updates on their upcoming career projects, Mrs. Hellum’s math class had fun practicing math facts by playing a card game together, Ms. Hillman’s reading class had fun using great visuals to answer comprehension questions about a previously read text, and in Mrs. Nordlander’s writing class, students were engaged, sharing ideas, and generating stories using visual story prompts. Ms. Schaefer’s THRIVE:  Transition Extension students had a very adult conversation about personal finances, the difference between debit and credit, making secure online payments, and cybersafety.  One student expressed being unhappy about not being able to be on campus every day, saying “I know the place, and I love the teachers!”  While I’m sorry to hear that he’s unhappy, I’m also happy to hear how much NHS means to him.  In every class, the degree of personal attention and the amount and level of integration of technology into learning was impressive!

Some students are struggling a bit more with initiating tasks, attending Zoom classes, organizing their assignments, and/or turning in work.  Some students are tired during the school day.  We’ve been able to reach out to the parents of those students and collaborate to create intervention plans.  The teachers and I acknowledge that on-line learning is hard.  It’s essential for you and your student to stay engaged with us, so that your student can be successful in our program.

I was able to attend a webinar last week.  The topic was “Student Voices” during the pandemic.  7 international students were panelists and answered questions about how COVID-19 is affecting their lives and their education in their respective countries.  6 out of the 7 students know someone who has been impacted directly by COVID-19.  Many said that they have learned that they are not as organized, not as flexible, and not as self-directed as they previously thought. Several said they thought they had a better understanding of time, but have discovered that in their countries 24 hours means at least 16 hours of school work.  Several stated that they were previously “ungrateful” and didn’t appreciate their education before the pandemic.  Yet, they feel optimistic and believe they will be different and better people after the pandemic.  They now understand the need to plan for the future.  When asked if they had advice to give to their school leaders, students said they would ask their school leaders to consider how a pandemic would have affected them in their high school years.  They would ask them to consider their students’ health and safety first as they make a plan for next year.  They would ask their school leaders to take their time, think it through, and make sure they’re prepared for another emergency. Specifically, with regard to online learning, the panelists would advise their school leaders to keep listening to students, engaging students in learning, and building a sense of community.  They would ask their teachers to give less memory work and more interactive work, to stop expecting students to be in online classes 8 hours per day and reduce it to 3-4 hours per day, and to stop lecturing and provide more project based learning.  The students asked for more opportunities to experience new things, to take more ownership, and to engage in mindfulness activities in their online classes.  They want a chance to be more creative.  The overarching message from these young people was that stability in their lives and in their education has been thrown out with the pandemic, and it is now time to re-imagine school and how school will happen in the future.

In NHS’s online learning program, we know that being physically apart is very difficult on our students (and on us).  We listen to our families and consider all input provided as we adjust our online program each week.  We focus on active engagement, discussion, role plays, projects, games, simulations, and activities.  We’re also building our school community through fun activities, especially within the homeroom classes.  While this year’s Spring BBQ and Exhibit/Awards Night will be cancelled, we ARE planning to continue with Spring Performance.  All of the visual and performing arts classes have been working on various pieces of the performance:  dance team has been choreographing and rehearsing, music classes are practicing, and drama class is beginning to do some dress rehearsals.  Set design class is busy designing sets for the performance, some of which will be virtual backgrounds.  Each class will record its part in a Zoom meeting, all of the recordings will be edited and combined, and we will “reveal” our Spring Performance in a “live” broadcast on May 20th for the entire school community to enjoy together!  Reserve the date!  More details to follow!

Last Friday, Governor Inslee extended our “Stay home stay healthy” order through May 31st in the State of Washington.  He also introduced a 4 phase plan to re-open businesses and modify physical distancing measures.  We will be receiving more testing supplies shortly, which will increase our testing capacity.  Our health care system has capacity to care for people who may become ill.  We are increasing our ability to isolate and quarantine contacts.  The rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus is decreasing in our state.  Hopefully the extended order will continue to move Washington closer to a healthier tomorrow!  Governor Inslee also announced some modifications of the order that will allow people to be outdoors a bit more, as long as social distancing rules are followed.  Fishing, hunting, golfing, and visiting some state parks will now be allowed, but it would be best to check first to see what’s open.  The general rules remain the same:  avoid crowds, practice physical distancing, bring a face mask or a face covering, and wash your hands often.  Some farmer’s markets will be opening this week as well.  Five western states have joined together to coordinate plans to gradually re-open businesses jointly, to protect residents of those states.  Known as the Western States Pact, these states include:  Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and California.  Together we are stronger.
Phased Re-opening.pdf ​​​​​​​
According to data emerging across our nation, systemic inequities are playing out in a profound way with regard to COVID-19 mortality rates within racial and socioeconomic groups, which, in my opinion, means we have a lot of work to do to eliminate barriers such as access to medical care and nutrition.  Our children are the future, and it’s up to us to keep the world safe for them.

Stay strong,

Marla

Marla Veliz
NHS Administrator

May 4th, 2020

Posted In: School News