New Horizon School

Dear NHS Families and Friends,


We have heard the following reports from parents regarding OTHER local schools and their approach to online learning during due to COVID-19:  “My child and I can barely keep up with the number of assignments posted for each class”, “My son is in direct face-to-face contact with his teacher for 30 minutes once a week…the structure is very inflexible…the schedule consists of many links to different websites that he is supposed to go to independently…”, “My children receive a daily email with 2 links to click on…there is no 1:1 provided”.


We know that NEW HORIZON SCHOOL is doing many things right during this period of continuous learning due to COVID-19.  This past week, a NHS parent shared the following with a teacher: “We’re so grateful for New Horizon and the effect it’s had on our son. Most importantly, we’re so grateful for you and how you have played such a MAJOR role in his growth and development. We couldn’t thank you enough. And I know our son thanks you even more!”  A NHS student shared the following in response to the question, if you could go back 3 years, what advice would you tell your younger self: “If I could travel back 3 years, I would tell myself that she would go through a couple obstacles but end up at an amazing school with very nice students and helpful staff.”  A NHS parent shared the following: “New Horizon clearly sets the bar when it comes to keeping the needs of our son first, always… Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, COVID happened, and it became immediately clear New Horizon was setting the bar once again…They’ve been very organized in developing and supporting online learning…He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat in his learning progress and his ability to complete work independently may have actually accelerated! While it’s difficult to say what the future holds for our son, we are certain New Horizon has already made an invaluable difference in our son’s life!”


Classroom Updates:

So many fantastic things are happening in our classes, and I feel so lucky to be able to visit!  Mr. Hines continues to work on stress management with his PE classes and values with his ASB class.  Ms. Hillman and Mr. Carter are working on interpretation of non-verbal communication with their 7th grade homerooms.  Ms. De Bruyn’s homeroom class is working on their career projects.  Mrs. Beavers had 100% attendance in her classes, and students are adjusting well.  Mrs. Hellum reported that she had 100% student participation in her classes.  Mrs. Nordlander’s class is working on flexible thinking, writing captions for cartoons, and making sure all planners are signed.  Mr. Nordlander is working hard on the recording of our Spring Performance.  Ms. Schaefer is happy that she will have a 100% return rate for her THRIVE Transition Extension students next year.


Summer School:

We hope that you will consider enrolling your student in our Summer School 2020 program: “Celebrating Community”.  We don’t know yet if we will be able to hold classes on campus, if we will be required to provide our program online, or if our program will be some combination of both.  In any case, we strongly recommend summer school.  Historically, our students tend to regress during the summer academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.  They do best in the fall when they have attended summer school.  The teachers and I see this in our anecdotal records as well as in testing data.  Please help your child be better prepared for a good start to the school year with less regression and less time to recoup lost skills by enrolling him/her in summer school. Summer school will help your student be ready for the next level.  See Summer School Enrollment Form.


Although we know that students, parents, and faculty/staff are working hard to provide ongoing learning while the NHS school campus is closed, we also know that this is very difficult for everyone.  We know that many students are tired of being online and want to be back in school.  We also know that some students are feeling isolated at home and missing their friends and their teachers.  We’re aware that some students have a hard time asking for help in the online learning environment when they need it.  Some are uncomfortable seeing themselves in the video or speaking in Zoom classes.  While we work individually with each of these students who are struggling, and/or with their parents, we acknowledge that online learning is not easy for anyone.  We hope that fun activities like our upcoming Spring Performance on Zoom and Mr. Nordlander’s Minecraft activity help lighten things a bit!  See Minecraft flyer.  We also hope that continuing services with our school counselor, SLPs, and OTs is also supportive.


We continue to monitor all of the news around the pandemic as well as all of the guidelines and recommendations from King County Public Health, the Washington State Department of Health, and the CDC.  Most counties in Washington remain in Phase 1 of Governor Inslee’s 4-phase plan for re-opening the state.  Last week’s guidelines from King County require that all residents wear a facemask or face covering when out in public.  Last week’s CDC guidelines for schools require that before any school can re-open, it must:


  • Protect children and staff from severe illness
  • Screen all students and staff for symptoms or history of exposure
  • Promote healthy hygiene practices (facemasks, handwashing, hand sanitizer)
  • Intensify cleaning and disinfecting
  • Encourage social distancing


See CDC’s guidelines for schools.  If local authorities allow it, and if a school can meet these guidelines, it will be allowed to re-open.  We don’t know when this might happen, but we are working hard to build contingency plans to allow us to re-open whenever we are able.  We are currently planning to purchase facemasks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant spray/wipes, all of which are still difficult to find.  We are also re-imagining what school might be like when we can re-open.  We believe that when we re-open, it won’t be the traditional, on-site, face-to-face school that we’re used to.  We are considering the possibility of split or rotating schedules, a phased in re-opening, a continually improving model of online learning, or a blend of some or all models, in order to meet the social distancing requirements.


We realize that this reinvention of our educational program will be different, regardless of the model we choose.  Rest assured that the teachers and I will always have your student’s best interests at the top of our priority list:  physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health; academic and social/emotional learning; building and maintaining relationships; equity in learning; accessibility to learning; and being a school where students come first.


Zoom Link for Spring Performance, May 20th, 7 PM:

Be sure to join us for our Spring Performance of “Minimal Contact” this Wednesday evening, May 20th, at 7 PM.  We will open the Zoom meeting at 6:30 PM.  The performing and visual arts students and their teachers have worked hard to put this together and record it for you, and it will be aired live on Zoom.  Below is the link, meeting ID, and password so that you can share it with your extended family and friends.







Here are some fun activities you and your student may wish to do together at home:






Marla Veliz


May 18th, 2020

Posted In: School News