August 5, 2021
Dear NHS Families,
We hope that everyone is having a wonderful summer break.
Thank you again for your valuable input into our NHS Hybrid Model Survey this past March. The information and ideas that you shared with us helped create the hybrid model that we utilized this spring. 70% of you chose to send your students back to campus 2 days per week in April, and the remainder stayed remote. Many had questions about health and safety protocols, technology supports, vaccinations, and how the transition from full-time remote learning to hybrid would go. Some of your students had never been on the campus or met any of us in person prior to April, having joined us while we were full-time remote. The hybrid model was definitely interesting, and it gave us a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what works well with our population of students during the pandemic and with CDC and DOH requirements.
During hybrid in April – June, our students and teachers were in small cohorts that stayed together, per CDC guidelines, and we were in-person 2 days per week to allow for remote learning, cleaning, and disinfecting in between. Being in cohorts provided yet another layer of protection for staff and students from possible exposure to COVID-19. We did not experience any cases of COVID-19 among staff or students while in hybrid. The small, in-person cohorts joined remote learners in Zoom classes, creating a truly blended model of hybrid learning. While being in small cohorts provided extra protection from viral exposure, it was also restrictive as students were only able to be in-person with one teacher and with one small group of peers, presenting fewer opportunities for social interactions with the larger student body. We added some bench/table furniture outdoors to allow students a few options with regard to mask breaks, sitting, relaxing, and working outdoors. Our new wireless system was certainly put to the test and passed with flying colors. We found that many families enjoyed having clean masks, catered/boxed lunches, and bottled water available daily at school for their students. Although the transition from our 100% Remote Model to our Hybrid Model went well, it was an adjustment for everyone.
We brought those insights forward as we planned for our Summer School 2021. Summer school took place full-time, in-person (5 days in person) using our typical summer schedule (M-F, ½ days, 8 AM – 12 PM). About 60% of our families opted to enroll their student for summer school. Since we have ample space in most of our classrooms to provide the required physical distancing, we decided to return to a “regular” schedule of students moving from class to class and from teacher to teacher for instruction in math, reading, and writing. We did not operate in cohorts this summer, and students transitioned from class to class while maintaining safe physical distancing. We did not experience any diagnosed COVID-19 cases among staff or students. Having the flexibility to move from class to class provided students with more options for collaborating, socializing, and interacting with a wider range of peers and teachers. It also provided students with more natural “movement breaks” as they transitioned around the campus. Many families continue to enjoy having clean masks, catered/boxed lunches, and bottled water available daily for their students. Our new wireless system continues to meet our needs.
We learned that many of the programs and technology that we added last year continued to provide all of our students with access to learning in summer school. For example, we continued to use our Learning Management System (LMS) Schoology, Kurzweil, ALEKS, Xello, and Zoom. In addition, we purchased several Meeting Owl Pros for classroom use. The Meeting Owl Pro is 360-Degree, 1080p HD Smart Video Conference Camera, Microphone, and Speaker with automatic speaker focus, smart zooming, and noise equalizing capability. The Owl allows teachers to auto focus on the speaker in the classroom whether it’s a teacher or a student, or manually focus on the whiteboard or another focal point in the classroom. We are hoping to purchase one Owl for every classroom. It is our hope that the Owl will facilitate improved learner experiences while students are participating in our educational program at NHS next year. Although the transition from the Hybrid Model to the In-Person Model also went well, it was definitely an adjustment for all.
Looking ahead to fall, the CDC published new guidelines for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff in schools. To date the DOH and Seattle/King County Public Health have not updated any school guidelines. For the time being we continue to require masking for all staff and students, indoors and outdoors, physical distancing, and only staff and students allowed in our buildings.
In September, we will continue to:
Despite the current upward trend of new daily COVID-19 infections due to the spread of the Delta variant, Governor Inslee has mandated that students need to be in-person at school in Washington. Therefore, we plan to open full-time, in-person, M-F, 8 AM – 2:30 PM. All staff and teachers will be on campus, teaching and working in-person.
Since COVID-19 is still present in our communities, we once again encourage you and your child 12+ to get your vaccination. The vaccine is safe, it protects against COVID-19, it protects against the new variants, and it’s widely available at no cost. The best protection is to get vaccinated, and as restrictions in schools are lifted, fully vaccinated students will be able to participate safely in more school and extra-curricular activities.
We have maintained careful planning, flexibility, and the ability to shift quickly and effectively since the start of the pandemic, and there will be a need to continue to do so during the upcoming school year. In the event that NHS experiences an outbreak of COVID-19, we will close campus and shift to full-time remote teaching and learning for a minimum of two weeks.
We are pleased to be working with you and your student during the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. School starts on Tuesday, September 7th. Students are required to be in dress code, per our Student/Family Handbook. Students are also required to bring their supplies to school per our Supply List. Teachers will take attendance every day.
We will be checking out a NHS lap top, mouse, and headset to all students. Even though we will be full-time, in-person, M-F, one of our take-aways over the past 1 ½ years has been the importance of integrating technology in order to provide equitable access to learning and to support consistency in educational programming.
I will schedule an open Zoom meeting with parents during the morning of the first day of school, so that we can check in with one another, meet parents of new students, visit, and provide general updates.
Our returning teachers are: Ms. Christina Schaefer, Ms. Presley Neufeld, Mr. Jeff Carter, Mr. Timm Hines, Mrs. Lisa Nordlander, Ms. Shaina Hillman, Mr. Tim Robnett, Ms. Mishayla Takacs, Ms. Kathleen De Bruyn, and Mr. Richard Nordlander. Our new counselors are Mr. Isaac Cheng and Ms. Helen Kornfeld. Our returning office staff members are: Judy Colson, Accountant, Vikki Colson, Administrative Assistant, and me. Our email addresses remain unchanged, and you can find them listed in the “Who Do I Contact?” document attached to this packet.
Please join us in welcoming several new students to NHS. We are happy to have these students and their families join us. In addition we have several applicants who visited or attended Summer School, and we hope they will join us as well.
The faculty and I are working throughout the summer to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. We set some high priority goals:
We will send you the overarching schedule for full-time, in-person learning prior to the first day of school. Generally speaking, students may be dropped off as early as 7:45 AM. School starts at 8 AM and dismisses at 2:30 PM. On the first day of school, please pull into a parking space and have your student come to the bridge in front of the office (upper parking lot, Building M). Parents/drivers are not permitted to enter the buildings.
Please complete and return the following forms to Vikki Colson, email@example.com before September 7th, or send them with your student to the bridge on that day. We need these forms completed and returned so that everything is in place and on file on the first day of school.
**Please review this form carefully. If your student requires Tylenol, Advil, or cough drops for any reason during the school year we must have a form on file signed by your doctor.**
Also included in the attachments for your review are flyers and other important school information.
Please mark your calendar for a Zoom meeting with me on September 7th. I will send the Zoom link with the specific time soon, but it will be mid to late morning. I encourage you to email Vikki, Judy, or me if you have any questions.
Marla L. Veliz
Marla L. Veliz
Admin August 6th, 2021
Posted In: School News