Welcome back. I hope everyone had a restful, safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer. To me, it seems like the last day of school and the NHS commencement ceremony were a long time ago, which probably means that the summer for me was less restful and more eventful then I realized.
Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather starts to change with cooler mornings and milder afternoons. Kid’s soccer leagues (which I coach) begin their practices and games. We start thinking about some of the more entertaining holidays coming up – my family celebrates and particularly likes Halloween and Christmas (only 108 days away).
I also like Fall because it denotes the start of another school year. The start of a new school year brings with it a lot of emotions, most of them positive. There is excitement for what is to come, the joy of seeing friends we have missed over the summer, a comfortable return to familiar routines, the spark of opportunity to learn and grow. There can also be some anxiety for the unknown, fear of change and new things, adjustments to make to schedules and established summer routines, all of which are also opportunities to grow but don’t always feel as such.
I’m eager for the students of New Horizons to safely return to the classroom and begin their 2021 campaigns in learning and growth. As a parent of a young student, and the President of NHS’s Board of Directors, I’ve followed the pandemic news this summer and still have my own concerns about what I’ve been hearing. Despite those concerns, I’ve reviewed NHS’s return-to-school plan and am reassured by all the work the faculty and staff have done to implement policies and procedures that will create a safe and healthy learning environment for the students this year. If you haven’t personally reviewed the school’s plan, I would encourage you to do so as I think you’ll be similarly reassured.
As always, the Board of Directors is hard at work for the benefit of the school. In addition to the routine work the Board performs, a primary objective of ours this year is growing the Board’s membership. Since May we have added three new Board members and hope to continue this trend until the Board is fully staffed. Having more Board members means greater representation for the school in the community, more diversity of thoughts and opinions to consider when making decisions, and more person-power to help with the work of the Board’s various committees. If you have an interest in serving on the NHS Board of Directors, know someone who might want to volunteer, or just want to learn more about what we do, please contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org / (206)-218-6978) or feel free to speak with Marla.
I appreciate each one of you who supports the school, be it through enrolling your student, dedicating your career, or volunteering your time (and for some, all three). New Horizon School provides a critically valuable service to the community and the outcomes it provides its students are unmatched and irreplaceable. Our continued support is essential for the success of the school.
Let’s all work together to have a great Fall season and a great kick off to the 2021 school year. Welcome back!
Admin September 9th, 2021
Posted In: School News
September 6, 2021
Dear NHS Families,
School starts tomorrow, Tuesday, September 7th, 8 AM – 2:30 PM! Remember to do a health screening/temperature check at home before leaving for school. If your child is ill, please keep your child home, and notify the office. Please remind drivers to park in a parking spot to drop students off. Drivers may not enter the buildings, but they may assist students with supplies to the bridge outside of the Main Building (Building M) or to the area outside of classrooms, while masking and keeping appropriate physical distance.
Student Schedule and Supplies:
Upon arrival, students should come to the bridge outside of Building M to receive their schedule and directions to their Homeroom Class. Per my letter last week, “Preparing for Full-Time, In Person, On Campus Learning”, students are only required to bring a minimal amount of supplies, as we will not be using lockers or cubbies due to COVID-19. Here are the minimum requirements for supplies:
Bring these required school supplies in a labeled large Ziploc bag or small storage container to be left at school: notebook paper, pens, pencils, erasers, small pencil sharpener.
Other optional school supplies that may be left at school in labeled large Ziploc bag or small storage box if desired:
Any additional school supplies may be returned to the store or left at home until they are needed or until we are able to use lockers and cubbies. Any large items such as paper towels, Clorox wipes, Kleenex, or reams of paper that you wish to send in, please bring to the bridge in front of Building M. You may also opt to return them to the store or keep them at home and bring them to school later.
We apologize for any confusion regarding school supplies. With the ever changing Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) rules regarding shared touch points and physical distancing as well as our increased use of technology for downloading and uploading assignments, we made some changes to streamline and minimize the student supply list.
Student NHS Laptops and Accessories:
We will check out your student’s NHS laptop and accessories at school tomorrow:
These items will be checked out to you on the first day of school:
These items will be labelled with a number and checked out individually to your student. Please make sure that your child brings these items to school daily with a reminder to bring them home daily. Please support your child in understanding that this equipment and accessories are checked out and that your child is responsible for keeping them clean, safe, and damage free. Many laptops were returned to us dirty and/or damaged. The NHS office will bill for any items that are lost or damaged.
If your student still has technology accessories such as charger, headset, or wired mouse at home, please return them to school as your student will be receiving additional items tomorrow. We only received about 50% of these items back in June and at the end of Summer School. We appreciate your support!
Full Day Instruction:
Your child will be engaged in full day instruction this year, M-F, 8 AM – 2:30 PM. Attendance will be taken daily for every class. Please be sure that your child arrives to school by 8 AM daily. Your child may be dropped off as early as 7:45 AM. Please make sure that your child is picked up promptly at 2:30 PM daily.
Health & Safety:
Health and safety for everyone is our top priority. As noted in my letter to families last week, we are taking a layered prevention approach to help keep everyone safe and healthy. We require CDC approved masks, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick, and proof of COVID-19 testing when appropriate. We have improved ventilation in our buildings, we are cleaning and disinfecting daily, and if anyone tests positive for COVID-19 or should an outbreak occur, we will follow SKCPH guidance regarding quarantining or shifting to remote learning. Viral transmission in King County continues to be high.
Your child’s academic/social/emotional well-being is also a high priority. At NHS we strive to make learning accessible to all of our students by using Universal Design for Learning and Instruction (UDL and UDI) strategies. We focus on skills-based instruction at the appropriate skill levels for each individual student. We utilize authentic assessment methods (daily engagement in class, completion of assignments, mastery of skills, portfolios, project-based learning, and culminating projects) to assess student progress and adjust instruction as needed. We provide summer school every year to ensure that students are continuously progressing in skills. We also explicitly teach personal interaction, social behavior, and emotional coping skills to promote positive and healthy student relationships. In collaboration with families, private care providers, and NHS counselors, we explicitly teach social/emotional learning skills and provide mental health supports at school. Your child is included in all aspects of the school community, his/her voice is heard, and many opportunities for building student communication, teamwork, and leadership skills are provided. All of our students are valued, respected, and welcomed into our school community.
In collaboration with Antioch University, Seattle, we provide a school-based mental health counseling program to NHS students and families. Our NHS Counselors are present on campus M-Th to provide support in self-care, coping with stress, managing anxiety, social problem-solving, and crisis care. You can reach our NHS Counselors by calling the front office at 425-226-3717 or by contacting them directly:
Career & Technical Education (CTE):
At NHS we focus on supporting our high school students in focusing on and being motivated to progress toward the next steps after high school. Our students identify a Graduation Pathway and select four Career & Technical Education classes within that pathway during their high school career. This systematic approach assures that all students fulfill graduation requirements, have a clear direction in their educational program, discover meaningful connections between educational activities and their chosen Pathway, experience more hands-on learning, and graduate with skills, knowledge, and experience to support their post-secondary transition from school to adult life.
Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed a State of Emergency in March 2020, and that state of emergency continues. As a result, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has revised attendance requirements several times. If your child is attending in-person learning, we mark students absent if not in the scheduled class at the beginning of class and throughout the entire class period. If your child is attending remote learning, we mark students absent from synchronous learning if not logged on to the scheduled Zoom class at the beginning of class and stay for the entire class. We mark students absent from asynchronous learning planned asynchronous activities when not accessed that day. Evidence of attendance must occur daily, and NHS is required to take and report attendance daily.
Reminder Regarding Travel:
If your child is not fully vaccinated, your child must be tested for COVID-19 3-5 days and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel outside of Washington. If your child is fully vaccinated, your child must self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, isolate, and be tested if symptoms develop. Please notify the office.
We know it’s a lot to take in:
We know that it is a lot to take in. If your child was on campus during hybrid learning in April – June or in summer school during July, things will seem very familiar. Teachers may be in different classrooms t, teachers and students may move to different classrooms during the day, and furniture may be rearranged to accommodate physical distancing requirements. If your child hasn’t been on campus for either hybrid or summer school, we will help your child learn the health and safety rules.
If you have any questions, please ask:
Judy Colson, email@example.com, 425-226-3717
Vikki Colson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-226-3717
Marla Veliz, email@example.com, 425-226-3717
Admin September 8th, 2021
Posted In: School News
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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