2020-21 Return to Learning » 2020-21 Back to School Plans

2020-21 Back to School Plans

August 11, 2020
 
Dear GVA Families,
 
In a recent paper published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the authors wrote about the importance of reopening schools in the fall. Authors concluded:
 
Reopening schools creates opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets—our children—while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families.”
 
 
Return to Learning Plan
At GVA-DC we believe that the safe reopening of schools
is a critical step in promoting children’s health and well –being. Using
the CDC and Tri-County Health guidance and recommendations, we are preparing
for all students to return to in-person learning soon.
 
 
Stacy Bush
Principal, GVA Douglas County
July 27, 2020
 

Dear Global Village Academy-Douglas County Families,

By now, many of you have heard that DCSD is planning on starting the 2020-2021 school year on a hybrid schedule.  K-12th grade students will be organized into cohorts that will rotate between two days of in-person learning and three days of eLearning from home each week. 

Global Village Academy- Douglas County will NOT be following DCSD’s hybrid model.  We will follow the Back-to-School plan previously communicated to stakeholders which offers language immersion education either in-person, 5-days per week, or through our 100% remote learning program, GVA Virtual (parent choice). 

Our most recent parent survey indicated that approximately 80% of families are planning on returning to in-person learning this fall.  Of the 20% who expressed interest in GVA Virtual, many requested additional information about the program.  Detailed information about our 100% remote learning option can be found here GVA Virtual At-a-Glance (100% Remote Learning Program) 

If you are planning on enrolling your student in GVA Virtual for the first semester and either DID NOT complete the Remote Learning Options Survey sent out last week OR would like to change your response to the survey (you selected remote and would now like to enroll in in-person or you selected in-person and now you would like to enroll in GVA Virtual) please email Alison Button at abutton@gvaschools.org subject line FALL ENROLLMENT.

Please keep in mind that as public health guidance continues to evolve, our guidelines and expectations will change. We ask for your flexibility and support throughout the school year.

Thank you for partnering with us to provide a safe return to learning.  I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Take good care and stay healthy!

Stacy Bush

Teachers shared similar concerns on the staff survey including the use of facial coverings in the building, having enough time to provide high quality remote and in-person learning experiences for students, maintaining a clean school environment, and limiting the number of adults in the building. 
 
Feedback from these surveys along with questions and comments from the Town Hall has been used to inform our Back-to-School Plan. Revisions to our plan were made in the following areas: Calendar, In-person Events, Health and Safety, and Remote Learning.
 
Please read through the information below and complete the survey that follows.
 
Calendar
 
Delayed Start
 
Along with DCSD, GVA-DC is delaying the first day of school to Monday, August 17 for students in grades 1-5. 
  • This delay will afford the staff the opportunity to prepare for a safe and healthy in-person learning environment.
  • This additional time will also enable us to spend time training with new curricular resources and overlaying them with best practices in Remote Learning (just in case we experience a shut-down forcing all teachers and students to engage remotely!)
  • Every Friday will be a half-day for students with a 12:00 release. Please see more information below. 
  • The remainder of the school calendar will remain UNCHANGED for the 20-21 school year (ex. teacher workdays, vacations, etc..will remain the same)
Friday Half-Days
 
  • Every Friday will be a half-day for students with a 12:00 pm release. Innovation Learning will be available for families that need afternoon care for their students. Special pricing will be available to families who need this program.  
  • Following their 12:00 pm release, students will be expected to spend time (the number of minutes will be determined by grade level) working on their individualized learning plans in both English and Immersion. Work will be due Monday morning.
  • Teachers will utilize this time to co-plan with their Virtual Online Learning colleagues. 
  • Specials teachers will utilize Fridays to offer enrichment to students enrolled in our Virtual Online Learning Program. 
Kindergarten / Balanced Beginnings
This year, GVA-DC will utilize a special transition process for our Kindergarten students called Balanced Beginnings.
  • The first days of school will be staggered, with small groups of students coming rather than the entire class. This eases the transition into Kindergarten and allows teachers and students to build positive relationships, introduce the new environment and routines, and collect informal data as they begin their year with students.
  • Kindergarten students will be assigned a half-day to come in and transition into their classrooms with a small group of 6-8 students August 17 - August 19.
  • Then, August 20 will serve as a planning day for Kindergarten teachers so they can use the information they collected when they met with transition groups and plan for targeted and individualized instruction in the first weeks of school.
  • The first day that all kindergarten students will report as a group will be Friday, August 21st.  
In-Person Events
 
  • All in-person events including Meet the Teacher, Back-to-School Night, International Days, Conferences, etc…will be moved to a remote platform for Quarter 1.  
Health and Safety
 
CDPHE, CDE and the Governor’s Office worked together to develop guidance for re-opening schools this fall. Suggestions focus on implementing “layers” of protection that work together to provide a safe and healthy environment.  
 
Revised recommendations include:
 
Keep sick people out of the building
  • At GVA-DC students and staff will be asked to complete a daily symptom check (including temperature check) at home before arriving at work or school. Once at school, staff and students will have their temperature taken. 
  • Those with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be asked to return home. In addition, students or staff members who become ill during the school day will be asked to return home.
 
Physically distance
  • When possible, 3ft-6ft of space between individuals will be encouraged. Recesses switch times and lunchtimes will be staggered to avoid congestion. Multiple entrances and exits will be utilized during the school day. Morning drop-off times will be extended.
 
Wash hands frequently
  • Students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Additional handwashing stations have been installed near the cafeteria. Hand sanitizer will also be available.  
 
Wear face coverings
  • Face coverings (masks, face shields…) will be required for all adults in the building. 
  • Face coverings are highly recommended for students.
 
Cohort students
  • Cohorts are one of the essential components of our return to school plan. Students will be in classroom-based cohorts throughout the school day. While there currently is no recommended class/cohort size for K-8 (some schools cohort size exceeds 100), at GVA-DC our class sizes are typically under 24.   
 
Maximize ventilation
  • In addition to increasing the frequency with which our HVAC system’s filters are changed, we are also upgrading our system to increase its efficiency.
 
Frequently clean and disinfect
  • Classrooms will be disinfected at switch times every day. Day Porters will clean and disinfect high frequency touch points (door handles, stair railings, bottle filling stations…) and restrooms throughout the day. Cleaning and disinfecting will occur every evening with deep cleaning taking place on weekends.  
  • Each of these individual recommendations guards against the transmission of illnesses (even if not fully optimized). However; when layered, they greatly increase one's protection (against COVID).
Virtual Online Learning
 
We are offering a 100% online dual language immersion program for students and families who are not ready or able to go back to school. GVA Virtual online immersion program will be a 100% online education option. Our GVA Virtual teachers, or remote learning specialists, will teach a dedicated online class and provide daily interactions and support. This option will help alleviate the classroom teachers' workload from having to manage their face-to-face classroom and support online learners at the end of the school day.  
 
We are fortunate to be part of the Global Village Academy Collaborative. We have three campuses (Aurora, Douglas County, and Northglenn) of students that can enroll in one online learning program on a semester by semester basis to ensure continuity of instruction across the GVA campuses. Our dedicated online instructors will be teachers from all three campuses who will commit to being remote learning specialists and collaborate to provide a robust, standards-based remote learning program that aligns with the mission and vision of our dual language immersion schools.  
 
We understand 100% online learning is new to many of our students and their families. Our team will support smooth transitions to online education for families by maintaining familiar learning routines of an elementary school while harnessing some of the flexibility that online learning can offer. Relationships, not technology, would drive our approach. We will utilize technology in age-appropriate ways to support robust learning outcomes for students while focusing on building and sustaining relationships that invite and engage students in authentic immersion learning will be at the heart of our approach. 
 
 
Let Us Know If You Want Virtual Online Learning
 
Global Village Academy- Douglas County will open for full-time, in-person learning (five days a week) beginning August 17 for 1st – 5th grades with Kindergarten students being phased in throughout the week.
 
  • A Virtual Online Option is an alternative to in-person learning for families who prefer their student(s) to continue learning remotely. 
  • Please complete the following survey to help us project interest in our in-person and 100% remote learning programs. Your survey responses do not commit you to any learning option at this time.  
 
Please keep in mind that as public health guidance continues to evolve, our guidelines and expectations will change. We ask for your flexibility and support throughout the school year.
 
Thank you for partnering with us to provide a safe return to learning. We look forward to seeing you all soon!
 
Take good care and stay healthy!
 
Stacy Bush, Principal
Laura Widhalm, Board of Directors - President
Debra Wilson, Board of Directors - Vice-President
Evan Bergam, Board of Directors - Treasurer

July 9, 2020

Dear Global Village Academy Families,

Thank you to all of the parents who participated in the Parent Feedback Town Hall last evening.  This event provided an opportunity to engage in valuable dialog, provide clarification and generate ideas to further inform our planning for fall. 

When crafting our Back-to-School plan, the goal of our Re-Entry Committee was to restore in-person learning to the greatest extent possible while adhering to public health requirements. Throughout our planning, the committee weighed the best advice from public health officials including the updated guidance from the Metro Denver Partnership for Health (MDPH), which includes the Tri-County Health Department. In addition, we considered recommendations from the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics as outlined in this commentary.

Both the guidance and commentary reference scientific data indicating that COVID-19 “does not affect children as severely as adults”. In addition, “emerging evidence indicates that children are not primary drivers of transmission and that school reopening is likely to have minimal impact on transmission between students or between students and staff.” The guidance also makes clear that extended time out of school has significant health and safety risks for children.

As public health officials learn more about COVID-19, we will continue to revise our Back-to-School plan with the evolving science as our foundation. The health and safety of our students, staff and community is our top priority.

If you have not already done so, please review the Back-to-School Plan, which details what the start of the 2020-21 school year will look like.  In addition, I am asking all families to complete the attached Feedback survey.  Feedback from the survey and the Town Hall will be used to inform and/or revise our plans for fall. 

Please keep in mind that as public health guidance continues to evolve, our guidelines and expectations will change. We ask for your flexibility and support throughout the school year.

Thank you for partnering with us to provide a safe return to learning.  I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Take good care and stay healthy!

Stacy Bush

July 7, 2020
 
Back to School and Town Hall
 
Dear Global Village Academy- Douglas County Families,
 
I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful Colorado weather and taking advantage of the opening of local parks and pools!
 
For the past several weeks I have been working with a committee of GVA-DC staff, teachers, health care professionals and parents.  Our Re-entry Committee members represent every grade level, all three language villages and are ethnically and gender diverse. The purposes of our Re-Entry team include:
 
  • Gathering and organizing feedback from students, staff and community,
  • Analyzing data to find strengths and gaps,
  • Creating a Back-to-School Plan that is in line with the GVA Mission and Vision and
  • Developing a more consistent and comprehensive plan for remote learning.
 
Our Back-to-School Plan follows these guiding principles:
 
  • We will continue to put the safety of our students, staff, and families at the forefront
  • We will open in the fall for in-person learning, unless there is a mandated closure
  • We will follow the school-specific requirements established by the health departments
  • We will accommodate families who need a remote learning option due to the pandemic
  • We will not ask parents to commit to remote or in-person learning without providing all of the information needed to make that decision (late-July)
  • We will make academic plans that meet our students where they are and work to get them where they need to be
  • We will flex and adapt as needed
  • And above all else, we will apply common sense to our decision-making
 
Our next steps include getting feedback on our draft Back-to-School Plan GVA-DC Back-to-School Plan 2020- Revised.pptx . To gather feedback from our families, I am scheduling a Parent Feedback Town Hall next week. If you are interested in providing feedback, please plan to attend the parent meeting using the Zoom invitation below:
 
Wednesday, July 8th
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
 
 
We will spend the week following the town hall considering feedback and completing our plan. The recommended plan will then be sent to our GVA-DC Board of Directors for review by our legal counsel and for a final vote of approval. The Global Village Academy- Douglas County Back to School Plan will be communicated to GVA-DC families and published on our website on Monday, July 20th. Once families have had the opportunity to fully review the Back-to-School Plan, we will ask parents to commit to having their children participate in either in-person or remote learning in the fall.
We will continue to make adjustments throughout July as we learn more about recommendations and mandates related to the pandemic.
 
We are aware that Douglas County School District is surveying neighborhood school parents now and that they will come out with their own plan later this summer. While we are watching their process, we will be following our own plan that is specific to the needs of our school community.
 
Finally, I want to share the results of our parent survey – we received over 200 responses (thank you!) and your feedback informed many of our committee’s discussions. . Here are a few highlights:
  • 70% are completely comfortable sending their kids back to school
  • 23% are somewhat anxious and want social distancing measures in place
  • 6% are unsure or reluctant to send kids back
  • 44% of our families rank minimizing health risks as one of their top three concerns for next year however, comments showed that just as many parents are concerned about sending their kids to an overly restrictive environment (masks, etc.)
  • 61% of families were happy or neutral with remote learning, but the feedback was a mixed bag (which we fully expected)
 
We appreciate the feedback you gave us on our remote learning plan and look forward to hearing your opinions about our Back to School Plan at our upcoming Town Hall.
 
Thanks so much and I look forward to seeing you all soon!
 
Stacy Bush
Principal, GVA Douglas County