Week one has come and gone, and I continue to be more and more impressed with our students each day. I know this is not easy, I know it’s not where we want to be, but to see our Brandon Bees (especially our younger ones) build stamina and become more and more engaged and independent each day with virtual learning has let me know that our teachers’ hard work is paying off. I know that not every child is having the same experience, so continue to show patience as your child works to become more independent. In just one week, I’ve witnessed awesome read-a-louds, SEL community gatherings, notice and wonder charts in English/Language Arts, math small groups, breakout rooms in Zoom, annotations and quick polls, Nearpod interactive lessons, Freckle use during independent practice time, and so much more.
We started Day 1 with our new WIN (What I Need) blocks and students were able to make it to a different Zoom link, so they could work with a support teacher every day. This has allowed for a smaller class size as well during this time when teachers are able to provide even more targeted support to their students. Our Specialists are doing a great job as well! If you think it’s easy to coordinate the right specialist entering a class’s Zoom link at the right time on the right day, then you’re wrong! Each step has taken careful planning and implementation. With that said, we also recognize that there are areas for improvement. We will continue to make adjustments and get better each day, in order to do what is best for our kids.
The month of September has a lot of exciting things in store as well. We are busy planning for our Parent Info Nights toward the end of the month. This will be a time when you will hear from your entire grade level at once about planning, assessment, instruction, and tips that can help your children succeed in the virtual environment. We are also in the middle of our annual Bee Fund campaign. While I usually wait a little longer to write about the importance of community financial support, I can say without a doubt that this year, your support of our school is needed more than ever. Facing an 11% budget cut and a significant drop in attendance has made us lean even heavier on our Foundation’s support. The Board has stepped up incredibly well already, purchasing a variety of digital apps, technology tools like document cameras and OWL videographer equipment and even giving a little extra money to our staff so they could buy microphones if needed. If you have not done so yet, please consider donating in support of our school, students, and staff!
This month we are also preparing for our 5 year IB re-authorization visit! The IB visit will be a snapshot of the last 5 years of our work in international mindedness, transdisciplinary learning and inquiry based assessment. The visit, which will happen from September 16-18, will involve virtual meetings, class observations, and interviews of not just staff and admin, but students, parents, and APS district leaders as well. Our IB Coordinator, Sam DeCarlo, has done an amazing job of preparing our staff for the visit, as have our faculty in preparing for this important step in re-authorization.
For now, please continue to be positive, flexible and adaptive to the challenges and changes that are happening daily. Continue to stay tuned in for important announcements, return ANY APS technology that you are not using or don’t need and remember to have your students submit their Pledge of Allegiance videos for morning announcements HERE.
Until next week,