Busy Days Ahead for Our Bees!
Greetings Parents and Community Members,
Yesterday our teachers reported to the building for the first time since March 13th! It was great to begin seeing our amazing faculty and staff, back in the buildings as they continue to work on setting up their classrooms, teaching virtually and preparing for a safe Phase II of Return and Learn. Of course, many of our staff have been hard at work, either teaching from their classrooms or preparing for our students to return for a while now. As each day passes, our faculty, staff and building gets closer and closer to being ready for students on January 25 and February 1 respectively.
While we are busy preparing for in-person learning to begin on January 25, we are also looking ahead to plan and budget for the following school year. We need your help to make sure that we plan appropriately for any influx of students we may have for the 2021-22 school year. If you or someone you know was enrolled at MBES and ended up attending elsewhere, please fill out THIS survey to tell us of your intent for next year.
On Friday January 22, all students in grades K-2 will transition to their Q3 homeroom (virtual and in person). The same thing will happen for all students in grades 3-5 on January 29.
I wanted to take this opportunity to continue highlighting some of the work that we’ve done to get our buildings ready. Below is a list of key mitigation measures that APS along with Morris Brandon have done to prepare for a safe Return and Learn:
- We have spaced out classrooms around the building to allow for better movement and restroom access, especially for our younger students.
- We have taken classroom capacity into consideration, moving our largest DLI classes into much larger classrooms.
- We have moved some students from larger intent to return homerooms to smaller ones, allowing all students in K-5 the ability to socially distance to the greatest extent possible and not less than 6ft in any classroom.
- We have designated up and down stairwells to help manage building movement, placed directional arrows on the left and right sides of the hallways to indicate proper hallway movement and placed spacing markers throughout our building so students can see what 6ft actually is.
- Water fountains have been disabled, giving way to water bottle filling stations at each building.
- We’ve created a schedule that allows for no cross building movement of staff, allowing Specials teachers to teach in one building only, limiting any building to building spread that may occur.
- Implemented dual lunch and recess times (non competing) to break up the amount of students at recess while lunch will remain in the classroom.
- All of this is on top of our 5 key mitigation strategies of mandatory mask wearing, mandatory handwashing breaks, no mixing of classes or cohorts during the day, social distancing to the greatest extent possible and desk shields for all students.
Take a look at some of the below photos of our PC campus so you can get the full picture of what we are working so hard on. We’ve also created THIS reopening video for our students that will be shown this Friday to all homerooms and will help prepare our students for face to face learning.
Don’t forget that we are working extremely hard to make sure our virtual students still get the best instruction around as we’ve worked hard to:
- Allot one fully certified MBES staff member to teach each grade levels virtual students. Outside of DLI and some Special Ed, virtual students will not be “zooming” into their in person class. This allows for more direct attention and instruction in the virtual setting.
- Create a schedule for virtual students in DLI and Special Ed that allows them to have virtual support available throughout the day to assist them in the virtual environment.
- Ensure that our virtual grade level and in person teachers continue to collaborate on Wednesdays in order to provide lock step, seamless instruction for all students, no matter their learning environment.
- Create a schedule that allows for virtual specials to not overlap or conflict with in person specials, allowing all our virtual students to continue to receive art, music, PE, French, media and counseling in the virtual setting.
Because we have essentially created an additional homeroom on each grade level for our virtual students, gifted instruction will transition to the job of the in person or virtual teacher and will no longer be provided by a Morris Brandon gifted teacher. For those that are not aware, our staff (and admin) have worked incredibly hard to ensure that all of our Morris Brandon homeroom teachers are gifted certified. Critical thinking and extension activities will be administered from the homeroom teacher but they will also lean on Ms. Walston, our gifted lead teacher, for guidance, support and professional development. Ms. Walston will also be in charge of testing close to 300 first and second look gifted students upon our return to in person learning.
I look forward to sharing the final details and the culmination of all of our planning and efforts this Friday at my final Reopening Town Hall at 10am. During this town hall, we will review further our four step process for tracking COVID-19 at Brandon; Reporting, Tracing, Notifying, and Quarantining as well some recent transportation information around bus mitigation strategies. Also, all bus routes have been posted and can be accessed HERE. If you have any questions about your bus route, please reach out to our main office.
I want to also leave everyone with this graphic we developed, our essential agreements for students, staff and the community, as it will take our entire Morris Brandon family working together to make our Phase II Return and Learn a success.