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Letter from the Principal (10/23/2020)

October 23, 2020

Dear Charlestown Families,

We had a great first week of hybrid learning with the K-2 students.  It was so awesome to have the school come alive with the smiling faces and the laughter of our students!  The Charlestown Staff can’t wait to welcome all of the hybrid students K-5 next week!

Parents, please review this important dismissal reminder for ALL HYBRID students:

  • If your child is a pickup every day – please write one note and indicate that your child is a

PERMANENT PICKUP

 

  • If your child is occasionally a pick up after school, please send a note into school on the day your child is being picked up.

It is imperative that you state on either type of note the name of person who is picking up your child.

Below is information specific to Charlestown and other information specific to the whole District.  Please read the information carefully.

Charlestown

  • The Elementary Principals and District Office Administrators have discussed Halloween for 2020 and decided that

 Halloween Observations: As we navigate our new learning environments, and in conjunction with the recommendations of our health agencies, we will NOT host Halloween parades and parties this year. Students are asked NOT to wear costumes to school this year. Our virtual learners are also asked NOT to dress up for class time on October 30.

  • Feeling Sick – Parents of hybrid students, please consider the well-being and health of your child and everyone within the school when deciding to send your children to school.  Please see this attachment of COVID Symptoms
  • Breakfast/Lunch:  All meals are free of charge to all students this year.
  • Bus Information: Bussing information for all students returning in the hybrid model is available in Skyward. Please log in to your student’s Skyward account to verify bus information.
  • Pick-Up and Drop-Off: We know that a larger number of families plan to drive their children to and from school. Parents are reminded to please allow time for the increased traffic on our campuses, and to please follow traffic guidelines and procedures that have been shared with you.
  • Conferences: Families received an email earlier this week about how fall conferences will be scheduled and delivered. Conferences will be held on Monday, November 2, and Tuesday, November 3. All conferences will be held virtually or over the phone. Instructions for how to schedule a conference are available on our website. More information about how families will connect with the teacher will be provided next week. 
  • Technology Issues: Parents can bring their students iPad to District Office between 9am-12pm and 1pm-3pm Monday through Friday.
  • Student Information Updates: Last week, you received an email that asked you to please log into Skyward Family Access to review and/or make updates to your family information and your child’s health record. This is the annual update we normally ask families to complete in August. Although the request was delayed this year, it is still a critically important task. Our schools – and specifically, our nurses – rely on the information to contact families and make health-related decisions for your child. Even if your child remains virtual, it is important that you log in to verify and/or update information. Please do that as soon as possible. Directions, if you need them, are available on our website.
  • Chat Feature:  Parents, please remind your children to use the chat feature appropriately and at the correct time.  Unfortunately, we have had issues at most grade levels so far this year.  As a reminder the District has a record of everything that is put into the chat feature.
  • The 4th grade will be holding a bake sale to raise money for their 5th grade yearbooks on election day, November 3rd, at Charlestown Elementary. The bake sale is a tradition for 4th graders at Charlestown and we are seeking donations. Please consider donating baked goods to this sale -- we are anticipating a good turnout this election! Please see the Sign-up genius below for more information and thank you for your consideration!
  • https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054eaeaa29a02-bake

District - Wide

  • Masks/Face Coverings: As a reminder, masks are required on busses and in our schools. Staff members and students will be required to wear a mask at all times. Cloth masks are highly recommended and should be washed daily. Students are also asked to bring an extra mask to school each day. If a mask cannot be tolerated, shields are acceptable. We are strongly advising against the use of neck gaiters, as those have not been recommended by experts at the CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) PolicyLab.
  • Flu Clinic: GVSD is happy to partner with the Chester County Health Department to once again offer a flu clinic. This year’s clinic will be held on October 29, from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Great Valley Middle School. Please visit the Chester County Health Department website to register.

Instruction

  • Cameras/Student Engagement: Students in both our virtual and hybrid education programs continue to engage with teachers and members of their class online. Whenever possible, we encourage students to turn on their cameras. This enhances our ability to connect and form relationships with one another. While students won’t be penalized for not using the camera, we do strongly encourage camera use whenever possible.
  • Recording Lessons: In the online learning space, it is important that we preserve privacy and the integrity of the class as much as possible. We are not recording our online lessons and ask that parents/students follow the same rule. Participation in the class is more likely when students feel safe to share and teachers can freely engage students in conversation and learning. 
  • Chat Feature:  Parents, please remind your children to use the chat feature appropriately and at the correct time.  Unfortunately, we have had issues at most grade levels so far this year.  As a reminder the District has a record of everything that is put into the chat feature.

Communication & Technology

  • Technology: Technology support remains available to students virtually, through email, and via a walk-up technology window at District Office. Parents of students in grades 5 through 12 are reminded to please submit the annual $75 technology fee, which covers the district-issued iPad in the event it needs repair. Payment can be made online via PaySchools, or with cash, or check payable to GVSD and mailed to District Office (47 Church Road, Malvern PA 19355).
  • Informational Town Halls: Earlier this week, we hosted two virtual town hall meetings related to our learning programs. Our principals and district administrators joined me in the two 90-minute sessions that addressed many of the questions our parents have been asking. Both were recorded and are available on our website.  
  • Conferences: Families received an email earlier this week about how fall conferences will be scheduled and delivered. Conferences will be held on Monday, November 2, and Tuesday, November 3. All conferences will be held virtually or over the phone. Instructions for how to schedule a conference are available on our website. More information about how families will connect with the teacher will be provided next week. 

Sincerely,

Christopher B. Pickell