St. Francis of Assisi School

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Back to School

CLASS LISTS ARE AVAILABLE ON RENWEB!  Please log in HERE.  You will be hearing from your teacher in the next couple weeks.  You can always "Subscribe" to your teacher's class page (click their name/picture) or specific classes on our Staff Directory.  If you have any questions, please contact the school office.
 
 
SCHOOL SUPPLIES can be purchased online and delivered to your door!  Our PA crew has uploaded each class supply list to Teacher Lists (click to link), and you have the choice of retailers to purchase from.  Please CLICK HERE for a pdf of the school supply list.
 
To Order:
• Go to: https://www.teacherlists.com/
• Click Find a List (top bar) and type in 98166 in search box
• Press blue search button (magnifying glass)
• Click on St. Francis of Assisi School
• Click on the name of your list (i.e. First Grade Supply List)
• Once on your list page, it will show the items in the list.
     o Click on the retailer icon you want in the right side of the blue box at the top of the list page (Target, Amazon, Wallmart, etc)
• It will take you to that retailers website. All your items will be in the cart. You can add or delete from here.
 
PLEASE cross check your cart with the list the school sent out to ensure you have everything you need.
 
 
 
Friday, August 7, 2020
 
Dear Families,

As many of you may have already heard, after receiving guidance from Governor Inslee on Wednesday, the Office of Catholic Schools and Archbishop Etienne announced yesterday that “Archdiocesan Catholic elementary schools in high-risk counties will start the fall with remote learning.” As the attached letter from the Archdiocese explains, this decision was made because “the safety of our students and staff and the care for the common good of the community remains paramount in our decision-making process.”

St. Francis of Assisi School is an Archdiocesan Catholic elementary school located in King County, which, because of its current coronavirus transmission rate, is a high-risk county. We will start our school year distance learning. We knew that this was a possibility. Just as we have been planning for in-building learning, we have also been for distance learning. Attached here is a document outlining our distance learning plan, please look it over.

Here are some things to know:

• Last spring, when it was announced that all school buildings in Washington would be closed, we immediately jumped with both feet into distance learning. From March to June, we learned a lot. Distance learning in the fall will be much improved from distance learning last spring.
• Our distance learning plan was developed with the feedback we received from parents, students and staff in last spring’s survey and from researching and sharing best distance learning practices. Please look at the different links in our Distance Learning Document.
• Next week, we will be sending out a survey to learn if there is interest in the school providing socially distanced child care for families of essential workers.
• Parents of twins may opt to have their twins in the same remote learning group. Please let me know if this is something your family would like. Please note, you are opting for your twins to be in the same cohort group and not picking your children’s teacher.
• We will be distributing curriculum materials that your children will use at home. In the next two weeks, you will hear from your child’s teacher the details of how and when this will happen.
• You will also hear or have heard from your child’s about a before school class Zoom. We are working on building our classroom communities..
• We are working with our wonderful Parent Association on parent Zoom meetings. These meetings will be for the parents of students in your child’s homeroom class. The purpose of these Zooms will be to build parent connections.
• We will continue to prepare our school building for in-person learning- in what ever form it happens- so our classrooms will be ready when in-person learning is once again allowed

I know that this isn't ideal. While some parents were relieved to hear that we will be starting the fall with remote learning, the news was very upsetting to other parents. Both my husband and I worked when our children were growing up. I know how hard this would have been for us. I also know how much my children would have missed seeing their friends in person. None of this is easy.

These are difficult times, but these are our times. We cannot wish them away. We are now living the stories that we will one day tell of these times. Let’s record for history the care, support, prayers and understanding we shared with our families, each other, and our community.

Sometimes in person with social distancing and often over Zoom- our teachers and our staff have come together in support of our students, our school, our families and each other throughout the summer. Although we won’t see your children in person every day, we are excited to connect with them on Zoom, through Google classroom and when they stop by to pick up their school supplies. We believe that even at a distance great learning will happen and strong bonds will be formed this coming school year.

Take a deep breath. Pray. Read the attached documents. Do what is right for your family. Thank you for being a community that rises.

Let us know how we can help. We have got this.

Peace and blessings,
Rosemary Leifer
 
 
Dear Families,

We are living in a time of great uncertainty and stress. We are called, more than ever, to be flexible, understanding and supportive of each other. This is a community that cares. Because they care, our teachers and staff have worked tremendously hard on plans to provide our students with a high-quality, Catholic education whether in-person or at a distance.

In all of our planning, the safety of our students and staff has been a top priority. We are changing our learning spaces and putting in place a number of new procedures and safety precautions in order to come back to the school building safely. Even with these, we realize that when we bring people together, there is no way we can guarantee that they won’t be exposed to COVID-19. This possibility poses too high a risk for some members of our school community. It is important that distance learning/teaching is an option for them.

There are a lot of moving parts to the start of the next school year. This past week, we realized that we needed to change our learning model for our seventh and eighth graders from a 5 days a week, in-building model to a hybrid two days in school, three days distance learning model.

• Our seventh graders will be in building learning on Mondays and Tuesdays and distance learning Wednesday through Friday.
• Our eighth graders will be in building learning Thursday and Friday and distance learning Monday through Wednesday.
• Our seventh and eighth graders will be put into four, not two classes. Instead of being in classes of 28, they will be in classes of 14.
• When they are in building, each of the seventh grade classes will be assigned to a different seventh or eighth grade classroom. The same thing will happen when the eighth grade classes are at school. The classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned/disinfected on Wednesday and over the weekend.
• All of our junior high teachers are committed to working together to support and provide all of our seventh and eighth graders with an engaging, positive learning experience. Schedules will be provided and students will meet with teachers daily, whether in building or at home.
• Two of our teachers have agreed to support distance learning/learners full-time.
• Parent of seventh and eighth graders, you will have other emails and learn much more about our plans to educate your children in the next several weeks.

We believe that our seventh and eighth graders will do well with this hybrid model of learning. At this time, we will still be providing in-building learning for our kindergarten through sixth grade students five days a week. We also offer a distance learning option for families not comfortable with in-person instruction.

In response to some of the questions I have been asked about distance learning:

• You may choose to begin the year with your child distance learning and then send your child to in building learning. If your child is enrolled in our school, he or she will have a place in our classroom.
• Students who are distance learning will be put in small, grade-level check in groups. A teacher/staff member will meet online line daily with this group to check in, go over assignments, ask and answer questions.
• Teachers will record/post lessons online each day.
• All assignments will be posted on Google Classroom. Students learning at home will be able to ask teachers questions using Google classroom.
• Classroom teachers will check in with each of their distance learning students once a week.
• If you are interested in a hybrid education model and your child is not in seventh or eighth grade, please contact me.
Other pieces of information:
• Adopting a hybrid model for educating our seventh and eighth graders allows us to have EDP in the gym. This large, open space allows us to socially distance our EDP students while keeping them in cohort groups.
• We have been working hard on an all-school distance learning plan. We will share the document with you next week.
• Class assignments will be available on Renweb today.
• We will send out more information about pick and drop off next week. Parents will have the opportunity to sign up for a pick up and a drop off time slot.
 
 
Dear Families,
 
There is so much going on in the world right now, so much anxiety, unrest, uncertainty- it can feel overwhelming.  (Please click here for the Principal's letter in full.  )
 
Below is our St. Francis of Assisi School 2020-2021 School Year Plan. It is the collaborative effort of our amazing teachers and staff. I am incredibly grateful to them and to you, the families who support our school. Please read the plan. Please email me if you have questions.
 
Peace and blessings,
Rosemary Leifer
 
Dear Families,
 
Happy almost 4th of July!
 
Even as June turns to July, we are still hard at work preparing for the 2020-2021 school year. I know that you have a lot of questions about what school will look like in the fall. Sometime in the next two weeks, I will share with you a document- created with input from teachers, staff and parents- that will go into greater detail on our plans. For now:
 
The health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff is of the utmost importance to us. Any plans we make are with that in mind. We will follow all State and King County Health Department guidelines.
Our plan is to provide in-building instruction to all of our students, five days a week.

We know that not all students will be ready to return and that even those who would like to be at school may, for health or COVID-19 related reasons, not be allowed to come to school. Our plans include ways to support these distance learners.

We have a pretty amazing group of teachers and staff. Because they so strongly support our children, our school and Catholic education, they are working on plans and willing to provide our students with one of three possible learning environments: in-person, distance, and a hybrid of both.

We will need to stagger morning drop off times/locations in order to ask a required list of questions and take every student’s temperature before he/she enters the building. This must happen all while social distancing. More will come on this.

We will have to stagger our pick up times in order to socially distance at dismissal. We are working on a plan for this. Thank you to all the families who have already signed up on signup genius to help us practice next Monday at 3:00. As I write this letter, there are only two spots left.

We have researched best practices around using Google Classroom and Zoom. Our teachers will be trained in those best practices, students taught how to use their accounts, and parents will be instructed on how to access information on their children’s accounts. How to videos and cheat sheets have been created, and I know that you will appreciate them.

We will have recess. Yes, we will work on social distancing, but we know kids need to get outside.

We recognize the importance building community in our classrooms, providing emotional support for our students, teachers and staff, and a strongly promoting an environment that is antiracist.

We will have limited EDP. Because we need to keep cohort groups together, we won’t be able to accommodate occasional drop-ins. Yes, student will need to wear face masks during EDP.

We are reviewing and working to implement all King County Health Department, State, and CDC guidelines around cleaning and social distancing. As part of this effort, we will now have custodial staff to clean the restrooms and commonly touched areas throughout the day.

As we work to provide socially distant seats for every student, we will have classes in all classrooms and in almost every large space in the school and parish (not in the church). We are very grateful for the parish’s willingness to let us use the spaces.

Although we love our volunteers, only staff and students will be allowed in the school building.

We will continue to pray together throughout the day, every day.

I know that you have many other questions. If there is something that I haven’t yet addressed, and you really want to know, please email me. I will do my best to answer your questions.
 
In the meantime, please:
 
Continue having your children practice wearing face masks appropriately both inside and outside.
If your child does not have one, please consider purchasing a Chromebook or other similar device for your child. We know that all of our students and their families will need to be able to access Google classroom. Please see the attached document for more information.

If your child will not be at school in the fall, please let me know your plans as soon as possible. We are working on putting together a very large puzzle and every child is an important piece.

This is a lot! Take a deep breath. Enjoy the 4th of July and your family. Continue to pray. Thank you for being a community that rises and volunteers. You really are wonderful.
 
Let us know if we can help.
 
Peace and blessings,
 
 
Dear Families,
 
We are hard at work preparing for next school year. There is much that has been done, and there is much that still needs to be accomplished.
 
Our school was fortunate enough to apply for and receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government. We have used the funds to retain all of our staff even during this crisis. At the same time due to the pandemic, we have experienced decreased revenue and increased expenses. We expect these trends to continue.
 
As we work to comply with the state's requirements for resuming in-person instruction, re-purpose existing spaces, ready staff, purchase new technology and prepare to provide distance learning for students not able to be in their classrooms, we will be incurring increased expenses. None of us know what will happen next, so we are striving to manage our finances conservatively in order to successfully navigate the choppy waters ahead.
 
Our hope is to resume in-person instruction in the fall and at the moment, with social distancing and safety measures in place, we are optimistic that we will be allowed to do so. There are statewide requirements we will need to comply with, and one that we need to prepare for now is “All students, staff, volunteers, and guests must wear cloth face coverings in K-12 settings.”
 
Students will be required to wear a mask unless they are eating. Parents- this is where you come in- our children will need to know how to put on and wear a mask appropriately and be comfortable wearing a mask all the school day. If your child is not already used to wearing a mask, now is a good time to start practicing.
 
My daughter was very sensitive to the feel of anything on her skin and had big issues with socks. We found ones she would wear when it was cold outside.
 
When my older son was little, he went through a “I don’t want to wear pants” phase. I made sure he never went out in public in his underwear.
 
There was a brief time when my younger son did not want to wear a seat belt. I told him that our car would not start unless everyone’s seat belt was fastened and would pull over and stop if someone’s seat belt came off. He soon learned this was true. It wasn’t long before he buckled up as soon as he got in the car and didn’t unbuckle until we had arrived our destination.
 
I started wearing a mask when I went to the grocery store shortly after our school doors closed. It felt very strange. Now, after many weeks of wearing a mask, it feels strange to get out of my car or walk around any building without one.
 
Let’s get our children ready. Try out different masks. They can be any color, have a team logo or a school appropriate cartoon character. They should not have words, letters or in any way distract from learning. The PA is ordering masks with school logos. I will let you know when you are able to order those.
 
Find the types of masks your children prefer, order and/or make a few, and build up their endurance wearing them. It is important that we look out for each other and wearing a mask is one way to do this.
 
Breathe- even with a mask, pray- the world needs our prayers, and thank you for being a community that rises. Let us know if you need help. We are in this together.
 
Peace and blessings,
 
Dear Families,
 
Last week, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, announced that he expected students to return to school next fall and released a 55-page document detailing how this could happen. Here is a link to his document:
 
 
Yesterday, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools Kristin Dixon, sent out a letter about reopening Catholic schools in the fall. The letter (attached) speaks to how decisions about reopening in the fall are being made and has six different recommendations for Catholic schools.
 
Based on our desire to build community, partner with parents in providing our students with a high-quality Catholic education and taking into account what we have learned from OSPI, OCS, the King County Health Department, and the CDC, we have outlined the following three possible plans for what school will look like next year.

All students back in the building full-time, every school day- this is our preferred plan. This will not be school as we knew it last January, but there will be face-to-face, in-school instruction. We will, as recommended in the letter from OCS, “Adhere to all the most current training and safety precautions: washing of hands, wearing a face covering for all who enter the building, maintaining physical distancing through the creative use of other available spaces on the campus, and the flexible use of all available staff to allow for smaller class sizes.” As part of this plan, we recognize the need to provide ongoing distance learning support for students who, because of health reasons, may need to learn from home.

A combination of in-person and distance learning- our focus would be on providing our younger students (k-5) with in-building instruction-at least four full days a week, while our older students-6th, 7th, and 8th would spend more time distance learning. While in-building learning, we would follow all of the recommendations of the OCS listed above.

Distance learning 2.0 – there is a very real possibility that, at some point, school buildings will be closed again, reopened again, and then closed again. We are preparing for this. Using the lessons our staff learned over the last trimester and the feedback you provided us in our distance learning survey, we have already begun working to improve how we provide distance learning.
 
All of our plans are subject to change based on decisions made by the Governor,OSPI, King County Health Department, CDC and OCS.

I understand that living with uncertainty can be difficult, so here are some things you can be certain about next school year:
  • Your children will be loved.
  • School will still start on September 2nd. There is much that needs to be done to prepare for next year and all of its possibilities. We need the time to do it well so starting school earlier would not be in the best interest of our students.
  • Volunteer hours will not be required.
    • With social distancing, health and safety precautions, and the cancellation of many in-person events, you may have wondered how you would get all of your volunteer hours. You don’t need another thing to worry about.
    • We will continue to sell scrip, have events, and need parent help. You are a very generous, supportive community, and I know that when you are asked those of you who can help, will help.
  • Profit dollars will not be required.
    • Pivoting from in-class to distance learning in a matter of days was not easy, but you rose to the challenge. We appreciate you.
    • We are still selling scrip and will still track the profit dollars earned for your family. If you earn more than $350 in profit dollars, fifty percent of what you earn will still be rebated to you. Please continue to purchase scrip if you can.
 
Over the next two and a half months, each week I will share with you more information on our plans for next fall, and/or ideas on how you can prepare your children for a different kind of school year.
 
Breathe. Pray. Enjoy the sunshine. Remember that God loves each of us beyond all measure. Reach out if you need help. Together, we have got this.

Peace and blessings,
Rosemary Leifer