Updated: Jan 2
I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays and vacation time. The end of 2020 is finally upon us, and I’m looking forward to returning to a more traditional school year in 2021. One bright spot is that we will be returning to our home campus on Wagner Road in the 2021-22 school year. Unfortunately, due to the construction delays caused by the Corona Virus shutdown, it looks like the move will be in January 2022.
Our temporary change in location as well as the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 has had a very negative impact on our enrollment. While two grade levels are full, the others have seats. We are down about 35 students which equals close to $300K in funding.
I will be holding additional enrollment Q&As through January and February. The next Enrollment Q&A is January 12th at 6PM. Here is the Zoom link to that meeting:
We had a fairly low turnout at our last Q&A, particularly for kindergarteners. If you know of families who may be interested in attending Honey Creek, please send them the link above. They can also submit an application without attending a Q&A by following the link below:
The Board will be reviewing our learning plan at the next Board meeting on January 27th at 5:30pm. The Board, in conjunction with the administration and faculty, have been working on our return to school plan. The link follows:
Now that two vaccines have been given approval, we expect that educators will be eligible to start receiving them some time in February. I’ll update you as I learn more.
Remember, Shellee will be retiring at the end of this month. Many of her tasks have been assigned to outside services and the others will be assumed by me and Lauren. In an effort to place more emphasis on student learning, I placed an ad for a principal on our website this week: https://www.honeycreekschool.org/employment
Additional ad placement will happen over the next several days.
Please keep in mind that there is a Parent Support meeting on January 7th at 7PM. Watch for an email with the Zoom link.
You can also find this newsletter on the Honey Creek blog every week.
Here’s hoping for an uneventful 2021!
Al Waters Executive Director Honey Creek Community School
November 2, 2020
I hope that you had some time to enjoy the sunny, mild, day yesterday. I have updates from both our Board meeting and the weekly health department meeting. As Covid-19 infection rates continue to grow (including the number of K-12 students infected), Washtenaw County Health has asked school administrators to inform families that the county is likely to return to Phase 3 in the next week or two. Should the county return to Phase 3, all schools, public and private, are required to return to online instruction.
At our board meeting on Wednesday night there was a great deal of discussion regarding addressing the needs of students with IEPs. We are in the process of developing a plan to do so. We are also preparing a plan to provide in-person instruction once we return to Phase 5, with an option for doing so while in Phase 4. Of course, both of these efforts will depend on what Phase we are in as well as the availability of staff. We have several staff members who either are at-risk or provide for another who is at-risk.
In my most recent survey twelve families indicated that they are experiencing difficulties with their internet connection. If you are one of those families, please let me know by replying to this email. I’ll see what can be done to improve your situation.
Recent changes to the Open Meetings Act require us to conduct in-person board meetings beginning in January. Considering the Covid-19 rates in our area, this may change. Expect monthly updates on this issue.
Finally, the Board approved a change to the calendar to allow for staff professional development. There will be no school on the following days:
· DAY 1 - Nov. 3/T: Mental Health First Aid for Youth for 10 staff (rest of staff work day)
·DAY 2 - Nov. 11/W: Mental Health First Aid for Youth for 10 staff (rest of staff work day)
·DAY 3 - Nov. 30/M: Title 9 (2 hours); SIP/Formative Assessment/CASL/Equity Series
·½ DAY 3.5 - Dec. 18/F: SIP/Equity/Form. Assess Series
·DAY 4.5 - Jan. 4/M: SIP/Equity/Form. Assess Series
·½ DAY 5 - March 26/F: SIP/Equity/Form. Assess Series
·DAY 6 - April 5/M: SIP/Equity/Form. Assess Series
Many thanks to the PTO and all of the volunteers for a very successful Drive-Thru Fall Festival. Please don’t forget about the Pie Sale.
Have a great week! Remember, no school on Election day!
October 26, 2020
I hope that your week is off to a great start. I’ve enjoyed seeing students back in the building the last few days. It is rather eerie here without them. I would like to thank the teachers and parents for helping us navigate the transition to distance, online testing. There have been a few pitfalls, but we seem to be working our way through them.
It was also great to see so many families at the Drive-Thru Fall Festival. The weather gave us a bit of a scare in the afternoon, but it did break and it turned out to be a nice evening. I enjoyed meeting a few new families as well as all of you who have returned. Many thanks to all of the volunteers (too many to name) who came out to make the night a pumpkin chunking success!
A new law requires us to make a few additions to our board agenda and to link it to the calendar on our website. It is at the same ZOOM time and same ZOOM station. Here is the agenda link for this Wednesday’s meeting https://docs.google.com/document/d/1769E2en-o_I2xo9JnGTfWfa9dZinYAjT-UjrF0eDPEM/edit .
Have a Boo-tiful week!
October 17, 2020
I hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather and the bright colorful foliage. It is time for parent/teacher conferences, and most teachers have sent out Zoom invites. Thank you again for everyone's patience while we navigate Zoom calls and social distancing. These are trying times.
If you have a student in the fourth through eighth grade, you should have received an email from your grade level team outlining the option for participating in the state mandated benchmark assessments. Students have the choice of taking the assessment at home or in the classroom. Students who take the assessment in the classroom must complete the health assessment each morning prior to arriving at school. Temperatures will be taken at the door. Below is the assessment schedule:
The 4th and 5th grade students will be assessed on Monday, October 26th and Tuesday, October 27th. The middle school students will be assessed on Wednesday, October 21st and Thursday, October 22nd.
8:00-8:15 am -- Students arrive, submit heath screener and have temperature checked, report to base class
8:15-8:30 am -- Students prepare for assessment
8:30-11:30 am -- Students take assessment
11:35-11:45 -- Student pick up.
Feel free to contact me or your child’s base class teacher should you have questions.
A big shout out to David Spitzley for Candy Supported Jack-O-Lantern "CSJ!"
Don't forget the Honey Creek DRIVE-THRU Fall Festival, Friday, Oct 23 (5:30-7:30pm)
The October Board meeting is in Wednesday October 28, at 5:30.
I hope that you are doing well. This week has thrown us a bit of a curveball. We have two 4/5 teachers out at this time, so 4/5 classes will be asynchronous for awhile. I will share with you any information that I can as things develop. I appreciate your patience as we work through this.
In the last week, I have been contacted by a few families inquiring about returning to in-person instruction and, in particular, the threshold at which we will return. Unfortunately, there are other factors to consider as we are a small district with limited flexibility in staffing.
At this time our area is in phase 4, which means the community spread is fairly stable. According to the executive order, we could begin in person classes at any time, with the understanding that if we return to phase 3, we would return to online instruction.
In August, the Board elected to remain online until late October; they confirmed that decision last week and will review that decision each month. Throughout this dilemma, the Board has been seeking the advice of Dr. Meurer, who is both a parent and an emergency room physician at UM Hospital. I'm not sure that I can fully state the rationale behind his recommendations, but I will summarize:
Our infection rate and community spread is low, but at this time very few students are in school and we have not yet seen the full impact of students returning to the universities.
We have also not seen the full impact of the cold and flu season.
If we look at districts that have returned, we see several outbreaks which have led to a return to online instruction.
We should be cautious as it will be disruptive to families and students to vacillate between online and in person instruction.
On September 28th, Bridge Magazine published an article claiming the infection rate at K-12 schools has increased by 64% in one week. Here is the link: https://www.bridgemi.com/talent-education/covid-outbreaks-spiking-michigan-k-12-schools-and-colleges
While the numbers are clear that we can return to in person instruction, the bigger challenge for us is the number of families and staff members who are willing to return. I have several staff members who have expressed they do not feel safe returning at this time. I have also had several families express that they wish to remain online for the duration of the school year.
Next week I will be surveying the families and staff to determine if we have the numbers to provide an in-person option. The information from the faculty will help me determine how we will need to reassign faculty and students to accommodate in-person classes should the board decide to do so.
I understand the concerns about the long-term effects of online instruction. I believe this approach is especially challenging for our younger students. Feel free to contact me if you have further questions, and I will keep you up-to-date on the Board's decisions regarding our instructional approach in these unprecedented times.
Here are a few other updates:
The good news is it was a slow week.
We had a very successful Walk and Run-A-Thon. If you need to send a check please follow these directions:
1. Send through PayPal to email@example.com using the Friends and Family option, and include a note indicating the funds are for WNRAT. At that time, also send Mary (hccs.pto.chair) an email letting her know the amount so she can manually add it to your child's / children's account(s).
2. Send checks made out to "HCCS PTO" to me through the mail:
Julie de Jong
7990 Lake Crest Dr.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
At that time, also send Mary (hccs.pto.chair) an email letting her know the amount so she can manually add it to your child's / children's account(s).
3. Send me an email to check in about dropping cash/checks off at my house, or ask me if it's possible to pick up from you.
Again, congratulations to everyone for working so hard to make the PTO's most important fundraiser of the year a huge success!
UPDATE FROM THE EQUITY COMMITTEE:
The Equity Committee is working hard to put together a support group from families with special needs and /or challenging children. We are starting this group with the goal to support one another, share tactics, and resources. We plan to start off meeting once a month on zoom. The commute is great so come and join us. If you are interested, please take the availability poll so we can best determine which night would work best for folks. Any questions please feel free to reach out to the equity committee or Heidi Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Equity Committee is also putting on the next: Courageous Conversations Series: Learning & Unlearning for Racial Justice workshop is Mon Oct 12, 2020 7pm – 8:30pm. Zoom link to follow closer to the date.