A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 05/08/2020

Dear Community,

I hope this message finds you well during these unsettling times. I take comfort in the high level of engagement that we have managed between students and the school despite the challenges of distance learning. The teachers are navigating myriad challenges in developing new resources for the students, checking in with students and families who are struggling, and continuously refining practices to better meet the needs of learners. We have unique challenges as well given that teachers are working with multiple grades and students may have been working at their own pace within a grade. Distance learning is not ideal. However, I am eager to hear how things are going for your family, so we can continue to improve our model. A survey was emailed to you.

I am in the process of evaluating Learning Management Systems that should help provide a more streamlined digital experience for students in the event that we need to have robust online resources in the fall. I will keep you updated on this process.

There is a school board meeting scheduled for next Tuesday at 7 pm via zoom. Ramona sent out an agenda today. I will be discussing all of these topics in further detail at that time.

Spring Traditions: Performances & Graduation
Teachers are working on ways to create an engaging “step up” experience for kids who will be moving into a new class in the fall. At the same time, classes are working on ways to celebrate “moving on” and online versions of spring performances. Stay tuned for more information. Graduation will be held as a livestream on Thursday, June 11th at 7 PM. Please plan on attending! If you have photos of the current 8th graders that would be useful for a slide show please send them to Gina Gaiser.

Summer
As of now, public health guidelines will permit camp to move forward as planned. Camp will follow the current guidelines for childcare (masks, social distance cohorts of 1:10). Camille and Colette will be in touch with families that are registered for camp. Colette Blair sent out an email to enrolled families today. If you have camp questions please email: canyonartscamp@gmail.com

Reopening Plans
Health Department phases, can’t plan more than 4 weeks at a time. As some restrictions are eased the health department works on a four week cycle to assess the impact on public health. At this time the health department will not speculate about future months. At the school level, we are planning for physical distancing and attempting to prepare ourselves for a variety of potential scenarios in the fall.

Finances:
I am attaching a document from the state so you will have an understanding of the catastrophic economic forecasts. At this point, my sincere hope is that there will be federal stimulus money for state and local governments. As we enter fire season, it is daunting to imagine any municipality or local agency managing these budget projections as they will impact all public services. We have furloughed all of hourly staff. If there is not a significant change to the budget it would be nearly impossible to bring any of this staff back. Last month we shared dire budget projections. This month they have gotten considerably worse. This problem is not unique to us. State and local governments across the country are facing dramatic contractions in their revenue streams.

Covid 19 Testing
Testing is currently available in three Contra Costa locations. nixle.us/BTLYY
My understanding is that it is free and available to anyone. Just call and make an appointment.

Meals
Meals are available at several locations in the Acalanes high school district.
https://www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=3260

Misty’s cookbook
Several families have expressed an interest in getting a copy of Misty’s cookbook. She is happy to produce more copies. Please email her at: mistysuehardesty@yahoo.com

Parent volunteers
We had community members facilitating book groups this spring. One thing we can all think about, is new ways to engage our community. How can we come together to support our kids? Would parents be willing to record themselves reading aloud to kids? What else can we do in a physically distant context to maintain our community?

Anxiety:
I know many parents are feeling anxious about their children’s mental health during this challenging time.
Anxiety resources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/truth-and-courage/202004/children-teens-and-anxiety
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/truth-and-courage/202004/how-do-i-manage-my-fear-in-the-era-covid-19

Warmly,
Lucia