Returning to School After a Long and Interesting Turn at Remote Learning
We are back in school. Now what?
You may be familiar with the old adage, “The only thing consistent in our world is change.” After being out of school since March of 2019 to return to a hybrid half-day model last April, we are now back to full days at school. Originally, I thought that we would be through this pandemic in a matter of months. As I am writing this, there is yet another resurgence of COVID cases.
We are beginning to see that at least in our Kent School District, returning to school does not seem to be a super spreader event. Having noted that, we are still taking many precautions to prevent the spread of this virus. These precautions include those common to our greater community such as mask-wearing and social distancing. Other precautions are specific to school, such as no strenuous indoor PE activities, desks spaced at least 3 feet apart (to the greatest extent possible), and no more than two students in a restroom at a time. Families can do their part by reinforcing with their children the importance of these precautions.
Because we are finding that specific guidance to schools change (there’s that word again) abruptly, we maintain an approach of adaptability. You can monitor the guidance schools must follow and the steps we are taking to keep everyone safe and healthy by visiting our Kent School District’s website’s home page and clicking on the Return Safely icon or by simply visiting: https://www.kent.k12.wa.us/ReturnSafely
School continues to address your child’s social and emotional health.
Are you aware that the state of Washington mandated schools to address students’ social and emotional well-being? Supporting your children’s social and emotional growth requires close teamwork between home and school.
Our classes begin with an activity designed to address this aspect of our student’s lives. I encourage you to talk to your child(ren) frequently about what they are experiencing. Our practices include class discussions, using indicators that allow students to indicate their mood, helping students identify how their body reacts when they are happy, sad, or angry. We incorporate movement breaks and calm down stations (usually a desk or space in the back of the classroom where students can draw, manipulate fidgets, or simply read quietly). As you can guess, the activities change depending on the students’ age, so feel free to check with your child’s teacher if you would like to learn more.
The inappropriate use of social media and chat features remains a major misbehavior issue at elementary schools, including Glenridge. I strongly encourage you to monitor their social media, even if they view it as an intrusion. It is a parental responsibility to “trust but verify.” Remind your child not to allow anyone else to use their accounts. If your child shares that someone has hacked into their account, please notify your child’s teacher. We will take it from there.
We want to hear from you.
You are more than the loving parents and guardians of our students; you are our partners. No one knows (or loves) your child(ren) like you do. This is why we cherish your thoughts and questions. There are several formal opportunities throughout the year where you have the opportunity to share your ideas and wonderings. These include parent/teacher conferences and a survey we send home or offer online. More importantly, you can contact your child’s teacher, a specialist, or an administrator (that’s Ms. Savage and me). Online, we can be reached via email the same way. In lower case letters, you can put the staff member’s first name, followed by a dot and their full last name @kent.k12.wa.us. If you would like to email me, my email address looks like: Scott.Abernathy@kent.k12.wa.us. Another way to reach a staff member is to call our office at 253-373-7494. An office member will be happy to direct your call to the person you would like to reach.
I want you to know how much I appreciate you and respect the incredible job you are doing to raise your child. As an educator with over 40 years of experience (more than 20 of those serving as principal of Glenridge), I can assure you the most challenging and rewarding job I have done is raising my five children.
With respect and admiration,
Scott Abernathy, Principal