April 26, 2020

Instructed, Required and Assessed for All K-8; “Lessons” also for Preschool

I hope things are going well for you in our “instructed, required and assessed” model for K-8 and what’s probably best called an “instructed and voluntary” model for preschool.  I think I now have accounts set up so I can be a student in every class at every grade level.  I am seeing some amazing things being done, and these are only a few:

  • Teachers are creating videos of themselves providing instruction while using small whiteboards or posterboard paper.
  • Teachers are using document cameras to share how to do math problems or work on grammar assignments.
  • Teachers are re-typing work into GoogleForms so there are easy ways for kids to provide answers.
  • Teachers are using short video segments to teach about science and social studies.  One could even learn the “there” song to teach kindergartners “there” as a sight word.
  • Teachers are using interactive assignments, such as a drag/drop activity for spelling.
  • Specials teachers are having students visit the Figge, listen to the Quad City Symphony, or do an optional “Fitness Mathopoly” game.
  • Mrs. Wolf is providing ways to help us all with our social-emotional learning and coping and providing times for those needing some one-on-one extra attention.

We have received some great feedback from families, and the Zoom parent-only meetings have been helpful as well.  We have added the weekly spreadsheet with the scheduled Zoom meetings so you can try to organize things even better, and 6th-8th grade new content will begin to be released/posted at the common time of 7:00 p.m. the night before.  Tonight at 7:00 p.m., for example, all of the content for Monday’s core subject areas in grades 6-8 will be released/posted.  A common time is particularly important for these upper grade students who may have 3-4 different teachers.  We were also experiencing some issues with YouTube videos, including, of all things, Fr. Jake’s daily reflections being blocked.  We tried switching some links to SafeYoutube links but then ran into other issues.  Don’t tell your kids, but we had to reduce the level of security on the school issued Chromebooks so we could better access the YouTube videos we want for education.

As I’ve logged into every class and tried to use Seesaw and Google Classroom as a student, I have tried to do so without reading directions or watching tutorials to try to see just how user friendly these systems are.  While I’ve been seriously challenged at times, I’ve also discovered what you are probably experiencing: it’s becoming easier over time!  When I first started using Zoom, for example, I didn’t have time to learn or even explore every feature right away; I just needed the basics to function NOW.  However, now that I can do some of the basic things fairly well, I can explore and learn other features.  This week, I’m going to try to do a poll within a Zoom meeting!

As we are trying to cut down on “bulk” emails sent to families, please don’t forget to check for the specials information on their webpages, accessible through the front page of our website, www.olvjfk.com. We’ve also rearranged the list of teachers so that specials teachers are right near the top.

I have been trying to catch up on reading posts on our JFK Moms & Dads private Facebook group.  They are inspiring!  I must admit, however, that I’m not sure Mrs. Tilkens was that impressed with my plan to do the 5K by going back and forth to the refrigerator throughout the day.  If you would like to join this private group, please contact Angie Hillebrand at school, angie.hillebrand@olvjfkmail.com.

We can do this!

Future Questions

Some of this week’s bigger questions are now moving beyond the “what do we do now” phase to “what will it look like later” phase.  Three of these questions are presented below.  We don’t have answers yet, but I thought I’d share what’s being discussed.

  • When will school start again?  Governor Reynolds has waived the requirement that school cannot start before August 23rd this coming year.  Many districts are, thus, talking about starting earlier in August such as August 10th or even the 3rd.  Why start earlier?
    • Reduce the “summer slide.”  Most public school districts (87%) are not doing “instructed, required, and assessed,” like JFK, although many of the teachers are working as hard on “voluntary” as they would on “required.”   (About 60% of the private schools are at least doing required at some grade levels.) We know there is a normal summer slide between June and August.  A mid-March – late August slide would only be worse for those students who are not really engaged in work this spring.
    •  Have face-to-face instruction when you can.  What if there are more targeted closures that affect certain regions next fall/winter.  Isn’t it better to get face-to-face instruction in when you can just in case you can’t later?
    • Future COVID-19 days could be tacked on to the end of the school year.  If you start two weeks earlier in August with a planned end of the school year in mid-May (also two weeks earlier than normal) and then have to close for two weeks in February for another coronavirus outbreak, there’s an easy way to extend the school year without going too far into the summer.
  • What will the rest of the school calendar look like once schools do start?
    • Will it have built-in coronavirus days like built in snow days?
    • Will there be more school days than normal?
    • Will there be early start days or remediation days perhaps even scattered throughout the year that are required for some students?
  • What will school look like when we start?
    • What’s the best way to do social distancing in schools, if that’s still required?
    • Will all students start on the same day or will there be a phase in?
    • What criteria will parents and schools use to determine if a child (or teacher) is sick and needs to stay home?  How will education be provided for a student who has to quarantine due to possible exposure while attending a family gathering, for example, while his/her classmates do not need to do remote learning and can be at school?
    • Etc.

As you can see, there are more questions than answers now, but it is not too soon to start thinking about the future.  If you have ideas or just additional questions, please pass them along to me.  Even though it may not be possible to think of everything, we want to think about as much as we can while we have the chance.

Still Some Current Questions, Including the End of This School Year on June 5

While thinking about the future, there are also still many things that we will need to wrap up for this current school year:

  • When will we end this school year?  The board voted on Tuesday to return to the original June 5th end date.  The only reason we had been going to extend the school year was when we thought we could pick up some face-to-face instructional time.  That scenario will not happen this spring.
  • 8th grade graduation.  Some of our students have been with us 11 years, since 3 year old preschool.  We still want to have something special for them.
  • Finalizing some financial movement of funds:
    • There may still be some families that owe fees for things like the second semester of band or another pair of gym shorts, for example.
    • Lunch payments:  We’ll need to determine what to do with lunch account balances.  Some families may have some hefty balances sitting in their children’s accounts, and a few may owe us some money.
    • Lunch duty payments:  No one is going to be working any more lunch duties this year.  We’ll need to reimburse everyone for the days worked or transfer their fund balances to cover their other fees.
    • ECLC and after school care accounts need to be finalized.
    • K-8 families and paying preschool families will need to finalize tuition payments and/or talk to Fr. Jake about making payment arrangements (see below).
    • Finalizing, selling, and distributing yearbooks
    • Collecting JFK and AEA library books
  • Algebra aptitude testing to help with recommendations for next year’s 8th grade math
  • Budgeting for Home & School, Band Boosters, etc.
  • Etc.

New School Office Hours

The school office will be staffed 8:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Mondays – Thursdays.  Emily Sanderson will be in the school office on Mondays and Thursdays, and Angie Hillebrand will be there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  They are also available via email.

Donations, Tithing, Tuition Payments and Registration for Next Year

Both the school and the church are still dependent upon your regular contributions and payments.  Donation buttons are located on the front page of both the school (green) and parish (blue) sides of our website.  Tuition payments can be mailed, dropped off at the parish office, or made via debit/credit card over the phone.  Emily Sanderson is in the school office at least usually on Mondays and Thursdays.

Tuition payments for this school year:  Fr. Jake and Finance Council approved the following statements regarding flexibility for tuition payments.  They want to work with people even if it goes well into or through next school year too.

“From March 30th, 2020 through August 31, 2021, the Finance Council gives the Pastor authority to negotiate with families on how to pay their tuition payments.

All families who request a school contract for the 2020-2021 school year will not be denied a contract based upon how much tuition they owe the parish.

Any questions or concerns about tuition payments or contracts can be directed to Fr. Jake Greiner, greinerj@diodav.org or by calling 563-391-4245.”

Tuition Contracts for Next Year:  We still want to continue the registration process for next school year.  Returned tuition contracts helps us plan for next year as well.  Please return your tuition contract as soon as you can, even without paying the registration fee now.  That can be paid later, if necessary.  At the present time, we are extending the discounted registration fee (discounted to $100) until June 1st.  If you need another copy of your tuition contract, please contact Emily Sanderson at emily.sanderson@olvjfkmail.com.  Emily and Angie Hillebrand are also contacting families via phone to offer reminders and help.

School Meals

Recognizing the need that some families have for meals, ANY child between the ages of 1-18 years old may receive a lunch and breakfast at no cost at one of the following locations beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  It is not a requirement that the child currently be receiving a free/reduced price lunch; it is available to any child.

  • Achievement Service Center, located at 1702 N. Main Street
  • Davenport Sudlow, located at 1414 East Locust Street
  • Davenport Williams, located at 3040 North Division
  • Davenport Frank L. Smart, located at 1934 West 5th Street
  • Davenport Wood, located at 5701 North Division, Davenport

The child no longer has to be present to receive the free meal.  A sack lunch and breakfast for the following morning will be handed out on Monday through Friday.

Please open the trunk of your car or leave a seat open where staff can place the food.  This step will help reduce contact and practice a higher level of social distancing.

OLV parish bulletin:  Click HERE or use the following link/url:  https://www.olvjfk.com/olv/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/04/1032800022A-0402620.pdf

Plant Sale

Plants continue to grow in spite of COVID-19 as well.  Our plant sale sold about $11,500 worth of plants.  The plants will still be dropped off to us on April 29th and pick up will be on 4/30 and 5/1 from 11:00 – 6:00 and on 5/2 from 9:00 – 12:00.  Pick up will be different this year, with curbside only pickup.  Please click HERE to sign up for a pick up time or use the following link/url.  There are five pick up slots available in each 30 minute window:  https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/20F0C48ABAF2DA0FF2-jfkolv

Orders will be assembled ahead of time.  Please enter the school parking lot from 42nd Street and follow the directions on where to line up. Someone will be outside to take your name.  Your order will then be brought to you as soon as possible. Weather permitting, we will have extra plants for purchase located somewhere near the preschool playground.

If you are picking up orders for other people, please reserve/select more than one spot within the time slot as it will take more time to get all of the orders to you than if you were just picking up for yourself.

If you know of other family members or friends that placed an order with us, please pass this information along because, unfortunately, not everyone provided an email address with their order.  If you should have any questions, please email Andrea Schuster at: alspjs04@yahoo.com

Thank you again for your order, and thank you for your cooperation and understanding with pick up.

Fr. Jake’s Religious Icons

In the video below, Fr. Jake shares his thoughts regarding some of the religious icons in his personal collection:


Stay well!  Our Lady of Victory,…pray for us.