May 24, 2020

Return to Learn Planning and Guiding Principles

Discussions concerning our “Return to Learn” planning for next school year continue.  We will likely have three separate plans ready.  One will be a plan for remote learning similar to what we are doing now.  This plan could be used if we could not have students on campus for long or short periods of time.  If we were to start school in August with students physically on-site, but had to close the school, a grade, or even just a homeroom for several days in February, for example, we would use the remote learning plan.

A second plan is for having students on campus in August.  This plan consumed the majority of our discussions this past week.  Planning for re-opening is a challenge as there are many views/guidelines to consider coming from a variety of sources:

  1. National leadership, such as what President Trump is saying
  2. The Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  3. Iowa Governor Reynolds’ proclamations and statements
  4. Iowa Department of Education
  5. Iowa Department of Public Health
  6. Iowa COVID regions
  7. Scott County
  8. City of Davenport
  9. Diocese of Davenport
  10. Davenport Community School District (DCSD)
  11. What other area churches and Catholic schools are doing
  12. Everyone’s own opinions and practices
  13. OLV/JFK itself

One also has to sort through the information to determine what are opinions, what are guidance or recommendations, what are binding mandates, and what are just actions that people are taking.  It should also be noted that conversations and decisions are always influenced in schools by the fact that we are responsible for other people’s children.  What we might do within our own families may not be the same when charged with the responsibility to care for other people’s children.

Guiding our conversations for re-opening are the following primary principles, quoted from CDC documentation:

  • “Promote healthy hygiene practices such as hand washing and employees wearing a cloth face covering, as feasible
  • Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation
  • Encourage social distancing through increased spacing, small groups and limited mixing between groups, if feasible
  • Train all employees on health and safety protocols”

A fifth area would be screening of students and employees, and there currently seems to be somewhat fluid guidance on what that might look like.    

At JFK, we have had some intense conversations regarding room assignments and how furniture would be arranged, specials (art, music, PE, band, library), “traveling” in the upper grades, re-grouping/mixing students, recess, after school child care (aftercare), lunches and snacks, student drop off/pick up, and cleaning/sanitizing.  As I mentioned in last week’s Principal’s Post, we are blessed at JFK with large classrooms, which provide us with some great options for social distancing.  The same can be said about areas that we can use for recesses.

The third plan within the “Return to Learn” framework is a hybrid plan or something that might be in between everyone working remotely and everyone being on campus.  There are a lot of transportation issues that would have to be considered with a hybrid model so we won’t work too much on that one until we have a better idea of what the DCSD might do for a hybrid model.

No Calendar/Start Date Yet for Next Year

We still have not heard when the DCSD will start next year or what their calendar will look like, and they are not on their May 26th board meeting’s agenda.  We will not set our start date and calendar at JFK until we know theirs so we can consider any bus issues.  It does not sound like early August start dates will be considered, however.  Prior to COVID-19, plans were progressing toward an August 24th start date.  I doubt that we would consider anything much earlier than August 17th now, if even that early.

Last Day of 2019-20 School Year

The last day of the 2019-20 school year is June 5th.  The last day of new required work for students is June 3rd.  June 4th and 5th will be used for students to catch up, make corrections and bring previously submitted work up to an acceptable level of mastery as needed, and to extend their learning with non-required activities.  The P/I final determinations will be made by June 8th, if possible.

OLV/JFK Staff Service Awards

Each year, JFK’s Home & School Association recognizes OLV/JFK staff members that have served for various five year increments.  This year’s recognition is for the following:

Completing 5 years:  Ann Lotspeich, Kari Lystiuk, Rita Nagle, Terry Wendl
Completing 10 years:  Gaby Moya, Kelly Poster, Dianne Siefers
Completing 15 years:  Karen Youngerman
Completing 25 years:  Angie Logan
Completing 40 years:  Linda Vogel

Legislative Alert to Help Nonpublic Schools and JFK

Please take a moment to contact your Members of Congress to ask that emergency aid to nonpublic schools and families be included in the next Covid-19 Legislation package. Our requests include equitable access to K-12 federal funds for nonpublic schools, direct support to families for tuition assistance and additional tax breaks for K-12 tuition payments.

As always, we encourage you to include your personal story in the message to your legislators, as well.

Our nonpublic schools and the families they serve should be included in the COVID-19 relief legislation. Make your voice heard by contacting your Congressional members today. Thank you for your advocacy!

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/mZ6GAEViN5B8VlUciVyEDg

How are OLV and JFK Doing?

Fr. Jake, the Finance Council, and I have been operating on a “plan for the worst, hope for the best” mentality.  With ten weeks of no Masses now and large numbers of people unemployed in the community, we were preparing for the loss of church revenue and families having difficulty staying current with tuition payments.  While both of those things have happened, we, at OLV and JFK, have, again, been blessed.  The negative impact hasn’t been as bad as it could have been.  More people have, for example, turned to automated or online “envelope” giving to OLV, and some families have been able to direct some of their stimulus checks toward OLV or toward their JFK tuition bills.  We also have a few families that are working with Fr. Jake to develop personalized payment plans for tuition.  We will make it through the crisis together!

Registration for Next Year

This past week I sent an email to families with students in grades PS-7 if we do not yet have a tuition contract for next school year.  While, traditionally, JFK families are slow to return tuition contracts, being able to accurately project enrollment for the fall seems even more critical this year.  We will be needing to make some significant decisions such as how many desks we are really going to need if we have desks in all classrooms rather than the student tables that are currently in some rooms, how many math textbooks will we really need as we move to new/updated materials, how many Chromebooks do we really need to replace/update, etc.

Returned tuition contracts helps us plan for next year.  Please return your tuition contract as soon as you can, even without paying the registration fee now.  We would even accept a photo of a signed tuition contract sent to us via email.  We would even accept it without payment of the registration fee right now.  That can be paid later, if necessary.

As Iowa and the nation begin to re-open, we do understand the delays that people may have.  If you are concerned about finishing your tuition and other payments for the current school year, please contact Fr. Jake (greinerj@diodav.org or 563-391-4245) or Emily Sanderson (emily.sanderson@olvjfkmail.com or 563-391-3030) so a payment plan can be arranged.  We do not want unexpected financial barriers this year to prevent people from registering for next year.  If you are concerned about how to pay for next school year, don’t forget to apply for the Family Tuition Plan financial assistance, for which the application can be found HERE or https://www.assumptionhigh.org/familytuitionplan/.  Even if you need to send in the completed tuition contract without the registration fee yet, please do so as soon as possible.

We do, of course, need the registration fee eventually.  The deadline for the registration fee and deadline for the discounted registration fee have been extended to June 30th.  The discounted fee is $100 per child with a maximum of $200 per family.  On July 1st, the discount ends, and the fee will return to $125 per child with a maximum of $250 per family.  If you turned in a tuition contract without the registration fee, please send us the registration fee by June 30th so you can take advantage of the discount.

JFK Graduation

At 6:30 p.m. on June 5th, we will do something similar to our reverse teacher parade just for our 8th graders.  Their last stop in the parking lot will be to receive a “goodie bag” of several items, including their 8th grade t-shirt, ribbon/medallion, diploma, and other personalized items.  We will also be making a special video for them that will be on a flash drive and posted on our channel.

Additionally, JFK graduates will be recognized after the May 31st Mass, which is also broadcast on COZI-TV, and their names are displayed on a banner on OLV/JFK property.

“Closure” to the End of the School Year for Everyone

To find “closure” to the end of this school year for all students, we will be making a special video for each grade level that will be shared and posted.  We’ll also have some personalized items for our students.  Our distribution method will be set in conjunction with a method to distribute yearbooks and to collect Chromebooks, 8th grade ELA textbooks, JFK and AEA library books, etc.

End of the Year Drop Off and Pick Up of Items

During the week of June 1st, families will receive an email from us with the dates/times for drop off and pick up of materials and a list of what is owed from your students.  Many families have JFK Chromebooks and chargers, library books, and even some textbooks to return.  There may even be some band instruments to be returned by graduating 8th graders.  We will also have yearbooks for those who ordered them plus a few extra for sale and a special gift for students to be picked up.

To allow for social distancing, we have assigned drop off times and dates according to the first letter of your child’s last name.
Last Names Beginning with A through L:  Monday June 8th and Tuesday June 9th 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Last Names Beginning with M through Z:  Wednesday June 10th and Thursday June 11th 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Face masks should be worn by those entering the building, and the number of people from each family should be limited to those needed to carry the materials to be returned.

Scholarship and Awards

Eighth grade scholarships and awards will be recognized through video with a release target date of May 29th.

There are also two Our Lady of Victory Scholarships, each worth $500, for a 7th grader going into 8th grade and a 6th grader who is going into 7th grade next year.  There are many factors taken into account for this scholarship, including leadership, Christian witness, moral character, scholarship, need, and community service, and students must submit an essay application highlighting many of these areas.   I am pleased to announce the recipients of these two scholarships:  Ava P (currently in 7th grade) and Clara N (currently in 6th grade).

OLV parish bulletin:  Click HERE or use the following link/url:  https://www.olvjfk.com/olv/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/05/1032800026A-05242020.pdf

 

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

Chad