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Happy (almost) Thanksgiving Week

Happy Friday Georgetown Families,

Life certainly can move quickly.  At this time last week we were finishing up our 12th week of in-person instruction, preparing for conferences, and looking forward to Thanksgiving.  While none of those things changed, our immediate outlook and mode of instruction was detoured as we now prepare for a period of remote learning.  This period, like much in life, will not be the easiest nor always the most fun, but our teachers and staff have been working so incredibly hard this week to create a learning environment (online) that can continue the social, emotional, and academic learning and growth that our students have achieved this year.  I recognize and empathize with the challenges that this period will place on our families over the next few weeks as you are suddenly thrust into roles and schedules that have perhaps turned your lives topsy-turvy.  So many of us in this building are in the same position, trying to navigate online learning for our own children while continuing to work with and serve the students at Georgetown.  The good news is that, as I’ve said before and will unabashedly say again, we have an amazing staff working with wonderful children who come to us from incredible families.  There will be bumps in the road, but I have no doubts that GES, our families, and the community working in conjunction with each other will be able to overcome these challenges and help Georgetown’s students to continue to excel.  

There are a few pieces of information I wanted to provide to our families today.  The first has to do with attendance.  During our remote phase, to comply with mandated guidelines, we must still complete daily attendance.  We will begin taking attendance on December 1.  Attendance is required and will be taken once in the a.m. and once in the p.m. for elementary.  If your child will be unable to participate in the live portions of the remote learning on a given day, please plan to call or email the secretary to excuse your student from remote learning the same as we would for face-to-face learning.   There could be “normal” reasons for this such as illness, appointments, etc.  We also understand that due to the nature of this situation there may also be reasons such as wifi not working, parents working (students engaging in asynchronous learning), technology issues, etc.  You can contact the school at 616.797.9797 or email our administrative assistant who works with attendance directly at mjeltem@hpseagles.net  Please know, we understand that some families will be unable to engage in live instruction and will instead engage in that learning asynchronously when they are able.  That is OK.  While we have to mark our attendance to comply with state requirements at this time, we know that during this phase of learning there will be students that are unable to attend for a variety of reasons.  You can count on GES to support your students, meeting their needs in ways which work for them and we will count on you to partner with us in doing so.  

Next, please be on the lookout for communications from your child’s teacher about what to expect in terms of a daily schedule.  Many teachers have communicated this information out already.  In general terms, you can expect two live (synchronous) whole group meetings each day with your child’s classroom teacher.  There will also be small group and individual check-ins during the week, both with our teachers and with our staff who work with small groups during face-to-face instruction.  Your child will also have their daily special class (Art, Music, PE, STEAM).  These lessons will be recorded, but the teachers will be meeting live to work with students, answer questions, etc.  

On the subject of specials, I wanted to provide you with a document to help navigate this portion of our remote phase.  This can be the trickiest as these classes change each day for our students.  Your classroom teacher will have information posted and try to help keep things straight as well, but this document will show you which special your child has on which day and also includes the links to the meetings and Google Classrooms for those classes. 

Finally, a few other links to resources available right now to help with different issues.  I will try to post more as they come to me.  The first is a program to help with Internet costs / hooking up to the internet if you need it.  Information can be found at this link.  Students are also still eligible to receive meals from school during this remote phase.  The distribution is obviously a little different than during face-to-face instruction, but here is the link from which to order if you are interested.  

I want to wish all of our students and families a wonderful weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving next week.  As I personally reflected this week it occurred to me that Thanksgiving is coming at the perfect time.  Not in the sense that it provides a break from the hectic nature of what this past week has thrown everyone’s way, but in the sense that it has helped me to recognize how much I have to be thankful for in my life right now.  The situation that we have all been put into is less than ideal to say the least, but there is so much that is still amazing in my life…not the least of which is the fact that I get to work with your children and their teachers.  We have such wonderful people that teach, learn, and work together at Georgetown.  Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make Georgetown the absolute best!  

~Randy

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