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Spring Break • Time for Reflection

Spring Break has arrived … and we are headed into it knowing that schools will be closed for the remainder of the year.  Although I was prepared to hear this news from Governor Whitmir, it was still very difficult to accept the reality of not coming back together as a school family this year.  I’ve had to accept how sad I am  — and give myself permission to grieve.  A friend recommended Brené Brown’s finding meaning during a time of grief.   It was the perfect podcast to help me own my sadness while working on how to support you and your children through distance learning.

This week, I plan to turn my school brain down a couple notches and do my usual spring break activities:  drawer cleaning, weed pulling, podcast listening, book reading….and connecting with friends in new ways.   I hope you and your family can find creative ways to have fun during our ‘Social Distancing Spring Break!’

Before I wrap up, I wanted to remind you that even though we’re not together, it is still time for you to provide feedback on each child’s strengths/needs to help us build class lists for next year.  If you would like to complete the survey, visit this link: PARENT SURVEY: CLASS LISTS   The survey results come to me only.  I cannot honor all parent requests so please keep this in mind when you submit your form. The survey closes on APRIL 17 @ midnight.

Many factors go into creating classes, for example a fair distribution by gender, ability and much more.  We spend over 20 hours in the spring working on class lists.  Thank you for your support while we prepare for this important work.  And….something to keep in mind for the future:  This survey is unique to me as a leader.  Not all principals do this…and I do not know if this will be done with the next principal.

Wishing you week that I very much hope is healthy and fun!

Mrs. Reagan

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Week 30 = Week 3

Well…here we are in this very strange land of starting our third week at home when we are supposed to be starting our thirtieth week at school.

I don’t have much to add since the weekend emails regarding online learning access to GOOGLE CLASSROOMS.  Just as you are adjusting to this new reality, the Georgetown team is trying to adjust to working from home and raising children while we work from home.  It’s a humbling experience for everyone of us.

We are learning how to use tools like ZOOM to hold meetings…and even social gatherings with friends and family.  It’s forcing mindset growth ….reminding ourselves that we are learners just like our students are learners.  It’s humbling.

The share below is an example of how to use these new tools to work together.  It’s a perfect way to wrap up this short update.  From Us to You – The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Happy Sunny Wednesday!

You guys…look who took over my office~!  MR. ROB!

He is the only person who can get into Georgetown right now….and that’s because he is checking on the grass length and he is making sure NO DUST is settling on inside.  He likes his grass cut short and ZERO dust on furniture or floors!

MR. ROB IS THE BEST!

Enjoy his read aloud from my office below!

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Thank You Front Line Helpers!

Georgetown students want all of you that are working SO HARD to keep us safe to know how much we appreciate you!  The children have written letters to nurses, doctors, pharmacists, grocery store employees, sanitary workers and firefighters to say THANK YOU FOR KEEPING US SAFE. The letters have been mailed. In addition, some of the students read their letters aloud and sent these to me so that I could collect them to share with YOU.

If you are know someone in a field listed above, please share this blog link with them so that they can feel appreciated for keeping us safe, healthy and feed.

Warmly, Mrs. Reagan and the Georgetown Families

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Feeding our COMMUNITY

Hudsonville Public Schools is working hard to support families during this COVID19 crisis.  Our district website has a special page with updates for your to check.  I encourage you to visit it often.

ALSO, the district continues to offer free breakfast and lunch for children in need during the statewide school closure. Any child age 0-18 (or up to age 26 for young adults with special needs) can get meals.

Multiple meals distributed each of the days below:

Time:  11:00am-12:30pm

  • Monday, March 23:  2 days of breakfast and lunches per child
  • Wednesday, March 25:  3 days of breakfasts and lunches per child
  • Monday, March 30:  2 days of breakfast and lunches per child
  • Wednesday, April 1: 3 days of breakfasts and lunches per child

Locations: 

  • Hudsonville High School – 5037 32nd Avenue
  • Riley Middle School – 2745 Riley Street
  • Baldwin Middle School – 3835 Baldwin Street
  • Alward Elementary School – 3811 Port Sheldon Street

You may drive-up or walk to any site, simply grab and go.

Breakfast will be available at the same time for those families who wish to take it home for future use. Please also note that your children do need not to be present when picking up meals.

The schools will still be closed, but the meals will be served in their parking lots. We may open up additional sites if needed or alter locations based on demand.

You do NOT need to qualify for free or reduced lunch for this distribution.

However, if your family is affected by job loss or reduction in work hours, resulting in a drop in your household income, you can still apply for free or reduced meals at school. If you are approved, your eligibility will be active from now through the first 30 days of the 2020-21 School Year. Please apply online at www.lunchapp.com.

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CONNECTIONS: Week 29 aka Week 2

The past week has taught us this:  STAYING CONNECTED is IMPORTANT!  

I am writing this week’s update from all the Georgetown staff.  Collectively, we want you to know how much we miss you.  We miss the routine and we miss being together.  We also miss each other — it’s been more than a week since we have seen each other as staff members at school.  It’s supposed to be week 29 of school … but instead it’s Week 2 of COVID19 Homeschool.

We, the staff,  are learning ways to connect with one another and ways to connect with you.  As learners, we are embracing mindset growth opportunity.  I have learned about ZOOM and LOOM for meetings & recording lessons, FLIPGRID for student/teacher sharing, YOUTUBE for posting read alouds and more.  We’ve been fully immersed in the world of online tutorials, experimenting with one another and seeking peer review!

Whenever I get an alert that a video has been posted to flipgrid, I stop whatever I am doing and take in the 90 seconds of connecting with Georgetown family.   Thank you for posting these and helping us all feel connected! This week, we are going to share a JOKE on the school flipgrid.  We need to bring on the giggles.  More below.

Mrs. Bretz (music) and Mrs. Nienhuis/Mrs. VanKoevering (PE) have posted activities to help you stay connected with music and movement.  Mrs. Bretz also has a flipgrid recorder practice coming soon (sorry parents : /).

Please check the teacher blogs for lots of great links. Mrs Greenlund’s Blog has a special feature on VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS.

Another great resource:  GEORGETOWN READ ALOUDS ON YOUTUBE!

  • Kindergarten Teachers
  • Georgetown Read Alouds:  Check this site for read alouds by Mrs. R, Miss M, Mr. Rob, Mrs. Koon, Charles (a 1st Grader), Mrs. Speidel, Mrs. Reagan and more. If you want to read a book aloud, send the video to me or your teacher and we’ll upload it to this site!  I have also added more links to read alouds in our LINK menu to the left.  It is a link category titled:  Connecting during COVID19.

 

Okay..for this week, let’s SHARE A JOKE!  Directions are below.  As we close, we (all of us at Georgetown) want to thank you for staying home and preventing the spread of the virus!  In the meantime, let’s learn how to appreciate the simple things in life and connect in new ways!

Mrs. Reagan

SHARE A JOKE ON FLIPGRID HOW TO’s

Step 1: Go to flipgrid.com/georgetownrocks

Step 2: Sign in to the Grid

  • Join with your school email and password.
  • Code  georgetownrocks

Recording a Video 

Once in a Grid click the green plus to record in three easy steps:

  1.  mceclip0.png  Tap to record – Tap the record button on the bottom to start. Add fun stickers, filters, text, and more. Tap the arrow on the bottom right to advance.
  2. mceclip1.png Review your video – Trim, rearrange, or add more. Tap the arrow in the bottom right to advance.
  3. mceclip2.png  Take a selfie – The selfie will be the cover image for your video. Tap the arrow in the bottom right to advance.
  4. mceclip3.png  Submit your video – Edit your name, add a title, or attach a link. Then submit!
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Teaching Tolerance: Racism and COVID19

I think it is important to inform your children about the virus and help them understand that this virus — was NOT created by a group of people —  and NO ONE should be blamed for this virus.

Teaching tolerance is part of our daily practice at Georgetown.  We work with children and we know that they repeat what they hear from others (peers, news media, etc.).   Children also also either/or thinkers — they are growing into complex reasoners/thinkers.  And they have more limited experiences than adults.

Georgetown has children of many different beautiful ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.  We want them to feel comfortable and proud of who they are and who they are going to become.  Because of this, we are committed to having a zero tolerance for hurtful comments with means pre-teaching tolerance and confronting/naming intolerance when it happens.   And it happens.  Children make comments about body size, body appearance, odor, skin color, skin texture (rashes, eczema, burns), disability (missing limbs, hearing aids), body shape and body size, faith, family make up, etc.

How do we teach tolerance on a daily basis?

When we hear a child make a statement or ask a question that could be felt or perceived as hurtful to another, we pull that child aside and engage in a teachable moment.  It usually sounds like this:

  • I heard you say this to….
  • This is what those words can mean to that person…
  • This is the impact words like these have on this person…
  • When words like that are said people do not feel safe…
  • We need to figure out how to make this right and make sure this doesn’t happen again.
  • Where would you like to start?

These conversations are hard and long.  It usually involves myself and or another staff member meeting with other children too.  When intolerant words are used, there is frequently an audience.  We want everyone who heard the words to understand the impact and also to learn how to be courageous enough to stand up for one another if this happens again.

When I read and hear that Asian Americans are being blamed, teased and/or bullied for the COVID19 Virus, I am horrified.  I immediately think of all the children I know at Georgetown of Asian decent and I worry that they may hear this message and feel less than the amazing person they are.

This virus was NOT created by a group of people.  Please work to help your child understand that we have teachers, nurses, doctors, city/county workers, healthcare workers, grocery store employees, first responders and MORE who are diverse and working as hard as the rest of us to be safe and take care of us during this hard, difficult time.

What’s coming next…. A post tomorrow about connecting with teachers and kids and updates for next week.

Air Hugs,

Mrs. Reagan

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GOOD MORNING SUNSHINES!

I am trying to figure out what my new normal is … being a principal from home.  I am also trying to figure out how to be AT HOME ALL THE TIME.  If you read my Sunday post, you know that I am self-quarantining with my husband, Tony, who has cancer.  We are doing all we can to make sure that we stay healthy.

You won’t be surprised to hear that the very first thing I did was make a schedule…for me and Tony to follow.  He was a bit surprised to hear this …but I told him WE HAVE TO HAVE A ROUTINE.  It looks boring compared to yours — but it works right now.

Sitting and working on school stuff has been interesting because I have two dogs, Otis (I call him Otis Potis Pie) and Milo (also called Milo Jilo).  And guess what, they do not want me on my laptop.  They want me to PLAY with them….and I am glad about that.  I love puppies as much as I love kids!  They let me know when I have been on my laptop too long by nudging their noses over the keyboard.

I am also trying to figure out how to connect with our amazing teachers and parapros and Mr. Rob and Mrs. Hoekstra and Mrs. Jeltema.  AND…most importantly all my favorite Georgetown kids.

I want to learn more about where you are doing your learning and if you have a pet.  I made a FLIPGRID with a invite video for you to share with me.  Everyone will be able to watch it.  If it goes well, I will do another FLIPGRID in a few days.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to this link.
  • You will be asked to enter your school email.  It is your username + hpsstudents.net.
  • You will also be asked to enter a code and it is this:  22faf4f1

 

Watch my video and then film your own.  You have 90 seconds to take your video.  Excited to see what you create.  Also…if you can’t figure your school username, just email me:  treagan@hpseagles.net

Also, if you wrote a letter to one of our critical people who are taking care of us in the grocery stores, hospitals, doctor’s offices or our first responders, make a video reading it and I will put these together to send to all these people.  Also…mail it.  They need our thank you’s right now.

Okay…that’s it for now!  MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY!

Mrs. Reagan

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LET GO…and BE PRESENT and BE THANKFUL.

Your child will not fall behind. 

Right now is NOT about math facts, reading comprehension and writing fluency.

It’s about humanity, kindness, caring and resilience.

Turn off the TV.  Put your phone down.

Be present right now.

Today focus on WRITING.  Write notes of appreciation to Firefighters, Grocery Suppliers and Workers, Hospital Staff, Doctor’s Offices and MUCH MORE.

WITH your child, write notes to thank people in our own community.  The people who are making sure that we have food, medicine and access to care every day.

If you video your child reading the letter, send it to me via email.  I will put these into a imovie to post and send out to the stores, hospitals as well.  My email:  treagan@hpseagles.net

I made a quick list with links to address…but there are many more to thank.  For this week, commit to writing and mailing one per day with your child.

 

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Week 28: March 16-20, 2020

Dear Georgetown Families,

This weekend, I have started and re-started my weekly update to you … and my weekly update that I send to the staff … more times than I can count.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

My husband has a compromised immune system (chronic lymphoma) which means we have elected to impose a quarantine to do all we can to limit his exposure to COVID19.  If I need to go out, I leave early and when I return, I shower and change my clothes.  I know that some people might think this is extreme…but I love this man to the moon and back so I’ll do all I can to protect him.  The State of Emergency is very personal for me.  I worry about what I could expose him too — and what it will do to him.  I worry the same way about several of our parents with cancer and one brave and incredibly funny fourth grade boy (Kai) and an exceptionally tough and bright former fifth grade girl (Alexa).   And my list goes on and on and on. I am 100% committed to ‘flattening the curve.’ 

The hardest part of this update for me is being brave enough to share how difficult this time is for me, personally and professionally.  I am worried about those that I love at home and at school.  How do I stay connected with the children and staff I adore — via the blog?  How does this work?  And… the answer is, I don’t know yet.  The answer also is… I will calmly figure it out.  I do know that it all comes down to how I respond and react to this new normal.

For those of you wondering how to talk to your kids about COVID-19, this is an excellent article.  As much as possible, limit access to the news — even if it’s the sports channel.  COVID-19 updates are everywhere and one of the reasons I miss having the kids at school is that they are removed from news and social media for seven hours everyday.

Some of you have reached out with concerns about how much learning to do each day and how — and concerns about your limited access to tech devices.  My advice right now: LET GO.  Start by turning off the media and creating a routine…even the most basic.   Kahn Academy has a great sample of what it can look like.   Also, Mrs. Tindall posted a great one that she found on her blog.   Every single child craves a routine.  Design one that works for you and your child.

More to come from me…and the team.  Right now just know I miss you and your kids and our usual routine.

Mrs. Reagan

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