Due to circumstances caused by the community spread of COVID-19, the District made changes to student's schedules (see below). Announced earlier this week, these changes were not made lightly as we realize the adjustments families must make. Still, we can’t express enough that student and staff safety remains the driving force behind all calendar decisions.
*As previously scheduled, students will have Asynchronous learning (no Zoom classes) on Monday, November 23, and Tuesday, November 24, 2020 due to Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences.
*Please reference the Colonial School District Calendar
for any questions about student days.
Other Dates to Remember
November 23-24 -- Conferences available for all students (must schedule with teacher)
All students are doing Self-paced Online Learning Days (Asynchronous Learning) for students No Teacher Zooms
November 25, 26, 27 -- Schools and Offices Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
December 8 -- Board of Education Meeting
December 21 - January 1: Schools and offices closed
Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Since the start of the school year, Colonial Nation has encouraged students and staff to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet social distancing, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and covering coughs and sneezes. These practices continue to be important. As the weather becomes colder and families begin spending more time indoors, we ask that students, staff, and families follow the four recommended mitigation strategies when not in school. This is our best defense on addressing COVID-19. For the upcoming holidays' health experts hope families take this advice:
*Only dine socially (at home and in restaurants) with those who live with you.
*Don’t spend time socially with people outside your household.
*Don’t plan on holding holiday dinners with those outside your household – even family.
*Limit numbers to no more than 10 people.
*Eat outdoors if weather permits
*Continue to practice social distancing, handwashing, and wearing a mask
Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Over the week of parent-teacher conferences and Thanksgiving Break, we ask that you email your building principal if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result for a student enrolled in a Colonial School. Our school nurses will follow up with you upon their return on Monday, November 30th. Colonial is relying on our continued community collaboration to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Together WE can help stop the spread of COVID-19!
COVID-19 Testing at William Penn
Date: Sunday, November 29th
Location: Outside - William Penn High School Parking Lot
Time: 10am – 4pm
All students and families are encouraged to take advantage of this free opportunity for nasal swab testing. Pre-registration is not required but strongly encouraged. To pre-register click This Link
and follow the instructions below:
1) Click on the E-Req link
2) Fill in as much patient info as possible
3) Select collection date 11/30/2020
4) Click “Create E-Req”
5) Print out E-Req
6) Bring the print out to the testing site.
Please wear a face mask to the testing site.
WE Continue to Feed!
Whether in school, or virtual learning is taking place, WE FEED! Beginning Tuesday, December 1st, we will be rolling out 24 buses EVERY DAY into our community to make sure our students are well-nourished! Students will be receiving a hot meal for the day, and a breakfast for the next morning, every weekday beginning Tuesday, December 1 through Friday, December 18.
Drive-up meal pickup will also be available at William Penn, McCullough, and Wilbur loading docks in the back of the schools at 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM. (There will be NO meal delivery on Monday, November 30).
Once elementary schools re-open for all face-to-face students to return to school, meal distribution routes will condense again, as our buses will be rededicated to bringing our most precious cargo--our students, into our buildings.
Remember, meals are no cost to any child 18 years of age and younger, and masks are required when picking up meals. Please be sure to check the Colonial website for the delivery schedule. Thank you so much for your patience and participation while we all go through this together!
Free Meals & Community Support
Below are other agencies that are helping people in need, especially during the holidays.
Ministry Of Caring, Emmanuel Dining Room South - Delaware State Service Center
Monday-Friday from 12-1:00 PM
Free lunch served
500 Rogers Road, New Castle, DE 19720
Kind to Kids Foundation
Help for foster children and runaway teens. Foster families must register with their social worker for holiday assistance.
Message for William Penn Families
We are planning to offer a hybrid option, which will be a combination of remote and in-person learning, to our high school students starting in February 2021. Please be on the lookout in December for an opportunity to select either hybrid or continue remote-only learning during the 2nd Semester. William Penn and Wallin will use these parent selections to plan student classes, transportation, and student and teacher schedules. Once family selections have been received, more details will follow. Hybrid learners may be divided into groups and students will participate in remote learning when they are not learning in-person. Transportation will be available for students who are normally scheduled as bus riders; however, parents will need to select this as an option. Staff and students will follow all COVID-19 safety protocols. Hybrid and remote-only students who meet eligibility requirements for sports will still be able to participate in athletics.
Colonial Custodians are Hard at Work
Now, more than ever before, Colonial’s team of custodians are needed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and have risen to the call. Custodians have daily routines for disinfecting office areas along with rooms teachers are performing remote learning to be in compliance with health and safety standards set by the Division of Public Health. In addition to that arduous task, custodians have moved into a building project and training mode. Supervisor of Facilities, Ted Lambert, says his team is working on painting projects, custodial equipment preventative maintenance/training, and as weather allows, they are working on outdoor projects like edging sidewalks, pressure washing, cleaning fence lines, tree trimming, and rooftop equipment. While COVID protocols remain a priority, Lambert says there is much preventative maintenance to be done around the district like getting equipment prepared for snow removal. Custodians will also have to complete training modules issued by the state along with 400 hours of custodial training from one of Colonial’s suppliers. “This will help expand our staffs’ knowledge of how to provide a clean and disinfected building when students and staff return. The staff has been directed to work separately as much as possible which will cause some projects to take longer, but this must happen in order to keep social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID19. We have also directed staff to eat meals in separate areas to limit exposure and help prevent quarantine situations,” Lambert says. Colonial Nation is thankful for the hard work and dedication of custodians during this unprecedented time.
Update on Equity
The Colonial School District remains committed to its work towards seeking equity in the workforce, the classroom, and in the community. This intentional movement called ERA has been designed to Engage all employees in courageous conversations around equity while allowing participants to Reflect on their own identity and self-awareness and to Act to create change for our students and the greater community (ERA). There are several groups committed to doing this work:
Equity Professional Development
Co-Lead Facilitator Dr. Crystal Lancour (left) says these PD sessions among staff in all schools and divisions have been a huge success. Feedback from participants include comments like:
“Thank you for this training, especially keeping it to our school family. It was much easier to talk and be vulnerable. I appreciate your leadership with this topic, you are helping us all as teachers make history.”
“This is such important work! Proud to be in Colonial where we truly know "WE" means ALL - thank you!!!”
“These are great! Please continue to MAKE us do them, they are MUCH needed!!”
The Proximity Project
Eight teacher leaders and administrators are participating in an eight-week program that prompts them to examine and reform how they interact with and serve communities of color. This group has had equity conversations with students, families, and community members.
Wilbur Assistant Principal Kishayla Payne-Miller (center) says, “This work is important because a lot is happening in the world and I need to be able to engage in those tough conversations to be prepared to handle situations as they arise. I feel the equity conversations have allowed me to be conscious of what is happening in the world, gain different perspectives, and have the knowledge needed to engage in various conversations. It has also allowed me to share my story with others and allow them to understand my experiences.
Dr. Crystal Lancour, who is also Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction says, “My goal for participating in the Proximity Project was to deepen my own understanding of race and equity to be able to strengthen our efforts here in Colonial, most specifically focused on our professional learning for our staff. Based on my experiences in this program, I have already started to embed many of the activities into our learning experiences for Colonial across many levels.”
Learn more about the project at https://www.teensharp.org/tpp/
Equity Practitioner Program
The goal of this program is to learn, discuss, and explore systematic racism and oppression. Participants hold clinics and seminars with fellow district employees as well as those at the Odyssey Charter School. William Penn teacher Shelby Borst (right) says, “Our work within the Equity Practitioner's Program has been an incredibly powerful experience. It is important for a variety of reasons - from our own personal journeys to being the change we want to see in our district, our community, and in the larger society. We want to arm ourselves with the knowledge and language that is needed to make systemic change in this country. We not only want to empower our students with the same knowledge and tools that we have received within this program, but we envision a more equitable, fair, and safe environment for our students to thrive.”
Need help helping your child with remote learning? Colonial has created a Parent University to provide some technical support and training for parents during this remote learning period. These weekly, live sessions will give parents insight on remote learning tools such as Schoology, Kami, and much more. Kacie Thomas admits she was struggling with the virtual learning, especially when it came to making certain her daughter was keeping up with her assignments. “I can honestly say it (Parent University) was THE BEST thing I did this school year,” she says.
This is the 8th week of Parent University. Technology Supervisor Tom Gavin says Thomas isn’t the only parent who has applauded the district saying, “families have been extremely complimentary and appreciative around the level of support options we are now providing for both remote and face-to-face learning. They continue to share how thankful they are for both devices and tools provided but also the additional Ed Tech support and training that we are providing – which in many neighboring districts is lacking for families.”
Thomas says she was “hooked” on the lessons she learned at Colonial’s Parent University and hopes other parents will take advantage of the free tech instructions. “. Even when I could not log-on at the recurring meeting time I would go back and look at the recorded session.
Parent University is the way I am able to learn about the technology and resources Colonial School District has invested into that allows me as a parent to monitor how my child is progressing as well as giving me control on things like screen times and sites visited. It also put me at ease knowing I was not the only parent feeling unprepared,” she said..
The district continues to enhance methods of family support and has created five methods of Ed Tech support that detail each Parent University session – link included here
– for families. Additionally, office hours are included for one-on-one support!
Weekly Parent University Zoom series runs every Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:00. Additionally, each session is recorded and can be accessed at any time on our district website by accessing our Parent University webpage.
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