NOVEMBER 5, 2020

WE Will Feed!

As students in special programs started returning to schools for face-to-face instruction, and more students are planning to return in the coming weeks, it means fewer buses are available for Colonial’s Mobile Feeding Program. Initially, 40 buses were delivering 10,000 meals a day throughout the District. Now only 10 buses are trying to do the same job, causing delivery times to be delayed in many communities.

In order to expedite the process, we are condensing each bus route and establishing “drop spots” in communities.   Busses will be scheduled at each spot for 10 minutes for parents to retrieve meals for students.  Busses will be starting earlier, and stops with larger groups will be serviced from two bus windows, socially distanced apart. This approach should keep each bus closer to schedule and eliminate wait times.  Parents also have the option of utilizing drive-up sites at William Penn, McCullough, and Wilbur from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM on distribution days at the loading dock area in the back of the schools.

Our dedicated Nutrition Services and Transportation teams are fighting against all odds to ensure that all students 18 years of age and younger receive a healthy breakfast and lunch at no cost. Please check Colonial’s website at every morning for updated schedule times and routes. Students do not have to be present when picking up meals, but wearing a face mask is required. Remember when picking up meals at “drop spots” that bags will be heavy.  Nutrition Services Supervisor, Paula Angelucci says, “Our goal is to increase accessibility to meals, by opening the three pick-up locations in addition to the limited bus routes, we hope to make a positive impact in our community.”  

A Reminder of School Times

November Calendar Reminders

November 9 -- Phase 3: face-to-face learning dates for all elementary schools, Intensive Learning Center (ILC) at Gunning Bedford, Communication and Social Learning (CASL) at Gunning Bedford, Integration B at George Read, identified classes at William Penn High School

November 11 -- Schools and Offices Closed for Veterans Day

November 23-24 -- Elementary conferences, middle school special program conferences, high school conferences 

*All non-special program middle school conferences will be rescheduled for December by parent request.   

All students are doing Self-paced Online Learning Days (Asynchronous Learning) for students No Teacher Zooms

November 25-27 -- Schools and Offices Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

November 30 -- Phase 4: First day of face-to-face classes for those families that selected this option: middle school students, Wallace Wallin students, and Integration B & William Penn students 

Overview: Don Johnston Student Learning Tool

Thursday, November 12th at 4:30 pm

In this session, we will provide an overview of the Don Johnston Student Learning Tool.

This tool is used to support all learners with reading and writing and is available for all student use on Colonial Chromebooks.

Sign up to watch the live overview at

#WEGotThis-Success is Happening in Virtual & Face-to-Face Classrooms!

Ironically, it started on Friday the 13th, a day that has frightening connotations for those who are superstitious. That was the day the deadly pandemic called COVID-19 suddenly prompted school districts to close their doors. The pandemic forced educators to quickly pivot to remote learning, a task that seemed scary and almost impossible at first. Thanks to what grew into Colonial’s Virtual Academy, a robust and engaging online learning program was developed and continues to this day.

“Teaching during the pandemic is the hardest thing I’ve done in my career. The past few months have forced me to raise the bars for creativity and preparation,” said Joseph Parrett (upper left), a kindergarten teacher at Wilbur who uses colorful puppets to help him reach and teach his students. “The extra preparation and creativity pay off when the students are still laughing and smiling an hour into a Zoom session. Whether they are enjoying learning from a puppet, or they’re having fun waddling around like a penguin to express their answer to a question, fun equals engagement,” he says.  This veteran teacher with 27 years of experience also says every aspect of his lessons has to be considered through the lens of the pandemic but he believes the silver lining is remote learning has stretched teachers in such a way that they’ll be better at their jobs when face-to-face learning begins again.

Sarah Milner (upper middle), a preschool teacher for Colonial’s Early Education Program, discovered something she didn’t expect through remote learning; it gave her an opportunity to better engage the families as well as her students. Because adults had to assist her young students she believes the pandemic helped create what she calls a virtual school family. As for keeping her youngsters focused, she says she is adding more visual songs, rhymes, and fingerplays in her lessons.  “I am using everyday items found in my home for activities whenever possible to model for families how they can continue the learning experiences after our daily sessions are over,” she says. 

Tobi Fitzgerald, (upper right) a Special Education teacher at George Read Middle School, tries to keep virtual learning not only academically challenging but fun and even comical at times. She also realizes teaching virtually takes more planning, more creativity, and more teamwork with her paraprofessionals, saying, “This pandemic has made me realize I cannot accomplish virtual learning goals without assistance from others. My paraprofessionals have been an integral part of our success and I would not be here without them...their commitment to our students, creativity, work ethic, and belief that we will be amazing has been the greatest gift!” (Paras- Kortney McLaughlin middle left, Brandy Bunkley, middle center, Renee Massado, middle right)

For many teachers in the District, face-to-face instruction has already begun for preschoolers or students with special needs. Stephanie Alexander (lower left) couldn’t wait to see her students at Southern again, and says she could see the excitement in their eyes when they got off the buses even though their smiles were hidden beneath their masks. While there is widespread concern over children being able to manage social distancing and wearing a mask all day Alexander says, “our students have been reminding each other…watching our students become leaders in these times is so heartwarming. We have been so proud of even the smallest leaders stepping up in these times!”

At William Penn, teacher Luke Wittenbach ( lower right) has found returning to face-to-face under “the new normal” to be both rewarding and challenging saying, “It was great to be reconnected, it gave me an energy boost I was missing throughout virtual teaching.”  But with a hands-on curriculum designed for students with cognitive and physical disabilities, he says face-to-face instruction is tough. “Teaching through social distancing is much harder than I thought. It’s hard for students who are used to frequent high-five or pats on the back, but we’ve been trying to compensate by over-exaggerating our words of affirmation and praise.”

While all educators agree teaching virtually and face-to-face during the global pandemic is challenging, the welfare of Colonial’s most valuable treasure, our students, remains a priority. To put it simply William Penn teacher Mike Morton says, “I think we’re all doing our best in the given circumstances to try to make it work!”

WE Must Keep Students & Staff Safe

On Monday, November 9th, some elementary students will return to schools after their families elected to have face-to-face instruction. Virtual learning will continue for roughly 60% of Colonial’s student population. While administrators and teachers look forward to seeing students in the classroom, it is important that children be reminded that school, as they knew it before COVID-19, will not be the same. Under the “new normal” students and families must follow the following safety protocols:
*BEFORE children leave home, families are asked to check your students’ temperature. Click this link to access Colonial’s self-screener guidelines. 

*If your child is not feeling well, DO NOT send them to school. If a school nurse calls you because your child becomes ill at school, he or she will be sent to a designated room away from others until they are picked up. We ask that sick children be picked up immediately after notification from the school
*All children MUST wear a mask on school buses. 
* Students in grades K-12 must wear a mask in the classrooms at all times unless eating or drinking in the classroom.  Students in preschool are encouraged to wear a mask.
*All students are asked to bring a full water bottle with their name on it to school. Milk will be supplied during breakfast and lunches and extra water will also be provided when needed.
*Before boarding buses students are asked to use their own hand sanitizer.
*Bus riders will sit in designated seats so social distancing will be practiced. They are also encouraged to social distance at bus stops.
*Remind children to cough or sneeze into their elbow.
*Students will remain in socially distanced seats in the same classroom throughout the day. To reduce hallway movement, specials like art and physical education will be taught in the classroom.
*Breakfast and lunches will be served in the classrooms at no cost. Students are allowed to pack their lunches but NO PEANUT BUTTER products are allowed, to protect children and teachers with allergies.
*If your child has food allergies, please alert the school nurse.
All students will be provided with a take-home bag containing a mask, thermometer, and a health self-screening checklist. The school nurse is your point of contact for providing any medical updates or asking Covid-19 related questions/updates.  Please remember flu season is upon us. We encourage families to take all precautionary measures and remember free COVID testing sites can be found at

WE Must Keep Kids Informed!

The video below is suitable for elementary students who still may have questions or concerns about COVID-19

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