JULY 23, 2020
Pictured above are some members of Colonial's Operation team on one of many Zoom meetings. 

WE Hear You! Safe Return to School Plans

After much thoughtful consideration, Colonial’s Safe Return to School (SRS) workgroups have determined that William Penn students will begin the school year remotely.  Plans for Wallace Wallin and some of our other special programs are pending.  This decision was made based on the number of William Penn students, the guidance from the Delaware Department of Education, and the complexity of student schedules.  Plans for fall sports hinge on decisions made by the DIAA (Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association).  

Presently, each school in the district has a team working on building-based plans because what works for one school may not work for another.  About 270 administrators, teachers, and staff are figuring out what a student's day may look like in each of our Colonial schools based on the DOE guidance, district instructional, and operational workgroup recommendations, and survey information from parents.  Those plans include how instruction will be delivered, transportation, building entrances, meals being served, student movement throughout the day, and how social distancing will be practiced, to name a few. 

We wish to thank the more than 4,300 Pre-K to 8th-grade families who have already submitted their intentions for their children for this fall in our online survey.  This helped us further develop our plans as we work to ensure the safety of staff and students.  So that all opinions are captured, schools have teams that have been tasked with making phone calls to households that did not respond to the survey.  Parents of high school students were not included in the survey since the SRS teams realized face-to-face learning was not a viable option to start the year.

Colonial is offering two options in Pre-K through 8th grade:
• Remote Learning or 
• Face-to-Face Instruction
Parents who opted for remote learning were advised in advance that students are held to that expectation through the end of the 1st semester in mid-January.   At this point, parents have selected the following for their children:
• 39% for face-to-face
• 61% for remote only

Both approaches will be provided five (5) days a week and will hold similar expectations for teaching and learning. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Peter Leida stated, “We are very proud of our workgroups as they have dedicated significant time and commitment to this effort.  They have been meeting on a daily basis to develop options for families that keep our students and staff safe while creating a high-quality learning experience for every child.  We will continue our planning in preparation for the start of school and provide regular updates to families in the coming weeks.”

Please remember all Safe Return to School plans are subject to change at any time due to the unpredictable impact that COVID-19 has had on our state and school district.  We hope families appreciate the SRS teams who have spent countless hours making solid plans for the best and worst scenarios because WE cannot say this enough--the safety of students and staff is Colonial’s top priority. 

Keeping our Colonials Safe

The following videos are excellent resources to share with your entire family. Please continue to monitor Colonial Clippings and our website at www.colonialschooldistrict.org  for weekly safety videos and tips regarding COVID-19. The greatest tool to safeguard our community is knowledge about this virus. We will continue to share videos suitable for students of all ages on various topics related to how we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe. The below stresses the importance and correct way to wear face masks. We hope you learn a valuable and possibly life-saving lesson every week.
Mask Wearing 101: How to Properly Use & Re-use a Mask

Video: Mask Wearing 101: How to Properly Use & Re-use a Mask

Video: COVID-19 Proper Face Mask Usage PSA (Spanish)

Former VP Holds News Conference at Colwyck

Former Vice President and now presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden unveiled his “Build Back Better” economic plan at Colwyck, home of the Colonial Early Education Program (CEEP).  Biden chose CEEP for several reasons; leaders of the National Education Association and Delaware State Education Association recommended our district as an ideal location because Colonial accepts federal and state funds for the Purchase of Care program for low-income preschool students.  In addition, Delaware’s Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Vitelli, works at CEEP!
 Among other things, Biden announced plans for universal pre-K. “My child care plan is straightforward.  Every three- and four-year-old child will get access to free high-quality preschool like students have here” he said.  Due to social distancing precautions, the news conference was open to reporters and a handful of invited guests like Vitelli and   CEEP parent Sarah Johnson who told Biden her son Noah has thrived academically and socially at CEEP.  Principal Katrina Daniels was also present saying, “Providing access and opportunity to all 3- and 4- year old children aligns perfectly with our district’s mission and commitment to the families in this community.  We are truly excited about Vice President Joe Biden’s focus and commitment to strengthening Early Childhood Education and that he chose the Colonial Early Education Program school building to share this announcement with our country.”  Daniels went on to say “Vice President Biden understands the impact of early childhood education and care not only from an academic viewpoint but as a necessity for families and as a way to strengthen the economy.  He wants to make high-quality child care affordable and believes in the benefits of creating a universal preschool for all.  This is very timely because our district has made a strong commitment to investing in early childhood as well as professional development and having highly-qualified staff.”   Pictured above are Vitelli and her mother are with Biden on the left. Principal Daniels, Johnson, and her son Noah with Biden are on the right.

WE can Keep Kids Busy

Many families are enjoying staycations this summer.  Keeping kids occupied doesn’t have to be a challenge if you think outside the box by doing things like camping under the stars in your own backyard or having an outdoor movie night, having scavenger hunts, cooking/baking with your children, or going to picnics at nearby parks. 

One place to consider is New Castle’s Battery Park with its new biking/walking trail that can lead to the DuPont Environmental Education Center in Wilmington, where free staff-led binocular walks and animal encounters occur every Tuesday-Sunday. 
At Bellevue State Park, families can use the fitness trail, tennis courts, or fishing pond. 
At Lums Pond State Park, there are boat rentals, camping, fishing, and for the adventurous ones a Go Ape ziplining experience from the treetops! 

Other options to keep kids occupied at home include:

Sports Illustrated for Kids-https://www.sikids.com/
Khan Academy- free online learning resource-https://www.khanacademy.org/
Catch Health at Home- free health, nutrition, and physical activities

The New Castle Public Library has a summer reading program.  You can log in or register here to start logging your reading! https://nccde.beanstack.com/
Curbside pick-up is now available! 

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