Good morning Academy Families,
Today is April 10th. I hope you are well! Yesterday, Governor Dunleavy made the public announcement that all Alaska schools will close for the remainder of the academic school year. I know it’s for everyone’s safety, but I am incredibly sad when I think about exactly how much Academy’s students are missing. The end of year traditions, the field trips, and the comprehensive hands on learning and collaboration that occurs in a school building, that shapes our students into the amazing, engaged students that are so successful in the future.
The Advisory Board has approved an emergency resolution, it is quite lengthy as it is a legal document. I’ll read the last couple of Whereas which basically sum up the document:
WHEREAS, in this unique and exceptional set of circumstances, any attempt to complete unfulfilled hours of the Parent Participation Component for academic year 2019-2020 will run against these social distancing principles, may violate the Alaska Governor’s mandate issued on March 23, 2020, and potentially have negative effects on the Academy Charter School community and the public at large; and
WHEREAS, the Academy Charter School Advisory Board, in accord with the directives and guidance being given by health officials and civil authorities, has considered these extraordinary events and finds that the interests of the larger community are best served by a unique one-time waiver of all remaining parent participation hours for the academic year 2019-2020.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in the interests of ensuring that everyone associated with Academy Charter School to do their part as a responsible and respectful member of the community, the Academy Charter School Advisory Board advises all families to comply with the Alaska Governor’s mandates and hereby WAIVES any unfulfilled Parent Participation hours for the 2019-2020 academic year.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this waiver cannot be extended, renewed, or continued beyond the 2019-2020 academic year.
You may wonder why it had to be written in such a legal manner? The charter is a legal, binding contract and every angle was considered, so this unprecedented action does not damage our charter, and school, by inadvertently establishing a precedent that would undermine its strength in the future, when we are past this crisis. I am thankful for the attorney who analyzed and reviewed the charter ‘s intent and wrote the resolution that the Board approved. We are confident that this resolution will protect Academy’s charter and provides families with unfulfilled parent participation hours with safe harbor.
Thank you for your constant support! I hope you have a wonderful day! Happy Easter!
Barbara Gerard, Principal
From the Facebook LIVE Announcements and Updates for April 6, 2020
Good morning Academy Families,
Today is April 6th. I hope you are well! We are now in our 4th week of home delivery of instruction.
The Advisory Board has agreed to purchase the 2019-20 school yearbooks, one for each student, at no charge to the student or family! As soon as the yearbooks arrive, the yearbooks will be placed in a large envelope and mailed to the student’s home mailing address! Yes, every student, in grades kindergarten thru 8th grade will receive one of these wonderful yearbooks! Students can look forward to their yearbook arriving at their home around May 18th.
I especially want to recognize Sabrena Combs for the hours and hours of time she spends creating Academy’s annual yearbook! By herself, Sabrena gathers the photos, and organizes them into one of the best yearbooks around! We are so fortunate! Thank you to Sabrena!
The April meeting of the Advisory Board has been cancelled, though the Board continues to work and support our school.
I am extremely impressed with Academy’s art teacher Misty Holler and her 7-minute YouTube video lesson for the upper elementary grades. This lesson is on how to draw birch trees and it is wonderful! We are so fortunate to have such a highly skilled, dedicated and amazing art teacher! As we build and master these new instructional skills, we have a whole new appreciation on the time and effort it takes to do this and do this well! Mrs. Holler spent over 3 hours to create that 7-minute YouTube video! I hope the upper elementary students and families will take a moment to watch Mrs. Holler’s 7-minute art instruction video as it is top-notch, and you too will be amazed!
The Advisory Board is currently addressing the issue of school closure and how it is impacting the families that still have parent participation hours to complete. Should the school closure continue into May, the Board will announce an emergency action regarding Parent Participation Hours. We appreciate your patience!
Thank you for all your constant support. I hope you have a wonderful day!
With Warm Regards,
Barbara Gerard, Principal
Good morning Academy Families,
Today is April 3rd. I hope you are well! It feels great to come to the end of another successful week of home delivery of instruction!
Marcy was able to speak with Lifetouch about the Spring individual student photos along with the pictures of the 8th graders in their caps and gowns. Lifetouch apologizes for the delay in getting the printed pictures to us. They have been harshly impacted by the global pandemic and they only have one factory printing pictures for the entire US.
Due to the fact that in some locations around the valley, even with maximum upgraded internet for that area, the internet will not support the 90 minutes it takes to convert a 30 minute recorded ZOOM class, plus the additional time it take to upload. This means some teachers are unable to record their zoom classes. We apologize.
Academy’s staff has been provided with the State of Alaska Security Office’s best practices to avoid VTC Hijacking and ZOOM Bombing. VTC Hijacking and ZOOM Bombing is when malicious individuals join teleconferences and post explicit video and audio. I want to reassure you that we are following and implementing these recommended procedures to keep our staff and students safe. We are thankful for the support of the Alaska State Troopers and the FBI’s Internet Crime Division.
I hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend! As always, I appreciate your constant support!
With Warm Regards,
Barbara Gerard, Principal
From my FB LIVE Morning Announcements and Updates...March 27
Good Morning Academy Families,
Today is Friday, March 27th. If life was normal, we WOULD be arriving at Alyeska to spend the day swishing down our beautiful mountains, watching 300+ students and their families interact and learn to ski and snowboard. For those of you that like to put things on your calendar early….we have already scheduled our ski day for next year, Academy’s ski day will be held on Friday, March 26, 2021.
I am wearing Academy blue today, though THIS morning I selected one with lots of sparkles! Sparkles in celebration of Academy’s amazing staff, Academy’s outstanding students, and their dedicated wonderful parents! We have worked seamlessly together…. to learn new virtual programs and roll out the Language Arts and Mathematics Lessons! I am amazed and so impressed with the commitment to continue with top notch learning, regardless of the craziness and the crazies, regardless of the news…broadcasting gloom and doom, we recognize that this crisis WILL pass. We MUST remain focused on our mission – to create well rounded, deep thinkers, who are able to problem solve, collaborate, and communicate. Thank you for your willingness to go the extra mile and keep on pushing towards excellence!
We are currently updating our 5-day Spreadsheet that provides a great overview of the entire school with each teacher color-coded so you can easily find the class and the time it will be live streamed or available by video or some other virtual format. Marcy will email out the updated spreadsheet late Sunday evening. You will find we have added middle school science, middle school history, and middle school Spanish. In week 4, you can look forward to the addition of a couple of the elementary lab classes.
Grading and grades are important. We want our students to apply themselves and to engage in the wonderful lessons and virtual classroom experiences that Academy is providing. Our goal is to maintain rigor, while acknowledging the fact we are in the middle of a global pandemic!
Beginning on Monday, March 30th, the middle school Language Arts and Math teachers will begin to grade assignments and enter them into Synergy. Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades will receive clear, well communicated expectations for earning a letter grade, similar to the grading guidelines already established and shared at the beginning of the year for those high school credit classes.
For the primary grade levels, the grading and feedback will remain encouraging of each student’s effort and in celebration of their hard work. I have to compliment you the parent! Thank you for requiring your child to put in the time and effort on LEXIA, Splash Math, and the many other online learning programs. We are receiving daily reports on each student’s progress and time spent on LEXIA and other online learning programs. It is impressive to see 1st graders beginning 2nd grade level LEXIA and so on. Keep it up!
Upper elementary teachers will also begin to grade assignments along with student participation in the virtual classrooms. Again, grading and grades are important for consistency, accountability and making certain Academy’s students continue to make great progress.
In summary… you should expect the updated 5-day spreadsheet on Sunday sometime after 6 pm. You will begin to see assignments and student participation graded.
Here’s a Parent question…
Should we begin to prep for World Fair? The answer…. it is just too difficult to predict what might be happening in 4 weeks, as there are too many variables and things that are simply out of our control. I certainly want to have World Fair. Our students have missed out on so many of our wonderful traditions and amazing learning opportunities due to this unfortunate crisis. If, by some miracle, we go back to school on May 4th, we will make every effort to prepare the classrooms and hold our World Fair on Thursday, May 7th. No guarantees of course!
Thank you so much for your constant support! I hope you have a wonderful day!
With warm regards,
Dear Academy Families,
Today is Monday, March 23, 2020.. I hope you are well!
I am absolutely thrilled to report that over 140 families came to the school on Sunday to pickup their child’s personal items and lesson materials! This evening, all but one family had picked up. Well done ACADEMY!
Next Monday, Donna Adams and Melissa Long will begin to credit all families that used credit cards to pay for either the ski trip or 6th grade's trip to Juneau. Sorry, but due to the fact we do not keep credit card numbers, if you used a credit card to pay, Melissa will need to call you and while you are on the phone, Melissa will enter your credit card number and credit your account. We will have to apply the credit to the same card that you used to pay. (We have the last 4 numbers of that card only.)
If you paid by check or cash, Donna will write refund checks next Monday. Donna will mail them directly to your home address. Thank you for your patience!
I am so proud of Academy's teachers and support staff. Today they rolled out the first lessons, either video taped and using You Tube, Google Docs, or using the ZOOM live classroom instruction platform. It was wonderful to see the student faces. We really miss our students! (You too!)
Tomorrow morning Marcy will email this week's 5-day spreadsheet that includes the entire school’s proposed “live” and video taped classes for this week. The spreadsheet has multiple sheets, as there is one for Monday, one for Tuesday, one for Wednesday, etc. The one Marcy will email is specific to this week and we are rolling out and targeting Language Arts and Math only. The teacher's are color coded.
We plan to email an updated spreadsheet each week, on Sunday evening. This spreadsheet is designed to help you, so you have an overview of the live classes, videos. This will help you plan for when your child will be online, working in a virtual platform. Each Sunday the updated spreadsheet will alert you to who and when. As we move forward into Week 3 and Week 4, the other subjects and curriculum will roll out and will be added.
Here is a parent question….Will attendance be taken?
Yes! This is school! Beginning next week, on Monday, we will make use of a variety of information to gauge attendance. (This is a work in progress.) For example, we receive information from the online programs such as MobyMax, LEXIA, ALEKS, and other platforms which show a student signing on and their usage during the day. We can also see student views of the instructional videos during the day, as well as the Live ZOOM classroom and other virtual platforms. Parents may also email Marcy to say their child "attended school". Again, this is a work in progress.
Thank you for your continued support! Thank you for the many notes, calls, and emails expressing your thanks for Academy's roll out of lesson materials and supplies along with the instruction this week. We sure appreciate receiving those, along with all of your feedback!
With Warm Regards,
(available for calls, texts, and emails any time, 841-5704)
Dear Families,Our greatest hope is this COVID-19 crisis will end quickly so we may safely return to our classrooms and students. We miss them and you! Today, with the COVID-19 crisis rapidly evolving, it became clear that this will probably be the only pick-up for an extended amount of time. In an effort to be proactive, we felt it was wise to prepare enough materials and supplies should the school closure extend into May.The timeline, with a Sunday/Monday pick-up, was set with consideration of the time our staff would need to prepare their educational plan of action for Language Arts and Math, create lessons, pull textbooks, make copies and packets, get copies of the books needed, along with other supplies students may need for the lessons. As you can imagine, we've spent some incredibly long days in preparation in order to meet the established deadline of Friday, midnight! Friday night, midnight, was selected as the deadline to provide a precautionary window, ensuring that no human had touched the items for over 24 hours to the set parent pick-up time.This staff continues to amaze me! Without one complaint, the staff has tackled the enormous task of planning lessons for LA and Math for the next 7 weeks. They have added materials, lesson items, copied packets and readied the supplies to meet this possible extension of the closure. This amazing staff will meet the deadline of midnight Friday, with everything ready for parents to pick up on Sunday and Monday! IMPRESSIVE! THE PROCEDURE FOR PICKING UP ON SUNDAY and MONDAY - NO HUMAN CONTACTSunday times: 1 pm to 10 pmMonday times: 8 am to 10 pm
Two tasks:TASK #1
The gates will be open.
The front door of the school will be unlocked.
Parent should drive up and wait in their car if another parent is inside. Once that parent has left the area, please exit your car and walk into the school lobby.
Disposable gloves are available for your use and safety.
Go to the gymnasium where you will find FAMILY last names hung on the wall, placed in alphabetical order, and well spaced for your safety.
Go to your FAMILY last name where you will find your child's or children's personal items bagged with their names on them. Take your children's bagged items ONLY.
Leave the gymnasium.
For your safety and the safety of others, NO HUMAN CONTACT should occur.Thank you for your understanding and consideration. Call if you need anything!Sincerely,Barbara Gerard, Principal907-841-5704
Return to the entryway lobby.
Go to your child's LA teachers bin/tub and Math teacher's bin/tub.
Find your child's labeled packet or folder/envelope/gallon baggie.
You may choose to reach inside, pull the contents out, and leave the envelope/folder, etc. OR simply take the entire envelope. (As you feel best for your own health and safety precautions.)
Depart immediately and return to your car.