Re-Opening Hope School – July 23, 2020 update by Kristen Okabayashi, Hope Principal
On Wednesday, Seattle Public Schools shared the news of Superintendent Denise Juneau’s recommendation to start schools in remote learning this fall. As noted in our June 16, 2020 newsletter, while Hope values the decisions made by SPS, we are under no obligation to follow suit. We are required to follow mandates from the governor; although, Governor Inslee’s decision to close all schools in the state this past March was the first time in recent memory that has occurred. So while the district’s decision is important, it does not directly impact us as a school.
So far, we have received over 100 survey responses from our survey regarding learning models that went out last Tuesday, July 14, with still more coming in each day! It is really helpful for our re-opening task force to hear your opinions and thoughts, so thank you. We work best in a strong partnership with you as families. So far, the highest results as measured by the most votes of “love it” were “in class learning” for grades K-2 and grades 3-5, and the hybrid learning model for middle school. These results are not surprising and match our own experience as educators – younger students in particular certainly learn best in the classroom!
To be clear, and as I mentioned in this week’s earlier newsletter, the deciding factor about which model we will use is the status of coronavirus spread in our area and how that affects student and staff safety. I definitely feel the burden of making the best decision possible with the advice of my task force, Hope Board of Directors, healthcare experts, and peer principals of other schools. There are no easy decisions in the current world we live in, but we will do our very best to both make a decision that carefully balances the risks and rewards of each model in choosing which way we head as a school for the first trimester. Over the summer, we have planned for all three options, and so once we make a decision, we will teach to the best of our ability.
In the next two weeks, we will send home a detailed summary of each teaching model: in class, virtual, and hybrid. As noted last Tuesday, we have put together a high quality virtual model including specialists/electives and live streaming direct instruction, and any K-8 student can choose to opt into this model for trimester 1. We will have more information for you soon.
In the meanwhile, please keep focusing on what you can personally do to keep the virus from spreading in our community – wear your mask, socially distance yourself, and stay home as much as possible! All of our choices now will impact our ability to open schools in September.
In Christ, Mrs. Okabayashi