Encore hopes that everyone had a safe and relaxing Fall break last week. Today we start back at school via Zoom as we prepare for winter break in just a few weeks. There are a few items that we need to make sure everyone is covering so we are all on the same page.
Campus is still closed - While the COVID-19 cases surge, the campus is still closed to the public this week. As a safety precaution, Encore has called for all staff and faculty to test this week and get results before they return to the campus. We thank everyone for their understanding in this safety precaution. On campus, SPED cohorts will resume next Monday, December 7, 2020 (pending COVID-19 results of course).
ZOOM classes are actual classes - There is still a population of students and parents that have avoided the participation in the distance learning academic experience. As the pandemic wears on and more days from in person school are not allowed, it is critical that every student participates in school based on the family choice that was chosen at the beginning of the year. Encore will complete semester one after winter break and it is critical that all students are trying their best to complete school in this unprecedented environment. Teachers will be reaching out to parents once again to help support you and your students through this difficult time. We understand that everyone is facing a different reality with "at home" schooling, but we need to show resilience by making sure our kids are participating and completing work from their courses. If your student is having difficulty, there are still extra supports available to them:
Tutoring - Academic teachers are available Tuesday through Friday from 7:45 am - 8:15 am for tutoring via Zoom
Recorded Classes - If you miss a class, you can still watch the class via Zoom recording. Log on to Google Classroom to see the recorded class.
Peer Tutoring - You can request peer tutoring by contacting the National Honor Society, Mr. John Parker email@example.com for peer support.
Late Assignments - Due to COVID, students can turn in work late (until the end of the semester) for full credit. This will help with any dips in emotional health, internet connectivity, unplanned daycare, work, and any other unforeseen circumstance that comes up during this crazy time.
Internet Cafe - If you are still having internet issues, you can register with IT to come on campus to be able to complete assignments in the internet cafe. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Counseling - We know that this time has been hard for everyone and sometimes you may need someone to talk to. Counseling is here to help. Email email@example.com.
State Testing is still happening.
As incredulous as this is, especially in such a weird academic year, California is still planning on administering state testing during second semester. It may not seem like a big deal because the whole world is in the same boat as Encore when it comes to state testing. It is a HUGE deal if you are a California Charter School. In January of 2020, there were 127 laws that were enacted in the state of California that affect charter schools. When it comes to a charter school working toward renewal, the state testing is a critical part of judging the health of the academic program within a charter school. If a charter school's test scores go down or show that subgroups are underperforming, this could be grounds for a nonrenewal or a shorter renewal term. Even during the pandemic, there has been no alteration or temporary exception put into place regarding this new ruling. Encore's stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, and parents) need to make sure that this is not going to affect Encore. The way we weather this inequity is by making sure our kids are getting the best academic experience possible in the wake of this global pandemic. We are asking that all of our families press on with supporting this year of important education by completing and taking part in distance learning with 100% fidelity.
It is time to get creative.
With the cases in California surging and most of the state now purple, Encore will continue to offer interesting pieces for people to be a part of. The California Scholastic Federation and the National Honor Society will be hosting a toy/food drive for the holidays that you can take part in. This is especially important this year as many people are out of work this holiday season.
Encore is working with the CDC to create more events that will help all of us find a connection with one another in this very isolating time. No one knew when we paused on Friday the 13th in March, that being separated from the regular norms would become the new norm.
I think it is also important to point out that it is important to be kind to one another. COVID-19 travels and spreads to people the same way that the common flu would. It is important for everyone to realize that if someone catches COVID, they did not do something "wrong." It is important in a time where social media is nastier than it ever has been that people exercise kindness. This is not a time to lay blame on your friends and family if they catch COVID. This too will pass and kindness should outweigh the judgement. Don't become a bully because an invisible viral enemy that none of us can see makes a showing in your friend circle. Based on the spread, this virus will likely catch up to most of us. Be kind so kindness will be shown to you when you are visited by this sickness.
Be safe everyone and continue to use precaution:
Wear a mask
Wash and sanitize your hands regularly (every hour is recommended by CDC)
Don't share items with friends
Stay home if you are positive, sick, or have been exposed
Get tested regularly (Encore requires all staff to test regularly)
There are two sites in the high desert for testing, Victor Valley College and Percy Bakker Community Center. Testing is free. You can schedule your appointment by going to sb.fulgentgenetics.com/appointment. We recommend everyone test now that Turkey day is over and family gatherings are over. This can also help you prepare for upcoming holiday family get togethers.
Thank you for being pirates. Let's continue to be sensible and have a great week!
Final Note: Encore is starting to take enrollment for next school year. Tell your friends and family to enroll now. They can enroll online now.