Newsletter‎ > ‎August 2020‎ > ‎

BACK to SCHOOL in A BRAVE NEW WORLD

posted Aug 6, 2020, 4:52 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Aug 6, 2020, 5:35 PM ]
by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Our world has dramatically changed so much in the past several months that the only thing of which we can be certain is uncertainty. The sun still rises and sets, tides ebb and flow, and gravity continues to keep us firmly rooted on the planet, at least for now. As summer winds down, our thoughts naturally return to the beginning of a new school year. Normally it’s time to shop for back to school clothes and backpacks, have fun at the Nevada County Fair, and savor a few more languid afternoons at the Yuba before classrooms beckon. That’s the old normal. The new normal is now determined by the existence of a miniscule invader species, the coronavirus.

Even the most mundane tasks seem to have assumed new layers of complexity and pose heretofore unthought of challenges. Maintaining a sense of normalcy when planning schedules, activities and interactions has developed a degree of difficulty that permeates our daily lives. Imagine the challenge encountered when planning a new school year in these crazily uncertain times! Such a task requires flexibility, determination, creativity and courage. Fortunately, Twin Ridges Elementary School District Superintendent/Grizzly Hill & Washington School Principal, Melissa Madigan has what it takes to meet the challenge of educating our children while keeping them safe.

When asked to define the greatest challenge posed by the coming school year, Ms Madigan (pictured above) replied, “Our biggest challenge is educating all students in the mode of education their parents ask for. Some have asked for 100% remote learning. Some have asked for part time in class and part time remote learning. Some have asked for 100% on campus learning. To meet the challenge is to adhere to the County health guidelines, to have the school open as much as possible, and to offer 100% online at the same time. I’m offering 100% remote no matter what. If Nevada County is placed on a (covid) watch list we must move to all remote learning.”

“Curriculum will be engaging and accessible to all students. We are going to have themes throughout the entire school based around a foreign language that will include a dance, a song, folktale or short story, and food based upon the language they’re studying. The entire school will do it at one time. This will be a new and community building activity for the whole school. I have hired a part-time STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) teacher to provide robotics and science experiments for all students. We will also be offering basic coding. Every teacher was present at a planning meeting and they are 100% on board to provide a fantastic education!”

All Grizzly Hill K-8 students will be divided into two groups, Group A and Group B. The school day will be 8:30-11:30am and will be only two days per week. There will be Monday-Tuesday morning classes for Group A, a school-wide deep cleaning on Wednesdays, and Thursday-Friday morning classes for Group B. Every Grizzly Hill and Washington School student will receive two chrome books for their own use, one to stay at school and one to travel home.

In addition to frequently deep cleaning and disinfecting the campus, the utmost precautions will be taken to protect the health and safety of all students. When each student arrives on campus, he or she will receive a digital temperature reading and be asked several health-related questions before embarking upon the school day. Frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer will be stressed throughout the day. Whenever possible, campus areas will be utilized for outdoor classrooms; and when indoor classrooms are in use, doors will be kept open to improve ventilation. T-K, 1st and 2nd grade students will be strongly encouraged to wear masks when at school and 3rd-8th grade students will be required to do so. Although social distancing will be encouraged, Melissa Madigan stressed, the importance of a positive approach. “It’s really important to me that if children have to socially distance, social distancing will be achieved by stressing the positive and presenting only positive choices.”

Understanding that all students may not have adequate transportation to and from school or reliable internet access in their homes, Grizzly Hill is actively looking to provide bus transportation, as well as an on-campus tutoring program to those students who need it. All students will be provided with a breakfast and lunch daily, whether they are on campus or not. In fact, Twin Ridges Elementary School District has been providing meals to kids aged 18 and under ever since mid-March.

At a special TRESD Board Retreat, board members Malik Goodman, Hilary Hulteen, Rachel Kozloski, Mindy Morton and Lorien Whitestone communicated their support and dedication to providing San Juan Ridge and Washington students a safe and excellent education.

To enroll a student or gain further information on what is happening at Grizzly Hill School this year, please call 265.9052. FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL THIS YEAR IS AUGUST 17, 2020!
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