Governor JB Pritzker announced Friday, April 17th, that Remote Learning Days will continue through the end of the school year. Even though I suspected it was coming, my heart sank to think that we will not be able to be together in our classrooms this spring. I know that this is the right decision as it will save lives. We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19.
We will continue with our Remote Learning Plan through the end of the school year, May 19th. Teachers, students and parents are working hard to ensure that learning continues, however we do not expect that Remote Learning replicates the learning experiences that would have happened in the classroom.
I am extremely impressed with the efforts of our teachers to continue to provide creative and engaging lessons for their students. Classes are doing science experiments, meeting on Zoom, listening to their teachers read books, creating art projects, and so much more. We will continue to grow together academically, socially and spiritually. Our teaching and learning looks different during this pandemic and so will our grading. The fourth quarter grades will appear as Pass or Incomplete on 1st-8th grade report cards. We know that families may be experiencing additional stress during this time and do not want anyone to be worried about A's, B's or GPA. We want students to feel loved and have the opportunity to learn. They should continue to work through their lessons and participate in any on-line classroom activities as they are able.
Will students return to in-person instruction fully caught up? We are not expecting them to. All our efforts are geared toward meeting our students where they are and giving them the tools and supports they need for success. These efforts will not end even when the pandemic ends.
I pray your families are growing together in God's Word and are able to worship together as well. We will continue to have virtual chapel services each Wednesday at 2:20 PM on our school Facebook page. If you cannot join us at 2:20, you are able to watch it at any time that is convenient to you. We will be sending home the chapel booklets in the learning packets this week, so you can follow along!
We will continue to have packet pickup and drop off each Monday from 8AM- 6PM. Grab and Go Breakfasts and Lunches will be available on Mondays from 8:30-9:15 and from 11:45-12:30 as well as Tuesday through Friday from 11:45-12:30. Due to a lack of response at breakfast time we will pass out both breakfasts and lunches at lunch time Tuesday through Friday.
We are making plans to gather student supplies and belongings from their classrooms and will have those items available in the coming weeks. This is a big task and will likely be spread out, thank you for being patient with us.
We are presently planning creative ways to end our school year, honor our 8th grade graduates and so on. We do not know exactly what events like graduation and confirmation will look like, but we will keep you updated as we are able to prepare and plan for these events. We continue to pray for each of you and will keep you updated on school related news.
Joyfully serving Jesus,
Mrs. Amy Kurtz
Governor Pritzker has extended the "Shelter in Place" order and school closure (in person instruction) through April 30th. We will continue with our remote instruction and plan to have another packet pick up and drop off on Monday April 13th, from 8AM-6PM.
We will be observing Thursday and Friday, April 9th and 10th, as our Easter break. There will be no remote instruction on those days.
I pray that we will be able to be back in the classroom on May 1st, however if we cannot resume learning in the classroom on May 1st, we will be in contact with you.
We are missing all of our students and know that this is not the spring semester that we all planned or wanted. We will continue to look for the joy in every day and practice social distancing to keep everyone healthy.
Blessings, Mrs. Kurtz
The goal of remote learning is to be able to provide a continuous learning experience for T-SJ students when access to the brick and mortar school and face to face access to teachers (in the traditional sense) is not possible. Students will use chromebooks or their own device for remote learning, as well as textbooks and other materials that were sent home Monday March 16th. An additional packet pick up will be held on Monday March 30th, 8AM- 6PM and Tuesday March 31st, 8AM- 3PM, for families to get the next two weeks of lessons and any additional materials students may need.
Teachers will use multiple learning websites and tools to help students to continue learning from home. T-SJ is committed to making remote learning participation available to all of our students. If you do not have reliable internet access and need paper and pencil resources, please email or call your child’s teacher, so they may provide an alternative solution.
We are “Partners in Christ” and I truly treasure the T-SJ family that we are all a part of. I miss seeing everyone and giving high fives in the morning. Many classes have held virtual meetings using “Zoom” and I know the teachers and students have loved getting to see each other this way. PreK, 1st grade and 4th grade have created Facebook groups as a place to stay in touch and share ideas. Of course, we also have the T-SJ Facebook page as a place to communicate as well.
We are praying for each of you as you continue to work your daily jobs, some from home and some having to leave home each day and then come home to take an active role in your child’s learning in addition to your family responsibilities. As the first educators of your children, we know you are more than capable, and we plan to do all we can to remotely support you and your students through this period of separation! We are jumping into an unknown situation, but we do know that God has this under control. You can be confident that God used all of His power, all of His love, and His life to save you from sin. His love for you cannot be doubted. He will work this out for His glory and our good. Our God is holding us all in His care.
Your children may be confused by all of the recent changes. I encourage you to discuss all these changes to our routines, reminding them that God is using these changes to protect us and keep us safe. Keep in mind that children need your guidance and care in ensuring they get enough sleep, healthy food, physical activity, family devotion and prayer time and time together with you. Dr. Kim Marxhausen has written a blog post with more guidance on these topics; I encourage you to give it a read: http://faithparent.marxhausen.net/
Teachers will be available to you virtually Monday- Friday from 8- 3. E-mail, phone calls, texts, and google classroom are all great ways to contact your child’s teacher. Please use the preferred method that each teacher has shared with you. I am available through email (email@example.com) as well as phone or text (901-237-7759).
Teachers in grades K-4 will take attendance through a daily check in, either on a paper included in your packet, or an email. Individual teachers will communicate how they plan to take attendance. Students in grades 5-8 are expected to check in by answering their homeroom teachers daily question on Google Classroom. 5th graders will answer the question in their Science classroom, 6th graders will answer the question in their Language Arts classroom and 7th and 8th graders will answer the question in their Social Studies classroom. Teachers will reach out to you if a student is not attending or checking in. Please contact your teacher if you are unable to access the Google Classroom daily, to arrange an alternate way of attending class.
Daily Work and Assignments
Classroom teachers will use e-mail or Google Classroom in addition to the paper packets to communicate daily assignments. Teachers that are using Google Classroom with post new assignments by 8:30AM each day. There may not be a new post each day, if you are concerned that you may have missed something please contact your child’s teacher. Some activities may stretch over multiple days; in that instance a due date will be indicated.
Daily work will total three hours or less depending on grade level. PreK through 4th grade students should expect to spend 15-30 minutes per subject and 5th-8th grade students should expect to spend approximately 30 minutes per subject each day. Setting up a routine will help students remain engaged with academic coursework. Identify a time and place in your home where your child will focus on and complete remote learning. Take breaks as you need them: take a walk, play a game, have a nutritious snack or do a Go Noodle dance! Physical activity and breaks from looking at a screen are necessary and highly recommended.
Teachers will provide feedback about work completed on a regular basis, either through comments on Google Classroom, e-mail or another form of communication. This will vary depending on the tools each class is utilizing.
Grades will be taken for assignments. They will be recorded as “Pass” or “Incomplete”. Incomplete work will need to be re-done (if the grade was a 65 or below) or completed if not turned in. Pay attention to due dates and the method that your child’s teacher requires homework to be turned in. Encourage students to do their best as our main goal is that they continue to learn. Teachers are available to help and answer questions, we do not expect students to learn alone nor do we expect parents to have all the answers.
All students in grades 5-8 are utilizing Google Classroom for Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies in addition to paper resources. Other classes may be using it based on teacher preference. Parents should receive an invitation to their child’s google classroom from the teachers. This would give you access so you can see lessons that are posted. If you did not receive an invite, please reach out to your child’s teacher.
“Come and go with me to my Father’s house.” Join us on Facebook at Trinity-St. John Lutheran School each Wednesday at 2:20p.m. for a virtual chapel service.
T-SJ will continue to be a pick up spot for grab and go breakfasts and lunches Monday through Friday during the school closure. District 49 provides these meals for all PreK-12th grade students in the community. Breakfast is available from 8:30-9:15. Lunch is available from 11:45-12:30.
Tuition will continue to be collected during this time. If your family is experiencing hardship due to COVID 19, please contact me, Mrs. Kurtz, at (901-237-7759) so we can work together.
The requirements for standardized testing have been suspended for this school year. We will not do the ITBS tests in April as we had planned before COVID-19. The 7th and 8th graders will continue their study of the Illinois Constitution, however the formal testing requirement has been lifted at this time. The 8th graders may expect to take the test as high schoolers.
Return to the Classroom
What a joyful day it will be when the “Shelter in Place” is lifted and we are eventually able to have school in our school building again. We will continue to provide remote learning until that time. Currently, we plan to resume school in our building on April 8th, and will inform you of any changes that are made to that date. When the time comes, we plan to assist students with the transition from home learning to school learning. Teachers will assess student progress after we return to the classroom to determine student learning needs. We recognize that our normal timeline and curriculum will need to be adjusted for this spring.
Thank you for your patience, cooperation and communication during this time. It is very important that we all communicate openly with each other. Reach out to your teachers and myself to share your struggles and successes. We want this experience to be successful and depend on your feedback so we can learn and grow through this also.
I pray for each of your health and safety daily. Please let me know of any specific prayer requests you may have during this time as we will include it in our own prayers. Please pray for all of us as we work through the challenges that COVID-19 brings.
Mrs. Amy Kurtz
T-SJ's Continuity of Education Plan outlines the means in which T-SJ will seek to continue instruction for it's students, connect with families and provide support. We will follow this plan as we begin Remote Learning on Tuesday, March 31st. New packets will be available to be picked up on the East side of the church (facing Pastor James' house) on Monday, 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Tuesday, 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.
I pray that this message finds you healthy and happy. Governor Pritzker has enacted a "Shelter in Place" order to go into effect Saturday, March 21st. The school closure will also be continued through April 7th due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Illinois.
The teachers and I are working to ensure that education will continue for our students. This may look like teachers posting videos for students, utilizing Google Classroom, sharing ideas of things families can do to learn together, Zoom or Google Meetings, and/or using other resources we have available to us. We will be in communication with you as things continue to change.
We will communicate with you by Friday, March 27th with more information as to how we will continue education in new ways.
If, during this time, you need to pick anything up from the school/ church office. Please call ahead so we can leave it outside in a bin for you. We are working to keep people healthy and safe as we limit social contact.
At this time, the grab and go meals will continue to be offered from 8:30-9:15 and from 11:45-12:30 each week day at T-SJ.
Thank you for your patience, prayers, and understanding.
Trinity- St. John Lutheran School Closure Detailed Information
As announced Friday, March 13th, 2020, Governor Pritzker has mandated that all Illinois PreK-12 schools close in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. T-SJ will be closed March 17th- March 30th. There will be no school, games, practices, etc. during this time.
I realize the challenges this presents to our working families and the impact it will have. However, after talking with trusted advisors and reading information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and other reliable sources, I feel confident that we are making a choice that will positively impact the safety and health of our families and also the larger community around us. That being said, if your family needs help during this time, please let me know. I am happy to help find childcare if needed or assist with other needs. I know many junior high and high school students that are now available!
I will be on site during our regular school day hours of 8 a.m. to 3p.m., in case you are unable to be home with your child, or your child needs a safe place to go. We will exercise social distancing practices to the best of our ability to keep students safe.
Monday March 16 – Normal classroom schedule for all grades will be followed. Students will bring home materials as needed for online and at-home learning.
Tuesday March 17 – First day of closure. Teachers tidy classrooms in preparation for deep cleaning. Mrs. Kurtz will be in the school office from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Wednesday March 18 – Second day of closure. Mrs. Kurtz will be in the school office from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Thursday March 19 - First day of at home learning, anticipated to continue through Monday March 30th, 2020. Teachers will be accessible through email or phone (as directed by the teacher) from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. (Mrs. Deb Lange will be available from 8-noon) Monday- Friday. Mrs. Kurtz will be in the school office from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m, Monday- Friday. T-SJ will undergo deep cleaning throughout the two weeks.
Tuesday March 31– We hope to resume school on this day.
Free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches will be available each day beginning March17th for pick-up for all children 18 years old and younger at the following locations: T-SJ, Nashville Grade School, St. Ann’s and Trinity-Hoyleton. Breakfasts can be picked up between 8:30 and 9:15 a.m. Lunches can be picked up from 11:45 a.m.- 12:30.
Online Learning/ Home Learning Initial Plan
We are committed to keeping students engaged in their learning during this statewide school closure. T-SJ teachers at all grade levels have been making plans for a potential change to temporary at home learning. All teachers, PreK- 8th grade will be sending home learning packets for students to work on over the coming two weeks. Parents or caregivers will be asked to sign off on the activities for students in grades K-8 as they are completed. The learning packets will be returned to school when we resume schooling on March 31st. Teachers will be available for questions through email and phone calls during this time, however they will also help students with any questions they have upon returning to school as needed.
Students will not be required to all log in to a website at the same time for virtual learning; the structure will be individualized and each student can complete their work at their own pace. Time spent will vary by grade but should average about 2 hours per day in middle school and less in lower grades. More detailed information will come out on Monday from each individual teacher.
In the event of a longer closure teachers will prepare for additional at home learning and communicate that to parents through e-mail. Additional learning packets would then be able to be picked up at T-SJ.
We recognize that not all families have devices for their child(ren) to access educational websites or Google classrooms. If your student’s learning packet includes required on-line access, parents may check out their student’s chromebook through the school office. They will be asked to sign an agreement ensuring proper care and educational use of the chromebook. Parents would be assessed a replacement or repair fee for chromebooks that are damaged, lost or stolen during this time at home.
Families that do not have reliable internet access or those that experience difficulty accessing on-line resources should contact their teacher to make them aware of the situation and come up with an appropriate solution.
Students will be allowed to access Renaissance Place Monday through Friday during the hours of 7:45 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., to take AR tests from home. We encourage students to continue reading and taking AR tests. Please e-mail Mrs. Deb Lange, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues using AR.
Scheduled Hours/ Days Requirement
Fortunately we are able to use “Act of God” days during this time. However, we do require our students to complete their at-home learning, as we hope to not have to make up any days this summer.
As mentioned above, we hope to re-open school on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. However, the ability to resume school operations will depend on what is happening in the community around us. We plan to assess the situation daily and will communicate any changes to families as soon as possible. Please prepare for a longer closure if needed.
Tuition will continue to be collected as usual. Students are being given learning activities to do and they will have access to teachers through email or phone calls if questions arise.
Communication with Students
Concern over this new virus can make children anxious. It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If adults seem overly worried, children's anxiety may rise. Adults should reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy.
Children also need factual, age-appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk, so the focus of conversation should be concrete instructions about how to avoid infections and the spread of disease. Teaching children positive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infections can help reduce anxiety. Please talk with your children about precautions they can take to stay healthy, including:
Love and blessings to all, Amy Kurtz, T-SJ principal
News of the Coronavirus, prevention and treatment is on all of our minds and hearts. Governor Pritzker held a news conference last night in Springfield to address the growing concerns about the coronavirus. Prior to the news conference, there was much speculation that he was planning to impose a mandatory shutdown of all K-12 school districts in the state.
As of Thursday evening, the governor is not mandating that schools close at this time. He did, however, strongly recommend cancelling any public gathering that would include at least 250 people. Additionally, public gatherings of 1,000 or more people have been banned. This will certainly affect some of our evening functions and we will update all of you when those decisions are made.
We are making preparations to keep our students and their families safe. While I am extremely relieved that schools will remain open at this time, the confirmed coronavirus cases could increase over the upcoming weeks. It is very possible that there may still be a mandatory closing of all Illinois schools at some point. I would strongly encourage all parents to plan ahead and think about potential child care arrangements if this happens. T-SJ will continue to pass along pertinent information as we receive it.
The following plans are being put into action immediately:
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.