Monday March 9, 2021
The meeting started at 5:30. Kari MIller, the Executive Director with International Neighbors, presented.
International Neighbors is a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization that works to equip refugee neighbors with the network and skills needed to move from surviving to thriving In Charlottesville. Her presentation to the group is attached:
Next was Dr. Irizarry’s update.
After substantial preparation, selected CHS students started back today. Those students will be in the building daily during office hours from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm, and get designated services. Dr. I looks forward to learning more about supporting them as the week progresses.
This plan will change on April 12, and go to a hybrid plan. This was newly decided by the School Board on the evening of March 4. They are going to base their hybrid plan on the one presented to them in December 2020, with potential refinements by CHS as needed. In this plan all CHS students have all of their classes concentrated in 2 normal-length school days with in-person instruction, either Monday and Wednesday or on Tuesday and Thursday. The other 3 days are asynchronous. Students that want to remain virtual will have those 2 full class days through Zoom.
Dr. I will send an Intent to Return Form to families by the end of next week so that CHS knows how to plan for the number of students, knows the needs of the students in the building and transportation needs. There is a deficit of school bus drivers.
There are many COVID-specific things to still be figured for staff. Such as, how to support those still working remotely, childcare conflicts, spreading student staff schedules fairly, and how to have enough adults physically present with the kids.
Many parents volunteered to help and want to actively support reopening, not just in volunteering but in donations. There is a group of parents ready to start work now, as a reopening support committee of the CHS PTO, and membership on this committee will be open to any and all CHS parents and caregivers who want to assist. Dr. I expressed thanks for this and agreed there were many needs. He had some immediate suggestions. One was to help to build the pool of substitute teachers, another to get parent volunteers to take student temperatures and help with other COVID protocols at arrival.
He asked for time to get with his staff and plan. He and the staff will create a prioritized list of needs, physical/financial as well as volunteer roles. Dr. I will send this to the PTO Board, who will give it to the support committee to plan and enact. The PTO Board will continue to be the conduit for requests from Dr. I, and help the committee however is needed.
Dr. I won’t have final figures to plan from until after intent to return forms come back (at least 2 weeks away), but wants to make use of these offers and will work quickly.
Safe Routes to School is possible support for the lack of available buses.
Dr. I also took questions from parents. The responses are below:
- Summer school will not be traditional subjects this year. Some virtual classes like PE may be the same. But most classes this year will be remedial, helping the many struggling students repeat classes from this academic year
- The foreign exchange student program may not be happening next year.
- Office hours for virtual students will be the same as those for in-person students, only on Fridays. Teachers are in class Monday – Thursday and not available for extra help.
Nancy Hopkins had technical issues and had to drop off the call due to lack of internet access. She will send the PTO Reopening Fund update with the minutes of this meeting.
The successful Sticks fundraiser was about to close. There are just a few gift cards left.
Parents also volunteered to help with teacher appreciation. The PTO will facilitate an inaugural committee meeting. In the meantime, Erica Uhlman volunteered to recreate a teacher appreciation she did at Walker and Buford for the returning CHS teachers this week. Her work is appreciated by the PTO and all parents.
Amended, March 11, 2021
Reopening Fund Report, Nancy Hopkins
Through the CCS Joint PTO Reopening Fund, CHS and Lugo-McGinness Academy received $35,743.55 out of the total $163,839 that was raised through this effort, which was launched in August 2020. A CHS Reopening Fund Grant Committee was formed to program these funds, including Nancy Hopkins (CHS PTO VP and Grants Chair), Nicole Armstrong (CHS Assistant Principal), Nikki Eubanks (CHS School Counselor), Jeanne Pfautz (CHS ESL Teacher), and Jane Evans (CCS Social Worker). As of March 2021, through bimonthly meetings and in consultation with Dr. Irizarry this committee has allocated $28,232 for high-priority needs at CHS related to virtual instruction and reopening:
Technology (headsets, chargers, styluses): $3,171
Materials to support classroom instruction and learning (calculators, books, art supplies, online language arts program): $4,504
Food Security (grocery cards, CHS Cares event): $16,583
Emergency support to CHS families (rent, utilities): $3,974
In addition, Lugo-McGinness Academy spent $1,500 on Food Security, Technology, and Materials to Support Classroom Instruction and Learning.
Around 83% of CHS Reopening Funds have been spent to date, with the remaining balance of around $6,000 to be spent by the end of April based on priority needs identified by the CHS Reopening Fund Grant Committee and CHS leadership.