Reopening » Reopening Communication to Families

Reopening Communication to Families

Dear KNOS Families,

We hope this message finds you healthy. As I am sure you have seen, the Orleans Parish School Board announced that all New Orleans public schools will begin the school year virtually at least until Labor Day. KIPP New Orleans Schools will begin the school year on August 10, 2020. For the full OPSB announcement and press conference, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6XKiQwHpbw

We know that you have made selections for virtual or in-person school for your students. However, we will be asking for that information again as we get closer to opening school buildings to ensure you are able to make informed decisions for your family based on the latest health information available.

Since April, our teams have been working hard on several reopening scenarios to ensure quality learning. We know that virtual school was always an option; we have built several new systems to provide for a virtual learning environment. Our team has researched best practices and new tools, many of which we piloted during our virtual summer school. More importantly, we collected information and feedback to ensure we create the best virtual school model for families and students. After hearing from 700 families, we learned that:

1.) 82% of families prefer a learning environment where students are engaged in learning at the same time and on a consistent schedule;

2.) 85% of families thought that supplying technology to each student would improve virtual learning.
We have taken into account this feedback and finalized a virtual school model that we believe will work best for families and provide your students with a rich and rigorous education. See below for three updates we have made to improve virtual learning for your students.

First, we have worked to make sure that access to technology and supplies will not be a barrier to learning at home. All students will be able to checkout technology devices and we will send all students home with a ‘distance learning kit’ full of supplies to aid learning at home. Finally, we have aligned on a set of learning tools to minimize the number of programs that students need to interact with.

Second, we will adopt a virtual school schedule built on live instruction, with students following a consistent schedule and teachers directly teaching content to students via Zoom.

Third, we will prioritize community and connectedness in our virtual schools. Students will have the opportunity to build community with classmates through a homeroom/advisory structure. We will also introduce a family app so that you will have better access to your student’s assignments and progress.

Over the next few weeks, we will provide more information about specific school schedules. Prior to that, please see the below updates regarding orientation and meals to ensure we can begin the school year on the right foot.

FAMILY ORIENTATION

While OPSB has mandated us to begin the school year virtually, families are still allowed to visit schools for orientation as stipulated by the Governor’s phase 2 order. This order allows for facilities and rooms to open at 50% capacity.

All KNOS schools will host an in-person orientation for families during the week of August 10, 2020. The purpose of this orientation is to allow families to pick up computers for students, meet teachers and practice with the learning tools that families will use for our virtual learning model. We will take all necessary safety precautions and families will be assigned specific days and times to attend orientation. For families in need of access to the internet for virtual learning, your school will provide you with more information on the process for receiving hotspots.

MEALS FOR STUDENTS

We are committed to ensuring that all students receive meals during virtual learning. Meals will begin the week of August 10, 2020.

Please know that while our work will look different this year, our mission will not change. We will remain focused on providing academically excellent schools and creating unlimited opportunity for your children.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we toggle between in-person and virtual learning this year. It is important that we are able to adhere to the guidelines and safety precautions as dictated by the CDC, State officials and City leaders to keep everyone safe.

As mentioned before, one of our core beliefs is relentlessness – we find a way or we make one. This time is no different. We will continue to lead and adapt to the ever-changing environment of COVID-19. We’ve overcome challenges before and we will overcome this one.

Please be on the lookout for more detailed information about orientation schedules, locations & schedules for student meals and daily school schedules for students.

Thanks,
Rhonda Kalifey Aluise
Chief Executive Officer
KIPP New Orleans Schools
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