Important Information for the 2021-2022 School Year
Letter from KCS Head of School Dr. Julie Giardino
Dear Charger Family,
Happy Summer! It has been a glorious time of refreshing for some, resuming vacations for others, and reuniting with family for most. Sports camps and preschool camps are humming right along, where last year the building was eerily quiet and empty as we anticipated a year of school with a pandemic.
Not anymore! We are experiencing a very high volume of inquiry and enrollment that is unexpected and wonderful all at the same time. Our enrollment has already increased by nearly 20% and shows no signs of stopping. We will soon be expecting 500 students to return to school in July. Praise God for the drawing of families to the Christian School. We are ready to welcome over 160 new families into the larger Charger family. Thank you to all of you who are helping the KCS family expand by telling your Charger family story. Keep it up! We have already formed new sections at preschool, kindergarten, and first grade to accommodate growth. We still have seats available, so help spread the word!
We hear stories from new families who are passionately searching for a school who will love their children. Several new families are investigating what it means to attend school with the support of the new vouchers. What a blessing it is to share how they can make Christian Education accessible by merely applying and receiving a voucher! If you have questions about qualifying yourself, or know of someone who needs a good explanation, Renee Fishburn, email@example.com, is your contact! Renee is our resident expert on vouchers and accessing support. Please feel free to reach out to her if you have questions.
If you have neighbors and church friends asking about KCS, please send them to Shannon Yeater, firstname.lastname@example.org or refer them to the virtual tour on the website: www.kingswayschool.org. We have many videos of voices from the Charger community explaining what it means to be part of the Charger family.
Now for what you have all been waiting for:
What will the COVID protocol be for next school year at KCS?
KCS will continue to operate as a family who respects it members. Therefore, we will be a “mask friendly” school. What does that mean? KCS will encourage each family and employee to contact their physicians to determine whether face coverings or masks are necessary as a health preserving precaution. If the family or their physician determines that they prefer a mask or face covering, KCS will honor that decision in support of the family. Should a family determine that their desire or physician recommendation is to attend without face covering or masks, KCS will honor that decision for the family. We will not be making any medical decisions on behalf of any child or family, including the need for vaccines. Those decisions are best made in the context of medical practitioners who have the full training and context of health implications to consider before they give advice.
What will pick up and drop off look like in the fall?
Parents will be encouraged to use the drop off system developed and refined during this past year.
-Door 4 for middle school students
-Door 5 for preschool students and guests
-Door 6 for elementary students
-Door 10 for band students carrying instruments
-Door 12 for kindergarten and before care students
Parents will be allowed into the building under the conditions that they can assure us they have not been ill with fever within the past 24 hours and are symptom-free from disease. Volunteers will be re-instituted on a smaller scale, initially, and must submit to the regular background check procedures when entering KCS at the main office. Be sure to fill out the volunteer application, if you would like to volunteer for the classroom. We will be instituting a “class parent” system for each classroom to help with parties and events.
What is the 2021-22 protocol for students returning to school after being ill?
KCS will return to its former procedures of allowing students to return to school after being fever –free for the previous 24 hours without use of fever reducing medications. Parents must also have a plan for their child to be picked up within 30 minutes when a request from the Nurse’s clinic is made. We cannot hold children in the clinic until the end of a school day.
What will happen to Before and After Care?
This program is being completely re-designed. It will be called Charger Care and there will be a new billing and reservation process. Parents will be asked to make reservations for their children to attend so we can adequately staff the program. We presently have nearly 200 children interested in attending Charger Care. New extension clubs are being designed and will likely result in additional enrollment fees at times. The fee structure for Charger Care has also been simplified. A new handbook with explanation of the program will be circulating soon. Look for it at the beginning of July.
Will we get to take field trips?
KCS is still investigating field trip experiences that can be safely taken with a school our size. At present, we are not planning to go to Washington DC, given that many venues are still closed or only partly open. Our tour director has recommended we wait until things calm down there. As far as any out of state trips, we will take a cautious approach to evaluate the trip in the proper context. If COVID reignites or venues have restrictions, that will affect our decision to do field trips. We will never, knowingly, put our students in an unsafe or unsanitary environment. This also applies to transportation, to and from field trips.
Will we have quarantines?
KCS will no longer do preventative quarantines as we did last year. We will follow local guidelines to quarantine specific contact-traced individuals if necessary to prevent spread of disease.
What will happen to large events?
KCS will resume a more regular schedule of large events (Donuts with Dad, Muffins with Mom, Grandparents Day, musical productions, book fairs, Fine Arts Festival, concerts, graduations, etc.), but with a reframed basis of logistics. You will notice some procedural changes, but the heart will be the same. We are in process of scheduling many of these events now.
Look for the first big celebration on Saturday, July 31, which will kick off the reopening of school. Charger Fest will take place on our campus from 8:30am-12:00pm and will offer an all you can eat pancake breakfast, inflatables, zip line, foam party, and so much more! This fundraiser will also launch our online auction. Save the date and be on the lookout for more information mid-July.
What’s the good news?
Glad you asked!
- Last year, 3rd – 8th grade students had their own laptop as part of our “1 to 1” technology program. We have now expanded the program so that Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will have their own iPad at school.
- We have upgraded the WiFi and increased the Internet bandwidth coming into the building.
- We will expand our outdoor learning spaces to include at least three outdoor classrooms, a growing lab space and a versatile set up for classrooms to use the parking lot across from Door 5 for science, play, and art.
- We are continuing to refine the school supply list to the “irreducible minimum” to reduce your costs. Please make sure your child has a re-fillable water bottle as all fountains have been replaced by bottle filling stations. Bottles without exterior straws are recommended.
- We will continue to supply hand sanitizer to all students in all classrooms. We will continue to sanitize the classrooms with more natural cleaners (vinegar and water) to reduce chemical load in the learning environments.
- We will eliminate shared materials in classrooms as much as we can.
- We will have elearning plans ready in the event of a government mandate or weather that affects attendance.
- We have secured digital copies of most learning materials so that your child can continue their education even when absent due to illness. Depending the situation, teachers will have the option to provide live stream/virtual learning through Microsoft Teams.
- We will continue to use digital means to communicate with our families, eliminating the costs and waste of paper where we can. Make sure your cell and text features are working so you don’t miss a thing.
All of these plans are held loosely as we watch for any further guidance from the governing agencies. At present, this is the plan we intend to execute. Should there be changes in the government mandates, of course, we will be ready to formulate new plans and let you know.
May I be the first to congratulate you for taking a stand for your family values and for searching for your partner in education. We are blessed to be invited be your partner. We will continue to earn your trust as we innovate and design programming that reflects Biblical worldview and is academically challenging. May God give us the wisdom and insight we need to have a beautiful year meeting the mission: Kingsway Christian School exists to glorify Christ through faith inspired learning and leadership.
May God receive glory from our school,
Julie Giardino, Ed.D.
Head of School
Kingsway Christian School