AN IB WORLD SCHOOL

Academic News

Members of the Class of 2020 received a number of departmental senior awards and honors this summer.  These included:

The Gertrude W. Cadzow Music Award: Bennett Clark
The Corlin I. Cullen World Languages Award: Callie Gee
The Elisabeth H. Gemberling English Award: Miya Jacobs
The Clare W. Gilbert Art Award: Yue (Krystal) Huang
The John A. Hern Jr. Mathematics Award: Sarah Wu
The Hannah L. Joss Social Studies Award: Marshall Roll
The Alexander R. MacKay Jr. Science Award: Sydney Lennemann
The Patrick R. Neils Drama Award: Rongyi (Caroline) He
The Jonathan McClain Die Hard Awards: Mary Bade & Maria Madero
World Language Honorable Mention: Caleb Flegel
Kindness Award: Grace Harrill
Athletes of the Year: Lydia Bergquist, Grace Harrill & Daniel Rigsby

In addition, two honors announced at Graduation were the Head of School Cup to Marshall Roll and the Alumni Asssociation Service Award to Lucy Yan.  See all of the graduating seniors' awards and honors, as well as the colleges and universities they are headed to, in the 2020 Graduation Program on the website.

Dear Saint George’s Parents and Community:
 
The faculty and staff are so excited for next week’s Student Orientations.  The majority of our students will be attending in-person and others will be attending remotely, so for us, it is a win-win in getting to see our students.  This carefully orchestrated week will allow our students to see one another and get on campus for a short period of time.  It will also allow our 49 new students to meet their teachers and new classmates before we start gathering in our Distance Learning 2.0 platforms and before we return to a hybrid model (part in-person/part online).  I know our returning students are eager to welcome their new peers to the community, and our Parent Ambassadors will be reaching out to assist new families as we all navigate the atypical start to the year.   As we all continue working together and supporting one another through the challenges we will all thrive until we are together again in-person.
 
The Spokane County COVID-19 related data has been moving in the right direction over the past several weeks.  This is good news as it applies to the various metrics associated with re-opening to a hybrid learning model.  The Labor Day weekend is still a concern for health officials monitoring the data, so please keep up the good work of social distancing and wearing face coverings.
 
You have received a great deal of communication this week from various sources around the school, so I will keep this brief so you can enjoy your weekend and focus on the most important information.  Please review the information from Ryan Peplinski, the SGS COVID Coordinator,  included in this email for the key reminders for next week.  This includes details by Division/grade level for attending the orientations, as well as what you will need and where to go.  We will have a small army of staff and volunteers to assist throughout next week.
 
Reminders:
 
• Students will be required to wear a face mask (or face shield with a shroud). 
• Complete Daily Symptom Check Card – (aka the “Golden Ticket”) that was mailed to you this week.  Students will need this to enter the school.  Please keep students home if they are showing any symptoms.  
• Although it may be difficult, students will need to remember to socially distance themselves from others. Everyone is excited to see their friends, but this is the new normal, so please talk with your child about how to express their enthusiasm from 6 feet away.
• We ask our parents not to enter the school buildings.  If Lower School parents would like to walk their students to the building, please have a mask on and stay socially distanced.  
• There will be no buses on these days.
• Students should bring a water bottle that can be filled at school with the bottle fillers.  Water fountains will not be available.
• Bring a lunch or snack as needed.  We will not be allowing food deliveries or off campus privileges during the orientation days.
 
Have a great weekend!  We look forward to visiting with our students next week and seeing our K-2 students on September 8. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Jamie Tender
Head of School

Dear SGS Community,

Since our closure in March, we have been planning and implementing multiple scenarios for re-opening Saint George’s School.  In March, we looked forward to the warmer months and summer to flatten the curve, only to see cases spike in Spokane and around the country. I have worked closely with the administrative team, teachers and the Board of Trustees in the planning process as guidance has continued to evolve and change in regard to the quandary of opening schools during this pandemic. There have been vigorous discussions weighing all available information, there has been optimism and pessimism, but everyone was working together to make the right decision about the start of school. 

Based on the science of the COVID-19 virus and existing data, the Washington Department of Health, the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) and the Governor have strongly recommended for schools to begin the year remotely. With the support and approval of the Board, Saint George’s School will follow that guidance and start K-12 in a Distance Learning model... 

Dear SGS Community,

I wanted to take the opportunity to address some questions and share more information since my announcement on Tuesday.  Like everything else, our plans will continue to evolve and are not static.  As much as we all want to be back in school and back to normal, this will not be a normal year.  I think of this situation not to be the first to start this race, but as a marathon.  We want to start, make it to the end, and be in a position to win.  It will take our entire community to work together as we move forward.  I appreciate the understanding and support, and I understand the frustration, hardship and uncertainty you are all feeling.  We are confident our unique campus, which is so critical to the SGS experience, will allow for some creative solutions to get to the point we all want - our students back on campus.  

On Thursday, I had a personal call with several members of our team and Dr. Lutz and his Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) team.  We discussed our re-opening plan and received additional guidance and support on how to get our students back on campus in a hybrid model.  With his support we are developing a progression to bring our students back starting with our youngest learners.  This could happen in September, and we are developing that plan as we speak and will remain in communication with them as this develops.  If the initial re-opening goes according to plan, we will continue to bring our students back in staged progression...  

Dear SGS Community,
 
Happy early 4th of July!  I hope you and your families are able to enjoy the upcoming weekend and safely enjoy captivating fireworks.  June has been a busy month with preparations for the new school year.  Our Task Force and Working Groups have met and produced recommendations for the coming year.  We are still in the process of completing the final document and guidelines as we establish our SGS plan to address the nuances of this pandemic situation.  The ability to be nimble and flexible as well as mitigating the risk of spreading the COVID-19 Virus to keep everyone safe add to the complexity of our overall planning...

Dear SGS Families,

I hope your summer is going well and you are enjoying the beautiful weather.  I can’t believe it is already mid-July . . . where does the time go?

We continue to develop our plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year as the COVID-19 landscape across the state and nation remains fluid and uncertain.  This continues to be a challenge as the virus spikes, guidelines evolve, and attitudes are quite diverse in regard to safety and health concerns.  We continue to plan for an in-person start (with a back-up plan in place) to start school the week of August 31 as previously published on the school calendar.  The in-person start includes accommodations for those unable to be on-campus.

We convened a Task Force and working groups of administrators and teachers to research and create recommendations in multiple areas for a successful school year in any scenario....

The SGS maintenance crew has been busy rearranging desks, creating one-way hallways, and preparing for social distancing at Orientation Week for grades 3-12 the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 4.  Art teachers are gathering materials that students can take home, and everyone is excited to see their students -- at least for one day!  See a Photo Gallery of the new look of our classrooms.

Dear SGS Parents,
The start of the 2020-21 school year is growing near, and we continue to process new information and guidance to adjust our plans accordingly.  Our back to school information packets were mailed yesterday and additional information and forms to be completed have been posted on-line in the Parent Portal in the 2020 Back to School Documents folder. We are looking forward to starting the adventure of what school will be this year and working with our eager students.  
 
Late last week, Dr. Pam Kohlmeier (SGS Board Member), Ryan Peplinski (SGS COVID-19 Coordinator) and I met with Dr. Lutz (Spokane Regional Health District Health Officer) and members of his team to further review our re-opening plans. We discussed the safety consideration in place and mitigating the risk of transmission of COVID-19 if someone tested positive.  In addition to requiring face coverings, social distancing and regular handwashing, Dr. Lutz and his SRHD team’s recommendations continue to emphasize small groups/cohorts and a progression of adding students back to campus over time based on overall conditions and data. 
 
The safety and well-being of our community remains at the forefront of our decision-making as we progress to a hybrid model that will allow students to return to campus.  This includes the county data on COVID-19 case occurrence, which at this time is indicating a decrease in occurrence in the county.  It will take a continued community effort and commitment to follow all safeguards that we have in place at school and responsible behavior away from campus.  That includes safe practices off-site of social distancing, wearing masks, limiting numbers in gatherings, etc.  We can mitigate risks on campus, however COVID-19 can be introduced to campus from outside.  Our protocols will limit the spread with the precautions in place, but they will not completely guard against the introduction of COVID-19 to the school itself.  We will ask students and families to sign 1.) a Community Commitment Agreement and 2.) an Acknowledgement of Risk form before arriving on campus. 
 
A community-wide commitment will be an essential element to our success going forward.  Our goal is to make our hybrid model available as conditions improve and health and well-being considerations are addressed to our satisfaction.
 
Our conversation with the SRHD team then turned to two topics: 
 
1. Orientation Week (August 31-September 4) is an optional event to bring small groups by grade level to campus to meet teachers and new students, receive supplies for Distance Learning, get books and materials, review technology and technology training, and introduce safety guidelines.  This will occur for grades 3-12 over the course of that week.  Busses will not be used this week to limit close contact.  Students that choose not to attend in person will be able to attend orientation classes remotely and arrangements will be made for them to pick-up the necessary materials disseminated that day. Students/Families will be required to complete a symptoms attestation survey that confirms a child has no symptoms prior to arriving on campus.  Division Heads will be sending out details today for each division.
 
2. Grades K-2 (Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2)– to start in a hybrid model that will include in-person instruction.  The SRHD recognizes online learning is difficult for the youngest learners as they miss out on much of the social-emotional components vital at that age and the risk for transmission is lower for younger students.  The path to re-opening at SGS will begin with K-2 students starting with a hybrid model (in-person or Distance Learning).  This will be a methodical process that will begin the week of September 8, after the Labor Day holiday, with three days of class (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).  There will not be classes on Friday September 11, as that day will be used to review our processes and make any additional adjustments to the program and protocols.  These classes will be taught in grade level cohorts each day, along with the face covering requirement, social distancing, frequent handwashing, and daily attestation that confirms a child has no symptoms before they arrive at school.  Bus service will not be available until further notice to limit contact between students in different cohorts. Kathy Johnson, LS Division Head, will be communicating more details today that will include a questionnaire for each family to choose in-person or distance learning the first week and each subsequent week for planning purposes.  Students in grade K-2 will not attend an orientation during the week of August 31, to prevent cross cohort contact prior to attending in person.  
 
We all know this will be a challenging year and there will be variables we can control and others that will be out of our control.  We are working proactively to make the process as smooth as possible as conditions allow us to bring more students on campus.  Our spacious campus, outstanding facilities and commitment to small class sizes is helping us to move forward in this process.
 
Student Emotional Well-being
 
We have heard from some of our families, that students are nervous about starting the school year in person.  There is a great deal of media coverage of schools re-opening with varying degrees of success both domestically and internationally.  We want to validate these concerns and urge families to use discretion to determine when your child feels safe and ready to return. We will provide the resources for all students to receive an excellent Saint George’s education, either online or in-person and will provide counseling support as needed throughout the year.
 
There will be continued updates leading up to the start of school as the situation remains fluid.  We remain optimistic that our plans and coordinated efforts with the SRHD will allow us to progress forward to the best of our ability.  There is a great deal of information and adapted procedure that we are trying to communicate in a timely and reasonable manner.  Our goal is to avoid overwhelming people with details, while still providing time for families to plan and process the changes.
 
Thank you again for the feedback and support we have received as we navigate these challenges.  We are excited to welcome our new families as they join the Saint George’s community in these unconventional times.  
 
As always, please contact the Division Heads or me with questions and/or concerns as we all prepare for the start of school.  Go Dragons!
 
Sincerely,
 
Jamie Tender
Head of School

Summer reading assignments for incoming Lower School students are now on the Parent Portal's Documents & Bulletins page.  Here are links to the incoming K-3rd Grades Summer Reading, the incoming 4th Grade Summer Reading, and the incoming 5th Grade Summer Reading assignments.


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