Dear DMP Community,
It has been another busy week here at Del Mar Pines! This email will update you on several important items regarding how we continue to work towards starting our school year.
Elementary School Waiver
Many of you have asked me about the elementary school waiver that Gov. Newsom mentioned a few weeks ago. Guidance came from the state yesterday with a framework authorizing local health officers to grant a waiver under specific conditions. San Diego County Public Health is supposedly working on the required documents and criteria to apply for a waiver here in San Diego that might be available on Friday. We are in the process of finalizing the Safe Reopening Plan that will be required and are waiting to see what other documentation will be needed. We are working diligently to apply for the waiver next week. We do not know how long the waiver decision will take, but we will communicate our starting plans to the community as soon as possible.
After much thought and consideration, the teachers and I have decided to move our first day of school to Tuesday, September 8th. This will give us more time to hear back from the County Health Department regarding the status of our waiver application, and for us to continue planning for either situation, online or on campus. The later start date will also give our county another week to work towards getting the COVID-19 metrics down in the hope of being taken off the state watch list. We believe this date change is in the best interest of our community.
We have two new teachers, Monica and Nicole that I would like to introduce to our families.
I am Monica Sykes and I will be teaching Kindergarten with the wonderful Laura Murphy. This year will be my eighth year of teaching. Outside of teaching, I am an avid reader, traveler, and nature enthusiast! My husband, Rory, and I recently moved back to San Diego after five years overseas. Before moving back to sunny SD where I was born and raised, we lived and worked in Luxembourg. A very tiny, beautiful country right in the middle of Europe. For a few years, we ate all the pastries and explored all the secret alleyways through the country and countries nearby. While there, I taught at the International School of Luxembourg and worked with educators from all around the world. It showed me how important it is that we teach children to be kind, resilient, and problem solvers. Before living in Europe, I taught at a school in Fort Worth and before that, I was teaching here, at Del Mar Pines. Not only have I taught at Del Mar Pines, but I also attended school here from Kindergarten through sixth grade! I am looking forward to this year and the years ahead at DMP! Thank you for welcoming me back into the community! Monica
My name is Nicole Antoinette Lewis and I will be working with the fourth and fifth grades for writing instruction, supervising recess and lunch for all grades, adding yoga to our PE program with Coach Fortin. I will also be a permanent substitute when needed, and help with website communications. I consider myself a Renaissance woman; after all, I share the same birthday as Michelangelo. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and an MFA in CreativeWriting/Poetry. I also have a Montessori teaching credential and a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate. In my free time, I dabble in many forms of creativity, such as cooking holistic cuisine, crafting aromatherapy bath and body products, jewelry making, dancing, photography, and writing. I am the proud owner of Mariposa Yoga & The Creative Arts. I am so excited to join the DMP team and to have the opportunity to work with amazing students, staff, and teachers. Thank you for such a warm welcome to your Dynamic community!
Parent Survey Learning Models
Next, we have reviewed the results from the Learning Models Parent Survey. We received responses for over 92% of our students. The graph is below. In summary, 82% of our families stated that their comfort level to return to school on campus was a 7, 8, 9, or 10. (10 – very comfortable, 1- not comfortable at all.) For students in grades 3-6, 73% preferred On-Campus as much as possible, 11.5% preferred a Hybrid model, and 15% preferred Full-Time Remote. For students in kindergarten through second grade, 90% were comfortable with having their children on campus as much as possible, while 10% were not comfortable with this plan. Using this information, the teachers and I are continuing to plan to meet the needs and preferences of as many families as possible, knowing that it is impossible to please everyone.
In these times of challenge and uncertainty, I feel that we are very fortunate to be in a supportive community where we have certain rights and responsibilities to one another.
Remember every student, teacher, and staff member will be recognized, respected, and valued. This fundamental right is an essential part of being a member of our DMP community. This implies we all have a right to expect both emotional and physical safety and members of our community can reasonably expect a heightened level of concern for their health and wellbeing. While it is possible that students, teachers, or staff members might be exposed to COVID-19 in the course of being on campus, everyone can expect that every effort and reasonable precaution will be taken to mitigate that happening.
Our commitment also implies that members of our community have the responsibility to value and care for one another. It means that our interactions with others – friends and strangers, students and adults – should be respectful and courteous. This also means complying willingly with rules and policies designed to keep our community safe and healthy. It means thinking of others, appreciating that their risk tolerance might be different than ours, and adjusting our behavior with sensitivity and compassion. It means respecting policies and expectations even when inconvenient to ourselves.
The challenges of establishing a “new normal” next year will be vast. However, by working together, protecting each other, and understanding our responsibilities to our DMP community, I believe that we can overcome these challenges and become more resilient, resourceful, and adaptable which will only make us all stronger.