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August 31, 2020

Danforth Jr. High Newsletter
Monday, August 31st, 2020

Principal’s Message
As we begin our second full week of virtual classes we’ve noticed a couple of areas where we need to make some adjustments or maybe clarify a few things. Hopefully this will make things run smoother for all.

Attendance – each teacher has been instructed to create a Google Form titled “Attendance Check-In”. That form will be in their Google Classroom each day. We listened to your feedback about how it was sometimes difficult to figure out where your child was supposed to go to get credit for attendance for each class period and each day. When an assignment is due or work is turned in, that makes it obvious the student has been “present”. However some days there is no assignment due in a particular subject. Hopefully this will eliminate some of the confusion and allow the teachers to have a record of attendance for each period. Teachers will be instructing students to look for these “Attendance Check-In” forms for each of their teachers throughout each day. They will need to do this with each of their teachers listed on their student schedule.

One other note about attendance and this may be TMI for some (you might just skip this whole paragraph if your child is in 7th or 8th grade) but hopefully this explanation will give some context to what you’ve been experiencing. We realized we may have caused confusion for 6th graders and their families because we haven’t emphasized how different attendance looks in Jr. High and High School from what it is like at JWE. At JWE attendance is taken one time per day and that’s the end of the story. Nothing else needs to be done. However, in Jr. High and throughout High School, a student’s attendance is recorded EVERY CLASS PERIOD by EVERY TEACHER. That means we are taking attendance 6 times per day for every student. Hope that helps explain how attendance accounting works at Danforth Jr. High.

What in the world is “Clever”? Well it is a website that WISD has signed on with to ‘simplify” everything for students. It is advertised as a site where all educational apps and really, everything a student does at school, can be under one “umbrella”. It may ultimately be wonderful but since day one there have been issues with making all the education apps and programs communicate correctly. So, technical glitches for some teachers and students have made things more confusing and frustrating than they need to be. Teachers have now been instructed to use the platform that works best for students even if right now, it’s not “Clever”. We’ll all be using it……when it’s no longer problematic.

In the ever growing list of crazy/unique things about 2020……..about 400 of our students (we currently have 618 enrolled) will experience their second “FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL” on Tuesday, Sept. 8th. Returning students/parents know the Jr. High routine but for our 6th grade/new students this will be a new experience.

So here are some reminders/info for all those coming in person on Tuesday, Sept. 8th.

Arrival at School
Bus Riders - students will come in to the building from the bus lane and go immediately to their first period class unless they need a breakfast. When finished with food they will proceed to first period. Students are not allowed to congregate in the cafeteria. Mr. Scharlach will be in the cafeteria making sure this all runs smoothly each day.

Car Riders – most parents enter the JH campus from Carney Lane although a few turn in at Subway.

For most the whole process takes 3 or 4 minutes because the traffic moves fairly quickly when everyone is patient. Each vehicle slowly works its way toward the front of the building and students are dropped off close to the front doors. However, students can be dropped off at any point once the vehicle is past the big tree out front. They should not be dropped off in the
parking lot where the end up walking through moving traffic. One big thing that keeps the traffic moving quickly is……always pull forward as far as you can before dropping off. When students are in the building, students will go immediately to their first period class or eat breakfast (same procedure as bus riders). I am out front directing traffic and helping vehicles get through the traffic quickly and safely. Most students are dropped off in the 7:35 am to 7:45 am range but that will vary according to all your other stops and of course the traffic flow. I am out front about 7:20 am and I stay in the parking lot till about 7:55 am. Class begins for students at 8 am.

Departure from School

Bus Riders – will stay in the classroom when the bell rings at 3:15 pm due to the fact that the buses usually arrive at campus around 3:20-3:25 pm. When the buses are ready to load, Mr. Scharlach will make an announcement and students will head to the bus lane and be on their way home.

Car Riders - will exit the building immediately at the 3:15 pm dismissal bell and should leave campus as quickly as possible. School traffic may impact your arrival time at campus at times but we hope that all students are picked up by 3:30 pm. I will also be in the parking lot in the afternoon to help with traffic. Parents should try to enter the campus again from Carney Lane. You should also exit campus via Carney Lane if you need to go west on FM 2325. If you choose to exit our campus down the street by Subway….avoid turning left. You’ll thank me later for that advice.

I’ll have more information next week about the protocols we’ll be using during the school day but they have not changed from an earlier Newsletter I sent each of you. We strive every day to keep your children safe from everything from bullies to traffic to now………COVID.

Dress Code – Like most businesses or schools, we have a standard of appropriate appearance for all of our students. A detailed description of the entire dress code is on the school website but for now, here are a few highlights. For all students; No students should have see-through or mesh clothing. If hair is dyed it should be a natural color (purple, blue, green, etc. would not be considered natural). This standard also applies to “streaks” or “sections” of the hair. Clothing or t-shirts with a message or slogan on it must be appropriate for our Jr. High age group. If there are holes in jeans, they cannot be above where the fingertips extend. This “fingertip” rule also applies to the wearing of shorts or skirts. Specifically For boys, no sleeveless shirts or tank tops. For girls, all tops must include straps that are at least two inches wide.

For years we’ve applied these types of standards with a large dose of grace. Because of the experience of some parents during their middle school years the words “dress code” may conjure up something very negative. We go to great lengths to make sure that is not the experience that most of our students have when being reminded of the standards we expect all of our Danforth students to follow.

And one final note about the return to school on Sept. 8th. Four hundred coming to our building means about two hundred will continue to do their assignments from home. Our commitment to making this the best six weeks or semester or year for those students will not change. We will continue to want all of our students to be successful, regardless of where they are receiving instruction.
This is a lot of information. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to read through all of this. If you have any other questions you can give us a call here at the school or if you see me in the parking lot just visit with me then. For now, have a great first week of September.

Greg Howard, Principal

In the next few days
Monday, Sept. 7th – No School – Labor Day Holiday
Tuesday, Sept. 8th – First day for students in the building; school continues for those online learners

More detailed info about other Danforth activities

From Heather Baldwin, Director of Child Nutrition

This is a reminder for parents/guardians that the free/reduced application they had on file last year expires and they will need to reapply. This deadline to reapply is Sept. 19th. Please let me know if you have any questions.

From Lori Pharis, Counselor
Schedule change requests close on Wednesday, September 2nd at 4:00 pm. If this is something you’re still thinking about an official request must come from a parent via email or phone call to Mrs. Pharis. Due to a number of factors, there are many requests that cannot be fulfilled but we can discuss it until Sept. 2nd.

From Courtney Kehl, Family Ministry Director, Wimberley United Methodist Church WimberleyUMC has created a place for online students who have internet issues or parents who work and can’t be home and don’t want their kids home alone. We assume there are families who are still trying to figure this out and we want to help. We have space for 10 students grade 4 and up. Ideally these students will be on the synchronous learning plan; that seems to be easiest for us to facilitate. That said, we can handle asynchronous students as well. Our hours are 7:45-3:30. We have screened volunteers and have been given a verbal commitment of a teacher aid from WISD; hopefully that will come to fruition. We plan to provide this service beyond Sept 8 for families who do not intend to send their children to campus. Please feel free to me at the church for more info.

From Lori Pharis, Counselor

You’ll find some good student information……. and some fun too. So……….. Students should join the all school Google Classroom Danforth Junior High 2020Danforth Junior High 2020--2121 The Whole School! Join code: x5u5hme