- The Aspen Difference
2020-2021 School Plan
Recent weeks have been a rollercoaster for educators all over this country as new and sometimes conflicting orders, regulations, and guidance comes from multiple sources. Over recent weeks, school districts have announced major start date delays and/or that they are only able to offer an online model to their students for the coming year.
Barring a new order from the state or county health agency, that will not be happening at Aspen Academy. Our HyFlex Model supporting on-campus learning and virtual learning, for those that cannot be on campus with us, is ready and will begin as scheduled on August 26 (with a staggered First Day based on grade level).
Simply put, we want to be back with our kiddos. We want our beloved students, families and staff to be healthy, safe and engaging in the work that expands minds, increases learning, stirs souls, and inflames passion for leading purposeful and joyful lives. We want classmates, friends, teachers, and families to continue to connect and enrich our lives because of who they are and how they walk through the world.
This is a community that deeply cares for and supports each other. I’m confident that this character of our community is going to buoy all of us as we move through the potential trepidation of returning to a daily life, including: on-campus school, traveling to work, moving through a new platform of learning and teaching, and navigating the newness and changes that COVID-19 protocols is going to bring to our lives. It’s going to be the quality that also allows us as a community to learn, grow and lead together. In the coming weeks, that spirit will allow us to console others in our community who contend with the consequences of this pandemic from a health and/or financial perspective. It will also enable us to show vulnerably and authentically in gaining awareness, understanding, and growth in issues of justice and reconciliation regarding race, gender, and other cultural dimensions.
Here, you’ll find our 2020-2021 School Year Plan that serves as an evolving addendum to our Student and Family Guidebook and Employee Handbook. It reflects a plethora of information on how Aspen Academy will meet and exceed all orders, regulations and guidelines to keep our community healthy and safe while on campus. It answers many of the questions that parents, students and teachers have been asking over the last several weeks. What may not come through in this guide (because of the nature of the content) is what makes Aspen Academy the school we love and which will still exist, even if we’re wearing face masks to keep ourselves and each other healthy. It tells you about all the protocols, but it doesn’t tell you that our students will still experience remarkable and engaging lessons from math to science, from communications and literacy to leadership (and more!). It doesn’t tell you that friends who love to laugh and play are able to come together on-campus and virtually -- that everyone counts, that everyone is loved and cared for. The protocols in this guide are necessary to keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe, and the spirit and community of Aspen Academy will still be here.
This will be an evolving document. If you read the Plan and you think of something that we missed, please shoot me an email at kristina.scala@aspenacademy.
We will discuss the 20-21 School Year Plan at a parent webinar on Tuesday, August 4 at 5:00p.m. via Zoom. Register Here
92.4% of our students will be returning to campus to attend school. 7.6% of our students will attend school via our synchronous virtual learning platform. This HyFlex on-campus/virtual model will encourage us every day to be agile and innovative as this exercise in developing a dual platform school will be a new adventure for all of us!
We had three major priorities in our planning:
- Providing for, promoting and protecting the health and safety of our students, families, and employees. To every extent possible, we are implementing processes, protocol, equipment and personnel to support everyone’s health in accordance with guidelines and executive orders.
- Engaging student learning, growing and leadership experiences that exemplify our school values, mission and vision for our students on campus as well as those who because of an underlying health condition will participate in our virtual learning platform.
- Designing a flexible structure that allows for continuity amidst a fluid public health situation and ensures we are able to continue delivering our program throughout the year.
(Mildly) Revised 2020-2021 Calendar
While most schools in Colorado have opted to push off their start dates by two weeks, we opted to stay the course and start in-person. Our first start date remains as scheduled on August 26, albeit with some modification to support our students, families and faculty as we transition to new protocols.
On the students’ first day on campus, they will:
- Get acquainted with their classmates and teachers & tour all the new outdoor classroom and recreation areas.
- Be trained in all the COVID-19 Health Protocols and our standard response protocols for school safety and security. Each of these sessions will be attended by members of our social emotional support team. There will be ample time allotted for students to ask questions and share any feelings that they are experiencing.
- Complete all their academic assessments and personal profiles.
Please note the staggered start days below, based on grade level:
Friday Schedule Change for Students Attending On-Campus
During the period in which we are operating a HyFlex model, we will dismiss students from campus every Friday at 11:30am. After a lunch break, they will resume learning virtually. Students will complete tests, assessments, and participate in assigned asynchronous learning modules.
While we understand that this is not especially convenient for our families, it is critically necessary to provide the time for the following:
- Ensuring students are prepared for and knowledgeable about learning on a virtual platform, should we have a positive COVID-19 case in their cohort.
- Teachers will spend each Friday afternoon preparing and planning for both their on-campus and virtual learners, through: Domain Team (virtual) planning session meetings; Grade Level planning and collaboration team meetings; Essentials Integration planning meetings; health and safety trainings and debriefs; time for connecting with families; and deep cleaning their classroom learning equipment.
- Our janitorial and facilities teams will conduct weekly Level 2 - Level 3 cleaning and disinfecting of all classroom and common areas. To best combat COVID-19, it’s critical there be a prescribed time for all aerosolized particles to land and for the deep cleaning and disinfecting to occur.
Safety in the Coming Weeks
One of our values, "Do Good," describes my mantra for the coming weeks. I ask that each of you, for the sake of yourselves and our students, faculty, staff and families, refrain from traveling to COVID-19 hotspots for at least the two weeks before school starts; and encourage that social distancing, face mask wearing, frequent handwashing are a standard protocol in your family to support your child’s transition to the start of school.
Grateful for each of you.