Message from Prin. Franks 5/8/20
Monday, May 11, 2020 3:20 PM

Good afternoon Armatage families,

This is Joan Franks letting you know the staff and I are really really missing you! We have completed six weeks of Distance Learning and I know everyone is feeling the challenges we are facing with trying to make this new way of learning work for the kids who want to be in school, the parents who want to be at work and the staff who desperately want to be back in the building with your children.  Our physical building is closed but our school community is not.  As one of my staff continually says to me, “Armatage is my happy place, I want to come home.”

Over the past six weeks, the staff have been developing their Google and SeeSaw platforms with instructional materials and strategies to support the students in their learning.  One of the greatest challenges has been trying to differentiate to meet the needs of each individual child.  To be honest, it just isn’t possible.  However, the grade level teams have been working collaboratively to develop ways to engage with kids.  This includes strategies such as read a louds, videos, class meetings, written and verbal interactions, video chats, and office hours to note a few.  It is important to recognize these strategies are dependent on the age of the children and therefore, you may not be familiar with all of them.   I am excited with the ingenuity, creativity and willingness of our teachers to continue making this work well for the children.  I need to acknowledge the incredible work of the Armatage teachers and their commitment to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of our students. 

We have all heard the quote, “The more things change the more they stay the same.”  This rings true with everything we are trying to do as we wrap up the last four weeks of school. Teachers are planning and instructing and thinking about the end of this year while simultaneously thinking about the fall.  They want to ensure the students have as positive an ending to the year as possible under these unique situations as well as getting them excited for next fall.  On a side note, we will be doing a virtual graduation for our 5th grade students.  The event will be posted on the website on June 5th for all families to enjoy.

There have been some inquiries about our staff doing a parade for our students similar to other schools.  Unfortunately, unlike community schools that have a fairly small radius to cover, our boundary area takes up about ½ of the city.  The issue of equity becomes a concern as there are so many students who would inadvertently be missed due to proximity.  Therefore, I have engaged our spirit committee to come up with a creative way to have us stay connected with the children in a time of social distancing.  They are seeking input from grade level teams and will develop a plan to present in the near future.

Huge congratulations to Carey Seeley our Assistant principal who accepted a position as Principal of Ridgeview Elementary School in Bloomington.  The staff and I are very excited for her and wish her the very best in this new endeavor.  I am working with Brian Zambreno, our Associate Superintendent on the process of hiring a replacement.  I will keep you updated when more information becomes available.

I hope you are well and are finding ways to make Distance Learning as positive an experience for your children as possible.  I read a quote that said, “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” As we move forward with the last month of school I hope you and your children find strength to embrace this new way of learning and use the technological skills they are developing as a spring board into new learnings that they can apply next fall when we reenter the classrooms.

Finally, Happy Mother’s Day to all our moms.  Your work is endless and 5Grandkids#

much appreciated.  I hope today is a fabulous day for you to know how much you are valued.

If I can be of any service to you, please contact me.