A Letter from Principal Drummond

Dear Hill Community,
Time is flying as we have wrapped up our first full week of instruction for the school year. Thank you for the support and feedback the last few weeks! There is a lot of information to share so we will try to keep this update as concise as possible.

The biggest news as of Wednesday was the announcement of the district and Hill campus plan for the reopening of our building. Here are some bullets so everyone has clarity on the basic logistics:

  • The phasing in of students will begin on Monday, October 5th. This will be the 5th week of school. The phase-in process will take place between weeks 5-8 of school.
  • For the 5th week of school on October 5th, we will limit our capacity to 258 students at most. We do not anticipate coming close to this number based on the groups of students coming back that first week. We will have less than 25% of our capacity on campus as needed.
  • comprehensive list of the phase-in groups by week was published by the district this week. On October 5th, the first students allowed to phase-in on campus will be:
    Students of staff returning to their home school
    Students receiving these specialized services: SCORES, early childhood special education
    Siblings of any students in the groups above
    **If you are in any of the groups above and intend on returning to campus October 5th for blended learning, please notify your teacher in the upcoming week if you have not done so already. Thank you! They may be reaching out as well so we have the best possible picture.
  • Students will stay in one room for the day to maximize safety. Desks/tables will be spaced 6’ apart as a norm set by the district.
  • The model of instruction for the phase-in weeks will be a “blended model”. This means we will have students completing virtual learning in the classroom with their teacher. This could look like a whole class meeting with students at-home and in the classroom on a device on Zoom. The teacher in the classroom will facilitate both face to face and virtual learning during this period. Teachers will be wearing masks at all times during the day while instructing as safety and protocol dictates. We will learn a lot during this time on what will work well and what will need to be adjusted in this model. We are happy that overall, our schedules and class assignments should be able to stay in-tact with some shifts for lunch and recess that may be needed. Please also know that for those first couple of days, especially for our Pre-K and Kindergarten students, our number one priority will be teaching our students expectations and our systems on-campus as safety is paramount and many of these students are coming to school for the first time. We appreciate everyone’s patience as this will be a process.
  • Recess will take place on campus in designated areas with single classes in a given area for safety. We will work on rotations to ensure students are able to see different areas. Interactions between students will be limited as 6’ distancing will still be monitored and expected during this time.
  • Lunches will take place in the classroom as well. For students who receive lunch from our cafeteria staff, they will be brought to the classroom by staff and left outside the door. Lunches will then be eaten at desks. As seen in the video below, we anticipate providing desk shields for students as they will be removing their masks to eat. Eating and drinking will be the only time of the day when students may remove their masks.
  • Arrival and dismissal plans will be shared next week as we finalize our working draft of those with our leadership on campus. Just know it will be a slower process than normal with safety being ensured in both instances. Thank you so much for your patience during these weeks with brand new systems being tested out for the first time as well.

There are also a couple of good video resources that may help you in filling out the final district survey on your intentions for in-person vs. virtual learning. Our Hill Principal Check-In this week focused entirely on the phase-in plan and may answer a lot of wonderings you have. Also, the school district shared a short video on the phase-in to campus as well that may be helpful. We thank all of our families for completing the Final District Survey by this Monday to give us the crucial information we need to plan at each grade level. While it is not a commitment, it is so helpful!  Thank you in advance.

Our next Hill Principal Check-In will be this Thursday, September 24th, at 4:00. Zoom information is below. We are excited to welcome Board Trustee Kristin Ashy to our meeting! The Hill Reopening Plan working draft will be shared as well. We hope everyone can make it!

Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 894 3084 2215
Passcode: dillos

We met with Hill parent and awesome AISD tech design coach Laurie Beaman as a staff this week to problem solve some common problems our families are having to best support them as we are constantly learning. She also kindly invited all of our Hill families to join the “Unofficial” Tech Support Facebook Group she started so people can swap tips and share ideas. Feel free to join if you feel this is a good fit for you.

On a different note, we encourage everyone to check out the calendar on the Dillo Details this week for a few fun events. On Wednesday, your family can eat at Top Notch for Hill Spirit Day beginning at 11:00 am that will also help support our school! Then on Thursday, it is Sock Hop dress up day. We will get our 50th anniversary theme going here as your students can dress in 50’s themes as we always do this time of year. While we can’t hold our traditional sock hop, we hope this at least provides a fun day at home. More to come on Hill’s 50th anniversary celebrations later this fall! And if you haven’t yet, please join our Hill PTA! We always aim for 100%.

As you can see, there is much more information to come soon, and we will keep our community updated. Enjoy your weekend, Hill families!

Principal Drummond