One Last Message & Summer Food

posted Jun 19, 2020, 1:05 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello again, Loon Lake Families,

I know what you’re thinking.  It’s June 19th, Brad, how long do we have to endure your weekly messages?  The answer is, for about two more minutes.  This will be my last regularly scheduled communication for a while.  However, my goal is to keep you updated, so you can expect a message from me if any major changes happen regarding reopening school in the fall. 

Speaking of reopening in the fall, we will spend the next 6 to 8 weeks working hard to create a plan for Loon Lake.  A plan that gets kids back to school and keeps staff and students safe.  So more info to come on that soon.  

As I’m sure you are aware, one thing that the Department of Health has said is that face coverings will be required for all students and staff.  I know a lot of people, and exactly zero of them are excited about this.  Could this change?  Perhaps.  But it also might not change.  So it might be a good idea to have your child practice wearing a mask this summer.  Start small.  15 minutes here, 15 minutes there.  Also, we will provide masks for your kids if they are indeed required.  Of course you are welcome to use your own masks, but don’t stress about purchasing or making any.  We’ve got you covered.  And again, if the guidance changes later this summer about this, I’ll let you know.  

Now a quick note about summer food.  While our district is not serving food directly, you have some options.  I believe that Deer Park, Valley, and Mary Walker are summer food sites, and it doesn’t matter which school your child attends, you can get food from any of these locations.  To find a summer meal site near you, you can text “food” to 877-877, or go to nokidhungry.org/find-free-meals.  If you need help with this, just give us a call or email me.  

Before we call it a school year, I want to thank our food service crew for their amazing work to keep our community fed.  I want to thank our teachers for keeping our kids learning.  I want to thank my entire staff for the way they banded together and got creative.  And I want to thank you, our families, for working alongside us to figure this all out.  I am proud to be part of the Loon Lake Family.  

If you need anything this summer, please reach out.  Email me directly and I will get back to you quickly.  

Take good care – 
Brad

6th Grade Love and P-EBT

posted Jun 12, 2020, 12:21 PM by Brad VanDyne

June 12, 2020

Hello again, Loon Lake Families.  I hope this finds you safely enjoying our phase 3 status here in beautiful Stevens County.  

Just a few quick items today.  

First, I want to take a second to recognize our graduating 6th graders, and shower them with the love they deserve.  Yesterday we held our drive-through graduation, and while it certainly wasn’t the same, we are glad we were able to do something.  6th graders – you are amazing.  We love you and we are so proud of you, and we can’t wait to see all the great things that you are going to accomplish.  Please come back and visit us often, especially since our time with you was cut short.  It doesn’t matter if you were with us for 7 years or 7 months, you will always be a Loon Lake graduate, and you will always be one of ours.  

Secondly today, I want you to know that ALL of our families with children who attend Loon Lake Elementary qualify for extra food benefits through the P-EBT program.  The P stands for pandemic, and EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer.  These funds can help you make up the costs of meals while school was closed.  I have put a letter on our website explaining what to do to claim these benefits.  We will also send this letter home on our food delivery routes on Monday.  If you have any questions, please call us.  

Thirdly, a reminder that next week is the last week of food service, and also the last week to turn in any school work.  All work is due by Wednesday, June 17th.  You can expect report cards in the mail the week of June 22nd.  

And finally, some of you may have heard that the state released guidance yesterday about reopening schools in the fall.  We are still digesting this information, and we will share more specifics down the road.  But right now, we believe we will be able to bring our students back to school in September.  There will be some masks and social distancing involved, but we believe kids will be here.  And we can’t wait.  

Have a great weekend and take good care – 
Brad

Spring Picture Orders and Year End Details

posted Jun 5, 2020, 1:14 PM by Brad VanDyne

June 5, 2020

Hello again, Loon Lake Families.  I hope this message finds you healthy, well, and dominating all aspects of life.  

June is here which means we are wrapping things up.  This message will be short with just a few quick reminders.

First, because we couldn’t do spring class pictures, Leo’s Photography is giving you a chance to order a composite picture of your child’s class, made up of the students’ individual pictures taken last fall.  Info was sent home about this, but if you need the info again, please e-mail me directly at bvandyne@loonlakeschool.org and I will get it to you quickly.  Pictures are $8 apiece and the deadline to order is June 8th.  

Second, we sent out our last week of learning materials last Monday, which means nothing new will be available from here on out.  Use these last two weeks coming up to finish up any school work you have at home.  Please get in touch with your child’s teacher and keep communicating.  All school work is due by Wednesday, June 17.  

And finally, just a reminder that we have two more weeks of food delivery and pick up.  Our school year concludes on June 19, which means our last delivery and pick up will be on Wednesday, June 17.  

And a quick side note - we are anxiously awaiting guidance from the state regarding reopening school in the fall.  The word is this guidance is coming to schools early next week.  Once it’s out and we’ve had a chance to examine it and see how it applies to us at Loon Lake, I will share what we know.  So more about that soon.

Have a great weekend everyone, and we’ll talk again soon – 
Brad

Further Clarification on Report Cards & Learning

posted May 29, 2020, 2:47 PM by Brad VanDyne

May 29, 2020

Hello again Loon Lake families, I hope this finds you enjoying some sunshine and staying well.  

As we transition to June, my hope today is to try and ease any remaining anxiety you may have about report cards and school work.

For an elementary student, a report cards serves two main purposes.  The first is to inform parents about how well your child is progressing in their learning.  The second purpose is to give information to your child’s teacher next year, to help them plan instruction.  

Right now, given this strange situation we find ourselves in, we understand that our report cards can only fulfill one of these two purposes.  It would not be fair or accurate for our teachers to gauge your child’s actual learning during this closure.  The only thing we can do is help your child’s teacher next year by documenting the level of engagement of your child during this time.  The teachers and I have decided that there will be no F’s, or incompletes, or any letter or effort grades at all for that matter.  Just an indicator for the level of engagement.  Please check out the document on our website for more specifics about what this will look like.

No student will repeat their current grade level if they have been unable to engage with their teacher.  It doesn’t mean they have failed.  It just means we have a lot of work to do when school resumes.  Because while an elementary report card doesn’t play much of a role in your child’s future, the learning your child does during their elementary years absolutely does.  The foundational skills they are learning are crucial to their success down the road.  

We know this is a challenging time for parents.  So, the simplest and best thing you and your child can do right now is to stay in contact with their teacher.  Let them know how you’re doing, let them know what’s going well or not well, let them know how they can help.  More than anything, our teachers miss their students.  Communication and connection are huge.       

Ok, two more quick things.  First, there has been some talk swirling around in the news about what reopening school in the fall could look like.  The most important thing to know right now is that nobody actually knows yet what it will look like.  The state has put together a 100+ person task force to examine options and research what other states and countries are doing.  We’ll know more soon, and when we do, I will communicate what we know.  

And finally, our amazing PE teacher, Mrs. Magnuson received a grant to purchase some items for each student, items that can help keep kids active and healthy during this time.  A bag for each elementary student will be available next week, and we will deliver them on our food service bus routes.  Huge thanks to Mrs. Magnuson!  

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please reach out to me.  I would be more than happy to talk with you about anything at all.  This is a challenging time, and I’m proud of the way our Loon Lake Family and community has responded.  

Take good care and we’ll talk again soon –
Brad

End of School Year Updates

posted May 22, 2020, 1:39 PM by Brad VanDyne

May 22, 2020

Hello again, Loon Lake families.  I hope this week has brought continued health and wellness to you and yours.    

As June approaches, I want to talk today about 3 things regarding the end of the school year.    

First of all, pretty much all school districts are required to add 5 extra days on to their school calendar because of this extended closure, which would make our last day of school June 19th.  This means our last two days of food service will be June 15th and June 17th.    

Secondly, let’s talk about what our report cards will look like for this spring.  During the first two trimesters, your child’s teacher graded your child’s progress in each subject area.  But for this last trimester, it wouldn’t make much sense to do that.  We understand that this is a challenging time for all of our families.  We also understand that kids have been at home, and not here with us.  So for our last trimester, our teachers will use the report card to document the only thing they can accurately measure right now, and that is how engaged each student has been with their learning.  This information will help your child’s teacher next year plan instruction.  On our website, I have posted a document that talks about this in more detail.  It is right on the homepage and it’s called Learning and Grading during COVID-19.  Please check it out.  

Finally, I’d like to talk directly to all of our amazing Loon Lake Elementary students for a second.  Loon Lake Lions, we miss you so much.  We hope you are doing ok.  Every year, you impress us with your caring hearts and your willingness to attack challenges.  Right now, you are facing a challenge, and once again, it’s time to rise up.  So for these last few weeks of school, really dig deep and work hard.  Get in touch with your teacher.  Complete the work being sent home and make sure your teacher gets it back.  Ask questions.  Join your teacher’s zoom meetings if you can.  Do everything you can to make sure you keep learning.  You are worth it.  You are all amazing, and we can’t wait to have you back here again.  

Have a great weekend everyone.  Talk to you soon – 
Brad

Food Service Change Due to Memorial Day

posted May 15, 2020, 4:24 PM by Brad VanDyne

May 15, 2020

Hello again, Loon Lake families.  I hope this finds your entire family doing well.  

Just a few housekeeping notes today.  First, and most importantly, there will be a minor change to our food delivery and pick up system for next two weeks due to Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is coming up on Monday, May 25, and we will not deliver or have food pick up that day.  Instead, we will deliver ahead of time, and this will happen this coming Friday.  

Here is a quick summary of the food service and delivery schedule for the next two weeks:

On Monday, May 18, we will have our usual delivery and pick up.
On Wednesday, May 20, we will have our usual delivery and pick up.
On Friday, May 22 we will have delivery and pick up to provide food for Memorial Day and the day after. 
On Monday, May 25, which is Memorial Day, there will be no delivery or pick up.  Our office will be closed that day.
On Wednesday, May 27, we will have our usual delivery and pick up.  
After this, we are back to normal, so the next delivery and pick up days after this would be on Monday, June 1 and Wednesday, June 3.
 
Finally today, two reminders.  First, remember that if you are picking up food at the school, the window to do this is between 9:00 and 11:00 on our food service days.  Please stick to that window.  We serve over 1600 meals a week, which is a big task for our team.  As soon as that 11:00 window is closed, we begin preparing for the next food service day.  Requests for pick up outside of that window can throw off our system.  

And second, remember our office hours during this time are Monday through Thursday, 8:00 to 2:00.  If you need to reach us outside of that, check our website for a list of our email addresses and we’ll get back to you promptly.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Brad

Item Pickup from the School - Monday, May 11 between 10:00-12:00

posted May 8, 2020, 3:20 PM by Brad VanDyne

Hello Loon Lake Families, 

As always I hope this finds your family healthy and well.  Just a quick message today with 3 short topics.

First off, on Monday, between 10:00 and 12:00, parents can stop by the school to pick up items that belong to your kids.  We will make sure social distancing requirements are followed, and also be disinfecting regularly.  Also, this would be a great time to return any library books that you have at home, and preschool parents, feel free to swing by and grab your child’s blankets and pillows at this time.  Some of your kids have a lot of stuff, so you might want to bring a backpack or bag or two to help you cart it away.  

Secondly, remember that our goal at this time is to keep all students learning.  Thank you for efforts in helping your kids stay connected to their teacher.  Remember that new learning material will be available on Monday, and our goal is to get every packet out the door, whether through food service delivery, pick up at the school, or a special delivery to your home.  Thank you for partnering with us during this time.  And if you’re wondering about Silverwood tickets for the Read to Ride program, those will be sent out with learning packets the week of May 18.  

And finally, I want to say thank you to all of the kids and families who made Principal’s day on Monday so special.  Thank you for the awesome posters, pictures, cards, kind words, and the decorated cars that drove through the parking lot to say hello.  I have the best job in the world, and I am so thankful to be a part of the Loon Lake family.  Thank you all so much.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe. 

Talk to you soon –
Brad

Is Learning Still Optional?

posted May 1, 2020, 1:44 PM by Brad VanDyne

May 1, 2020

Hello Loon Lake Families,

As always, I hope this message finds you all healthy and well.  Today, I would like to answer a very good question that was asked of us here at the school.  Here it is, “At the beginning of this closure, Brad, you said school work was optional.  Is it still optional?”  Great question.  At the beginning, when this closure was going to be 5 weeks long and there were so many unknowns, the state guided districts to make work optional.  But now that we’re closed for the rest of the year, the state’s guidance has changed.

We now have very clear guidance that all school districts must keep learning going for all kids, so we can longer call work “optional.”  

That being said, please understand that here at Loon Lake Elementary, we try to live on earth.  We’re pretty sure that most of you did not go to school to become a teacher, so it would be unfair to place all of your child’s education on your shoulders.   The good news is, you don’t need to be your child’s teacher.  Your child has a teacher, and she is available and ready to help, guide, and support in any way she can.   All we ask of you is to stay in communication with your teacher, make sure your child has the learning materials we are providing (and send them back when done), and provide your child the same structure and support you would if you were just doing homework on a regular school night.    

Also, when June arrives, our teachers will be required to give grades and complete report cards, so they need to gather as much information as possible.  We know that learning will look different for each family, so communication is key, whether it be through phone calls, emails, Google classroom, a Zoom meeting, or through sending the work packets back.  All of this will help our teachers get the information they need.  

One last thought, and that is, how much time should your child be spending each day on their learning?  The state recommends about 30 minutes a day in preschool, 45 minutes a day in kindergarten and 1st, 60 minutes per day in 2nd and 3rd, and 90 minutes a day in 4th, 5th, & 6th.   

In the coming days, we will provide more information on our website about grading and expectations.  And, of course, please reach out with any questions you may have.

Have a great day, and we’ll talk again soon – 
Brad   


April 24 Update

posted Apr 24, 2020, 1:41 PM by Brad VanDyne   [ updated Apr 24, 2020, 1:41 PM ]

Loon Lake Families,

Once again I hope you are all healthy and well.  Just a few quick updates for you today.  

The first is a reminder that new learning material will be available for you again on Monday.  You can pick these materials up at the school beginning at 9:00, or if you receive food service delivery on a bus, we will deliver that work to you with your food.  If you do not receive food service delivery and are unable to pick up these materials, we will work out a plan with your family.  If you haven’t heard from us yet on that, I apologize.  The logistics of organizing and delivering learning materials this week took up most of our brain power.  Remember, our goal is to have all students engaged with their teacher and engaged with their learning during this time.  Please know that we understand that this will look different for each family.  Together we will figure out how to keep learning going while not adding to the incredible amounts of stress we are all feeling during this time.  

Second, an update about the Silverwood Read to Ride program.  The Silverwood Read to Ride logs are due by Thursday, April 30th.  Completed logs will show at least 600 minutes of recreational reading.  Logs can be returned to the school when you are here to pick up food or learning materials, or you can give them to the folks who deliver your food on the bus.  If none of these options work, you can take a clear photograph of the completed log and email it to our librarian, Mrs. Wisener, at awisener@loonlakeschool.org.  

Finally today, I would want to speak directly to our Home-Link families for just a moment.  I know my messages often contain items that only apply to our elementary school families, but I want you to know that you are on our hearts and minds as well.  I know that Miss Monica, Miss Teresa, and the entire Home-Link staff are taking good care of you, but please know that if you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to let us know.  I hope you are all doing well.  

Thank you all for supporting each other and supporting us here at the school.  We will continue to get through this difficult time together.  

Stay safe and healthy, and we will talk again soon – 
Brad

April 17 Update

posted Apr 17, 2020, 11:23 AM by Brad VanDyne

Loon Lake Families, 

I hope this message continues to find you and your family healthy and well.  Just two quick topics today:  Food service and learning.    

Regarding food service, we are settling into a routine and hoping that it is working well on your end.  Since we are delivering to quite a few families, consistency for everybody is important.  Your efforts to be waiting for the bus at your approximate assigned time are hugely helpful.  Delays at any of our stops pushes everyone’s delivery back, which can be tough for families.  So thank you for being there when we arrive, it is greatly appreciated.  If you are unsure what your approximate assigned time is, give us a call and we will get you that information.  Our goal is to make sure you are getting the food you need for all of your kids in the most efficient way possible.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

And now let’s talk briefly about learning.  As I mentioned in my last message, because we now know that kids will not be returning to the classroom at all this year, it is vitally important for all kids to continue their learning in one way or another.  Many of you are picking up your child’s learning packet at the school, which is great.  For those of you who are unable to do that, but receive food service delivery, we will begin to deliver learning packets to you when we deliver your meals.  For those of you that are unable to pick up your learning packet and are not receiving food delivery, we will reach out to you individually to figure out a plan.

Also, our teachers are working on ways to stay connected with their kids and families, and to connect our kids to each other.  If your caller ID says Loon Lake School District, yes, it could be another one of my monotone messages, but it could also be your child’s teacher calling.  Thank you for continuing to pick up the phone.  If we are burdening you with too much communication, please let us know.  And as always, do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher if you need anything.  We are here and ready to help.  

Take good care and have a good weekend.  We’ll talk again soon –
Brad

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