Returning to Learning

January 21, 2021

Dear ALP Parents and Guardians,

Yesterday afternoon, our ALP Governing Board held its regular monthly meeting. As anticipated, the Governing Board discussed the reopening of ALP for in-person instruction. After much discussion, review of the county and local health data, consideration of the availability of the vaccine for our staff, as well as ALP stakeholder input and data, the Governing Board voted to resume in-person instruction on Monday, February 1st, 2021. Additionally, after final consideration of the financial and staffing implications of remaining online, please note that the Governing Board has not made any changes to their previous vote of returning to in-person only learning this spring semester. Effective February 1st, ALP will no longer offer an online learning pathway option.

We are committed to fulfilling our mission of providing academic excellence through a trilingual immersion program. We offer a unique program here at ALP. In order for us to be successful with tri-lingual literacy, it is imperative to resume an immersion model. We feel this is best accomplished through in-person learning. However, our ongoing commitment during this unprecedented time has been a commitment to a safe return for all stakeholders.

In discussion with the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, schools that have proper mitigating measures in place are supported and encouraged to return to in-person learning. Publications by CDC emphasize the benefits of in-person learning, particularly in elementary schools, as the emerging data indicates that in-school attendance is not a risk factor for youth testing positive for COVID-19. In a recent study from the fall provided by the CDC, it was found that children are more likely to contract the virus outside of school versus in school due to the cleaning and screening measures that schools have put into place. Due to our small school size, ALP is a natural hybrid school. We have extensive cleaning measures in place, cleaning not only indoors but also our playground equipment throughout the day. There are hand sanitizing stations at every door. All students and staff are required to wear face masks. We have implemented symptom and temperature screenings at drop off, along with a strict “no visitors” policy during the day when students are on campus

There are many difficult decisions that have been made over the last several months. We continue our commitment to our students and families. We are excited to have our students back in the building. We were so successful the first semester, not only with our academic growth but with our ability to navigate this pandemic as a team. Yes, truly “it takes three.”

 Thank you for your ongoing support during this difficult time.

August 11, 2020

Dear ALP Families,

During our Governing Board meeting last night, the ALP Governing Board approved updates to ALP’s Reopening Guidelines and Procedures to include an updated face-coverings policy and updated return to school/work guidelines (as per ADHS & CDC recommendation) after a positive COVID case. In addition, the Governing Board voted that ALP will review weekly benchmark updates published by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Each Thursday, beginning August 20th, the ALP Governing Board will hold weekly board meetings to re-evaluate the ADHS data and determine when re-opening our school would be acceptable. ALP stakeholders will receive a one-week return notice when benchmarks are appropriately met per the ALP Governing Board.

It takes every one of us to be the best for each other and our students. Thank you for all you do in supporting our school, staff, and students!

July 30, 2020

Dear ALP Families,

I am providing you the following information in accordance with Governor Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-51 issued on July 23, 2020. The Executive Order outlined three major components for school districts and charter schools to consider and implement as we embark on this unique school year.

  • The first component of the Executive Order is that by August 7 additional health benchmarks will be provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services. This data will help guide our Governing Board to determine if we are able to reopen schools for in-person learning with appropriate mitigation strategies. Our Governing Board will meet on August 10, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. to review these benchmarks.
  • The Executive Order also indicates that by August 17 we must begin to offer free on-site learning opportunities and support services for students who need a place to go during the regularly scheduled school day. The Arizona Department of Education currently describes this service as a “safe learning space for students who are at-risk, in special education programs or who are the students of essential workers.” These limited learning opportunities and support services may be suspended or terminated if the District or the Arizona Department of Health Services advises closing the premises for public health reasons or is in the best interests of the students and employees.
  • Finally, the Executive Order also mandates required face coverings policies be developed and implemented for all staff and students for in-person/on-campus learning until the Arizona Department of Health Services determines that this is no longer necessary.

Due to this recent information and direction from the Governor’s Executive Order, we are now planning for two potential scenarios:

Scenario 1: It is determined that we are able to reopen on August 17 for in-person/on-campus learning, with teacher-led instruction. This decision will be based on adherence to our ALP mitigation plan (ALP Re-Opening Guidelines) that are aligned to the Center for Disease Control recommendations, the forthcoming Arizona Department of Health Services benchmarks, guidance from county health officials, community needs and available resources.

Scenario 2: It is determined that we are not able to reopen on August 17 for in-person/on-campus learning. This decision will be based on the recommendations from the Arizona Department of Health Services benchmarks, guidance from county health officials, community needs, and available resources. With this scenario, remote learning will have to continue for all students until a date is determined that we can return to in-person learning. With Scenario 2, and in adherence to the Executive Order, families may indicate that there is a need for support services for their student(s) beginning on August 17. For this situation, student(s) will be provided a temporary location to continue their remote learning during the school day until in-person learning at all sites is possible. Our “It Takes Three” newsletter has a direct link to a form to complete to communicate your need for onsite learning.

We all hope that we can return to in-person learning as soon as we can ensure that it is safe to do so. I will be working with our Governing Board and will use our data and the Arizona Department of Health Services benchmarks to ensure we are making the best decision for the specific needs of our community during these extraordinary times.

We appreciate our families who have taken the time to complete the initial survey that was sent out earlier this summer, however, we are requesting that families confirm their preferred learning environment by completing a short survey. This survey has been sent out to families in our “It Takes Three” newsletter. Please note, all parents who intend for their student(s) remain online, the long term online learning option for students will look different than the remote learning currently occurring. The major difference is that the learning will be asynchronous, meaning that there will not be live lessons or require a specific class time for instruction. All lessons will be pre-recorded from live classes, so they will not be available at the exact time they are taught in-person. Available office hours will also differ, depending on each teacher’s in-person teaching schedule.

Your response is important as this will help us to staff appropriately as we prepare for a successful transition when in-person/on-campus learning can resume. This survey will also help us to know if you are requesting support services for your student and allow for you to provide us with feedback and questions as we continue to plan together for how to safely reopen our school.

Thank you for your continued flexibility and understanding as we navigate these ever-changing times together.

July 15, 2020

Dear ALP Families,

On June 29, 2020, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order that schools are not permitted to start with in-person instruction until August 17, 2020. ALP appreciates your patience and understanding as we prepare to start school during these ever-changing and uncertain times. Our goal is to provide appropriate and reasonable options for our students and families.

At our July 2nd Governing Board meeting, it was decided that we will start the 2020-2021 school year following our current calendar on August 3rd, 2020. This decision allows us to maintain our fall, winter, and spring breaks as scheduled. We know that many families plan on these times and we want to be as consistent as possible and not change our previously approved calendar.

Governor Ducey’s Executive Order will not allow in-person learning until at least August 17, and it is very possible that this date may be extended  This will require that our instruction for all students will begin remotely on August 3rd. 

Moving forward, we want to provide the most consistent educational opportunities for your student. In order to plan and staff appropriately we ask that all parents/guardians select the learning pathway that you prefer when in-person learning can resume.

Option 1: In-person/on-campus learning

This option is for those families who wish for their students to return to in-person/on-campus learning when it is permitted. This option includes:

  • Typical 5 days a week schedule
  • Preventative safety measures and enhanced cleaning protocols
  • Physical distancing may not always be possible but will be implemented when feasible
  • Mask/face coverings are required, per the municipal ordinance, when physical distancing is not possible
  • Lunch, recess, and specials will happen with modified schedules
  • Instruction in core content, Mandarin, and Spanish
  • Limited sharing of devices, supplies and curriculum materials as much as possible
  • Social-emotional support provided
  • Integration of Google Classroom to support learning
  • Homework Club and After Care offered

Option 2: Online Learning:

This option is for families who prefer their students to continue their learning online only. Depending on the number of students requesting the online platform, the need to reallocate teachers may be possible.

  • 5 days a week; attendance and participation is required and held to state accountability
  • Devices can be provided to students if necessary
  • Instruction in core content, Mandarin, and Spanish
  • Social-emotional support provided
  • Google Classroom will be used as the primary learning platform for communication, lessons, assignment and weekly updates
  • Accountable grading practices and ongoing feedback
  • Specials will continue to be offered via online instruction
  • The standards taught through the online option align to the in-person model to ensure consistency in case families want to change learning pathways
  • Homework Club and After School services will not be available

We understand that this is a difficult decision, and we know that some families may want to change after the start of the school year. Here are some considerations to take into account when deciding if you want to change learning pathways:

  • This change can happen at any time but will require consultation with the Principal for optimal planning
  • Grades remain with the students and are transferred from one learning pathway to another

I know that there are still unanswered questions. Thank you for your patience while we navigate through executive orders, statutory requirements, and the realities of COVID-19 in Arizona at this time. More specific information will be provided as soon as it is available.

Of course, should you have any questions, please contact our office.

To see our Distance Learning Plan, please click here