2020 – 2021: Welcome Back – A Message from Dr. Jordan

Willow Hill Elementary School

1700 Coolidge Avenue

Willow Grove, PA 19090

215.657.3800

 

 

August 20, 2020

 

Dear Willow Hill Parents/Guardians:

Welcome back! It is my hope that you and your family are doing well and remaining healthy and
safe. I am confident that your children and our students have been reading, practicing their
mathematics, and are ready for the start of another productive and successful year at Willow Hill
Elementary School.

As I prepare for my thirteenth year as principal of the most dynamic and culturally diverse
elementary school in the Abington School District, I am proud of our continued progress. This
progress, in part, is the result of our shared vision, which is deeply rooted in a culture and
climate composed of high expectations for teaching and learning, as well as equitable and
consistent opportunities for children to progress, evolve and excel. However, we must not allow
success to breed complacency, but rather continue to push forward to achieve greater success.

As parents, you are an integral part of your child’s academic development. Your engagement is
essential; therefore, I challenge you to become active participants in our learning community.
Please log on to our website at https://www.abington.k12.pa.us/willowhill/ and then click on the
PTO link to view opportunities to get involved. Together, we will navigate any challenges and
obstacles that the beginning of this school year may bring and remain present in the lives of your
children and our students.

On August 11, 2020, the Abington School District Board of School Directors approved a Health,
Safety and Instructional Plan for the Fall of 2020 that includes a fully virtual instructional
delivery model through Thanksgiving.

I write to provide you with some additional information as we prepare for back-to-school:

Adjustment to School Calendar

Please be advised that at the August 11, 2020 meeting of the Board of School Directors, the
Board approved a change to the 2020-2021 calendar that makes September 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2020
(the first four days of school), early dismissal days for students, to allow for professional
development in the afternoon. Students can expect to have full days of instruction beginning on
Monday, September 14.

Chromebooks

I know many of you have reached out with questions regarding Chromebook distribution and
timing. As stated in Dr. Fecher’s letter to families on August 5th, devices have been ordered for
all students in grades 4-12 as part of the advancement of Abington School District’s Digital
Transformation Plan, with students in younger grades being able to take home devices from the
District’s existing supply of Chromebooks.

The new Chromebooks will be arriving on a rolling basis as we head into the new school year.
To help prioritize getting devices into the hands of students who have the greatest need first, we
have created the following Chromebook Request Form: https://forms.gle/EzWsBb3ZfKNcQ57Q8

We ask that if you do not have a device available at home for your student(s) to participate in
virtual learning, please fill out this form for each child who is in need. As devices become
available, we will accommodate our families in need of a device and will distribute
Chromebooks that are available in the District accordingly.

More information about the Digital Transformation Plan, as well as resources for
parents/guardians and students, will be available on our website in the coming weeks.

Teacher Assignments

One of the most exciting parts of going back to school for students is learning the name of their
teacher, along with which other students are in their class. Teacher assignments will be posted to
Skyward next week. Please see the section below on how to access Skyward Family Access.

Skyward Family Access

Skyward houses information regarding students’ attendance, grades, etc. Information is
accessible to parents/guardians of Abington School District students through Skyward’s Family
Access portal. Family Access features include information regarding assignments, activities,
discipline, attendance, grades, and student schedules. During this period of remote learning,
some school permission forms will also be issued via this platform.

Please note that Skyward Family Access is currently closed as we complete the annual transition
of information in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year. Skyward will reopen on Monday,
August 24th at 6:00 p.m., at which point you will be able to log-in to access your student’s
information and update your contact information.

  • To find your student’s assigned teacher(s), log into Skyward, and from the dropdown
    menu at the top left of the screen, select the student (if you have more than one student
    enrolled) for whom you would like to see the teacher assignment. For elementary
    students, this information is accessed by clicking the “Student Info” tab from the vertical
    menu on the left side. For secondary students, clicking “Gradebook” from the vertical
    menu will bring up your child’s class schedule, which includes the assigned teachers.
  • Parent/guardian contact information is also located under the “Student Info” tab found on
    the left-side, vertical menu. Once in this tab, click “Request Changes” in the top right
    corner to make any updates, if needed. Phone numbers and email addresses provided
    through Skyward for parents/guardians will be used for school-level and District
    communications generated through Skyward and our automated phone system, including
    in the event of an emergency. Please continue to update the information for your
    student(s) over the course of the school year as necessary.

If you do not have your Skyward login information–including if your student is new to Abington
School District or an incoming kindergartener–login information will be sent to you soon. This
communication will also include directions for families regarding what tasks will need to be
completed in Skyward in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year.

Supply List

With our plan for at-home learning during the fall of the 2020-2021 school year, Abington
School District elementary school principals have developed a list of recommended items that
your elementary school student may find helpful to aid in virtual learning. These items include:

  • a consistent location (desk/table) for your child to work (preferably near an outlet to
    power the electronic device throughout the day)
  • a supply of sharpened pencils, paper, and erasers
  • headphones (optional, depending on your child’s preference at home)
  • your child’s preferred art supplies (examples: crayons, markers, etc.)
  • glue stick/scissors

YMCA Student Support Centers

Families in need of childcare for their grades K-6 students can take advantage of the YMCA’s
Student Support Centers, M-F from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. These centers, operated by YMCA staffers
who will serve a supervisory role, will operate in Abington elementary schools and are available
exclusively to Abington School District students. The cost is $45 per child, per day, for five days
each week (or $50/child/day for a partial week). For more information and to register, visit the
Greater Philadelphia YMCA website: https://philaymca.org/yssc. Please note that this page
includes information regarding financial assistance as well.

Welcoming Activities

Our teachers and staff are very excited to welcome our students “back” to school! I will have
more information to share next week regarding instructional materials distribution, which is
currently planned for the first week of school. Stay tuned for a schedule of dates and times.

Resources

  • Handbooks – As we do every year, we will issue a student handbook this Fall. We are
    working to update it to align with a virtual learning environment, and will send it out to
    all families soon. I know many of you have questions about schedules, attendance, and
    other facets of the school day. Please note that this information will be included within
    those handbooks.
  • Instructional Hub – Located on the Abington School District website, the Instructional
    Hub will be updated throughout the year with Teaching and Learning resources specific
    to the Fall 2020 virtual instructional plan.
  • COVID-19 Support Services – We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for
    our families. The Student Services Department has established a specially tailored
    website to help families in need during the pandemic, which includes resources ranging
    from mental health assistance to community aid.
  • District Communications – Stay up to date using Abington School District’s various
    communications resources, including our text messaging system and social media. This
    page includes instructions on how to update your contact information in Skyward, how to
    opt-in to our text message alerts, and more.
  • FAQs – If you still have questions, please consult the FAQ document available on the
    Instructional Hub, or you can contact me at 215.657.3800 or email me at
    damonjordan@abington.k12.pa.us

You are reminded that the first student day is Tuesday, September 8 and that more information
will follow as we continue back-to-school preparations. Enjoy the remainder of your summer
season and I look forward to working with you and a day when we welcome our Willow Hill
Hawks back to school.

Sincerely,

Damon R. Jordan, Principal

Damon R. Jordan, Ed.D.

Principal

Download: Willow Hill Parent Letter – 2020-2021