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Welcome to the Garnet Valley School District Blog! Here we will feature news, alerts, and events from our district and its community.

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Dear School Community,

covid-19-reopening-of-garnet-valley-school-district-letter-from-superintendent-06-25-2020Happy summer! I’m hoping that you are finding some rest and relaxation despite the fears and uncertainties that continue as a result of COVID-19. This summer will be perhaps the busiest of our administrative team’s careers as we plan for next year while sorting through the volumes of recommendations and guidance that we are receiving from health and educational agencies and experts. Nevertheless, we are moving forward to provide our school community an educational environment that is safe and conducive to the high level of learning that our families expect.

For today’s message, I wanted to focus on four key areas: (1) Reopening School for the 2020-21 Academic Year; (2) GVSD Examples of Distancing, Screening, Hygiene, and Masking; (3) Preliminary Information on Instructional Delivery Options for the 2020-21 Academic Year; and (4) Survey Feedback. 

I’m hoping that this message will give you an emerging picture of what school will look like for the 2020-21 Academic Year. I appreciate that parents will have specific questions and/or concerns, but please understand that everything is still preliminary, and plans will continue to change and evolve as more information is available to us. I will continue to communicate with you throughout the summer.

Opening Schools for the 2020-21 Academic Year

We are moving forward with plans to open schools in the fall. By balancing safety with pragmatism, we plan to provide the greatest protection possible for students and staff. Since it appears that COVID-19 will stay with us for a long time, we have to weigh the inherent risks of the virus with the negative impacts on our students’ mental, emotional, and behavioral health when they are not in school. With the collective support of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Chester and Bucks County Departments of Health, the CDC, the World Health Organization, and our service provider Environmental Consultants Inc., we are working quickly to finalize a framework that will keep everyone safe when school doors reopen on September 1st. 

Based on the recommendations of the experts, we have concentrated our efforts on four main components for reopening: distancing, screening, hygiene, and masking. Although the protocols and procedures will make interactions between students and teachers look and feel different, we are resolute that our students need to be in school for their educational, emotional, and social health.

As I’ve communicated previously, there are committees of administrators, teachers, and parents developing detailed plans in these four key areas for just about every function within our schools. We will communicate specific details in the days and weeks ahead with the goal of presenting a health and safety plan to the School Board by July 28th. Once that plan is approved, parents will have a clear “picture” of what school will look like as we reopen. 

Please understand that everything in the COVID-19 era is constantly evolving. Planning could change based on a resurgence of the virus just as things could change based on developments with testing and treatment. We, consequently, appreciate your patience and flexibility as we progress through the summer.

GVSD Examples of Distancing, Screening, Hygiene, and Masking 

Distancing–Although six foot distancing is optimal, we will be able to meet the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 3 foot distancing in every classroom in the district. Also, through the use of masks by drivers and passengers, our Health Departments have approved allowing two students in a seat on the bus. Distancing procedures and logistics are also being developed for students as they eat lunch, change classes, locker, etc.

Screening–For schools to stay open, those students and employees who do not feel well have to stay home. Consequently, the linchpin of our plan will be the partnership between employees and parents in screening themselves and their children prior to coming to school. We will communicate several times throughout the summer with symptomatic “look fors” and other guidance to assist our school community. Although some community members will desire temperature checks to take place at school, our student populations range from 500 to 1600 students per building, which makes the logistics too complex. Additionally, research is showing that temperatures are affected by several factors that can lead to many false positives and variabilities. 

Hygiene–We are developing procedures as well as purchasing signage and equipment to enhance the hygiene practices within our schools. We will embed time within the day for faculty, staff, and students to wash hands, for the custodial staff to clean and disinfect high touch points, and for our operations team to utilize newly purchased hydrostatic foggers to clean buildings and grounds each night after school. We are also purchasing extra hand sanitizing stations, bottle fill stations to replace water fountains, plexiglass dividers, and other equipment to assist in maintaining hygienic environments. Finally, we will ask that as part of students’ school supplies they bring hand sanitizer, bottled water, and PPE for personal use. Schools will provide supplies but it’s a good idea for students to have an individual supply.

Masking–The masking requirements for students will vary. Based on the guidelines, all students and drivers will wear masks while on the bus. Once in school, masks will be required for our older students more so than our elementary students. However, every student will be required to wear a mask at certain points during every school day. As for employees, masks and/or face shields will be a requirement depending on the nature of the lesson and its location. Again, we are working with the experts to put more specific procedures in place. I realize that masking has become a source of debate, but in Garnet Valley we will follow the advice of our doctors, scientists, and health experts. 

Preliminary Information on Instructional Delivery Options for the 2020-21 Academic Year

In keeping with our mission to personalize learning for all students, the district will offer families a choice in how their children return to school in the fall. Each course format is designed and will be taught by Garnet Valley teachers, using the same curriculum as in our traditional brick and mortar schools. The options will be: (1) face-to-face/blended; (2) fully online synchronous; and (3) our asynchronous eSchool@GarnetValley.

In the face to face/blended learning format, students will be able to access their education by attending school for face-to-face instruction. However, if a student gets sick or needs to stay home because of a compromised family member, we can also provide a blended learning delivery option whereby students can stay home while still accessing their education. In this scenario students would receive their assignments on Schoology and virtually attend class meetings in real time through interactive web conferencing tools. 

For those families that want or need a fully online experience, they will have two options to meet their child’s educational needs–a fully online synchronous learning experience with live instruction and our asynchronous eSchool@GarnetValley program which provides students with more flexibility and more ownership of their learning. The district defines synchronous learning as learning that takes place at the same time as the teacher is delivering instruction. Asynchronous learning occurs anytime and is dictated by established teacher timelines and student preferences. Typically, in this format instruction is recorded through video, audio, or presentation software.

We will provide a more detailed overview of our instructional options for next year in the days and weeks ahead. I, however, want to thank our school community for their critical feedback because it has truly improved our programming.

Survey Feedback

Approximately 1,400 parents took the Parent Survey–Preparing for the 2020-21 Academic Year. The responses gave us important feedback and data in the area of instruction, technology, and parents preferences for next school year. 

Below are some areas of interest:. 

Parents Comfort with Sending Their Children to School in 2020-21

Clearly, we need to know if parents are comfortable sending their children to school next year. We, therefore, asked the following question: we understand that many students or family members have health concerns or compromised immune systems. Assuming there is no vaccine available in the fall but buildings reopen following state safety protocols, will your child(ren) attend school in the building? 77.9% of parents said that they were comfortable; 4.8% said that they were not; and 17.3% are undecided.

Parents Comfort with Utilizing our Transportation Services Next Year

Also important for our planning purposes is understanding parents’ perspectives on utilizing our transportation. 41.3% of our parents chose the option to ride the bus to/from school; 22.5% will drive their children to/from school daily; 11.1% plan to drop off their children in the morning and have them ride the bus home in the afternoon; and 24% are still unsure.

Instructional Preferences for the 2020-21 Academic Year

We asked our parents what type of learning they would prefer for their children assuming that there is no vaccine available in the fall but schools reopen following state safety protocols. This information will be used to help us plan for next year’s student loads for the various learning options that we will have available. Their responses were as follows: 50.4% prefer face-to-face; 40.2% prefer a hybrid program in which students attend school with health dept protocols a few days a week and remote learning the rest of the week; and 9.4% prefer remote learning programs, which would be evolved versions of this Spring's format.

Parents’ Perception of Instruction During the Closure

We continue to provide professional learning to our teachers based on parent, student, and teacher feedback on instructional strategies. As a result, we wanted to get a sense of our “report card” regarding the instruction we provided during the closure. 13.1% thought the instruction was excellent; 36.7% thought it was good; 34.6% average; 14.1% poor; and 1.3% were unsure.

Teacher Interaction in Virtual Learning

We asked our parents to rate the amount of interaction their children had with teachers. This was one of the key areas in which we received a great deal of critical feedback, and thus an area of ongoing improvement for this school year and next. 15% of our parents believed that the interaction was excellent; 20% felt it was above average; 35% average; 22% below average; and 7% poor. 

Overall Quality and Effectiveness of Technology and Technology Support

The district invests a great deal of money in technology, and we wanted to make sure that it worked! When we asked parents about their technology issues regarding virtual learning 61.3% said they had no technology issues; 28.5% said that they had issues that are now fixed; and 4.9% said that technology is still an issue.

Again, we are moving forward with opening school next year and will continue to keep you informed throughout the summer. As always, thank you for your support and cooperation. Enjoy the summer!!


Sincerely,

Dr. Marc Bertrando, Superintendent
Garnet Valley School District

Posted by curtisj  On Jun 25, 2020 at 3:18 PM
  
Click here to access the downloadable PDF.

garnet-valley-school-district-adopts-final-budget-for-2020-2021





















































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Posted by curtisj  On Jun 16, 2020 at 2:18 PM
  

Garnet Valley is announcing a fun project that they are sponsoring through a 501(c)(3), Little Hero Foundation (LittleHeroFoundation.org).

Garnet Valley Strong wristbands were created to remind everyone that we are stronger together. We hope the free wristbands provide a smile to Garnet Valley families while showing support for our awesome community! #GVstrong 💪

Our primary goal is that the wristbands bring joy to everyone at home missing their friends.

ORDER YOUR GARNET VALLEY STRONG WRISTBAND HERE!
garnet-valley-strong-wristbands-little-hero-foundation
On the order form link: https://form.jotform.com/200862613662150
there is also a completely optional donation section. 100% of every optional donation received is divided between GV-CTC and the AI DuPont emergency families fund (to help families in the hospital pay for adult meals without having to risk unnecessary exposure during the COVID19 crisis by leaving isolation units).

To date, we have dispersed nearly 700 wristbands around the community and raised $1,200.00!

We currently have about 1000 more #GVstrong wristbands, and hope to give them out! Wristbands are free of charge, bagged in individual packages and delivered or mailed for sanitary purposes.

For those interested in receiving wristbands, here’s the order form link:
https://form.jotform.com/200862613662150

Best,
Maxx Barry

About us:

Our daughter Charlotte will begin Kindergarten in Garnet Valley this coming fall, and our son Ben is almost 2.

In early 2019, we had similar wristbands made for our friends and family when we were in isolation with our son Ben. He was fighting a rare pediatric liver cancer and was undergoing chemo treatment. While it was hard to not see our loved ones (aside from immediate family) through this time, it always made me smile when I would look down and see my happy band! Even more so, I loved seeing photos of friends and family sporting their Team Ben bands. It made me feel like we were not alone, and had a community of support.

I had the idea to make wristbands, as we navigate COVID19 and these uncertain times, to similarly bring a feeling of unity to our Garnet Valley Friends.

garnet-valley-strong-wristbands-image


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Posted by curtisj  On Apr 20, 2020 at 4:40 PM
  

March 17, 2020 - Garnet Valley, PA

Today, Garnet Valley team members, including volunteer bus drivers, principals, vice principals, and central office staff, gathered together to disinfect, load, and deliver over 1,000 devices to students in our community.



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Posted by curtisj  On Mar 17, 2020 at 7:31 PM
  
Dear School Community,

Out of an abundance of caution, we are closing Garnet Valley High School tomorrow, Friday, March 13th for a deep cleaning. There will be no school or extracurricular activities for students on Friday and for the remainder of the weekend. Teachers and office staff are to work from home. Tonight we learned that one of our high school students was in proximity to an individual who tested positive for COVID 19. The high school administration is in communication with the family, and as of writing this email, I have a call and message into the PA Department of Health for further guidance.

As I've repeatedly stated, this situation is incredibly fluid, and I urge the school community to pay attention to their emails and check our website throughout the day tomorrow and for the rest of the weekend. As of tonight, our plan is to have a teacher inservice day on Monday, so there will be no school for all students grades K to 12.

I will also send a phone message in the morning, but I wanted to put out information tonight as well. I will be in touch with further information.

Dr. Marc Bertrando, Superintendent

Garnet Valley School District
Posted by curtisj  On Mar 13, 2020 at 6:11 AM
  

gvhs-seussical-gvpaa-tickets-sale-nowgvhs-seussical-gvpaa-tickets-sale

GVPAA’s High School program presents Seussical the Musical, March 5th-7th!gvhs-seussical-gvpaa-tickets-salecindy-seussical-ghvs-gvpaa

Evening Performances @ 6:30pm
Matinee Performances @ 1:30pm

Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza that lovingly brings to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination – Jojo. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.

The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many "thinks." Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

Tickets available at the door and at www.gvpaa.org


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Posted by curtisj  On Mar 06, 2020 at 2:28 PM
  
gvhs-hiq-team-wins-championship-2020

MARCH 3, 2020 

Garnet Valley High School Hi-Q Team gathered in the high school auditorium, joined by administrators, teachers, and a sea of supportive fellow students, as they went head to head with the two semi-final winners, Haverford and Radnor. 

GVHS students finished strong in the competition taking the title of champions. They will soon be going on to compete in Nationals!
 
Congratulations to our competitors:
 
Aadarsh Balaji
Brandon Gorski
Kushagra Gupta
Anuirdh Jandhalaya
Zora Mardjoko
Harry Markel
Ryan Nagengast
Ben Nguyen
Vishesh Patel
Aditi Sridhar


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Posted by curtisj  On Mar 06, 2020 at 10:47 AM
  
delaware-county-reassessment-project

Dear School Community Residents,

As many of you realize, Delaware County is conducting a court-ordered reassessment of all the real estate within the county, and residents are receiving their tentative property assessment values. The reassessment was ordered in 2017 to address what the court found to be inequities between and among property owners and communities that had developed since the previous assessment two decades ago. Ultimately, the purpose of the reassessment is to distribute the property tax equitably among properties based on current fair market values.  All reassessed property values are generated by Delaware County and not the Garnet Valley School District, and at this time the District does not possess any information with regard to the proposed reassessed values. 

It's important to note that the reassessment cannot legally be used by the county, by any school district, or municipality to generate more tax revenue. Following the reassessment, millage rates will be adjusted accordingly to ensure no additional revenues are collected as a result of an overall increase in market values. However, while the overall impact on a community is designed to be revenue neutral, individual property owners may see their taxes decrease or increase. The new assessed value of your property will take effect beginning on January 1, 2021. We caution you not to apply the current millage tax rate to your new assessment, as the result will be inaccurate. The new millage rate will be determined by your Municipality, County, and School District for the 2021 tax year.

If you have further questions or need more information, you can access the following links:


Sincerely,

Dr. Marc Bertrando, Superintendent

Garnet Valley School District


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Posted by curtisj  On Mar 04, 2020 at 12:03 PM
  
"Shazzam6" is a family run team, made up of 6 children… from the same family!
T. Law - Captain, R. Law, R. Law, T. Law, K. Law - Mentor, J. Law - Mentor

garnet-valley-robotics-winners-shazzam-first-lego-league

The team won 1st place in Robot run and came in 2nd place for the Project / Research Award on February 1, 2020, out of 48 teams!

FIRST LEGO League (FFL) teams conduct research projects and design autonomous robots specifically to carry out missions relating to the topic. FIRST LEGO LEAGUE ROBOTICS is a National competition with 1400 teams competing this year. It has three big factors to qualify. The same factors are considered for the Eastern Pennsylvania Championship, which took place on Saturday, February 1st.

Core Values - Being a good person to others and the world, sharing, and friendly competition

Project - Each year there is a project related to a theme that the team must accomplish and create according to what the subject is that season. This season theme was named "City Shaper" and the project was "How to help your community"

Robot Run - The robot they build and program should accomplish tasks on the Lego Board that coincides with the theme of the year.

At the area qualifier in December, there were approximately 28 teams and Team Shazzam won 2nd for Robot Run and 1st for Project Research. There were approximately 230 teams competing, and only 48 teams advanced to the Eastern PA Championship in Philadelphia.

Their project learned which post offices in the area recycle all of the paper they throw away, and their goal was to find a solution to help those that do not. They visited, interviewed, and toured nine post offices in our area.

Chester Heights Post office was one of the locations that did not recycle. They throw out approximately 90 pounds of paper a week.

The team then went to the monthly Chester Heights Borough (CHB) Council meeting to ask for their help to coordinate a recycling company to come and collect the paper. The Council liked the idea and invited the kids to a special meeting to discuss the details on January 27th, 2020.

The CHB Council accepted the idea and are moving forward with a plan to have Chester Heights Post Office Recycle!!

garnet-valley-robotics-winners-shazzam-first-lego-league

“It started four years ago when my two oldest were doing robotics through the GV school. We realized that this year only, that 5 of our 6 children could be on a robotics team together. So we pulled them out and started our own team, Shazzam6, with the youngest being the mascot at the time (still too young to join),” says Mom, Kelli Law.

The two oldest children have aged out, but continue to mentor the team. Another son will be aging out at the end of this year.

Kelli reflected on the program and what it has done for her children, “I don't know if we will continue but it has been a Wild Ride. What FLL ROBOTICS has given my family and especially my children's life skills, from programming to creative projects, and especially how they can make a difference even though they are young, has been immeasurable.”

The children met with Senator Killion for photos, to give him an update on the team's Post Office Recycling Project, and to review the next steps for possibly expanding the recycling initiative at other Post Offices.

garnet-valley-robotics-winners-shazzam-first-lego-league

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Posted by curtisj  On Feb 06, 2020 at 3:04 PM
  
garnet-valley-scholastic-writing-contest-2020garnet-valley-scholastic-writing-contestgarnet-valley-scholastic-writing-contest

Congratulations are in order! Multiple Garnet Valley AP and creative writing students have won awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest. A panel of teachers, writers, literary professionals, and University of Pennsylvania graduate students selected their exceptional work from over 1,100 submissions submitted by peers in the Philadelphia region, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.

Gold Key works from across the country, will also be forwarded for national adjudication of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in New York City! Gold Key Winners will be also be honored by the Philadelphia Arts and Education Partnership (PAEP) at the awards ceremony and reception at the School District of Philadelphia on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

Gold Key Winners
Holly Krug
Christine Palmer
Griffin Young
Lauren Linnet
Bindiya Patel
Madelynn Lederer
Christina Douglas
Afrah Riaz
Chenai Kaminsky
Ryan Walukonis

Silver Key Winners
Peter Zekonis
Clayton Bromley
Connor Moschella
Evan Fenster
Lauren Dorf
Vikas Rana
Yash Patni
Reece Gabrielle
Drake Schultz
Lauren Condrasky
Amy Townend
Atena Gutierrez
Madison Kodis
Nicole Ng
Lauryn Beale
Aidan Zipf
Marie moyer
Harry Markel
Brent Nevy
Varun Sundar
Holly Crothers
Catherine deSantis
Mackenzie Conway
Caroline Amen
Claire Wolf
Misato Shimizu
Ben Bennet
Vishesh Patel
Maggie Herron

Honorable Mention
Katy Donaghy
Keith Cressman
Luke Taylor
Derek Brown
Sonia Kumar
Mahika Kapur
Jillian Boettler
Jon He
Abigail Bromley


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Posted by curtisj  On Feb 03, 2020 at 7:45 PM
  
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