Sunday, March 22, 2020

From the Managing Director's Desk, March 21, 2020


Dear Staff and Families,

This has been a long, scary and sometimes frustrating couple of weeks, but I wanted to tell all of you how proud I am of how our entire community has come together to meet these challenges in support of one another. Although we don’t know the duration of this health crisis, nor the impact it may have on our long-term educational program, I do believe that through cooperation, we are all going to be alright.  For me, I could not have helped set up the infrastructure for this plan were it not for our administrators and collective leadership team. With that said, I want to sincerely thank and praise our teachers for pivoting so quickly from what they know to be good teaching and classroom delivery, into the unknown and unchartered waters of distance learning. To our parents I want to say, Congratulations! You made it through the first week of home education and most likely regrouping your entire family dynamics.  At the bottom of this newsletter I am sharing just a few pictures that have been shared with us from happy students, thankful parents and proud teachers. You are all doing great! 

With as much news media coverage and social media sharing of information or conjecture, I want to take a moment to give you a few brief points of where we stand today and help set some expectations for the next week.

We are still uncertain how long schools will be closed, but we don’t expect to make up the lost in school instructional time.  It is likely that end of year assessments will be suspended or cancelled as many states have done, but we have not heard the official word in North Carolina at this time. However, please do share with your children that we will continue to support them and that end of year testing is NOT what they should be concerned with at this time.  Instead, let us focus on how to learn in a new environment, and how to adapt to new expectations.

College placement exams have been suspended until at least June, but we don’t have any new target dates for exams, I know this is incredibly stressful for our high school families, but remember, the entire nation is struggling through this together. 

Our administrative team is working with staff as they practice distance learning plans (which is not ALL digital) and continue to develop new ways of teaching children new content, but I do want to set realistic expectations. Many families are experiencing stress and crises at home which may include lost wages or income.  Many teachers are also parents with children that they need to assist and care for. Some families will unfortunately fall ill, whether it be the Coronavirus or any other version of illness and we are all going to support one another. 

We have developed and launched our short-term distance learning plan with what we believe are realistic expectations for staff to develop and families to achieve. We will continue to work with what we have and most importantly continue to support the priorities which include a food distribution list, emergency provisions for families in need, technology distribution when needed, and a clear and consistent communication portal for alerts and updates. As always, if you have a specific question or concern, please feel free to email directly at jlucas@voyageracademy.net.

Please refer to our webpage for general information we have already shared at the link here. https://www.voyageracademy.net/covid-19-information/
Please find additional resources from our school counselors found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ptwoBh03vfMRUY-a1zwoOgaJgtuSOZgHoigpaGVwZ4Q/edit
Please find information on grab and go meals for children ages 1-18 below: 
 “Grab and Go” from school sites (11 a.m.-noon)

  • Bethesda Elementary
  • N. Harris Elementary
  • Parkwood Elementary
  • Shepard Middle School
  • Hillside High School
  • Githens Middle
  • Southwest Elementary
  • Lakewood Middle
  • Eno Valley Elementary
  • Eastway Elementary
  • Glenn Elementary
  • Sandy Ridge Elementary
  • Hillandale Elementary
  • Brogden Middle School
  • Club Blvd Elementary School
  • Southern High School
  • YE Smith Elementary
  • Mobile sites with school bus deliveries (11 a.m.-noon unless otherwise noted)
  • DHA – McDougald Terrace Apartments
  • A. Grady Recreation Center
  • Falls Pointe Apartments
  • Forest Glen Apartments
  • Greens of Pine Glen Apartments
  • Rec Center at Lyon Park
  • Hillside Park
  • DHA – Cornwallis Road Apartments
  • Colonial Apartments
  • Oak Creek Village Apartments
  • The Mews Apartments
  • South Point Apartments
  • South Square Townhomes
  • Durham Rescue Mission
  • KIPP Charter School
  • Maureen Joy Charter School
  • Global Scholars Academy
  • Holton Career & Resource Center
  • Juniper Square Apartments (noon-12:45 p.m.)
  • DHA – Liberty Street Apartments
  • DHA – Club Blvd
  • DHA – Oxford Manor
  • Seven Oaks Townhomes
  • Edgemont Elms
  • Duke Manor Apartments
  • DHA – Morreene Road / Demar Ct
  • Holly Hill Apartments
  • Magnolia Pointe Apts
  • Independence Park Apts
  • Meriwether Place Apartments
  • Strawberry Hills
  • Foxfire Apts
  • Marquis Garden Apts
  • Morreene West Apartments
  • Cambridge Village
  • Oakley Square Apartments
  • East Durham Rec Center (11-11:45 a.m.)
  • Geer Street/Midland Terrace
  • Bentwood Apts
  • Naples Terrace Apts.
  • Pine Crest Apts
  • Rochelle Manor
  • Birchwood Heights Rec Association
  • DHA – Hoover Road
  • Fox Ridge Apartments (11-11:45 a.m.)
  • Mission Triangle Point Apartments (noon-12:45 p.m.)
  • Springwood Park Apartments (11-11:45 p.m.)
  • Lynn Haven Apartments (noon-12:45 p.m.)
  • Whispering Pines Mobile Home (noon-12:45 p.m.)
  • Mineral Springs Village (11-11:45 p.m.)


Spectrum, NorthState, Verizon and ATT have pledged to support North Carolina in internet access and usage. Please find information on internet access here:

www.wral.com/charter-offering-free-spectrum-internet-to-students-for-60-days/19013856/#.Xm-jLjLLkBE.email

For your service and support needs, please visit www.northstate.net or call us at 336-886-3600.  Verizon and AT&T have pledged to support NC. Please share. 

Here are some pictures of what distance learning looks like:


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From Voyager Academy Student Services:


Dear Vikings,

We know that this is a troubling time for all of our Voyager families. In an effort to provide some guidance, the Student Services Team has compiled resources below to get you started.  Our team will deliver new information and resources weekly in the Voyager Academy Newsletter and on the Voyager Academy website.

If your child would like to speak directly with a member of the Student Services Team and is not in immediate crisis, please email your student’s grade-level counselor or social worker.  The Team will be available during regular work hours. 

If your child needs immediate medical attention and/or is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911, your primary care physician and/or a mental health professional.

Lastly, community resources have been compiled and can be accessed using this list.  

With hope and optimism,

The Voyager Student Services Team
Cindy Gittens, K-12 School Social Worker, cgittens@voyageracademy.net
Melissa Meckes, K-3 School Counselor, mmeckes@voyageracademy.net
Tonya Farrish, 4-8 School Counselor, tfarrish@voyageracademy.net
Jill O’Kane, 9-12 School Counselor, jokane@voyageracademy.net

List of Community Resources by Area

Parent Articles 
Resource
Description
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
Child Mind institute

A great article about how to talk to your children about COVID-19.  Outlines some guidelines and includes a video.

Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource 
National Association of School Psychologists

10 Tips for Talking About COVID-19 with your Kids
PBS News Hour

Provides tips for how to talk to your children about COVID-19. Includes a great BrainPOP video for kids.
Managing COVID-19 Anxiety
Anxiety and Depression Association of America


Provides helpful expert tips and resources. 
COVIBOOK


This short book can be used to support and reassure our children, under the age of 7, regarding the COVID-19.  The book has been translated in several languages.

Apps
Resource
Age
Description
PreK-5
Social-Emotional learning curriculum uses an online gaming platform. Kids can create their own avatar. They receive points for identifying feelings, showing empathy, and helping others.
PreK-12
Offering free access to their Social-Emotional learning content. Uses video modules.


K-12


Teens
Free app for sleep, anxiety and stress


A course in the Insight Timer app to learn the basics of mindfulness to help deal with common tensions of being a teenager, and in the process help to support 
Available on Google Play
K-12
Breathing Bubbles is an app specifically designed to help kids practice releasing worries and focusing on good feelings.
Available on Google Play
K-12
Mandala Coloring Pages
K-12
Mind Yeti provides free guided mindfulness sessions.


Android

PreK-K
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is intended for parents and caregivers to use with their young children (ages 2-5) to help teach skills such as problem-solving, self-control, planning, and task persistence.
IOS
K-5
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids offers children a fun and easy way to identify and process their emotions. From counting breaths to friendly wishes or frog jumps, each activity brings fun rewards to keep them engaged.

Weekly Wellness Activities

Week of March 23:

K-12 Mindfulness Exercises -

Yoga for elementary      Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga for teens               Yoga to Calm Your Nerves: 10 min Teen Yoga Class