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All Mastery Schools in both Philadelphia and Camden will open this fall with a 100% online academic program. 

 

We are actively exploring the feasibility of providing in-school support and instruction as soon as possible— particularly for our youngest students and those with complex special needs. We will determine what in-person supports will be provided by no later than October 1st. Our ability to provide this service will be dependent upon local health guidelines and the availability of staff. If in-school supports are provided, we will follow Mastery’s Health & Safety plan, which is based on guidance from the American Pediatric Association, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Disease Control.

 

Please find more detailed Back to School information below.

Back to School Information & FAQ

Please note that due to the evolving nature of research, guidance and community input, these FAQs are subject to change. We will do our best to notify you promptly of any major changes to Mastery’s Back to School plans.

General

Student and Family Orientation begins:

  • Wednesday, September 2 for students in grades 1-12
  • Tuesday, September 8 for kindergarten students

Your school will inform you directly of your Family Orientation schedule.

In-person student support can vary and expand over time, but generally we are referring to providing daily support items like academic-based office hours, special education and English Language targeted support, social-emotional and restorative opportunities, and quiet work spaces.

Schoology is Mastery’s new Learning Management System. It will be your student’s one-stop-shop for all of their virtual learning. Every family will have a Schoology account, which will allow one easy place for tracking your student’s learning and assignments. You will also be able to view the work your child submits, and the feedback they get from teachers. It will also serve as an easy messaging platform to connect with your students’ teachers. Schoology makes it easy for families to stay involved in their children’s education. You will receive your Schoology login and training during Family Orientation.

Student attendance is crucial for academic achievement. Attendance will be taken daily. For students learning virtually, students will be marked present when they log into Schoology with their username and password during each virtual learning day. Students who fail to log in on their assigned distance learning day will be marked absent from school.

  • Practice mask-wearing with your child. It is likely that masks will be required, not only on buses, but also in hallways and other places where social distance between students cannot be maintained. If more children are used to wearing masks and seeing people wearing masks, this “new normal” will be an easier transition for them.
  • Emphasize good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds and using hand sanitizer, with your child. Handwashing time will be added into the school days for elementary students and sanitizer stations will be added throughout the middle and high schools to encourage good practices. Students will also be given individual bottles of hand sanitizer for use throughout the day.
  • Consider and line up childcare options. We will be working to help provide a list of options to support your needs.

Student breakfast and lunch meals will be delivered to classes at their respective eating times. Students will be given their meals for their virtual learning day at the end of their day in the school building.

More to come for students who are doing 100% Distance Learning.

In accordance with Governor Wolf’s recommendations that were made on August 6th, the Philadelphia Public League (“PPL”) will be suspending all interscholastic athletic programming through January 1, 2021. If guidelines released by the Governor’s office change, or are updated in a way that would allow programming to resume prior to that date, we reserve the right to revisit our decision and provide further guidance on a safe return to play.  This decision is hard for everyone – especially our student-athletes. This was not taken lightly. The PPL COVID-19 Return to Play Task Force has been meeting on a weekly basis since June to consider all options for safely returning to the field of play, and through our continued discussions we recognized the many challenges – both from a health and safety standpoint and logistical barriers – that putting on a season would entail. With the Governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Education jointly releasing strong recommendations last week, we felt we needed to act to put the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff as our top priority. Our focus in the immediate future will be on developing a robust virtual program this fall to engage our student-athletes in a meaningful way as it pertains to NCAA Eligibility, sport leadership programming, post-secondary readiness, and health and wellness programming, in addition to creating a plan to provide individualized skill building and fitness workouts when permitted to resume safely.

 

Health

All policies are based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Education, New Jersey Department of Education, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Where there has been any gray area identified in the aforementioned policies, Mastery has selected the more rigorous policy in the best interest of safety.

Mastery’s plan can be viewed by clicking here.

Our Operations Team is currently finalizing our detailed plan to ensure our the safety of our students and staff.

  • When students are in the building, to ensure we can maintain social distancing, only half of students will be in the building and class sizes will be no more than 15.
  • To make sure only half of students are in the building at any one time, students will attend school in-person only two days per week and receive online learning three days per week.
  • While in school, all students and staff will be required to wear face masks. We will soon be sharing a full overview of our COVID-19 health & safety plans including all of the PPE we will use in schools and detailed cleaning protocols.

 

Academics & Grading

Teachers will utilize trauma informed Instructional Standards to promote a positive classroom culture.  All families will complete a Family Success Plan (as a part of family orientation).  The Family Success Plan outlines academic engagement expectations for students and families. Teachers and staff will increase focus on fostering positivity as a part of classroom management structures. Schools will provide programming that supports and promotes student leadership, joy, and social belonging.

We will return to our traditional grading policies this year where grades can move up and down based on a student’s academic work.  Our goal is to ensure we give students a clear sense of their progress, areas for growth and that teachers are readily supporting students with meeting their goals.  We also expect that a small portion of our student population may be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and may not be able to fully access remote instruction.  In this instance, school administration will work with students at risk to implement a no harm grading policy.

EL teachers & Learning Specialists will continue to collaborate with general education teachers and modify remote learning materials to provide maximum support and access for students on their caseloads.  Campuses will pay attention to technology navigation once school starts to ensure students with IEPs, 504 plans, and English Learners are taught how to utilize the assistive technology on their Chromebooks.  While Social Workers and Culture Team members are critical providers of support, all teachers and staff at Mastery are asked to integrate ongoing SEL support into their day-to-day instruction, programming and interactions.

For this school year, Mastery continues to use much of its common curricula with some enhancement through online learning platforms to enrich distance learning:

It is the school’s responsibility to monitor each student’s progress toward graduation.  In an effort to ensure students meet graduation requirements and graduate with their four-year cohort, schools are encouraged to do the following:

  • Cross reference each senior’s transcript with the revised graduation requirements.
  • Use a credit tracker template to track successful completion of courses required for graduation.
  • Communicate with students and parents if students will not meet graduation requirements and are required to participate in summer credit recovery.

 

Each school shall cross reference each student’s transcript with state graduation requirements to ensure that students have met graduation requirements. Graduation decisions for students with IEPs will be determined by the school IEP team after reviewing student performance and reviewing the IEP goals.  The school principal will certify, with signature, that each graduate has met graduation requirements.

Each senior has a college advisor who will teach their senior seminar course and offer 1 on 1 advising through the application process through the financial aid process and through the final decision making process. Families should expect to participate in at least 2 planning meetings throughout the year. Normally 1 in the fall semester and 1 in the spring semester.

In response to the impact that COVID has had in on college admissions process, many colleges have made the decision to be test optional for this admissions cycle.  Most members of the Class of 2021 will not need to submit test scores to colleges and universities. Your student’s college advisor will review these policies for each of the specific colleges and universities to which they are applying.

 

Mastery is continuing to work with Juniors (the Class of 2022) to prepare to take the SAT this spring.

Technology

Yes. Every Mastery student will receive a laptop this year. Key elements of our 1-to-1 computing plan include:

  • Touchscreen Chromebooks for K-2 students
  • Non-touchscreen Chromebooks for 3-12 students
  • All computers come with one charger and a hard zipper sleeve
  • Headphones for every K-2 student or earbuds for every 3-12 student

 

Computer distribution may begin as early as August 24th and should occur by the first day of

instruction on September 2nd as coordinated by schools and the NST Tech team.

If your family does not have home internet access and you require financial assistance to be able to afford broadband service, please apply to the Home Internet Access Support Program.

Students that cannot get online to engage in instruction should call their school as soon as possible so the appropriate technology support can be provided.

Students that require tech support for their Mastery laptop should go to https://masterycharter.org/techsupport/ to log a ticket with our technology support team.

We don’t want anything to prevent your child from learning.  Therefore, Mastery will be providing eligible families with financial support for internet service for the coming school year.  Here are the details:

  • Who is Eligible?

Families must meet two eligibility criteria:

  • Families must apply to Mastery and state they have a financial hardship. Families should not currently have internet service in their homes.
  • Families must receive government supports such as Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SSI, SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR benefits.
  • What is the financial support available?

For eligible families, Mastery will provide internet service at Mastery’s expense for the school year.   The service offered is Comcast Internet Essentials.  This service is a low-cost home internet service that offers adequate internet speeds for school work – but about half the speed of their regular commercial/residential service (so it will not be a fast enough speed for gaming, movies, etc.). If a family can’t connect to Comcast, we may provide a mobile hot-spot by T-Mobile or another provider.

  • How Do I Request Assistance?

Please click here to request Home Internet Access Support.

Once you complete your application and your eligibility is confirmed, a staff member from your student’s school will support you in signing up for Comcast Internet Essentials and your subscription will be paid by Mastery Schools through June 2021.

Food Distribution Information

If your school is not listed here, please check their social media accounts and/or reach out directly to the school:

 

  • Cleveland Elementary
    • Monday 8am-12pm
    • Wednesday 8am-12pm
    • Friday 8am-12pm
  • Clymer Elementary
    • Monday 10am-12pm
    • Thursday 1-3pm
  • Douglass Elementary
    • Monday 10am-12pm
    • Thursday 1-3pm
  • Gratz High School
    • Tuesday 1-4pm
    • Thursday 1-4pm
  • Gratz Prep Middle
    • Tuesday 1-4pm
    • Thursday 1-4pm
  • Hardy Elem and High
    • Tuesday 1-4pm
    • Thursday 1-4pm
  • Harrity
    • Tuesday 1 – 4pm
    • Friday 12 – 3pm
  • Lenfest
    • Monday 10am-12pm
    • Thursday 1pm -3pm
  • Mann Elementary
    • Tuesday 1-3pm
    • Thursday 1pm- 3pm
  • Mastery Prep Elementary
    • Tuesday 1-4pm
    • Thursday 1-4pm
  • Pastorius
    • Monday 10am-12pm
    • Thursday 10am-12pm
  • Pickett
    • Tuesday 12-3pm
    • Friday 12 – 3pm
  • Shoemaker
    • Monday 11am-1pm
    • Thursday 11am-1pm
  • Thomas Elementary
    • Monday 10am-12pm
    • Thursday 12-2pm
  • Thomas High
    • Tuesday 12-2pm
    • Friday 12-2pm
  • Wister
    • Monday 10am-1pm
    • Thursday 1-4pm

Additional Resources: https://masterycharter.org/parentresources#philly

Emergency food service is still available by appointment at the Kroc Center.  Please call 856-379-4871 for an appointment.

(Note: Subject to change based on CCSD’s planning)

  • Mastery Cramer Hill (Hub) – 10 AM -12 PM, and 3 PM – 5 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Mastery East Camden and Mastery Upper – 10 AM – 11 AM, Tuesday and Thursdays by Food Truck only.
  • Mastery High School of Camden – 11:30 – 12:30 PM and 3 PM – 5 PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays by Food Truck (Kitchen access needed)

All meal sites across Camden:

  • Molina Upper, 601 Vine Street, 08102
  • Mastery Cramer Hill, 1001 N. 17th St., 08105
  • Woodrow Wilson High School, 3101 Federal St., 08105
  • Camden High, 1875 Park Blvd. 08103
  • Wiggins, 400 Mt. Vernon St., 08103
  • Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy, 990 Morgan Blvd., 08105
  • KIPP Lanning Square, 525 Clinton St., 08103
  • Camden’s Pride, 897 North 31st St., 08105
  • Camden’s Promise, 879 Beideman Ave., 08105
  • Yorkship, 1251 Collings Ave., 08104
  • Uncommon/Camden Prep, 1575 Mt. Ephraim Ave., 08104
  • Camden Academy Charter High School, 250 Federal St., 08105
  • Katz Dalsey, 3098 Pleasant St., 08105

Communications

Families: We hope you and your student are off to a great start this school year! We’ve been so happy to see lots of joyful learning moments happening in our virtual classrooms. From our littlest kindergartners to our big high school seniors, each student is working with their teachers to establish goals and laying the foundation for a successful year. Here are some updates:

 

Some schools to offer in-school supports

Mastery’s current plan is to remain virtual through November 15th (end of Report Period 1). Planning for Report Period 2 and beyond is underway.

Over the next several weeks, there will be a number of programs where small groups of children are invited into their school buildings to receive specialized programming. Schools will prioritize certain groups of students such as those with complex special needs. Your school will contact you if your student is eligible to receive in-school supports and will provide details to your family for how to participate. The number of programs and participating students will be small in the beginning but we hope to grow the program through the month of October. We’ll be in touch soon with updates on our Report Period 2 planning.

 

New Mastery Value: Pursue Equity

Mastery lives by its values. We are proud to include Pursue Equity as one of our Mastery Values:

We disrupt systemic racism and the inequities that limit our students’ choices. We nurture a culture where all staff, students, and families are seen and valued.

This is our first new value in 19 years – it will guide us as we strive to be a model anti-racist school district. Want to read more? Click here. Also: please check out some recent blog posts that share how this value is coming to life in our schools:

Melanin Mondays at Mastery Prep Elementary

Techquity at Mastery Charter Pickett Campus

Anti-Racism at Mastery, Centered on Student Experience and Outcomes.

 

Laptop & Technology Update

Good news! We’re still on schedule to distribute all remaining student laptops by the end of this week. Please stay tuned for information from your child’s school for the laptop distribution schedule.

Are you having any laptop issues? We’re here to help! Click here and a member of our technology team will be in touch to support you.

If your family does not have home internet access, please consider applying for Mastery’s Home Internet Access Support program by filling out this form.

 

Mastery Votes: Will you volunteer?

 

“The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.”

Civil Rights Leader and US Representative John Lewis’s final words in a letter published in the NYT on the day of his funeral on July 30, 2020.

 

Want to make a difference?  Take ACTION.

 

The goal of our Mastery Votes Campaign is to ensure that every member of our Mastery family who is eligible to vote and wants to vote, can vote, and that that vote gets counted.

Join the Mastery Votes Campaign and volunteer to help reach out to your fellow Mastery families!  We need you help!  There are only 43 days left before the election!

WILL YOU VOLUNTEER? 

To VOLUNTEER in PHILADELPHIACLICK HERE

A reminder – Mastery is a non-profit, non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates.

Attached is a FAQ “Everything You Need to Know About Voting in 2020 in Pennsylvania”

Families: We hope you and your student are off to a great start this school year! We’ve been so happy to see lots of joyful learning moments happening in our virtual classrooms. From our littlest kindergartners to our big high school seniors, each student is working with their teachers to establish goals and laying the foundation for a successful year. Here are some updates:

 

Some schools to offer in-school supports

Mastery’s current plan is to remain virtual through November 15th (end of Report Period 1). Planning for Report Period 2 and beyond is underway.

Over the next several weeks, there will be a number of programs where small groups of children are invited into their school buildings to receive specialized programming. Schools will prioritize certain groups of students such as those with complex special needs. Your school will contact you if your student is eligible to receive in-school supports and will provide details to your family for how to participate. The number of programs and participating students will be small in the beginning but we hope to grow the program through the month of October. We’ll be in touch soon with updates on our Report Period 2 planning.

 

New Mastery Value: Pursue Equity

Mastery lives by its values. We are proud to include Pursue Equity as one of our Mastery Values:

We disrupt systemic racism and the inequities that limit our students’ choices. We nurture a culture where all staff, students, and families are seen and valued.

This is our first new value in 19 years – it will guide us as we strive to be a model anti-racist school district. Want to read more? Click here. Also: please check out some recent blog posts that share how this value is coming to life in our schools:

Melanin Mondays at Mastery Prep Elementary

Techquity at Mastery Charter Pickett Campus

Anti-Racism at Mastery, Centered on Student Experience and Outcomes.

 

Laptop & Technology Update

Good news! We’re still on schedule to distribute all remaining student laptops by the end of this week. Please stay tuned for information from your child’s school for the laptop distribution schedule.

Are you having any laptop issues? We’re here to help! Click here and a member of our technology team will be in touch to support you.

If your family does not have home internet access, please consider applying for Mastery’s Home Internet Access Support program by filling out this form.

 

Mastery Votes: Will you volunteer?

 

“The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.”

Civil Rights Leader and US Representative John Lewis’s final words in a letter published in the NYT on the day of his funeral on July 30, 2020.

 

Want to make a difference?  Take ACTION.

 

The goal of our Mastery Votes Campaign is to ensure that every member of our Mastery family who is eligible to vote and wants to vote, can vote, and that that vote gets counted.

Join the Mastery Votes Campaign and volunteer to help reach out to your fellow Mastery families!  We need you help!  There are only 43 days left before the election!

WILL YOU VOLUNTEER? 

To VOLUNTEER in CAMDEN: CLICK HERE

 

A reminder – Mastery is a non-profit, non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates.

Attached is a FAQ for NJ – “Everything You Need to Know About Voting in 2020 in New Jersey”

Families,

I hope you are enjoying these final weeks of summer. We are continuing our preparations for Student and Family Orientation to begin in September. This will be an unusual school year, but we are determined to provide all of our students, whether they are learning virtually or in our classrooms, a full year of safe, high-quality learning with lots of joy, love, and support. As a reminder, all students will start the year online only and remain that way through the end of October. Schools will assess the feasibility of providing in-school supports to our youngest students and those with the greatest needs; a decisions will be made on those supports by October 1st.

 

Key Upcoming Dates

9/2: Orientation begins for students grades 1-12

9/7: Labor Day (Schools & Offices Closed)

9/8: Orientation begins for Kindergarten students

9/28: Yom Kippur (Schools & Offices Closed)

 

Philadelphia Transportation Update

Even though school will be beginning virtually, the School District of Philadelphia has launched a program to pay families to opt-out of district-provided student transportation for when students return to their school buildings. In order to apply for the program, you must submit an enrollment form by August 28th, 2020.

Participating families will receive a $150 monthly payment if they opt out of bus, van or cab assignment for their child to be transported to and from school. This monthly payment would begin when your school is open for some form of in-person learning and is not applicable when your school is 100% virtual. To participate in this program please click the link below and fill out the enrollment form. Once you click the link, the enrollment form link can be found on the right side of the screen. https://www.philasd.org/transportation/parent-flat-rate-pilot/

Note: this is a School District of Philadelphia program and is not being run by Mastery Schools – if you have any questions regarding the program, please use this web form.

 

Student Laptop Update

In the spring, we placed orders to purchase 14,000 laptops to support our 1:1 computing program for Mastery students. Even though we ordered the computers months ago, several of our orders have been stopped at customs. We hope that all of our computers will arrive by the start of school but there may be delays that are outside of our control. If you have a home computer that your child can use at the start of the school year and do not immediately require a Mastery laptop, we would appreciate your help in allowing us to prioritize the families who do not have any home access to a device for learning. Your school will be sharing laptop distribution schedules with you soon, if they haven’t already.

 

Rest assured, we remain committed to providing a Mastery laptop to every single student and we will be working as quickly as possible to distribute computers to families as our shipments arrive.

 

Teacher Orientation in Full Swing

Did you know Mastery employs 1,061 full-time teachers across our 24 schools? When we delayed the start of school to September 2nd, we added an extra week of professional development to make sure every teacher has the training and resources they needed to support your children’s learning this year. We’ve spent this week training teachers on how to set up virtual lessons and deliver excellent, engaging, interactive synchronous instruction to our students.

 

Self-Care Resources

When you are responsible for other people, you also have a responsibility to take care of yourself. As they say during airplane safety videos, “put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.” Everyone’s self-care may look a little different, and there’s no single way to take good care of yourself. Try some different strategies until you have a full toolbox: something that energizes you, something that helps you unwind, something that helps you manage when you’re having a hard time.

 

Our social workers have assembled a wonderful set of resources here on our website. Check out the “Tips” and “Other Resources” for information on how to take care of yourself and your family during these difficult and uncertain times.

 

Mastery Schools will also be posting gentle reminders and tips each week in our “Self-Care Sundays” social media posts – please follow us on Instagram here.

 

Thank you,

Scott

Families,

I hope you are enjoying these final weeks of summer. We are continuing our preparations for Student and Family Orientation to begin in September. This will be an unusual school year, but we are determined to provide all of our students, whether they are learning virtually or in our classrooms, a full year of safe, high-quality learning with lots of joy, love, and support. As a reminder, all students will start the year online only and remain that way through the end of October. Schools will assess the feasibility of providing in-school supports to our youngest students and those with the greatest needs; a decisions will be made on those supports by October 1st.

 

Key Upcoming Dates

9/2: Orientation begins for students grades 1-12

9/7: Labor Day (Schools & Offices Closed)

9/8: Orientation begins for Kindergarten students

9/28: Yom Kippur (Schools & Offices Closed)

 

Student Laptop Update

In the spring, we placed orders to purchase 14,000 laptops to support our 1:1 computing program for Mastery students. Even though we ordered the computers months ago, several of our orders have been stopped at customs. We hope that all of our computers will arrive by the start of school but there may be delays that are outside of our control. If you have a home computer that your child can use at the start of the school year and do not immediately require a Mastery laptop, we would appreciate your help in allowing us to prioritize the families who do not have any home access to a device for learning. Your school will be sharing laptop distribution schedules with you soon, if they haven’t already.

 

Rest assured, we remain committed to providing a Mastery laptop to every single student and we will be working as quickly as possible to distribute computers to families as our shipments arrive.

 

Teacher Orientation in Full Swing

Did you know Mastery employs 1,061 full-time teachers across our 24 schools? When we delayed the start of school to September 2nd, we added an extra week of professional development to make sure every teacher has the training and resources they needed to support your children’s learning this year. We’ve spent this week training teachers on how to set up virtual lessons and deliver excellent, engaging, interactive synchronous instruction to our students.

Self-Care Resources

When you are responsible for other people, you also have a responsibility to take care of yourself. As they say during airplane safety videos, “put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.” Everyone’s self-care may look a little different, and there’s no single way to take good care of yourself. Try some different strategies until you have a full toolbox: something that energizes you, something that helps you unwind, something that helps you manage when you’re having a hard time.

 

Our social workers have assembled a wonderful set of resources here on our website. Check out the “Tips” and “Other Resources” for information on how to take care of yourself and your family during these difficult and uncertain times.

 

Mastery Schools will also be posting gentle reminders and tips each week in our “Self-Care Sundays” social media posts – please follow us on Instagram here.

 

 

 

Thank you,

Scott

Mastery Families,

The new school year is almost here and our planning and preparation for your students’ return are in full swing! Our school leaders have been hard at work all summer preparing thoughtful plans for staff and students. All teachers and staff will begin work this coming Monday, giving them two full weeks to prepare for school to begin. I am happy to report there is a familiar, joyful Back to School buzz in the air at Mastery.

 

We are so excited to welcome your student back to us in September.

 

Below, please find several important updates and resources for your review. Your student’s school will also be sharing information about laptop distribution and family orientation in the coming weeks.

 

  • Family FAQs: We’ve assembled your frequently asked questions (from Town Halls, web forms, phone calls, etc.) and provided responses on our Back to School webpage.

 

  • Health & Safety Plan: Our plan, which is available here on our website, includes an overview of all of the policies and protocols designed to keep students safe when they come to school.

 

  • Health & Safety Videos: Please consider watching these videos, which overview Mastery’s key health & safety practices, with your child.

3 minute overview: English

3 minute overview: Spanish

 

  • Family Resource List: When I met with our Parent Action Team in June, I heard how helpful our school social workers have been in connecting you with critical resources like support with Food, Childcare, Healthcare, Housing, and Behavioral & Emotional Supports. Our team has aggregated those resources into one helpful list on our website, which we will kept updated and refreshed. Please take a moment to review the resources available by clicking here.

 

  • Mastery Parent Action Team Meeting: Our first meeting of this school year will be Thursday, August 20 from 5pm – 6:30pm. Check out all of our latest accomplishments and near-term goals here on our webpage.

Please RSVP to the meeting and we will send you the Zoom link – to RSVP, click here.

For more information please email [email protected] or call (267) 530-5371.

 

 

Stay healthy, stay safe, and enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

Scott

Families,

 

After lots of careful consideration, we have decided to revise our re-opening plan. All Mastery Schools in Camden will open this fall with a 100% online academic program. This plan will need final approval from our school board, which we expect to receive next week. We believe that the situation and the government rules are changing so rapidly that it isn’t practical to execute our hybrid plan.

 

The Camden City School District has announced that they will remain fully virtual until January 31st. We are actively exploring the feasibility of providing in-school support and instruction as soon as possible— particularly for our youngest students and those with complex special needs. Our school will determine what in-person supports will be provided by no later than October 1st. Our ability to provide this service will be dependent upon Camden’s health guidelines and the availability of staff. If in-school supports are provided, we will follow Mastery’s Health & Safety plan, which is based on guidance from the American Pediatric Association, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Disease Control.

 

Thank you for your patience, commitment, and flexibility through this unprecedented time. We are so eager for school to begin in a few short weeks!

 

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend,

Scott

Dear Mastery Families,

The news about the pandemic and its impact continues to change day-by-day.  Based on feedback from staff, families, and recent news of a potential escalation in COVID-19 incidence in Philadelphia, we are revising our re-opening plan and now plan to open in the fall with a 100% online academic program. We don’t take this decision lightly and know it will cause significant challenges for many families to navigate, particularly making childcare arrangements and concerns about students having the opportunity to socialize with their classmates.

Families, you are our partners and we want to get your feedback before we finalize our plans.  We will be sending you a survey later this week and will finalize our plans next week.  As conditions continue to change, we may need to make adjustments in the future, but here is our current proposal for the fall:

  • Robust online academics: We will provide a robust, engaging online program to all students. The program will include both live teacher-led instruction and self-guided activities. Schools will also provide individual and small group supports – by phone and/or online. Your teachers will be working hard to provide additional activities that bring joy, build school community and create a sense of belonging for every student – we want your child and family to feel supported in this very challenging time. The online program will continue through at least the end of the first report period in early November.  We will reassess conditions and health guidance at that time.
  • Possible In-School Supports: Your school is exploring the feasibility of providing limited in-school support and instruction — particularly for our youngest students and those with complex special needs.  Our ability to provide this service will be dependent upon Philadelphia’s health guidelines and the availability of staff. If in-school supports are provided, we will follow Mastery’s Health & Safety plan, which is based on guidance from the American Pediatric Association, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Disease Control.  Your school will determine what in-person supports they can provide by no later than Oct 1st.
  • Start Dates: For students in grades 1st thru 12th, school will begin 9/2 with student/family orientation. For kindergarten students, school will begin on 9/8 with student & family orientation
  • Family Orientation: Note that your school may provide an in-person small group or individual orientation option – depending on health guidelines at the time. If this option is provided, your school will follow Mastery’s Health & Safety guidelines.

 

For up-to-date information on our reopening and Health & Safety plans, please visit our website’s Back to School page for additional updates.

 

Other important updates: 

Laptop Distribution

Every Mastery student is eligible to receive a Mastery laptop as a loaner for the school year.  We want to make sure nothing gets in the way of your child learning.

  • Laptops will be distributed by your child’s school.
  • Stay tuned for messages from your child’s school about how to request a laptop and when to pick one up. We are still waiting for the final shipment of laptops to arrive and so laptop distribution will probably not begin for a few weeks.

 

High Speed Internet Access Support Program

Again, we don’t want anything to prevent your child from learning.  Therefore, Mastery will be providing eligible families with financial support for internet service for the coming school year.  Here are the details:

  • Who is Eligible?

Families must meet two eligibility criteria:

  • Families must apply to Mastery and state they have a financial hardship. Families should not currently have internet service in their homes.
  • Families must receive government supports such as Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SSI, SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR benefits.
  • What is the financial support available?

For eligible families, Mastery will provide internet service at Mastery’s expense for the school year.   The service offered is Comcast Internet Essentials.  This service is a low-cost home internet service that offers adequate internet speeds for school work – but about half the speed of their regular commercial/residential service (so it will not be a fast enough speed for gaming, movies, etc.). If a family can’t connect to Comcast, we may provide a mobile hot-spot by T-Mobile or another provider.

  • How Do I Request Assistance?

Please click here to request Home Internet Access Support. All responses are due by Wednesday, August 5th, 2020.

 

Once you complete your application and your eligibility is confirmed, a staff member from your student’s school will support you in signing up for Comcast Internet Essentials and your subscription will be paid by Mastery Schools through June 2021.

We’re excited to see your child (even if virtually) this school year.  Together, the Mastery community is going to support each other and get through this difficult and unprecedented time.

Onward!

Dear Mastery Camden Families,

The news about the pandemic and its impact continues to change day-by-day.  Based on feedback from staff, families, and Governor’s Murphy’s mandate that New Jersey provide both in-school and online options, we are revising our re-opening plan.  Because of the limited bus availability, school will be from 9:00 – 4:00 with doors opening at 9:00 AM. Bussing information will be distributed to families and most busses will arrive between 9:15 and 9:30.  Note that Mastery has secured a special bus contract (at triple the regular cost!) so we can continue to provide our courtesy bus service.

 

We want to get your feedback before we finalize our plans.  We will be sending you a survey later this week and finalize our plans next week.  As you will see below, our elementary schools will be offering a different model (families can choose either hybrid or online) than East Camden Middle and Mastery Camden High School (online only). This is because middle and high schools offer more course offerings for older students than at the elementary level.  Finally, as conditions continue to change, we may need to make adjustments in the future — but here is our current proposal for the fall:

Molina, Cramer Hill, & McGraw:

Families will have the option of participating in a Hybrid in-person/online program or online only.

  • HYBRID MODEL:
    • Students will come to school for in-person instruction 2 days per week. While in-school we will strictly adhere to Mastery’s Health & Safety plan, which is based on guidance from the American Pediatric Association, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Disease Control.
    • The other 3 days student will work online using our engaging online curricular materials.
  • ONLINE ONLY MODEL:
    • The program will include both live teacher-led instruction and self-guided activities. Schools will also provide individual and small group supports – by phone and/or online.  Your teachers will be working hard to provide additional activities that bring joy, build school community and create a sense of belonging for every student – we want your child and family to feel supported in this very challenging time.
  • For students in grades 1st thru 8th, school will begin 9/2 with student & family orientation. For kindergarten students, school will begin on 9/8 with student & family orientation
  • Note that your school may provide an in-person small group or individual orientation option – depending on health guidelines at the time. If this option is provided, your school will follow Mastery’s Health & Safety guidelines.
  • The online and Hybrid programs will continue through at least the end of the first report period in early November. We will reassess conditions and health guidance at that time.

 

East Camden Middle School & Mastery High School of Camden:

Middle and high schools need to offer many different courses to their students and have students with complex scheduling needs.  For that reason, it isn’t practical to offer regular in-person instruction because there isn’t sufficient staff or time in a 2 day a week hybrid model.  Therefore, both schools will provide an enhanced online model:

  • We will provide a robust, engaging online program to all students. The program will include both live teacher-led instruction and self-guided activities. Schools will also provide individual and small group supports – by phone and/or online. Your teachers will be working hard to provide additional activities that bring joy, build school community and create a sense of belonging for every student – we want your child and family to feel supported in this very challenging time.
  • The schools will also provide optional in-school instructional support – up to two days per week per student. We will strictly follow Mastery’s Health & Safety plan, which is based on guidance from the American Pediatric Association, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Disease Control.
  • School will begin 9/2 with student/family orientation.
  • Because of the limited bus availability, school will begin at 9:15 and end at 4:00. Note that Mastery has secured a special bus contract (at triple the regular cost!) so we can continue to provide our courtesy bus service.
  • The online program will continue through at least the end of the first report period in early November. We will reassess conditions and health guidance at that time.

 

For up-to-date information on our reopening and Health & Safety plans, please visit our website’s Back to School page for additional updates.

 

Other important updates: 

Laptop Distribution

Every Mastery student is eligible to receive a Mastery laptop as a loaner for the school year.  We want to make sure nothing gets in the way of your child learning.

  • Laptops will be distributed by your child’s school.
  • Stay tuned for messages from your child’s school about how to request a laptop and when to pick one up. We are still waiting for the final shipment of laptops to arrive and so laptop distribution will probably not begin for a few weeks.

 

High Speed Internet Access Support Program

Again, we don’t want anything to prevent your child from learning.  Therefore, Mastery will be providing eligible families with financial support for internet service for the coming school year.  Here are the details:

  • Who is Eligible?

Families must meet two eligibility criteria:

  • Families must apply to Mastery and state they have a financial hardship. Families should not currently have internet service in their homes.
  • Families must receive government supports such as Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SSI, SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR benefits.
  • What is the financial support available?

For eligible families, Mastery will provide internet service at Mastery’s expense for the school year.   The service offered is Comcast Internet Essentials.  This service is a low-cost home internet service that offers adequate internet speeds for school work – but about half the speed of their regular commercial/residential service (so it will not be a fast enough speed for gaming, movies, etc.). If a family can’t connect to Comcast, we may provide a mobile hot-spot by T-Mobile or another provider.

  • How Do I Request Assistance?

Please click here to request Home Internet Access Support. All responses are due by Wednesday, August 5th, 2020.

 

Once you complete your application and your eligibility is confirmed, a staff member from your student’s school will support you in signing up for Comcast Internet Essentials and your subscription will be paid by Mastery Schools through June 2021.

We’re excited to see your child (even if virtually) this school year.  Together, the Mastery community is going to support each other and get through this difficult and unprecedented time.

Onward!

Mastery Families,

  • Health & Safety

In planning for Back to School, our #1 priority is the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families.  Mastery has developed a Back to School plan based on research and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and guidance from state and local public health officials. When there has been any variance in the guidelines, we have chosen the more conservative, safer option. Please find a one page overview of our health & safety policies for this Fall on our website – English version and Spanish version.

 

  • Distance Learning Program (100% Virtual Option) – sign up by July 27th!

If a student or member of your household is immunocompromised or if you are uncomfortable sending your child to school, we encourage your family to request participation in our 100% virtual option, in which students learn online 5 days per week through our Distance Learning Program. Families must opt into the 100% virtual option for all of Report Period 1, from the beginning of school through October 31, 2020.  We require that you commit to the entire Report Period so that we can plan ahead and ensure there is a teacher available to support your child.

If you sign your student up for the Distance Learning Program, the program will include:

  • Access to a virtual learning management platform called Schoology, which will offer a one-stop shop for your student’s learning and assignments
  • Daily assignments that keep pace with what’s happening *in* your student’s building
  • A weekly check-in with a Mastery teacher
  • Family and Student Orientation with your student’s teaching team the week of August 24th
  • The ability to easily transition back to in-person instruction at your student’s school in Report Period 2 and beyond. Please note that School District of Philadelphia transportation may not be available to your child if you decide to opt into In-Person instruction for Report Period 2. Transportation availability is evolving and we will keep you posted of the latest news when we receive it.

The Distance Learning Program will require substantially more time and support from families when compared with the In-School program. We strongly encourage a parent or guardian to set aside 1 hour every day to review assignments and offer their student learning support. Specific guidance and training for families will be offered during Family Orientation the week of August 24th.

Sign Up Here: Please click here to sign up for the 100% virtual option. All responses are due by July 27th, 2020.

  • Virtual Town Hall Meeting – THIS Thursday 7/23 from 6PM-8PM

Please join the leaders of Mastery Schools for an overview of our school reopening plans. We look forward to responding to your questions and concerns. The Virtual Town Hall will be held on YouTubeLIVE. We will be recording and publicly posting the session so it can be viewed by people who cannot attend the meeting.

 

Click Here to Join the Meeting – Thursday 7/23 at 6PM

 

  • Summary of Key Back to School Dates

 

Thursday, July 23rd Virtual Town Hall on YouTubeLIVE
Monday, July 27th Deadline to sign up for 100% virtual option
Mid-August Families will receive student schedules
Monday, August 24th Family & Student Orientation Begins

 

July 16, 2020

Back to School Update

Mastery Families,

As you may be aware, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Departments of Education have announced that they are requiring that public schools open in-person this fall. In planning for Back to School, our #1 priority is the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families.  Mastery has developed a Back to School plan based on research and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and guidance from state and local public health officials.

Below are key highlights from our school re-opening plan:

  • To ensure we can maintain social distancing, only half of students will be in the building and class sizes will be no more than 15.

 

  • To make sure only half of students are in the building at any one time, students will attend school in-person two alternating days per week and receive online learning three days per week. Based on the June parent survey, parents said they prefer to rotate two full alternating days of school – so that is what we are going to do.  Every effort will be made to schedule children in the same household on the same sessions/days. Your family will be notified by mid-August which specific days your student will be attending school in-person.

 

  • School hours will be determined by transportation availability and are not yet finalized. We do not have control of the bus schedule, which will cause shifts in our school starting times. We are coordinating with Philadelphia and Camden and will notify you as soon as possible of your school’s schedule.

 

  • While in school, all students and staff will be required to wear face masks. We ask that families purchase masks for their students but we will also have them onsite for students who need them. Early next week, we will send you a full overview of our COVID-19 health & safety plans including all of the personal protective equipment (“PPE”) we will use in schools and detailed cleaning protocols.

 

  • Student and family orientation will begin the week of August 24th for 1st-12th graders and on September 8th for Kindergartners.

 

  • If a student or member of your household is immunocompromised or if you are uncomfortable sending your child to school, we encourage your family to request participation in our 100% virtual option, in which students learn online 5 days per week. Program information for the 100% virtual option will be sent to you early next week, as well as information for how to request participation in the program. We will be asking families to opt into the 100% virtual option by the end of July.
  • We have created a page on our website which will be kept updated with all of the latest information and updates available about Back to School.

We will host a Virtual Townhall Meeting next Thursday, July 23rd from 6PM-8PM to go over our Back to School plans and to respond to your questions and concerns. We will be sending detailed information on how to join the meeting by Tuesday of next week. We understand that this is a challenging time and we are here to support you as you navigate this school year. Please know the physical, social, and emotional health of our students, staff, and families is our highest priority as we plan for a safe and joyful return to school.

 

June 9, 2020

Mastery,
Philadelphia Mastery Parent Action Team Meeting – TOMORROW
Our virtual Mastery-wide Parent Action Team Meeting is WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, from 4:30pm
6pm. Please RSVP here. CEO Scott Gordon will join us and we will discuss how Mastery can best
support families right now, our reopening plans for the fall, and upcoming meetings with city and
state officials. Email [email protected] with questions.

The Plan For Next Year
We have been hard at work planning for the fall. Here are some initial key points.
The health of our students & staff is our #1 priority. Our Governor had declared that schools will reopen in the fall. So, our challenge is how to do so while keeping your child safe. Our plan incorporates the COVID-19 safety directives announced by the Governor’s office as well as the local Health Department. We’ve also decided to adopt the recommendations of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Those recommendations include:

  • Mandatory social distancing
  • Face masks for all students and staff
  • Class sizes no larger than 15 – to allow for social distancing
  • Minimizing student transitions between classes, etc.
  • No large gatherings – meaning no large assemblies or lunchroom gatherings

Prioritize in-person instruction with live Mastery teachers as much as possible.
We believe online learning has a role, but it can’t replace a fantastic, real-live Mastery teacher. The problem we face is that because we will have only 15 students in a classroom – we would need a lot more classrooms (and teachers). Our buildings are already at capacity, so our solution is to have half of the students in the building at one time and half the students in the building at another. That could be half of students in the morning and half in the afternoon (and the building cleaned in between) or half one day and half the next. Instruction will have 2 parts:

  1.  In school: students will take classes with their teachers. Teachers will likely rotate between
    classes and students will stay in one classroom to minimize transitions.
  2.  At home: students complete the remainder of their school work at home – mostly with
    online assignments.

Finally, we know your child has been through a lot. We will attend to students’ social-emotional
well-being by including daily stress reducers as well as teaching strategies that prevent and reduce stress. We want your feedback!

We’d like your input as we develop our plans. The link below will take you to a survey which will
take less than 5 minutes. Please respond by Friday, June 12th.

English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZDXPQG3
Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MFCTGB8

June 9, 2020

Mastery,
Camden Parent Action Team Meeting – TONIGHT
Join us for a virtual Parent Action Team Meeting on Tuesday, June 9th at 5pm. We will reflect
on the 2019-2020 school year and online learning, discuss ideas for what school could look like
in the fall, and spread the word about the 2020 primary election. Let’s work together to shape
our path forward.

Please RSVP here. For more information, please contact Erin Johnson at 856-839-6410 or
[email protected]

The Plan For Next Year
We have been hard at work planning for the fall. Here are some initial key points.
The health of our students & staff is our #1 priority.
Our Governor had declared that schools will reopen in the fall. So, our challenge is how to do so
while keeping your child safe. Our plan incorporates the COVID-19 safety directives announced by the Governor’s office as well as the local Health Department. We’ve also decided to adopt the
recommendations of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Those recommendations include:

  • Mandatory social distancing
  • Face masks for all students and staff
  • Class sizes no larger than 15 – to allow for social distancing
  • Minimizing student transitions between classes, etc.
  • No large gatherings – meaning no large assemblies or lunchroom gatherings

Prioritize in-person instruction with live Mastery teachers as much as possible.
We believe online learning has a role, but it can’t replace a fantastic, real-live Mastery teacher. The problem we face is that because we will have only 15 students in a classroom – we would need a lot more classrooms (and teachers). Our buildings are already at capacity, so our solution is to have half of the students in the building at one time and half the students in the building at another. That could be half of students in the morning and half in the afternoon (and the building cleaned in between) or half one day and half the next. Instruction will have 2 parts:
1. In school: students will take classes with their teachers. Teachers will likely rotate between
classes and students will stay in one classroom to minimize transitions.
2. At home: students complete the remainder of their school work at home – mostly with
online assignments.
Finally, we know your child has been through a lot. We will attend to students’ social-emotional
well-being by including daily stress reducers as well as teaching strategies that prevent and reduce stress. We want your feedback! As Mastery continues preparations for opening our schools in the fall, receiving parents’ input and feedback is a top priority. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at the following link. We would appreciate receiving your responses by Friday, June 12th.
Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MFCTGB8
English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZDXPQG3

We welcome your feedback

Fill out my online form.