I hope you all are doing well and enjoying this last bit of summer with your family. I wanted to let you know that your school is working nonstop on getting everything ready for your precious children. To make everything happen seamlessly and to provide adequate training for faculty and staff on all the extras, we have decided to follow BDS and postpone school start until August 20th.
We have also decided to start back with a staggered first-day schedule:
August 20th- Jr. PreK, Pre.K, and Kindergarten will come back to campus.
August 21st- 1st, 2nd, 3rd will come back to campus.
August 24th- 4th-8th will come back to campus.
This staggered start schedule will allow the students and teachers the ability to make flexible changes in formats.
Additionally, I want to thank you for your feedback from the Back to School plan and those of you who have signed up for our virtual HNES@home option. As of today's date, we have 25 students who have signed up to appear online for the first nine weeks. Having hard numbers to work with helps with planning and staffing and making sure all needs will be met. I do want to provide a little more information on opting for the virtual option. If your child comes to school on campus, and a change of heart occurs for safety reasons, you can change your mind and enroll online. You will need to notify the school in writing the reason for the change and send it to email@example.com. However, once you commit to online, your child will be required to appear virtual for the nine-week grading period. Our online format will be different from last year's HNES@home. We plan to incorporate more live sessions to allow for more interaction; there will be some recorded lessons and independent work. The online schedule will be similar to the on-campus program, and grading will be on a traditional scale. I will keep you updated as we continue to formulate our virtual plan.
Now for some more faculty additions and changes!
Our beloved Mary Catherine Dismukes has decided to focus her time on her family's needs, and I know we will miss seeing her sweet smiling face. I have no doubt she will continue to visit! With this opportunity at hand, our famous "Senora-Coach-Miss Hope" has stepped up to the plate to showcase her artistic skills in the world of HNES Art. Hope Simmons continues to add to her resume a plethora of skills as she always steps up the plate to help our school and students. Hope has 21 years of experience at Holy Nativity and her children HNES alumni! If you don't already know Hope Simmons is also Holy Nativity's Musical Director and Dance Instructor, her flair for the arts can always be found on campus!
Since we rotated Hope to Art that left an opening for Spanish and we found the perfect addition.
Welcome, Heyling C. Aguilar! Heyling holds a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior of Science from the University of New Orleans, LA. She worked in Lousianna as a bilingual intake clerk for Jefferson Parish Public School System and a para Professional for John Martyn Alternative School. Heyling's husband, Felix, was one of our all-star builders from Target Builders that helped put our school back together after Hurricane Michael. We also welcome their daughter, who will be joining our preschool!
With Hurricane Michael and COVID, we have learned a lesson on flexibility. With that lesson, sometimes things change for the school or individuals. Our sweet Savanna McElheney will be postponing joining our school team for this school year! She is a major catch, so I hope we can bring her back on board when life is a little more predictable. In her place, we have hired Mrs. Debora Middleton! Debora comes to us from Grace Presbyterian and Little Lambs Learning Center. She has over 15 years of experience teaching preschool and holds numerous certifications that apply to teach preschool in the state of Florida. Bonus is that she is also the grandma of Bailey and Will Melzer. We are so blessed to have her on board and see her in action with her team teacher Mrs. Casey Cole!
As we are talking about changes, another change is happening in the 4th and 5th grade! Our incoming 5th-grade class, which is lovingly referred to as the "recession class" since they were born during the recession, continues to be small in student numbers. To accommodate this small group of students and the needs of our incoming 4th graders, we have asked Natalie Godwin to move back to teaching 4th grade. Natalie has taught 4th grade, 5th grade, and 7th at Holy Nativity if you don't already know. She holds a degree in Business Management from Florida State University and was certified through the Educator's Preparation Institute at GCSC. She has taught at HNES for ten years. Since she has worked closely with Mrs. Granducci in the past, this will be a seamless transition for the school and the students. Natalie also has three delightful boys that attend HNES. Thank you, Natalie, for always being a team player! Our incoming 5th graders are going to be blessed with the opportunity to be taught by a real-life rocket scientist! Mrs. Resler was a Technical Sgt. and worked as an Electro-mechanical maintenance team on ICBM missile systems. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelors’s degree in Elementary Education and Exceptional Student Education. Audra is in her 9th year as a teacher and we are so blessed to have her!
In times of uncertainty, there is one thing you can count on, and that is that Holy Nativity Episcopal School will always be looking to the future. We are appreciative to everyone willing to lend a helping hand as we formulate a school year that will be met with excitement and heartfelt gratitude. As materials roll in, we will need parents to help set up outdoor classrooms and help teachers coordinate material drop-offs. If you are interested in helping, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head of School