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Principal's Corner, January 11th - Return 2 Learn Updates - Part 2

January 11, 2021


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Beginning January 25th, the Springdale Park school day for in-person and virtual students is 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  Wednesdays remain an Asynchronous Learning Day.  Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grade F2F students will begin on January 25th and 3rd, 4th and 5th grade F2F students will begin on February 1st.  All grade levels whose families chose virtual learning will remain virtual during the 3rd Quarter.

SPARK will maintain the same schedule that families and students are accustomed to with the exception of the 1:30 – 2:30 timeframe.  This hour will be referred to as the “Power Hour”.  During this time teachers will continue to teach and support students in differentiated ways.  The school day for both virtual and F2F learning will end at 2:30.

Class Changes

In preparing for third quarter, we had to make some class changes.  As we looked at class lists, we considered the amount of students who could safely be in the classrooms while keeping in mind the number of students in the virtual setting.  We also had to think about scheduling teachers who have to telework for various health reasons. For example, if Jennifer was a student who wanted to come back face to face and her current homeroom teacher will be teaching virtual students, Jennifer would have to change classes.  We know that this is a difficult change for students and families, but we scheduled students for the overall safety of our school community.  We did our best to keep a majority of students with their current teachers but some students will have a new teacher assignment.

Infinite Campus/Report Cards/Progress Reports

In the Infinite Campus platform (Parent Portal), parents will still see students’ original teachers name continue to appear.  Teachers will work together as a grade level to assess students and those grades will be reflected on report cards and progress reports regardless of the name that you may see in Infinite Campus.

Instructional Delivery Model

The Instructional delivery model at SPARK will consist of F2F teachers teaching F2F students and Virtual teachers teaching virtual students.  For F2F homerooms, class sizes will range from 10 -17 students per class based on the square footage of the classroom while accounting for appropriate social distancing.  For Virtual homerooms, class size will range from 18 – 28 students per class.  For upper grade levels (3rd, 4th, 5th) the majority of students will remain on a HR team of two teachers either F2F or virtual.

In cases where students receive special support services such as Gifted, Special Education or ESOL, simultaneous teaching may occur.    Simultaneous teaching is where teachers are facilitating instruction for both in-person and virtual students at the same time.  If this occurs, the class will have an additional teacher or instructional paraprofessional to adequately support virtual and F2F students.

SPECIALS classes will be virtual.  Specials teachers will ZOOM into homerooms similarly to how specials have been conducted during virtual learning. 

New 3rd Quarter Teacher Communication

New class rosters will be posted at Main Campus and K Center at 1:30 on January 15th!

3rd Quarter teachers for F2F and Virtual will reach out to parents on January 15th to introduce themselves as well as invite parents to a SPARK ZOOM Meet & Greet on January 19th from 1:45pm - 3pm.  Parents are encouraged to pop into their child’s meet & greet to say hello and ask any questions that you may have of your child’s 3rd Quarter teacher.  All students will begin virtually with their new 3rd quarter teacher on Thursday, January 21st.  New class rosters will be posted at SPARK Main Campus and Kindergarten center.

Virtual Starter Kit Pick Up

On January 20th we will distribute Virtual Starter Kits to all virtual families.  Parents, guardians, nannies, etc, are encouraged to come on the 20th at your specific time to collect your child’s virtual starter kit.  Only families who are remaining virtual for the 3rd Quarter should come to SPARK to collect kits.  We ask to keep this process moving quickly and safely that no students accompany parents/guardians to pick up Virtual Starter Kits.  Parents/Guardians will participate in a temperature screening prior to entering the gym.  Once in the gym you will be guided to an available table where you will pick up your child/ren’s virtual starter kits.  Once you have your kit in hand you will exit the main doors.   The schedule for pick up is listed below.

Virtual Kit Pick Up

Student Expectations

Students returning to the school for F2F learning must understand and comply with the following COVID-specific rules and practices. Failure to comply will result in corrective action including removal from the in-person model.

Reminder:  It is the responsibility of each student to maintain social distance, wear a mask at all times, and practice frequent hand hygiene. Please discuss this with your child(ren).

Each day, students must bring:

  1. Mask
  2. Device (chromebook / ipad) 
  3. Headset (or earbuds or any compatible device)
  4. Any personal school supplies needed
  5. Water bottle/thermos
  6. Lunch (if not getting an APS lunch; there are no microwaves available, so lunches should be ready to consume)

Most significant in-school rules affecting students:

  • All students will have their temperature taken and submit to a verbal health screening each day. If a student has an elevated temperature, he/she will be sent home.
  • Students must wear an appropriate mask/face covering correctly while inside the building at all times. If a student arrives at school without a mask, a mask will be provided.
  • Restrooms will be limited to scheduled breaks, unless there is an emergency.
  • All students must engage in frequent hand hygiene, including upon arrival, before and after meals, after bathroom use, after coughing or sneezing, and before dismissal. Ample hand-hygiene supplies will be available in each bathroom and hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the school as an extra safety measure.
  • Desks and/or tables in the classrooms will be spaced to allow for social distance.  Each desk will have an individual student desk shield affixed to the desk.
  • Students will not share classroom supplies, including pencils, pens, scissors, electronic devices, etc.   
  • Water fountains have been disabled. Students must bring their own water bottle from home, filled before school each day, and marked with their name. A bottle-filling station will be available on each hall in SPARK.


  • Lunch will be delivered to classrooms each day for those opting for cafeteria meals. All other students must bring lunch from home. Students will eat inside their classrooms while maintaining social distancing. Students must wear masks when they are not consuming food. SPARK will encourage classrooms to eat outside often, weather and space permitting. 
  • APS-provided breakfast is available for students.  This will be delivered to classrooms each morning.  Masks are worn at all times except when eating and drinking in classrooms at designated times. 
  • Please be sure to let your teacher know if your child will be eating a school provided breakfast or lunch.

Changes involving logistics:

  • All students will stay home every Wednesday for asynchronous learning so that the building can be deep-cleaned/sanitized.
  • Only teachers/staff/students will be permitted to enter the buildings.
  • Parents will not be permitted to bring items to students during the day unless it is medically necessary and approved by the school nurse.
  • Parents will not be permitted to walk students to their classrooms in the morning.
  • All parent meetings will take place via Zoom.
  • Special Area Classes (Art, Music, PE, Technology, Spanish, Environmental Science, SEL) will take place virtually in the classroom.
  • When weather allows, physical education courses may meet outdoors.
  • A recess schedule will be developed to provide all students time outdoors.
  • The school nurse will maintain a schedule to meet students who need to take medicine.
  • For students on homeroom teams (3rd, 4th, 5th) teachers will transition between classrooms and not students. 

Walkers/Bike Riders

  • All families walking or biking to SPARK will enter at the main campus entrance on Briarcliff and the Kindergarten Center on Briarcliff. 
  • Parents may escort their children to the gate entry points only.  Parents should NOT escort students to the courtyard or turf patio.   At the Kindergarten Center parents may escort students to the K center entrance.

Bus transportation:

  • Students will be required to wear masks and maintain physical distance while on the bus. It is the students’ responsibility to do their best to maintain social distancing when riding buses.
  • Students’ temperatures will not be checked prior to getting on the bus.
  • Students should expect possible delays because of the need for morning screening and afternoon physically-distanced dismissal.
  • SPARK encourages parents to pick students up in carpool or walk/bike to school to pick students up.  SPARK can not guarantee appropriate social distancing on school buses.
  • To stay up to date on all bus route updates, please join your child’s bus route “Remind”.  The remind APP is a wonderful way that SPARK will communicate with parents if and when your bus is running behind schedule or if there is a substitute bus.
  • More information about bus routes and signing up for Remind will be forthcoming.
  • Atlanta Public Schools will have bus routes posted on January 15th.

Car Riders/Carpool:

  • All car riders will be dropped off and picked up in the carpool lane located at the Briarcliff main entrance for Main Campus. Kindergarten students should be dropped off in the carpool line at the Kindergarten Center.
  • Morning drop off time is from 7:30 – 8:00am daily.  We ask that parents do their best to arrive at the times listed below to support us as we support our students with temperature screenings and ensuring that they make it to class quickly and safely.
    • Kindergarten – Drop off at the K center from 7:30 – 8:00am
  • For families with students at both Main campus & K center, we suggest dropping off at the main campus first and then drop off at the K Center.
    • 1st & 2nd Grade students in carpool – 7:30am – 7:40am
    • 3rd Grade Students – 7:40am – 7:45am
    • 4th & 5th Grade Students – 7:45am – 8:00am
  • Afternoon Carpool Pick Up – This year SPARK has invested in a new Carpool software that is called “PikMyKid”.   More information will be forthcoming but please take a moment to review their website.   PiKMyKid allows parents to announce their arrival via the app to inform the school of their arrival.  It will allow SPARK to have a more streamlined approach for carpool that will keep our kids and teachers safe.
  • School crossing guards

Arrival and Dismissal procedures:

Arrival in the morning and dismissal in the afternoon will occur in various locations.

  • All 1st and 2nd Grade students will enter the building through the Cafeteria courtyard.
  • All 3rd grade students will enter the building through the Turf Patio stairwell entrance.
  • All 4th grade students will walk to the left of the Briarcliff building and enter through the ground floor stairwell on the turf.
  • All 5th grade students will enter the building through the Gym.
  • All bus riders will arrive and depart from the bus loop on Ponce De Leon.
  • All Kindergarten students will enter and exit through the ramp at the Kindergarten Center. 
  • Temperature checks and health screenings will occur at all 6 student entry points and students will proceed directly to their classroom.

Be on time!  Students who are consistently late to school (after 8:00 a.m.) may be required to return back to Virtual Learning.

After School Program

The Club Afterschool will offer After School Day care on site at SPARK.  Please be sure to register your child now.  There will be a limited number of students allowed to enroll.

Other COVID-safe rules:

  • Students should not come to school if they have symptoms. Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will maintain communication with local boards of health for surveillance and tracking of self-reported cases to the school district as applicable.  
  • Our community must be prepared for the possibility that a subsequent “wave” of rising COVID-19 cases may cause state officials to call for another long-term shutdown of schools. In the event of school closure, all students will use virtual learning.
  • In the event of exposure to Covid-19, the school will follow protocols established by Atlanta Public Schools and local health departments, including the following:
  • Information is shared with the district coordinator of comprehensive health services who will conduct contact tracing,
  • Communication with families of potential exposure,
  • Conduct an investigation to determine next steps which may include the following: partial closures, quarantine for select individuals, or temporary building-area closures
  • In consultation with the local public health department, the school district may also decide whether school closure is warranted, including the length of time closure may be necessary.  If this happens, the school will switch to the virtual delivery model.

If, upon review of these guidelines and studying public health data, you decide that you would like your student to remain in virtual learning, please contact me at before Friday, 1/15/21. 

You may also find answers to some of your most burning questions regarding our Return 2 Learn by clicking on our "Frequently Asked Questions" link. 

We look forward to having your child(ren) join us for in-person learning on January 25th for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade and on February 1st for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. 



Terry Harness