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Principal's Corner, February 23rd

Throwing Out Roots

"No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind of action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees."
~ Amelia Earhart

As with all our choices, the choice to be kind ripples out. Sometimes caring, compassion, and consideration require a sacrifice, whether in time, money or pleasure. Other times, kindness requires that we let go of need to be right, or "better than," or in control. As Amelia Earhart writes so poetically, these acts of kindness throw out roots, which spring up and create more of the much-needed kindness our world is desperately calling for. Surely, that is worth going to the trouble.

SPARK owes so much to our families for the kindness they have shown us through these uncertain times.  I want to encourage us all to continue to work together as friends and partners as we approach our final quarter of the year.  Thank you for all you do SPARK!

There is a lot going on at SPARK and things will be changing in the next few weeks. Please do your best to read all of the information found here and be sure to reach out to us if you have any questions.  Although we may not have the answer immediately on hand, we will definitely keep you informed once we have one. 

Keeping Parents Updated – COVID19@SPARK

In the last principal’s corner, I shared that being transparent is very important to me.  I believe that as a principal it is my duty to be as open and honest as possible.  I want you to know that as of this date, SPARK has had two cases where students tested positive for COVID19. I can report that these students did not test positive as a result of being exposed to someone at SPARK.  Immediately upon receiving this information, we began our contact tracing protocols and informed families immediately.  Classes were quarantined and were able to resume with virtual learning and teaching. I want you to know that if a student in your child’s classroom tests positive you will hear from SPARK immediately by phone and by email.  The email will detail days of possible return pending PCR results as well as instructions for students who are exhibiting symptoms and for those who are not.  We take this very seriously and we want our families to be as informed as possible.  SPARK will report any positive case or exposure to a positive individual to Atlanta Public Schools as well as to the Georgia Department of Health.

Surveillance Testing for COVID19@SPARK

On Friday, February 19, SPARK participated in its first round of Surveillance testing for COVID19.  We had 140 students with parent consent and 50 SPARK Teachers/Staff.  We were happy to report that all tests came back negative.  Surveillance testing is a part of our comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy.  A non-diagnostic test detects the presence of COVID-19 in individuals who may be asymptomatic. The benefits of surveillance testing include early detection of positive individuals to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and buildings, as well as, rapid results and notifications for impacted individuals within 24 hours of testing.  If you would like your child to participate in Surveillance testing, please take some time to visit our website.

Declaration of Intent – 4th Quarter

Our latest Intent to Return Declaration period for students opened on Wednesday, February 17, allowing our families to choose a learning option through the 4th quarter. If you do not complete the form by Monday, March 8, your child will remain in their current instructional learning model. If you plan to change your child from virtual to F2F, or F2F back to Virtual, now is the time to do it!  Declaration Form page.  If you have any trouble with declaring your child’s intent, please contact your child’s teacher immediately for support.

What will 4th Quarter Instruction look like at SPARK?

4th Quarter Instruction and delivery models will depend heavily on the percentage of students that will be returning for face-to-face instruction beginning on Monday, March 22.   At this moment, SPARK is showing 57% of students returning for face-to-face instruction.  This number is likely to change.  The sooner parents/guardians complete their declaration the sooner SPARK can plan accordingly and inform our families of the instructional model that we will use.   There are three possibilities that we may use at SPARK.

  1. Current Model – Face to Face Teachers teaching Face to Face Students; Virtual Teachers teaching Virtual Students
  2. Simultaneous Teaching – Teachers would have both face-to-face students and virtual students at the same time.
  3. Hybrid Approach – A hybrid approach will occur if SPARK reaches 60% or more of its students returning for face-to-face instruction.  This means students would have two days of face-to-face instruction and two days of Virtual instruction.  This could result in students being grouped into “Group A” and “Group B” where Group A F2F students attend on Monday & Tuesdays and Group B F2F students attend on Thursday & Fridays. 

In each scenario, there is no guarantee that your child will have their same current teacher.  We may need to balance classes to maintain social distancing which could result in a teacher change. 

For more information, Click here as Mr. Harness discusses each option.  

Coffee Talks

We understand that you may have questions regarding the models discussed or other questions in general.  Please consider joining Mr. Harness on Thursday, 2/25 or Friday 2/26 at 7:30am for Coffee Talk.  This is the perfect place to get your questions answered. For more information, click the link.  

As always, thank you for your continued support. 



Terry Harness