January 8, 2021

Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 1/8/2021 5:10:00 PM

Happy New Year!  I hope that our MES families had both restful and fun winter breaks - I am sure many of you celebrated your farewell to 2020 in unique and clever ways!  This first week back has been very busy as we excitedly plan for a reopening for face to face, in-person students while continuing our strong virtual program.

We have an assistant principal substitute, Dr. Rhonda Ware, who has joined our team this week.  Assistant Principal Dr. Sinclair (formerly Dr. Sprull - congrats on her recent marriage) is on leave and will return to MES in mid-February.   We are so excited to have Dr. Ware temporarliy on the team, as she brings a wealth of knowledge and a very positive, kid oriented attitude.  She has a legacy of strong educational leadership in Atlanta, from elementary teacher to principal and beyond!  She was principal at Cleveland Elementary for 21 years, and now substitutes for administrators across our school system.   You can reach Dr. Ware at Rhonda.Ware@atlanta.k12.ga.us.  I ask that you send any discipline/behavior or classroom related issues directly to her as I fully commit to our reopening plan and virtual program.  

The complexity of reopening our school for in-person students and continuing our strong virtual program is REAL.  On a personal note, it is the most difficult work of my career - and it is reminding me of my PhD level work at Purdue University in statistics! (I am an ABD "All But Dissertation" - maybe someday!)  I started the week with meetings with teachers - they have given much input into the plan - and that continued throughout with multiple meetings, phone calls, texts, and lots of lots of spreadsheets as we build the details of our plan.  It is a child by child process, as we look at social distancing, teacher return status, availability of staff and square footage of every room.    I have not only cried with appreciation for the efforts of some of our staff, I have danced in the isolation of my workspace once a solution was found!  We started this process with a focus on our MES students and minimizing their changes as we go forward.  However, there are some changes in who might deliver a child's content, based on teacher return data.  Each week, I will share the progress and our plans via this blog, plus a communication timeline is below. 

  • Our return rate for students enrolled is 61% and our plan creates a system of delivery for all students who elect to return face to face to return all 4 days!  NO HYBRID!!
  • 32% of our grade level teachers are on approved telework status.   
  • Each grade level has their instructional plan and teachers are already jumping into the creative ways they can work together and help our kids to thrive in these new models.  
  • Our plan maximizes face to face students with face to face teachers and virtual students with virtual teachers.  Teachers will continue to collaborate and create daily schedules that are parallel to one another, yet highlight the benefits of each model.  Students will stay on the roster of their teacher - even if they are returning face to face and the teacher is not or they are virtual and the teacher is not.  
  • When we say a "change", we are referring to the delivery teacher only.  In some instances, we have had to move one of our other wonderful MES staff to fill in and deliver the face to face or virtual instruction due to a teacher's status.  Please look at that positively - your student having another team member on the education team - the grade level teacher plus the new delivery teacher.  This could happen both in face to face learning or in virtual learning.
  • The majority of our kids do not have a delivery change.  It varies by grade level, and we are so fortunate to have an amazing cadre of teachers stepping in to join teams and deliver instruction to our students!  The original grade level teachers will continue to lead the planning and the curriculum.  We will share more information with each grade level at parent meetings.
  • In our plan, we have no face to face grade level teachers teaching "simultaneously" to both in-person students and virtual students.
  • Wednesdays remain asynchronous for the remainder of the school year.  We will have "reunion" activities for our classrooms on select Wednesdays, so that the entire original class stays connected, whether virtual or in-person.  
  • GATE days will remain the same, virtual or in-person.  The grade level teachers and students will continue on with their work, while GATE students have GATE resource, either virtually or in-person per this schedule:  M - 3rd Grade, T - 5th Grade, Th - 4th Grade, F - 1/2 days for 1st and 2nd (AM or PM TBD).

Please know that all decisions made are with your students in my HEART and at the CENTER.  In these challenging times, the entire MES staff is working together for our community.  I will roll out information as soon as I can each week, so that you can prepare for the next steps!  We have made it this far... we can do this!


Return to Learn Reopening Timeline:

Week of:

Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

Grades 3-5



Virtual learning continues

Virtual learning continues


Mon, 1/18 – Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday – NO SCHOOL

Virtual learning continues

Highlights this Week:  

  • F2F Detailed re-opening information given to parents
  • New delivery teachers communicated to families, if necessary. 
  • Facebook Live Tour for K-2 on Wednesday, Times TBD
  • Parent Meetings by Grade Level, Wed & Thurs 1/20-1/21, Times TBD        

Virtual learning continues


First day of in-person learning and continued virtual learning

Mon – Fri, 1/25 - 1/29 – Virtual learning continues

Highlights this Week:  

  • F2F Detailed re-opening information given to parents
  • New delivery teachers communicated to families, if necessary. 
  • Facebook Live Tour for 3- 5 on Wednesday, Times TBD
  • Parent Meetings by Grade Level, Wed & Thurs 1/27 and 1/28 – Times TBD


In-person and continued virtual learning

First day of in-person learning and continued virtual learning