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Principal’s Message

Principal’s Principles, September 2020

Dear Gayton Families:

September is finally here!  Our teachers have been actively engaged this summer with professional development in distance learning, and they are eager to get started on September 8th!

Our administrative team is also excited to reconnect with our students.  Please see our welcome back FLIPGRID and share this with your children before Tuesday.

Other important links to view and/or complete:

Go here to access Parent Portal, Schoology info, and RYCOR online forms (these need to be completed).

Covid 19 What To Do Flow Chart  .  This document is a helpful tool should you have concerns about reporting Covid symptoms.

Virtual Learning Assistance Videos.  These were shared earlier by the county.

You can find our printable September calendar here.Parent Calendar Sept 2020.JPG  .  Details are forthcoming for these upcoming PTA community events!

  • September 18—September Birthday pics with Ally the Alligator.
  • Sept 22 –Virtual PTA General Meeting and Program, 7-8pm.
  • Sept 24 –Virtual Back to School Night, 7-8pm.
  • September 29 –Virtual Volunteer Orientation 9:30 am – 8:00 pm.
  • September 29 –Gayton Spirit Night at Chipotle, 5-9pm.
  • September 30 PTA Reflections due.

Continue to follow us on Facebook ( ) and our Gayton PTA on Facebook . Let’s stay connected!

A couple of other important items:

  1. Many of you have expressed concern about MS Teams not facilitating student-student collaboration. This is a concern with the platform that HCPS is working on with the vendor.  We are hoping this can be resolved soon as we are also eager for the kids to see one another on Teams.
  2. All HCPS schools are providing free breakfast and lunch during the course of our virtual instruction.  We will have breakfast and lunch served in our bus loop daily starting Tuesday.  From 7am-9am, breakfast and (cold) lunch will be served.  From 11:30-1:00, hot lunch and cold breakfast for the following day will be served.

A few thoughts about distance learning:

Like every school year, our first two weeks will be devoted primarily to building relationships and routines with our students. Teachers will be focused on developing classroom cultures, establishing expectations, reviewing prior year skills, navigating digital tools, and assessing for student baselines in reading and math.  They will also be setting the stage for deeper learning using the “6 C’s” of instructional design and delivery. These are Quality Character, Global Citizenship, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creative Thinking.  Our destination has not changed with Covid 19; we have just taken a detour. Our goal remains to support student success and achievement through LOVE OF LEARNING.

While we are very eager to have our students return safely back to school in person, we are excited that distance learning offers many brand new digital strategies to reach every student. We will be using many of these strategies when we do return physically to the school building. These will provide us with greater instructional equity, innovation, and engagement that will add to our learning toolkits.

As such, we look at the 2020-2021 school year as an opportunity for our children. They will view and remember this time of their lives through a lens of optimism only if we model it positively for them.  You are your child’s greatest cheerleader for virtual learning.  We ask that you continue to have conversations about what they have learned each day.  Ask them to show you what problems they have solved, stories they have written, pictures they have drawn.  Have them retell stories they have read, and what they liked or disliked about the characters.  Make independent reading (and reading aloud) a regular part of your nightly routine. Emphasize exercise of both body and mind.  Sing. Dance. Pray. Laugh out loud.

Thank you for your ongoing understanding that our teachers are learning along with their students, and for your patience when technology glitches do occur.  Tuesday, the first day of school, will be our first foray into distance learning.  We will undoubtedly have kinks to work through. We will navigate the process and problem solve accordingly. By the end of the week we expect to be in a comfortable and glitch-free routine.  Our teachers are totally dedicated to making their virtual classrooms engaging and student friendly.  Most importantly, they are passionate about meeting the learning needs of every child in the classroom through a virtual format.

Should you have or continue to have tech issues with your Chromebook or Ipad, please contact the HCPS Help desk. Email . You can also email me and I will help you to get assistance. We are putting together a list of parent tech concerns to have in one spreadsheet for the county to resolve asap.

By September 21st, you can expect more information about additional instructional tools to assist you and your child. These will include recordings of lesson overviews for when your child is absent, and supplemental paper-pencil materials for remediation, practice, and enrichment.  PreK and Kindergarten teachers will be scheduling in-person tours of the school/classroom for parent/child.  If your family/child is new to the school (K-5) and you would like a school tour, please contact Mrs. Reeves ( or me ( to schedule one (one adult per child).

While we are engaged in virtual instruction, student attendance will be taken the following morning.  Attendance will be based on meaningful student participation in synchronous and/or asynchronous instruction during the prior day.  As always, students should be present each day unless they are ill, out of town, etc.  As always, you must call the school office (360-0820) to report and excuse the absence if your child cannot participate for whatever reason (teachers cannot excuse the absence via email). Most importantly, do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or our school counselor, Ms. Fisher, should your child have any academic or social-emotional concerns while learning virtually.

Please watch this faculty/staff video to inspire our return to learning!  Much thanks to Mrs. Lucas, fifth grade teacher, for putting it together.  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough!

Again, let’s make school about A LOVE OF LEARNING—anytime, anywhere, student-owned, authentic, and connected.  Our school building is just a place.  WE are Gayton Elementary! 

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. See you Tuesday!

Kirk Eggleston, Principal

Carey Reeves, Associate Principal



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