From the Desk of Principal Hornbeck

July 21, 2020


I hope you and your wonderful family are faring well. Please plan to attend a special summer Chat with Matt next Wednesday July 29th at 11 am for questions, answers, and conversation about reopening school. A link will be posted that morning on our website here at http://www.hha47.org. The call will be recorded in case you miss it.

As you may know by now, the first day of instruction for students is now Tuesday, September 8th. School will be remote to begin the year. Most, if not all, public school districts in Maryland are expected to start the year working remotely. This is painful because, as we all know, students learn best when instruction and social and emotional learning is in person. We learned from what worked and what did not work last spring.

CEO Santelises and BCP President Doherty have set the expectation that moving forward remote learning must be more rigorous. This fall, City Schools parents, including HHA parents, should expect a robust schedule for each of their children that includes daily synchronous – meaning live – instruction.

I’m happy to report that HHA is one of just six schools piloting in-person summer classes for a limited number of students. There are detailed safety protocols in place. Last week was the first week of summer classes and everything went well. We had about 88% student attendance and it was amazing, truly amazing to have in-person instruction taking place after all these months. We know that there is a lot of learning that needs to happen. We also know that our talented teachers are up to the task! Once in-person instruction for the school year is approved, City Schools is planning for an “A Day/B Day” schedule. Under this scenario, 35-50% of students will receive instruction in-person every other day. There will be an all-remote option for families who want that choice.

Also, to mitigate COVID, the flu and the common cold, Laura and I are working with an architect and mechanical engineer to consider some promising options. We are looking at installing HEPA filters with UV light designed to scrub the air and kill the virus. Once we identify the brand, a vendor, and availability, we hope to install these filters in all classrooms and throughout the building. The mechanical engineer is going to help us learn more about the effectiveness of this possibility.

We should all thank our hard-working custodial crew for their tireless effort to ready the school for our eventual full re-opening. Inside, the building really sparkles.

In other news, a number of awesome HHA parents and students have grown an incredible crop in the HHA garden. Walk by and check it out, but please don’t pick anything. All fresh fruits and vegetables go to the families maintaining the garden over the summer.

And finally, we had a record number of students apply for PreK this year. While we simply could not accommodate everyone, we think this is a good sign for our school and our neighborhood.

Enjoy the crazy warm weather, be safe, and for goodness sake, remember to wear your mask! I hope to see you next Wednesday.