2020 Back-to-School Plan

Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year

The Parish School has prepared several learning options for the upcoming school year. Please view the following video for an overview of those options for each level, as well as changes and precautions in place due to COVID-19.

Learning Options

We will offer two instructional models for enrolled students - either face-to-face instruction or a hybrid model - as well as a contingency plan in the event of closure. Please follow the links below to view each of these plans.

  ELEMENTARY LEARNING OPTIONS

  EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING OPTIONS

 

Virtual Q&A Session

View the recording of our Back-to-School Virtual Q&A Session held Friday, August 14 on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Ui0mzznHKqM

Dear Parish Community,

A heartfelt thank you to all the Parish families and friends who joined us both in-person and online for the Superhero Soirée Gala. It was a beautiful event! If you missed the celebration, be sure to check out the links below for a photo gallery, the streamed event video and other special videos that debuted Saturday night. Thank you for everyone’s incredible support of our superhero teachers and therapists!
 As we continue to refine our school calendar to be more inclusive of holiday celebrations and significant dates, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee would like you to complete this one-question survey. The survey will remain open until the last day of school, May 28.

There are two exciting events coming up next week:

Konnichiwa: Lower and Upper Elementary students have been working with What Is Noise to create an interactive Japanese garden that will be hosted on Thursday, May 20 in the school courtyard by the Parish Arts Team. Lower and Upper Elementary families are invited to join us for this event during their class’ scheduled time. Please RSVP at the following link: https://www.parishschool.org/japan

Bike-A-Thon: Elementary students have been busy fundraising for their two selected charities – HTX Art Bus and Kids’ Meals. Can you believe they’ve raised more than $15,000 so far? We are so proud of them!! Friday, May 21 is our official Bike-A-Thon Day, where students will be cruising around the circle drive in support of these two great causes. Look for photos of event day on Parish social media! To learn more about each of the charities that the Parish Bike-A-Thon benefits, visit the following websites:
This week, we have 0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus.

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

What a week of celebration it has been! Thank you to the Parish PTO for all the tasty treats and lovely decorations in the staff lounge. Our staff thoroughly enjoyed the thoughtfulness shown in recognition of Staff & Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s not over yet, though! Tomorrow night is the BIG night – The Parish School’s 28th Annual Gala: Superhero Soirée! I can’t wait to celebrate with you all as we formally recognize the superhero efforts of our instructional and therapeutic staff at this fun night in downtown Houston. Our Gala Committee and Advancement Team have put together a wonderful program and auction, and I am so thankful for their efforts! If you’re unable to attend the gala tomorrow night, remember, you can still participate in the auction online. Bidding is open on Saturday from noon until around 10pm (10 minutes after the gala program concludes). This year, there are lots of amazing packages ranging from date nights to children’s items to sports memorabilia, so be sure to check it out at www.bid4parish.org. I know I have my eye on that one-of-a-kind art piece made by our amazing students!

We have a few other events next week:
  • PTO Meeting: Wednesday, May 12 from 9:30-10:30am, held via Zoom. Click here to join.
  • Adult Education: Understanding Your Child’s MAP Scores (for Elementary parents): Thursday, May 13 from 12-1pm, held via Zoom. Click here to register.
  • Grandparent Gardening Group: Friday, May 14 at 7:50am (Elementary) and 11:15am (Early Childhood). Grandparents are invited to spend some time gardening on campus with their Parish grandchild! RSVP for a grandparent to attend at www.parishschool.org/gardengroup-may.
We’ve also had quite a few questions about end-of-year parties. Please keep in mind that end-of-year parties will take place on the last day of school – Friday, May 28. Being a Friday, school will dismiss at noon. Due to COVID-19 precautions, families are unable to attend class parties, and any treats sent to the school must be factory-sealed individually wrapped items. Please contact your class teacher for approval of items.

This week, we have 0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus.

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

It’s been a great week here at The Parish School and The Carruth Center! Excitement is in the air as we close out the remaining weeks of the school year and prepare for our end-of-year events. As we all plan for Upper Elementary Commencement (Thursday, May 27) and End-of-Year Parties (Friday, May 28), please remember that COVID precautions continue to be in place, including the requirement that treats must be pre-packaged and individually wrapped. Please remember to check with your classroom teacher before bringing any treats for the class.

Since we lifted the use of “limited contact,” this weekly update will only include the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus. At this time, we have 0 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Reminders for next week:

Spirit Week – May 3-6
  • Monday: Crazy Hat, Crazy Hair, Crazy Socks (one or all are welcomed)
  • Tuesday: Wild World of Sports (show off a sports team)
  • Wednesday: Pajama Day (wear pajamas, slippers and robes)
  • Thursday: Show Your Parish LOVE (wear green or your favorite Parish shirt)
Teacher Work Day – Friday, May 7
No school for students

Superhero Soiree Gala – Saturday, May 8
We have an exciting night planned at the Ballroom at Bayou Place in downtown Houston, honoring our superhero teachers and therapeutic staff. Remember that if you are interested in purchasing upgraded wine to enjoy at your table, sales close at 8pm this Sunday night at https://one.bidpal.net/parishgala21/search/upgrade%2520wine. I hope to see you all at the gala!

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

With yesterday being Earth Day, I am so proud of our students who took the initiative to pick up litter they came across on their morning walks, as they went to therapies, and played outside throughout the day. Upper Elementary Class, the Seekers, also put out a PSA for the community, encouraging everyone to do their part in saving the Earth. If you haven’t had a chance, please check out their video on the Parish Facebook page. Like they said, doing something small can add up to something big!

In past messages, I have shared that we formed a campus COVID Task Force to create, discuss and evaluate our campus COVID-19 policies and procedures. This group meets frequently to look at policies and determine if any restrictions may be lifted as our staff get vaccinated and the greater community seeks to return to normal.

After careful consideration, the Task Force has elected to eliminate our use of “limited contact.” Since rolling out the policy on January 19, we have placed classes on limited contact 21 times until the person who was exhibiting symptoms received COVID test results. 100% of the time, the results have been negative. Due to the undue stress and limitation it puts on students, staff and families, we feel that we can safely lift the limited contact policy. Starting Monday, April 26, if a person exhibits COVID-like symptoms, they will not be allowed on campus until our standard return-to-school criteria are met; however, their class will be able to go about their day as usual. Parents will still be notified that their child was in close contact with an individual experiencing credible symptoms. A class closure will only occur if we receive a lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 test.

Additionally, visitors are allowed on campus with prior approval from the COVID Task Force. All visitors must go through our health screening and background check process and are not permitted to enter class cottages.

Elementary families, please also remind your student that wearing a facial covering at school is required. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at cbryant@parishschool.org or our school nurse, Angela Burris, at aburris@parishschool.org.

Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure for the week of April 19-23. (Limited contact will be lifted for the class below on Monday morning.)
  • Classes placed on limited contact: 3
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 3
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, April 23: 1
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0
Next week, we are hosting an adult education webinar Thursday night on neuronutrition and childhood development. If you have any questions on how diet can affect neurodevelopment, this is the session for you! For more information and to register, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_glQbmMzdSmKF7BhlBUp8-A.

Sincerely,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

The spring semester is flying by and it’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through April! As the school year goes on, there may be a tendency for drivers to forget some very important carpool procedures in place to keep our students and staff safe. Please keep the information below in mind as you head through the carpool line: 

  1. Display your carpool tag clearly in your rear-view mirror to help staff know where to direct you. 
  2. Once you reach a carpool spot/cone, wear a facial covering and exit your vehicle. In the morning, our health screener will then complete your child's temperature check and health screen. In the afternoon, your child will be brought to you and you will be responsible for seeing that they are properly buckled. Staff will not be entering vehicles to assist. Please keep the line moving and stay in your vehicle unless it’s absolutely necessary to assist your child.
  3. Remain in the carpool line and do not pull around other cars. 
  4. During afternoon carpool, refrain from walking to the porch to pick up your child directly from the teacher.
  5. If you need additional carpool tags, please call the front office.


Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure for the week of April 12-16.

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 3
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 1
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, April 16: 2
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0

Sincerely,
Cheval Bryant
Head of School
Dear Parish Community,

As we enter the final quarter of this unprecedented school year, we shift our focus to planning all of our end-of-year events and camps. We do this as we continue to provide in-person instruction for all students in the safest possible manner. Registration for our summer camps is open, but many are now filled. Below is an update on summer program availability. I highly recommend reaching out as soon as possible if you are interested in any of these camps!

I’m happy to report that Primary MAP Testing went smoothly this week. Upper and Lower Elementary MAP Testing is up next! Families can help prepare their students with a good night’s sleep, a balanced breakfast, and dropping them off with plenty of time to unpack. An adult education session to help parents understand MAP Testing results and how to read the report will be held on Tuesday, May 13. To register for the session, please visit 
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpdeqqrD8oEtatCdTuBXRj2ueHwUSfPW-R.

A few other event reminders:
  • PTO Meeting: Wednesday, April 14 from 9:30-10:30am, held via Zoom. Click here to join.
  • Upper & Lower Elementary Baseball Game: Friday, April 16 from 2-4pm at Baseball USA. Ticket sales have now closed. We look forward to seeing our Upper & Lower Elementary families at the game!
  • Superhero Soiree Gala: Become an underwriter by Monday, April 26, to be listed in our event program. We hope you can make this exciting event planned for Saturday, May 8 at The Ballroom at Bayou Place in downtown Houston! For event information and table and ticket sales, visit https://one.bidpal.net/parishgala21.


Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure for the week of April 5-9.
  • Classes placed on limited contact: 0
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 0
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, April 9: 0
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0


Sincerely,
Cheval Bryant
Head of School

Dear Parish Community,

You’re hearing from me a little early this week since The Parish School and The Carruth Center will be closed tomorrow, April 2, due to the Spring/Good Friday holiday. With springtime here, there’s always an abundance of eggs! With this extra family time this weekend, consider some of the following activities using plastic eggs suggested by our Unbabbled Podcast co-host and Elementary SLP, Stephanie Landis: https://www.parishschool.org/blog-media/2021/blog-activities-with-eggs/. Whether your family celebrates Easter or not, these are all great suggestions for continuing to build language at home!

Please remember that MAP Testing takes place next week for Primary students and the week of April 12 for Upper and Lower Elementary. You can help make sure your student is prepared for testing with plenty of rest and a healthy breakfast. Once MAP Testing results come in, we will be hosting an adult education session on Tuesday, May 13, to help you understand the results and how to read the report. To register for the session, please visit https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpdeqqrD8oEtatCdTuBXRj2ueHwUSfPW-R.

Regretfully, I must announce that the Upper and Lower Elementary Musical is canceled again this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, our arts and sciences educators are planning an alternative event that corresponds with our Culture in Focus study on Japan. Please save the date for May 20 for this interactive, outdoor, socially distanced event in our courtyard. More details are coming soon!

Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure for the week of March 29 - April 1.

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 1
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 1
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Thursday, April 1: 0
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 2


Sincerely,
Cheval Bryant
Head of School

Dear Parish Community,

After a whirlwind of a day, I’m so happy to be sitting down to write you now! As you were made aware, our campus was placed on lockdown today due to an intruder at The Carruth Center. We had a few further questions from parents, and I’d like to be as transparent as possible. Please know that the individual is not a Parish or Carruth family member. The person resides in the townhomes across from campus and entered the Carruth lobby agitated about a vehicle parked in the street. He was unarmed but seemed intoxicated and was acting erratically. Therefore, we contacted the police for assistance. Our staff members involved handled the situation wonderfully. They are unharmed but are understandably shaken. We do not expect the individual to be a further threat but are reviewing our safety precautions and procedures to determine if improvements can be made. If you have any further questions about this incident, please feel free to contact me.

Admissions season has officially started at The Parish School. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to restrict visitors on campus. This includes admissions tours, which are being conducted virtually this year. However, please be aware admissions families will be on campus for screenings with an SLP and for a classroom visit, both of which are necessary to ensure they are an appropriate fit for our program. Admissions visitors and parents must pass the same health screen as enrolled students before entering the campus and classroom. Parent observations will be allowed during admissions visits and observation areas will be thoroughly sanitized by administrative staff following each observation.

Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure for the week of March 22-26.

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 7
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 7
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, March 26: 0
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0


Last night, we had a great turn-out for Life After Parish! It’s always so inspiring to hear from our alumni families and I highly encourage you to watch the recording if you didn’t have a chance to tune in. www.parishschool.org/lifeafterparish21

Tomorrow morning is Spring Family Garden Day. I’m excited to get to work on some of our gardens, which could still use a little love after the winter freeze. If you’d like to join us, there’s still time to register at www.parishschool.org/gardenday-spring. I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

Cheval Bryant
Head of School

Dear Parish Community,

This morning, one of our lower elementary students, Laura Balboa, served as Head of School for the Day. Laura is a bright young lady who helped out with carpool, observed classes, met with administrative team members, and made an executive decision to allow free dress for all students today. She even helped me put the official stamp of approval on the school calendar for the 2021-22 school year!

Please subscribe and access the school calendar online at www.parishschool.org/school-calendar. For instructions on how to sync the calendar to your mobile device, visit www.parishschool.org/subscribe-calendar.

A few reminders:
Spring Break: The Parish School and The Carruth Center will be closed March 15-19 for Spring Break. We reopen to students and staff on Monday, March 22. Please remember the following COVID-19 policy if traveling internationally (this does not apply to domestic travel):

Students may return to school following international travel if they meet one of the following requirements:
  1. Self-quarantine a total of 7 days following the return home and provide a negative Real-Time PCR test taken 3-5 days after traveling
  2. Self-quarantine a total of 10 days without taking a COVID test
Yearbook: Today is the deadline for discounted yearbook pricing of $30, after which there will be a price increase to $35. Remember that we have student recognition ads available this year. This is a great way to add a special shout-out or loving tribute to your student, especially to those who may be aging out this year! Yearbook information is available at www.parishschool.org/yearbook.

Camp Acorn: Today is the deadline for early-bird registration. Campers paid in full by today receive a 10% discount on tuition and a free camp backpack! At this time, Adventure Play at Camp Acorn is full but the language program still has space available. Contact Molly Weisselberg at camp@parishschool.org for more info or apply at www.parishschool.org/campacorn.

Contracts: Signed re-enrollment contracts are due by next Friday, March 19, to guarantee your student’s placement for next school year. After this time, we will begin enrolling new students where space is available. Your contract is found on the Parish Portal. Please remember that BOTH parents must sign off on the contract before it is complete. If you have any questions, please reach out to businessoffice@parishschool.org.

Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure for the week of March 8-12.
  • Classes placed on limited contact: 0
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 0
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, March 12: 0
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0
I hope everyone’s Spring Break is restful and rejuvenating as we enter this final stretch of the school year!

Sincerely,
Cheval Bryant
Head of School

Dear Parish Community,

Happy Friday, everyone! We’re excited to have officially wrapped up Spring conferences and sent re-enrollment contracts out today. Thank you to all our teachers and parents for working together to ensure students’ success! Again, contracts may be accessed on the Parish Portal and are due by Friday, March 19, to ensure your child’s placement for the 2021-22 school year. If you have any questions, please reach out to the school’s business office

We have a busy week as we head into Spring Break!

 

There are two important COVID-19 policy updates to bring to your attention this week:

  1. On Friday, February 26, we sent the following communication regarding travel:

    “…at this time, domestic and international travel no longer requires a quarantine period to return to school. However, please keep in mind that guidelines are subject to change based on current conditions and state/local mandates when making any travel arrangements. What may be in place today may not hold true in the coming weeks or months. If you have any questions, please reach out to School Nurse, Angela Burris.”

    It has come to our attention that the CDC and White House does recommend a quarantine period after international travel, which we must adhere to (please note that this does not affect domestic travel). At this time, our policy has been revised to state students may return to school following international travel if they meet one of the following requirements:
    1. Self-quarantine a total of 7 days following the return home and provide a negative Real-Time PCR test taken 3-5 days after traveling
    2. Self-quarantine a total of 10 days without taking a COVID test

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused your family’s travel plans. Please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss further.

  1. The second policy change is in regards to our arts and sciences classes. Our previous policy stated, “Arts and Sciences classes will be self-contained. Students will not use common spaces (i.e., drama room, music room, art room).”

    To accommodate this policy, our arts team has been holding classes outdoors and disinfecting materials between classes. With findings released over the past several months and the CDC’s statement that the COVID-19 virus spreads mainly from person to person, rather than via contaminated surfaces, we are granting the arts and sciences team permission to resume instruction in their regular classrooms, if they choose. They will continue to clean and disinfect high-touch areas between classes and maintain social distance.

 
Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure for the week of March 1-5.

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 0
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 0
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, March 5: 0
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0


Thank you and have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

What a pleasure it was to have our grandparents on campus this morning! We really love being able to continue this program safely and socially distanced. Not only does it give students a chance to show off their school to their grandparents, but it is instrumental in helping to maintain the school gardens. After last week’s winter storm, the gardens certainly need lots of extra support!

After needing to re-schedule last week’s elementary conferences, we are back on track and going strong! Conferences will continue during teachers’ planning blocks and/or after school through March 4. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for a time slot through your child’s teacher.

Following conferences, re-enrollment contracts are going out on Friday, March 5. An email will be sent that day notifying you when your contract is available on the Parish Portal. Please complete the online contract by Friday, March 19, to guarantee your student’s placement for next school year. After this date, remaining spaces will be available to outside families.

We’re so excited that Camp 2U starts today! Through this partnership with Camp For All, we’re able to host this weekend day camp experience directly on our campus, where children can practice Social Thinking® in a fun, camp-like atmosphere. Our overnight Social Thinking® summer camps are also currently enrolling. For information on Camp Social Superheroes and Camp Connect, visit www.parishschool.org/summer or contact Mimi Branham, The Carruth Center Director.

Don’t forget, the first underwriter deadline for the Superhero Soiree Gala is next Friday, March 5. Those who have purchased tables or sponsorships by this date are listed in the event invitation. For a list of COVID precautions being taken for this in-person event, visit https://one.bidpal.net/parishgala21/custom/custom8.

Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure this week.

February 22-26

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 2
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 2
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, Feb. 26: 0
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case:0

 

With Spring Break quickly approaching, know that at this time, domestic and international travel no longer requires a quarantine period to return to school. However, please keep in mind that guidelines are subject to change based on current conditions and state/local mandates when making any travel arrangements. What may be in place today may not hold true in the coming weeks or months. If you have any questions, please reach out to School Nurse, Angela Burris.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

I'm sure many of you are overjoyed to see the sun come out today, just as I am! I am pleased to report that our campus has fared well. Power has been restored and it’s in great condition. We still plan to re-open for face-to-face instruction on Monday, February 22. However, if the boil water mandate is not lifted by then, we will send an update about how we will adjust for that.

I know a great deal of staff and families have been significantly affected by the winter storm, all to varying degrees. Whether you experienced extended periods without power and heat, burst pipes, or continue to be without water, know that our community is here for you. If you are still in need of help, please reach out to me at cbryant@parishschool.org, and I will be sure to assist in any way possible. We will be very mindful of this devastation that occurred to our community, as we move forward, together.

We know that this has been a challenging time for everyone, especially our children. We will be extra sensitive to students, families and staff in the coming weeks. If you went through something particularly hard (devastation to home, long-term displacement, etc.), please take a minute to email your teacher and copy Huyen Cao (Director of Elementary) or Anne Powers (Director of Early Childhood). We want to know how best to support your child and you, and the more information we have about what they've experienced and may be feeling, the better. Additionally, should you not be able to return to school on Monday, please let us know.

If you haven’t had a chance, please take a look at the following two articles written by Carruth mental health professional, Haley Garth. Both were written following Hurricane Harvey but are very applicable to our current situation:
The events we had planned for this week, including elementary parent conferences and the adult education session on ADHD, are being rescheduled. Please look for more communications from us early next week with details on these events. Next Friday, February 26, we still plan to hold a Grandparents Gardening Group. If your student’s grandparent would like to participate, please RSVP at www.parishschool.org/gardengroup-feb.

As for updates on classes placed on limited contact or closure, we’re happy to report that all students will be able to join us for in-person instruction on Monday. The class that was closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case has completed their quarantine period and limited contact was lifted for the two classes who were placed on it last week.

Please continue to take care and stay warm.

Sincerely,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

I hope you’re keeping warm on this cold and wet day! In case you missed our previous message, please be aware that we will be closed on Monday, February 15, due to inclement weather and hazardous road conditions. We will transition to remote learning/telehealth on Tuesday, February 16. Staff will be using Monday as a teacher prep day to prepare for remote learning. We will continue to monitor the weather and will notify you via our emergency communication system should we need to extend distance learning past Tuesday. At this time, we plan to reopen for in-person instruction on Wednesday.

Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure this week.
February 8-12

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 2
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 1
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, Feb. 12: 1
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 1


As a recommendation from our contact at the Houston Health Department, the following change is being made to our COVID-19 policies:

If a student’s family member is confirmed positive for COVID-19, the student will need to quarantine for the full 10 days of the positive person’s quarantine period PLUS an additional 10 days before returning to school.

Additionally, we are aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance this week that states, “fully vaccinated people can skip COVID quarantines.” However, at this time, we will not be modifying our policy to exclude fully vaccinated individuals from quarantining due to the CDC’s acknowledgment that “even vaccinated people could harbor the virus in their noses and throats, and pass it to others.” We will continue to monitor our communities’ vaccination rate as closely as possible to determine when it might be appropriate to amend this policy.

Please mark your calendars for the following events next week:

  • Elementary Conferences: Thursday, February 18 and 19 via Zoom. Teachers are reaching out to schedule these meetings. There is no school for Elementary these days.
  • Parenting Children with ADHD Webinar featuring Dr. Kimberly Harrison: Thursday, February 18 at 7:15pm via Zoom. Register to attend using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WB76KjDXRPqs95APf3AU0g

    Please stay safe and enjoy spending time with your loved ones this Valentine’s Day weekend! All the best, Cheval

    All the best,
    Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

It is amazing how fast the weeks seem to go by at The Parish School and The Carruth Center. It is such an active place, even in the midst of a pandemic!

Over the school year, you have likely received a variety of communications detailing the importance and impact of SEEDS for Growth, The Parish School’s annual fund. We are so grateful to all of you who have donated or made a pledge to this essential fundraiser. We are currently at 64% parent participation. Last year, we reached 83%, and 95% the year before that. Our board and staff are already 100% committed and it would mean so much if we could reach the same level of commitment among our parents, too! Please remember that it’s not about how much you give – it is that you participate! When our advancement department submits grants to foundations and major donors, these funders look at parent participation in the annual fund to determine if they will support us or not, so your participation is critical to ensuring our school's overall financial health. SEEDS donations can be made by cash, check or online at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/supportparish. If you have any questions about SEEDS, or any of our other fundraisers (including the Superhero Soirée gala coming up!), feel free to reach out to advancement@parishschool.org.

Mark your calendars for the following events next week:

  • PTO Meeting: Wednesday, February 10 from 9:30-10:30am, held via Zoom. Click here to join.
  • Early Childhood Spring Conferences: Thursday, February 11 and 12 via Zoom. Teachers are reaching out to schedule these meetings. There is no school for Early Childhood these days.

Also, I am so happy to report that we’ve had a very quiet week when it comes to COVID-related situations. Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure.

Week of February 1-5

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 0
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 2 (from last week)
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, Feb. 5: 0
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0


All the best,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

I hope you and your loved ones continue to enjoy good health during these challenging times. I feel so fortunate that we have maintained a healthy in-person learning environment for our students and staff this school year. As a reminder, please remember not to send your child to school if they or anyone in your household are not feeling well or have COVID-like symptoms.

This was our first week to put our new “limited contact” policy to the test, and from what I’ve heard, it is going well! Please see the following stats on classes placed on limited contact or closure this week.

Week of January 25-29

  • Classes placed on limited contact: 3
  • Classes whose limited contact was lifted: 1
  • Classes currently on limited contact as of Friday, Jan. 29: 2
  • Classes closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case: 0


Other items of note this week:

Conferences are coming up and will be taking place via Zoom once again. If they haven’t already, your teachers will be reaching out to schedule these with you and will send the link to join the online meeting.

The deadline for discounted Superhero Soiree Gala tables is this Sunday! If you haven’t started already, try reaching out to other families to put together a table for this exciting night honoring our superhero instructional and classroom support staff members! The gala will be held Saturday, May 8, at The Ballroom at Bayou Place in downtown Houston. You won’t want to miss it!

  • AVENGER SPONSORSHIP: 10-Person Table for $2,500 (regularly $3,000)
    Benefits include: Table for 10; recognition on gala website; name printed in invitation, program, annual report and event t-shirts. Use the promo code AVENGERDISCOUNT at checkout on the gala website to receive the $500 discount.
  • PROTECTOR SPONSORSHIP: 8-Person Table for $1,750 (regularly starts at $3,000 for a 10-person table)
    Benefits include: Table for 8; name printed in invitation, program and annual report. 8-person tables are not available through the gala site. Please contact advancement@parishschool.org to purchase this sponsorship.


Have a great weekend!

All the best,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

It’s been a great week of learning at The Parish School and The Carruth Center! On Monday, we received negative COVID-19 test results for the individual experiencing symptoms resulting in the class closure/limited contact last week. The class reopened for regular instruction this morning, and I’m happy to report that we have not closed or limited contact for classes since then.

A few items of note this week:

Discounted Superhero Soiree Gala tables went on sale this week! We look forward to having you all join us on Saturday, May 8, for this important night honoring our superhero instructional and classroom support staff members! The gala is our school’s biggest fundraiser, and we greatly appreciate our community’s support of this event each year. We’re currently running a limited time special for Parish families. Now through January 31, you have the opportunity to purchase the following discounted gala sponsorships:

  • AVENGER SPONSORSHIP: 10-Person Table for $2,500 (regularly $3,000)
    Benefits include: Table for 10; recognition on gala website; name printed in invitation, program, annual report and event t-shirts. Use the promo code AVENGERDISCOUNT at checkout on the gala website to receive the $500 discount.
  • PROTECTOR SPONSORSHIP: 8-Person Table for $1,750 (regularly starts at $3,000 for a 10-person table)
    Benefits include: Table for 8; name printed in invitation, program and annual report. 8-person tables are not available through the gala site. Please contact advancement@parishschool.org to purchase this sponsorship.


Summer program enrollment is in full swing!
Applications are posted online for the programs below. Be sure to apply early, as many have limited capacity and fill fast!


Have a great weekend!

All the Best,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

Good afternoon and happy Friday, everyone! I have big news to share with you this week regarding changes to two of our COVID-19 policies. Both of these changes will take effect starting next Tuesday, January 19.

1. Limited Contact

While we feel that our procedures have greatly reduced the risk of spread in our community, we also recognize that these policies have been stricter than most other schools. To lessen the disruption to our students’ routine and family schedules, rather than closing a class when an individual is experiencing COVID-like symptoms, we will allow the class to continue coming to school but with “limited contact” until test results are available. The person experiencing COVID-like symptoms will not be allowed on campus until our standard return-to-school criteria are met. Please know that these are not new actions. Previously, these same policies were followed before children were dismissed for the day for a class closure.

When a class is placed on limited contact, families will be notified and have the option to continue attending in-person or may transition to distance learning. If we receive positive COVID-19 test results, then the class will immediately close for the 10-day quarantine period. If they receive negative COVID-19 test results, limited contact will be lifted.

During limited contact periods, the following restrictions take effect:

  • Students will be pulled for Carruth therapies or by Parish support staff on a case-by-case basis.
  • Carruth therapists may choose to use patios, socially distanced, for pull-out therapy services.
  • Classroom support staff (Elementary SLPs, Early Childhood Educator, Reading Specialists, etc.) impacted through contact tracing will need to stay with the class. If not impacted, they will not be allowed to provide services to the class, while limited contact periods are in effect.
  • Integrated Arts and Sciences will Zoom with the class.
  • Student and Family Services team members impacted through contact tracing will attempt to stay with the class. If not impacted, they will attempt to not provide services to the class during the limited contact time, unless there is an emergency (such as classroom support needed due to physically aggressive behaviors or other behaviors involving safety concerns).
  • Students impacted may not attend Adventure Play.
  • Social Learning students will be pulled for therapy on a case-by-case basis.
  • Social Learning push-in services will be suspended until the limited contact is over.
  • Soccer Shots and Extended Day will continue as planned with notification to staff involved.


During limited contact periods, the following is allowed when able to maintain social distance from other classes:

  • Utilization of outdoor spaces
  • Staff/students may go for a nature walk
  • Use of playground structures are permitted, including the sports court, with bike handles and plastic/metal hand toys being disinfected between classes
  • Use of the butterfly garden is permitted if no other classes are nearby holding music class or other activities


2. Party Favors
Our second policy change involves non-edible items sent to school by families, including goody bags, party favors, crafts, valentines, etc., which we previously did not allow. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 virus spreads mainly from person to person, rather than via contaminated surfaces. Therefore, we are lifting this restriction and allowing these items to be brought to school.

Please keep in mind that our policy on snacks and food items remains the same. As a reminder, only factory sealed individually packaged foods are permitted and must be approved by your classroom teacher before being sent to school.

If you have any questions regarding these policies, feel free to reach out to me or our school nurse, Angela Burris.

To recap the COVID-related situations from this week, we closed one class on Sunday night due to an individual experiencing symptoms. That class is now able to re-open since we received a negative COVID-19 test result. However, we closed another class due to an individual experiencing symptoms. Now, with our new “limited contact” policy taking effect next week, that class will be able to return to campus following the limited contact procedures listed above, pending a COVID-19 test result.


Event Reminders:

  • Camp 2U: Today is the deadline for applications! If you are interested in this weekend day camp where your child can learn and practice Social Thinking®, please contact info@carruthcenter.org. Applications are posted at parishschool.org/camp2u.
  • Camp Acorn: Registration opened today! Visit our Camp Portal to sign up, complete forms and make payment arrangements. Remember, campers paid in full by February 26 receive a free camp backpack and 10% tuition discount!
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Monday, January 18 (school is closed)
  • Early Childhood Teacher Work Day: Friday, January 22 (no school for early childhood students)


Have a great, long weekend!

All the Best,

Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

I hope you all had a joyful holiday season. I’ve enjoyed seeing students return filled with enthusiasm as they settle nicely back into their classroom routines. This first week back from winter break, I am happy to announce that we have had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, and all classes remained open to face-to-face learning.

We had a wonderful showing for the Q&A on Childhood Apraxia of Speech featuring Nancy Kaufman last night. She is such a valuable resource for our school and clinic, and we are so thankful for this continued partnership. If you’d like to see the recording, it’s available to view here: https://youtu.be/cPqudE6c5xU

Next week, please keep an eye out for the following events:
  • PTO Meeting: Wednesday, January 13 from 9:30-10:30am, held via Zoom. Click here to join.
  • Parish/Carruth Summer Camp 101: Thursday, January 14 from 12-1pm, held via Zoom. Click here to register. Our administrators will be sharing more details on Camp Acorn, Camp Social Superheroes, Camp Connect, Kaufman-Apraxia Bootcamp and Camp Super Writers.
  • Elementary Teacher Work Day: Friday, January 15 (no school for elementary students)
I’d also like to acknowledge the troubling events that took place earlier this week in our nation’s Capitol. We know that as parents, you will have questions and concerns from your children as you process the events with them. If you are wondering how to approach difficult conversations with your children, these tips can give you a place to start: Helping Kids Navigate Scary News Stories. Please feel free to also reach out to our mental health professionals should you need any additional resources at familysupport@parishschool.org.

Sincerely,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

We made it! Opening school to face-to-face learning amid a global pandemic has been a challenge for us all. I want to thank our families, students and staff for bearing with all the new policies and procedures that were rolled out this year. While we know these policies aren’t always fun and are often inconvenient, they have been developed with our community’s safety and best interest at heart. Thank you to all our parents who have reached out expressing support. Your encouraging words have been invaluable in this process! Additionally, I’d like to thank everyone who continues to question these policies. None of us have gone through this before, and you often help us take a look from a different angle and make sure we’re making the best choices possible.

To that end, I’d like to mention the international travel policy. Our current policy requires any student or staff member who travels internationally to self-quarantine for 14 days once they come home. A COVID test may not be used as a substitute for the mandatory quarantine period. While CDC recommendations are less restrictive regarding international travel, please know that our school must also follow Texas Health and Human Services’ Daycare Regulations to continue operating, which is the reason we are unable to change this policy.

HHS states:
(d) An operation must screen all persons and children according to CDC guidance before allowing entry into the operation, including checking the temperature of each person and child upon arrival at the operation each day and denying entry to any person who meets one of the following criteria: (1) Fever or signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat; (2) Close contact in the last 14 days with someone who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, someone who is under investigation for COVID19, or someone who is ill with a respiratory illness; or (3) International travel within the last 14 days to countries with ongoing community transmission. For updated information on affected countries, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.

Please remember that The Parish School will re-open on Monday, January 4. This is a make-up day for elementary students and a staff workday for Early Childhood. Early Childhood students should return to school on Tuesday, January 5.

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, January 7! Apraxia expert Nancy Kaufman will be sharing her top tips that families should know about apraxia during an evening virtual question and answer session. Please register to attend that event at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUsduGrrjsrHdTjXdy4uPzDdxZ8kAZdDgHY.

This week, we closed one class due to an individual experiencing COVID-like symptoms. We are pleased to announce that we just received negative COVID test results, and that class will be able to return for face-to-face instruction on January 5.

Have a wonderful holiday break!

Sincerely,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

Happy Friday, everyone! I am thrilled to announce that we had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 this week, and all classes remained open to face-to-face learning!

We have a busy week ahead of us as we wrap up before Winter Break:

Primary Interactive Arts Collaboration – Monday, December 14
Primary level students will have an interactive art exhibit set up along the circle drive on Monday. Their families are invited to a private drive-thru viewing and reception from 1:45-2:30pm (RSVP required). All other Parish families are welcome to enjoy the exhibit as you drive through the afternoon carpool line.

Oak Creek Exploration Zone Groundbreaking – Wednesday, December 16
We’ll soon break ground on the Margaret Noecker Nature Center's second phase of development, Oak Creek Exploration Zone! A formal ceremony will take place on Wednesday to commemorate the occasion. So the greater Parish community can join in our excitement, we’re recording the event to share with you at a later time.

Holiday Parties – Thursday, December 17
You should have received information from your class teacher/room parent with plans for your class’s holiday party. Thank you for your patience and understanding of the changes made to these events this year. Our hope is for students to have a festive and safe experience that allows everyone to be sent into the holiday break happy and healthy. As a reminder, only individually wrapped, pre-packaged treats are approved at this time. Please be sure to check with your teacher before sending these items to school.

Additionally, students are invited to wear holiday pajamas or a festive shirt on Thursday.

All the best,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

This week has been filled with so much good news! First off, I am happy to announce that today, we received a negative COVID test result for the individual who was experiencing COVID-like symptoms in the one class that closed this week. Families have been notified and they will be resuming in-person instruction on Monday.

As mentioned in my message on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control released new guidelines recommending close contacts of those infected with the coronavirus to quarantine for 10 days after exposure, which is down from the 14 days they previously recommended. We have modified our COVID-19 procedures to align with these new recommendations, which reduces the number of days necessary for students and staff to be remote.

We had several successful fundraisers this week! Thanks to 29 donors and a very generous grandparent matching gift, we surpassed our Giving Tuesday goal and raised a total of $23,627 in that one day! More than 1,000 poinsettias were delivered on a very wet Wednesday, which were then unloaded, counted, sorted and delivered to purchasers. And the farmer’s market held before dismissal today sold out of the produce grown by our elementary students, aside from one small bag of herbs! Thank you to all of our supporters. We are so grateful!

Next week, a PTO meeting is being held Wednesday from 9:30-10:30am. Please join us by Zoom at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84851449783?pwd=YWNtT3QxSmc4YXc4dHl0dVN0NVFHQT09

A couple of reminders:

  • With the uptick in COVID cases, as well as cold and flu season upon us, please be extra mindful not to send your child to school if he/she is not feeling well. We will work with you to ensure your child is not missing schoolwork. Absences will be excused.
  • With the cooler weather and increased use of our outdoor spaces due to COVID, please remember to dress your child in warm clothes.

Have a great weekend!

All the best,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday of the year! This has always been the time when my family simply spends time together enjoying each other’s company, telling stories, cooking, laughing and eating way too much. Although this year might look a bit different due to COVID, I am looking forward to being still and reflecting on all the things I have to be thankful for. One of those reflective moments will surely be my gratitude for being a part of this amazing organization!

I know we’re all excited for some well-deserved rest and family-time during Thanksgiving Break next week! Please remember that Monday (11/23) and Tuesday (11/24) are make-up days for Elementary from pushing their start date back, so only Elementary students will have school those two days.

This week, we had two class closures due to individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, with one being an extended closure due to a second person in that class who began to exhibit symptoms. We are thrilled to announce that as of today, we have received negative COVID test results for everyone who was exhibiting symptoms in these classes! The impacted families have been notified and students will be able to return for in-person instruction.

Parents, please remember that late arrivals to school must park and walk your child to the front office for their health screening. Please do not move the carpool cones once in place or walk your child to their cottage.

I’d like to provide some clarification for when our families and staff head to the doctor if experiencing COVID-like symptoms. If a doctor can provide an alternative diagnosis and clearance to return to school, we will need their note to reflect the following:
  • The patient has a diagnosis of X, Y or Z;
  • COVID-19 has been ruled out; and
  • The patient is cleared to return to school/work.
Please be aware that calls and emails to staff after hours (5:00pm) may not be responded to until the following school day. If you are in need of a response prior to the start of school the next day, please call the office as early as 6:30am at extension 1114, and someone will be available to address your question or concern.

Our campus will be undergoing a professional fogging on Friday, November 27. The non-toxic spray used is effective in eradicating COVID-19 and other viruses from surfaces for up to 90 days and is a separate treatment from the electrostatic sprayers used during the week by our maintenance team. For more information on our cleaning procedures, visit www.parishschool.org/covid19.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Cheval Bryant,
Head of School
Dear Parish Community,

We just wrapped up a very busy day and week at The Parish School and The Carruth Center! Our gardens are looking more beautiful than ever, thanks to the Parish grandparents who spent some time this morning gardening with their grandchildren. I also had the pleasure of unveiling the new name of our circle drive this afternoon. The next time you visit campus, you’ll be welcomed to “Elyse Presley Blvd!”

At the beginning of the week, we closed one class due to an individual experiencing COVID-like symptoms. We were able to re-open that class with an alternative diagnosis from a doctor, which met our return to school guidelines.

To help plan for socially distanced student get-togethers, here’s a few ideas for virtual children’s parties:

As we move into the season of giving, I’d like to let you know that teacher gifts will be allowed but they must be dropped off at the front office first. Please label any teacher gifts with their name and we will ensure they make it to our staff member.

On Monday, we look forward to having 20 goats on campus! Our librarian, Jill Wood, has been in contact with the people of Rent-a-Ruminant, who have generously volunteered to construct a fence and bring their goats to Parish. The goats will allow us to clear poison ivy and other brush from our students’ preferred outdoor library space without use of chemicals, and also gives students the opportunity to witness some creative problem-solving. Look out for some cute pictures of students with goats coming soon!

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

Happy Friday, everyone!

First, I would like to thank everyone for your hard work as we continue to navigate our “new normal.” This goes out to our parents, students, staff, board members and ESPECIALLY our teachers! I know so much of this is difficult, but I am proud of the patience and flexibility being shown in transitioning and modifying lessons between in-person and remote learning. You are all making the best of a difficult situation and for that, I thank you!

To update you on class closures this week, we are pleased to announce that last night, we received a negative COVID test result for the individual who was experiencing COVID-like symptoms in the class that closed on Wednesday. That class was notified and resumed in-person instruction today. Unfortunately, we did close a different class this morning due to an individual experiencing credible symptoms of COVID-19. Families in that class have been notified and are transitioning to remote learning. We will update the community once their COVID test results are available.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the virtual Open Board Meeting last night. In case you missed it, the video recording is now posted on the Parish YouTube station to view at any time.

One item of note from last night that we are thrilled to announce is the board’s approval to break ground on Oak Creek Exploration Zone! This project is fully funded by donations made to the Margaret Noecker Nature Center, and will turn the current preschool playground, which is in need of major repairs, into an outdoor learning environment for our 4- to 6-year-olds. Construction will likely begin in late December or early January. More details will be shared as we work through plans with contractors.

As we approach the holidays, I know we’re all excited to share in the joys of the season. With so much taking place over the past year, we could all use this extra bit of pick-me-up! However, please remember our COVID policy on treats when planning for class parties and birthday celebrations. For families wishing to provide a treat or food item for the class, please first contact the classroom teacher, who will get approval of that item. At this time, only factory sealed individually packaged foods are permitted. In addition, party favors are not allowed. Of course, we hope to eventually reduce restrictions on this as well as other COVID policies, but with cases continuing to trend upward in our community, it is all to help keep our community as safe and healthy as possible.

Here’s a list of events to look forward to in the week ahead:
  • Q&A Session on Mental Health and Medication with Dr. Alain Katic: Held on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7:30pm via Zoom. Bring your questions for this open dialogue where Dr. Katic discusses medications that are commonly used to treat ADHD, anxiety and mood symptoms in children. Please register to attend using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlfuytrzojHdHTUZsyN-mLmP_8tzLzIFDm
  • Grandparents’ Gardening Group: Held Friday, Nov. 13 at 7:50am (Elementary) and 11:15am (Early Childhood). Grandparents are invited to spend some time gardening on campus with their Parish grandchild! RSVP for a grandparent to attend at www.parishschool.org/gardengroup-nov
Have a great weekend!
Cheval

October 30, 2020

Dear Parish Community,

As we have just wrapped up Fall conferences, I would like to congratulate all teachers for their hard work in preparing and thank all of our parents for contributing to students’ educational success! Due to COVID-19, we were unable to run conferences in our usual method, so turned to Zoom instead. While this is the first time conferences were held virtually, it was an overall great success!

I am so glad we were able to continue our campus trick-or-treating tradition this week, even if it did look a little different. It’s always so much fun to see the adorable and spooky costumes that students pick for Halloween!

Here are a couple of events to look forward to in the week ahead:


We will be welcoming back the class that closed due to a confirmed COVID-19 case. The class is set to re-open on Tuesday, Nov. 3, following a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. We are still awaiting COVID-19 test results that will allow those impacted by the October 28 and 29 announcements to return to campus.

While we understand the importance of spending time with family and friends, I ask that you carefully consider the impact any off-campus social behavior may have on the greater Parish community. Our goal is to remain open for face-to-face learning for as many students as possible and for as many days as possible. Also, please be aware that when we learn that a student has potentially been exposed to COVID-19, they are escorted to our COVID waiting room where they are provided entertainment and supervision until a parent is able to pick them up. To reduce the amount of time your child is in this space, we kindly ask that you please plan to arrive within an hour of our call to pick your student up from school.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns and thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Please have a happy and safe Halloween!

Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

Even with as many precautions as we have been taking, we anticipated this time would eventually come. This week, an individual in our school tested positive for COVID-19. While we must protect their privacy, we believe it is best to communicate transparently with you.

Once made aware that they had been in contact with a positive case of COVID-19, this individual left school and was immediately tested. At that time, their class was restricted to only their room and could not be pulled for therapies for the remainder of that day. We were fortunate in that the individual received their test results within a few hours. As soon as we were notified, we contacted public health officials and began following our procedures, which are recommended by the CDC and Health and Human Services.

Please know that our team is on top of this situation and has taken every step as recommended by authorities to contain the spread. The impacted class has been closed for a 14-day mandatory quarantine period, and the entire Laurel Oak cottage has been deep cleaned and thoroughly sanitized.

Additionally, we are still awaiting test results that will allow the three classes that closed on Wednesday to re-open. As mentioned previously, while they share the same cottage, these are unrelated to the confirmed positive COVID case.

We will continue to provide you with periodic updates with as much information as we can. As always, if you or someone in your household exhibits COVID-19 related symptoms, please notify Angela Burris, school nurse, at aburris@parishschool.org, so we may track any potential outbreaks within our community.

On behalf of the entire Parish team, I want to thank each of you for your continued patience and understanding. It means so much to us.

In preparation for the week ahead, please note the following events:
  • Halloween at Parish: Held on Wednesday, Oct. 28, students and staff are invited to wear costumes for trick-or-treating on campus. Please see the guidelines sent from your teachers.
  • Elementary Fall Conferences: Held on Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30 via Zoom meeting. Teachers are reaching out to schedule these meetings. There is no school for Elementary students on those days.
  • Poinsettia Fundraiser: Orders are due Friday, Oct. 30 and are submitted online at bidpal.net/parishpoinsettias. The student with the most poinsettia sales receives a free spirit shirt!

Be well,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

Happy Friday! Please mark your calendars for some very important events at The Parish School!

Picture Days take place Monday-Wednesday next week. Please visit www.parishschool.org/school-calendar for your child’s official picture day. Students do not have to wear school uniforms for their photos.

Early Childhood’s fall conferences will be held Thursday, Oct. 22 and Friday, Oct. 23 via Zoom. Teachers are reaching out to schedule these meetings. There is no school for Early Childhood these days (except the Armadillos and Caterpillars, who will meet as usual).

As you know, we had several class closures due to suspected COVID-19 cases. All classes were able to re-open with negative results, but the 6-day closure of three classes was particularly difficult, leading us to take a hard look at our policies. After consulting with legal and health officials, and speaking with other area independent schools, the COVID task force was reaffirmed that our current policies and precautions are working well at keeping our community as safe as possible, as we have still not had a positive case of COVID-19 in our community. Our administrators will, however, be stepping up the amount of communications with the classes experiencing a closure, to try to ease some of the stress from not knowing when to return to campus.

As hard as it is, I do ask for families and staff to remain patient. When a class must close and pivot to distance learning, please plan for the closure to take the 14-day quarantine period – anything less than that would be considered a bonus. For those experiencing a closure, a communication will be sent by 7pm if there is a change from remote to in-person, otherwise, remote learning will continue.

As for COVID tests, we are only accepting Real-time PCR test results, and not the rapid test. We’ve had a lot of requests for a list of testing sites with quick turnarounds. As much as we’d like to provide this, we have done significant research and found that all sites/labs to be comparable in the time they take to return results. We also found that the timing of receiving test results is not dependent on where you go, but rather, on which lab the site sends that test to and how busy the lab is, which can vary from day to day. In fact, the same lab handled the test results we received this week – one took 8 days for results and the other took 2 days!

I know that a class closure is extremely difficult on our families and teaching teams, but please be patient and know that this is all to ensure the overall health and wellness of our school community, and to contain any potential outbreak on campus.

In other news, I am happy to announce that we have filled the Elementary Reading Specialist position. Kelsan Landry, M.Ed. is joining our team in this role that provides supplemental reading intervention for our elementary students. Kelsan has been an educator in various settings – including both public and private schools – for more than 19 years. She has completed the Neuhaus Certified Academic Language Practitioner coursework and is currently working toward becoming a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) as well as an Educational Diagnostician. The search committee of five Parish staff members unanimously selected Kelsan to join the team due to her stellar credentials and caring demeanor, and we look forward to her starting with us the week of October 26.

Please enjoy your weekend and this much cooler weather that has rolled in!

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

As we begin to settle into the cooler fall weather, I hope you are also feeling a bit more settled into the school year. Although this year looks a little different for all of our students, I am so impressed with their resiliency each day. Everyone is doing so great with showing flexibility, wearing masks, following screening procedures, utilizing technology and so much more.

As you know, we closed four classes this week with one able to reopen so far. We will alert the community as soon as we receive the results needed to reopen the additional three classes. Please know that due to our commitment to the privacy of those involved, we are unable to provide more specific details on our class closures, but I thank you for continuing to trust our process and the measures taken to help keep our community safe.

We hope you’re able to join us on campus tomorrow morning for Fall Family Garden Day. The time spent by our families and staff working in the gardens truly has an immense impact on the beauty of our campus, and I am so grateful to those who choose to help us in this way! If you’d like to join, please RSVP and our event team will reserve a socially distanced spot for your family to work in. Unfortunately, if your class is currently experiencing a closure, your student will be unable to attend the Garden Day event. www.parishschool.org/fall-gardenday

Conferences are coming up later this month and are taking place via Zoom. Your teachers will be reaching out to schedule these with you and will be sending the link to join the online meeting. Limited virtual parent observations will also take place after conferences. You will be able to sign up for a 1-hour timeslot to observe your child’s class via our 360° cameras. Please contact Nancy Mosley, Administrative Manager, if you would like to schedule this.

As a reminder, Monday, October 12 is the Columbus Day holiday for Early Childhood students and staff. For Elementary, it is a school make-up day from pushing their start date back, so only Elementary students will have school on Monday.

I also ask you to join me in offering well wishes to a long-time member of the Parish team, Libby Hall, who resigned this week after 15 years of valued service with our organization. Libby is now needed at home to support the virtual learning of her own children, as well as to be available to support the care of her parents.

“This transition was not my plan, but I feel I am being shifted in a different direction – to actually focus on being mom and daughter,” Libby said.

Since we cannot gather together to celebrate Libby in person, please join me in celebrating her time here at Parish by emailing well wishes, thoughts, funny stories, etc. to Holly Wilbourn, Director of Advancement, at hwilbourn@parishschool.org by Friday, October 23. Additionally, if your child has a card that they’d like to send Libby, feel free to send it to school in their Good News Book. We will be gathering these messages to present to Libby.

Please enjoy your weekend!

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

Happy Friday! This week has been amazingly beautiful on campus with the change in the weather and seeing the students get outside more frequently. It’s hard to believe we are already in October. Although we were all apprehensive about returning to school, I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the way things are going so far!

Both virtual and concurrent learners seem happy to be at school. They are learning academic content as well as lots of life lessons about flexibility and resilience; and they are enjoying interacting with their peers. Our students are experiencing the Parish magic even in the midst of a pandemic!

As you know, we did have a couple of classroom closures this week; however, we still have not had any confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in our community! I truly appreciate all of our faculty, staff, students, and parents for being so vigilant about following our precautions, policies and procedures. If your child is age 10 or older, please remember to send them to school wearing a face mask. To stay abreast of our most updated COVID precautions, please visit our website. www.parishschool.org/covid19

We had a very successful UnLuncheon yesterday! Thank you to all who tuned in! If you missed it, Michael Hold and Jennifer Campo, two current parents, shared their Parish story and gave very sweet testimonials on behalf of our school. Keynote speaker, Ellen Dodge also gave a brilliant presentation on how we as parents and caregivers can help children manage and express their emotions. Between event sponsorships, ticket sales and an additional extremely generous donation, the UnLuncheon has now raised $133,000 in support of our school and financial assistance fund – a record for our Luncheon events and an amazing way to wrap up this week!

Next Friday, October 9, is a teacher workday for Early Childhood Educators. There will be no school for Early Childhood students.

Enjoy the wonderful fall weather this weekend!

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

We made it through another stormy week. Hopefully, none of you were significantly impacted by Tropical Storm Beta; and hopefully, Tuesday will be the last instructional day we lose to hurricane season. Even with the disruptions and differences, students have settled in nicely this school year.

Once again, I am thrilled to announce that we had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the school or clinic, and all classes remained open to face-to-face learning this week. The COVID-19 task force continues to meet frequently to review changes to CDC guidance and how that might impact our policies and procedures. Thank you for your continued cooperation with the measures we have in place to keep our community safe!

MAP testing for elementary students has gone smoothly over the last two weeks and wrapped up today for face-to-face learners. Testing for concurrent learners will be completed next week. Parents, thank you for your very important role in supporting students during their testing window.

We hope you’ll join us online for the Giving Voice to Children UnLuncheon next Thursday, October 1 at 11:30am. Our keynote speaker, Ellen Dodge, will share timely advice on how to help our children understand and communicate their feelings. You don’t want to miss it! Tickets are available at https://givebutter.com/parishluncheon.

As a reminder, next Friday, October 2, is an elementary teacher workday and there is no school for elementary students that day.

I am so grateful for the Parish community and the partnership of the faculty, staff, therapists, parents, and students in creating positive learning experiences this year!

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

It’s nice to wrap up another busy, successful week here at The Parish School and The Carruth Center. Today’s weather was absolutely beautiful and there was a lot of great outdoor learning all around our beautiful campus.

We opened our doors to students on August 18. As of today, we have one month under our belt with no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in our community! I truly appreciate all of our faculty, staff, students, and parents for being so vigilant about following our precautions, policies, and procedures. To stay abreast of our most updated COVID precautions, please visit our website at www.parishschool.org/covid19.

Our primary elementary students completed their Measuring Academic Progress (MAP) testing this week, and lower and upper elementary students will be tested next week. Parents, you do not need to do anything special to prepare your student for this testing. Teachers have already been preparing them by using social stories and practice activities. All we need from you is to ensure that your child gets a good nights’ sleep and that they have a good breakfast each morning. If your child is one of our concurrent learners, please arrive at your designated testing time and be prepared to separate from your child during the testing session. We will take all necessary precautions during their one-on-one testing environment.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns and thank you for your continued patience and understanding. We look forward to next week.

Enjoy your weekend!
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

We had another great week of learning! Students are starting to settle into their school routine and learn classroom expectations very nicely. Within the next of couple weeks, academic expectations in the elementary program will ramp up significantly as we get through beginning of the year assessments and MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) Testing. Once completed, we will form academic groups for reading and math in order to differentiate instruction for students’ specific needs.

Hopefully, you all learned a lot during our curriculum nights this week. I know it was a lot of information to process, but please feel free to reach out to your child’s instructional team and/or school administration with any questions you have now or in the future.

Face-to-face instruction is going very well and faculty, staff and students are doing a great job of consistently following the COVID precautions. We also saw a significant improvement with our concurrent learning platform after making several adjustments to technology and classroom management. I appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to take each day as it comes and adjust based on real-time scenarios and feedback from all stakeholders. As educators, we are so accustomed to planning and being prepared. It is difficult for us to realize that even with all of our planning, it was impossible to anticipate all the challenges we are facing. With that being said, I see the instructional teams’ passion and dedication to doing their best work for our students every day.

More and more students are beginning to return to the face-to-face environment, and we are so excited about that! As a reminder from my communication last week, please give us at least one week to prepare for your child’s return. This applies to elementary students only, as early childhood does not require the same amount of preparation time. We believe one week is very reasonable, as most schools and districts are requiring a 6-9-week commitment to a chosen learning platform. We also ask that you give us the same one-week window of time if you would like your elementary child to move from face-to-face instruction to concurrent learning. The only exception is if your child must be out due to a COVID-related reason. In that case, your child would be allowed to switch to concurrent learning immediately. However, please be patient with the teacher in getting the student set up on that platform with their needed materials.

As you know, we were advised by the health department to suspend face-to-face instruction for one of our elementary classes yesterday. I am thrilled to announce that we have received a negative COVID test result for the individual who was experiencing symptoms, and face-to-face instruction for that class will resume on Monday! I realize that a class closure is very inconvenient for many families; however, I hope you understand that this will likely be required at times throughout the school year in order to keep our community safe.

Enjoy your weekend! I can’t wait to continue the journey next week.

All the best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,

After two smooth days last week, Hurricane Laura interrupted our progress a bit; but thankfully, we were not directly impacted. However, many of our Parish extended families were impacted, and our thoughts and prayers are with them as they continue to recover.

Our first full week for elementary and second full week for early childhood went exceptionally well. Students are starting to learn classroom routines and expectations, and they are having such a great time being back on campus with their teachers and peers. I am thrilled to announce that we had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 and all classes remain open to face to face learning! We have updated our morning screening process, which will be implemented starting on Tuesday. More updates to our COVID-19 procedures/precautions can be found on our website.

Also, since opening our clinic doors on May 8, The Carruth Center has had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19! Our COVID-19 task force, as well as all faculty and staff have been vigilant about implementing our safety policies and procedures, and it is paying off.

Face to face instruction is looking great! Students are adapting nicely to all of the COVID-19 expectations. Particularly in our elementary program, the students are now accustomed to wearing at least one layer of protection during the school day and washing their hands frequently. In fact, the majority of our younger elementary students are wearing their masks throughout the school day even though it is not mandatory for them. If your child wears a mask, whether required or not, please ensure that their mask is on and they are ready to exit the vehicle before pulling forward to be screened during morning carpool. This is essential for making our carpool process run efficiently. Thank you, parents, for encouraging mask wearing and practicing with your children at home.

In the elementary program, concurrent learning is going better for some students than for others, but we are seeing improvements each day. Most of the challenges with concurrent learning have been due to internet and technology issues, and we are working through those issues with our IT consultant today. As a reminder, concurrent/remote learning is still very new for all of us, and teachers and students are working hard to adapt to this new and likely ongoing platform of teaching and learning. Regardless of the learning platform, our educational philosophy remains the same. We are here to support all of our students’ needs as well as to support you as parents. Please do not hesitate to provide feedback about your remote learning experience and let us know how we can support you and your child. Going forward, we would like to ask that you give us at least one week’s notice if you would like to switch from face to face to concurrent/adaptable learning or vice-versa to allow the instructional teams ample time to be better prepared for that change.

Also, due to the later start for elementary students and the missed school days last week, the school calendar will be updated to make up lost instructional days. In addition, MAP testing and conferences for elementary only have been moved back two weeks. Please be sure to refer to the most recent calendar for instructional days and other important dates.

I truly appreciate your patience as we continue to learn and grow in this process! Please enjoy your extended weekend.

All the best,
Cheval

Dear Parish Community,

We did it! We successfully reopened our doors to students this week and it was an amazing success. Our early childhood students graced our campus with their beautiful smiles and laughter on Tuesday and I truly enjoyed watching them learn and play all week. Thank you, parents, for following the carpool procedures so well. On day one, carpool ran into the school day by about 8 minutes; but we were able to shave those minutes off very quickly and we are moving through the carpool process efficiently already!

Our COVID-19 procedures are being implemented as planned, and we had no COVID-19 related incidents this week!

On Monday, we are welcoming our elementary students back to campus. We're eager to have all of our students back (whether in person or virtually). Our early childhood teachers made the transition back to school look seamless, and I know we will see that same level of excellence with our elementary teachers on Monday.

Parents, our teachers have worked very hard over the last few weeks preparing for our students’ return. As you might expect, their anxieties are high during these uncertain and very different circumstances. We recognize that many of you are anxious about what this school year will bring. As always, teachers will do their very best to support you as we begin the year, and I am also here to answer any questions you may have. I ask that you remain flexible as we continue to learn and adjust almost daily.

Also, please continue to be patient with our teachers. We all need grace to make mistakes during this time, because we are often making plans and decisions with limited and changing information. In addition, as much as I am committed to ensuring the safest possible environment for our students and staff, I am also committed to supporting our teachers’ needs for self-care. As a reminder, the expectation for teacher responsiveness to e-mails and/or phone calls is within 24 hours. Please allow teachers their evenings and weekends to be with their families and recharge mentally and physically so they can give their very best to our students each and every day.

With week one under our belt, I am feeling even more encouraged by our ability to navigate this school year with a solid plan in place. Even with the challenges ahead of us, I expect this year to be filled with great moments!

All the best,
Cheval

Dear Parish Families,

It was such a treat to see you and your beautiful children on campus today for Meet the Teacher 2020! It was clear to me that students are just as excited as we are about the start of the school year. My hope is that the students were able to make an initial connection with their instructional team and their learning environment. Whether you have chosen the face-to-face option or the concurrent/adaptable learning option to start the year, it’s important that your child has the opportunity to have an initial meeting with their teacher prior to the first day of school. If you were not able to make it to Meet the Teacher today, please contact your child’s teacher to schedule a brief virtual meeting.

On Friday, we had nearly 70 parents join us for our virtual Q&A! Thank you for the rich conversation, feedback and input. If you didn’t have a chance to join us, you can view the recording here.

I truly appreciate your level of engagement and your patience as we continue to learn, while monitoring the pandemic environment on a daily basis. Due to ever-changing information, including input from all stakeholders in our community, our plans may continue to evolve. I left Friday’s Q&A with three topics that I felt needed further exploration and clarification.

Acceptable COVID Test: As stated in our COVID-19 precautions, individuals who have been diagnosed or have displayed symptoms of COVID-19 may return to school when: they have been fever free without the use of fever-reducing medication for 24 hours, after respiratory and COVID-19 symptoms have resolved, AND at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared; OR the individual has received a negative COVID-19 test result OR the individual has a doctor’s release form. It’s important to note that we will not accept an antibody test or a rapid test as an acceptable result for returning to campus.

Arts and Sciences Plan: Whenever weather permits, Arts and Sciences classes will be held once per week outside with facial coverings and social distancing measures in place. We have set up canopies/tents and fans to make the environment as comfortable as possible. When weather does not permit outdoor learning, these classes will be taught virtually while students are in their classrooms. With this model of delivering Arts and Sciences, students will not be in direct contact with these teachers and there will be no cross-contamination of classes, thus maintaining the integrity of our commitment of no intermingling of classes.

Communications Plan: If there is a COVID case in a classroom or if an individual is experiencing COVID-like symptoms, we will immediately notify the impacted families and staff members. The impacted class will close and transition to distance learning. The greater Parish community will be notified shortly thereafter, whether their class has been directly impacted or not. The impacted class will later be notified when they may return to school.

As always, the Parish leadership team is here to assist you with any questions and/or concerns you may have. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time. Remember, we are walking with you through this uncertainty. Let’s have a great school year despite these challenges!

Best,
Cheval
Dear Parish Community,
At the end of last week, Harris County officials ordered area public and non-religious private schools closed to face-to-face learning until Sept. 8, 2020. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a guidance letter this afternoon stating that local health authorities may not preemptively close any private school (religious or non-religious) due to threat of virus spread and gives private schools the right to decide whether to open or close. Following this guidance, The Parish School will open our doors to face-to-face learning in August with the following modification:
  • Elementary: We will be pushing back the Elementary start date to Monday, August 24 to allow teachers more time to develop their remote learning plans. The four lost days will be made up during the school year. The calendar will be updated and shared as soon as possible.
  • Early Childhood: Will begin on Tuesday, August 18 as originally planned.
There is no change to Meet the Teacher, which is planned for Monday, August 17.

Remote Learning
A remote learning option will be available to families who are not yet comfortable sending their child back into the face-to-face environment. Also, in the event that we are forced to close the school and transition to remote learning for all students, we will be ready! Although our teachers are still on summer break, we are committed to formulating preliminary plans for a valuable remote learning experience. In the coming weeks, we will provide more details about these two remote learning situations.

Procedures and Policy Changes
Our COVID-19 screening, safety and cleaning protocols have been updated since my last communication and can be found at www.parishschool.org/covid19. These guidelines change often and updates will likely be made between now and the start of school and beyond. The Parish School has created a taskforce of administrators and staff who meet frequently and monitor changes to give our community updated information as adjustments are made based on guidance from the CDC, Health and Human Services Commission and Open Texas.

The Parish School COVID-19 policy changes and/or differences from years past of particular interest are:
  • Drop-Off and Pick-Up Procedures:
  • Click here for the current carpool procedures
  • School Hours:
  • Early Childhood – Emerging Language: M-F 9am-12pm
  • Early Childhood – Preschool and Pre-Primary: M-Th 9am-1pm; Friday 9am-12pm
  • Elementary: M-Th 8am-3:15pm; Friday 8am-12pm
Early Morning and Extended Day
To minimize the risk of exposure and maintain the integrity of our commitment to keep students only with their classmates, we will not be able to offer Early Morning Drop-Off or Extended Day programs for Elementary students. Nor will we be able to offer Early Morning Drop-Off for Early Childhood students. However, Extended Day will be offered for Early Childhood students, as they will be kept in their respective classrooms during that time. Extended Day students must be picked up by 4:30pm Monday-Thursday. There is no Extended Day on Fridays.

Adventure Play
Information on Adventure Play will be sent directly to enrolled families.

Face Masks
As stated previously, students ages 10 and older will be required to wear a face mask upon arrival to school. For classroom use, we will provide face shields for ALL elementary students and they will be encouraged to wear them. These face shields will remain on campus. If your child would prefer to wear a cloth facial covering in class, they can continue wearing the one they brought from home. Elementary students under the age of 10 choosing not to wear a face mask or shield will be required to work at their desk behind a three-panel plexiglass shield. All staff will be required to wear a face covering.

Social Distancing
To minimize and contain potential exposure to the virus, students will be working in their classrooms and not intermingling with students in other classes. Common areas will be closed and all staff who are required to work with multiple classes (e.g., arts and sciences teachers, speech-language pathologists, etc.) will move between classes with proper personal protective equipment, physical distancing and cleaning/disinfecting procedures taking place. Outdoor classes will be encouraged whenever possible and appropriate.

Please take the time to read through the entire COVID-19 procedures webpage, and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Again, we ask for your patience as we continue to monitor this situation and adjust based on constantly changing information. We are all in this together!

Sincerely,
Cheval Bryant
Dear Parish Families and Staff:

The Parish School’s Administration Team is aware of today’s press conference where Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a mandate that all Harris County public schools and non-religious private schools are to remain closed to face-to-face instruction until September 8, 2020. We are currently working to understand all the new details of this mandate and how it impacts our school. As of now, we have not made any changes to our plan sent in the July 6 communication. We will be sending you another update as soon as we can.

We ask for your patience as we continue to monitor this situation and adjust based on constantly changing information. We are all in this together! In the meantime, please stay well. 

Sincerely,
Cheval Bryant
Greetings Parish Families,

I hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as safely possible during this ongoing pandemic environment. Despite the difficult end to the 2019–20 school year, I am very excited about what’s to come during 2020–21. In our elementary program, we are rolling out a new math curriculum and have added two reading specialists to our faculty. For our early childhood program, we’re providing enhanced occupational therapy services for students and Hanen training for parents. Our hope is that you will see an even stronger push toward strengthening students’ pre-academic and academic skills, while continuing to nurture their communication delays and all of their unique needs.

To accommodate the increased academic rigor, our elementary program hours will be slightly extended. School hours for primary, lower and upper elementary levels will be 8:00 AM–3:15 PM. There will be no change to the hours in early childhood.

We are on track for a smooth and successful face-to-face start in August. Our plan is to maintain face-to-face learning with COVID-19 safety measures in place, unless we are mandated to close by state or local officials. Screening, safety and cleaning protocols will be strictly implemented and can be found at parishschool.org/covid19.

In the event we are required to pivot to remote learning, we will be ready! We have spent the summer months learning more about remote learning and planning a much stronger experience. Again, we acknowledge that there is no way to replicate a face-to-face Parish education in a remote learning environment. However, due to the excellence of our instructional teams, we will be able to provide a valuable experience to our students.

The last several months have been tumultuous for us all, and we recognize that many students will enter our doors in August with significant social-emotional needs. As such, we have also spent the summer preparing prescriptive in-service trainings to better prepare our faculty and staff to manage students’ emotions regarding the pandemic, protests and race.

We can’t wait to have them back on campus!

Student forms and the parent handbook acknowledgement are completely digital this year. You should have received an email to complete student forms on the Parish Portal. These forms are required for your child to attend the first day of school and are due no later than Monday, August 3. Additionally, enrollment in optional programming and information on school uniforms and lunch are also located on the Parish Portal. If you have any trouble logging on or accessing forms, please contact portal@parishschool.org.

Teacher assignments will be finalized in late July. We will be sending notification of your child’s teacher no later than August 3.

Please note that The Parish School is closed July 1–31, and The Carruth Center is open with limited services throughout the month of July. Campus officially reopens Monday, August 3.

I am eager to get back to some semblance of normal teaching and learning this fall, and I’m sure our students feel the same way. Just the thought of seeing their smiling faces walking across campus again warms my heart. Looking forward to a great year!

Sincerely,
Cheval