Messages from Mrs. Morrow, Principal
July 6, 2020
Dear Bethany Christian School Families:
I hope this email finds you well, having enjoyed a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. Our office staff has been busy at work preparing for an on-campus start in the fall. We are thankful for our extended team of leaders including staff, teachers, school board, elders, ACSI and other local administrators who have spoken into the process to reopen in August.
We hope you will find the "Reassembling Bethany Christian School" document helpful. It is based on a foundation that most schools are referencing in preparation for the fall. We know, of course, that things could change between now and Wednesday, August 26, our first day with students. We will continue to plan in more detail as the summer progresses but wanted families to see an overview now.
We are confident that Bethany Christian School will be able to pivot as needed to provide for students, and we are looking forward to reassembling this fall.
Peace be yours,
Tara C. Morrow
May 27, 2020
Good Afternoon BCS Families,
We hope you are enjoying this beautiful day. Please find the last week of school schedule below. We are looking forward to seeing you for our last day of school parade on Friday, June 5. Please also find information below regarding our plan for reopening in Fall 2020. Peace Be Yours, Tara C. Morrow Principal 200 W. Bethany Court Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 Office Phone: (805) 497-7072 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."-Joshua 1:9
Last Week of School Schedule (June 1-5, 2020):
MONDAY, JUNE 1: Regular Curriculum Day (Refer to class website)
TUESDAY, JUNE 2: Regular Curriculum Day (Refer to class website)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3: Regular Curriculum Day (Refer to class website) Kindergarten Google Meet Graduation: 9:00-10:00am 6th Grade Culmination: 5:30pm at BCS
M-W, JUNE 1-3: Virtual Variety Show Video Submissions to Bulldogs@bcsto.org All students are invited to participate in our Virtual Variety Show! Students are encouraged to share their gifts (Singing, dancing, martial arts, joke telling, instrument playing, tumbling, and more) with the BCS community! All acts will be screened and then posted on the BCS website. We are excited to share the many talents that God has given our students at BCS! (Videos must be under 3 minutes to be considered.)
THURSDAY, JUNE 4: Virtual Field Day (See separate instructions on the BCS website and have fun!)
FRIDAY, JUNE 5: Last Day of School Parade: Families will drop off borrowed supplies (including library books), pick up personal items, report cards and yearbooks, and wave goodbye to teachers and staff as they drive their cars around the BCS parking lot to the sidewalk in front of the building. (Refer to teacher instructions for specific items to return.)
PARADE SCHEDULE: (Teachers will be present for their grade level time and between 11-12pm) 9am-10am: Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade Families 10am-11am: 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Families 11am-12pm: 6th and 7th Grade Families and Families with Siblings 12pm-1pm: Preschool families (yearbook and Pre-K diploma pick up)
Fall of 2020 (Current Plan):
Our faculty and staff have been encouraged and impressed by how our community pivoted and persevered during this challenging time of quarantine and remote learning for our students. E-learning is not what we would have chosen in the midst of regular circumstances, but we are thankful that BCS students have continued to learn during this time of the stay-at-home order in our state and county.
As you know, the situation with COVID-19 has been ever-changing. Researching new information for the health and safety of community members has been a top priority, which is why we have followed all guidelines and requirements given to us by the Ventura County Public Health Department in conjunction with the CDC. An extensive amount of analysis has continued throughout this process regarding everything from safety protocols to best teaching practices. We will continue to track updated information over the summer and will observe as local preschools and summer camps open to students across Ventura County in the coming weeks.
Since we have currently moved into Phase 3 in Ventura County, we are anticipating reopening for onsite instruction Wednesday, August 26 for all students, preschool through eighth grade. The administrative team, school board members, and elder leadership council have worked together to design a plan that will accommodate all students onsite Monday through Friday with only slight modifications in schedule and physical classrooms. One of our goals is to eliminate as much stress as feasibly possible for students, parents, and teachers. Thanks to the ideas of this team, the school will have the flexibility to utilize rooms in our facility that have typically been reserved for church programming. The school and church leaders want to give students as much consistency on our campus as possible. We feel that having teachers and students on site is best for student achievement and for the spiritual, social, and emotional well-being of our students. Ultimately, we believe this is the best decision for our community and we will take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff. However, if returning to campus is a concern for your family for specific health reasons, please contact us to discuss.
Reopening school will warrant several changes on our campus to keep students and staff healthy and safe. New practices in compliance with CDC and Ventura County Public Health Department guidelines will be followed to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff. Some of these could possibly include: new drop off and pick up procedures, desk and classroom spacing to promote personal space, and increased hand washing and cleaning. With the help of our amazing families, we trust in your extra diligence and precaution to keep students home when ill. We will communicate more specific details of new procedures later this summer, as undoubtedly regulations will change between now and then. Our Safety Task Force will continue to research, track, and implement strategies for our school. We expect that families will help us comply.
No one knows exactly what the future holds, but we are confident that with our excellent team of educators, we will be able to adapt as needed to provide continuous learning opportunities onsite or online for this upcoming season. If we are forced to close for a time this next year, we will take what we learned in the past two and a half months of online teaching and learning and enhance the learning experiences for the students remotely.
Although these past months have posed many challenges for our community, this time has also provided opportunities for teachers and students to think creatively and to innovate, which will help us build dynamic programs for students in the future. Being forced to rethink our approach to all things education will ultimately benefit our students overall. It is my hope that we will be able to not only reflect on this time for its challenges, but also for its blessings of providing family time, reflection, and reliance on God. I continue to be reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not of your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” We continue to pray for all of our families during this time and always. We thank you for your continued support, patience, and flexibility. We will get through this together as a unified community. We look forward to seeing you in the fall.
Resting in Him,
Tara C. Morrow, Principal
May 13, 2020
Dear BCS Families:
We hope you are doing well and that your family remains healthy and safe. We are continuing to pray for your families daily, and we are looking forward to the time that we can be together again onsite in the future.
Please review the following dates for the upcoming schedule:
Friday, May 15: Pupil Free Day
Friday, May 22: Pupil Free Day
Monday, May 25: Memorial Day (No School)
Wednesday, June 3: 6th Grade Culmination
Friday, June 5: Last Day of School
We are proud of our students, parents and teachers for the ways in which they have shifted and continued teaching/learning online during the crisis of COVID-19 this year. Please know that we are working daily to finish this school year strongly in addition to planning for the fall. We know that families are continuing to track, as we are, the fluid situation of the pandemic and are wondering what that will look like for Bethany Christian School in the fall. Our ultimate desire for teaching/learning is to be together onsite, and we intend to move forward toward this goal for the upcoming school year. We are also creating contingency plans in case we are forced to pivot. Health and safety of our community remain paramount in making these decisions.
We have designed several scenarios for the stages for reopening. We have a task force comprised of the Administrative Services Team and Board Members who are utilizing several resources from experts across the country and the world to help us plan ahead. It is premature to lay out the details of each plan at this time, as things continue to change. Know that we will follow all mandated protocols for schools.
In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy times with your children as we continue to teach virtually. I have personally enjoyed joining Google Meets for each class and love seeing your children's faces as often as I can. They are precious. Please continue to join us in prayer for our school community, county, state, country and world. We know that God is in control of our circumstances. As we have all year, we continue to reflect on Joshua 1:9 and ask Him to help us to be strong and courageous, knowing that He has our back.
Peace be yours,
Tara C. Morrow
May 6, 2020
Good evening, BCS Families.
I hope this email finds you healthy and safe. Please find the attached newsletter that includes an article, announcements and as many pictures as will send over email. To see even more pictures, please find a full rendition of the newsletter on our website. Your kids are amazing, we miss them terribly, and we are so happy they have been participating not only in learning online but in the fun activities we've included with spirit weeks as well.
Please pay close attention to the calendar, as we have added two "Pupil Free Days" to help both students and teachers balance work load while eLearning. Had we been on campus this month, we would have had three half days between now and the last day of school and academics would have been broken up by enrichment activities, so this is compromise to help our community with pace as we are nearing the home stretch of the 2019-2020 school year.
We love you. We miss you. We are praying for the day we will be back together in person and onsite at Bethany Christian School. Thank you for all the ways in which you are appreciating our teachers this week. You are a blessing and, happy teacher appreciation week to you too.
Peace be yours,
Tara C. Morrow, Principal
April 8, 2020
Dear BCS Families,
I hope you are enjoying a little break from the rain today and amidst this strange time in our history are able to see God's goodness abound, even in small ways. Even though it has been hard in many ways quarantining at home, I have enjoyed many things I didn't expect. Our family of four typically goes four different directions each day, even though we are paired at two different schools, and I've enjoyed interacting with my kids and husband during the day. Instead of compartmentalizing, our lives have been forced to cross over, and that never would have happened without COVID-19. I have been forcing myself to write in my gratitude journal (yes, I took this on just like I asked the students to do so as well) and each day it is getting easier to express more and more thanks. Thankfulness is a habit and a choice (as is trust, as was the focus of my "Tuesday Morning with Mrs. Morrow") and writing down my thoughts has continued to change my mindset.
I hope you had a chance to watch our online chapel today featuring Bella Cameron, BCS alumni of 2010, worship leader, musical theater actress (Spotlight), and daughter of Kirk and Chelsea Cameron. It is a delight to see how God continues to move in her life and how she so eloquently was able to express that in her video. Thanks to the many families who have been lifting us up in prayer and encouraging the staff at BCS during this time. Know that we pray for you daily. We miss you and your children and are looking forward to the next time we get to see each other in person, even from a distance.
SOCIAL DISTANCE CURB PARADE: Thursday, April 9: We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at our "Social Distance Curb Parade". Please find the schedule divided by grade levels below (this is to help with traffic flow). It's OK if there's a line of cars down the street for a few minutes. Teachers and Staff will be spread out along the perimeter of the parking lot waving and excited to see you. Please follow the arrows (and people) around the lot and STAY IN YOUR CARS.
ACADEMIC UPDATE: Thank you for your patience and encouragement as we have continued to tighten up eLearning. We will continue to do so after Easter Vacation. We have been meeting regularly as a faculty to discuss researched practices moving forward that are best for students at different grades levels. Please see below for some information that we are hoping relieves some stress: We are planning for all BCS students to matriculate to the "next" grade level for fall 2020 if they participate in the BCS eLearning. We continue to track student progress, even from a distance. We realize this looks different in each household and we have been very flexible with our expectations and standards. Thank you for keeping teachers informed of individual family situations as we continue through this learning process. We are looking ahead at the calendar and will POSSIBLY begin the 2020-2021 school year as early as Wednesday, August 26. (Remember, we usually begin school after Labor Day.) This is a tentative date that will be based on the updated health and safety information from the CDC and the Ventura County Public Health department. It will help us gain back some onsite school days so we can assess students and meet them where they are for the next school year. Standby in the next weeks for confirmation.
SERVICE PROJECT: Senior Concerns is still collecting cards for residents who are quarantined and cannot have visitors. Our family dropped off several cards last week which were given to residents with their evening meals. This is a great way to bless the elderly in our community at a place that Bethany Christian School students have served for over a decade. Thank you again to 6th grade student, Colton Meyer, for reaching out to Senior Concerns and setting this in motion.
We pray you are able to take time this weekend to celebrate our risen Savior! Even though churches won't be gathering together physically in our nation this Sunday, there are many online options including Bethany Bible Church and Calvary Community in Westlake Village who have services online. Whatever you decide, we pray your families will take time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that was made for all of us and gives us the opportunity of eternal life with Him! My prayer is that this Sunday will be the most extraordinary and thoughtful resurrection celebration your family has ever experienced.
He is risen!
Tara C. Morrow
April 1, 2020
Dear BCS Families,
I hope this email finds you well. We have been praying specifically for you: for your personal health and safety and that our entire community and world will be healed.
Please read out April Newsletter. It includes articles, pictures, and important information.
We have continued to track the ever-changing information regarding COVID-19 and how it is impacting our community. The Bethany Christian School Board along with the Administrative Team have made the decision to affirm and follow the guidance of state, county and local officials in determining to keep our school site closed and continue the current distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Please know that our School Board, Administrative Team and Teachers will continue to enhance plans for distance learning from home. Although we are mourning the loss of interacting with our students and families in traditional ways onsite, we are dedicated first and foremost to the health and safety of our students and to their continued learning during this time. Know that we will continue to follow fluid information regarding COVID-19 to make the best decisions possible moving forward.
It is a joy working with staff and families who strive to do their best in every situation and who have mutual grace, no matter the challenge. Thank you for your many encouragements as we shifted quickly to eLearning just a few days after closing our school site. We are seeing success in every level of the school with distance learning and are dedicated to giving our best each day. We continue to research best practices for teaching and learning from home. Stay tuned for additional information in the coming days as our school board, administrative team and teachers address the many factors of the closure.
We love you. We love our students. We love Bethany Christian School.
Peace be yours,
Tara C. Morrow, Principal
March 16, 2020
Dear Bethany Christian School Community,
I hope this finds you well. Thank you for your patience over the past several days as information of the Coronavirus has continued to change at a rapid pace. We continue to consult with authorities in the public health arenas as well as tracking information on both state and national levels to make good decisions for our school and our precious students and families. Our main concern has been the health and safety of our community, and we are confident in our decision to begin distance learning this week.
Today, the BCS staff met on site to finalize detailed plans to move to distance learning. It is our goal to smoothly transition into this new “normal” over the next couple of days. You may begin looking at the K-7 class websites (a new tab on our BCS website), if you have not already. We will suggest a few activities that students can try at home today and tomorrow, but they are NOT required. Please see activities, chores and a more detailed schedule below. We realize that distance learning puts more pressure on parents than usual, and we promise to extend grace as we launch online. We ask for the same grace on your end as well, as this level of online teaching is new to us.
PRESCHOOL families can expect:
Weekly check-in phone call from preschool teachers
Email communications every Wednesday from preschool teachers with activities for learning at home
Email communications every Thursday from preschool director with preschool-wide information, updates, and additional "learn from home" options.
ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL families can expect:
Distance Learning Instruction will begin this Wednesday, March 18. (Feel free to peruse websites now to explore and work on the optional activities.) This is a soft launch to learn the routines. Please ask students to do their best, but not to worry about grades this week.
The school day will be 8:30am-2:00pm.
Open the BCS website each morning for a “Mornings with Mrs. Morrow” video to begin your day. I will post around 8:30am.
Lessons and assignments will be posted during these hours only. Students may continue to work on assignments after the school day ends if they wish, but nothing new for the day will be posted after 2:00pm.
Students should always complete core curriculum assignments FIRST. In addition to core curriculum, each website has additional tabs including art, technology, Spanish and PE. Click these tabs for additional ideas for exploration, exercise, and enrichment.
Weekly phone call from teacher.
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES for today/tomorrow:
Write a letter of encouragement to a grandparent or senior in your neighborhood and send it to them in the mail.
Set up a consistent work space for distance learning that includes desk or table top space and school supplies. Take a picture of it and send it to your child’s teacher.
RECOMMENDED CHORES (You’re welcome):
Take out the Trash
Walk the Dog
Set the Table for Dinner
Load/Unload the Dishwasher
Cook Dinner with Mom or Dad
If you are still in need of an iPad or Chrome Book, email Jolene Roeske ASAP!
We are looking forward to connecting with all of you virtually this week. Although we will miss being on campus together, we are excited about connecting through technology! Our teachers have been working triple time (no joke) to plan lessons and activities to continue learning remotely. We continue to pray for God’s hand of protection over our entire community.
Tara C. Morrow