Announcements

  • [Health Updates and COVID FAQs]

    Dear Explore! Families, 

    I am writing to inform you that 2 additional members of our community have tested positive for COVID. They were on the school premises and did have direct exposure with a limited number of other members of our community. We have conducted our contact tracing using the process outlined by the Metro Health Department. We have made contact with the individuals who are considered close contacts to these parties. If you have not had a direct call from a representative from the school, there is no further action for you to take. 


    Fortunately, our mitigation strategies will allow Explore! Community School to remain open during this time. Parents should continue to monitor their child’s health and the health of your entire family for COVID-19 symptoms. Children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, sore throat and cough. When it doubt, sit it out! Stay home if you are unsure and communicate with the front office. 

    Please know the community members were very proactive in reaching out to notify us. As such, we were able to work quickly to notify the close contacts. We will continue to implement our health and safety protocols as outlined for the duration of this school year.

    Rest assured that we are working diligently to keep our community safe. We currently have ~1% of our students as confirmed positive and 5% of all students in quarantine which is better than most schools in Middle Tennessee which empowers us to have stronger continuity in our instructional programming. 

    I know many families had questions about our quarantine and communication processes. 

    Please see the attached document for responses to FAQs about our school’s COVID response.
     

    Have a good weekend!
    Stephanie Ms. JT Jarrett-Thorpe
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • 5-6 Project Based Learning Units

    Hi Families!
     

    I am excited to share with you our 5th grade Project Based Learning Unit, as well as, our very first 6th grade Project Based Learning Unit.

     In the 5th grade unit, Explorers will answer the generative question, “How can we elevate the indigenous stories and voices of history?”
    Explorers will begin the unit by identifying the key differences between elementary school and middle school Project Based Learning Units. In middle school, Explorers will have two Project Based Learning Units. The first unit focuses heavily on Social Studies and the second unit focuses on Explorers’ passions. 
     
    Explorers will dive right into learning about the key geographic features of Tennessee and the first inhabitants of Tennessee. They will study the four cultures of the major indigenous settlements of Tennessee (Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian). Going deeper, Explorers will also study four indigenous tribes of Tennessee and where they inhabited (Chickasaw, Cherokee, Shawnee, and Creek).
    Some key areas of focus will be tracing European exploration to Westward expansion and the significance of the Proclamation Line of 1763, Cumberland Gap, Wilderness Road, and the Watauga settlement, and Trail of Tears.
     
    Once an expert, Explorers will choose a tribe they would like to study more in depth and split into smaller groups. During the initial weeks of working in small groups, Explorers will spend time learning about a specific tribe’s culture.
     
    In the 6th grade unit, Explorers will answer the generative question, “What is the importance and role of biodiversity in our world? How can we work together to preserve Earth’s biodiversity?”
     
    Explorers will begin the unit by identifying the key differences between elementary school and middle school Project Based Learning Units. In middle school, Explorers will have two Project Based Learning Units. The first unit heavily focuses on Science and the second unit focuses on Explorers’ passions.
     
    Using the Engineering Design Process, Explorers will study what an ecosystem is and why maintaining a biodiverse ecosystem is important. We will study the five primary drivers of biodiversity degradation, pollution, climate change, invasive species, habitat change, and overexploitation of resources. Explorers will also research who is doing advocacy work aligned with preserving Earth’s biodiversity, and what that work looks like on a local and international level.  
     
    In both the 5th and 6th grade units, our learning will culminate with an exciting exhibition of learning! We can’t wait to get started with this Explorations unit! 

    Warmly,
    Ms. Hunter
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Learning while at home - What to do in case of Quarantine!

    Good Afternoon Explore Families, 

    Thank you for your partnership this week as we navigate these challenging times! Your curiosity and compassion are inspiring. We are the luckiest to serve this community. As we move forward through this year it may be necessary for different students and families to quarantine. We want to ensure that everyone experiences continuous learning when at all possible. 

    Attached to this email you will find the quarantine learning guide. Please take a moment to reset your Explorer's email and accept the invitation to your teacher's Google Classroom. Completing these two steps will ensure that your child can access all learning materials they may miss while in quarantine! Materials moving forward will be posted on Monday to be completed by Friday. 

    Please ensure that you are connecting with the main office and NOT your child's teacher if you are waiting to be tested, in quarantine, or have tested positive. The front office will also be able to track families who are unable to access Google Classroom during their quarantine time. 

    The main office will direct quarantined students to learning packets on google classroom. These are not for students who are absent or out for other reasons. Students not in quarantine will work with the teacher to make up missed work. Quarantined work on google classroom is for extended absences only. 

    Thank you again for your partnership! Remember that together all hearts and minds will rise! 

    With love, 

    Explore! Leadership 

    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • [School Health Updates]

    Dear Explore! Families, 

    I am writing to inform you that 2 additional members of our community have tested positive for COVID. They were on the school premises and did have direct exposure with a limited number of other members of our community. We have conducted our contact tracing using the process outlined by the Metro Health Department. We have made contact with the individuals who are considered close contacts to these parties. If you have not had a direct call from a representative from the school, there is no further action for you to take. 

     Fortunately, our mitigation strategies will allow Explore! Community School to remain open during this time. Parents should continue to monitor their child’s health and the health of your entire family for COVID-19 symptoms. Children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, sore throat and cough. When it doubt, sit it out! Stay home if you are unsure and communicate with the front office. 

    Please know the community members were very proactive in reaching out to notify us. As such, we were able to work quickly to notify the close contacts. We will continue to implement our health and safety protocols as outlined for the duration of this school year.
    Some families have asked for more details about our mitigation plan. Please see the list of proactive strategies we will use to keep our school safe. 
    1. Universal masking.
    2. Daily Temp Checks for all.
    3. Staff Self Screener.
    4. Accountability Log for staff tracking.
    5. Hand Washing/Sanitizing when moving through spaces in the building.
    6. Frequent Building Cleaning.
    7. Nightly sanitation.
    8. Frequent cleaning in the cafeteria and other shared spaces.
    9. Spot cleaning of high-touch surfaces (door handles, stair rails, etc.).
    10. Assigned Seating.
    11. Symptom Look-Fors Guidance for Staff.
     
     
    How you can help!
    1. Read Bloomz regularly for updates.
    2. Ensure we have a current phone number and emergency contact information on file at the front desk! If not, please complete the following. https://forms.gle/pBEAP9YNn1geRcEo7
    3. Donate kids-sized masks to Explore! 
    4. Donate a new plastic water bottle so that all Explorers can have a water bottle and not use the water fountain (we will be ordering some as well)
     
    We are showing community and craftsmanship each day! Thank you all for your support and cooperation during these dynamic times. 
     
    In partnership,
    Stephanie “ Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe, Executive Principal
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • [Community Health Update]

    Dear Explore! Families,
     
    I am writing to inform you that 2 individuals have tested positive for COVID. They were on the school premises and did have direct exposure with a limited number of other members of our community. We have conducted our contact tracing using the process outlined by the Metro Health Department. We have made contact with the individuals who are considered close contacts to these parties. If you have not had a direct call from a representative from the school, there is no further action for you to take. 

    Fortunately, our mitigation strategies will allow Explore! Community School to remain open during this time. In general, parents should continue to monitor their child’s health and the health of your entire family for COVID-19 symptoms. Please see the family screening questions attached below to monitor for these symptoms. Children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. When it doubt, sit it out! Stay home if you are unsure and communicate with the front office. 
    Please know the community members were very proactive in reaching out to notify us. As such, we were able to work quickly to notify the close contacts. We will continue to implement our health and safety protocols as outlined for the duration of this school year.

    Here are a few other reminders for families about ways you can help:
    Household Contact: Please remember that if a member of your household test positive for COVID, then the household members also need to quarantine. Household members are considered close contacts so siblings or other family members need to remain at home. This is also true if an older sibling or household member tests positive, please keep the children at home until 10 days and a negative test.
    Water Bottles: Explorers are not able to use the spigot portion of the water fountain for germs during the Pandemic. Please send Explorers with a water bottle. We have filling stations at the water fountain which are more hygienic. Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you need help with a water bottle
    Testing Sites: Some families have been seeking testing and having a hard time finding places to test. The CVS on Murfreesboro Rd in Antioch had some times as did Walgreens on Murfreesboro Road near the Dollar General Market. 
     
    Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to our community safety.
     
    Sincerely,
    Stephanie “Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • K-4 Project-Based Learning

    Dear Families! 

    We are so excited to share with you our first Project-Based Learning Unit for K-4 learners: Homes around the World. In this unit Explorers will work to answer the generative question, “How can we support the access and protection of the right to a home for both people and animals?” 
     
    In this unit Explorers will learn about what a home is. They will discover the places where people and animals live. Next they will discover animal habitats around the world. They will build habitats and will explore the threats to animal homes including policies, natural disasters, and human economic pressures. 
     
    We will learn more about the ways that people in our own community are working to preserve and take care of animal habitats and animals that are without a home. Some classrooms will explore animal habitats of classroom pets, building the habitats and learning about what different animals need to survive. 
     
    Having thoroughly investigated animal homes we will move into thinking and learning about the homes that people have around the world. We will discover the ways that we build homes differently to represent the different climates and raw materials in different parts of the world. Explorers will work to answer the question How does climate and geography impact a home's design. They will use the engineer and design process to construct a model home based on a region of the Earth they feel inspired by. 
     
    In the next stage of the unit Explorers will explore what it means to be without a home. They will explore again the reasons why people lose their homes including policies, natural disasters, and economic pressures. We will compare and contrast the similarities with animal homes. 
     
    Explorers will discover individuals who at one point were without a home and who have very successful careers. We will look at stories of hope and will think about organizations in our community that is working to help individuals find homes. We will think about the ways that we can partner with these organizations and raise awareness for both people and animals who are without homes. 
     
    Our learning will culminate with an exciting exhibition of learning! We can’t wait to get started with this Explorations unit! 
     
    Warmly, 
     
    Ms. Talbot 

    Jessica Talbot - Director of Academic Operations and Project-Based Learning

    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Family Bulletin 8/23

    Dear Explore! Families, 
     

    I am writing to inform you that 2 members of our community have tested positive for COVID. They were on the school premises and did have direct exposure with a limited number of other members of our community. We have conducted our contact tracing using the process outlined by the Metro Health Department.. We have made contact with the individuals who are considered close contacts to these parties. If you have not had a direct call from a representative from the school, there is no further action for you to take. 

    Fortunately, our mitigation strategies will allow Explore! Community School to remain open during this time. In general, parents should continue to monitor their child’s health and the health of your entire family for COVID-19 symptoms. Please see the family screening questions attached below to monitor for these symptoms. Children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. When it doubt, sit it out! Stay home if you are unsure and communicate with the front office. 

     Please know the community members were very proactive in reaching out to notify us. As such, we were able to work quickly to notify the close contacts. We will continue to implement our health and safety protocols as outlined for the duration of this school year.

     Here are a few other reminders for families about ways you can help:
    Water Bottles: Explorers are not able to use the spigot portion of the water fountain for germs during the Pandemic. Please send Explorers with a water bottle. We have filling stations at the water fountain which are more hygienic. Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you need help with a water bottle
    Parent Meetings: All parent meetings large and small will be held via Zoom or phone call. In person meetings will be rescheduled for virtual meetings. Please stay tuned for updated invites for planned meetings
    Building Access: Just a reminder that we will be limiting access to the building only to staff/providers, Explorers, and Martha O’Bryan Staff who work in designated areas. We will continue to share updates on the visitation access for the building as things develop.
     
    In partnership,
    Stephanie “ Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe, Executive Principal
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • [Today and Next Week at Explore!]

    Dear Explore! Families,

     
    Can you believe we are at the end of week two! Today is a very special day. It is the school’s 7th birthday!! We were happy to sing Happy Birthday to Explore! In English and Espanol. Thanks to Mr. Rand, Maestra Hernández, Ms. Talbot, and our teachers for coordinating a fun activity for us to celebrate this milestone. 
     
    Here are some updates related to transportation and buses:
    - Remember, Friday dismissal starts at 1:45pm
    - Cleveland Park Boys and Girls club stop has been added to North bus for Fridays
    - We will no longer offer early drop off as of this Friday
    - Bus Route times have been updated. We will share the latest version in a separate post
     
    Explore! Conduct in the Community
    We know that the adjustment to being back at 100% capacity, plus the transportation challenges, have added to the natural stress that many feel as we are coming back to school. We are all members of the community who are governed by our shared core values. There are a few areas where we can show more community and compassion to our school and neighbors. Please read below:
    - We use ALL HANDS ON DECK for dismissal. Staff members have active duty posts to make sure all Explorers are safe and accounted for. - Be kind to our team
    - Sometimes, unexpected things happen. Assume the best and be patient and supportive while we are working through (i.e. a car breaks       down in the line. That happened yesterday!)
    - Use kind words when addressing staff, even with concerns. It would never be okay for a staff member to yell at a family and it is never         okay for a family member to yell at a staff member. Ever. Take a mindful moment and respectfully share your concerns
    - Be kind and patient with each other as well, obey the traffic patterns and show courtesy to other drivers and other Explore! families
    - Please DO NOT block the driveways of neighbors on Dew, 11th and 12th Streets. Please leave that space so they can access their                  driveways
     
    We understand that there are a lot of variables to manage. We are making adjustments to our systems each day based on our observations and your feedback. We want and value your feedback. However, If our team gets reports of inappropriate behavior from a family member to a staff or community member, we will follow up with that family directly as outlined in the Community Conduct portion of our handbook. 
     
    COVID Concerns
    Another topic that has been surfacing is that families are wondering about our response to COVID in schools. I will attach our handbook addendum that outlines our approach that we reviewed at our July orientation sessions. We are still working towards our high fidelity approach with several mitigation strategies in use to prevent the spread of COVID. 
     
    Things you can do:
    - Make sure your Explorer(s) has several masks that fit well over nose and mouth and are comfortable for use throughout the week
    - Donate kids sized masks at school! We give out nearly 80-100 masks a day for students and visitors coming to do business on campus
    - If possible, send your Explorer(s) with a water bottle so they will not use the shared water fountain
    - Notice any new symptoms that your Explorer may have. When in doubt, sit it out! Stay home and communicate with the school
    - If your Explorer or someone in your household has been exposed, please communicate via the Front Office team as soon as possible. This  team is trained to manage the tracking and communication for all things COVID related
     
    So much happening but we are persevering like the Phoenix rising!
     
    This will serve as our bulletin for the upcoming week!
     
     
    Have a great weekend and we will see you all on Monday!
     
     
    Love,
    Stephanie “Ms. JT’ Jarrett-Thorpe
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • [Video to Accompany the Post]

    Good Afternoon,

    Last year, we made some videos so that we could make the communications more clear and details. 

    https://zoom.us/rec/share/uMZlgeqbLgPf-otjWTAThZolMjtwoJu2t17ojUdgg_N3BH3L0_Ol90uf53E_uNQJ.fRmqXMJAGEbq8E7W?startTime=1629474739000

    Please see the video for more details and clarity.


    Thank you,
    Ms. JT

    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Universal Mask Policy

    Dear Explore!

    Families, I want to reinforce that the safety of our entire community is our highest priority. As such, we are going to continue with our current mask policy at Explore! Which is all community members are masked when on campus. This is in accordance with MNPS’s decision announced last night, based on recommendations from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. We continue to implement a variety of mitigation strategies to make the school environment as safe as possible and masking is one that has helped us keep our Explorers consistently at school. We ask for your continued support and cooperation. Please feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions or concerns.

    In partnership,
    Stephanie “Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe

    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Family Bulletin 9/6

    Dear Explore! Families, 


    I hope you all had a pleasant Labor Day weekend and spent some time enjoying the lovely weather. We come back with a four-day week and continue on with our school goals and priorities. 

    This week, we will continue with MAP testing. MAP stands for the Measures of Academic Progress, which a computer-based test that Explorers will take three times a year. The results from this test will give us valuable information on how to meet your Explorer’s specific learning needs. Another way to monitor progress is that on Friday, families can expect the mid-quarter progress report. Progress reports will be sent via student email on Friday. After reviewing, you can set up a time to talk with your Explorers’ teachers and get more specific insight as to their progress thus far. 
     
    We will be sending communications about after-school programming. We will be offering an Explore! After-school program with academic support and activities. We will send a survey later this week, please respond so we can determine interest. It will follow a similar structure as Summer School. Summer school at Explore! went well and students benefited from the extra time in small groups. We feel confident that this extra instruction will be helpful for our Explorers. 
     
    Finally, we thank families for their open communication about any community exposure or positive cases. I ask all families to stay tuned for any symptoms or any communications from loved ones about COVID exposures. There is an existing pattern of an uptick in cases following any major holiday. I ask us all to remain vigilant. When in doubt, sit it out. Our team will continue with our mitigation efforts. We thank you for your ongoing partnership.
     
    Stephanie “Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Classroom Explorers Revealed

    Dear Explore! Families,

     
    Thank you for your partnership in this week’s learning! This week we classrooms continued to establish their unique identities. Students shared their individual interests and experiences. They learned that individuals have the power to rise up and improve our world through an exploration of changemakers and explorers. 
     
    I am very pleased to announce the following classroom identities for this year. 
     
    Kindergarten: 
    Ms. Bohannon and Ms. McGee: The Jane Goodall Room 
    Ms. Knight and Ms. Bennett: The Robby Novak Room 
    Ms. Hawkins and Ms. Raven: The Lebron James Classroom 
     
    First Grade:
    Ms. Risley and Ms. Norris: The Joan Proctor Room
    Ms. Titus and Ms. Guyton: The Michaela DePrince Room
    Ms. Sanders and Ms. Norris: The Gabby Douglas Room
    Ms. Bishop and Ms. Guyton: The Bindi Irwin Room 
     
    Second Grade: 
    Ms. Junod and Ms. Schnaufer: The John Henry Classroom 
    Ms. Kelley and Ms. Schnaufer: The Aretha Franklin Room 
    Ms. Beckham and Ms. Hale: The Wilma Rudolph Room 
    Ms. Brown and Ms. Hale: The Nicholas Lowinger Room 
     
    Third Grade:
    Ms. Ecton and Ms. Kaufman: The Simone Biles Room
    Ms. Spall and Ms. Weinbergl: The Amanda Gorman Room
    Ms. Jasko and Ms. Williams: The Jackie Robinson Room 
     
    Fourth Grade: 
    Mr. Hubrins room: The Michael Jordan Room
    Ms. Graham: The Walt Disney Room
    Ms. Offutt: Ella Fitzgerald Room 
     
     
    Academics: Next week we will finish out our MAP testing for students. Teachers will use this information to help inform instruction and build learning plans for students. 
     
    This week we are sharing a math game that you can play with your students!
     
    K-2 Take a pack of playing cards. Remove the face cards. Draw a card. Ask students what number comes before the number you drew. What number comes after. Each person gets a point when they answer correctly. Pose a challenge by asking the student to sequence or put the numbers in order! For second graders draw a number and ask them to count on or back from the number you drew. 
     
    3-4: The game is played with three players. Take the same deck of cards. Remove the face cards. Deal out all the cards. Two players put a single card on their heads. The referee adds them together mentally and share the number. The first player to name a part or addend wins. Discuss your strategy! 
     
    Social and Emotional Learning: Explorers have been working hard to learn the systems and procedures in classrooms. They are building relationships and forming small communities. This week in reading they explored our core values and discussed ways they can demonstrate them both in person and at home. 
     
    With this strong foundation in place, students will begin to be recognized for showing the core values both throughout the day and at the end of the day closing circle. 
     
    A reminder that school is out tomorrow and Monday. We will resume school on September 7th, 2021. If you have a K-2 student please send extra clothes to be kept at school so that we can ensure we have them in case an accident occurs. 
     
    With Love, 
     
    Ms. Talbot + Ms. Cummings 
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • North & South Bus Routes

    Hi All -

    Happy Wednesday! Attached are the run sheets for our North and South Bus Routes. They reflect our dismissal time of 3:15 pm Monday thru Thursday and 1:45 pm on Fridays. As always if you have any transportation changes please give us a call at the main office by 1:30 pm Monday thru Thursday and by 12 pm on Fridays. This helps tremendously to make sure we have your Explorers in the right location at the end of the day. 

     

    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • PLEASE READ: [Transportation and Dismissal Adjustments]

    Dear Explore! Families,

     
    I am writing with updates about our bus transportation and general dismissal adjustments. Our team is working to secure alternative transportation and drivers. The issue is that there is widespread shortage of bus drivers already AND the impact of COVID. A compounded issue. I will email again by the end of the week with updated options heading into next week. 
     
    I commend our community for immediately figuring out ways to help. Our FAC members and other families offered to carpool and reached out to ensure Explorers are safe and that families have options. We thank you all for your service to our community!

    As a result of this ongoing situation, we are going to shift our dismissal to 2:45pm for the rest of the week in order to extend our dismissal window to 2:45-3:30pm to accommodate the increased car volume. If you can come earlier, please do. If you can't, the normal dismissal window is still a vailable. 
     
    Please see the shifts below:
    Today
    - Any bus riding family who needs help getting their Explorer home/to after care from Explore! Please be sure to contact the main office      so we can coordinate the carpool for today. We have about 10 slots available as needed
    - Thank you to families as most have already made other arrangements
    - We are going to get bus passes for families who may need to use public transportation until the bus issue is permanently resolved. We        will provide 1- 7 day pass per student and 1- 7 day adult pass per household. Call the school if you need a bus pass. You will have to sign      for it when picking up
    - We will have to adjust our school hours to allow for a longer dismissal window
    - We are also going to relocate the walker pick-up to reduce the congestion at the front of the school. Today we will have staff directing      parents to the new location which will be at the rear of the school. 
    - Parents who are doing walker pick up should use S 8th Street as another access point (near the Community Health Clinic)
     
     
    Rest of the Week
    - Starting tomorrow, we will have early drop off for BUS RIDING families who need support with AM transportation
    - We will have several Explore! Leaders at school early to receive students starting at 7:00am. We will accept students at the front door        from 7:00-7:30am until the bus issue has been resolved. This also extends our arrival window giving families more flexibility in the             morning 
    - Once the buses are back operational we will phase out the AM drop off
    - Starting August 12, 2021, we will phase our dismissal for the rest of the w eek, starting tomorrow
     
    - 2:45-3:00pm is 4-6 Dismissal
    Any 4-6th graders and siblings will be dismissed first via Car or Walker
     
    - 3:00-3:15pm - K-3 Dismissal 
    K-3 students will be picked up via Car or Walker
     
    We will print a hard copy of this information and circulate it at dismissal as well. Please send me a Bloomz or email if you are able and willing to provide some carpool support. 
     
    I thank you all for your willingness to be flexible and make this very complex situation work. I will continue to share updates as they come, and will provide a look ahead to next week on Friday.
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • [Transportation Updates :-]

    Dear Explore! Families,

     
    I have some updates to share about today’s dismissal and next week. For today, I want to clarify that we are on standard Friday dismissal which is at 1:45pm. Guess what??? Starting Monday, we will be able to run our North and South Bus!! We have added the Boys and Girls club stop to the North route so all of those students are accounted for on the North route. 
     
    We still need solutions for East bus riders, most primarily for those needing to get to Shelby Bottoms for the after school program. We have about 8 students who will need rides. Please send a Bloomz if you are willing to help with carpooling. THANK YOU for all of the tremendous support and flexibility from families as we work through this. 
     
    Today’s Dismissal
    - Dismissal is from 1:45-2:30pm today. We have extended the window again today to allow time for the extra cars
    - Walkers families should come via S 8th Street and pick up from the rear
    - Please bring your placards and/or IDs
     
    Monday
    - North and South buses will run!
    - We will post updated routes and times for families. We don’t expect major changes
    - We will resume our standard arrival and dismissal times
               -Arrival: 7:45am
               -Dismissal: 3:15pm
     
    Again, we give thanks to so many in our community for your kindness, flexibility and willingness to help. However, we did have some members act on our staff in frustration. No staff members deserves to be treated with disrespect or hostility for a situation beyond our control. Our team works with community and compassion and we expect the same for our families. This is a very, very small set of interactions, but they make an impact on the teacher and school. Please be mindful even when frustrated. Take a deep breath, breathe, and repeat. 
     
     
    We can do this! We are doing it! School has been off to a really strong start inside in spite of it all. 
     
     
    Have a lovely weekend and stay cool!
     
    Ms. JT
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Middle School Family Bulletin 8/9

    Greetings Explore! Middle School Families!

     
    Welcome Back! Welcome Back! Welcome Back! We had an awesome orientation week with our Middle School Explorers! We welcomed our founding class back on Wednesday, our 5th graders on Thursday and had the pleasure of having both grades on Friday. They were excited to be back in person, to see their friends and meet their teachers. They spent their time acclimating to the changes to the middle school program ie. Changing classes, practicing important routines, as well as getting to know their teachers, classmates and sharing interesting information about themselves. We are off to a strong start!
     
     
    Secondly, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who came out to our parent orientations. It was a pleasure seeing all of you and meeting those of you directly, who hung around after to introduce yourselves. (If you did not attend orientation please reach out to Ms. Prisinzano - mprisinzano@explore.school ASAP, as there is important paperwork that must be completed for your Explorer for this 2021-22 school year.) I really enjoyed being able to share my vision of an Urgent, Rigorous and Joyful middle school for our oldest Explorers. Additionally, I want to thank you all for your thoughtful questions regarding some of the shifts for our middle school and for the grace and space to be thoughtful about how to respond. As a result of your questions, comments and concerns we have decided for now to ask everyone to just do their best to adhere to the dress code expectation of "No Writing". We understand that for some families this was a difficult pivot given such a short time frame. Therefore, in keeping with our goal of a safe, inclusive and distraction free learning environment we ask everyone operate with a level of mindfulness and refrain from sending students to school wearing messaging that could be deemed political, exclusionary, or distracting in nature. Additionally, we will work to support all families in meeting this expectation in the future by both providing Explore! produced clothing alternatives both as gifts and for purchase later in the school year.
     
     
    With regards to the other expectations highlighted during orientation, I’d like to reiterate the importance that students are adhering to them in order for us to maintain a safe, inclusive and distraction free environment. They are:
     
    - No head coverings that are not for religious or medical purposes
      (ie. No hoods, bandannas, hats, etc)
    - Shoes must be closed toe with a heel strap.
      (No flip flops, slides and/or Crocs)
    - Bottom lengths should be no more than 2 inches above the knee. This is to ensure that students are able to participate fully in all     activities and still maintain a modest, school appropriate appearance.
    - (Students must be able to exercise and have full range of motion - ie. bending over to touch toes)
    - Tops must have a sleeve (short, cap or long)
    - (ie. No tank tops or spaghetti straps)
    - No electronic devices (Cell phones)
    - (This includes cell phones, video games, Bluetooth headphones and smart watches i.e.. Apple watch, fitbit, etc.)
     
     
    Finally, I am excited about the week and year ahead. As we welcome all Explorers back on Tuesday, please remember that students should be in their seat ready to learn by 8:00am. Therefore, we encourage all Middle School Explorers to arrive by 7:45 to have time to unpack and get prepared for their day without being rushed or missing any instruction. Lastly, I will be hosting a series of parent meetings in the coming weeks to have more opportunity to meet and get to know more of you, as well as hear from you regarding your hopes and desires for the coming year and the middle school in general.
     
     
    Have a great week!
     
    Warmly,
     
    Ms. Smith
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Family 8/9

    “Working together, we can always get better.”
     
    Dear Explore Families, 
     
    I want to share a HUGE thanks to our entire community for very positive days back at school! We had nearly ALL Explorers come for orientation over the course of the week! Explorers did a great job coming back to school, relearning routines, and building relationships! It was so inspiring to see them back on campus. Please read below for a few reminders so we can have an awesome FULL week back!
     
    While we have a few things to tweak, our area of focus this week is improving dismissal efficiency. This is where we need your partnership to ensure this goes smoothly. We now have 580 Explorers. Remember we will grow each year for the next two years. We also are impacted by the ongoing local construction, other schools (i.e KIPP Kirkpatrick) and tourist events that impact traffic near the school (i.e Friday’s Grand Prix races). None of those things are within our locus of control. We can control how we communicate and cooperate within our established systems. Upholding our systems ensures the safety of all students, staff, and families. Please read carefully for how to help us have a more smooth dismissal. 
     
    Transportation Changes: The number one cause of delay or frustration at dismissal is a last minute or unannounced dismissal transportation change. For example, forms that we have lists the child as a bus rider and someone comes on the car line to pick up. If no one knows you are planning to pick up by car, the child will be placed on the bus according to the form you all completed for orientation. We have different teams of staff staging students in various areas of the school to ease congestion and make it as safe and orderly as possible. Please communicate transportation changes to the Main Office no later than 1:30pm on Mon-Thu and no later than 12pm on Fridays to ensure your Explorer is in the right place to be quickly reunited with you. 
     
    Placards: Another cause of delay is missing placards. Please display the placards in your front windshield, at the bus stop, or at the walker station. In order to ensure a safe reunion, we have to conduct ID checks for families with missing placards. This is another process that can slow the line and delay the process. Please display your school issued placard. If you don’t have one, please contact your Explorer’s teacher and they can help you get one from our Operations team
     
    Traffic Patterns: All families should follow the one way traffic flow of Explore!’s campus. Enter on Dew Street, make the car line go up Dew street as opposed to 11st street so we won’t block KIPP’s arrival/dismissal
    Enter from Dew Street, go up and around the carline loop, turn right in front of MOBC and exit to S 7th Street. That traffic pattern ensures the cars are in order which is how we arrange the kids in line. It also protects our community from collisions. 
     
    Staging Areas
    - Walkers are dismissed from the front door. Walker families should form a line in front on the bench on the front sidewalk
    - Bus riders dismiss from the rear door and load the busses at the bus turnaround behind the Martha O’Bryan Center
    - Car Rider students are dismissed from the side black gate
     
    We will have our final make-up orientation on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, at 8:30 am. We will review updates to policies, get updated information, and receive placards for pick up. 
     
    Remember there is no school tomorrow for Explorers as we will be completing our summer professional development. We will be so ready to greet our Explorers for the first full day of school for the 21-22 school year on Tuesday am!!!
     
     
    Have a wonderful Sunday evening!
     
    See you Tuesday!
     
    Love,
    Stephanie “Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Family Bulletin 8/1

    “Your every action can open minds and hearts”
    #togetherallheartsandmindsriseCelebrating and thanking families for Orientation!


    Thank you to ALL our families who came out for our orientations sessions this week! We had a great turnout, lots of excitement, and some outstanding questions. Our team is working to prepare to welcome students back to school. We reviewed our COVID protocols to make sure Explorers, staff, and families are safe when we return. We will continue to communicate with you all as the year progresses and new public health recommendations are released. We have always followed the advice of the CDC and AAP, while also complying with local and state health guidelines. 

    Below are some of the precautions we will take this year:
    - Masking for all on campus
    - Staff self-screen 
    - Temp screening for kids
    - Assigned seats and areas in the building
    - Frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces

    Orientation and Back to School!
    On Wednesday we will welcome Explorers back on campus for orientation. They will meet their teachers, classmates, and learn new routines for this school year. They will also be engaged in some diagnostic testing so we can learn what they need to succeed!  There will be one final make-up orientation session on Thursday, August 5 at 8:30 am. Please plan to attend! Student Orientation begins this week. See below for details!
    Wednesday, August 4, 2021 from 7:45am-1:45pm- Grades: K, 2, 4, and 6
    Thursday, August 5, 2021 from 7:45am-1:45pm- Grades: 1, 3, 5
    Friday,  August 6, 2021 from 7:45am-1:45pm-  ALL GRADES
    Note: There is no school on Monday, August 9, 2021- PD Day for Staff
    Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 7:45 am-3:15 pm- First FULL day of school for all grades

    Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo Breakfast
    Each year we have a tradition of families sending off their kindergarteners to school. There may be some tears (Boo-Hoo) and some celebrations (Woo-Hoo!) Most of all it’s a great time to connect with other caregivers and celebrate a key milestone in your child’s life. This year we will offer it for both kindergarten and first-grade students since first graders did not have the opportunity last year. Please see below for details:
    Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo breakfast will occur on Wednesday and Thursday of this week directly following drop off
    All participants must be masked!
    Families should park on S 8th street (on the street) and walk to the school
    Families can take a picture with their student
    Students will go into the building. Families will not enter the building due to COVID protocols
    Families will be invited to the breakfast on the patio

    Ops Orientation
    For safety reasons, it is IMPERATIVE that families enter the school from S 11th and Dew street. Traffic then flows ONE WAY from Dew through the carline and out passing Martha O’Bryan and the Red Oak apartments. Please DO NOT come up S 7th and turn left to access the school. That can cause a very bad traffic situation and we had a few near accidents last year. We will now have nearly 600 students being dropped off each day. We have to follow the traffic patterns. Please see the attached map for reference. 

    Friday Enrichment 
    We are still determining how we may offer Friday Enrichment with some parameters. Enrichment traditionally does not start until following Labor Day. We will be meeting with enrichment providers to determine availability while also considering safety protocols. We are hopeful to offer some quality enrichment programming this year. Stay tuned in coming bulletins for more updates. 

    We love you all and are looking forward to seeing Explorers this week. Please, please, please, start reinforcing bedtimes, alarm clocks, morning wash-up routines, and reducing screen time. Even a few days of this will help kids get back into a routine for school. They might be sleepy!! Back to school this week!

    Love,
    Stephanie “Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe

    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Family Bulletin 7/25

    “A good beginning makes a good ending.”

    Dear Explore! Families, 

    Can you believe it is already and finally time to come back together? The summer has been short but our time apart has been long. I hope you all are excited about coming back to school! Our team is eager to see kids and families soon. While I know that most families are excited to return to school, many still have questions and ongoing concerns about the impact of COVID on schools and our community. At this week’s orientation sessions, we will talk about our approach to health and safety as we continue to manage COVID risk. We will be serving all students in person and are excited to reconnect as a community. I want to reassure families of that. We are excited to get back to school and are eager to get focused on core academics, PBL, and Social-Emotional Learning. 

    Finally, I am so excited to welcome and introduce our middle school Principal in Residence, Ms. Deirdra Smith! She will be leading our 5th and 6th graders this year with my support as she is joining our school community from New York. We welcome her to Explore! Our middle school families will have separate sessions to meet her, the middle school team, and learn about how Explore! will look and feel different for our most mature Explorers. Exciting times! We will have orientation sessions throughout the week to accommodate the 580 families we will be serving this year! If you have multiple students, you can come any day, and attend one time for all students, except all 5th and 6th-grade families need to attend a middle school orientation session. There are significant differences to the schedule, curriculum, and processes for our older students that families will need to know.

    Orientation is mandatory for all families. We have many updates as we come back together as a community. Please see below for details about orientation for this week. Family Orientation Schedule:

    K-4 (E!CS)
    Tue (7/27)- 5:30-6:30pm
    Wed (7/28)-5:30-6:30pm
    Thu (7/29)- 5:30-6:30pm

    5-6 (E!CMS)
    Tue (7/27)-7:00-8:00pm
    Wed (7/28)-7:00-8:00pm
    Thu (7/29)-7:00-8:00pm

    *Please limit attendees to 2 members per household for space 
    **We are requiring everyone to be masked indoors regardless of vaccination status. Please start to check Bloomz regularly as I will continue to post updates throughout the week. Please connect with others and prompt them to check Bloomz and our school website www.explore.school for updates as well. Let’s continue to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Next week, we will welcome Explores back for student orientation and resume full school on Tuesday, August 10th!

    Time flies, we will have fun and grow together. I am looking forward to seeing you all this week.

    Explorers! Rise up! Rise Up!

    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) - Round 3

    Dear Explore! Families,

    The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) has launched the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to provide extra resources for families to buy food. This program is about to launch Round 3 to provide benefits backdated to October 2020 and continuing through the 2021 school year to eligible students.
     
    You do not need to fill out any application or gather any documents. You simply need to make certain we have the right address and child on file for you and look for your card in the mail in the coming weeks. Hold onto this card as benefits will be reloaded each month your child qualifies for.
     
    How To Check Your Address And Child Information:
    • Please help us make sure we have the right address and child on file for you by visiting this convenient website https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief and creating an account if you don’t have one.
    • Once you are on the P-EBT Parent Portal, please check to make sure we have every child listed that should be receiving benefits and make sure the address is correct.
    • If we are missing a child or the address is no longer correct, please make those changes on the Parent Portal.
    • To help you, we’ve created a video that walks you through the process. You can watch it here https://youtu.be/DUtf-_DdwlU.
    • If you do not wish to participate in the P-EBT program, you can decline to participate on the P-EBT Parent Portal.
    • If you do not see your child in the P-EBT Parent Portal, your child either doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements below to qualify for P-EBT or DHS is still waiting for your school to provide the necessary information to add your family to the portal. Please check with your school about your child’s eligibility, then check the P-EBT Parent Portal again once your school lets you know it has submitted your information.
     
    Who Qualifies For P-EBT:
    • The child must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program. This includes any student in a school that provided free meals to all students (under a special rule called "Community Eligibility Provision"). Explore! is a Community Eligibility Provision Schools. 
    • And, the child did not receive free or reduced-priced meals at the school because the school is closed to in-person learning; or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year.
     
    How Much Will I Get:
    • Students who are learning 100% virtually will receive $122.76 in P-EBT a month.
    • Students who are on a hybrid learning schedule will receive an amount based on the statewide average number of days students spent that month on hybrid schedules. For October 2020 that amount is $51.15.
    • These benefits will continue to be loaded on the card in an ongoing basis and can be used at any location that accepts EBT.

    Should you have any questions about P-EBT, please visit https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/covid-19/p-ebt-and-covid-19-faqs.html or call our P-EBT Hotline 833-496-0661.
    EXPLORE! COMMUNITY SCHOOL
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