June 5, 2020
Dear SLAS Parents,
We are near the end of our 2019-2020 academic year. This year has proven to be very challenging and we have all faced a massive threat to our everyday life. While the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has been devastating for families throughout the world, we, as an SLAS family, have proven ourselves resilient. We have all worked hard together to get through the past several months and we will continue to thrive as a school community. Each new school year brings the opportunity to start fresh and make new resolutions, all with the goal of self-improvement. During this time, I hope that you and your children will take time to reflect on the past year and to set goals for the year ahead. I would like to thank you for your support and to share with you a number of important points for the 2020-21 school year.
- First day of school 2020
Due to requirements for all schools in Shanghai to follow a schedule that will be determined by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, the first day of the 2020-21 school year will be announced after the decision and announcement by the SHMEC. Based on preliminary information from the SHMEC, we expect the start date to be in early September. SLAS will compensate for any delay in the start date by extending the school year by the same number of days. Our school calendar is included with this letter for your review. You may also always access information about important events on our school web page at www.laschina.org.
- Secondary Homeroom – Wildcat Time
Wildcat Time is an effective means for communicating important school information to secondary students. Secondary students should continue to report directly to their Homeroom / Wildcat Time each day. The first bell will ring at 8:15AM. The tardy bell will ring at 8:20 AM. The students will be grouped by Grade. Wildcat Time will be used by teachers to cover important events and pass out and collect important documents to and from students. Once a week, students will have lessons to reinforce our school’s Core Values. Since August 2016, each Wildcat class is required to have a class WeChat for sending reminders. Teachers will use homeroom time to check in with students about their classes and their integration into the school community.
- Arrival and Departure
Students who arrive after 8:20 AM must report to the Registrar in Room 310 for a tardy pass. Four tardies will result in an absence. Students who need to leave campus early must receive a dismissal pass from Room 310 after this has been verified by either our School Liaisons/ Translators or Admissions staff.
- Uniform Expectations
All Students must wear the white or blue polo daily. Non uniform shirts, sweat shirts, or sweaters may not be worn covering the uniform polo. Students must wear solid colored, without print or designs, beige khaki, dark navy blue or black skirts, dresses, shorts, pants or jeans without tears or holes for the bottom. Students who forget to wear their uniform will have to purchase it from the finance office the same day, no exceptions. This rule is strictly enforced. Please help us prevent problems by making the necessary purchases in advance. Uniforms are available for purchase now in Room 113 and will be sold at our uniform booth during orientation and on the first day of school in the first floor Multi-Purpose Room. Students may not wear the previous Back to School Bash or 15th Anniversary t-shirts..
Students enrolled in PE, dance or gymnastic courses must purchase the PE uniform consisting of a gray t-shirt and black athletic shorts, black or gray hoodie and sweat bottoms. They should also wear the appropriate footwear in order to prevent injuries. Street shoes may not be worn for dance classes. Students will lose points in their class if they do not change into the appropriate clothes. The cost of the PE uniform is 200 RMB, the cost of the sweat pants is 150 RMB and the cost of the hoodie is 310 RMB. All uniform pieces may be purchased at the Finance Office. The PE uniform and hoodie may not be substituted for the polo. The PE uniforms are available for purchase now at the finance office in Room 113 and will be sold at our uniform booth during orientation and on the first day of school in the first floor multipurpose room.
- School Attendance
Attendance on a consistent basis is critical to your child’s success in school. We ask that you do not plan vacations during the regular school year as this will cause your child to lose valuable academic time. As a result, primary years students who miss more than 5 days per trimester will be in danger of having to repeat the same grade if they are failing two or more core classes. Middle school and high school students who miss more than 8 days a semester will lose course credit.
- School hours and schedule
Instruction will start at 8:20 AM. Students are to go directly to their locker and then their first class each day. Our end time is 3:45 PM. We do expect students to arrive on time to their classes or they will be marked tardy.
- SLAS use of WeChat and Social Media
We have found the class WeChat to be very effective in communicating with parents and students. All Early Years and Primary Years homerooms will have class WeChat. It will be required for all parents to sign up and monitor for announcements and reminders from the teacher. All Secondary Wildcat Homeroom classes will have WeChat accounts for the teacher to communicate with the students. It will be required for all students in grades 6-12 to sign up for the Wildcat WeChat. The class WeChat is only to be used for school related business not for promoting personal beliefs. All parents of Early Years, Primary Years, Secondary as well as Secondary students will be required to sign a yearly agreement on how to use social media and WeChat within our school.
- Early Release
We will have professional development for all instructional staff on the following dates: September 30th, October 28th, November 25th, January 27th, March 24th, April 28th and May 26th. Students will be dismissed at 2:20 PM. The objective of the “Early Release” day is to provide teacher teams a common meeting time to facilitate the development of a professional learning community at SLAS. The common meeting time will facilitate improved and focused instruction in the classroom thereby enhancing student learning. Specifically, the common meeting time will allow teachers to:
- Engage in professional dialogue.
- Collaborate in the development of instructional strategies.
- Analyze assessment data to guide instruction.
- Collaborate on differentiating instruction for students.
- Update on Learning Resources/Practices
Throughout the year, we have added books to both libraries. Each year, we evaluate the condition of our textbooks replacing any that are damaged. Students taking the Chinese courses in both primary and secondary will need to purchase their class workbook. The cost of the workbook will be provided to the student on the first day of class. The workbook and class book is an in-color edition and consumable book that will forever belong to the student. Students will continue to have the cost of the workbooks for English and math added to their first semester invoice. Students will pay their English teacher for the Sadlier Oxford vocabulary book during the first week of school
To continue to support our advanced placement classes, we have added new resources for students and teachers to include textbooks and technology resources. We have purchased many new hands on resources for the Early Year classes. We have also purchased a new reading program that will improve the connection between Prekindergarten readiness for reading to our Kindergarten program. Due to the potential demand for eLearning resources in the case of further epidemic issues; we have invested in a single online platform to be used for all grade levels.
We will continue to administer the Measurement of Academic Practice (MAP) to all students in grades K-12. This assessment will be administered by computer to measure the learning progress in English and Math. The test results will be available to teachers within 72 hours of the submission of the test by students. These results will be shared with students and families and used by teachers to plan instruction. The assessment will provide information on whether or not the students are making progress on the curriculum being taught by the teachers and is directly aligned to Common Core and WASC. We will continue to offer the PSAT to grade 8-11 students and SAT to grade 12 students. All grade 12 students are required to take the October 4th SAT.
- House System
All new students are assigned a House as they enroll at SLAS. The purpose of the House system is to increase school spirit, have weekly meetings to discuss upcoming school events, and promote discussions on the SLAS CORE values. Teachers are assigned as House Sponsors and will act as mentor throughout the year as needed if a student is having academic or behavior difficulty in their classes. Students are divided into the four existing houses: Red Lynx, Snow Leopards, Black Lions and White Tigers. Each House represents a different wildcat. New House images have been designed by the students and will be used to create new shirts for each House. Students may only wear the house shirt on Friday’s and for special events. This is a school wide initiative.
- Primary Years and Secondary Fine Arts Program
Students in Grades 1-2 will learn various instruments to reinforce the concepts of rhythm, beats and percussion. Students in Grades 3 will learn the 8 key recorder. Students in Grade 4 will learn the ukulele. Students will learn how to read music and tune their instrument to develop their oral abilities and prepare them for instruments in 5th Grade. The recorder and ukulele may be purchased from school if assistance is needed. Students in Grade 5 will choose to take lessons in either strings, percussion or wind / brass instruments. Our music teachers will work with grade 5 students twice a week. We do require students to also sign up for private lessons to further develop their skill. Students may sign up for extra tutoring with their music instrument teacher in our after school program. In grades 6-8, students will take music as a yearlong course. All middle school students will take music for a full year. They will learn general music as well as an instrument. In grades 6-8, students will continue with their selection from grade 5. Due to the growth of our orchestra and band classes, we have opened a Symphonic Orchestra for grades 9-12.
- Parent and SLAS ID badges
All parents and special designated family members and care givers were required to wear their SLAS ID badge with their photo. We request that all SLAS community members wear their badge when on campus. If you forget your badge, you may take a temporary card from the guard office at the front and back of the school. You do require you to sign in if you need to borrow the temporary badge so that we may keep track of our visitors. The first ID will be given to parents. Extended family members and care givers must pay 25 RMB per card. Replacement cards will cost 25 RMB.
- Student Orientation
To start the 2020-21 school year off with success, we will offer new and returning parents a chance to attend SLAS Families Orientation. The date for orientation will be announced in July or August. Our orientation will focus on:
- The Mission of SLAS.
- The 4 Core Values which are the focus for our evaluation of our students’ progress.
- The academic courses taught at each level
- After school academic programs and activities open to students in elementary and secondary level.
- Information on how students should dress and academic expectations will be reviewed.
In the morning, we will meet with middle and high school family’s from10:00-11:00 AM.The afternoon session for Early Years and Primary parents will be from 1:00-2:00PM. Afterwards, you may visit your child’s class to meet the teacher. Please do not send student’s by themselves. We will provide translators to assist.
All students in grades K-12 are assigned a Gradelink account. We encourage parents to monitor their students account weekly to track academic performance. We will hold two training sessions for new and returning parents. The date for this training will be announced in July or August. Please sign up for either the 10:00 AM or 4:00 PM training session to learn how to sign in to Gradelink, how to check your student’s grades, and how to check attendance.
- Update in Primary Years
Due to increased applications for our Primary Years program, we have opened a third Grade 2 class.
- Secondary ELD Program
Students entering our ELD program with limited to no English will be placed in ELD 1. All other students will be placed in ELD by their grade level. Teachers will differentiate for the students using the grade level learning standards and different leveled texts.
- Secondary Student Schedules
Secondary students will be informed two weeks in advance of the date for picking up their Fall schedules.
As our student population grows, we are offering more Advanced Placement courses each year. We will continue to offer AP courses with a SLAS teacher and online depending on total enrollment for the course. In the event we do not have enough students sign up for the in house AP course, we will still offer the online class. Students who take on line AP classes will use the computer lab and be assigned a study hall in their schedule. A SLAS staff member will monitor the class providing technology support to students. The on line courses are taught by a certified teacher. There is no additional charge for online courses.
I would also like to remind you that if you have any issues or concerns regarding your child’s education to make contact with us immediately. We always do our very best to resolve any issues.
- Summer Reading
Students entering Kindergarten through Grade 12 are assigned a summer reading project. The assignment has been carefully considered by the teacher in preparation for the next school year. All students should complete the assigned projects and submit to the classroom teacher. The assignment will be graded and added to the Quarter 1 and Trimester 1 final average. Students who enroll after August 15thtwill arrange the due date with their English teacher. Students who enroll after September 1st are not required to complete the summer reading project.
- School Supplies
Students will be provided classroom supplies for the beginning of the school year. Secondary teachers may have special requests which must be purchased by the individual students and will be listed on course syllabus. After the first set of supplies is consumed, ALL students will have to replace those items as specified by their classroom teachers.
- Go Green Initiative
In the 2020-21 school year, SLAS is continuing our efforts to reduce our waste and be kinder to the environment. We will only provide disposable cups for use in the cafeteria. All students should bring their own water bottle to school each day. Our early years and primary classrooms will have class plants that they will be responsible for maintaining. This will be to learn about nature and work on increasing the plants in our environment that are capable of cleaning toxins from the everyday air. Large cans were placed in the hallway for sorting into three garbage categories. At the start of the year, each classroom teacher in early years and primary years will send home details to parents in their welcome packet. Students and staff will work on integrating conservation and reducing their waste in other areas at school as well.
Faustina Martinez M.A.Ed
Head of Schools
Shanghai Livingston American School