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May 1, 2021

Good afternoon Parents and Friends of Clarion School,

Happy Thursday everyone! Today, I had the chance to check in with many of the teachers during their “Parent Teacher Conferences” (PTC’s) as we had sent home a 3rd quarter progress report to all families (this is a platform for which to guide a discussion between parents and teachers regarding student progress so far this year). As I popped around to classrooms, I overheard many great conversations about specific teaching and learning goals for children. I appreciate the job teachers are doing to reach out to all of you, and your parental input into how your children are progressing at Clarion is appreciated in return.

A note about Social Distancing:

One of the schools in our ‘peer group’ had a fine levied by the health authorities due to the large presence of parents after school on the campus due to ECA’s being run by providers. This fine was in the multiple 10’s of thousands of Dirhams.

What I learn from this is that:

  1. Inspectors are vising schools in the non-school hours; including at dismissal.
  2. Fines are being levied- hefty fines too.
  3. That schools are responsible for any activity on campus- and I will speak to our providers about this.
  4. That we have to continue to encourage parents to follow protocols regarding social distancing.

I am sorry if at times I am constantly reminding you all about social distancing; but then again it is my job and I try to do so in a fair and reasonable way.

When you come to do pick up at dismissal please do so in a responsibly socially distanced way.

If your children are in ECA’s please do not congregate in groups. We would prefer that you show up for pick up from ECA’s a few minutes before the activity is over; but I also understand that some activities run immediately after dismissal so some of you do wait around school. Try to do it in a protocol responsible way.

Thank you for understanding…I don’t want to be fined! LOL. But more importantly, I constantly brag about how well Clarion overall is doing with protocols this year, and I would hate for us to be on KHDA or DHA’s ‘radar screen’ in a bad way after all I do is remind them constantly how well we are all doing here at school!

100,000,000 Meals Foundation in the UAE:

Due to COVID, the government has limited a great deal how we can collect and distribute items for Ramadan this year. However, one thing they have done is the “100,000,000 meals” initiative, done in association with the World Food Program and other organizations. You can donate on the website quite easily by clicking the link here:

https://www.100millionmeals.ae/

I did so myself yesterday in support of a reading initiative done by the Grade 5 students and it was quite simple. Thank you for taking the time to do so as well, to support those in need throughout this region! So far over 115,000,000 Dirhams has been donated.

Dress down/up will be a special “Spirit Week” in May:

Out of respect for Ramadan and due to the parent conferences this week, we are not doing a “dress up/down Thursday in April. We did do 2 of them the end of March- and they were fantastic. What we will do is a “Spirit Week” in May, right after we celebrate Eid al Fitr, to celebrate the fantastic year we have had as a school learning community.

I met with the “Sports Captains” yesterday in the main reception- properly socially distanced of course! – and we discussed how this would/could work, and what we would potentially do as a theme for each day.

Now parents- don’t worry! This is not full costume days; no need to rush around and buy things! The students all agreed that the fun spirit theme of each day should be enabled by things children have at home already.

Typical fun theme days of Spirit Weeks in previous schools where I have worked are:

  • Twins day- two (or more) people- students, staff, etc- dress alike that day as if they are identical twins
  • Crazy hat day
  • Crazy hair day- color and style matters!
  • Mis-match clothing day
  • Hat and tie day
  • etc…

I am going to meet with the Sports Captains again next week to follow up as they went back to Grades 3, 4 and 5 to discuss this event; the goal is to have the students through agency help decide what we do over those 5 days.

Ramadan feedback from the students:

After the Sports Captains’ meeting, I spent some time with several of our fasting students. We touched base on how Clarion is handling their needs during Ramadan, particularly regarding fasting and prayer time. They confirmed for me that things are going quite well; a few ‘glitches’ where a classmate might not put away a water bottle after lunch; or one of the students forgets their prayer mat. But other than that they reported to me they are more than satisfied as to how the entire student and teacher population of Clarion is supporting them during Ramadan.

I have also, several times this past week, popped into the “Ramadan Rest Room” we have set up for students who are fasting and it is operating as intended. I am pleased to see that the children are using it well as a place to rest and be away from their classmates during snack and lunch time.

Overall I am happy with how Clarion is running school for the fasting children, and if you as a parent have any feedback for me please do not hesitate to reach out with information.

Re-enrollment:

Invoices have been sent out by Mr. Jafar, the Clarion Finance Manager. Thank you all for communicating directly with Jafar with any questions you may have.

Regular Vaccinations:

Yes, COVID continues and that is what we think of when we read or hear the word “Vaccinations.” But as we all know school age children have other vaccinations programmed. Later in the newsletter Ms. Heerral has added information about vaccinations. Thank you!

Eid Holiday:

As soon as we have guidance from the authorities we will inform you with a special email regarding the exact Eid holidays. Thank you for understanding.

Final thoughts:

Now that you have had your 3rd quarter progress report meetings with teachers, please don’t forget that there are still 9 weeks of school left, which means lot of fun projects and learning to do still! I am proud of the teachers’ efforts this year, and I will be mentioning this in the KHDA “Majlis” Principals Meeting with the Director General of KHDA, Dr. Abdalla Al Karam. He regularly sends out notes to Principals about progress being made by all schools, but how Clarion has handled COVID while running “all kids, every day, all day 5 days a week at school” is still remarkable and remarked upon by my peers in Dubai and the rest of the country when I speak to them.

Your support as parents has been vital in this effort to keep Clarion open every day, and I make that clear to whomever I speak to when we speak about how we are having so much success.

Students+Staff+Parents working together- the Clarion Way!

Thank you all for your support, and have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Jim Pastore

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