Dear Yellowstone Schools Families,
This week marks the end of the 2019-20 school year. Our teachers are finalizing student grades and closing out the year, and we are already deep into planning for our return in August. Please read through all of this information carefully, as there is much to share about what to expect in the weeks and months to come:
We Stand with Our Community
We mourn and stand in solidarity with our whole community after the appalling murder of George Floyd last week. His death was a terrible injustice and further highlights the deep inequality and racial divide that persists in our nation. Many of our faculty and staff have attended the vigils and protests over the past week to express our collective rage, sorrow, and lament in the midst of this crisis. As a school community, we are driven by our fundamental belief that guides the Yellowstone mission: we believe that ALL students are born with purpose and destined for success. This powerful belief stands in stark contrast to the events of just the last few months. The senseless and untimely deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others before them are a reminder that there is still so much work to be done. We believe that ALL students should have access to an excellent education, and yet for too long, our students of color have endured lack of access to exceptional educational programs and limited school choice. This must change. We believe that ALL students should be able to walk through their neighborhoods safely, and yet for too long, our students of color have faced violence and injustice simply walking down the street. This must change. We remain committed to supporting and serving our families until this fundamental belief is a reality for ALL students in our community.
Food Distribution/P-EBT Application:
Food Distribution will continue on Mondays, with our last day being June 22nd. You will be able to pick up food on campus from 11:00 to 1:00 and at the same bus stop routes we have been using this quarter. You can access the list of routes here: https://yellowstoneschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Bus-Routes-Food-Distribution-Program-April-2020.pdf. As a reminder if you qualified for the free/reduced meal program, you are also eligible to apply for a one-time benefit of $285. You can find the application and more information on our website here: https://yellowstoneschools.org/2020/06/p-ebt-application-now-open/.
We are finalizing grades this week and report cards will be mailed to each of your homes next week. If your student is being retained or placed, you have already received a phone call from a member of our admin team. For more information about our grading policy for fourth quarter, please visit the parent portal on each of our school websites.
Celebration and Close-out Activities
As we complete our distance learning, several families have asked how we are closing out the year and celebrating our students’ promotion to the next grade level. For 8th grade YCP families, you have already received an invitation and directions about our virtual promotion ceremony that will take place this Friday at 1:00. For Yellowstone Academy families, be on the lookout for an email you will receive regarding a special “reverse parade” we will be doing next week, weather permitting, to celebrate the year and wave goodbye to your teachers. For our current YCP middle school students and our promoted fourth graders from Yellowstone Academy who will enter YCP this fall, we are planning a special ceremony and related activities in late July when we return for orientation and the launch of the next school year. This will be a meaningful time to celebrate your accomplishments and make new commitments to our YCP community. Look for more information about all of these events in separate emails and texts over the next few weeks.
Summer Learning Opportunities:
We will have many opportunities for your students to continue their learning over the summer! Both Yellowstone Academy and Yellowstone College Prep have weekly assignments and activities that will begin later this month. Look for an email from your campus with more information in the next few days. Students will be able to continue using their chromebooks or the devices that they used this past quarter to participate in this work.
Several families have been asking about what to do with their chromebooks. If you plan on returning to Yellowstone in the fall, please hold on to your device through this summer so that you can complete our summer work. If you are not planning on returning to Yellowstone next fall, then you must return your chromebook this week to the campus. You can drop your device off anytime between 9:00 and 3:00 in the front office. We will not release your final report card and transfer paperwork until the chromebook is received. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Damon Gunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plans for Next School Year:
Our leadership team and Board are continuing to evaluate our plans for our return to campus next fall. We will be sending a family survey to you in the next few days to get your feedback about our distance learning platform this spring and scenarios for campus re-entry this fall. We remain committed to starting school on our original schedule. Our first day of school for Yellowstone College Prep will be August 18th and our first day for Yellowstone Academy will be August 19th. Over the next few weeks, we will be finalizing the rest of our calendar for the year based on guidance from the CDC and the Texas Education Agency. As a small school with our own facility and transportation, we are well positioned to provide an exceptional education next fall that conforms to safety guidelines and also meets the needs of our families. Very likely, this will differ from HISD and the surrounding public school district plans. You will receive more information about these plans in the weeks to come.
Thank you again for partnering with us this year—through flooding, water-main breaks, COVID-19, and all the ups and downs of the school year, we are so encouraged by your commitment to your child’s education and the Yellowstone mission. While this has certainly been a difficult season, we remain excited by what lies in front of us and the opportunity for all of us to continue growing and developing into a school community that we can be proud of. We look forward to staying in touch in a variety of ways this summer and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus in August!
The Yellowstone Team