Return-to-school: You have questions; we have answers


Dean Stewart Photography

Principal Rick Fleming

Greetings Wildcats,

Well the long summer of uncertainly comes to an end on Monday, Aug. 24 as we officially open our doors and digital windows for instruction at 8:30 a.m. sharp. Our teachers have been working tirelessly preparing for a hybrid combination of in-person on campus students, and eLearners who will be engaging in classes in real time. In communicating with you today I hope to answer some lingering questions about what our opening looks like and how the hybrid model might work. In trying to build in as much flexibility as we could to accommodate both in-person instruction concurrently with our eLearners we must now put these wheels in motion. We are really looking forward to serving our families and while I like to think we have thought of everything, I am a realist and know that there will be many things yet to work through. As we get more information about school operations we will send them out as timely as possible. I wish to again thank all of our parents and community for your ongoing patience as we all deal with the effects of COVID-19 on our school functions. Please note the bulleted FAQ information below:  

How do I sign up for FOCUS? The first thing that will need to happen is for parents to; if you have not done so already, activate your FOCUS account (call the front office if you need help). It is essential for you to be able to monitor student progress and communicate with teachers. Students who are new to West Shore and who were already part of Brevard Public Schools will have active accounts that will roll up automatically. Any students new to Brevard Public Schools altogether can call our front office to get your activation procedures.

• How do I sign-in to eLearning? Students choosing our eLearning or synchronized learning option will simply need to log into Google Classroom through their Launchpad or FOCUS for each class. Log into Launchpad, Click on Google Share App, Click on your class. That’s it!! Students will be in each class for 90 minutes each day and must be in class for the duration, whether in-person or eLearning from home. Attendance will be taken both in-person and eLearning as they are synchronized in real time.

Will eLearning be like last year? Unlike the last nine weeks of last year whereby it was simply survival mode for students, teachers, and parents, deadlines in completing assignments will be in real time as the model is that students will be in class each day whether they are physically present or working from home as an eLearner. We must adhere to the pacing and completion of timely work to ensure mastery of the standards for accelerated courses are met, which as we all know and want, equates to building capacity for Advanced Placement and successful SAT/ACT experiences.

What do I do if my child is taking a BVS Course? If your child is taking a course through Brevard Virtual School, he/she must complete it in the same timeframe as the other courses they are taking for the grading period. Same time periods but different in that those classes are not synchronized as they are taught by a BVS teacher and not a West Shore teacher.

How should I prepare at home for my child to do eLearning? If your child is eLearning, please set up a school space at home that is free of distractions.

• What are the requirements for eLearning and are they the same as In-Person Instruction? Attached you will find the Brevard Public Schools eLearning agreement and we are asking ALL PARENTS to complete this in the event of school closure and we have to pivot to a full eLearning format. Please sign it, scan it, and email it to our guidance clerk Ms. Kristin Filler at [email protected]

What do I do about textbooks for my child if we are doing eLearning? For most courses our curriculum is equipped with ebooks and access is readily available online; however, for a few courses we do not have access to an eBook. For those identified courses we will be sending out instructions with a distribution plan soon as we finalize who may be eLearners and who may be in-person on campus. We obviously could not do this in a finite way given that many parents; justifiably, have not yet made up their minds on what option to choose.

Will the school be taking students temperatures? As previously mentioned in our Phone Blast call last week, some teachers may be checking student temperatures in class and will adhere to FERPA laws to ensure confidentiality. If you do not want your child’s temperature taken by the classroom teacher please send your request in writing to Ms. Morin in our attendance office.

With the loss of Regional Busing what does the traffic situation look like and what do I do when picking up my child? Regarding traffic patterns for drop/off and pick-up please note that students may be dropped off as early as 7:30 a.m. (supervision will not be available until 8 a.m.) and can enter the café’ or commons area for breakfast. Given that we lost Regional Busing this year we anticipate more of a back-log of traffic in the afternoons, therefore, we are asking parents to strictly adhere to our flow plan. In the afternoons please know that for security reasons our gates will unfortunately be locked until just before dismissal. This will naturally cause a back-log of cars down Wildcat Alley and we ask for patience, especially for the first week or two. If you are a parent of a middle school student (seventh- or eighth-grader) please enter Wildcat Alley coming west off Babcock and enter the first right after the DRS building and proceed around the loop. Please also make sure you communicate with your child to be out front and ready for pick-up as having to search for children holds up the entire loop. After picking up your students please exit the same direction you came from heading out of our gate to the east toward Babcock. If you are a parent of a ninth- through twelfth-grader we are asking that you enter Wildcat Alley from Magnolia/Neiman Avenue which is by the Brevard Courthouse. After heading east on Wildcat Alley we ask that you enter the old bus loop to pick up your child and you will be assisted by Wildcat staff. Upon retrieving your child you can proceed to the exit and turn right to enter in the same direction that you came. This traffic pattern works very effectively if everyone follows as it allows for no cross-traffic and all traffic moving in the same direction. (See Attached Map)

What’s the latest on Parent and Student Volunteer hour requirements?  Parent Volunteer Hours are obviously a big part of what we do here at West Shore and we hope to return to this requirement in the future. Unfortunately during COVID-19 all parental volunteer hour requirements have been put on hold for obvious reasons. Student volunteer hour requirements for the moment have not changed and are still expected as we are directly aligned with Bright Futures Scholarship requirements and we are awaiting any new communique out on this from the state.  

• What should I do if I want to meet with a teacher, guidance counselor, athletic/activities director or administrator? Unfortunately we must limit any parental walk-ins to meet with school personnel to appointment only. Our staff is readily available by phone, email, Skype, or Zoom in the event you would like to discuss anything. In the event of an emergency drop-off of a forgotten lunch or school supply those can be made in the attendance office.

What should I do if I want a schedule change for my child? Given the transition to Block Scheduling we realize that they may be many schedule change requests and that all are important to us and our families; however, the need to add an eighth class to all students meant having to cram additional limitations to the master schedule of classes within the school. This challenge equates to a very tight schedule with little movement allowed. We are asking that schedule change requests be made only in the most profound of circumstances, for example, if your child has two of the same courses, or they are missing a graduation required course. Moving periods and electives, or having a Block a certain period or time of year are not things that we have flexibility on.

What do I do if I am an eLearner and want to participate in breakfast or lunch at school? Breakfast and lunch meals for eLearners enrolled at West Shore may be picked up daily from 7:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. in the high school car loop down by the custodial office. Breakfast is free for all students. Secondary lunch is $2.20 for paid students, $.40 for reduced students and no cost for free students.  This is a cashless operation. Lunch meals must be prepaid using . Please allow 48 hours for payments to process. You can apply on for Free & Reduced Price Meal benefits at . If your child cannot accompany you, please brings a form of your child’s ID with you.

•  What should I do if I am an in person on campus student and get sick at home or at school? Late check-in/check-out? We ask all parents to please self-screen your child each day before sending them to school by taking their temperature and screening for any symptoms of illness. If your child has a temperature or is not feeling well, please keep your child home from school until they are temperature and/or symptom free for 24 hours. You will be able to receive an “excused” absence for that day without a doctor’s note provided you contact the school on the same day by either e-mailing our attendance clerk,  Mrs. Morin at [email protected] or by calling the attendance office at 321-242-4742. If you need to check your student out of school during the day, and you know ahead of time, please send your student to school with a written note from you. Your student should bring the note to the attendance office before school starts. Our attendance clerk will then give them a pass to leave their class at the check-out time. When you arrive on campus please remain in your car and call the attendance office 321-242-4742. We will then call the classroom to dismiss the student. We ask that you not call your student’s cell phone since all cell phones should be off during the school day and they might disrupt the learning environment. If you need to check your student into school. Please drop them off outside the front office and send them in with a written note to attendance. Your note should have the reason for the late check in and the date. If you have a doctor’s note, please attach that as well. Students who arrive/leave campus for e-learning, dual enrollment need to sign in and out through attendance each day. There will be a table outside the attendance office with the sign in/out sheets for the students to log their arrival/dismissal time next to their name each day.  Students should plan to arrive with enough time so they are on time to their classes whether an e-learning or face to face class. Students who are tardy to class will need to sign in at the attendance window maintaining social distancing.

What should I do if my child takes medication and I need it administered at school? We will have staff available in attendance, to collect medication on Thursday, August 20th and Friday, August 21st from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  Additionally, we will have staff available outside the front office on Monday, August 24th in the foyer of the Media Center from 7:45 AM to 9:00 AM. Please be sure to have your Parent Permission form for medication completed. This form will be posted on our website and is attached here.

What should I do about a parking pass for my child now that registration has been cancelled? Parking passes will not be issued until AFTER school starts. Right now students are to park in the auditorium lot only. The track lot will not be open unless demand exceeds spaces. The lot by the black gate is for staff only so please do not park in that lot, even if there is an empty space, we have staff that arrives throughout the day and they will need their space!

Rick Fleming, principal