Updated information to help you begin the school year


Dean Stewart Photography

Principal Rick Fleming

Good Friday Afternoon Wildcats,

Please accept my apologies in advance as the information in this letter and accompanying packet are rather long. With recent Brevard County School Board action on reopening, West Shore is full steam ahead in our planning efforts to meet the needs of our students and school community. Without question, we are all in a challenging situation as a society and education has obviously been front and center in some very robust debates. That said, I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you of what we have planned to date and what the reopening of school will look like in the coming weeks. First, with the school calendar change now having first day for students backed up to Aug. 24 we were able to finally set our registration dates. You may notice that we did our very best to maximize efficiency and minimize crowding. I humbly ask that you strictly adhere to your alphabetically assigned date and time as the planning that went into this prioritized safety and social distancing for our students and families. Registration for our students brand new to West Shore have a built-in program orientation, including a campus walk-through, as part of their experience. Some of our SGA students will be on hand to assist in facilitating these tours and I thank them in advance for continuing to serve our school and our newest Wildcats.

Second, right now we are in the midst of gathering survey data on instructional options for our students. I thank you in advance if you have completed this by now and if not, you can expect a phone call from us in the near future to make a selection for your child. Just a reminder that the district decision was to move to a 4 x 4 Block Schedule format for BPS secondary students for this year only in an effort to minimize passing time and lower class sizes. Essentially our students who choose, whether in-person on campus, synchronized learning, or any combination, will attend four 90-minute classes thus earning a year’s worth of academic credit in what used to be a semester. While this situation is certainly ideal for credit earning, it does pose some challenges for end-of-year and end-of-course testing. We are working on plans for these issues to address time gaps on content with additional help from our amazing teachers. An additional challenge for scheduling a part-time on campus/part-time synchronized learning selection is that we will have to lock students into either 1 or 2 Block, OR 3 or 4 Block given that there will not be enough time for a student to get home between Block classes. Lunch will have to be used for travel time to ensure students would make it home in time for their next class. Regarding Eastern Florida State College Dual-Enrollment, we have learned that all of those classes are virtual; therefore, we are hoping scheduling conflicts will be minimal.

Some additional items of note as we start the year that I wanted all in our community to be aware of; it pains me as your school principal to realize that the many foundational principles with which our school has come to count on are a huge challenge during these uncertain times. Things like volunteerism, open access to campus and staff, practical application experiences for our students, and many others are taking a hit during this COVID world. While we certainly hope to get back to these as soon as safely possible, we must change some things for the time being. In an effort to minimize face-to-face contact for safety of all, I am asking that all communication with school staff be in the form of phone or email as “walk-ins” during this time are highly discouraged for obvious reasons. With registration coming up, we all know that schedules and issues relating to them may need some tweaking and our guidance staff and administrative staff stand ready to assist families through phone, email, Skype or Zoom. Additionally, should anyone need to come on campus for a scheduled appointment; face masks for students and faculty have been mandated by the school board. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding in helping us to help keep our school community safe.

On a final note, I wanted to let you know that there will be more information coming about school operations and activities during this crazy time. Right now, there has been no official word on athletics and activities or when they may resume; however, we will communicate out as soon as we have the information. Remember that our Website, PTA list serve, Facebook, The Roar (school newspaper westshoreroar.com), BlackboardConnect phone messaging, Peachjar, and our school website are going to push out all of our up-to-date communication. You can call Janice Kowing in our front office who can direct you to the easiest of these platforms for your needs. In closing, I have one last request relating to attendance; in the event you are choosing for your child to be in-person, on campus for any part of the day there will be times and a need to check your child out for whatever reason. If you could, please send your child with a note to drop by attendance in the morning at which time Ms. Morin will provide them with a pass for their teacher to authorize releasing them at the designated time. You can then call attendance to let them know you are out front and we will release your child to the front loop. As much as we would love to see and talk with our parents in the front office, we have a small area and it is difficult to social distance properly.

While we are working feverishly to attempt to cover all bases for the opening of what is certain to be a rather unusual school year, we fully realize that there will be more questions in the coming days. Again, I will attempt to push out information as it comes to us and we will do our best to problem-solve together in the effort to give our students and families the very best that we can in the given circumstances.

Once again, I thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding, and for the record, we are very excited to get back to work with our Wildcat families. Best wishes for a great weekend!!!


Rick Fleming, principal