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Dear parents/caregivers,

In this newsletter you will find information about the following topics:
- Extra funding for our school via National Education Program (“Nationaal Programma Onderwijs”)
- Final recommendation secondary education issued on February 1st
- Study day (school closed) on February 3rd
- New teaching support in groups 1/2 and 3
- Report cards and parent-teacher meetings
- Update on COVID measures
- New materials in case of class wide quarantine
 
Extra funding via National Education Program
The national government is providing all Dutch elementary and secondary schools with extra funding this school year to help combat the negative effects of the various COVID related school closures in 2020 and 2021. This funding can be spent on a variety of interventions, for example smaller class sizes, tutoring, and longer school days (you can learn more about this here: https://www.nponderwijs.nl/over-het-nationaal-programma-onderwijs). The money can also be used to make more long term, structural improvements to the school such as teacher training. Our school is using these additional funds to implement the following: 
 
- Reading comprehension: instruction and guidance for teachers in how to teach comprehensive reading skills.
- Reading: promoting reading and a focus on the joy of reading, including purchase of new books. 
- Dutch language support: instruction specifically for foreign-language pupils in groups 1/2 (NT-2).
- Vocabulary: Purchase of Logo 3000 software & program to stimulate vocabulary growth in groups 1/2. 
- Flex group initiative: themed smaller group sessions in groups 5-8 providing extra stimulation and challenges on variety of topics.
- Focus on gifted pupils in groups 1/2: small group instruction in groups 1/2 providing extra stimulation.
- Math: additional instruction in small groups (with special focus for pupils in group 8)
- Parent involvement: With help from an outside agency investigating ways to improve and promote the connection between parents/caregivers and the school. 
 
Final recommendation for secondary education on February 1st
On Tuesday, February 1st the pupils in group 8 will receive their final recommendation regarding secondary education. Pupils and their parents/caregivers will be invited for this meeting. This recommendation is issued prior to the Eindtoets (final exam) on April 20 and 21. For more information please review the protocol regarding this process on our website (the brochure is in Dutch, please contact Paul Arends if you would like to discuss this in English):  
 
Study day on February 3rd
On Thursday, February 3rd there will be no classes due to a study day for our school staff. On this particular study day the team will be preparing report cards as well as reviewing the results of the so called Cito exams (nationwide standardized testing), for groups 3 through 8. The kids in those groups are currently taking these Cito exams which cover math, spelling, technical reading, and reading comprehension (the latter only in group 4 and up). Based on the outcomes of these exams the school’s teaching plans and strategies may be adjusted.
 
New teaching support in groups 1/2 and 3
We are very excited to share that Isa Groot started as teaching support for Terra (groups 1/2). She will focus her efforts on instruction in smaller groups (for gifted pupils and Logo 3000, for example) and support children during their work and play on the “leerplein”. Isa will be present all days except Wednesdays. Isa, welcome and the best of luck!
 
Report cards and parent-teacher meetings
The next round of individual parent-teacher meetings is upon us – these meetings will take place during the week of February 14th. You will be invited by your child’s teacher to sign up for these meetings via Parro. The sign-up window is from Monday, February 7th at 16hr to Friday, February 11th end of day.
 
The report cards will be handed out prior to this, on Thursday February 10th. Note that pupils in groups 1/2 will not receive a report card, but parents/caregivers will be invited for a meeting with the teacher.
 
For the parents/caregivers of groups 1 through 7 there will also be a general parent evening on Thursday, February 17th. More information on this will follow. Kindly save the date for now. The parents/caregivers from group 8 will not take part in this evening. Instead, they are meeting on February 1st to discuss their child’s secondary education recommendation.
 
Update on COVID measures
As of January 11, the quarantaine rules are as follows: 
- When there are 3 or more corona infections within a class within a 7 day period, the entire class will have to go in quarantaine.
- When there are 1 or 2 reported cases in a class, classmates can still attend school as long they have no symptoms. If they have mild cold symptoms, they need to take a self-test. If symptoms are more severe than the test should be done by the GGD. 
- For more information on quarantine length and protocols in case of positive test results, please review the email sent on January 10th.
 
It is, of course, our goal to keep our school open and to avoid sending entire classes home. Therefore, please (continue to) share positive test results with us so that we can all work together to limit the spread of the virus within our school community. 
 
New materials to use in case of class wide quarantine
On Friday, January 21st all children will receive a new set of materials for home instruction that are only to be used in the event of a class wide quarantine (in which case the entire class will switch to distance-learning). Kindly set this “quarantine booklet” aside for that specific situation.  
 
On behalf of the team I wish you a lovely weekend!
P.(Paul) Arends