• Cooper Principal's Message
  • Cooper Chronicles (11-11-20)

    Good morning, Tigers!

    Today, November 11, is a day set aside to honor and recognize the men and women that have served in our armed forces.  The school sent out a call for veterans and veteran's families to post some information on a padlet.  I spent some time this morning reading each entry again, looking at the pictures, the campaigns in which these men and women served, and other information shared.  I began thinking about how many of our students are represented by a veteran.  For some, it seems like every adult over 18 years of age in their life is serving or has served in the military.  We have students that both parents have served or are serving.  We have staff members that have served, and we have staff members that have family members that have served.

    Check out the padlet on our website.

    To all of our veterans and their supporting family, I thank you personally and as a representative of Cooper Elementary School.  The courage it takes to even volunteer to serve... to subject yourself and your family to the uncomfortable parts of military life... the time away from loved ones... the missed holidays... all of the aspects of what it takes to be a veteran we thank you.

    As you go through your day, I ask that you keep an eye out for those "I Served" hats, or the special Veteran license plates, or those campaign shirts, or Facebook posts... anything that recognizes the service of someone in our community.  If you are a person of faith, utter a prayer of thankfulness for their service, their protection, their families, and our nation defended by their service.  May you see today things that you didn't see yesterday.

    I wish all of you a wonderful day... and to our veterans, I wish you an extra special day.

    Your brother in arms, a proud veteran, a father of a U.S. Army soldier, and your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (11-5-20)

    Good evening Tigers.  I hope you had a fabulous Monday.

    Just a quick reminder that school IS NOT IN SESSION tomorrow, Tuesday, due to Election Day.

    WE WILL NOT HAVE LUNCH PICK UP TOMORROW.

    Also, Cooper ES is a voting precinct (146).  If you vote here, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow if you have not already voted.  If we are not your precinct and you have not yet voted, I hope you will take time out of your day tomorrow to vote.

    We'll see you on Wednesday!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (11-2-20)

    Good evening Tigers.  I hope you had a fabulous Monday.

    Just a quick reminder that school IS NOT IN SESSION tomorrow, Tuesday, due to Election Day.

    WE WILL NOT HAVE LUNCH PICK UP TOMORROW.

    Also, Cooper ES is a voting precinct (146).  If you vote here, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow if you have not already voted.  If we are not your precinct and you have not yet voted, I hope you will take time out of your day tomorrow to vote.

    We'll see you on Wednesday!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-28-20)

    Well hello Tigers.  Would you expect anything less from 2020 than a Hurricane Day?

    This email is more than the 17th notification that you may have received about GCPS closing buildings in anticipation of high wind/high water tomorrow.  Please don't check out yet...

    First, I do intend on announcing the WINNER of the mini-fridge filled with cash tomorrow.  I'll post the announcement on the school's eCLASS page... the first page students should get to when they log in.  So, if you haven't yet, get those emails turned in so your student can win the cool prizes and a shot at that mini fridge.  We are actually having drawings for two mini fridges AND an iPad... but the rest will be in the days to come.

    OK... digital learning tomorrow... what to expect.

    Tomorrow will be a typical day of learning... teachers will meet with students via Zoom starting at 8:50 for Tiger Time.  The regular daily schedule will be followed, and student participation is expected.  However, we know that some of our in-person learners may not have access to the proper environment for digital learning, or may not have the needed support for digital learning because of the late notice of the building closure.  If that is the case, DO NOT WORRY.  Communicate with your teacher, let them know the challenges, and they will work with you to make sure your child gets what they will need to be successful with the content that will be delivered tomorrow.  The KEY here is COMMUNICATION.  Communicate with your teacher.  Additionally, your teacher will have their own set of challenges, like managing their own children's learning, and trying to keep their barking dogs quiet long enough for a mini lesson.  We get it.

    We have all been down the "the link is broken" or "The system has crashed".  The infrastructure may be strained tomorrow.  If that is the case, DO NOT WORRY... we get it.  We'll come up with plan B, C, or D.

    I know this isn't the best situation, but let's do the best with what we are given.  

    Until we are back to the 'whatever is normal' normal, stay safe, be good, and stay healthy!

    Your VERY PROUD and SLIGHTLY HUMORED Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-25-20)

    Good afternoon Tigers, and Happy Friday!

    We have completed six weeks of school this year... unbelievable!  I find it hard to look back to July and August and know what we were doing then to prepare for now... we've come such a long way despite all the curve balls we have been thrown.  Thanks for hanging in there with us!

    I am very proud to announce our 2021 Cooper ES Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Beth Stetter (kindergarten) was announced as our Teacher of the Year this morning on the morning announcements.  We have so many deserving educators in the building, but Mrs. Stetter's peers nominated her and selected her to represent our school in this capacity.  Congratulations Mrs. Stetter!

    School Council voting wrapped up this week.  Mr. Nevin Miller and Mrs. Dahlia Prophet have been selected by our community to represent them on the 2020-2022 School Council.  Welcome aboard Mr. Miller and Ms. Prophet.  We are excited for you to join us!

    Be sure to cheer on Archer HS as they play their rival Grayson HS tonight at Archer.  Go TIGERS!

    If we have learned anything from 2020, we have learned that CHANGE is inevitable, and many of us have learned to embrace it.  We still have a pretty good chunk of 2020 left, so you know we will continue to manage change as the situation evolves.

    Most grade levels experienced a change this week as we closed classes due to low enrollment.  This is always a hard process for everyone... students, teachers, and parents.  It is amazing how quickly our teachers gel with their students and families.  I appreciate the opportunities I have had to talk with families that had concerns and just wanted to know what the process was.

    As we continue to navigate this school year, we constantly assess how our teachers and families are managing our current reality, and how our students are learning and progressing through their grade level curriculum.  To best meet the needs of all our stakeholders, we will continue to adjust as needed to ensure we are able to provide the education our community expects.  This may look like a change in our digital learning/in person learning models with some grade levels, while other grade levels may not change (at that moment perhaps).  We may also find it necessary to balance our classes by reassigning students to other teachers on the grade level.  Again, this is not typical during a regular school year.  I have yet to meet anyone that has dared to call this school year typical!  If you and your family are impacted by one of these changes, I apologize and I would love to talk with you about any concerns you have.  Please know that any change that is made is not done so lightly, and that it is intended to benefit our students and teachers with the duties they have every day.

    Some of you may wonder how Cooper ES is doing with COVID-19. I wanted to give you a quick, but not short, glimpse of our procedures...  our school has a Health Response Team (HRT), led by Mrs. Argilagos, AP, and Mrs. McCallion, Clinic Worker.  Through training, teachers have become familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19.  When they have student that complains of any of the symptoms, they notify the clinic.  An HRT lead immediately meets with the student in the hallway, masks them with a three-ply mask, and walks them to the isolation room where their temperature is taken and a brief interview for complaints is taken.  Once it is determined that the student is a "suspected COVID case" (one major symptom or the presence of two minor symptoms) other HRT members begin close contact tracing while the ill student is tended to and parents contacted for pick up.  Any person that has been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer is considered a "close contact" and removed from the instructional setting while their parents are contacted.  This process typically happens within 15 minutes of the original complaint.

    If the parents choose to have their "suspected case" tested for COVID 19 AND they choose to inform the school of the results, then the school communicates that information to the "close contacts".  If the test is negative, close contacts can return to school.  If the test is positive, a 14 day quarantine must be completed before returning to school.  In all of our cases thus far, we have been able to get our students back to school before the 14 day quarantine period.

    We are in the midst of allergy season, and the weather changes bring on symptoms associated with asthma.  All of this is taken into account when we speak with parents of the ill child.  If the symptoms are otherwise explained and it is safe for the child to return to class, they are returned and no contact tracing is needed.

    We still need help from parents... DON'T SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL SICK... this action has a much more far reaching impact than ever.  Also, if your child has been in close contact with a positive COVID 19 person, exercise the 14 day quarantine period.  If you child is an in person learner, then they can to to digital learning for the quarantine period and participate in all learning digitally until they are able to come back.  Mrs. McCallion in the clinic can walk you through that process.

    Click here to get more information and to see the GCPS by the Numbers, which shows each school's active COVID-19 cases and close contacts.

    I know this was a lengthy email with great news and a warnings of additional change.  Regardless of the curve balls we have had and will have thrown at us, I know that this community and this school will not lose our focus of teaching and learning.

    Have a wonderful and safe weekend.  Be good and stay healthy.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-10-20)

    Good morning Tigers.

    As I hope you have heard, GCPS has received a waiver from the federal government that will allow ALL of our students to get a breakfast and lunch FREE OF CHARGE for the remainder of this semester.  That's GREAT news!

    In order for students to benefit from this offer, all in person learners have to do is get a FULL BREAKFAST and/or FULL LUNCH (no a la carte).  Digital Learners just have to come through the service line (front of school) between 11:30 and 12:30 Monday-Thursday.  Students/parents do not need to have their Student ID, nor does the student have to be present to receive the meals.  IN ORDER FOR THE MEAL TO BE FREE, THE WHOLE MEAL MUST BE TAKEN.

    I hope our community will take advantage of this offer.  Fueling the brain is a great way to start the day!

    Be good, stay safe, and be healthy.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-4-20)

    Good evening Tigers.  I hope you all have had a GREAT week of learning, and are ready to take advantage of a long weekend.  REMEMBER... NO SCHOOL ON MONDAY!

    We have welcomed back our in person learners in K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades.  I love love love having students in the building again.  I look forward to having our 4th and 5th grade students return to in person learning next Wednesday.

    I know we, as a school, are not immune from the changes COVID-19 has brought to our community.  Our teachers, support staff, and leaders have done a wonderfully job implementing plans that have been made, revised, implemented, tweaked, ditched, and made new again.  I would love to say our people have all done it with a smile, but that would be an untruth.  In all honesty, there has been a lot of tears, words of frustration, and angry moments that naturally would appear in a times that are ever changing and a future that is not clear.  However, I am very proud of the fact that we have a team of professional educators that report to work everyday at Cooper ES that keep us going.  Your children would never know the hours upon hours of extra work that their teachers put in day in and day out to prepare in person lessons and digital lessons.  On behalf of our faculty and staff, I would like to thank you for your kindness, grade, flexibility, and understanding as we continue to get better at "doing" school in 2020.

    It is a certainty that what we are doing now will change soon.  It is certain that tears will flow out of frustration and anger before we are through this.  However, it is also certain that you have the best people here at Cooper ES.

    Thanks for hanging in there with us.  Until we can see each other again, be safe, be good, and stay healthy.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (8-28-20)

    Good morning Cooper Tigers!

    As we prepare to welcome our 2nd and 3rd grade students that chose In Person Learning, I wanted to share some important information with you.  It will be very important for you to read the attached letter, as it has some action items necessary to make your student's first day back successful.

    Return to In-person Instruction Grades 2-3.pdf 

    Although Wednesday will technically be your child's 16th day of school, in many ways it will be their first day.  We call it the "Second First Day of School".  Traditionally, the first day(s) of school focus on three goals.  They are 1) Get them here (bus, daycare, car rider); 2) Get them fed; and 3) Get them home safely (bus, daycare, car rider).  Yes, there will be learning throughout the day, but if we can do these three things well, then we'll count it a successful "Second First Day".

    A subsequent email will follow this one containing specific information for your child's grade level.  Please keep a look out for it.

    I look forward to seeing your child's smiling face, covered by a properly fitted mask of course :-)

    Until then, be safe, be good, and stay healthy.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (8-27-20)

    Cooper ES: In Person Learner Lessons
    Principal Willis <no-reply@gcpsk12.org>
    Thu 8/27/2020 11:45 AM
    •  Jaime Watson

    Good morning Cooper Tigers!  Yesterday was FABULOUS... welcoming students into the building to LEARN after 166 days of emptiness... that was phenomenal!

    Thank you for allowing us to teach and care for your In Person Learner.  Our processes for getting our students in the building, getting them fed, and getting them home were successful, but we can always make improvements to make us more efficient.  Just FYI, we always look to improve our processes, so you input is valuable and welcomed.

    Here are just a few observations/noticings from yesterday that I thought I would communicate:

    1. Student Birthdays... we are not allowing cupcakes/cookies/birthday treats into the building at this time for student.  We are doing our best to limit what comes into the building and keeping our students safe.  We honor student birthdays via announcements on our Cooper ES eCLASS landing page.  Our school counselors are also working to honor student birthdays as well.
    2. Masks... masks are required while in the building.  If a student forgets or loses their mask, we are able to provide a disposable mask for the day.  Students will be reminded to wear their mask over their mouth and nose if not worn properly.  Students do have periodic mask breaks throughout the day at the direction of their teacher.  Thank you for your help with your child that is still learning to wear a mask.
    3. Car Rider Numbers... the sooner your child learns their car rider number, the faster that process goes.  This is always a challenge at the beginning of the year.  It will get better as time passes, especially with your help and support.
    4. Supplies... we are not sharing supplies this year.  Usually, pencils, crayons, and markers would go into a "community bucket" in the classroom.  To limit exposure to germs, students are only using their supplies.
    5. Water... students should bring a bottle of water each day, or a reasonably sized refillable container for water.  The water fountains have been turned off throughout the school.  Students can refill water bottles in the classroom (if equipped with a sink) and/or at our water bottle filling station (to be installed soon).  Proper hydration is very important when it comes to learning, so please make sure to equip your child with what he/she needs to stay hydrated.
    6. Check Ins... if you are running late or if your child had an appointment in the morning, please your child in at the front office.  Car Rider operations stop at 8:50 AM... even on rainy days. If you arrive in the car rider lane after 8:50 AND no personnel are present, please park and bring your child to the front office, entering through the main doors in the front of the school.
    7. Check Outs... if your child needs to be checked out of school for an appointment, please make sure he/she is checked out by 2:15 PM.  Anytime after 2:15 will likely result in a delay due to our office staff preparing for the end-of-day operations, which may make you late to your appointment.

    We are glad you are here, and glad you allow us to teach your child as an In Person Learner.

    I hope you have a WONDERFUL day.  Be safe, be good, and stay healthy.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

     




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  • Cooper Chronicles (8-17-20)

    Good afternoon Cooper Tigers.  I hope today has been a great day of learning for your student, and the first day of specials kicked off with little to no issue.

    Yearbooks from last year are IN!!!!  We've been waiting for sooooo long.  They finally arrived, have been inspected for damage, and labled for distrubution.  That's great news... bad news is that we have ZERO left to sell... nada... zilch... zero.  Sorry!

    We also have manipulative sets that are bagged up for each student (kindergarten should have received their bag at Open House).  

    Finally, each student has an ID card with a barcode that will help with lunch and library check out.  Even when we are able to come back, using the barcode rather than touching a key pad will help keep those nasty germs from being spread.

    So... pick up is on WEDNESDAY, from 8:30-11:30 in the CAR RIDER lane (gym side).  As this has become normal, please write your children's names in BIG letters, along with their grade level, and our team will get the yearbook (if purchased), lanyard/mask (if purchased), ID card (everyone), and bag of manipulatives (grades 1-5 and K if you do not have it yet).  It will be worth the drive.

    I know that most of our students do have learning during this portion of the day, but if you can swing by real quick during a break or independent time, that would be great.

    See you Wednesday :-)

    Your VERY PROUD and EXCITED Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (8-14-20)

    Happy Friday afternoon Tigers.  I hope the first few days of digital learning got better and better as we progressed through the week, and your schedules are becoming routine.

    I just wanted to thank everyone for your grace and flexibility as we have gotten the 2020-2021 school year underway.  This has been a school year like no other, and a lot of the planning has been trial and error.  We will continue to get better and better, and adjust to whatever changes come our way.

    Just as an FYI... a tip... a 'in case you didn't know'... Zoom calls are recorded.  We record them to use with a student that missed a particular lesson, or for a student that just needed to hear the lesson one more time.  We could probably write a funny book about what has been heard and seen on some of the Zoom calls already this school year.  So, just as an FYI, please be mindful that the microphones on many devices are pretty good and pick up sounds/words/phrases that you probably didn't know were being picked up.  Likewise, the cameras can have pretty wide views and pick up movement in the back ground.  I'll just leave it at that.  Don't do or say anything that will make it into "the book'.

    Also, each teacher has published times to contact parents, talk with students and parents, or field questions every day.  Please use these times if you have any questions or concerns about the teaching and learning taking place.   Live sessions are not the time for parents to engage in a parent/teacher conference, or express concerns.  Our teachers must protect their lesson time and will drop a call if it becomes disruptive to the learning environment.

    Thank you all for being a Cooper Tiger.  I can't wait till what next week holds...

    Until we meet again, be good, be safe, and stay healthy.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (8-11-20)

    OK Tigers... here we go!!

    Tomorrow will be the first day of 'big school' for nearly 200 kindergartners, the first day at Cooper ES for many in grades 1-5, and the first ever virtual start of school for everyone, including the teachers.  This, like last school year, will have many memories associated with it.  To keep things somewhat normal, I would encourage you to snap those 'First Day of School' photos, put on those new school clothes, and make a really big deal about the start of school and how exciting this year is going to be.  The attitude our students have will greatly depend on the attitude the adults in their lives (parents, teachers, others) demonstrate to them.  Let's make sure our kids have the very best first days of school ever.

    This edition of the Cooper Chronicles has valuable information to help make tomorrow the very best first day of school for everyone.  Forgive me for the format, but I want to make it as easy as possible to reference this as needed.

    Breakfast and Lunch

    Yes, our cafe staff will be preparing breakfast and lunch for our students.  Prices for meals are the same as they were last year.  Here is how this process will work... between the hours of 11:30 and 1:00 (no instruction is happening during this time block), anyone wishing to purchase a student lunch will come through the BUS LANE.  Two registers will be located at the top of the bus lane.  It would make things go a bit more smoothly if you had your students name AND grade level on a sheet of paper that can be either placed on your windshield or handed to the SNP folks.  In each bag will be lunch for that day and breakfast for the next day.  On Thursday the bag will contain lunch for Thursday and Friday, as well as breakfast for Friday and Monday.

    To help with planning, our SNP staff has created a survey that parents are asked to complete.  More information and access to the survey will be given in another e-blast dedicated to this purpose.  

    As with everything we are doing, we will adjust this procedure/process as needed to accommodate our families.

    Beginning of Year Acknowledgments/Agreements

    Be sure to look at your My Payments Plus account and complete all the beginning of year acknowledgments/agreements.  While in MPP, you can elect your contributions to our different programs, and also purchase children masks in two different designs.

    Student Behavior During Virtual Learning

    A different school district in our country caught considerable criticism for dictating a dress code for students while learning from home.  Not wanting that type of attention, all I ask is that everyone that may be on the Zoom call is dressed... I'll leave it at that.

    In all seriousness, we do expect students to cooperate and demonstrate appropriate grade level behaviors while learning.  We expect students to be courteous and respectful to their peers and their teachers at all times.  As is the case during a regular school year, teachers will offer reminders if a student needs reminding, and offer redirection when a student needs to be redirected.  If behaviors persist that take away from the learning of others, then the teacher will work with the parent on correcting those behaviors.

    Your child's teacher will go over the proper etiquette and procedures for being on Zoom calls during the first days of school.  If you have any questions, please direct those to your child's teacher and he/she will provide guidance.

    Technical Issues?

    If your child has minor technical issues that can be resolved quickly, the teacher will attempt to provide that support.  However, if an issue persists, the teacher cannot have the entire class wait for that issue to be resolved.  The teacher will quickly reach out to our tech team for their help and move on with the lesson.  If the lesson is missed, a recording and/or small group session will be offered to provide the information missed.  

    I would encourage you to have your child access their eCLASS course page and Google Classroom today to make sure they have what they need.  Yesterday's Tech Check from the district did not go very well... adjustments are being made, and we anticipate tomorrow will go much better.  IF THEY DON'T, please don't stress or allow your child to stress... we are all in this together and will get through this together.

    Access to Teachers/Staff

    Each classroom teacher has published their learning schedule, office hours, and student monitoring/check in times.  Teachers will still have meetings during the day, and we are encouraging our teachers to 'unplug' at 4 PM until they are back at school the next day.  Email or message your teacher, but please allow your questions to be answered/responded to during the regular school day.  We inadvertently created some bad habits in the spring by maintaining an online presence for 12+ hours a day.  We can't allow our folks to burn out, nor should we allow you and your child to have their 'school brain' on all the time... use that time to unplug yourselves.

    2019-2020 Yearbooks

    Still no word from Lifetouch on the printing of last year's yearbooks.  As soon as we hear from them, we will communicate with you.  It is disappointing that this process is taking so long, and I am as frustrated as you are with this situation.

    Student Property from Last Year

    Yes, we still have A LOT of student property, neatly bagged up by grade level.  There will come a point where we can no longer store this for you. When students are allowed to come back to school, we hope the any left over property will go home that very first day.  Anything left over will be disposed of after that.

    PTA

    Our local Parent Teacher Association still needs your support.  You can support our PTA a couple different ways.  You can support our local unit by being a PTA member... your membership gives our PTA a voice... the more members we have, the bigger voice we have at the state level and national level.  You can join PTA via My Payments Plus.

    In addition to being a member, you can support our PTA by volunteering at different events.  Obviously, this year will look different as we start out, but we hope to get back to having our traditional PTA events as soon as possible.

    Local School Council

    Cooper Elementary School has a body of parents, community members, and local school staff that meet regularly throughout the school year.  This group serves as a principal's advisory committee/principal's sounding board as the members represent their communities.  Our school council bylaws call for elections in August.  I will send out a separate communication calling for nominations for possible board membership (2 year agreement), and an election after the nomination period.  If you are interested in serving the school in this capacity, look for the email at a later date asking for nominations.

    I know this has been lengthy, and I am sure I have missed something.  Like I have asked our teachers to do I ask you to do as well... let's do tomorrow the very best way tomorrow can be done.  Our kids look to all of us, so let's give them something really good to look at.  

    Till we are able to see each other again, I wish you the very best tomorrow and look forward to seeing you all soon.  Stay safe, stay healthy, and be good!

    Your VERY PROUD and EXCITED Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (8-9-20)

    Good afternoon Tigers.  I hope everyone has had a great weekend and are mentally preparing for the week to come.

    You should have received a GCPS notifcation stating that all students, K-12, are to participate in a Technology Check on Monday, August 10 between 11:00 and 11:30.  The purpose of this check is to provide the district with information about its systems, and also to give your child a test-run for the start of school on Wednesday.

    Please have your child log into his or her teacher's 2021 (fill in the grade) CORE eCLASS page.  Each teacher should have a link to a video message from their grade level AP, and also a link to a message from me.  All that we ask them to do is look at those links tomorrow between 11:00 and 11:30.  The school will then be able to look at classroom participation and determine where we might need to point some additional resources, and the district will make whatever adjustments needed to make Wednesday successful.

    Your child's log in is their student number, and their password is the same as it was last year.  New students will use their student number as their password.

    Forgot your password?  Reach out to your child's teacher, and they will point you in the right direction to get it resolved.

    CHROMEBOOK DISTRIBUTION UPDATE

    Just a FYI... as of Friday, we have loaned out 200 Chromebooks.  We will continue to try to meet all needs, from the most needed to the least, with what we have.  We may also be able to borrow some from other schools if our needs continue to exceed our means.  Unfortunately, this will take a little time, so your patience and resourcefulness is greatly appreciated.  We are able to meet so many needs because Cooper's PTA had as its fund raising mission two years ago to supply the school with technology.  Without the generous giving our the Cooper Community, we couldn't even begin to meet the needs of our students and families.  The power of our PTA is real, and I know they appreciate your support as PTA members and advocates.

    Thank you all for helping us make lemonade out of lemons... I think we can universally agree that having kids in classrooms with live teachers is the very best we can hope for... I know we are working towards that day.  In the meantime, let's mutually demonstrate grace and flexibility from one to another as we work through this challenge TOGETHER.  We will have an outstanding 2020-2021 school year!

    Your VERY PROUD and APPRECIATIVE Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles: (7-29-20)

    Good afternoon Tigers!  I hope you are all doing well and are excited to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

    **Long Email Warning**

    After over four months of our faculty and staff not being able to be in the building, we were able to welcome them today to begin pre-planning for the 2020-2021 school year.  Obviously, this planning is and will be different than all other plannings we have had as educators, but the one thing that remains the same is that WE WANT TO SEE KIDS IN THE SCHOOL!  We have missed working with students and can't wait for the day that we can have kids in our classrooms again.  However, for the time being, we are having to use our digital resources.

    Open House

    We will have our LIVE Open House for KINDERGARTEN students and students that are NEW to Cooper ES on AUGUST 7.  For all of our safety, we ask that only ONE adult accompany your child to the school for Open House.  We also ask that you adhere to the posted times for your group.  Oh yeah... MASKS ARE REQUIRED :-)

    If the first letter of your child's last name begins with a...

    A-I, then come between 8:00-9:30

    J-Q, then come between 10:30-12:00

    R-Z, then come between 1:00-2:30

    For everyone else, we will host a VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE at 3:00.  Your child's teacher will send out that link ahead of time so you can join.

    What should you expect from Open House?

    1. Get to know your child's teacher(s)
    2. Get an idea of what your child's digital day will look like (schedule)
    3. Find out how your child's teacher will be communicating with you and your child
    4. You will be asked to complete any registration process not yet completed (documents copied, forms signed, etc.)
    5. You will be able to ask questions of the teacher and questions about the school

    School Supply Lists

    Specific grade level supply lists will be in a subsequent email specific to each grade level.  We will also post the modified digital supply lists on our website.  Please note that when we are able to have in-person learning again, we very well could have a different supply list.  SPOILER ALERT... the supply lists have a lot of commonalities, such as pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, composition notebooks, a dry erase board (optional), and Expo Dry Erase markers (optional).  Keep an eye out for grade level specific information soon.

    Schedules

    Your child's teacher will provide you with a schedule with specific times that your student should be logged in and ready to learn. Unlike the spring digital learning experience, your child's teacher will have live whole group lessons and small group lessons with students daily using Google Classroom and Zoom.  Students will have a specials (PE, Music, Art, and Technology) M-Th, with Friday being a day to meet in small groups, work with individual students, and provide other support in language arts and math.  Your student's schedule will also have multiple times during the day for parents and/or students to ask specific questions or receive targeted help.

    For example, our instructional day will begin at 8:45 with morning announcements that will be posted on the landing page for eCLASS.  After announcements, your child will participate in Tiger Time from 8:50-9:25 which will provide targeted and specific instruction from their homeroom teacher or one of our support teachers.  This "all hands on deck" approach will allow us to work with specific groups of students in specific areas (literacy and/or math).  After this block, students will begin their academic blocks OR begin their special's rotation.  An academic block will begin with a quick check in, a whole group lesson that is live or recorded with the teacher facilitating the lesson live, followed by small group instruction and independent work.  The lunch block begins at 11:30 (wish I could tell you more about this, but we don't have all the information yet).  During this time, teachers and staff will take care of their own nutritional needs (45 minutes) and then begin checking on students, contacting parents, grading assignments, monitoring student progress, planning, and other tasks associated with a day in the life of a teacher.  School wide learning resumes at 1:30 with another block of instruction, specials for those grade levels that have them in the afternoon, and a science/social studies block of instruction.  The day will conclude with a live classroom wrap up from the teacher to discuss the day's learning, and what might be expected on the next day.

    Please understand that each grade level will have their own schedule, and the example above is very general.  Your child's teacher will provide a detailed schedule at Open House.

    Expectations for Student Learning

    We are currently in the process of identifying technology needs for our students based on the survey completed by parents last month.  The district is also providing the school with additional data based on your child's participation in digital learning in the spring.  The school will be loaning Chromebooks to students/families, prioritizing distribution based on needs.

    We will not be providing learning packets for students.  All live lessons will be recorded and posted on your teacher's eCLASS page.  Students are expected to complete all assignments and activities as they are assigned.  Students and families can work with their teachers to work through any issues or concerns with accessing the lessons.

    Each grade level will also provide guidance for student etiquette while learning digitally.  Many of these are 'common sense', but necessary to maintain the expected decorum for our learning environment.

    Wrap Up...

    This has been a very long email with only a fraction of the information we need to provide you.  We are still working on filling in the details in some areas, so please be patient with us.  If nothing else, please know that we are all (you included) working hard to make the most of this awkward and frustrating situation.  We are in this together, and will need to rely on each other to make it a success.  I thank you in advance for your patience, your diligence, and your insistence that we do this right for OUR students.  Our teachers have a very busy two weeks of preparing and learning what they need to know to make this year successful.

    Until we see each other (which I hope is very soon), be good, be safe, and STAY HEALTHY so we can come back!

    Your VERY Proud Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (7-21-20)

    Good afternoon Tigers.  I hope that this email finds you healthy and safe.

    I first want to say that I miss having students in our building!  I was so looking forward to our hallways being filled (with a minimum of 6 feet between students), and the sounds of children's voices and laughter that all school buildings should have.  Unfortunately, that is just not possible at this time.

    Gwinnett County Public Schools has recently announced that all students will begin the 2020-2021 school year digitally... meaning that student learning will take place virtually.  Our classroom teachers and support personnel did a fantastic job in the spring adjusting to digital learning and we ended the year strong despite our limitations.  We heard loud and clear that parents wanted more structure, more 'face' time with the teacher, and more consistency within the grade level and vertically.

    With district guidance, Cooper ES has called into action our Digital Learning Support Team that is made up of teachers representing all the grade levels.  They have worked on our Digital Learning Plan, and continue to work on the plan as I type this message to you.  Digital Learning in the fall will be far more structured, consistent, and will have a balance of live and recorded instruction with small group/individual sessions.

    I have disaggregated the survey results from you, our parents, on the survey the district asked you to complete by July 12.  We still do not have information for 168 of our students, which is a far better number than the approximately 850 students not represented after the first data pull.

    Our data shows that 174 of our students have no or limited access to a laptop/Chromebook BUT do have regular access to the internet.  The school's plan is to work with the families that represent these 174 students to see if we can get Chromebooks in their hands, and then begin looking at the next level of need (homes with 2+ children, but not a one to one student to device ratio).  I am not certain what the plan is to boost internet access at this time, but I do know that internet access is a concern the district is looking in to.

    We are not prepared to issue Chromebooks at this time, but will be ready closer to the start of school.  In the meantime, please keep an eye out for the next Cooper Chronicle that will provide more information.

    To wrap up, I ask that you to do the following:

    • continue to represent our community and our school well
    • let your kids know that their teachers and I WANT to be with them and we CARE about them. 
    • if you have moved, but have not withdrawn, PLEASE DO ASAP... this helps us and your new school plan appropriately
    • if you have a new neighbor and they have not registered their children at Cooper, please let them know I want to meet them :-)
    • if your child hasn't been reading much... ease them back in by gradually increasing their expected reading time... 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes... this WILL MAKE a HUGE difference in the fall
    • if possible, set up a learning center in your home with the basic supplies your student will need... pencils, paper, pens, crayons
    • reach out to your social circles... faith groups, friends, family, neighbors for support... we are in this TOGETHER!

    Till next time, be good, be safe, and stay healthy!

    Your VERY PROUD and Lonely Principal,

    Paul

Our Very Proud Principal, Mr. Paul Willis

  • Mr. Willis

Mr. Willis and the 2019 TOTY Mrs. Krisher

  • Mr. Willis and 2019 TOTY Mrs. Krisher

Mr. Willis on Career Day

  • Mr. Willis on Career Day