Answer: Families that submit an intent form stating they prefer virtual learning in the beginning will need to remain with that choice at least through the end of the first nine weeks. There may be some students that need to switch to virtual learning during the year for a short period of time due to health issues related to COVID 19 that may require quarantine for a time. If a student falls into this second group at the beginning of the year the parent should contact Mr. Ferguson before school starts to discuss a possible exception to the requirement of staying with virtual learning for the entire nine week period.
Question: Will students be required to wear a mask all day?
Answer: No, students will wear their mask only whenever physical distancing is not possible or when special circumstances for faculty or classmates require it. For example, students will need to wear their mask when entering the building in the morning and when they change classes. Once students are in their seat that is properly distanced from others they will be allowed to remove the mask. A teacher may ask students to put on a mask for a short period of time while they are close to the student for individual instruction.
Question: Will students have recess and/or physical education?
Answer: Yes, students need time to play and expend energy during the school day. In elementary classes, students will go outside for recess with their individual class only. We are working out the details following guidelines from the agencies listed in our plan to insure students are as physically distanced as possible during play and that they are not sharing athletic equipment etc. It is not expected that students will be wearing masks during recess while outside. High School and middle school students will participate in their normal physical education classes. As with other classes students will only wear masks when not properly physically distanced. Mr. Ruffin and Mr. Brite will be creating lessons that follow recommended guidelines pertaining to physical education and weight lifting classes.
Question: What if I don't believe in wearing a mask or I believe an exception applies that would prevent my child from wearing a mask?
Answer: In the plan unanimously approved by the BOT all students are required to wear their mask any time that physical distancing is not possible or when special circumstances for faculty or classmates require it. If a parent feels their child has circumstances that would prevent them from wearing a mask they should contact Mr. Ferguson in order to switch to the virtual learning option for the first nine weeks. Students will not be allowed to attend in person without wearing a mask as stated in the HA re-opening plan.
Dear HA Families,
Due to Governor Cooper’s ban on mass gatherings of more than 100 people, HA will be closed effective immediately and continuing through March 27th. This difficult decision has been made in order to slow the spread of the COVID19 virus. The HA Leadership team, in cooperation with the Board of Trustees has determined that it is time for HA to transition to online/distance learning for that same period of time. If this period needs to be extended, we will communicate that as soon as possible.
Our plan is for teachers to work together on Monday and Tuesday to create learning packets or online assignments. These will be distributed to students via e-mail or Google classroom beginning on Wednesday. Please read carefully the following plans for making this transition as smooth as possible. If you would like to add e-mail accounts to your parent web account, you can call the school between the hours of 9 to 3, and Mrs. Clay will be glad to assist you.
Thank you for all of your support and helpful input during this unprecedented time. We know how difficult this period will be for working families, local businesses, our healthcare system......our entire community. I have such faith in the HA community to dig deep and to reach out to help each other get through these times. Please do not hesitate to let us know how we can help you.
Thanks to the generous donations from many patrons and local businesses we have been able to raise approximately two thirds of the funds needed to complete the Air Conditioning project for the Halifax Academy Gym. At this time, I am happy to announce that we have an anonymous donor who is willing to match dollar for dollar any future donations up to $10,000 in order for us to complete the project. With this information, the BOT has decided to take a leap of faith and has approved the start of the project for this February. This is great news and means that we will be able to allow our seniors to graduate on the HA campus where many have attended school since their Pre-k year.
Please help us spread the word about this generous offer to match dollar for dollar all future donations up to $10,000 to insure we have the funds on hand for the completion of the project. I am excited not only about returning graduation to campus but also the prospect of a comfortable awards day celebration where parents and grandparents can watch their child be recognized in comfort rather than the sweltering heat. We appreciate all who have already made a charitable contribution thus far.
As we approach Christmas, I believe it is the time to reflect on our blessings and all the reasons we have to be thankful. From a school standpoint, this caused me to reflect on the school year thus far and share some of the reasons we have to be thankful at Halifax Academy (HA).
Of course, there are many other items I could add to the list. I challenge each of you to focus on the blessings we all tend to take for granted each day. Life presents many trials, but I have found focusing on the positives is the best way to persevere with a joyful attitude in spite of these challenges. On behalf of the faculty and staff at Halifax Academy, I would like to wish everyone a happy and blessed Christmas season. Remember that true JOY comes from putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself third. If we all strive to put our priorities in this order each day we will truly have a joyful holiday season.
It doesn’t seem possible that this is the third week of school. Despite the time missed due to the hurricane, staff and students have gotten off to a great start. We would like to thank Enterprise Baptist Church members for conducting the prayer walk prior to the beginning of school and for the encouraging, uplifting notes that were left in each area of the school. It was refreshing to see students and staff stop to read these heartfelt messages as they began the new school year. Little gestures like these contribute to the positive culture and climate at HA. We are thankful to all of our parents and community partners who help us create an environment conducive to student growth educationally as well as spiritually.
Also, we are excited that HALFTIME will be meeting each week this year instead of once each month. We are able to accomplish this because two local youth minister’s who have stepped up to lead this time for our middle school and high school students. For those of you who do not know, HALFTIME is similar to Fellowship of Christian Athletes only that HA makes it available to all students and not just athletes. The middle school group will be meeting on Wednesday’s at 8 AM and the high school group will be meeting on Thursday’s at 8 AM. Thank you to Chris Parker and Chris Snead for volunteering to lead this time with our students.
Cross country, volleyball, and football are all off to solid starts despite the weather. Homecoming is only a week away. We are excited about the week to come as we launch our 50 year anniversary celebration at HA. If you know of any alumni who have not yet purchased their ticket to the all class reunion scheduled for Saturday, September 21st, please remind them of this event. It will be a busy week with JV football on Thursday night, homecoming on Friday, and then our All Class Reunion on Saturday night. We are hoping to have a large crowd to kick off our 50 year anniversary so be sure to share with all your friends and neighbors. It is not to late to purchase a ticket from the HA office. Further details can be found at www.halifaxacademy.org
Fundraising continues to go well for the Gym Air Conditioning project although we were unable to begin during the summer months. If you know of any businesses that have not been contacted that might be interested in donating please share in the front office. Like most independent schools, HA’s tuition does not cover total expense of educating our students and contributions from the community allow us to complete much needed projects such as this one. HA has been a vital member of the Halifax County and lake community for the past 50 years sending many of its young people to some of North Carolina’s finest institutions and on to be productive citizens. HA provides a much needed service to the area and all tax deductible donations are appreciated.
We look forward to an exciting 2019-2020 School Year at Halifax Academy!!
As most of you know the BOT has chosen the Gym air conditioning project to kickoff Halifax Academy’s 50th year celebration. I am pleased to share that the fundraising is off to a great start. If the donations continue at the current rate I am hopeful we will be able to start the installation process prior to the beginning of the school year. Thanks to those that have already made a donation to this much needed project.
I recently received a letter from one of HA’s original BOT members. In the letter he shared many of the struggles that the founders of HA had to overcome in order to get the school started. It reminded me of just what a great accomplishment this 50 year milestone is for HA. It has taken much hard work and dedication from many people to get to this point in the school’s existence. As I approach the end of only my second year at Halifax Academy, I gain a new appreciation for how special this place is to so many people. The letter highlights the fact that the school is not somewhere you just pay others to educate your child, but rather a group of people coming together to share in educating their children. The founding BOT members will be happy to know that the tradition they started continues today. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that Halifax Academy exemplifies that fact.
The BOT is in the process of planning events to celebrate our 50 year anniversary during the 2019-2020 school year. You will receive information concerning these events once the planning is complete. We would love to see as many current and former members of the HA community as possible come out and participate in these celebrations. We have tried to include as many alumni in our mailing list as possible. If you know of anyone that was left off of our list please feel free to contact the school with their contact information. It is an honor for me to serve as the headmaster at Halifax Academy. I take my responsibility seriously to continue the traditions that were began 50 years ago. Halifax Academy has a tradition of sending its students to the most prestigious universities in North Carolina and on to productive careers. I look forward to seeing these traditions continue.
This year’s career day was a huge success. What a great opportunity for our HA students to hear about so many exciting career opportunities. As usual our students were on their best behavior and were definitely dressed to impress. I am so proud of the way they represent HA each day. A huge shout out to Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Shelburne, and Mrs. George for organizing the event. A special thank you to all the guest speakers who presented at Career Day. Ron Garrett and Michelle Hurdle-Winslow, USDA, Farm Service Agency; Cathy Outlaw, White Motors, Inc.; Angie Copeland, Skill Creations, Inc.; Jim and Lynne Skilton, Southern Corrosion; Captain Andy Bryant, retired- Roanoke Rapids Police Department; J.C. Pittman, Clements Mechanical, LaDonna Richardson, Drs. Arthur & Nicholson Dentistry; Captain Paul Nowell, Northampton County Deputy EMS, Gaston Fire, Rescue, & EMS, and Northampton County Medical Examiner & Seth Mahaffey, EMT; Jason Shearin, Lake Gaston Beverage Company; Phillip Honomichl, NC Wildlife Resource Commission; Marley Newsome, DrugCo. Pharmacy; Kendall Rightmyer, Mirror Mirror; Rusty Miles, HRMC ED; Nori George, WestRock; Courtney Harper, HRMC X-ray & CT technology; and Jesse Patton, Patton Mechanical, Inc.
On our last scheduled early release day for professional development all of our staff watched and discussed a short video called “Austin’s Butterfly”. The video is the story of a first grade student named Austin and the amazing progress he made on his drawing of a butterfly when given detailed and specific feedback from his classmates. It is interesting to watch the students led through the process of critiquing each draft in a constructive manner. There is evidence after each draft that Austin utilized the feedback from his classmates and the progress from the initial draft to the final product is inspiring. The video is a testament to the power of a growth mindset. Many times we minimize the idea of a growth mindset down to just continuing to work hard. In this short video, we see that it is much more complex. Students and adults need constructive, positive feedback combined with an opportunity to revise their work if we are to see evidence of progress. I have heard the phrase “less is more” many times throughout my career. Austin’s butterfly is a great example of this idea. In other words, fewer assignments with detailed and specific feedback along with opportunities for revisions are more beneficial than giving the students more assignments. I am attaching the link to this six minute video below.
I hope you have the opportunity to watch “Austin’s Butterfly”. I think it has a powerful message for us as teachers, parents, and as life long learners. I wanted to share this for that reason but also to let you know that our staff is committed to continuous improvement and that these days provided for professional development are utilized in a positive manner. Our teachers watched the video and discussed with other teachers through the “Google Classroom” App. Utilizing this platform not only exposed us to the content in the video but it also allowed teachers to learn a new application that they can in turn use with their students in the classroom. Thanks to a commitment from your BOT over the last several years HA teachers and students have access to four sets of Chrome books and many MS/HS students take advantage of the “bring your on device” policy. Google classroom is just one example of what is possible with having these devices at school. As a staff, we are committed to continuing to grow as educators and modeling the power of this “growth mindset” with students.
We at HA have had a blessed start to the fall semester. We missed a minimal amount of school and suffered little damage in our area during the recent Hurricane. This during a time when many in our state have suffered much loss related to the storm. Many schools in NC have students that were left homeless and some have had to relocate classes to off campus sites due to the damage. We all are blessed in so many ways that we take for granted on a regular basis. It has been exciting for me to see how our school has responded to others in need. Our seniors worked hard to pack almost 400 bags of food and supplies that were sent out to those areas that were affected by the hurricane. All of our students were able to contribute in a big way by bringing in items to supply the bags. As Christians, we should seek every opportunity to teach our students that we are all called to serve our fellow man in the name of “Jesus”. It was great to see our students show this Christian love to their neighbors.
The fall sports seasons are flying by and our athletes are hard at work practicing and continuing to learn and demonstrate that you can get a little better each day. All of our students have enjoyed dressing up for “Spirit Week” and are excited about Homecoming this Friday night. The Athletic Council will be offering a great meal and the game promises to be exciting. We hope everyone will take the time to come out and enjoy a night of fun, food, and entertainment.
The senior retreat was this past weekend and all indications are that everyone had a good time. It was a great opportunity for Christian fellowship as well as fun and games. On Sunday evening our seniors were treated to a motivational speech by Gilbert Portela. Mr. Portela is a long time member of our community who models everyday how we should love our neighbors in Christian service. He spoke to our students about the importance of giving back to your community and always listening to that little voice in our head that is “Jesus” speaking to us. We thank Mr. Portela for taking his time to come out and share such a positive message with our seniors. On Monday our seniors were treated to an opportunity to complete the ropes course at camp. It was great to see our students bond together and cheer for each other as they overcame fears to meet the challenge. The weekend was a great opportunity for our seniors to have fun, learn, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you to all of the staff of Camp Willow Springs for their hospitality in hosting our seniors for this event.
See everyone at Homecoming! Go Vikings!!
Dear Halifax Academy Parents,
We hope all have had a productive and relaxing summer and are ready for another school year. I would like to thank everyone for making my first year at HA a memorable one. HA is a great place to work and go to school. It is a joy to work with each student and be a part of their academic, social, and spiritual development. As educators we strive to challenge ourselves as well as our students to get a little better each day. We thank you for trusting us to work with your child as we work together to ensure continuous growth for each student.
Open House, where you will be able to meet your child’s teachers will be held on Tuesday, August 21st. The time is 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Parents should report to their student’s classroom beginning at 6. Staff members will be available to point you in the right direction. This is a great time for you to meet your child’s teacher and get general information. If you would like to schedule a more detailed conference to discuss your child’s individual needs, sign up sheets will be available in the classroom. Also, the Patrons will be hosting an ice cream social in the cafeteria during the open house. Stop by for some delicious ice cream and enjoy the opportunity to connect with other patrons.
This year we will continue to emphasize Bell to Bell instruction. Our instructional day begins at 8:30 AM for elementary students and 8:15 for middle and high school. We appreciate you having your child at school on time and avoiding early check out. When a child is late or checks out early, they miss important instructional time. If a child is late 15 minutes or checks out 15 minutes early, as few as 4 times during a month, that is an hour of instruction missed.
As you are aware, we implemented a new student information system last year called Ren Web. This system has enabled us to communicate in a more efficient way with all of our patrons. To insure this system works effectively the information must be kept up to date. Please go into your Ren Web account and update information, especially e-mails and phone numbers on a regular basis. If you need help setting up an account or wish for us to update your information please contact Shelia Wood in the business office.
We look forward to seeing all of our students on Wednesday, August 22nd, which is the first day of school. Remember that the first day is an Early Release day and all students are dismissed at 12 PM. Also, the Patrons will be hosting a “welcome” meeting for all Kindergarten parents beginning at 8:30 in the multi purpose room. This is a great informational meeting for our new parents. Last years parents reported that it was very helpful event that allowed them to connect with fellow HA members in a productive way.