• Family Bulletin 8/1

    “Your every action can open minds and hearts”
    #togetherallheartsandmindsriseCelebrating and thanking families for Orientation!

    Thank you to ALL our families who came out for our orientations sessions this week! We had a great turnout, lots of excitement, and some outstanding questions. Our team is working to prepare to welcome students back to school. We reviewed our COVID protocols to make sure Explorers, staff, and families are safe when we return. We will continue to communicate with you all as the year progresses and new public health recommendations are released. We have always followed the advice of the CDC and AAP, while also complying with local and state health guidelines. 

    Below are some of the precautions we will take this year:
    - Masking for all on campus
    - Staff self-screen 
    - Temp screening for kids
    - Assigned seats and areas in the building
    - Frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces

    Orientation and Back to School!
    On Wednesday we will welcome Explorers back on campus for orientation. They will meet their teachers, classmates, and learn new routines for this school year. They will also be engaged in some diagnostic testing so we can learn what they need to succeed!  There will be one final make-up orientation session on Thursday, August 5 at 8:30 am. Please plan to attend! Student Orientation begins this week. See below for details!
    Wednesday, August 4, 2021 from 7:45am-1:45pm- Grades: K, 2, 4, and 6
    Thursday, August 5, 2021 from 7:45am-1:45pm- Grades: 1, 3, 5
    Friday,  August 6, 2021 from 7:45am-1:45pm-  ALL GRADES
    Note: There is no school on Monday, August 9, 2021- PD Day for Staff
    Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 7:45 am-3:15 pm- First FULL day of school for all grades

    Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo Breakfast
    Each year we have a tradition of families sending off their kindergarteners to school. There may be some tears (Boo-Hoo) and some celebrations (Woo-Hoo!) Most of all it’s a great time to connect with other caregivers and celebrate a key milestone in your child’s life. This year we will offer it for both kindergarten and first-grade students since first graders did not have the opportunity last year. Please see below for details:
    Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo breakfast will occur on Wednesday and Thursday of this week directly following drop off
    All participants must be masked!
    Families should park on S 8th street (on the street) and walk to the school
    Families can take a picture with their student
    Students will go into the building. Families will not enter the building due to COVID protocols
    Families will be invited to the breakfast on the patio

    Ops Orientation
    For safety reasons, it is IMPERATIVE that families enter the school from S 11th and Dew street. Traffic then flows ONE WAY from Dew through the carline and out passing Martha O’Bryan and the Red Oak apartments. Please DO NOT come up S 7th and turn left to access the school. That can cause a very bad traffic situation and we had a few near accidents last year. We will now have nearly 600 students being dropped off each day. We have to follow the traffic patterns. Please see the attached map for reference. 

    Friday Enrichment 
    We are still determining how we may offer Friday Enrichment with some parameters. Enrichment traditionally does not start until following Labor Day. We will be meeting with enrichment providers to determine availability while also considering safety protocols. We are hopeful to offer some quality enrichment programming this year. Stay tuned in coming bulletins for more updates. 

    We love you all and are looking forward to seeing Explorers this week. Please, please, please, start reinforcing bedtimes, alarm clocks, morning wash-up routines, and reducing screen time. Even a few days of this will help kids get back into a routine for school. They might be sleepy!! Back to school this week!

    Stephanie “Ms. JT” Jarrett-Thorpe

  • Family Bulletin 7/25

    “A good beginning makes a good ending.”

    Dear Explore! Families, 

    Can you believe it is already and finally time to come back together? The summer has been short but our time apart has been long. I hope you all are excited about coming back to school! Our team is eager to see kids and families soon. While I know that most families are excited to return to school, many still have questions and ongoing concerns about the impact of COVID on schools and our community. At this week’s orientation sessions, we will talk about our approach to health and safety as we continue to manage COVID risk. We will be serving all students in person and are excited to reconnect as a community. I want to reassure families of that. We are excited to get back to school and are eager to get focused on core academics, PBL, and Social-Emotional Learning. 

    Finally, I am so excited to welcome and introduce our middle school Principal in Residence, Ms. Deirdra Smith! She will be leading our 5th and 6th graders this year with my support as she is joining our school community from New York. We welcome her to Explore! Our middle school families will have separate sessions to meet her, the middle school team, and learn about how Explore! will look and feel different for our most mature Explorers. Exciting times! We will have orientation sessions throughout the week to accommodate the 580 families we will be serving this year! If you have multiple students, you can come any day, and attend one time for all students, except all 5th and 6th-grade families need to attend a middle school orientation session. There are significant differences to the schedule, curriculum, and processes for our older students that families will need to know.

    Orientation is mandatory for all families. We have many updates as we come back together as a community. Please see below for details about orientation for this week. Family Orientation Schedule:

    K-4 (E!CS)
    Tue (7/27)- 5:30-6:30pm
    Wed (7/28)-5:30-6:30pm
    Thu (7/29)- 5:30-6:30pm

    5-6 (E!CMS)
    Tue (7/27)-7:00-8:00pm
    Wed (7/28)-7:00-8:00pm
    Thu (7/29)-7:00-8:00pm

    *Please limit attendees to 2 members per household for space 
    **We are requiring everyone to be masked indoors regardless of vaccination status. Please start to check Bloomz regularly as I will continue to post updates throughout the week. Please connect with others and prompt them to check Bloomz and our school website for updates as well. Let’s continue to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Next week, we will welcome Explores back for student orientation and resume full school on Tuesday, August 10th!

    Time flies, we will have fun and grow together. I am looking forward to seeing you all this week.

    Explorers! Rise up! Rise Up!

  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) - Round 3

    Dear Explore! Families,

    The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) has launched the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to provide extra resources for families to buy food. This program is about to launch Round 3 to provide benefits backdated to October 2020 and continuing through the 2021 school year to eligible students.
    You do not need to fill out any application or gather any documents. You simply need to make certain we have the right address and child on file for you and look for your card in the mail in the coming weeks. Hold onto this card as benefits will be reloaded each month your child qualifies for.
    How To Check Your Address And Child Information:
    • Please help us make sure we have the right address and child on file for you by visiting this convenient website and creating an account if you don’t have one.
    • Once you are on the P-EBT Parent Portal, please check to make sure we have every child listed that should be receiving benefits and make sure the address is correct.
    • If we are missing a child or the address is no longer correct, please make those changes on the Parent Portal.
    • To help you, we’ve created a video that walks you through the process. You can watch it here
    • If you do not wish to participate in the P-EBT program, you can decline to participate on the P-EBT Parent Portal.
    • If you do not see your child in the P-EBT Parent Portal, your child either doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements below to qualify for P-EBT or DHS is still waiting for your school to provide the necessary information to add your family to the portal. Please check with your school about your child’s eligibility, then check the P-EBT Parent Portal again once your school lets you know it has submitted your information.
    Who Qualifies For P-EBT:
    • The child must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program. This includes any student in a school that provided free meals to all students (under a special rule called "Community Eligibility Provision"). Explore! is a Community Eligibility Provision Schools. 
    • And, the child did not receive free or reduced-priced meals at the school because the school is closed to in-person learning; or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year.
    How Much Will I Get:
    • Students who are learning 100% virtually will receive $122.76 in P-EBT a month.
    • Students who are on a hybrid learning schedule will receive an amount based on the statewide average number of days students spent that month on hybrid schedules. For October 2020 that amount is $51.15.
    • These benefits will continue to be loaded on the card in an ongoing basis and can be used at any location that accepts EBT.

    Should you have any questions about P-EBT, please visit or call our P-EBT Hotline 833-496-0661.
  • TNReady Testing Calendar (Grades 3-5)

    Good morning,

    We hope this finds you well! As Ms. JT mentioned in the bulletin, we will administer our TNReady testing from April 21-May 14. During the TNReady testing window we will have an alternative schedule for Explorers in grades 3-5, so that all students can safely come on campus and take their assessments. Explorers in K-2 will not be affected during this window.
    Please see below for more information: 

    On site learners:
    Students in Grades 3-5 currently learning on site at Explore! will be learning at home asynchronously the week of April 26th-April 29th to allow for virtual learners to come on site to test. Please ensure students remain at home during this week. Please see the attached calendar titled TNReady Testing Calendar: On Site Learners for the daily schedule. They will be testing on site April 21st, May 3rd-6th, and May 10th. 

    Virtual learners:
    Explorers in Grades 3-5 currently learning in the virtual space will come on site April 26th-April 29th to complete the TNReady assessment. When coming on site, students will attend a regular 7:45-2:40 school day during that week to complete all testing. Breakfast, lunch, and transportation are all available for your Explorer during this time. Please see the attached calendar titled TNReady Testing Calendar: Virtual Learners for the daily schedule.Your virtual teacher will be in touch this week to gather more information with regard to transportation and contact information. 
    Thank you for your continued flexibility and support with regard to TNReady as we navigate another new system this school year. We appreciate you all. Please reach out with any additional questions you have and/or support you need. We are looking forward to our continued partnership


    Anne Roth-Waltke - Academic Dean (Explore! Community School)

  • Technology Return Day

    Dear Families,

    As we approach the end of this school year, we are collecting all technology Explore! has distributed. Explore! will offer two technology return days: Thursday, May 20th from 6:30-8:30 pm at Nissan Stadium and Friday, May 21st from 9:00-3:00 pm at Explore! If you have borrowed any technology (including a computer and/or hotspot) from Explore! please plan to attend one of the return days. Please carefully read and follow the information below prior to attending a return day to ensure a smooth process:

    1. Clean your technology using a gentle cleanser (spray onto a cloth-not directly on the computer).

    2. Charge the technology (the computer and/or hotspot must turn on before your check out process is complete).

    3. Bring all technology, including chargers.

    4. If you know the technology is damaged, reach out to the Operations Team in advance at or 615-784-8222. We will work with you to make proper arrangements.

    Note: Technology Return Day will adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols. All parties must wear a properly fitting mask and follow social distancing guidelines. Friday's return day will occur in the car rider line.

  • Orientation Information & Key Details

    Dear Families, 

    I hope this finds you well and excited for the upcoming school year. There are sure to be many memorable moments and a great deal of joy for our first day! I want to share some key information so that you will be prepared for the upcoming school year. 

    - Arrival will begin at 7:45 a.m. and will go until 8:00 a.m. 
    - Explore’s school day will end at 3:15  PM M-TH. On Fridays, we will dismiss at 1:45 PM. 

    Orientation for K-4 Explorers will be held on the following dates and times:
      - July 27th, 2021 5:30 - 6:30 PM
      - July 28th, 2021 5:30 - 6:30 PM
      - July 29th, 2021 5:30 - 6:30 PM

    Orientation for 5 & 6th grade Explorers will be held on the following dates and times: 
      - July 27th, 2021 7:00 - 8:00 PM
      - July 28th, 2021 7:00 - 8:00 PM
      - July 29th, 2021 7:00 - 8:00 PM

    If you have explorers in the lower school (K-4) and the middle school (6-7) you should plan to attend the 7:00 - 8:00 orientation when feasible. You only need to attend 1 orientation but orientation is mandatory. Attached to this post you will find our school calendar for the year and the K-4 supply lists. The 5-6 supply lists will be shared at orientation! We are able to accept amazon gift cards in the place of school supplies if this option is easier for your family!

    We will discuss our COVID 19 precautions at orientation. We are looking forward to seeing you all soon. 

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