remote learning portal

Upper School Chapel: Late Knight Show 2020
5-18-20

Lower School Chapel
5-13-20

Theology Thursdays
5-21-20

House Winner Reveal
5-18-20

Final House Standings
2019-2020

1st: The House of Marshal
2nd: The House of Edward
3rd: The House of Wallace
4th: The House of Lancelot
5th: The House of Arthur

Senior Devotional
Lana Brady

Senior Devotional
Mariah Vacek

lower school remote learning

We are so excited about all we will learn together in the upcoming weeks on our digital learning adventure! Thank you for continuing to pray for our Hill Country community.

Preschool

March 25, 2020

Dear Preschool Parents,

We pray your family is well and trusting God in all things as you adjust to new routines. Our preschool staff is diligently preparing lessons and activities that will keep your child engaged in learning during the time our campus is closed due to COVID-19. 

Monday, March 30:  Remote Classes Begin

Remote instruction will begin on Monday, March 30. You will receive an email from your child’s teacher by 8:00 a.m. regarding their schedule and learning plan for the week. Please refer to the Preschool Remote Learning Plan for detailed instructions and information.  We will consider our first week of remote instruction as a dress rehearsal for moving forward. If we find that we need to tweak anything, we will notify you. Please be patient with us as we enter uncharted waters.

Our school community is very important to us. To maintain contact with you, our preschool teachers will communicate in various ways:

  • Make personal contact (e.g. phone calls, videos calls, Google Meet) one to two times per week, per student.
  • Host online Google Meet for “Classroom Meetings” two times per week for 30 minutes. (Times will be posted on your Monday Agenda.)

We know that many of you will have childcare and work-related challenges. Please know that all learning opportunities are flexible. Your child’s teacher will be available via email daily. 

Psalm 91 tells us, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

We love you and miss you all! The PK faculty is praying for you and your family. We will keep you updated on any changes. Please let me or your teacher know if you have any questions or if we can help you and your children in any way! I was reminded multiple times this week of how thankful I am for my relationship with Christ and the peace that He provides.

In Him,

Jessica Tracy, Lower School Principal

Overview:

Every Monday at 8:00 a.m., each preschool classroom will have a comprehensive announcement video and agenda (via Google Slides) posted in your student’s Google Classroom folder. You will have the flexibility to facilitate instruction at your convenience. The agenda provides:

  • Lesson content and assignments for the week
  • Details on which academic assignments will be turned in for a grade
  • Assignments and activities created by each of our specials teachers
  • Classroom Meet times

Learning Expectations:

  • Check daily assignments posted in Google Classroom and complete them at your own pace.
  • Students are expected to complete approximately one hour each day. We suggest you break this into small chunks of 20 minutes per session. 
  • Parents are encouraged to read aloud to your child every day. Many people are reading books aloud online; it would be fun for your family to watch and discuss.
  • Students are encouraged to balance the additional screen time by spending time outdoors.
  • Students are encouraged to exercise daily and create a healthy balance of school and play.

Parent Support: 

  • Parents should prepare to help their student log in to Google Classroom daily to access and facilitate online learning with students.
  • View Opening Meeting and Weekly Learning Schedule
  • Plan to spend additional time giving directions, explanations, and assistance to your child.
  • Families should have already picked up necessary items (workbooks, books, etc.) for online instruction days. Please contact Sarah Bland if you need assistance.
  • Please be flexible and patient as we adapt to a new platform for learning. We know there may be technical issues and we will work quickly to resolve them. 
  • Please ensure that your contact information is correct in Blackbaud.  Should you have trouble, please contact bbsupport@hccsa.org

Teacher Expectations: 

  • Preschool teachers will develop learning experiences that include devotions, recorded lessons, storytime, lessons for letters and sounds, activities for learning to count and learning about numbers, phonics pages, art activities, and you will receive ideas for creating sensory activities to practice fine motor skills.  
  • Preschool teachers will share ways they can review and respond to work turned in through Google Classroom and Flipgrid. They will also provide feedback and can assist parents with learning activities.  Please contact your child’s teacher if you need assistance. 
  • Please know, we will be flexible with our students as we know younger students are very dependent on their parents and need close monitoring and supervision during learning times.
  • Enrichment teachers are creating video challenges weekly that allow students to interact with art, music, PE, library, and STEM.
  • Teachers will review and respond to designated work turned in through Google Classroom in a timely manner to provide feedback and assist in learning.
  • Teachers will have office hours each day; feel free to contact them if you have questions or your student needs help. (If your child needs to meet with his/her teacher, we ask that a parent always be present.)

Isaiah Project:

  • Read about the LS Isaiah Project in your Google Classroom folder and participate in at least one activity with your family every week!
  • Plan family dinners and game night. Take advantage of the gift of time!

Remote Learning Platforms and Technology

Student Google Accounts:

Log in to your school account at google.com.  

  • Login is: firstname.lastname@students.hccsa.org. 
  • Password: Knights4HC with a capital K, H and C
  • Notes:
    • Preschoolers have newly created accounts. 
    • Email capabilities are not enabled for any PK accounts. 
    • Google accounts are to be used for school purposes only.

Google Meet: 

You will have multiple opportunities each week to meet with your teacher and class through this online platform. Parents may also email teachers to request a meeting. Your teacher will post the class meeting times in Google Classroom. Simply click the unique Google Meet link to join. 

Flipgrid: 

Each grade-level has a Flipgrid page where you can record short videos and watch your classmates’ videos. It is moderated by your grade-level teachers and is a great place to record your thoughts and highlight your work. You will find the link to your grade-level Flipgrid in Google Classroom.

Lower School Faculty and Staff Availability:

  • The Lower School Office will be available through email every day from 8:30 a.m.. to 3:30 p.m. (times are subject to change).
  • The PK faculty will be available via email, Google Meet, and Zoom.

Click here for a guide to Google Classroom created by Mrs. Cheng.

Click here for a Parent Guide to Programs and Platforms created by Mrs. Whitted.

 

kindergarten-5th grade

March 25, 2020

Dear Lower School Parents,

I pray you are learning to navigate and embrace the “new normal” within your family and current work situation. Our faculty and staff reconvened virtually this week. They are not only working diligently but also with enthusiasm as they embrace a new type of pedagogical approach to teaching and connecting with students.

I am thankful that God has given us everything we need to continue to provide quality education and strong spiritual learning and support. I am also thankful for the support of each of our families. You are the heart of our school, and we are here for you! As believers, we know, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” (Psalm 46:1-2). 

Monday, March 30:  Remote Classes Begin

Please refer to the Lower School Remote Learning Plan for detailed instructions and information.  We will consider our first week of remote instruction as a dress rehearsal for moving forward. If we find that we need to tweak anything, we will notify you. Please be patient with us as we enter uncharted waters.

I pray for God’s protection and provision for your families daily and can’t wait until I see you again!

Blessings and peace,

Jessica Tracy,  Lower School Principal

March 25, 2020

Overview:

Every Monday at 8:00 a.m., each Lower School classroom will have a comprehensive announcement video and agenda (via Google Slides) posted in your student’s Google Classroom folder. You will have the flexibility to facilitate instruction at your convenience. The agenda provides:

  • Lesson content and assignments for the week
  • Details on which academic assignments will be turned in for a grade
  • Assignments and activities created by each of our specials teachers
  • Classroom Meet times

Learning Expectations:

  • Students are expected to complete approximately two hours of schoolwork each day. 
  • Students should read every day. Parents of Kinder and 1st graders are encouraged to read aloud to your child every day. Many people are reading books aloud online; it would be fun for your family to watch and discuss.
  • Teachers will review and respond to designated work turned in through Google Classroom in a timely manner to provide feedback and assist in learning.
  • Students are encouraged to balance the additional screen time by spending time outdoors.
  • Students are encouraged to exercise daily and create a healthy balance of school and play.

Parent Support: 

  • Parents should prepare to help their student log in to Google Classroom daily to access and facilitate online learning with students.
  • Plan to spend additional time giving directions, explanations, and assistance to your child.
  • Students should have already picked up necessary items (workbooks, books, etc.) for online instruction days. Please contact Sarah Bland if you need assistance.
  • Ways to help prepare your student to engage in learning experiences each day:
    • Have them dressed for the day.
    • Define their “work” space for school work. They need to be at a desk or a table, preferably an area that can remain set up with materials and supplies such as paper, crayons, pencils, etc.
    • Limit distractions: pets, TV, music, etc.
    • Encourage them to ask to connect with their teacher if they have questions or need assistance. We are here to help!
  • Please be flexible and patient as we adapt to a new platform for learning. We know there may be technical issues and we will work quickly to resolve them. 

Teacher Expectations:

  • Teachers are developing learning experiences that include devotions, recorded lessons, assessments, assignments, and times to interact online. These will be available through Google Classroom.
  • Enrichment teachers are creating video challenges weekly that allow students to interact with art, music, PE, library, and STEM.
  • We hope to send a recorded chapel session each week.
  • Teachers will have office hours each day; feel free to contact them if you have questions or your student needs help. (If your child needs to meet with his/her teacher, we ask that a parent always be present.)

Isaiah Project:

  • Take time to connect with your children in intentional ways by reviewing ideas in our Isaiah Project. Information is located in your Google Classroom. 
  • Plan family dinners and game night. Take advantage of the gift of time!

GATE :

  • GATE students will continue to receive services.  
  • Mrs. Smelser will contact you with information. 

Intervention:

  • If your child receives intervention services, we have provided time for that instruction. Mrs. Reisch will contact you to schedule live tutoring sessions.

Remote Learning Platforms and Technology

Student Google Accounts:

Log in to your school account at google.com.  

  • Login is: firstname.lastname@students.hccsa.org. 
  • Password:
    • K-3rd is Knights4HC with a capital K, H and C
    • 4th and 5th is Knights + your student ID number (ex. Knights1234). 
  • Notes:
    • 1st graders have newly created accounts. 
    • Email capabilities are not enabled for any LS accounts. 
    • Google accounts are to be used for school purposes only.

Google Classroom: 

Your classroom is now digital! Access your Google Classroom by signing into your school account on a computer. Second-5th grade students have been using Google Classroom in their Technology class.

  • Posting Weekly Lessons: Teachers will post the class assignments for the week in Google Classroom on Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. All subjects are under the Classwork tab at the top of the page. 

  • Turning in Work: Required assignments for students in grades K-5 are due each Sunday by 8:00 p.m. 

You can download the Google Classroom app for access to your daily lessons and assignments on your phone or tablet. 

Google Meet: 

You will have multiple opportunities each week to meet with your teacher and class through this online platform. Parents may also email teachers to request a meeting. Your teacher will post the class meeting times in Google Classroom. Simply click the unique Google Meet link to join. 

Flipgrid: 

Each grade-level has a Flipgrid page where you can record short videos and watch your classmates’ videos. It is moderated by your grade-level teachers and is a great place to record your thoughts and highlight your work. You will find the link to your grade-level Flipgrid in Google Classroom.

Ed: Your Friend in Learning/Math in Focus: 

If you haven’t logged into Math in Focus recently, go to https://www.hmhco.com/one. Choose the independent school radio button and then select Hill Country Christian School, 78750.  Your unique username and password were created by your teacher.  You will find these credentials on the Resource Topic in your Google Classroom.

 

You can find detailed instructions for accessing each online platform we are using under the Resource Topic in your student’s Google Classroom.

Lower School Faculty and Staff Availability:

  • The Lower School Office will be available through email every day from 8:30 a.m.. to 3:30 p.m. (times are subject to change).
  • The Lower School faculty will be available via email, Google Meet, and Zoom.


(Click to enlarge)

Click here for a guide to Google Classroom created by Mrs. Cheng.

Click here for a Parent Guide to Programs and Platforms created by Mrs. Whitted.

upper school remote learning

We are so excited about all we will learn together in the upcoming weeks on our digital learning adventure! Thank you for continuing to pray for our Hill Country community.

March 25, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

As I write this letter this beautiful morning, I reflect on our rapidly changing circumstances that are having lasting impacts on our world. The words of the Prophet Jeremiah come to mind: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

With circumstances much dire than ours, the Prophet Jeremiah viewed the present and future with the full assurance of faith. This is the perspective of the faculty and staff at Hill Country as well. And as we navigate the present and plan for the future, we are confident that the outcome will be a greater blessing than if we did not go through this trying time. With this in mind, I can say with confidence that our plan to continue providing an excellent education virtually, using all of the digital resources at our disposal, will result in greater blessing as well!

Upper School teachers are preparing to transition all Upper School classes to a live, virtual learning environment. We plan to maintain the rhythm and consistency of our on-campus classes and provide additional tutorials and support for students.

Friday, March 27: Beta Class

  • Before we begin live virtual classes on Monday, March 30, we are going to do a test run to ensure that students know how to navigate this new digital learning environment.
  • Students will participate in one beta test class this Friday at 12:25 p.m.
  • Students will receive an invitation from their Block 1 teacher. The Zoom meeting URL is also on their Block 1 course bulletin board/homepage on Blackbaud.
  • Students should email their Block 1 teacher if they cannot find the virtual class link by Friday morning.

Monday, March 30: Remote Classes Begin

  • 6th-12th grade classes will be live, virtual, and occur at their regularly scheduled times via Zoom.

  • Students will receive all class meeting links from their teachers.

Please review our Upper School Remote Learning Plan for details. We are adapting well to these rapidly changing circumstances, and pray God gives us grace and support during this extraordinary time! Please do not hesitate to contact your teacher or me if you have any questions. 

In Him,

Matt Donnowitz, Upper School Principal

Learning Expectations:

  • Students are expected to attend and participate in their regularly scheduled classes in a live, virtual setting via Zoom during their regularly scheduled class times.
  • Teachers will post the Zoom link for their virtual class on their course bulletin board/homepage on Blackbaud.
  • Teachers will take attendance at the beginning of each class. Students must be logged in to Zoom and ready to participate at the start of class to be counted present. Tardies and absences will be recorded in Blackbaud.
  • Assignments will be made, posted, and submitted electronically using Blackbaud.
  • Assessments will be assigned, administered, and taken electronically using Blackbaud.
  • We will continue to hold students to the Student Code of Conduct, including academic integrity.

Remote Learning Platforms and Technology:

  • All classes will meet for live virtual instruction via Zoom.
  • Students are expected to use their school-issued computers.
  • Teachers will post the Zoom link for their virtual class on their course bulletin board/homepage on Blackbaud.
  • Students are expected to turn on their cameras and microphones in order to participate in class:
    • Microphones should be muted during instruction except when asking or answering questions.
    • Students are expected to maintain proper behavior and contribute to the academic atmosphere of a digital learning environment. Teachers may mute student microphones and webcams if necessary.
  • Assignments will be assigned, posted, and submitted electronically using Blackbaud.
  • Assessments will be assigned, administered, and taken electronically using Blackbaud.
  • Teachers will upload pre-recorded videos and supplemental resources to Google Drive and Blackbaud if needed for a class.
  • Students can email bbsupport@hccsa.org for technical support related to their school-issued computers.

Parent Support:

  • Our partnership with parents is an essential factor in the success of students.
  • We encourage parents to create an environment at home for their student that is free from distractions during class times. Help them think of school days and class times as they would on campus.
  • Parents may be asked, if they are able, to help proctor electronic tests and quizzes to ensure a high standard of academic integrity.

AP Courses and SAT/ACT Plans:

  • Teachers will provide details for AP courses and the new testing policies set by the College Board.
  • SAT updates can be found here. The on-campus administration of the SAT, originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, has been postponed. The College Board will provide more details soon. Students who registered for this exam will receive an email with updates as they occur.  
  • ACT updates can be found here.

Weekly Schedule:

  • Students are to log in to their virtual class five minutes before class begins.
  • The weekly schedule (see below) has been slightly modified.
    • Mondays will begin at 8:30 a.m. instead of 9:00 a.m. 
    • Fridays, classes will not meet for live, virtual instruction. However, students are expected to use Friday as a workday and for virtual tutorial/help sessions with their teachers. Sign-up instructions for one-on-one tutorials will be e-mailed.
    • Middle School students with half-blocks will switch classes after 40 minutes.
  • Chapel will be available online. Attendance will not be required. Details to follow.
  • Homeroom will not meet virtually.

(Click to enlarge)

all school updates

Friday, May 15, 2020
 
Dear Hill Country Community,

It’s hard to believe we are entering our final week of the school year! As we consider the challenging circumstances of the past few months, let us remain thankful to the Lord for His provision during this uniquely memorable school year. I am so proud of our community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic this spring. Our faculty, parents, and students pivoted marvelously to remote learning. As a result, our students are on track in their studies entering 2020-2021, which is something to celebrate!

As we wrap up the year, we want to remind you of the details concerning materials pick-up and drop-off, graduation, and our end-of-year PTF meeting.

Graduation
I look forward to honoring the Class of 2020 next week! Seniors will receive their diplomas at an outdoor Baccalaureate Commencement Service on Friday, May 22, at 7:00 p.m., on our campus. Attendance will be limited to our seniors, their families, and our faculty and staff. We hope to live-stream this service so our entire school community can attend virtually and celebrate the Class of 2020 with us.

Materials Pick-up and Drop-off
We will hold separate drive-thru pick-up and drop-offs of school materials for both Lower and Upper School. We will collect class books, library books, and laptops. We will also return all of your child’s classroom belongings. The nurses will have a station where you may pick up your child’s medication.
  • Lower School: Thursday, May 21, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
  • Upper School: Tuesday, May 26, TBD
PTF End-of-Year Meeting
As discussed in the year-end PTF meeting this morning, I anticipate starting school in physical classes, on time, in August. During the summer, the COVID Response Team will work toward health and safety improvements as recommended by the CDC (and in consultation with local authorities and medical professionals) to protect our community next fall. If you were unable to attend this morning’s PTF meeting, click here to watch the recording. Check your email for the password. 

I look forward to the day when we can gather together again! Go, Knights!
 
In Christ, 
Dr. Jeff Marx

May 1, 2020

Greetings, Hill Country Family!

I look forward to celebrating our seniors this month! If you missed my video message from Monday, April 27, you can watch it here. I covered several different topics, one of which was to confirm plans for graduation.

We will have an outdoor Class of 2020 Baccalaureate Commencement Service for seniors and their families on Friday evening, May 22, at 7:00 p.m., on our campus. Seniors will walk the stage to receive their diplomas! Full details will be communicated to our senior class by the end of next week.

We hope to live stream this service so our entire school community can attend virtually and celebrate the Class of 2020 with us.

If the weather on Friday causes postponement, we will hold graduation on Saturday morning, May 23, at 10:00 a.m. These plans are subject to change, as required by local authorities. Please pray for great weather and other circumstances conducive to a celebration for our seniors and their families!

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School

April 27, 2020
 

Dear Hill Country Families,

I hope you will watch this update regarding graduation and the 2020-2021 school year.
April 17, 2020 

Dear Hill Country Family,

Thank you for your ongoing support as we finish the third week of remote learning. Hopefully, you and your family have been able to enjoy the cooler weather with time outdoors this week. I miss greeting you regularly in our morning carpool and desperately miss our students. Empty hallways in April at Hill Country are terrible!

Governor Abbott’s Announcement and Hill Country Plans
Today, Governor Abbott announced that all public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, deeming it unsafe to gather in large numbers until June. Fortunately, our remote learning is going well, and we will finish strong. Our recent survey results on remote learning were extremely positive (90% satisfied or very satisfied). We know, however, that some students are struggling. Please, if you are in the 10% that reported as dissatisfied, contact your teacher and, if necessary, your principal to remedy the situation. Everyone is feeling stress, and children manifest that stress differently. You are important to us and we are here to serve you!

As I discussed this morning in our Zoom PTF meeting, reconvening physical classes this school year was unlikely, and Governor Abbott’s announcement unsurprising. We will miss celebrating year-long achievements for all grades, in person; however, alternate plans have been made for each division to celebrate virtually. Our sense of loss is real, especially for our seniors and their families. 

UPPER SCHOOL
 
Spring Exams  
Mr. Donnowitz and the Upper School leadership team prayerfully and thoughtfully considered spring grading and exams bearing in mind this unique situation. They determined that final exams will remain comprehensive and cumulative, though not given the traditional weight of a final exam. Instead, final exams will be counted as a regular test grade for the fourth quarter.
 
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses 
AP courses do require a national exam administered by the College Board. Exams begin on Monday, May 11, and more information can be found here
 
Dual Credit Courses
Students in courses given dual-credit status by Colorado Christian University will still receive dual-credits during this time of remote learning. Recently, we received word that our Anatomy and Physiology course, taught by Dr. Art Cheng, received eight dual-credits. Students now have the opportunity to receive over 20 college credits, in addition to credits received through AP Exams. 
 
Logic and Rhetoric Award Ceremonies
The Upper School leadership team met this week to discuss awards and how to best honor and celebrate student’s academic and character awards.  Friday, May 8, has been tentatively scheduled to announce these awards. Additional details are forthcoming.
 
Graduation
We are working on unique ways to honor the seniors.  We are tentatively planning a “drive-in” graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 23, possibly followed by a full commencement ceremony in late summer. All of this depends on Williamson County and HCBC giving us permission.
 
LOWER SCHOOL
 
End-of-Year Events
  • Kindergarten Graduation will be held virtually and will include short videos and photos of your students and messages from your teachers to honor our grads. 
  • 5th Grade Commencement will fold into our 5th grade Knights of Celebration to make it an extra special celebration. We are excited to celebrate the achievements of our 5th grade graduates. 
  • Knights of Celebration will be held virtually by each classroom to honor our students for their character, scripture memory, and academic achievements this year.  
Knights Ahead Summer Learning
Lower School teachers will provide an extra six weeks of review lessons that are essential to begin the 2020-2021 school year. Mrs. Tracy will send a parent letter outlining more details.

YOUR FAMILY AND HILL COUNTRY FOR THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR 
The board of directors and I recognize that some families are facing unforeseen economic hardship due to COVID-19. Please know that we care. If you are experiencing loss of employment and/or severe loss of income that may prevent your student(s) from attending next year, please let us know. We are eager to work with you to find a solution. Please call or email me or our director of business services, Susan Dehnel. We are happy to talk through possible options.
 
In closing, we remain committed to providing each student with an excellent, Christ-centered education to ensure academic success and preparation for the future. Teachers, students, and parents have risen to the occasion. With God’s help and guidance, we will finish this year strong! Romans 12:12 says, Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” You have been a faithful, resilient, courageous, and persevering community!  We miss you and hope to see you very soon. 

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School
April 9, 2020

Dear Hill Country Family,
 
I hope and pray that the second week of remote learning went well for you and that you are excited to celebrate Easter this weekend and take a well-deserved break! Below is a brief update:
 
Remote Learning Parent Survey

Please consider responding to the brief remote learning survey. It only takes about five minutes and will help the school understand and address any remaining issues.

PTF Meeting

I invite you to join us next Friday, April 17, for our spring PTF meeting (via Zoom), at which Principal Tracy, Principal Donnowitz and I will speak, followed by a time of question and answer. Look for a link provided in Knightly News next Tuesday, April 14. In that meeting, I hope to announce plans for 2020 graduation and the balance of our May academic calendar.

CTP-5 Testing

We recently announced that CTP-5 testing (originally scheduled this spring) would be postponed until the Fall of 2020. We considered offering the testing online at home but decided to postpone because of the extra stress it would create on families, additional cost and training required by proctors, and added uncertainty associated with test results under these circumstances.

I miss seeing you very much! If you are struggling, please let us know so we can pray for you. Our moms-in-prayer group remains active, and my executive team prays together every Monday and Thursday.

Thank you for your continued support of the LORD’s ministry at Hill Country Christian School. Enjoy celebrating Easter with your family this weekend, and I look forward to speaking with you next Friday at the PTF meeting.

The LORD bless you and keep you; 
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Num. 6:24-26, NIV)

In Christ,
Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School
April 6, 2020

Dear Hill Country Community,
 
I am sending you a quick video greeting to launch week two of remote learning, and as a message of encouragement, I hope you will listen to Pastor Tim Hawks’ Palm Sunday sermon – it was excellent!

The principals made adjustments to remote learning from feedback given by students and parents last week. I will send an email on Thursday, which will include a brief remote learning survey. We value your feedback and continue to adapt in real-time.

We look forward to a great week in every (virtual) classroom!

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School
April 1, 2020

Dear Hill Country Parents,

Thank you for your gracious support as the school launched remote learning this week. As stated in my video message yesterday, we are working through a few glitches and making adjustments as we go. I am grateful for our teachers and their willingness to go above and beyond to facilitate remote learning. I am proud of our students and the way they have embraced remote learning, and I’m praying for our parents as they juggle working from home with remote learning.

Online Learning Continues Through Monday, May 4
In light of Governor Abbott’s executive order yesterday requiring all public schools in Texas to remain closed until Monday, May 4, we are extending our remote learning education accordingly. Please refer to the Remote Learning Webpage for the latest updates, and coming soon, a Resources page. Later in April, as the May 4 deadline approaches, I will communicate plans for the remainder of May. 

Activities and Events
Many important school events occur annually in April. Some events, like Prom, we have canceled. Others, including plans for our 2020 commencement ceremony, we hope to postpone or reformat. My executive leadership team is reviewing all remaining campus events to decide what can be rescheduled and what needs to be canceled. We will communicate those decisions as they become available. 

Athletics
The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) provided a brief video update yesterday.

Seniors and Their Families
One of my favorite verses of scripture, Proverbs 19:21, says, “Many are the plans in a person’s life, but the LORD’s purpose prevails.” My heart goes out to everyone in our community as plans are upended. I’ve been praying especially for our seniors, who are experiencing a very different and unusual senior year, absent much of our normal end-of-year events, celebrations, and community. Personally, I find solace in the realization that the LORD’s purpose prevails over my own. Nevertheless, change can be stressful, particularly when faced with missing the capstone final quarter of your senior year in high school! Please join me in prayer for our Senior Class of 2020 and their families.

I encourage you to remain faithful, pray without ceasing, and actively share the gospel as you have the opportunity. We have an eternal hope to share!  

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School

While everyone is away on spring break, the school continues to monitor the latest national, state, and local data on the spread of COVID-19. We are committed to offering excellent academics and Christian spiritual formation in the safest possible environment for our families. We believe current events warrant an added emphasis on safety.

In light of recent data, Hill Country Christian School will extend spring break one week for all students and begin remote learning on Monday, March 30. There will be no classes next week, March 23-27.

Everyone will receive communication(s) from the school by Wednesday, March 25, with instructions and information regarding access to remote lessons for students. Per school policy, our COVID-19 response team will meet regularly to consider the latest data and its impact on re-opening regular (physical) classes. For now, the school is committing to two weeks of remote lessons, from Monday, March 30 through Friday, April 10. Early in the week of April 6, we will announce plans to reconvene either with physical classes or extend remote learning for two more weeks, April 13-24. School plans after April 24 will be communicated at a later date.

Please review our policy, emailed last week, for details of our planned response to this situation.

In summary:

  • Spring break is extended through the end of next week (Friday, March 27).
  • Remote learning will begin on Monday, March 30, and continue (at least) through Friday, April 10.
  • Information regarding remote learning will be communicated to all families and students by their respective principal and by individual teachers by Wednesday, March 25.
  • Early in the week of April 6, we will announce plans to either reconvene physical classes or to extend remote learning for two more weeks, April 13-24.
  • Plans after Friday, April 24 will be announced as the situation develops.
  • All school events for the next month are under review. Announcements regarding postponement, cancellation, and/or reformatting of these events will begin early next week.

Every challenge is an opportunity. In the midst of a pandemic, what is God offering you? A chance to reach people with the gospel? Or perhaps precious time at home with your family? As we respond to protect those in our community at-risk from COVID-19, I pray we see God at work and opportunities to honor Him amid our circumstances.

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School

We continue to monitor the rapidly evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. As of this morning, with two confirmed cases of the virus in Austin, we are now at alert level three. Please review our policy, emailed yesterday, for details of our planned response to this situation.

  • Any absences for today, March 13, are excused.
  • The MAC signing this afternoon will be held as planned.
  • As of today, we expect to have school on Monday, March 23. If this changes, we will communicate with you over spring break.

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School

We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, primarily using The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( cdc.gov ) situation data, guidelines for schools, flu prevention information, and travel restrictions.

The school developed a Communicable Illness Outbreak Response Policy in collaboration with Hill Country Bible Church Austin (HCBC), with recommendations and information gleaned from a consult with an epidemiology professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, our attorneys, accreditors, and memberships. This policy is effective beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. We will use this policy to make decisions regarding COVID-19 based on data, in consultation with HCBC and local public health officials. The policy document includes definitions and links to specific sites from the CDC, WHO, and other sources of information.

In tracking our status with this new policy, the school is currently at alert level two. However, we are actively working on steps associated with level three to be prepared for changes in the situation that may occur over spring break.

To date, we have implemented the following:

  • Established a response plan (linked above), and a response team assigned to monitor the situation and make recommendations to the school.
  • Custodial team has increased diligence in cleaning common surfaces such as water fountains, restrooms, doorknobs, and handrails.
  • Teachers and students have been given Clorox wipes in the classrooms and are expected to sanitize their desks and workspaces.
  • Flu-prevention techniques have been taught in classrooms, and this information has been posted around campus, particularly in bathrooms.
  • We are actively monitoring absenteeism as a means of gauging our community health levels.

We are asking all faculty, staff, students, parents, volunteers, etc. who exhibit any symptoms of illness to stay home. School attendance and faculty/staff absence policies will be adjusted for the remainder of the spring semester to ensure that everyone with cold or flu symptoms stays home.

Recent studies out of China and from Johns Hopkins University agree that the onset of symptoms for COVID-19 occurs in about five days, on average, and that 98% of those infected show symptoms within 14 days. For young people and generally all people with normal, healthy immune systems, COVID-19 symptoms are relatively minor . Very few children were treated in China, suggesting that most experience only minor symptoms. But for the elderly and immune-compromised, especially elderly people with diabetes or respiratory issues, COVID-19 is serious indeed.

We will cancel or postpone all official school trips to areas under a CDC travel health notice, which currently (as of Wednesday, March 11, 2020) includes China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. If you or your family plan to travel to a region under a CDC travel health notice (level 1, 2, or 3), please notify us in advance, and plan to self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return, according to CDC guidelines.

Lastly, in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJ), Paul says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind .” As we take steps to protect those in our community at risk, let us view this challenge as an opportunity to shine for Christ in an otherwise dark world. We have confidence in our sovereign God and know that earthly trials like COVID-19 are temporary for all believers.

Have a terrific spring break! Be safe and vigilant. Pray continuously.

In Christ,

Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School

February 7, 2020
 

Dear Hill Country Families,

At Hill Country Christian School, the health and safety of your child is always our highest priority. With the recent news of a respiratory virus outbreak in China, I want to share the most current information from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) along with the steps we can take to protect ourselves and our school from respiratory viruses.
 
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The outbreak began in December 2019, and Chinese health officials have reported thousands of 2019-nCoV infections in China, including some that resulted in death. Many other countries have identified cases of 2019-nCoV infection including the United States. As of February 5, there are no confirmed cases in Texas residents. We ask you to pray for those around the world affected by this virus and pray for the medical professionals who are working tirelessly to contain the virus.

Our best defense against the spread of respiratory viruses, including the Coronavirus and flu, is prevention. Following these recommendations, we can reduce the spread of infections at Hill Country Christian School:
  • Keep sick children home. If your child has a fever ≥100.0, keep them home until they are fever-free for 24 hours. (They must be fever free without fever-reducing medication such as Tylenol or Advil). Keeping sick children home prevents the spread of the virus to others. Any child determined to be sick while at school will be sent home.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Additionally, desks and common surfaces at Hill Country will be wiped with disinfectant wipes regularly to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
 
We ask that if your child awakens feeling unwell in any way that you keep them home for observation to determine if further symptoms will develop. This is especially important in the lower grades. Symptoms of 2019-nCoV include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
 
Please join me in following the above recommendations with your children as we endeavor to stay healthy this school year. For more information, visit Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and we will continue to monitor this situation.

In Christ,
 
Dr. Jeff Marx, Head of School

athletic & fine arts updates

The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) hosted its COVID-19 webcast yesterday, March 17, and it is available here. We hope you will take the time to watch it. TAPPS will share more information over the coming weeks as plans are confirmed. We will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.

In His Service,

Mr. Scott Horne and Mr. Will Scott, Director of Athletics and Director of Fine Arts & Technology

To comply with TAPPS and CAPPS policies regarding COVID-19, all 6th-12th grade interscholastic competition is suspended until after Sunday, April 12, 2020.

Practices: Hill Country athletes and fine arts competitors may resume practice when Hill Country Christian School resumes a normal class schedule where students are on campus.

Games and competitions: No TAPPS games or competitions will be held until after Sunday, April 12, 2020.

The official TAPPS statement regarding postponements and cancelations can be found here. TAPPS will host an open webcast on Tuesday, March 17, at 2:00 p.m. to give more detailed information. Following that webcast, we will send another communication regarding TAPPS and CAPPS updates.

In His Service,

Scott Horne, Director of Athletics

Philippians 4:4-6

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but inevery situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

12124 RR 620 North, Austin, Texas 78750

Phone: (512) 331-7036 • Fax: (888) 237-7035

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