PREPARING FOR THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR

Our current situation reminds me of the time when Noah and his companions were about to end their “quarantine” inside the ark. They did not immediately jump out but surveyed the land by sending forth a raven and a dove. With no results, they extended a week. Then another week. They waited until it was safe to leave the ark.

Don’t get me wrong. We will not try to make a pattern out of Noah’s days and weeks. However, the act of sending the birds to search for dry land is what we want to focus on. That was planning. Forecasting. A preparation to return to a “new normal.”

This pandemic forced some kind of a “pause” button into our normal routines. Some of us implemented the Remote Learning Center Education but the normal course of life as we knew it is still generally at a halt. But we need to forecast. We need to strategize. And while we are mostly on a wait-and-see mode, we cannot stop planning.

We posted an article on wrapping up the school year. That has to be done in order to launch a strategy for the next school year – and if needed, bring into motion a transition between the academic years.

In a meeting with the Department of Education last April 23, a major discussion was the “Learning Continuity Plan for the New Normal,” which refers to the use and implementation of modified in-school and modified out-school modes of learning. Private schools will be allowed to use flexible modes of delivery. Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio of Curriculum and Instruction said, “We will no longer rely on traditional face-to-face mode.”

This is an opportune time for School of Tomorrow® to shine because we have everything that is needed for the “new normal.” Because it has always been our normal for more than four decades. We have the materials and the procedures in place.

The question now is: HOW DO WE PLAN FOR THE COMING SCHOOL YEAR?

Here are a few practical suggestions:

  1. Make sure you end the current school year properly. If you have not read our post, “Wrapping Up the School Year 2019-2020,” please read it.
  1. Set a date for the beginning of your next school year. There is something tricky here. When the DepEd speaks of school opening in August – or the Inter-Agency Task Force recommendation of September – they refer to the face-to-face return of students and teachers to the classroom. The proposal, and we need to pray for this, is to allow schools who are ready for online or remote delivery to start earlier. As of now, R.A. 7977 Section 3 is still the guide for private schools – classes may not start before the first Monday of June and not later than the last day of August.

    Whether you start the school earlier than August or in September, be prepared to offer the Remote Learning Center for the first months or the first quarter. Parents will not risk sending their children to school if there is no assurance that the COVID19 is under control. This is the reason we expect a rise in demand for homeschooling or an alternative delivery mode like our Remote Learning Center setup.

  2. Set a date for general registration or enlistmentThis has to be intentional. While your school can have an ongoing enrollment during the entire school break, a general registration schedule (like a week) will give you a number of possible enrollees.

  1. Promote your school as a provider of the Remote Learning Center Education (RLCE). Point of clarification: Schools offer the RLCE only during times of extended closure of schools. This is not to be offered as an alternative option to an actual school setting. In other words, you cannot have some on RLCE and others going to school. Extend the RLCE for everyone as needed because of the pandemic.

    This is a privilege given to schools using the SOT
    ® system. We also want to emphasize that this is not homeschooling. Please read the post, “Remote Learning Center and Homeschooling: The Differences.”
  1. Make a financial plan. First and foremost, pray for provisions. We acknowledge that God is the provider of all our needs. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).

    Second, pray for wisdom on how to steward the ministry entrusted to us by managing our resources. Part of this is getting our parents to continually support our educational ministries and tapping resources. We are in a different financial situation because of the pandemic. Some schools were not able to collect the final installments from the parents.

    And if the next school year should open in August or September, where will our schools get the money to pay salaries and bills from May to July or August?

    There are government agencies that can possibly offer assistance with teachers’ and employees’ salaries like the SSS and Pag-Ibig Funds. Hopefully, private school teachers will be included in the government’s amelioration benefits. But while these may be channels of provisions, be careful in dealing with other government agencies that could get you entangled in their control. Remember, do not let anything move your dependence away from God.

Over and above these suggestions, seek God as a school community – from the administration, to the staff, the parents, and the students. Though we look at practical steps, nothing will take the place of seeking the mind of God. And this can only happen when we pray as one.

11 thoughts on “PREPARING FOR THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR”

  1. Hi SOT,
    Since we cannot travel to Luzon for parents orientation and children’s diagnostic, are you open now for the online option instead of personal appearance?

    I’m from bacolod

    1. Hi,

      If you are inquiring about homeschooling, I will forward your inquiry to our Principal, Mrs. Remia Camacho.

      Also, due to the high volume of inquiries, kindly allot a couple of days before receiving a response.

      Thank you for commenting.

  2. Mary Grace Jereza

    I really appreciate the articles. I just want you to know that DESTINY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY is doing RLCE since the quarantine started here in Bacolod. Very challenging though beause not all parents are into online and they have having a hard time. Some doesnt want to bother and face the challenge and some doesn’t want to coorperate. But so far everything is doing well with the students who are doing pacework during the quarantine. OUR SYSTEM is really made is such a time as this.

  3. Thank you, dear Bro. Eric. Your hard work, good thinking, good understanding of Dep. Ed. and also your understanding of our excellent curriculum is much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to put these letters together. We really do have a great advantage with our curriculum. but with the Dep. Ed. we sill struggle with meeting many of their requirements. We have been told we have to follow all of the demands that come from the Divisional and Regional Offices. We are running around looking for good books printed in the Philippines that will meet the requirements for 11th and 12th grade. Anyway, we will be having a staff meeting with Pastor Romeo, and our Supervisors to try and work through all of this. All of your experience and suggestions are sincerely appreciated. God bless.

  4. My concern now is about our inventory of PACES. When will the SOT start accepting orders again?We are in the middle of ordering when the lockdown was implemented. So thats my concern. We are in Zamboanga del Sur, Mindanao area,

    1. Hi Ma’am,

      Because of the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in our area (NCR) processing of orders is still on hold. Hopefully, once we transition to the modified General Community Quarantine after May 15, we will be able to accept orders. Please standby for further announcements.

      Also, if you are a key leader in your school, I would like to invite you to join our exclusive Facebook group (SOT®P SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS).

      Thank you for commenting.

      God bless and Stay Safe!

  5. Sophia Sacramento

    Hello SOT Phil.
    Can we have a uniform lay out for school promotion of our SOT curriculum that can put in each school page and that can be shared for maximum views/promotion. This is because not all schools are gifted with computer and advertising prowess.
    Thank just suggesting. God bless us all and protect us through this pandemic crisis.

  6. Ireneo A. Bugtong

    Dear Pstr. Erich Bernard Santos,

    Glad to read and be reminded as well as informed by your great article!
    Thank you so muc!
    God bless you and the whole of SOTPhils!

    Sincerely,
    Pstr. Ireneo A. Bugtong
    NGCAI, Iloilo City

  7. Aemery A. Faustino

    Where to inquire about homeschooling? Do you accept filipino students based in middle east??

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