School Update 4/6/2020

Let me begin by thanking you for the overwhelming emails and calls of thanks, encouragement, and support as we have been working through this process from beginning to end.  We could have simply said we were following Jefferson County and closing our doors to everyone, but there is a reason our families don’t attend these public schools.  You expect more, and you deserve more.  If there is a way for us to deliver that, we can and we will.  We could have told all our parents that we were continuing with class for everyone, but that would not have been responsive to the needs of our families.  Again, you deserve more.

Last week, we met with our Faculty and Staff to transition to distance learning for the rest of the year.  While our goal was to get a full update to our parents as quickly as possible, we wanted to be sure that we were taking every safety precaution as possible for our staff.  This meant not meeting with more than 5 people at a time and having time to disinfect surfaces between meetings.  It took a full week to address everything we needed to address, but we wanted to take every precaution.  Safety trumped time.

As we progressed through the week and were able to address many topics, I sent out an update on Thursday on non-classroom issues.  The classroom update was to follow the next day, but as we were in the last minutes of the final meeting, Governor Kay Ivey announced the Shelter-in-Place Order.

At that point we had three options.  First, we could ignore the Shelter-in-Place Order and forge ahead with what took a week to develop.  Second, we could quickly review the Order and quickly change our plan in order to meet our deadline, but we would have to do so without being able to first meet with our staff so they would know the changes.  Either of these options would have been irresponsible.  That left us with the third option – let parents know we would look at the order, see how it affected our plan, adjust accordingly, and then meet with staff to bring them up to speed.  This is the only option that would give our families a complete, well-thought-out plan.  Our families deserve nothing less.

Our Administration has met over the weekend, and our staff met again today to make those needed adjustments and finalize our plan for the rest of the year.  We want to thank our parents for your patience during this process.  Again, the overwhelming response from our families has been one of support and appreciation.  Thank you.

This is an unprecedented time that requires an unprecedented approach.  Our teachers have risen to the challenge of changing their approach to every subject, and they have adapted how they can teach each one.  They have taken on the seemingly impossible, and they have done it in a spirit of love for their students.  This past week I watched as they cried at the thought of not getting to teach their students again.  I heard the sincerity of their heart when they said they would continue on, even if to teach just one and even if they didn’t get paid.  I cannot be thankful enough for the teachers we have here at Tabernacle.

We know that this is an unprecedented time for our families as well.  Some are facing financial hardships they’ve never had before.  Some are facing concerns about safety they thought they’d never have to face.  Some have been blessed to not have these concerns, yet they are left looking for some sense of normalcy.  This leaves us with a heavy and daunting question – how can we make a plan that works when every one of our families is facing circumstances absolutely unique to them?  The answer is easy.  We can’t.

Instead of creating a mold and asking our families to come to us and fit in it, we are going to meet you where you are.  If you are struggling financially, we will work to meet that need.  If you are concerned with safety, we will work to meet that need.  If you just want a bit of normalcy back in your lives, we will work to meet that need.

Our Plan

We had already created and put into place a plan for distance learning for our families.  Here is what you need to know about distance learning. 

Anything that is new and unknown can be intimidating, so let me address some concerns you may have concerning distance learning and what it will look like for you as a parent in the day-to-day.

  • We will not try to fully recreate a classroom in distance learning. Our focus will be the concepts and fundamentals that they will need for the next year. 
  • Assignments will be less. Assessments will be more relaxed and lenient.  In the end, it will be a chance for students with a low grade to change that before the final Report Card.
  • The emphasis will be on ensuring our students are grasping the concepts, without an overwhelming or difficult workload that will only frustrate and overwhelm our parents.
  • Because we know the importance of having our teachers be the educators for your child over these two months, we will also further expand our tuition help. In addition to deferment, there will also be a 50% reduction of tuition for April and May included in Our Plan.
  • We offer this while still carrying the burden of a full payroll of almost 50 employees. We say that to ask that if your family’s financial situation hasn’t changed, please do not request deferment.  You will still receive the 50% discount, but not deferring will help us tremendously over the next two months. 

Alternative Choice

If you are one of the families whose circumstances have dictated other priorities in your life for the next two months, we understand.  We understand you are dealing with other things right now that need your attention, your energy, and your focus.  We understand that you are concerned about how distance learning can fit into these other matters you are facing right now.  We understand, and we want to meet you where you are.

If this is your family’s situation, you can adjust the remainder of the year for your child to fit your family’s current needs.  Here is what you need to know about this choice.

  • In Kindergarten, your Q3 Report Card will be your final one. In Elementary, your Q4 grade will be an average of the first three quarters.  In High School, your Q3 grade will be your semester 2 grade.
  • Any student failing at Q3 will need to complete a qualified Credit Recovery program before beginning next year. Any Senior who may have been failing at Q3, or who failed a class in the first semester, will need to complete a qualified Credit Recovery program before they can be a graduate.
  • Students will be responsible for the concepts in their textbooks and workbooks that they will miss for the remainder of the year.
  • In contrast to Our Plan above, this will be homeschool. Our expectation is that your child will have mastered these concepts in homeschool before beginning school next year.
  • You will also be responsible for returning textbooks to the school once our facilities have reopened.
  • Since there will be no instruction from our teachers, there will be no charge for tuition.

If you are on the fence between these two options, I encourage you to continue your child’s education through distance learning.  Our teachers are trained, dedicated, and ready to have your child where he/she needs to be by year’s end.  They have worked hard to prepare a course of action that will be educational without being overwhelming.  It may be school at home, but it will not be homeschool.   Student will have full access to their teachers, and they will be leading the daily education of your child.  If you give it a try and find that you cannot make it work given your circumstances, you can contact us, and we will continue to work through what is best for your family.  Again, we understand, and we will meet you where you are.

If this alternative will be your choice, you must let us know before 3:00pm on Tuesday, April 7th.  This will allow our teachers on Wednesday to focus on those continuing with distance learning and helping them get ready for Thursday.  You can let us know by emailing Amber Peters at


In closing, I know this has been a lot of information, but there is simply no roadmap for what we are doing.  Distance learning will be new for everyone – Administration, teachers, families, and students.  If the plan we have on day one can be bettered, we will do it.  We will adjust, modify, and refine the process each day.  We will drop what doesn’t work, and we will expand what does work, all while making sure your child is grasping the concepts he/she needs.  In the end, your child will be ready for next year, and they will be able to restore those relationships with teachers and fellow students along the way.

I am excited about what lies before us.  I am proud of our faculty and staff and everything they have done to prepare for this.  I am thankful to our parents for their patience and understanding through all of this.  This will be a collective effort, but we share the same goal – the best interest of your child and our student.