- Featured, Letter from Executive Director

Kicking COVID day 4

March 19, 2020


  • Your response has been terrific! We are encouraged!
  • Day 2 of Cyber School, so far so good!
  • Cyber High School plans complete! Beta test trial all day today, goes live on Monday! Pray! Check out their activities below from just today, to get a feel for what it takes to make this happen. Too bad we don’t make ventilators or masks:)
  • 119 of our After School Program parents have been contacted, interviewed with multiple questions to learn how they are doing and what they need. Two thirds have requested regular contact.
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Staff Leadership meeting in my new office (our dining room): Didn’t know having the staff in the palm of your hand meant four frames of their faces on my cell phone:)

Dear Friend,

UPgrade! UPdates has added a photo of the back of my head! Wow! Ok, not that exciting, I grant you. Unless you’re my wife who says she loves my fat head, or my grandmother who gave me the big ears (she swore they were a sign of intelligence!). I was in a drug store today and experienced two things, let me know if they sound familiar: 1) they had nothing that I wanted (so I bought Sugar Pops cereal and felt better) and 2) talking to another customer in line, neither of us could remember what day of the week it was! I returned home quickly before the Zombies arrived.

My wife is in a very high risk category. If she gets COVID19, it won’t be good. So we’ve created a level 4 biohazard interlock in our laundry room to remove shoes and clothes, wash hands, and shower. All purchases are quarantined or disinfected before being allowed in the house (3 days for Sugar Pops; sacrifices all around). It’s a pain in the neck and we know we’re probably kidding ourselves that it will be effective. Our Laundry Room Interlock bears as much semblance to a level 4 lab as two cans with a string does to your smart phone. But you know what? We love her with all our hearts and we will do anything in our capacity to increase the odds in her favor.

That’s our goal, you and I, for each other and for our neighbors. Do all that we can, even if it seems inadequate, insufficient, or difficult and hard to sustain, because as a community, we will do all that we can to increase the odds in our children’s favor, and by doing so, in our own. In Jesus name we love our children and their families. It’s easy at every point to decide it’s too hard, to rationalize why less could be justified, or to doubt it will make a difference. But when you love someone you do everything in you capacity.

I hope you don’t mind the different tone and approach of this letter to you. I want to be in dialogue with you, I want our community to be in dialogue, as long as COVID needs to be Kicked. One reason I chose now to share this is not because we are weary or discouraged. Quite the contrary! I feel like we get more done each day than we did in a month before. Day 2 of cyber school! Zoom training in all Team areas. Cyber High School ready to launch. Family surveys in full swing. And it’s only… it’s only…. What day of the week is it? 🙂

Yesterday I told you I needed to feel like you are there with us – and you have done that beautifully! Thank you! Soon our focus will turn to you, to invite your partnership in specific ways. I believe many of you who volunteer have already been contacted. More to come. God bless, until tomorrow. Pray for our kids and families. (By the way, Lori is creating a prayer list to send to all who would like it.)


UrbanPromise Academy (our High School, gr. 8-12)
UPA Summary 03/19/20
From: Joel Orr – Principal

<> finalization of CyberSchool handbook and standards
<> creation of Syllabus Template for each individual class
<> 8 computers delivered to students with Liability Agreement Forms for each 
<> Discovery of google classroom use and capabilities 
<> research of Zoom Premium and the capabilities it offers 
<> training of Zoom and Google Classroom for teachers 
<> creation of Online Classroom Rubric 
<> check in phone calls with each staff member

Vibe from Staff:
<> teachers are feeling the pressure of attempting a new endeavor
<> Teachers with school age children at home feeling a lot of pressure
<> teachers are feeling good about teamwork

Overall successes:
<> Demonstrated love to students by making sure they have what they need 
<> Created “weigh In” and allowed teachers to be involved in school wide decision making 
<> Collaboration between teachers at a level not yet seen 
<> Teachers are growing in confidence with online tools —> discovery of GoogleClassroom with Zoom opened doors for instruction 
<> The creation of a CyberSchool is nearing completion; Full day test Friday.
<> Community in Christ is being built 

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