The Year Ahead

Dear Veritas Families,
 
Greetings from Veritas! I hope your family is enjoying the remaining weeks of the summer, having good times with family, relaxing with the different pace of schedule, and staying healthy and safe. Our campus is buzzing with activity, as we continue working toward the priority of reopening safely on the first day of our 2020-21 academic year.

We welcome our many new families and welcome back our returning families! Despite being in an unprecedented time, we are enthusiastic about this year. We look forward to seeing our students on campus and online, engaging them academically and watching them develop spiritually and socially. This year is no different than others in one respect – our faculty and staff are deeply committed to laying a foundation of faith and academics, pressing onward through the current challenge before us. We are grateful for your strong support of Veritas. While this year will have its challenges, as a Christian community of learners, we will meet what is ahead of us with prayer, resolve, and a deep sense of trust in each other; and as always, our decisions will be guided by our mission and values.
 
The Year Ahead: 2020-21 is unique this year. It has been shifted online alongside our Return to Campus Playbook.  We have moved our communications online to keep the information up-to-date. You will receive several waves of communication from our administration and faculty between now and the first day of school. Additionally, we plan to provide several short videos on the return to campus and distance learning options, as well as behind the scenes tour around campus to see our classrooms and new configurations.
 
We also welcome several new faculty members to campus this year, each of whom is excited to share their expertise in our students’ development. We know that each individual will become integral to the success of our students. I invite you to take the time to read through this webpage to familiarize yourself with the upcoming year as well as our new faculty and staff.  They look forward to welcoming your children on campus and online this year!

As you saw reflected in our Return to Campus Playbook, we have given careful attention to clinical research-based safety practices combined with resourceful teaching and learning strategies. To support our priority of safely being on campus and providing families with the utmost flexibility, Veritas has made substantial investment in facility modifications, technology, and personal protective equipment. We worked together and with outside experts to create a unique way for Veritas to use our resources and our campus to open school safely. Our Family Pledge sets the stage for our safety protocols and expresses the part that each member of our community plays in maintaining those protocols. Please pay special attention to the Family Pledge detailed on our website.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our success in creating a safe environment for our whole school will depend on our commitment to those values that have always undergirded our community: selflessness, caring about our neighbor, and good leadership by everyone who count themselves as a part of the Veritas family: students and their families, faculty, staff and their families. We will move onward together as never before to fulfill the mission of Veritas in this moment of uncertainty and disruption.
 
To create as strong a beginning as possible, we have made some schedule adjustments to our opening days (August 19-21) in each grade. Our students, faculty, and staff need opportunities to grow confident in new expectations and patterns of activity on campus and online. We have decided to use the first three days of school to practice the new safety procedures and patterns of activity with smaller numbers of students on campus. One third of the students will be on campus each day so we can observe and modify the procedures as needed to be most efficient and effective. See the schedule below of which grades will be on campus each day.  Your child's teacher will send a daily schedule with information regarding the Distance Learning Option.  All classes will return to campus concurrently on August 24th.
 
Finally, in the midst of our planning, we know we all need to remain flexible and supportive. The coming weeks and months may present moments where we need to pivot to a contingency plan, whether as an entire school, a class, a small group, or an individual family. In those inevitable circumstances, we will press ahead, making the best decisions we can for our community and seeking first to support our students with safety as our priority. In any circumstance, we are confident that we will move onward with our mission laying a Foundation for Life.

Best wishes and I look forward to the new academic year!
 
Kind Regards,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
 
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
 
PreK-4 (arrive at 8:45 AM)
Kindergarten  and 8th Grade (arrive at 8:00 AM)
 
Thursday, August 20, 2020
 
PreK-3 (arrive at 8:45 AM)
1st, 3rd, and 5th Grades (arrive at 8:00 AM)
 
Friday, August 21, 2020
 
2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th Grades (arrive at 8:00 AM)
 
Monday, August 24, 2020
 
All grades PreK-3 through 8th Grade On Campus (new arrival and dismissal times will be communicated on a later date)
 
 
We pledge to:
  • Self-screen and screen members of our family daily, especially immediately prior to coming to campus.
  • Not come to campus if our student(s) or someone in our household is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Inform the School if our student(s) or someone in our household is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Notify the School of any potential exposures, symptoms, or positive COVID-19 test results in a timely manner as outlined in the School’s protocols.
  • Encourage our student(s) and their families to practice social distancing whenever feasible.
  • Have our student(s) and their families wear a face covering particularly when physical distancing is not possible or difficult.
  • Encourage our student(s) and their families to commit to frequent hand-washing and sanitizing.
  • Cooperate with local, state, and federal agencies in contact tracing efforts.

New Faculty and Staff

Ashley Phelps headshot
Greensboro College
Bachelor of Arts in Music
 
Mrs. Phelps is thrilled to be joining the staff at Veritas as the PreK-3 teacher! She has over 6 years of experience in early childhood education and administration, and has spent the last 9 years serving as a worship leader and discipleship coach within the Lutheran Church. Mrs. Phelps is passionate about music, hands-on learning in the classroom, and sharing Jesus with all of her students. Mrs. Phelps lives with her husband Jason and their three children - Isabella (14), Iliana (6) and Porter (5). She currently serves as a worship leader alongside her husband at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Meyerland. Mrs. Phelps is an avid outdoor enthusiast and can often be found hiking and camping on the weekends with her husband and kids.
Anita Silfvast Headshot
Åbo Akademi University
Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
 
Anita began her teaching career in Europe, teaching both in Sweden and Finland before she moved to Houston in the late 1980’s. She started teaching at a Christian private school and has since been dedicated to fostering the growth of the mind, body, and spirit in her students. Her goal is to provide a supportive and fun classroom environment to her students, where every child feels important, curious, and excited about learning.
 
Anita has two daughters, Annika and Ingrid. The only “child” left at home is her Swedish-speaking Pomeranian who likes to join her in his basket on bike rides. During her free time Anita enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors, and fine arts and crafts.
Eileen Lopez Headshot

Houston Baptist University

Bachelor of Arts in Information Systems

 

Eileen is a native Houstonian of Argentinian immigrant parents.  A few years after graduating from Houston Baptist University with a Bachelors of Arts degree, Eileen spent the next 23 years teaching in the homeschool community. Eileen and her husband Daniel were involved in church planting in Houston for 15 years where Eileen was the director of the Children’s Ministry.  Since then, they have founded In Depth Ministries , an outreach ministry in the Greater Houston area in which Eileen is active as a conference speaker.  Eileen is fluent in Spanish and French, and she enjoys gardening, crocheting, and preparing healthy meals for her family.  She is looking forward to joining the team at Veritas Christian Academy.

Karen Wong Headshot
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Arts Spanish
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
 
Union University
Master of Arts in Urban Education
 
Karen Wong was born and raised in the city of Chicago. She earned her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Afterward, Karen moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where she acquired her Master's degree in Urban Education through Union University and Memphis Teacher Residency. She taught in Memphis city schools for four years before relocating to Houston for her husband's job. She is ecstatic to join Veritas and is eager to contribute to her students' growth as learners and leaders. In Karen's free time, she enjoys cooking, playing strategic board games, and playing with her two dogs, Hazel and Ellie.
Thema Harris HeadshotUniversity of Houston
Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology
 
Thema Harris is a native Houstonian. She has a BA in English and Psychology from the University of Houston. Her familial background, enthusiasm, and passion for teaching has provided a firm foundation for her career as an educator. She has eleven joyful years of combined teaching experience with Sugar Creek
Baptist Church, Richardson Independent School District, and Atlanta Public Schools. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, and having movie nights with her family, which includes her husband, Jervon; their two children, Chase (12), Clarke (9), and their dog, CoCo (7). She is delighted to join the Veritas team and looks forward to serving her students generously with Christ-like love.
Vicky Swicegood Headshot
Lamar University
Bachelor of Science in Art Education
 
Vicky Swicegood is excited to be teaching Art at Veritas Christian Academy! With more than 18 years of experience in Art Education, she certified to teach K-12 Art in four states (including Texas). Vicky holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from Lamar University and actively participates in ongoing art professional development and workshops to gather creative ideas and stay abreast of best practices. She loves to bring out children's creativity through various media including painting, drawing, portraiture, clay sculpture, and other forms of art expression. Vicky has four daughters.  In her spare time, she enjoys helping the homeless, reaching out to those rescued from trafficking, reading, church activities, bike riding, and going to the beach. It is her goal to see that her students see beauty in the world and use their innate creativity to accomplish great things! Most of all, she wants her students to know that God loves them.
 
"There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." ~Vincent Van Gogh
Erin McDaniels Headshot
Middle Tennessee State University
Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance
 
Pennsylvania State University
Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy
 
Erin McDaniels received her Masters of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Penn State University in 2019. After graduating she relocated to Houston, and has enjoyed the rich musical culture in Texas! For the past year she has been teaching private lessons and performing, both as a soloist and in ensembles. Ms. McDaniels is looking forward to the opportunity to nurture and develop students’ creativity and musicality at Veritas.
Amy Lloyd HeadshotIthaca College
Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology
 
St. Thomas University (Miami)
Master of Science in Sport Management
 
Amy Lloyd grew up in a rural part of upstate N.Y. She received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. She later received her Master of Science in Sport Management from St. Thomas University in Miami. Her experience in the sports industry includes working in administration with NFL and MLB teams. More recently she has been involved in her children’s youth sports leagues. Amy enjoys getting away to the mountains, traveling, taking walks with her dog, and watching sports. She currently lives in Missouri City with her husband and three children. She is thrilled to become a part of the Veritas staff.

Faculty and Staff Changes

Kim Berger, Assistant Head of School
Yvette Schultz, Office Manager
Janet Culp, 2nd Grade Teacher
 

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