April 6, 2020
Kittitas School District Learning Community,
Hello students, staff and families. I hope you are adjusting somewhat to at-home life and staying healthy during this pandemic that is impacting all of us. I have some news to share that will affect the remainder of the school year.
Today, Governor Jay Inslee officially closed all schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This is a tough day for everyone who works in or is associated with education in Washington. Schools are a place not only for learning, but they are a place where people connect with one another, form strong relationships, celebrate successes, build resiliency and ultimately shape the foundation for our future. I know that many of you, especially our seniors, are experiencing a tremendous sense of loss right now. I feel it too and empathize with you.
We understand that the continued closure of schools presents many challenges for students and families. It also raises many questions. The information outlined below is what we currently know; however, we will continue to share further guidance as decisions are made and as information becomes available.
· Distance Learning: Teachers have been working hard to implement online learning for students who have internet access. For those who don’t, creative learning materials will be made for them. Teachers will connect with students and learning opportunities will continue.
· Technology: The school district will check out Chromebooks to those students who need them. Families will be communicated with this week.
· Nutrition Services: We will continue to provide meals to students who need them. Children between 0-18 can receive 2 meals a day at the elementary school from 11-12 Monday through Friday.
· Child Care: The District will continue to provide child care for children of first responders and health care workers. If your child is already enrolled in child care during school closures, you do not need to take further action to keep your slot.
. High School Seniors: High school seniors will receive support from our counselor and teachers on opportunities to earn credits needed for post-secondary transitions. We are working closely with the state’s college system to advocate for smooth transitions.
· Graduation Ceremonies: This is being worked on and when a plan is set you will be notified.
· School Activities: All school events, including sporting practices and matches, field trips, dances, etc. will be canceled during the extended school closure.
Last Day of School: The last of school is Friday, June 19th.
I appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we work to implement a whole new way of teaching and learning for our students in Kittitas.
Mike Nollan, Superintendent
Kittitas School District
· Like most other industries, public education was not equipped to transform the traditional learning model into something entirely different overnight, but our schools continue to rise to the challenge: delivering meals, providing child care for essential workers, and preparing continuous learning opportunities for students.
· The state expects all school districts to provide continuous learning opportunities for their students during the school closures. District by district, school by school, and even grade by grade, this will look different. Schools will employ a variety of tools for doing this: Phone calls, paper packets, books, workbooks, videoconferencing, online videos, television, online learning platforms, or a combination.
· This is not spring or summer break. Students will continue their learning, in some form, despite school facilities being closed. Parents and families should be prepared to talk their child through what's expected and provide support along the way.
· This continuous learning will look different than what educators, students, and parents are used to. This is an unprecedented moment in our world’s history, and one of the most important things we can do for each other is grant each other grace. Teachers are doing the best they can to meet each student’s unique needs. School and district leaders are working hard to ensure operations, including the provision of meals and child care, as well as payroll for teachers and other school staff, are continuing.
· Students' lives have been upended by this situation. It's important for parents and family members to talk them through what's going on, address their concerns, and make time to continue the conversation. More tips are available from the state education department.
· These times are tough. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, has a message of support for educators, parents, students, and graduating seniors.
Mike Nollan, Superintendent Kittitas School District