Full Distance Learning

NKSD to Begin the School Year in Full Distance Learning
Posted on 07/28/2020
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July 28, 2020

Dear Families, Staff, Students and Community, 

Over the past several months we have been hard at work planning for the fall and returning to school. Throughout our planning, we have kept a fervent hope that we would have our students back in our schools on September 2. We desperately miss our students, and we know how much they miss school.
  

The situation with COVID-19 has been changing rapidly in our state and locally. I have had daily discussions with Kitsap Public Health, our school board directors and my colleagues in Kitsap County. Yesterday, Kitsap County Public Health provided updated guidance to local superintendents, advising against in-person instruction for the start of the school year. After extensively reviewing data and receiving updates on COVID-19 spreadwe have decided to make the incredibly difficult decision to begin the school year in full distance learning.

I know that for some people, this decision comes as a relief.  For so many others, I realize that this decision brings concerns, questions, and hardship. Each of you faces a unique set of circumstances, and there is no plan that can address every situation. The health and safety of our students, staff and families has always been our top priority, and due to the current trajectory of COVID-19 infections in our area, I cannot in good conscience open our schools and take that risk.

All students enrolled in our Hybrid In-Person model will start the year engaged in distance-learning full time. After nine weeks, we will re-assess the conditions in our county and greater areaand we will evaluate the continued guidance from state and local health officials and make decisions about how to best serve our studentsAs mentioned previously, students in the Online Academy will start and remain learning remotely for the entire 2020-2021 school year.

We know that in-person instruction is best for our students. We are committed to returning to in-person instruction as soon as it is safe to do so. In response to lessons learned last spring (and your feedback), our eLearning task force has been working hard to develop a vastly improved distance learning program. The distance learning model we will roll out in September will not be same remote learning model you experienced in the spring. It will be much more robust, structured, and consistent. We also recognize that distance learning presents challenges in providing support services to some students. We are evaluating the extent to which we can safely provide additional support services to students who need them.  

Here are some supports that we will be providing based on feedback we have received through our survey, our work groups, and from staff and families:

 

    • ConsistencyConsistent, predictable communication and instructional schedules. For grades K-5 students will access links, schedules and information through Seesaw. For grades 6-12, students will access all links, schedules and information through Microsoft Teams.
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    • Distance Learning Guidelines for Students and FamiliesWe will have a clear and helpful handbook that will serve as a resource for families and staff in how to successfully navigate remote learning and which will provide guidance about using Seesaw and Microsoft Teams. 
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    • Live instructionStudents will have access to live instruction from teachers. 
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    • Virtual small group supportStudents will have opportunities for small group lessons and support from staff. 
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    • Technology: We will check out digital devices for students who need them. Detailed information about device distribution will be shared by mid-August. We also encourage families to purchase a laptop for their student if they can afford to do so. Learn more about technology for remote learning on the technology page of the Return to Learn website.
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    • Meals: We will be working closely with OSPI and the USDA to continue providing grab and go meals this fall for families who qualify for free/reduced meal programs.
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    • Childcare: We will continue to work with our childcare partners and will work with local agencies and community-based organizations to support and develop community-generated solutions.
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    • Comprehensive professional development opportunities for NKSD staffe-learning modules, social emotional learning, equity, and more--all to be determined in partnership with the professional development committee and based on the work of the NKSD eLearning Task Force.  

 

We know you have many questions about the fall, and we are working hard to provide answers. More information (including detailed distance learning plans, professional learning for our staff, and supports for our students, families and staff) will be shared in the coming weeks as we continue to finalize our plans.
  

We had all hoped that this pandemic would be under control by the start of the 2020-2021 school yearIt has changed all of us in so many ways, and I share the frustration that so many of you have about the impacts of the pandemic on our personal and professional livesDespite this, nothing will dampen our commitment to our students, our staff, and our families. Please take care of one another by supporting each other in the community, following public health guidance, adhering to social distancing, and wearing masks while in public. Together we can decrease community spread of COVID-19, and help our students get back into the classroom as soon as possible.

In partnership, 

Dr. Laurynn Evans 

Superintendent