Responsible Reopening Update for August 14, 2020

Responsible Reopening

August 14, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

The countdown continues! In just a matter of days, students will be back in classrooms, walking down the halls, trying out the new touchless water fountains, and adjusting their masks! Many think students will be filled with anxiety, and that might be true. There may be tears as they leave mom and dad as they have been home for several months together. But, I think the moment they see their favorite bus driver, the smile from a principal, their friends sitting in the cafeteria, and finally, their teacher, that is when everything will be ok! Now, the students may struggle with social distancing when they see their teacher from last year, the one they never got to say goodbye to because of the abrupt COVID-19 closure. In fact, that may be the face they look for on that first day of school. It is the familiar face of our amazing teachers that they long to see. They will follow their lead, do as they do. They will be brave, just like our SCSD team. 

For our OnCourse students, in this update, we will share information about computer distribution and other details as you begin virtual learning as well.

As a District, we are fully committed to communicate with all stakeholders including students, parents, teachers, staff members, and the community. Communication and transparency are key to executing the SCSD Responsible Reopening Plan.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Families may continue submitting new questions to responsiblereopening@scsdoh.org for quick answers from the District. Questions and answers will be added to our FAQ document on an ongoing basis. As a reminder, the FAQ document may be accessed here.

KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION AND ASSESSMENT

All in-person and virtual kindergarten students must register via the school website here and schedule a screening appointment by calling the assigned school of residence. Screening dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday, August 26
  • Thursday, August 27
  • Friday, August 28

To support our kindergarten students in adjusting to school routines and building layout, the District utilizes a staggered start approach for the first three days of school. This approach allows our teachers to have smaller groups of students with them the first two days to introduce them to school. The entire class attends on the third day.

  • Tuesday, September 1 - Students with last names A-L 
  • Wednesday, September 2 - Students with the last names M-Z
  • Thursday, September 3 - All kindergarten students in attendance

ONCOURSE UPDATE

Acknowledgement and acceptance details for families who chose the OnCourse virtual learning option will be sent in a separate email and phone call today. All students will receive a District-owned device and details for pickup are located below. 

Earlier this week, the District was alerted to some confusion among our stakeholders regarding OnCourse. In July, families in the District were invited to participate in a Zoom meeting to further their understanding of the platforms that could be used to provide the virtual learning programs to students. A FAQ document was created from the Zoom meeting and was shared on the District website, with links provided in the community update. As many of you know, families were asked to commit to their first semester preference, either in-school or virtual, by July 31 to provide ample time to plan for District staffing needs, social distancing protocols, and appropriate teacher to student ratios, both in-person and virtually.

The intent of the Zoom meeting was to give an overview of OnCourse and introduce families to the additional Pearson Connexus platform. As quoted in the Zoom meeting, “Students will receive instruction and assignments via Pearson Connexus, or Google Classroom, with assistance from either a Springfield City Schools teacher or a Pearson teacher.” Due to the high response rate from our families to participate in the virtual learning option, the District, in most instances, is fortunate enough to be able to assign our own professional educators to provide high quality instruction to our students via Google Classroom, a much more personalized and effective option, as opposed to the Pearson Connexus platform.

In order to give families the highest quality distance learning opportunity for their student(s), teacher teams were created to establish consistent schedules and expectations. These teams researched best practices for virtual learning, reviewed other district teaching plans, and analyzed community survey data. The term “OnCourse” encompasses all virtual learning. Through work with our teacher committee, the offerings have evolved in order to best meet the needs of our students. It is critical that our students engage in learning that will allow them to return to the physical classroom as smoothly as possible. By utilizing our own expert educators, best practices, and District resources, virtual students will better keep pace with peers in the face-to-face setting.

Thank you to the parents who brought this matter to my attention. I personally apologize for any confusion or miscommunication that may have occurred, as it was not intended.

I offer a sincere thank you to our team of amazing teachers, coaches, and administrators who came together in July to formalize our fall teaching and learning plans. This teacher-led effort and teacher-created plan truly highlighted the expertise of our professional educators. This expertise is apparent to me each day and is reflected in the plans. The District could not be more proud of the finished product and the level of collaboration that it took to make the plans a reality.

For your reference, fall teaching and learning plans can be found here:

Please note that the recommended time allotment for individual subjects may change based on scheduling and to best meet the needs of the student and teacher. 

PRESCHOOL UPDATE

Applications for preschool enrollment are now being accepted through Central Registration using the Preschool Enrollment button found here. To apply, preschool parents must complete the Gateway Registration information found on the District website, as well as turn in the preschool information packet found here to the Clark Early Learning Center.

Students who attended the SCSD Clark Early Learning Center preschool program last year are not required to apply again.

In order to ensure proper social distancing regulations provided by the State of Ohio, preschool will begin the school year at a 9:1 student ratio. Students will attend a full day, in-person  program two (2) days per week. The school day will begin at 8:45am and end at 3:15pm. Students will be assigned to either a Monday and Wednesday cohort (Group A)  or a Tuesday and Thursday cohort (Group B).  Teachers will call parents to let them know which cohort their child is assigned. The revised start is as follows:

  • September 8 - Group B
  • September 9 - Group A
  • September 10 - Group B
  • September 11 - No students in attendance

SCSD REVISED START OF SCHOOL CALENDAR: STAGGERED START

In an effort to help students and staff adjust to new policies and procedures, the Board of Education approved a staggered student start to school. The board-approved revised start is as follows:

  • August 26 - All students grade 9; Students with last names A-L grades 1-8
  • August 27 - All students grades 10 -12; Students with last names M-Z grades 1-8
  • August 28 - All students grades 1-12

SCHOOL AGE CHILD CARE (SACC)

Registration is now open to participate in the SCSD School Age Child Care (SACC) program. Parents may find forms and other helpful materials here

STUDENT CURRICULAR RESOURCE PICKUP

All K-2 students will be provided Language Arts (Wit & Wisdom) and Math (Eureka) workbooks to support their learning at home. Materials will be provided to students during device pickup. Other necessary curricular materials will be accessible through student devices. 

STUDENT DEVICE DISTRIBUTION

Student device distribution information for both Oncourse virtual students and in person students can be accessed here.

Today’s video update highlights the information found in the parent update.

Please continue to visit www.scsdoh.org for the latest updates.

The Springfield City School District is excited to welcome our students, staff, and community back for the 2020-21 school year. As everyone prepared for the school Responsible Reopening, some parents chose to send students back to the classroom in face-to-face settings, while others chose virtual learning. Some teachers have interest in teaching online courses, while others would prefer to provide instruction to students personally in their classrooms. Whatever you chose, it was the right decision for your family. The recommendations from state and local leaders will continue to change, sometimes daily, and the District will change too. 

However, it is important to know that we will continue to partner with parents to make changes in the best interest of our students. While doing so, the District must continue to move forward. Changes will not always be popular, but will be necessary. There will not always be time to re-group. Sometimes, we will have to make the decision swiftly and safely. Springfield students and families are brave, tough, and resilient. They are smart, determined, and caring. The Springfield administration and staff are dedicated, strong, and loving, always putting the students first, which leads to the District evolving to meet changing needs. Together, our District will get through this, and eventually reminisce about the challenges that we overcame.

Sincerely,

Robert F. Hill, Ed.D.  

Robert F. Hill, Ed.D.

Superintendent