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Students, Staff and Community - Dedicated to Excellence

September 16, 2020

Dear Marcola School District Parents and Community,

A few quick updates:

I just received information from the sheriff’s department; Sergeant Wallace. Basically stating the fire is still located about 3 miles from campus, the fire is moving slow and they have a containment line on the west edge of the fire. *Area around campus has been moved to a level 2 status;  which means Be Set and Be Ready. 

Sergeant Wallace shared the fire can change at a moments notice and because of where the school is located at the intersecting pinch point … we need to keep the area around campus clear – mainly for fire personnel. Because of these factors, I have notified staff we will keep campus closed until further notice, thus allowing first responders full access to that area so they can continue battling the fire.  

Most likely MSD will not return to campus until we reach a Level 1 status.  The fire will dictate when it is safe for staff to return to campus. I will continue to update and keep all of you posted as information develops. 

District Work Behind the Scenes – 

  1. MSD staff have begun working to develop an action plan; for when we get clearance to eventually get back on campus … our Number #2 priority (behind safety) is how we can feed our kids/families during this time of need. 

Current food service plan(s) under development; 

Initial level 1

Feed basic school lunch – get food to the community ASAP – we will provide this as a service to all Marcola families. *just as soon as our staff can safely return to campus.

Level 2: … once we have returned to campus, we will begin preparations on making a HOT MEAL “school lunch” stylefor all Marcola families – We recognize some are without housing, power, and maybe even running water. We want to provide you all a hot meal. Look for more information soon. We will schedule a curb side pick up under a “grab n go” meal approach. 

2. We are currently working on contact lists for; how to reach out to families and assess how they are doing and what they might be in need of: Our team is working on details and data collection processes for reaching out and getting families connected to vital resources. 

3. Start of the school year is/has been scheduled to start Sept 21st. Details of when School is starting has been listed as the last item on this list … on purpose! 

As the district leader, an educator and a member of this community; I am reflective that although what we do on a daily basis is a very important task, really at our core: “it’s about the PEOPLE” we serve. 

Our first priority is the safety and well being of our students, staff and families. 

Please do not worry about school starting, when will classes begin, gathering school supplies etc. these worries should be your last priority  … Instead please focus on yourself, family and how we might help our friends and neighbors through all of this. 

If you are in need, please reach out and let us help. Please link to our district website for resources, contacts and information.  

Be safe, stick together and stay Marcola Strong! 

Mr. A
Superintendent

African proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

August 12, 2020

Dear Marcola School District Students, Families and Community Members,

It’s almost time to launch our 2020/21 school year!  

We have been hard at work this summer getting plans in place for our district to begin the 2020/21 school year on September 9th.  This year is unique and like no other, so MSD has focused on 3 top priorities, as we navigate the COVID pandemic restrictions against our desire to safely bring our students back to school.  

MSD Priority #1 – MSD will offer only the highest possible safety conditions, procedures and protocols for ALL  students, staff and community members to safely operate. (NOTE these are ever evolving and changing guidance(s) and metrics being received from ODE, Lane County Health Dept – follow our website for the latest updates).

Priority #2 – We are working to develop and deliver the highest possible instructional model(s) available (we will be using Schoology/Google Classroom). Starting the year off through the CDL model, we are developing a plan(s) of how to eventually transition into at least a hybrid learning model. ***Look for more discussion and detailed information sharing about Cohorts / PODS from each school in September. 

Priority #3 – MSD is also taking into account the local challenges faced by our community while attempting to problem solve as many needs as we can accommodate in order to support our students, parents and community. (Instructional supports, childcare, schedules, food services, transportation, health and safety, mental well being etc).    

We have multiple changes to announce.

  • ALL– Due to state guidance around meeting infection metrics, we will start the year with Comprehensive Distance Learning. CDL will be an increase in both rigor and expectations over the emergency distance learning model used last Spring.  
    • Mohawk HS Students are required to participate and complete assignments and will earn letter grades again which will affect their GPA.  For more information about state requirements for school in the Fall see the MSD website at www.marcola.k12.or.us.  More information will be posted to help you prepare for school this year.
    • Marcola Elementary Students will be required to participate in class learning (virtually and eventually in person, with assignments, group activities and daily attendance) as directed by their classroom teacher.
  • ALL – Technology upgrades are happening now to prepare new computers for student use in the fall.  We have replaced and refurbished older computers and chromebooks to hit the ground running when school starts.  Students will be picking up computers the first week of school, September 9th. We will share time for families to drive thru and pick up comprehensive school packets (items included in packet; assigned school computer, required supplies, all password and login instructions along with specific directions from your classroom teacher(s).
  • Mohawk HS – Students will be clustered in learning cohorts or “pods”.  This will help to facilitate an eventual transition from Comprehensive Distance Learning to possible on-site instructional with required health precautions (which could include limiting student contacts to a smaller cohort of students) according to state required metrics.   Each student group will operate with two teachers to cover core curriculum and one or more elective offerings for the groups.  This model will further simplify communication and will allow for one-on-one and small group supports as needed.
  • Mohawk HS – Once we transition from the CDL model and eventually into; a Hybrid or on-site learning, Mohawk HS will move into a 5 period day with 3 trimesters for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.  This 5X3 model will accomplish several things- 
    1. Make it easier to communicate with fewer teachers on a daily basis, 
    2. Allow longer daily class time to participate in learning activities such as projects and other hands-on curriculum, 
    3. Offer high school students the opportunity to earn 7.5 credits, ½ credit more than last year, to help regain credits they may have missed in the spring, and 
    4. Align with the college quarter system for students taking dual credit or college courses.
  • ALL – The Schoology Learning Management System (LMS) / “Schoology” will be up and running in every class.  This program creates a bridge between the old Google Classroom and the PowerSchool Student Information System, as well as a single place for students to access coursework, turn in assignments, monitor their grades, etc.  More information and instructions for using Schoology will be shared when students pick up their computers in September and video tutorials will be available on the district website.
  • Marcola Elementary Students – The sixth graders have returned (virtually to start then in person) to the elementary school campus this year.  They look forward to all the fun and exciting activities going on at Marcola Elementary, and will move up to the Jr/Sr high school as 7th graders.
  • Mohawk HS – Is in search of Student Leaders!  Since we didn’t get to hold Student Body Officer elections this spring, we will be holding them early in the fall.  Stay tuned for more information about how to campaign and/or vote as we start the school year in September.  
  • Mohawk HS – OSAA recently sent out guidance for athletics for the 2020-21 school year.  We are using a revised calendar that pushes back the start dates for the fall season until later in the year.  Again, to see the calendar, please access the website for the latest OSAA updates..
  • ALL – Movement and notifications about moving from CDL to Hybrid to full-time On-Campus models and metrics can be found on our district website.  Check back often for the ever changing updates.  Also stay tuned for more information coming – email communication will be sent to the address(es) you have on file with the school.  If you are not receiving updates, please contact the office to verify your contact information.
  • ALL – Online registration is required for all families of students in Marcola, both new and returning students.  Watch for the email with your code and specific link to the registration system coming on or about August 17th. (If you have not received it by the 19th, please check your spam box and contact the school.) Please make sure the information we have is up to date and accurate so you can stay in the loop about school happenings and key information.

**Due to the COVID conditions, it is imperative that ALL students complete the on-line registration form so our district can best anticipate and match the number of students we can expect with the level of staffing needed to instruct and support our students.

As you can tell, there are a lot of really exciting and ever changing conditions taking place at MSD, as well as some things that are out of our local control. This year may pose some different challenges that may seem greater than anything we have faced in the past, but I have every confidence that our amazing Mustang Family will come together and rise to face these challenges head on.

Go Mustangs!!

Sincerely,
Mr. A

Dear Marcola School District; Students, Parents, Staff and Community Members.

As of August 10, 2020 Marcola School District has an important update to share about the start of the coming school year.

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2020, the State issued new rules for opening Oregon schools (PDF) to in-person instruction, requiring a consistently low rate of new COVID cases. Neither Lane County nor the state of Oregon are currently meeting those low rates of new infection.
  • Marcola School District schools are continuing to plan for a return to in-person instruction at some point during the 2020-21 school year.
  • The #1 priority remains the health and safety for our students, families, and staff.

Opening Online: It has become clear that we must start the school year with 100% online instruction for all students. We will welcome all students back into our schools as soon as public health conditions allow.

This decision is a disappointment to many students and families who have been anticipating a return to school.  It is also a relief to those who have been hesitant about a return to in-person instruction in the midst of a pandemic.

Here are the new required COVID-19 baseline numbers (PDF) we need to meet in order for us to open schools for in-person instruction. We were at these rates in May and June, and they are our new community-wide goal:

Lane County metrics– must be met three weeks in a row:

  • 10 or fewer positive cases per 100,000 population in the preceding 7 days
  • 5% or fewer positive tests in Lane County in the preceding 7 days

–  AND –

State metric must be met three weeks in a row:

  • Test positivity rate of 5% or less in the preceding 7 days

K-3 Students: The state is more lenient on the baseline COVID numbers for opening doors for K-3 students. Research shared by Oregon Health Authority has shown that children under 10 get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults.

So, while there is a possibility we will bring back K-3 students earlier than grades 4-12, all students will start with MSD Online learning. We will share updates with you as soon as possible.

MSD Online Learning: While starting this school year remotely is not ideal for many students and families, we have learned from the feedback our Marcola families provided after our emergency distance learning experience this spring. Marcola is committed to offering every child a rigorous online curriculum, four days a week, with daily contact from our dedicated teachers. We are committed to ensuring that our students continue to have access to the wide variety of classes and experiences available with in-person learning. To learn more about MSD Online learning, visit the following link to find Reopening Plan Updates and Resources.

A community outreach forum will be held on August 19, 2020 at 6:00 PM to allow parents and community members additional opportunities for a Q&A session with the Superintendent and MSD staff. *The live Community Zoom Q&A Forum will take place on August 19th at 6:00 pm. Please join us by Zoom. 

Our goal remains to bring MSD students and staff back to school as soon as is safely possible. The lower COVID-19 rates required by the state will become a community-wide goal that we can achieve by being diligent in our own health and safety behaviors.

So, while watching the COVID-19 numbers each day, our work is continuing, in order to provide the best possible education for all Marcola/Mohawk student’s.

 

Sincerely,

Terry Augustadt

Marcola School District Superintendent

 

July 28, 2020

To: MSD 79J Families and Community Members
Re: Operational Blueprint Update and Status for our Reopening Plan for School Year 2020-21

We miss being together in-person, in school, and as a community. We hope you are healthy and safe, and we appreciate all you are doing to support one another and the Marcola School District in a time of need. We are preparing to be strong, safe, and ready, because all children need access to an equitable, high quality education and all the nutrition, health, and social supports that come with it. You are our essential partners, and many of you have given us your time and energy as we develop a plan for how school is being organized and delivered in 2020-21.

As we look towards the coming school year, Governor Brown has begun the process of reopening and building a safe and strong Oregon. This fall Oregon will begin a process to provide in-person instruction in our schools again. However, we will still be living under the virus, and community-wide immunity is many months off. Governor Brown has said, “I again ask Oregonians to come together and be smart. Reopening any part of our state comes with risk. This virus is still very dangerous, and it still poses a great threat. Please follow the safety measures we are putting in place.” 

As mentioned previously, on June 10, 2020, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance designed for school leaders that puts forward the requirements and recommendations we will use to plan for the fall. Oregon Health Authority epidemiologists helped create and vet this guidance so that we could have clear health and safety protocols to follow for a variety of scenarios. The guidance was updated during the summer according to feedback and contextual changes. 

MSD’s District Leadership Team have been called back to work early, and assigned the task to develop a first draft of an Operational Blueprint for Reentry. We are holding a Reopening Task Force work session this Friday July 31st to address and prepare for our schools to come back to school this fall. We can also anticipate and predict ADDITIONAL changes along the way, and we will all need continued efforts to navigate the state’s evolving efforts to mitigate COVID-19.

Our district, will determine whether we select one of three options this fall; 

  1. Option #1: teach all students on-site 
  2. Option #2: teach all students through new comprehensive distance learning 
  3. Option #3: utilize a hybrid model. *Possible combination of 2 options. 

Our plan is currently to start school on time (September 8th/9th) with Option #1 – on-site, and then shifting to a possible hybrid instructional model. This idea is based on our distinct strengths and the needs of the Marcola School District. 

MARCOLA – Feedback WILL BE Needed from you! (Marcola Parents/Community Members) future engagement will be conducted through the district website with links to surveys and the use of a feedback hotline to be set up. We ultimately need to hear from you about “what works and what isn’t working” so we can best respond to the needs of our community.

Marcola School District’s TOP 3 Priorities – in response to COVID-19: 

  1. Safety of Students, Staff and Community
  2. Provide Highest POSSIBLE Instructional Model(s)
  3. Responsive to Community / Culture Needs

*Special Note: The MSD blueprint also includes a communicable disease plan and close coordination between our schools, other school districts within the county, and the local public health authorities. 

As I share information, I want you all to know that behind the scenes we (MSD Staff) are working hard to develop a comprehensive plan focused on getting our district re-opened safely while taking into consideration the needs of all our stakeholders; kids, staff, parents and community members. 

Rough DRAFT Timeline: 

July 31st  (Work session) – Re-opening Task Force Planning: meet to develop a “rough draft” blueprint for MSD

August 3rd – our draft is sent to MSD staff and to MSD School Board: (Share Information)

**Provide folks with the disclaimer … they will all have a few days to “digest and provide us with a feedback loop” on any items we didn’t consider / think of etc. 

*August 6th: MSD Board Work Session: Goals/Vision Share (separate topics but connected tasks)

August 7th-9th. Make necessary edits and adjustments to our plan … try and consider all workable suggestions: (Edit/Consider Feedback)

August 10th: Formally share this plan with the MSD School Board. (Share Information)

August 11th: Media release is sent to parents and community members with information on our plan. (Share Information)

*Secondly, on the 11th: Solicitation letter is immediately sent out: soliciting feedback and opportunities for community feedback. A District survey Link will be activated and go live.  (Edit/ Consider Feedback)

August 12th-14th: Receive feedback – from the community and make adjustments to the plan… as much as feasibly possible. (Edits) 

August 15th: Submit MSD Blueprint Plan to ODE, LCHD and LCESD. (Share Information / Document) 

August 15th – August 31st: ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE(S) / MODIFY AS NEEDED – DRAFT: *Gauge Community need(s), possibly hold “open live forum” invite through FB meeting, have Q&A sessions if available etc. Be responsive to feedback and assign taskforce members to help problem-solve through the needs. (Respond to Feedback / Find Solution(s))

August 15th – August 31st: Continue with Safety and Reopening Protocols / trainings etc. (Message PSA’s through FB/MSD Web site – having our safety teams showcasing our clean facilities / safety protocols, and new operating procedures.)    

August 31st- Sept 3rd: Staff (ONLY) Inservice – Instructional/Operational goals and plans are under current development.

Sept 8th/9th: Start of School. *with on-site learning, – or possible use of combination of multiple models. *New parent friendly calendar will be released with updates and planning details. 

We are honored to work beside you to meet the challenges and opportunities of this moment. The immense effort we must all contribute, and the patience that will be necessary as health circumstances shift over time, is well worth it for the sake of the MSD students to receive learning in a safe, ready school environment. 

Sincerely,

Terry Augustadt

Superintendent/Elementary Principal

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