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Students, Staff and Community - Dedicated to Excellence

Update as of Tuesday, March 24th.

As we enter day 2 of Spring Break, I know we are all inundated with emails, phone calls, zoom meetings, and those darn Superintendent Updates.  For that reason, I will try to keep my updates short and to the point.

Again, thank you all for your dedication to our children, families, staff and yourself.  Thank you for your patience as we experience unprecedented times in the process of providing a Fair and Appropriate Public Education for all students.  It’s not easy and we have all assumed an enormous responsibility to work through these challenges in the best interest of our kids and community.

Food Service: We will continue to offer pick up and delivery of food to our families every Monday and Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.  Huge thanks to our staff who have agreed to assist with food service – you’re amazing. If you know of someone who may need assistance with food service, please contact us at 541-933-2512.

Students, Credits and Graduation: 

  • ODE is currently reviewing possible revisions to graduation requirements for Seniors
  • Mohawk High School is continuing virtual education and all students can access their teacher and course assignments through Google Classroom.  
  • All teachers will be connecting with students at a minimum of two times per week.
  • We will offer students extended time and support in the summer to complete courses.
  • Our web-site has some excellent resources for parents, students and staff.  Teachers will also be sharing additional resources.
  • Graduation date has not changed (until further notice)
  • ESSA Waiver for Cancelling SBAC (Testing) has been approved (No Testing)

Emergency Child Care: 

  • Marcola School District will most likely be partnering with other school districts or agencies to provide Emergency Child Care.
  • We are waiting for more guidance from ODE and OHA.

Essential Services

We have all been ordered to stay home unless you provide an essential service.  Food Service, Maintenance and Cleaning, Delivery of services (Transportation), are all essential services.

Essential Services for yourself:

Get sufficient sleep • Take regular breaks • Exercise • Eat well • Connect with others (virtually) • Take some time alone • Take the time off that you are given • Balance giving and receiving support • Go for a hike • Tell your partner you love them • Hug your child • Walk your dog/pet your cat  • Create art • Build something • Make a donation • Write about your experience in a journal • Utilize a self-care ‘buddy’ system • Balance work, play, and rest.  

Update as of Monday, March 23rd.

As promised, I will be checking in with staff, students and community on a regular basis to provide ongoing, updated information.  I have another meeting on Tuesday with ODE and Superintendents to discuss any changes in our plans to continue providing essential needs for our families.

A big THANK YOU to our staff who have the capacity to help with food service, online/virtual instruction and possibly day care for our parents who are providing essential services for our communities.  Those who cannot leave their homes for any reason – I understand. My 90 year old mother lives with us and I’m being extra careful not to expose her to what could be a life ending illness. With that said, I know those of you who do not have the capacity to help outside of your home, I know you are still going above and beyond for your family, neighbors and community as a whole.  Thank you!

Our students—Our students have been checking in with teachers and support staff in a virtual environment at least twice a week, more if necessary.  We know the sudden loss of the consistency and structure in a traditional brick and mortar education setting can be challenging. Fortunately, our students have been trained to access and use technology in a virtual setting to continue their education.  Thank you teachers and support staff for consistently checking in with students and families – students are comforted when they connect with you.

Essential Services—Some of you have been wondering about new calls for social distancing (Register Guard article) and what it means to remain open as an “essential service” (e.g. businesses) or go out (doctor appt. or grocery stores, walk in the neighborhood, etc.).

School Districts, under the Governor’s Executive order, were put in paid status in an effort to provide and ensure essential services are available to students (food, supplementary education) and to medical providers and first responders (childcare). We are operating, and will continue to operate, as an essential service entity until different explicit guidance is provided. It is a new way of thinking as we work under emergency conditions, but it makes sense that we would be called upon to do this critical work given our knowledge of working with children, our capacity to feed them, and our available spaces to open child care. And, as our community is reeling from the loss of work, we have been prioritized, in paid status, to provide these essential services. I know that some of our own families and acquaintances are already feeling the economic hardship from lost wages.  In regards to food services for our community we will continue to provide pick-up and deliver for families – even through Spring Break. We may do one Pick-Up and Delivery for the whole week to minimize physical contact. We ask families who need to pick up to please send only one person and families who need food to be delivered to please know we may set the bag of food outside of your door if no one is home. We anticipate that you (Staff) will be hearing about family needs that we may or may not be able to address. Please report all of these to your building leader.

High School and Graduation–We know this is a big question for everyone. We fully expect that all of our Seniors will be on track for graduation as we continue to function as a virtual school.  All of our high school students still have access to all their courses and should not lose any opportunity to earn credit in any one of their classes.

Childcare— I will know more about childcare after Tuesday’s meeting.  I do know that Shana Hockema is working with United Way, staff, administration and volunteers to come up with a plan for providing day care for our parents who are providing essential services on their job.

I’m continually amazed with our staff and community for your continued support in the best interest of our students and families.  Thank you Marcola!!

Bill

First and foremost, I commend our staff, community and students for all your efforts to make sure our community can and will survive the coronavirus challenges.  Marcola School District was well prepared for a school closure. Our students, teachers and families have experienced virtual and hybrid instruction for the past 5 years when we made sure we are a 1:1 (student to digital device) district.  We know we have some families who have poor connectivity or no connectivity to the internet and we are putting solutions in place that will allow all families to access the internet at no charge. We are creating a list of families who need technical support and we will be helping these families during and after Spring Break.  Our SpEd and SEL (Social Emotional Learning) team has done a great job of connecting to the families and students who need additional support and we are continuing to do so. 

We encourage families who can access our website, to do so on a daily basis.  We are adding instructional support resources and day to day, hour to hour information as we receive the day to day, hour to hour information to report.  Please know the information changes rapidly.

Most importantly, I want our families, staff and students to know we (our admin team and staff) are here to help you function through some very challenging times.  Please take care of yourselves and your family and make sure you’re checking in with Grandma and Grandpa and neighbors on a daily basis. Let’s all take care of each other – it’s the Marcola way.

I just finished our ODE Superintendent Meeting regarding procedures and policies for finishing the 2019-20 school year. I will share that Marcola School District is far beyond other districts when it comes to preparing for school closures and providing students with a virtual opportunity to continue their instructional program. Below are the topics of discussion for districts to tackle before bringing this school year and this virus to an end.

Childcare guidance: 

  • Not all school districts will be set up to deliver services for kids 0-5 years of age
  • MSD is reaching out to parents who are healthcare workers and may need child care to put plans in place after Spring Break.  Currently – it’s only health care workers who would qualify.
  • Schools will not be providing 24 hour care.

Meal Service Updates:

  • MSD will be fully reimbursed for providing food service to our families. 
  • All of our students are eligible and we will be reimbursed. 
  • All MSD families can pick up food for their children at designated times.  Families who need food delivery need to call the school and provide us with your information. 

Seniors Graduating on Time:

  • The state is proposing different minimum requirement for our seniors to graduate, however this has not yet been confirmed. Minimum requirements could be as low as 19 credits – we want our students to earn the full 24 credits with special considerations for students who need more support.
  • Marcola School District is proficiency based and we are requiring our seniors to check in to their class/teacher on a regular basis to earn the full complement of credits for a diploma.
  • The proposal for minimum credit requirements would most likely allow all of our Seniors to graduate – but they would not have the full 24 credits required for graduation (this year only).  
  • We have some Seniors who may need additional support to finish their course work and be a legit graduate with 24 credits.  We have other seniors who can graduate now or no longer need to take a full load of classes and we can modify their schedule to meet their needs.

SBAC Testing:

  • In the next 24 hours, I’m very confident that we will get a notice all testing has been cancelled.
  • Please keep your own work samples and evidence of growth/proficiency to demonstrate that we are keeping our students accountable.

If you have questions or concerns please call the school district at 541-933-2512 and leave a message or send me an email at bwatkins@marcola.k12.or.us.  Let’s keep a close eye on the physical, intellectual, emotional and social well being of our most important asset – our kids.

Stay Healthy my Friends,

Bill

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