Talbot County Public Schools

Superintendent's Update | May 1, 2020

Kelly Griffith May 1 Update

Dear TCPS Families:

As we reach the end of our 4th week of Continuity of Learning and our 6th week of school closure, I continue to be amazed by the resilience, creativity and determination demonstrated each day by our TCPS Team, families and community. While these are daunting and frustrating times to say the least, all are rising to meet these challenges head-on in a way that is truly inspiring.


When our students and staff left school on Friday, March 13, we truly had no idea what the ensuing six weeks would bring about. We proceeded to transform our teaching and learning processes and procedures “virtually” overnight. From distributing iPads to our youngest learners and training them to utilize our FROG learning management system, to mailing weekly learning packets to those without reliable internet, to maintaining feeding operations for families in need, to creating and implementing an entirely new learning model and grading system, we have stayed in non-stop motion since that very first day.


I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to the many individuals and organizations in our community who have stepped up to lend their support. Thanks to the leadership of Talbot Emergency Management Services and the Talbot County Health Department, we are informed and directed with recommendations and guidelines for keeping our families safe and healthy, and hopefully controlling the degree to which this virus directly affects the health of our population.


Many thanks to the community partners who have supported our efforts to increase internet connectivity for our students. This includes the Talbot Family Network, as well as Easton Utilities, Atlantic Broadband, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, all of whom have made WiFi available in public locations. This is a tremendous help to our staff and families.

TCPS meal distribution continues on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. at all school sites. Sodexo is now providing frozen food items that require refrigerated storage and reheating. If you or someone you know are unable to pick up meals and need emergency delivery, please call Crystal Miller at 443-432-5091.


The TCPS Instructional Technology Help Desk is open on Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. – noon and Fridays from noon - 3:00 p.m. at Easton High School and St. Michaels Elementary School. Please send an email to helpdesk@talbotschools.org for virtual support or to schedule a help desk appointment for iPads or laptops.


We encourage parents to wear masks/cloth face coverings during meal pickups or IT Help Desk visits to help fight the spread of COVID-19.


Third Quarter progress reports are being emailed or mailed this week, and plans for grading for the Fourth Quarter have been shared with parents. We have begun distributing the Hot Spots purchased through the Talbot Family Network Grant through the IT Helpdesk.

Our Graduation Committees are working out the details of their unique celebrations, and our high schools have scheduled drive through pick-up for Seniors to receive their caps and gowns, yearbooks and other related items. We are asking our Seniors and their families to share photos of themselves wearing gear and/or holding signs to celebrate their commitments to college, career, or the military to post on the TCPS Facebook page. Please email photos to dgardner@talbotschools.org.


Talbot County Public Schools received the Draft FY21 Budget Appropriation from the Talbot County Council which is “Maintenance of Effort” funding with an additional $464,000 for capital projects. The FY21 Board approved TCPS Budget Request, which was $1.9 million over maintenance of effort, included additions to staffing, a cost of living adjustment, programming and materials.


We are grateful for the increase over the FY20 budget with the additional capital project requests. The Board of Education and the Talbot County Council have been working closely together to prioritize needs and continue to support our goal to be the best school system in the state of Maryland. Please review the budget summary linked below. The Talbot County Council Public Budget Hearings will be Tuesday, May 5 at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Hearings will be held remotely, and we will post information on accessing it when it is available. The public is encouraged to submit written comments by Monday, May 4 to: PublicComment@talbotcountymd.gov.

Stay Tuned, Stay Healthy and Stay Hopeful!


Kelly L. Griffith, Ed.D.

Superintendent

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Updated Continuity of Learning Plan

Talbot County Public Schools is committed to ensuring that every student graduates college and career ready. Our instructional program is grounded in delivering the highest quality learning opportunities to our students at all grade levels. The interruption of our regular schooling program does not change that foundation. Talbot County Public Schools’ (TCPS) Continuity of Learning Plan is crafted to maintain our focus on the needs of all students even while learning in our traditional model is interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.


Foundational to our Continuity of Learning plan is an effort to reconnect students to their teachers and learning in the hopes of providing some sense of normalcy in this uncertain and stressful time. It is important to note that our plan focuses on the key standards, not the entire scope and sequence of a course or grade level. The plan is not intended to replicate the regular classroom experience as students will not have the benefit of real- time teacher instruction to the extent that they do on a regular school day. The plan does provide course or grade level learning activities that are aligned with the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards and that are designed to be accessible to all students. While these activities are constructed to be completed more independently than regular classroom assignments, our plan provides opportunity for students to ask questions and engage with their teacher(s) remotely during scheduled “office hour” times, includes access to directions and models for the learning, incorporates instructional videos, and provides additional online resources to support student learning. VIEW FULL UPDATED PLAN

FY21 Budget Update

Talbot County Public Schools received the Draft FY21 Budget appropriation from the Talbot County Council which is “Maintenance of Effort” funding with an additional $464,000 for capital projects. The FY21 Board approved TCPS Budget Request, which was $1.9 million over maintenance of effort, included additions to staffing, a cost of living adjustment, programming and materials. While many of the requested items are essential to meeting the needs of our students, we understand that increased funding during this unprecedented crisis may not be feasible. The TCPS team is working to creatively adjust staffing and programming to best serve our students and families under the draft budget scenario.


We are grateful for the increase over this year’s budget with the additional capital project requests and debt service funding for the new Easton Elementary Campus. The Board of Education and the Talbot County Council have been working closely together to prioritize needs and continue to support our goal to be the best school system in the state of Maryland.

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TCPS Technology Help Desk

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The TCPS Technology Team has been busy! Jeanne Collinson and Curtis Hulliger prepare hotspots to go out to our community!

Email: helpdesk@talbotschools.org to schedule an appointment. VIRTUAL HELP DESK PROCEDURES
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The SAFE SCHOOLS MD TIP LINE Remains Active

Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line - Always Available, Always Anonymous

Talbot County Covid-19 Information Website

Talbot County has launched a website to keep our community informed. Visit: http://talbotcovid19.org/ for the latest information on Coronavirus,