Superintendent's Update

October 2020

Dear staff, parents and students,


I am pleased to celebrate that all schools are now operating in the A/B Hybrid Model. This has been a great ESD Team accomplishment given the multiple hours that have gone into making it happen. Seeing the smiling faces of students is encouraging, and I deeply appreciate the hard work of our staff and partnership with our parents. All students in ESD also have an online component to their learning. Whenever there is a full implementation of any program, whether it be a textbook curriculum or technology based platform, there is a steep learning curve for all involved. ESD used federal CARES dollars to purchase both Schoology and Edgenuity. It took many weeks (starting in May) to go through all of the necessary steps to meet the requirements to use these federal funds to purchase these programs.


We are grateful for our educators' perseverance in learning these new platforms under tight timelines. This scenario was not ideal, but we continue to work together to make teaching and learning fluid with students when they access their online programs. Please continue to contact your child's teacher and principal with any questions you may have. Additionally, parent and student technology support can be accessed by sending in a help desk ticket.


In addition, over the summer, the district moved to a new Internet filtering service called Blocksi. This service allows parents more abilities to monitor and control their student's Internet access while at home. Recently, the District sent out invitations to all parents with an email attached to their student's account in Skyward to gain access to the Parent Dashboard. From the Parent Dashboard, parents can get reports, block websites, and set hours of use of their student's Chromebooks. Please contact Mike Welch, IT Director, at mike.welch@esd401.org, if you are interested in gaining access to this Parent Dashboard.


Furthermore, if you have any questions related to how we are managing and promoting the safety of our staff and students, please review our ESD Re-Opening Plan. For example, all staff are being provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to work with students, and building level teams at each building have used the principles of the ESD Re-Opening Plan to design a safety plan at their school. Each school has their safety plan posted on their website, and feel free to contact the principal if you have questions about their plan.


ESD has had five known positive cases of COVID-19 since we have opened in the Hybrid Model. In each case, the individual was exposed to someone who was positive outside of the school setting. Additionally, in each case, protocols like mask wearing and social distancing were implemented, and there was no secondary infection or spread of COVID-19 to other students or staff at school. Letters were sent to all families when these positive cases occurred. These letters were sent so that stakeholders could see the process that is in place within ESD for when there is a positive case of COVID-19 while students are at school. As a reminder, when there is a positive COVID-19 case, ESD works together with the Kittitas County Public Health Department to implement contact tracing and the notification of any student or staff member who is identified as a close contact. The Kittitas County Public Health Department provides the information related to testing and quarantine procedures.


In the future, reported positive cases of COVID-19 (while at school within ESD) will be posted with a link on the front page of our website under the COVID-19 title , in the spirit of transparency. We have heard that parents are currently receiving many different emails and Blackboard messages, and the process of putting this information on the website will be a more efficient way of displaying this information. Protecting the privacy of the individuals who may test positive for COVID-19 in the future, will also be a priority.

Leading and Learning Opportunities in ESD

Virtual Learning

The "Distance Learning Playbook" is a new resource and professional development (PD) that we are excited to offer to teachers who are interested in honing their skills related to helping students thrive in a virtual environment. This PD has a focus on accelerating students' learning while maintaining a focus on equity. Leading educational researchers like John Hattie, Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher have developed a wonderful resource that will help us to move forward as a system. These Zoom PD sessions will be from 3:30 to 4:30 pm and held on November 14th, November 18th, December 2nd and December 16th. Clock hours and a copy of the Distance Learning Playbook will be provided. We already have over 30 teachers signed up, so please contact Director of Teaching and Learning Jen Kuntz at jennifer.kuntz@esd401.org, if you are interested in participating.


There are leadership and parent "Distance Learning Playbooks", as well. We will be offering professional development with these resources for both parents and administrators later this year. Please stay tuned, and I will let you know when the sign-ups are available.


Outdoor/Project Based Learning

Megan Rivard, Educator with the Pacific Education Institute, will be hosting a session on how to engage K-3 grade students in outdoor learning. This session is called "FieldSTEM and Schoolyard Investigations" and will be held on Wednesday October 28 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Teachers who are interested can sign up here. The resources for this class can be accessed for free.

Readers' and Writers' Workshop

Kudos to our elementary teachers for inspiring our students to be readers and writers every day. During Readers' Workshop, students are given opportunities to read books of their choice and are encouraged to share "book talks" with other students to demonstrate their perspectives about what they read. While students are independently reading, teachers often meet in small groups or one-on-one with students to give them additional support and instruction regarding their reading skills. During Writers' Workshop, students have the opportunity to enjoy the recorded Writing Units of Study Mini-lessons assigned in Schoology. Children are able to create amazing stories and develop thoughtful insights about what they read. We believe that we have many budding authors in ESD, as our students enjoy the process of becoming proficient readers and writers.

Great Happens Here !

Congratulations to ESD student Jarred Francis for signing on to play football with Central Washington University through their Team Impact program. As stated in the CWU article, Team Impact is "a non-profit organization headquartered in Boston, Mass. It has a mission to improve the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illnesses through the power of teams, forming life-long bonds, and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,200 children with more than 450 colleges and universities in 46 states, reaching over 35,000 participating student-athletes. Throughout this journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie, and support, while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency, and perspective they can't learn in a classroom."https://wildcatsports.com/news/2020/10/16/football-inks-2021-team-impact-top-recruit.aspx

We are proud of Jarred and know that he will shine with Bulldog pride as he transitions to becoming a true Wildcat.


Also, a huge shout-out to EHS students Thomas Lonowski and Elizabeth Shoda for being selected for the College Board National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program. Thomas and Elizabeth earned this recognition because of their outstanding performances on the PSAT/NMSQT national assessment. This award greatly demonstrates their commitment to learning and academic excellence.


Our Career and Technical Education Career Pathway classes and programs have also been gearing up and providing excellent opportunities for our students. Please see the attached flyer that highlights their innovative work and accomplishments.

ESD TEAM: STAFF, STUDENTS, PARENTS

A special thank you again to our parents for being amazing partners in this educational journey this year. At the recent Superintendent Parent Council on October 8th, parents were asked to share the hopes and dreams that they have for their children (see displayed word-picture). Parent feedback and participation is critical in preparing our students to be global citizens in an everchanging world. Together we are better!


Sincerely,


Jinger Haberer, Superintendent of ESD