Principal's Update

Monday, August 17th, 2020

Dear Families,

So here we are, beginning the 2020-2021 school year in a way we could not have imagined last August. I’d like to say that my family and I have mastered the schedule and lifestyle of physical distancing - but that has definitely not happened yet. Whether you’re working from home or working on-site at your workplace, the “new normal” is still evolving and really challenging for all of us. Overwhelming feelings ebb and flow as new information and guidance during this pandemic comes out daily and we all try to manage work life, family life and now what about school life?

We miss our students and we miss being at school in-person with them! It was our greatest hope that we would be able to open the beautiful new doors of Pacific Ridge Elementary School to our students, families and communities this September. Although the outside of our school looks very much the same, the inside is being transformed into a freshly remodeled learning space for our students with new classrooms, walls, doors, paint, carpet, furniture, library redesign and more!

With the safety of our students, staff and community at the forefront, and an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to open up the first six-weeks in a fully online Comprehensive Distance Learning model. Our School District will re-evaluate this decision at the six-week mark and hope to be able to open up either limited in person learning or a hybrid model by October 26th.

I want to assure you that we recognize how difficult the Spring of 2020 was for our families and students. Essentially, we had to teach in emergency conditions, and were tasked with developing an online school overnight. We did not have the tools and resources to do our jobs as effectively as we would have liked. I also want to assure you that our Comprehensive Distance Learning model will be different than in the Spring. As educators, we’ve reflected, learned and grown so much over the last five months and we have had the time to intentionally plan a program for distance learning. I want to thank all of our parents and caregivers who gave us feedback in our survey. That feedback was integral in helping us to develop our plans for Comprehensive Distance Learning.

Our first six-weeks of Comprehensive Distance Learning, while still focused on care and connection, will provide for more rigorous learning. Our plan includes streamlining teacher communications, technology platforms, and tools for students and families. Students can expect an increase in teacher-led live instruction as well as more independent and family-supported learning at home. We will take attendance, and we will provide grades, which is different from the pass/no pass grade system from the spring. We are also providing two school options when registering your child, Comprehensive Distance Learning and Online Thrive.

I know for many of you, the two options above are not the option you wanted or needed to be provided. They are not the choices we had hoped to provide when we said goodbye to our students “virtually” at the end of last school year. However, safety and wellness is our top priority and we want everyone to be healthy and well. Our school doors will open to our beautifully remodeled Pacific Ridge Elementary School when it is safe to do so. Until then we will work together to provide your child with the best possible education from a distance that we can.

As we begin this new school year our school routines will be consistently scheduled, however we need to give ourselves permission to veer from our dream of what we “think it should be” and embrace “what it is.” Love your kids and follow your instincts as parents. If she’s tired, let her sleep in. If he is frustrated with an assignment, have him take a break and play. A famous quote from Mr. Rogers is “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”

In this challenging time our children are learning traits that will serve them well for their entire lives. They are learning patience and resilience and how to embrace this experience with optimism as a new adventure to learn things in a different way.

We will get through this and we will be better for it. We can’t wait to see you when school opens online on September 14th!

Warm regards,

Mrs. Wozniak

Pacific Ridge Elementary Principal

Pacific Ridge Elementary School

Our office is now open 8-4PM! We are currently still working out of the Gearhart Elementary office until our Pacific Ridge office construction is complete.