From Your District Leadership
March 27, 2020
Hello School District Family,
Another crazy week. On top of everything else………Holy SNOW!!!!
I hope you were able to create and enjoy moments of fun and laughter in your week. I am personally thrilled to see warmer temperatures headed our way. For me, self-care includes getting outdoors to enjoy the beautiful Alaska spring weather.
Friday marks the end of the non-student contact days mandated by Governor Dunleavy. School closures across Alaska are scheduled to continue through May 1. Beginning Monday we will launch remote learning for our district.
Below are highlights of the remote learning plans for elementary, middle and high school students. Also provided are academic and social-emotional resources; technology information and updates on our student meal deliveries.
I am so inspired by the creativity of district staff at every level who have risen to the challenge of developing and supporting quality learning opportunities for students during this unprecedented time. Their collegiality and collaboration are a testament to their professionalism and dedication to students and families.
I also take great delight in the stories of students, who in so many ways are more ready than the adults to embrace a new learning model. Tales of kids helping not only their parents and guardians get up to speed with technology, but even some of their teachers, are fun to hear and very encouraging. Thank you to all our students for being patient as the adults build a new learning system this quarter for you. And thank you students for sending in your wonderful ideas about new ways to hold traditional spring events such as field trips, celebrations, talent shows, graduations and more! We are working hard for you, and we can’t wait to connect again with you ALL on Monday!
A friend of mine, Dr. Susan Enfield who is superintendent in the Seattle area, tweeted, “Let’s refrain from referring to today as our new normal. Today is far different from what we have known, but it’s not normal. What we do now shapes what comes next, that is our new normal. Let’s make it one our kids are proud of.”
It is my privilege to support the efforts of our district family as we create a new normal that will make Fairbanks proud.
Superintendent Dr. Karen Gaborik
Remote Learning Begins Monday!!!!
Schools will launch remote learning for all students on Monday, March 30. This will look different at every school, so families and students should visit school websites to find details about the school schedule and resources provided by classroom teachers.
As we begin academic instruction, teachers are utilizing a variety of platforms and resources to reach students. In this time of physical isolation, we are maintaining our sense of community through online meeting platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet. To assist families in developing a reliable schedule and sharing limited devices among students, schools will offer their “virtual instruction” in the following timeframes:
Elementary School 8:30 AM - 10:45 AM, M-F
Middle School 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM, M-F
High School 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM, M-F
Other learning and enrichment opportunities will be offered and families can determine what fits into your schedule. Teachers have been asked to meet students and families where they're at, offering instruction through technology, as well as mid-tech (downloadable resources) and low-tech (academic packets) options for families who require them.
Schools will communicate the schedule for picking up and dropping off hands-on learning materials. Please follow guidelines at each school for maintaining social distancing and preventative hygiene. Additionally, teachers will communicate ‘office hours’ where they will be available to email, call or virtually meet with students or parents who may have questions. Office hours will be communicated by teachers to families on Monday.
Staff from every school have called to check in on students and their families in an effort to assess various needs during this uncertain time. Specifically, families were asked about wifi connectivity and the availability of computer devices to support student learning over the coming weeks. If you have not been contacted, please reach out to your school during work hours and let them know if you have specific needs for your student.
Seniors and families, I know you want to know about graduations. My goal is to make an announcement next week, and will take into consideration input from municipal leaders, information regarding current commercial flight schedules, new mandates from the Governor’s office, and any other relevant information available.
Parents, the Special Education Department’s Parent Resources has up-to-date information and resources. We are continually adding to the page, and we encourage you to visit it frequently.
Parents of students receiving Special Education services should expect to be contacted either by phone or email next week to discuss how we can support you and your student.
Staff, the Special Education Department’s Staff Resources contains valuable information and resources that are updated frequently.
Student and Family Well-Being
How do I talk and share information with my kids about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Resources have been carefully curated by district school counselors. www.k12northstar.org/COVIDcare
Nickelodeon has gathered presenters and music to help directly address kids' questions and concerns include tips from medical experts on ways to be healthy, and give first person accounts from kids and families around the country who are social distancing and making changes to their everyday lives and relationships.
Across the district, there are locations near schools where connectivity is available for students or families who may not have it at home. Click here for our district WiFi map to find a location near you. Be sure to practice safe social distancing. Additionally, internet providers locally are providing families with other options for free connectivity. GCI has made their TurboZone spots accessible to the public (TurboZone FAQs), and Alaska Communications is providing free internet to educators and students through May 2020 (see AK Communications' flyer).
Parents who have questions about how to help their students access district technology resources can find help on our Parent Resources website.
Nutrition Services and Student Meals
The school district is making every effort to facilitate the community effort to ensure that all students are fed while schools are closed.
Free breakfast and lunch has been available for pick up Monday through Friday for any student, through a federally-funded program. This project involves 23 busses and more than 40 locations. From March 18th to March 26th we have distributed 16776 meals.
This program is for children only, so we cannot serve adults. See the Nutrition Services page on our school closure website for more information.
The District is committed to doing our part to help flatten the COVID-19 transmission curve.
The majority of staff are working from home. When staff are needed on site to support essential district functions, every precaution is being taken to ensure social distancing and other preventative measures. We take the health and safety of our employees and our neighbors very seriously.