Superintendent's Update

August 2020

All Students Back to School Virtually on September 9th

Dear staff, parents and students,

We are excited to have students back with us virtually on September 9th. Our goal is to bring students back into the buildings for in-person instruction starting with a hybrid model as soon as we get the green light from Dr. Mark Larson, Kittitas County Public Health Officer. Our desire is to have students back in our buildings as soon as the County metrics reach a level of at least as low as 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 for two consecutive weeks. This metric would indicate that the COVID 19 levels in our community are lower, and therefore, the risk of COVID 19 infection by students or staff while at school would also be lower. Promoting safety and decreasing risk factors are priority considerations for ESD as we start school this fall.

Starting in September, parents can expect weekly communication from the superintendent and principals regarding the potential for bringing students back to in-person instruction in the buildings. Right now Dr. Larson is predicting that there may be a spike in our infection rates when students come back to CWU in September. For this reason, ESD has decided that all students will be learning online for the first four weeks of school. If the Kittitas County Health Department metrics demonstrate (at the end of September) that the County is at 75 per 100,000 for two consecutive weeks, we will be looking at a timely way for shifting to a hybrid in-person model. The ESD Instruction/Technology Committee is developing a potential amendment to the ESD Reopening Plan that would establish a timeline for how long it should take, in general, for teachers to shift successfully from online learning to an in-person hybrid learning model. This proposed amendment will go before the ESD Board of Education in September.

To view the videos explaining the proposed schedules that students will follow this fall, click the below links:

For Students in the Virtual Academy :

For Students in the Hybrid Model:

To find more information (including links to actual proposed schedules), click below:

These links also includes a verbal explanation of each schedule by Jen Kuntz, Director of Teaching and Learning. These schedules are in the process of being finalized.

ESD is also developing a process for bringing in small groups of students, like students who have Individual Education Plans, as soon as possible. For example, students who are in the Life Skills, Autism and Connections programs will begin in-person instruction as soon as possible. ESD is developing further plans to bring in other small groups of students (starting in October) who need additional academic support. These small groups will be determined by building administrators and teachers in partnership with parents as they look at a body of evidence that exemplify the need for in-person small group support.

Start and end times for all students at the start of this year will be from 8:30 to 3:00. For students who are in the hybrid model, the start and end times will change when we are able to implement this model of bringing students to school on A and B days.

While in the hybrid learning model, the District will need to implement a tiered busing system which changes the start and end school times to the proposed times of :

Tier 1-

Mount Stuart Elementary School: 7:30 am to 2:00 pm

Lincoln Elementary School: 7:45 am to 2:15 pm

Valley View Elementary: 7:55 am to 2:25 pm

Tier 2-

Morgan Middle School: 9:15 am to 3:45 pm

Ellensburg High School: 9:20 am to 3:50 pm

These times are still in the process of being finalized, and the transportation department is in the process of notifying families about these changes to bus routes, drop off and pick up times.

Engaging Online Learning for All Students: Use of Schoology and Edgenuity

ESD is excited about the new online instructional programming that we will be offering for this year. All students will be using the Learning Management System (LMS) Schoology. This LMS is like a filing cabinet that will house the different learning programs like Edgenuity, Imagine Learning, etc. The advantage of this program is that it creates:

  • More streamlined communication for parents
  • Better opportunity for student collaboration online
  • More effective ways for parents to monitor their children's progress ( makes monitoring multiple children in a family more user friendly).
  • Please click below to learn more about this amazing resource.


Edgenuity will provide our teachers and students with WA State Learning Standards-aligned content that makes distance learning a more engaging experience. All teachers will be using Edgenuity, and it will be a backbone program for all teachers to ensure a smoother transition between in-person and distance learning as we go throughout the year. Edgenuity will be the primary curriculum used with students in the Virtual Academy, and it will also be used on weekly by teachers with students in the hybrid model.


2020 National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE)

Samantha (Sammi Jo) Sims, Agricultural instructor at Ellensburg High School has been named the Region I Teachers turn the Key Award. Sammi Jo started her Ag Teaching career in 2017 and has taught a wide variety of agricultural courses including Ag Biology, MS Into to Ag Metals, Natural Resources and ecology, Ag Business and Horticulture. Beau Snow, Ellensburg HS Principal, stated that, “Samantha is a committed educator that consistently seeks opportunities to grow professionally and to help students reach their potential. First and foremost she cares about kids and wants them to be the best they can be. She has demonstrated that she has high expectations for student conduct, and that she is willing to hold students accountable for that conduct,” These statements won’t surprise any of us who have watched her grow up in the Ag Ed Family. Being the daughter of an Ag Teacher ensures that she has the work ethic and determination to be a success. As her dad might say “Good job youngen.”

Full Steam Ahead for the Construction of the New Elementary Buildings!

Some of the major projects that are being completed at the two new elementary buildings include:

  • Utility upgrades have occurred along Cora St. between 15th Avenue and the Palouse to Cascades Trail.
  • The site for the replacement Mt. Stuart has been excavated and prepared for the new building pad.
  • Underground utilities are being placed and steel is being erected at the new Mt. Stuart.
  • One hundred percent of the concrete footings have been poured.

  • Cora Street has been extended across the Palouse to Cascades Trail in order to connect to the New Elementary School.

  • The existing soils have been excavated and re-compacted for the building pad.

The Trail will not be closed during construction; when work is occurring, flaggers are standing by for the safety of the community.

For Lincoln:

  • Ed Specs are completed for Lincoln, and we are in the process of verifying work required for renovation and associated costs.

TEAM: Together Everyone Accomplishes More

While COVID-19 has taken a toll on our community, we are not defined by its presence. In ESD, our amazing team includes folks like our teachers, administrators, classified and central office staff, nurses, and school board directors who have put in multiple hours throughout this summer to create our ESD Reopening Plan and to prepare for a successful start to the 2020-2021 school year. Although change has been the one constant this summer, our staff has risen to this challenge. We are ready to embrace the beginning of this year with optimism and hope. We also long for the day when we can see our students in-person, but in the meantime, we are dedicated to providing a quality online experience for each student. Times like these have made me proud to be on the ESD Team because we are ESD STRONG!


Jinger Haberer, Superintendent of ESD