Coronavirus Update - June 4
Important information for parents
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Summer is in full swing and our school district is buzzing with activity. We have several very important updates below, however, I first want to address the unrest occurring in our community and across the nation with regard to the killing of George Floyd. At Norman Public Schools, we do not tolerate racism of any kind. We strive to equip and empower our staff with the knowledge and resources to call out racism when they see it, as it has no place in our schools.
Our mission is to prepare and inspire all students to achieve their full potential. We do this by living our core values: integrity, inclusiveness, collaboration and optimism. We strive to uphold our value of inclusiveness by creating a climate and culture where the unique backgrounds and perspectives of all students and staff are valued. This is important in each of our schools and in all of our workplaces. Again, let me be clear. I do not tolerate racism of any kind in our district and endeavor to create an environment where our students feel a sense of belonging and safe to be who they are.
Several people have asked me if I see color. My answer is a resounding ‘yes’ because I believe that if you do not see color, you cannot focus on equity, nor can you fully appreciate the beauty of our differences. We are a diverse community and I believe there is strength in our differences and power in collaboration. We are strong because of our diversity, not despite it.
It is important that we recognize and celebrate the significant contributions of underrepresented groups in our schools, as each student, teacher and staff member is incredibly important to the fabric of our community. I believe focusing on equity is critical to support populations that have been marginalized and underserved for far too long. This is why I support our black students and families as we collectively seek solutions to eliminate racism and replace it with respect, empathy and kindness.
And, while we still have work to do, I am exceedingly proud of the work of our Diversity Enrichment Council, which was created to increase cultural diversity and awareness in our district through actionable recommendations that recognize, educate and value the importance of equity. I encourage you to click here to learn more or watch this video about this important work. I am also proud of our current and former students who continue to speak up against injustice and seek solutions to create a brighter future for themselves and generations to follow.
We may not have all the answers with regard to solving racial inequities that exist in our community and beyond. But I believe that public education is certainly part of the solution and plays an important role in fostering kindness, inclusivity and bringing people together. And we remain committed to doing just that because we are stronger together.
Below, you will find several important updates surrounding schools and the coronavirus.
Graduation: We encourage you to reserve the evening of June 26 and also the day of June 27 for in-person graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 at the NPS Harve Collins Stadium. The specific details, as well as the date and time for each high school, will be announced next week. We are facilitating outdoor graduation ceremonies to accommodate the overwhelming response from seniors and their families who indicated in a survey they preferred this option. Thank you for your feedback and please stay tuned for specific details from high school principals.
Back-to-School Planning: Planning for the upcoming school year is well underway. We continue to closely monitor guidance from federal, state and local public health officials and continue to prepare for a variety of scenarios depending on developments surrounding Covid-19. The Oklahoma State Department of Education this week released guidelines as a resource for school districts across the state. We are carefully reviewing the framework and will ultimately do what we believe is right for Norman.
We have launched a Back-to-School Task Force that includes public health experts and various stakeholders from across the community. We also have continued to gather feedback from focus groups with teachers, parents and students. Next week, principals will also send a survey to all parents. We encourage you to participate as your responses will help inform the Back-to-School Task Force as we work toward finalizing plans for next school year. Please keep in mind that no decisions have been made at this point. Rather, we are gathering as much information as possible to ensure we take everything into account as we develop education plans and options for families that focus on the safety of our students and staff. Our goal is to share specific back-to-school details in July.
Student Meals: We continue to provide free meals for students in need. Please visit www.normanpublicschools.org/meals for details and to complete next week’s order form.
NPS ExpandED: As a result of Covid-19, many families find themselves in circumstances that require greater flexibility. If you are thinking about transitioning your child to an online school this fall, we encourage you to consider NPS ExpandED, which is a rigorous education solution designed to provide students with the flexibility to complete coursework outside of traditional school buildings and also participate in extracurricular activities. You can learn more about this program at www.normanpublicschools.org/expanded.
Distance Learning Dashboard: Although distance learning has ended, we will leave the dashboard up over the summer for families who wish to continue accessing the educational resources. Please feel free to continue visiting www.normanpublicschools.org/distancelearning to access the enrichment activities.
Student Safety and Mental Health: Please remember that our school counselors remain available to serve students and there are a variety of resources available to those who are experiencing anxiety, depression and trauma. Also, we encourage you to help keep our students safe by anonymously reporting abuse, suicide risks, bullying and more to Norman Crimestoppers at 405-366-STOP or submit a tip online at www.p3tips.com/1323.
We will continue to keep you updated as plans unfold and details become available. In the meantime, I hope each of you are having a safe summer. Thank you for allowing us to serve your children and family.
Dr. Nick Migliorino
Norman Public Schools