Ashland School District
Inspiring Learning for Life
November 20, 2020 News & Updates
Ashland Families, Students and Community Members
As we ready for the Thanksgiving holiday, I am aware of how much there is to be grateful for in the Ashland community and schools, especially in these challenging times.
I am seeing creative and engaging instruction on our Canvas platform at every school site. While there is more to learn and do, teachers, education staff and students have made an amazing transition to Comprehensive Distance Learning and teachers report that the majority of students are engaged and connected.
Our Care Teams composed of counselors, school nursing, child development specialists and staff at each site continue to reach out to students that are facing challenges or in need of individual connection and support. Our Nutrition Services, Transportation and IT staff continue to do an exceptional job of providing needed meals, delivering materials and supporting technical needs. Our administrators continue to adapt to changing circumstances and keep our greater work focused on improving the distance learning experience and readying for a return to campus as metrics allow. Our School Nursing partnership with Asante and Belinda Brown continues to provide us with support and guidance on health and safety.
On November 3rd, our community dug deep and passed the Ashland Youth Activities and Athletics Levy (YAAL) which provides 10% of our budget and creates opportunities for students on the field, in our community, in our music rooms and theater spaces, and in our classrooms.
I am looking forward to catching Ashland High School’s live stream of CLUE this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’m not sure if it will be Ms. Scarlett, Professor Plum or Colonel Mustard, but I encourage you to login and enjoy the performances. Ticket sales support our theater program and amazing student actors and theater techs.
While the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday are complex and fraught with injustices, the idea of expressing thanks is enduring. I hope each of us can give thanks for the people and things in our lives and community that nurture our hearts and minds, and let our gratitude lift us together in these times. I wish each of you and your families a safe and restorative holiday.
Ashland Public Schools
Pronouns: He, Him, His
Together, We Can Get Our Kids Back In School - Let's Get To Green
Construction has begun!
UPDATE ON SCHOOLING THROUGH COVID
As many of you know, on November 13 Governor Brown made an announcement calling for at least a two-week “freeze” for Oregon, beginning Wednesday, November 18 and going through Wednesday, December 2.
On November 17, Governor Brown upgraded the freeze to an enforceable executive order that may be extended if metrics do not improve. With the spread of COVID-19 at an all-time high, the plan calls for new restrictions on public spaces and venues, limits for private gatherings, and quarantines for travelers. Jackson County Metrics are located here.
Within the Governor’s order, there are implications for Ashland students, families, and staff, as we try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Below is an overview of the how we plan to operate during the state’s freeze:
Local COVID Impact
We are seeing cases among both students and staff in the Ashland School Community. We currently have 21 staff on home quarantine due to possible exposure and five staff with active cases. We have asked staff that are able to work from home to do so. All areas will receive a deep cleaning and disinfecting during the freeze.
Comprehensive Distance Learning
- Comprehensive distance learning will continue as scheduled.
Limited In-person Instruction
- With the rapid rise in COVID in Jackson County, Jackson County Health has directed schools to limit any increase in students receiving Limited In Person Instruction (LIPI)
- Currently scheduled limited in-person instruction will continue at Helman and Bellview. Some sites were unable to initiate LIPI due to active cases at those sites.
- Once the case counts in the county stabilize in the “orange” zone (100-199 cases per 100,000 over two weeks), the District will begin expansion of LIPI.
- What is Limited In Person Instruction (LIPI)? LIPI is small group instruction for students with special needs or circumstances that need support in accessing distance learning. It is a supplement to distance learning and is not designed as a replacement for distance learning.
Office Staff Support
- District buildings will be closed to the public.
- Staff may continue to work from our buildings on a limited basis and essential services may be met by appointment.
- Office staff will be available to answer phone calls.
OSAA Guidelines and Athletics
From now through December 2: All indoor sports, workouts and activities will be on pause. Activities are scheduled to resume on Dec. 3 pending improved metrics.
Grab and Go Meals will continue as scheduled.
Travel Advisory for Non-Essential Travel
One of the key messages from the Oregon Health Authority was that the biggest factor in the spread is social gatherings. Please, let’s all do our part to slow the spread so we can get our students back to school.
A Little More on LIPI
During comprehensive distance learning, schools are able to provide limited in-person instruction (LIPI) in some circumstances. In Ashland, we have used a phased approach. We began by completing some individualized special education assessments for students who had been in the middle of the evaluation process when schools closed in March.
We then extended LIPI to families who were unhoused or lost internet connectivity as a result of the wildfires. We were just beginning to extend LIPI to students who had significant educational needs that we were unable to address through comprehensive distance learning. Unfortunately, before they could begin we got word from Jackson County Health that we should not expand LIP to any new students until our metrics improve.
As our metrics improve, we will return to our phased approach, adding students with the highest levels of need and expanding as we are able. We are all anxious to have students back on campus and look forward to when it is safe to do so!
Thanksgiving for All
Dear ASD families,
As someone born in another country who came to the United States as an adult, I only learned about Thanksgiving my first year here. I really appreciate the opportunity this holiday brings to gather with friends and family (maybe, via Zoom this year) to reflect on all of the big and small things for which I am thankful.
- I am thankful for our resilient students who, despite having to join their classes via Zoom, actively engage with their teachers and peers to keep growing academically and socially.
- I am thankful for our parents and extended family members who support our students daily as they join their classes from home instead of school due to COVID-19.
- I am thankful for the caring and devoted ASD staff who teach and support students online, coordinate materials so that students have physical resources at home beyond the digital ones, make healthy to-go breakfast and lunch for our children, and provide laptops and hot spots to those who need them to be able to connect to class.
However, I have also learned that Thanksgiving is not a time for celebration for everyone, particularly Native Americans.
I would like to share with you an article called “Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?” written by Dennis W. Zotigh, Kiowa/San Juan Pueblo/Santee Dakota Indian and writer and cultural specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The article opens with a piece of historical art and the caption reminds us that “Thanksgiving, as the United States’ origin story, leaves out painful truths about the nation’s history. Giving thanks, however, has always been part of Native Americans’ everyday lives”.
In his essay, Zotigh offers us an opportunity to see this holiday from his Native perspective. He writes “The Thanksgiving myth has done so much damage and harm to the cultural self-esteem of generations of Indian people, including myself, by perpetuating negative and harmful images to both young Indian and non-Indian minds.” I would like to encourage you to read this article to see the Thanksgiving holiday from another perspective.
Lastly, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for being part of the Ashland School District and having the opportunity to spend my days working on what I am passionate about, Equity and Inclusion, and for our school community’s willingness to continue learning and growing to provide an equitable education for all students.
Director of Equity and Inclusion
JMOS - Bloom Balls and What the Sound of Eating Chips Looks Like
Marcia’s seventh and eighth grade students turned in Bloom Balls today. This is a long-term hands-on project involving a book they recently read independently. Through their projects, students address the five points of literature (character, conflict, setting, theme, and plot), in addition to thoughtful, integrated artwork. As you can imagine, this is a time management piece as well involving working backwards from a due date and breaking up the final project into manageable pieces. The final products couldn’t be more impressive. Way to go JMOS 7/8 Students! You never cease to step up and deliver. We are hanging your work with pride.
The John Muir Outdoor School K/1 class has been creating Sound Art. Ever wondered what the sound of someone eating chips looks like? Wait no longer- Osha has depicted it perfectly! #icanhearit #thepowerofart #handsonlearning
Willow Wind Collaboration, Food Tax and Political Action!
Willow Wind first graders are taking part in the Global Read Aloud this year. We are in our 4th week of an author study focusing on the Peruvian-American author and illustrator Juana Marinez-Neal. She’s received the Caldecott Honor as well as the Pura Belpré Medal for her illustrations. Each week we read a new book by Juana Martinez-Neal and the 1st graders participate in discussions on Canvas with each other. We’ve been using our shared ideas to connect with other 1st grade classes in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin on Padlet. It’s been a great way to integrate the technology tools available during distance learning with rich and wonderful literature.
Willow Wind 2nd and 3rd grades have been studying government and civics in our afternoons by building an interactive notebook. We have learned about civic engagement, citizenship and what it means to live in a representative democracy through videos, books and a virtual field trip to the White House. This Friday we will take a virtual field trip to our state legislature and we get to meet our state representative, Pam Marsh, as a virtual guest speaker!
At Willow Wind, the 6th and 7th graders are designing menus for their restaurants. They will be dining at each other’s establishments (virtually) and calculating their bill including 5% Ashland prepared food tax and a generous tip! Students will also be designing floor plans, which include seating arrangements for social distancing …
Walker Wolves 'Zoom at the Museum' and Farm to School
At Walker School in Dylana’s 4th grade class, students recently attended a virtual field trip at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. During this highly engaging field trip, students had an opportunity to learn about and discuss the real history of Thanksgiving in an accurate and developmentally appropriate manner.
In Ky Ferguson’s 4th grade class, students engaged in an interactive cooking lesson of delicious squash as an extension of their learning through the Digging Deeper program with our partnership with Rogue Valley Farm to School.
Helman Dragons World Kindness Day
Bellview Bobcat Zoom Socials and Fidgit Day
Bellview Bobcats implemented a Wednesday Social Hour on Zoom this week. Staff members ran a Zoom session open to each grade level. Students popped in to chat and hang out with friends. Some kids played games together, others shared toys they love, and others spent a full hour just having conversation. It was well attended and very well received by all, including the staff members monitoring the session.
3rd grade had “Fidget Day”! The teachers sent each student fidget spinners in student learning bags and the students spent some of their Morning Meeting time showing off their fidget spinner moves!
AHS Theater Live-Streams CLUE - 3 shows
CLUE, THE STAY-AT-HOME COMEDY will be performed on LIVE ZOOM, November 20 and 21 @ 7:30 p.m. as well as one matinee on Sunday, November 22 p.m.
Here are the links to buy tickets:
7:30 November 20th Livestream: https://www.broadwayondemand.com/.../n5fFtpcqV33B-clue...
7:30 November 21st Livestream: https://www.broadwayondemand.com/.../p4GUxlOeDkQ4-clue...
2 p.m. November 22nd Livestream: https://www.broadwayondemand.com/.../N8ROPwYUlI55-clue...
$12. Tickets are now on sale online at Ashland HS CLUE on Broadwayondemand.com All tickets are $12.
For Group info: 541-482-8771 or changes to digital dated tickets
On demand showings will be available after November 24.
Are you looking for work, do you know someone looking for work?
Ashland School District is currently hiring around the district. We have full-time, part-time, and on-call positions available.
Openings vary and include Teacher, Translator/Interpreter, Educational Assistant, Maintenance, and Custodial.
Some of these openings are entry level and during distance learning, we may be able to accommodate work from home.
Please go to the district employment page to learn more, and please share this link with your friends! https://www.ashland.k12.or.us/Employment.asp
- If you are interested in on-call or temporary work, check out the Classified Substitute opening. Candidates can choose when they are available and the kinds of work they want to do.
- If you are bi-lingual English/Spanish, check out the Bilingual Equity & Access Specialist position.
- If you are curious about being a teacher or just like kids, check out an Educational Assistant position.
These and several other position openings are posted on the district Employment Page.
- For a parent friendly display of how Jackson County is doing with re-opening metrics, click here.
- Latest Metrics from OHA New – 14 day look-back by county for re-opening (weekly)
- For a daily update of Jackson County COVID metrics, click here.
- For Oregon Department of Education Ready Schools, Safe Learners, click here.
- For the Ashland RSSL Blueprint for a safe reopening, click here.
- New - For active cases in schools, click here. This list does not include known exposures or presumptive (unconfirmed but likely) cases, or schools that have delayed in-person because of active cases or exposures.
Great Things Cooking in Nutrition Services
GREAT NEWS! The USDA Free Meals for all students has been extended through June 30, 2021!!
All children ages 0-18 years will be served breakfast and lunches at no charge.
While feeding children is our priority, family members will also be fed by request. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Click here for a letter from our Director of Nutrition Services, Christina Lehman.