The current infection rate in Kittitas County as of September 24, 2020 is at 71.3 (Aug 30-Sep 12), and we have decided to implement the ESD Hybrid Model starting Monday October 5th. According to the Kittitas County Public Health Department, the infection incidence rate is calculated by counting the number of cases reported in the last two weeks with a 10 day lag period, dividing that by the population of Kittitas County, and then multiplying that by 100,000. The DOH uses a 10 day lag period because over time, they have realized that the data for the most recent 10 days is incomplete. DOH typically has less than 90% of results within the prior 10 days, so, therefore, it is important to use a lag period. Given that the lag period for September includes two full weeks when many college students reside in Ellensburg, we may not know the true impact of the return of college students until towards the end of September/early October. We will be monitoring the trends in the infection incidence rates for Kittitas County, and if these rates continue to rise, we will confer with the Kittitas County Public Health Department to determine next steps. These actions could include a delay in the start date for the Hybrid Model.
Because the safety of our students and staff are a top priority, in early July, ESD decided to follow the recommendation from Kittitas County Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Larson to wait a few weeks after the return of CWU students to campus to see what effect the college students' presence would have on the infection rates in Ellensburg. USA Today recently featured an article that stated the affects on COVID 19 infection rates in other college towns. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/09/11/covid-cases-college-us-outbreak-rate-tracker/5759088002/
Fortunately, so far, the infection rates for Kittitas County have remained under the 75/100,000 necessary for schools to reopen in a hybrid model. At this point in time, after following the recommendations of the Kittitas County Public Health Department, we are excited to bring our students back to our buildings. We firmly believe that the benefits of in-person instruction include connecting with ESD friends and educators. We will start on October 5th because teachers need time to make the transition from distance learning to the hybrid model and both the transportation and nutrition departments need time to mobilize and access their necessary resources.
Additionally, the new technological tools of Schoology and Edgenuity are giving ESD the capacity to better serve our students online for both the Hybrid Model and Virtual Academy. Information regarding the use of Schoology can be found here https://www.youtube.com/user/schoology Schoology provides a place for both parents and students to access, in order to look at assignments and the various virtual tools that will be used when students are engaged in online learning. Edgenuity will be primarily used by the Virtual Academy teachers but may also be used by the Hybrid Model teachers as a supplemental resource, as needed. Taking the month of September to implement distance learning for all students has also provided invaluable time for our educators to learn how to use and implement both Schoology and Edgenuity. Giving educators the gift of this time in September to empower teachers to use these technological tools has helped them to use Schoology to organize their assignments for students and to use Edgenuity to deliver quality instruction.
The Excel Alternative High School program is successfully rolling forward. During the first week of school, each student and their family met in person or remotely with teachers to develop a Written Student Learning Plan. Meeting with families outside on the lawn allowed students and staff an opportunity to reconnect, make introductions, and enjoy some fantastic fall weather while adhering to DOH guidelines. Anyone interested in additional information about Excel or enrollment procedures can contact Jared Bronkema, Excel Principal at email@example.com.
Additionally, through the MHAT grant managed from Excel, ESD will administer the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) Social Emotional Survey and Wellness Check-in to students, staff, and parents. This survey will be given several times throughout the year, beginning in October. We acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and disruptive to the routines of our staff, students, and their families. The CEE Wellness Survey will allow district staff to better recognize and respond to the social and emotional needs of our students, each other, and our community.
To further support the social and emotional wellness of our students, ESD was able to purchase the Second Step Program for our elementary schools through the CPWI grant. Each elementary school now has a complete K-5 kit including social-emotional learning, bullying prevention, and a child protection unit. Combined with Second Step resources previously implemented at Morgan, ESD now has a common Social Emotional Learning curriculum for grades Kindergarten through eighth grade.
A huge kudos to our ESD Nutrition Staff. Since the start of school, we have been providing free meals to our students and have served approximately 9,000 meals. Again, these meals are free to our children who are 18 and under. Meal packs include five breakfasts and five lunches.
These meals are offered once a week on Wednesdays at the following locations and times:
· 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at Mt. Stuart Elementary, Morgan Middle School, Rotary Park, Millpond Manor
· 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm at Morgan Middle School
Please help us to get the word out!
Bond Project Information
For more information about our bond projects please click on this website. https://www.esd401.org/community/elementary-schools-construction
Communication and Parent Involvement
We are also starting the "Naming of the New School" committee. Please click here , if you are interested in this opportunity.
ESD TEAM: STAFF, STUDENTS, PARENTS
Thank you again to our amazing ESD Team. I recently saw a video that highlights the Hoyt Boston Marathon Team, and it reminded me of the strength of working together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTGF5HnuSrg.
( picture posted by mandatory.com).
The dedication of this father to empowering his son to fulfill his dreams was inspiring and reminded me of how dedication and commitment, combined together with passion, creates a winning team.
Jinger Haberer, Superintendent of ESD