November 1, 2020 Edition

Message from the Superintendent

SCPS has completed three weeks of hybrid in-person learning! While challenges persist, there also continue to be many positives reflected in the work of our teachers, leaders, and staff across the school system. This week, we had the opportunity to hear directly from our parent, teacher, and student (STAND) advisory teams regarding specific feedback prompts connected to the transition to the hybrid instructional model. There were some similarities as well as differences in the feedback across the three representative groups. Below are the most frequent and common responses discussed with the advisory teams:

What is going well? Successes?

PARENT - communication has increased - feel more connected with what students are working on. Transition to hybrid went well with minimal impacts. Children are excited to be able to come to school.

TEACHER - excited to be back with students. The small groups have been beneficial to students. Students are meeting expectations of following mask wearing and social distancing.

STUDENT - teachers love having students in class. Love the Wednesdays to catch up on work, meet up with counselors / apply for colleges (HS).

What are the current and ongoing challenges and needs?

PARENT - Asynchronous time is harder at the elementary level. Scheduling has been difficult for some classes. Long times on the computer are difficult for students.

TEACHER - Accountability of student assessments. Too much computer time for students on asynchronous days. Hard to teach to red dots - when students turn off their cameras.

STUDENT - now with both hybrid and distance learning students at the same time, interaction between all students and teacher is sometimes a challenge. Long stretches on the computer on virtual days is tiring.

What are your best ideas or recommendations for continuous improvement?

PARENT - look at purchasing “owls” (360° smart conference cameras) to enhance the experience for online students and make them feel part of the classroom.

TEACHER - continue to share parent expectations for support.

STUDENT - would like even more interactive assignments.

By no means do these comments represent the totality of feedback, both positive and constructive, we have received. We will continue to utilize and incorporate this feedback for continuous improvement.

Announcements & Reminders

  • As a reminder, our COVID-19 Dashboard is updated weekly and can be viewed in the Return to Learn section on each school’s website or by clicking this link: SCPS COVID-19 Dashboard. We have added to our webpage the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Dashboard link. This site provides data and statistics regarding COVID-19 positivity rates and cases per 100,000 by locality, region, and state. Along with cases identified in our own school division, we monitor this data in cooperation with the local VDH. We continue to remain in moderate ranges according to the 14 day averages.

  • As we navigate through the continued changes from CDC regarding COVID-19 mitigation and contact tracing recommendations, one thing remains constant - our commitment to provide a safe environment for our students and staff. To that point, we need your help. It is extremely important that if someone in your immediate family is diagnosed positive or is pending a test for COVID-19, even if your child has no symptoms, please keep your child home for 14 days and notify their school nurse. Taking these measures will help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and assist us with continuing the hybrid in-person instruction model.

  • We have provided just under 700 personal hotspots to families and have additional ones that can be provided based on requests to schools and building principals.

Two overarching goals or intentions we have as we continue to navigate through this remarkable time include building on our culture of staff, student, and family collaboration/teamwork (“Together, we prepare our students for their future.”) and identifying the many ways we can positively transform the quality and capacity of educational services to further realize equity in the future. Thank you so much for your continued partnership and support!

Take care and have a great week!

Dr. S. Scott Baker