Merrill Minute

July 6, 2020

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Return To Learn

Greetings, Mustang Families,


It has been lovely to connect with so many of you via email and social media over the course of the last few weeks. While this is an unusual summer, we are encouraged by your deep commitment to serving our students to the highest level. We are thankful for your questions, ideas, comments, and suggestions regarding our return in the fall.


Return to Learn

Last week DMPS, along with all school districts in the state, submitted our Return to Learn plan to the Iowa Department of Education. DMPS is currently proposing two options for the start of the 2020-21 school year. The entire DMPS Return to Learn document can be found here.



  • Virtual Learning: DMPS is investing resources in the expansion of our Virtual Campus to include K-8. All families have the choice to enroll your student(s) in the 100% virtual option, which means your student(s) will be served by our K-12 Virtual Campus. More details related to Virtual Campus can be found at https://virtualcampus.dmschools.org/. Information on K-8 will be available soon.


  • Hybrid Model: In the hybrid model, students will report to the physical school building at least two days per week (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) and engage in virtual learning the other three days. Every Wednesday will be a fully virtual day to allow for school-wide cleaning and sanitation.


During online registration (July 13-31), parents/guardians will select whether you would like your student(s) enrolled in full–time virtual school or the hybrid model. If you select hybrid, your student(s) will be automatically assigned to a cohort (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday), but you will have the ability to request a different cohort if needed.


Ideas, Comments, and Questions

These are unprecedented times, difficult decisions are being made, and the stakes are high. Stay informed, read widely, discuss with your friends and neighbors, and reach out to us. We need your voices as we move forward together. Ideas, comments, and questions can be submitted here. You may also email me at kathryn.panek@dmschools.org.


Yours in knowing we can do hard things when we work together,


Kate

Kathryn Panek

Merrill Middle School, Principal

kathryn.panek@dmschools.org

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DMPS Hosting 7 Public Informational Meetings

DMPS is holding a series of seven virtual meeting for families to learn more about the Return to Learn plan. The meetings will be held at the following days and times. Each of the meetings will be held online through Microsoft Teams. To participate, click the link to the meeting you wish to join at that time. Links can also be found here: https://www.dmschools.org/return-to-learn/informational-meetings/


MONDAY, JULY 6
7:00 to 8:00 PM


TUESDAY, JULY 7
Noon to 1:00 PM


WEDNESDAY, JULY 8
7:00 to 8:00 AM
2:30 to 3:30 PM


THURSDAY, JULY 9
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
7:00 to 8:00 PM


FRIDAY, JULY 10
10:00 to 11:00 AM

We want to hear from you!

These are unprecedented times, difficult decisions are being made, and the stakes are high. Stay informed, read widely, discuss with your friends and neighbors, and reach out to us. We need your voices as we move forward together. Ideas, comments, and questions can be submitted here. You may also email me at kathryn.panek@dmschools.org.

FAQ

Merrill Specific FAQ

1. When is 6th grade orientation?

We still do not have a date for orientation. Buildings continue to be closed to both staff and community. We look forward to meeting all of the incoming 6th graders when it is safe to do so. Stay tuned!


2. What if my child is scheduled to attend Central this fall?

Central Academy classes will be offered online. I will continue to coordinate with Dr. Gogerty around what that looks like in terms of scheduling.


3. May I request Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday?

During online registration your student(s) will be assigned a cohort (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday). At that time, you will also be able to request a change in cohort. Please know that we will work hard to make sure we find solutions for all families.


4. How will we provide a full IB experience for our students?

We believe students thrive in all different subject areas and we will work diligently to provide broad experiences and explorations for students. Teachers at Merrill are hard at work thinking about creative ways to make some amazing lemonade out of the lemons we have been given during this pandemic.

Merrill Middle School

Schools are so often the hub of communities, and I believe that this is true throughout our great city. Thank you for all you do on behalf of all of our students...both at home and throughout the community.


From transporting your kids and their friends to and from school activities, voting in school elections, making sure students get a good night's rest, and communicating with us about how things are going for your child, we appreciate you! To have everyone working toward the same goal---improved learning for all students---can only be a positive for our students and community.


We hope that you will e-mail, call, and stop in and visit. Our partnership is very important to what we do here. We will strive every day to ensure that your student is prepared for whatever comes their way. Let’s have a great year!