Update from CSD: May 5, 2020

CSD Update on School Plans and Contingencies

Dear CSD Community,

Please see the update below.

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We are building plans and contingencies for the rest of this school year and into the next.

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Over the last few weeks, we have been developing plans for recognizing our seniors, issuing refunds for fees, developing contingencies for the next school year, and more. Although some of these plans are not yet finalized, we think it is important to inform you that we are working on them. Stay tuned for additional communication from schools and the district office as information and plans are finalized.

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More information below.

The CSD Connection Line

City Schools of Decatur continues to support #OurKids, #OurStaff, and #OurCommunity during this difficult time. We are providing several new ways for our CSD community to reach out and ask questions or request support. As always, if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 immediately.


If you have a specific question about a school-based activity or need, we recommend you first contact the school or visit their website.


If you or your student are in need of social-emotional support or have questions about wellness related to the COVID-19 closure, you may complete this confidential form or call the CSD Connection Line, 404-371-5305. The CSD Connection form and phone line are monitored by Equity and Student Support staff members throughout the school day Monday-Friday during the closure. Calls received after 3 pm may be returned the next business day.

Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week

Every year during the first week of May, we celebrate our amazing educators. Our teachers have amazed and humbled us by their dedication to our students and families during these challenging circumstances. We appreciate the way CSD teachers have navigated the virtual education landscape and prioritized student success and wellbeing.


In honor of Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, please consider submitting a photo, video, or story recognizing a teacher or staff member. We are looking for submissions from staff, students, parents, or community members. We will use these photos, videos, and stories on social media, webpages, newsletters, or eblasts to recognize our outstanding teachers and staff who have done so much during this school year. Click here to submit your photo, video, or story!

Belongings, Refunds, and Celebrating Seniors

Picking up student belongings

Over the next few weeks, schools will communicate a plan to safely pick up any student belongings that need to be collected. Please watch for details from your school.


Refunds

By the end of this week, schools will send out information regarding how to request a refund for payments for field trips, school lunches, etc., canceled or otherwise impacted by the closure.


Seniors

Decatur High School will send a letter to seniors and their families this week with details regarding graduation, picking up graduation materials, and the virtual graduation ceremony that will be held on May 29. Additionally, they are seeking input through a survey on what date works best for the in-person graduation ceremony. Information about these events will be communicated by DHS and shared on the DHS and CSD websites.

Technology Needs, Summer School, and Extended School Year

Chromebooks and hotspots

If your family has a need for a Chromebook and/or hotspot, you can still place a request here. If you have CSD equipment and need troubleshooting help, please first check these tips – and if that doesn’t help, please ask your child’s teacher to alert the technology team for support.


Returning technology

We have not solidified the timeline for returning borrowed equipment. When our reopening plans become clearer, we will communicate via district newsletter, school newsletters, and emails to specific families with information on returning borrowed equipment. Students participating in DHS credit recovery summer school or Extended School Year (see the next item) will be able to keep any equipment they have borrowed during those summer learning programs.


Summer school and Extended School Year

As previously communicated, we are not planning any summer school services on site. However, for credit recovery purposes at DHS, designated students will be provided online opportunities similar to what has been offered in the past in a virtual environment. DHS has long used an online platform for summer school content with in-person teacher support; we will transition to one-to-one online support instead.


Extended School Year (ESY) services are extended special education services for students who require it as determined by their IEP team. ESY is not “summer school;” however, it often occurs during the summer. Due to uncertainty about when we will be able to resume in-person instruction, Special Education staff will provide ESY services virtually similar to the way special education and related services are being provided virtually now. The student dates for ESY are June 8-26. Parents of students slated to receive ESY services this summer will receive a letter from the Special Education Department with more information in the coming 1-2 weeks.

Rising Student Information, Assessments, and Final Grades

Rising K, 3rd-, 6th-, & 9th-grade information

Since school visits will not occur this month, schools will send out information during the summer to help prepare students who are moving to a new school. In addition, a special time will be reserved for these students to tour their new school during 2020-2021 Meet and Greet.


Assessment results and final grades

We are working on making final grades for K-5 available on the Infinite Campus Parent Portal after the last day of school. Similarly, we are working on making results from the winter End of Course test and the STAMP world language assessment available in Infinite Campus. Final grades for 6th-12th grade students will be reported in ManageBac.

Next School Year

Starting next school year

Our priority is to ensure our students and staff are safe, and our preference is that we open the next school year with normal, in-person instruction. However, that may not be possible, and we are creating contingency plans for such scenarios. Depending on restrictions in place at the start of the new school year, those scenarios might include running a staggered schedule for students to physically attend while they continue with online learning at the times they are not physically present, or operating fully online (with improvements we have identified during this unexpected online learning experience). Examples of staggered schedules may mean splitting the day between morning and afternoon or coming to school on alternating days.


If such a schedule were to become necessary, some factors we are taking into consideration include maximizing available work time for parents by ensuring all of their children are on the same staggered schedule, determining how to handle the needs of teachers who are also parents of school-aged children and the lack of alignment between their schedule and a staggered schedule (including those whose children attend other school districts), identifying ways to accommodate students and teachers who are part of a vulnerable population, creating ways to support a hybrid environment where not all students are doing the same thing at the same time, addressing social distancing on buses, and many other factors. It is also possible we will return next year under more normal circumstances but with enhanced health protections in place, such as mandatory wearing of masks. Many of these options will need to be adjusted for different ages of students, and we are considering those implications as well.

Over the next three months, we will continue monitoring conditions, consulting with appropriate experts, and communicating what we are learning and planning on a regular basis. The environment can change very quickly, and we will do our best to keep you informed and provide advanced notice of plans. We will all need to continue being nimble, flexible, and patient as we continue learning how to accept the uncontrollable in a world we prefer to control.

Budget

State Funding

The Governor has asked state departments to prepare for a 14% reduction to the FY21 state budget. At this time, we do not have the specifics on how this reduction will affect the state funding school districts receive. We are looking at our FY21 budget to determine the potential impact to our district.


State Grant

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law at the federal level. On May 4, the State Board of Education approved the State Superintendent’s recommendation to accept and allocate the K-12 CARES Act funding. CARES Act funds will help school districts offset expenditures related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CSD State & Federal Programs department is diligently working to review the newly released information in order to learn more about the funds including the appropriate use of funds. CSD has been allotted $321,028, though private schools in the area are entitled to a portion of this amount. Having a “proportionate share component” means that CSD must offer to provide equitable services under the CARES Act programs to students and teachers in all non-public schools located in CSD’s attendance zone, even if a non-public school has not previously participated in equitable services under Title I, Part A or Title VIII of the ESEA. To meet this requirement, CSD’s State and Federal Programs department will invite the appropriate stakeholders for a consultation meeting to determine the equitable services.

City Schools of Decatur

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