April 15, 2020

 

Dear Pierce County Families,

 

I want to update everyone on issues related to our school system and our students who have been out of school now for four full weeks. The spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern in our community, so please continue to follow all guidelines and directives from our local and state public health and governmental officials. We want everyone to remain safe and healthy. If you have been affected personally by this virus my heart goes out to you and your family and please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

 

District and school leadership continue to meet virtually to discuss and develop instructional plans going forward through the end of this school year. These plans also include grade reporting, promotion and retention procedures and graduation. As we continue to face ever changing and challenging circumstances, our school system remains focused and committed on student learning and success. We can and are accomplishing this through distance learning. Our teachers and staff are creating and distributing online and written learning resources and assignments to students as well as reaching out to communicate with each student on a consistent basis. I greatly appreciate our teachers and staff in their efforts in making sure our students learning needs are met as well as the families in our community for your support and encouragement for the students to continue learning. Learning resources and assignments will continue to be provided up until Friday, May 1. On the one day of May 1, each school will have a receiving area set up at their main entrance for written assignments to be returned. This should be done from the hours of 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Please make sure your student’s name is on all returned materials. All online assignments and activities should be completed and submitted by Friday, May 8 as this date will serve as the cutoff date for all student learning assignments. Dual enrollment students taking classes will complete their academic work on May 6 as directed by the University System or Technical College System. If you have any questions or concerns about your student’s learning program or plan please contact your student’s principal or teacher via email or phone.

 

We will use your student’s grades they had earned at the time schools closed on March 17. The third nine weeks had just been completed and grades had been entered at that time. All learning taking place since March 17 should serve to help, not hurt, student grades. We will calculate grades based on the grade at the third nine weeks. If work completed during the time of our school closure can help a student’s grade then that will be allowed to be used, but no student grade will be lowered as a result of this school shutdown. All state testing and assessments have been canceled for the remainder of this school year. Specific focus is being placed on those students that are at risk or are in need of an improvement on their existing grade. Teachers will continue to reach out to students who are in danger of failing to offer an opportunity to make up or improve upon any assignments.

 

Report cards will be mailed out on Thursday, May 28. Retention and promotion reviews and determinations will be made on an individual basis as they always have been. These will be made in the best interest of the individual student and grades that were on the books on March 17 will serve as the primary focus. I anticipate that we will not retain a greater number of students than usual. School administrators and teachers will be looking at each student’s situation as it relates to retention on a case by case basis and will communicate with you by email or phone by Friday, May 22.

 

All end of the year activities are postponed which more than likely includes graduation which was scheduled for Friday, May 22. We are committed to having a graduation program for our seniors as members of the Class of 2020 at some point in the future if we are not able to conduct one on May 22. We will have to await guidance from our state and national leaders on an acceptable and appropriate time and date in the future. We do plan to honor our seniors at the stadium in some fashion on May 22 with more specific information on this forthcoming. As far as the official end of the school year and an official graduation date for our seniors, Friday, May 22 will remain as such.

 

We will continue to provide meals to our students and their families. The procedure for doing this has changed beginning the week of April 13. Our plan will be to provide boxed meals on a pick up only basis each Thursday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the cafeteria entrances at Pierce County High School, Patterson Elementary School and Midway Elementary School. We will no longer be able to provide delivery of meals because of safety concerns. Any family needing a meal pick-up should come to one of these school sites on Thursdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning on April 16. Our plan is to continue this through the week of May 18. We are hopeful that our summer feeding program will continue this summer. More information on the summer program will be coming at a later time. We are blessed as a school system to be able to provide nutrition through these meals to our students. I greatly commend our food service and transportation staff and school system volunteers for providing the necessary means to accomplish this during this crisis!

 

Pierce County Schools continue to operate and support our core values of learning and teaching. We remain committed to our vision of a strong and unified school system and community with excellence as the standard. We realize this school year and our circumstances have been unlike any we have experienced before, but know that our school system is here for you and will continue to support our students, our staff and our community. We will get through this and be stronger as a result!

 

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions. May God continue to bless each of you and our community.

 

Kevin Smith

Superintendent

Pierce County Schools





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