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Where we're currently at....
John Whetzal
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Parents and community, I hope this finds you well and adjusting to the changes that have been made to our lives and daily routines.

I have not posted anything for a couple of days and wanted to share where we were at and where we are going.

A little housekeeping first…….

It was brought to my attention today that our message posting was sometimes confusing. For this, I owe all of you an apology. Our updates and messages will always be posted in the News Feed of the district and building websites. When the formatting allows, we will also push these out on Facebook and Twitter. We intend to use the Live Feed and Push Notifications for the more urgent information or emergencies that we need to get out quickly to everyone. Through the next few weeks, I would recommend checking the News Feed on one of the three websites daily. We do not have to worry about any formatting difference rejecting the message and it will catch every piece of information we send out. If anything we are posting is confusing, PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out and let us know. There are many wheels in motion right now and sometimes we need a reminder to step back and slow down a little bit.

Another point I need to stress is that there is a misconception by some that school has been canceled altogether for the remainder of the year. This is not entirely true. We will still have instructional time but it is going to be delivered in a different method. Teachers are still required to provide grade-level instruction for our students when that new format is put into place. Again, I want to emphasize that we are not on summer break. School will proceed but it’s going to look different than we are used to for the foreseeable future.

Today, KSDE released the Continuous Learning Guidelines which is our framework for building the instructional model for the remainder of the school year. We have started the process of shaping what that is going to look like and have been given next week to begin implementation of it. USD 223 staff will be spending that time accordingly.

Our first step is tallying the results of the survey that was sent out earlier today. On it, questions were addressing the two subjects we are required to have information for and are mandated to ask. The technology questions will serve as the baseline for what our student's technology needs are at home. The COVIN-19 questions will determine the level of separation that staff and families will need to maintain for a required period. Please answer the questions honestly and know that we will not be able to move forward with any changes for individual students until we have that information.

This week, the administration from St. John’s, Linn Lutheran, and USD 223 have been working together within these new guidelines for introducing these changes that will be unique for our communities. Beginning Monday, teachers will be working on the construction and implementation of their new non-traditional classrooms and curriculum.  Ambitiously, I am hoping to launch the new format on Monday, March 30th. This is as new to them as it is to everyone and I am anticipating that process taking every bit of that time. Undoubtedly, we will come across circumstances that were not anticipated and will work through them as they arise.

Once we have these details in place, I will be posting those on the websites. Some classroom teachers will likely be reaching out to the students and families before that as well. As you know, we have a monumental task ahead of us and we need to tackle it one step at a time. This is going to require patience, cooperation and open communication between all parties. We will get through this if we do it together.


John Whetzal

Superintendent

USD 223 Barnes-Hanover-Linn