Howard provides update on USD 235 plan
USD 235 Superintendent Bret Howard issued an update Thursday on the district’s Continuous Learning Plan.
The following is Howard’s post on the district’s website, www.uniontown235.org.
What has USD 235 staff been doing this week?
• Staff began development of quality learning activities that not only re-emphasize the skills that have been previously taught, but also skills that will prepare students for the upcoming year.
• One of the main goals of our Continuous Learning Plan is to provide meaningful learning activities for students that can be completed independently for the most part, and done at a time that is convenient for families.
• We understand this is going to look different for all of our families so we have developed the Continuous Learning Plan with flexibility in mind. As parents, we encourage you to work with your child on the expectations as to when the learning activities will be completed.
• A clear message that we want to send families, regardless of the age of the students, is we don’t want anyone to struggle, be frustrated, or overwhelmed. If you are needing guidance from the teacher for a learning activity, just skip that task until help from the teacher can be given. More information about when/how to contact teachers is listed below in the following section: How do I contact the teachers for help?
• There are going to be learning activities that will require technology, but also many that will not require technology. Students will not be penalized if they do not have access to technology.
What are the nuts and bolts of this plan?
• Students will receive an email from the school.
• Each grade level developed choices with a variety of formats to allow all learners to experience success.
• The classroom teachers will specify their expectations on the plans.
• To avoid burnout and/or frustration, we recommend students do not do all of the work in one setting. As a reminder, set a schedule/pace that works for your child and your family.
• Here is the timeline that KSDE suggested for the various grade levels. This suggested time does not have to be in one setting, but can happen throughout the day. Additionally, if you discover your child is struggling to complete the suggested amount of activities per day, please communicate with the teacher. The teacher will work with you on the plan.
• Pre-K: 30 minutes
• K-1: 45 minutes
• 2-3: 60 minutes
• 4-5: 90 minutes
• 6-12: 30 minutes per teacher (maximum of 3 hours.)
What will the first week (April 6 to April 10) look like?
• The Continuous Learning Plan will start Monday, April 6 and the first week is about reconnecting with students and families, establishing new routines, and providing all of us an opportunity to see what this new format will look like. Truly, it is like it is August again with new routines and new structures having to be established. See below for guidance on who you should try to contact should you need information or help.
• Learning Activities: Contact your teacher via email.
• Technology: Send an email to email@example.com
• Social Emotional Wellness: Contact your school counselor or our school health therapist. WBE – Meaghan Russell firstname.lastname@example.org; JH/HS Jeanne Camac email@example.com; and Southeast Kansas Mental Health Therapist Sasha Kibler firstname.lastname@example.org
• Food Service: Michelle DeMott (620) 238-4968
• Any other concerns: Contact your building principal or the Superintendent. WBE – Vance Eden email@example.com; JH/HS Mike Reith firstname.lastname@example.org and Superintendent Bret Howard email@example.com
How do I contact the teachers for help?
• All of the Continuous Learning Plans will contain contact information for the teachers. The best way to contact teachers will be by email or Class Dojo. Teachers will also have designated times to communicate with parents and students, and those hours are included in the plans. Of course, you can email anytime, but just know the teacher may not respond immediately. Teachers will respond within 24 hours of an email (Monday-Friday.)
• Our staff also has become quite skilled in Zoom Webinars, so if a face-to-face meeting is necessary, a Zoom meeting might be an option, too.
• If you ever have difficulties contacting a staff member, you can always call the school offices or the Board of Education office at (620) 756-4302, and we will be happy to assist. Our current office hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to noon.
• Please know that we will do everything we can to keep continuous communication occurring.
• Families, please be sure to check your Google Classroom, Class Dojo and your email often. These will be the primary ways we communicate. We will also post updates on our school website – www.uniontown235.org and our school Facebook and Twitter accounts.
As a parent, what can I do to help?
• Develop a routine for your family with a designated time for learning activities. Students are active learners and can be a part of this process. Empower them to take charge of their own learning, and it will be more successful!
• We also encourage you to set up a “workspace” for your child for activities requiring concentration and a quiet environment.
• Your child should be able to complete most of the learning activities independently, but there may be times when your child has questions. We also understand that the learning activities may be confusing to parents. Therefore, please don’t let any activity stress your child or family. Just skip it, try another one, and reach out to the teacher for clarification.
• If you need help with any of these suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or school counselors. They will gladly help you brainstorm ideas that may work for your family.
• Additionally, here is a great resource to support families with all of the changes that must happen at home: https://casel.org/covid-resources/
What if my child does not have Internet access?
• We developed learning activities to provide choices for the students using a variety of formats. There are going to be activities requiring technology, but also some will not. Therefore, if you do not have Internet access, choose the activities that do not require it. Students will not be penalized if they do not have access to technology. Lack of internet access will not excuse a student from mastering the content expectations of those activities not requiring technology. As of April 1, Craw-Kan has Public Wi-Fi available in multiple locations. Please go to this link https://ckt.net/hotspots/ and find updated locations with a map and a downloadable pdf document with addresses of Hot Spots in our area. This link will be updated by Craw-Kan as more Hot Spots become available.
What are other things I should know?
• We will still follow the regular school calendar as far as days “in session” for the remainder of the year. This means there are no school expectations on April 10 (Good Friday.)
• I’ve had a few parents ask about yearbooks, lunch money, etc. When things settle down, we will provide information to all of the parents regarding the end-of-year topics.
• It is an unprecedented time and we are all being called to do an unprecedented task.
• Thank you to our maintenance and custodial staff who have worked extremely hard to keep our buildings clean and disinfected.
• Thank you to our food service staff, kitchen help, and drivers who are working to get meals prepared for our students.
• Thank you to our teachers who are working extremely hard to meet the needs of our students.
• Thank you to the Technology Staff who have been working around the clock to enable this plan to be able to work.
• This is an amazing opportunity for our Eagle Family to grow, support one another, and have compassion for all people.
• We know this pandemic has caused stress to students, families, and our communities. We will do everything in our power to make this a positive time for the children and families of Uniontown USD 235.
• This is a time for Patience, Grace, and Flexibility for all.
• Students, Parents, Guardians, and Patrons – We thank you for being true partners in education.
Bret Howard, Uniontown USD 235 Superintendent