Message from Superintendent Dan Shelton, Ed.D.
Dear Christina Staff and Families,
For the last few months, we have been working diligently to craft our plans for each phase of our re-opening. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those that gave up many hours this summer as part of our working groups. We truly understand that this is a tremendously hard and frustrating time. We understand that our Staff and our Families are dealing with many challenges beyond what may school look like. As we have shared ideas and drafted plans for how we will get from schools that were completely closed in March of 2020 back to schools that will be back open for students there have been many very strong opinions around that work. There is one thing that is absolutely a non-negotiable. We have to provide a safe learning environment for all.
We want to ensure that our students have the best possible opportunity to learn and that our staff and students are provided a safe learning environment. We know that some families may not wish to return as they or someone in their family may have underlying health conditions or there just may be anxiety around the unknown. We have created a virtual academy for those families. It will most resemble what we have been doing in remote learning. Some of our families say it is what they wish to continue doing. As our enrollment in the Virtual Academy has increased, so have the programs that we can offer such as our immersion programs and related arts. We heard you that it was frustrating to have to make decisions when you did not fully understand what the models will look like. Unfortunately, we are in a chicken or the egg scenario. Without knowing how many students would enroll, we could not commit to programs and services and without knowing, many families were reluctant to sign up. As we get closer to our re-opening, we have had commitments from many of our families and now have a much clearer understanding of what we can offer. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we went through the process of staffing the Virtual Academy.
Once we had a clearer picture of the Virtual Academy we then were able to determine what we could and could not do in the Hybrid. We worked closely throughout the process with our employee groups and the working groups to try and form our plan. Last week, after multiple revisions we released a plan for hybrid learning. Many have asked, why do we have to change at all, ‘my child is doing well in remote learning.’ This is true for about 60% of our families who are accessing their school most days. For the other 40% they are not accessing remote learning consistently and for over 10% of our students, they have not done any remote learning at all. We must do better for all of our students. This plan is not how we hope to operate for the rest of the year. This is step one to re-opening. We have to get some kids back before we can get all. We will continue to move closer to a full reopening as the year goes on, assuming we continue to have an environment and community that is healthy.
We heard feedback from multiple stakeholder groups once again after our release last week and we believe came to agreements with our employee groups that allowed us to modify the plan to serve our students, families and staff (https://www.christinak12.org/reopening). This will not be the last change. We know that there will be changes that will require us to pivot again. We again, appreciate your patience and invite you to the Reopening Information Night that will be held later this evening at 6:30PM. We will explain the components of the revised Hybrid plan and answer questions.
I again want to thank our Faculty and Staff for the work they have done to prepare our schools for reopening. I want to thank our families for their patience and their grace as we are all navigating this new world together. We know that there will be bumps in the road. We will all get through this together.
I look forward to speaking with you tonight at 6:30PM. Use this link to join the meeting. ChristinaK12.org/Zoom. Unfortunately, we will have a limit of 1,000 participants on the Zoom Webinar, but you can still view the live presentation on YouTube using the link https://youtu.be/bXnZdY8SoU8
Dan Shelton, Ed.D. | Superintendent | Christina School District