March 24, 2020
Today I am writing to convey information from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and to explain where we, as a District, are headed and our plan for supporting student learning. Please understand that teachers and administrators are collaborating to provide continuity of learning for all of our students. Certainly, staff members understand the challenges that being out of the classroom presents for our students, families and teaching staff. Although we are deeply concerned about teaching and learning, we are more concerned about the safety of our students, families, faculty and staff.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education extended school closures until April 7. Although guidance has been provided for reopening schools in early April, we will continue to reevaluate locally to make decisions that protect our students and staff moving forward. For now, understand that our students will not return to campus until at least April 7. Yesterday (March 23) was our first day of instruction utilizing the lessons that were sent home on our last day of school on March 12. Students should be working on the assignments at the secondary level through Google Classroom and on hard copies at the elementary grade levels. We are asking that parents hold on to the completed paper copies of the assignments until either we provide further instruction or our students come back to school.
Throughout the morning yesterday, I held virtual meetings with the staff of all four South Butler buildings to answer staff member questions and to get everyone moving in the direction of online instruction. Most of our secondary students and staff are comfortable with the Google Classroom approach. To elementary staff and students, online instruction is going to be something that we will need to adjust to in our “virtual” classrooms. Should there be a need during an extended closure, our staff members will be ready to teach our students through online measures. Your child’s teacher/s may be reaching out to confirm their connection with your child. Please encourage your children to respond and to be working on the materials provided.
The District will be loaning Chromebooks to students, beginning with 6th graders, until we run out. If your child has access to a computer in your home, please have them use that device, as we have a limited number of Chromebooks to loan. Earlier today, 6th Grade families were sent information on how to obtain a Chromebook. More information regarding connecting elementary students will be forthcoming. A number of you have contacted us to say you do not have internet access in your home. Attached to this letter, as well as on the District web page, you will find a document with a few options for inexpensive internet service. If you are unable to make use of these or if you cannot afford even the reduced rates, please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org email for assistance.
Finally, the third nine weeks will end this Thursday, March 26 as scheduled. However, the submission window for late work will stay open until April 5 with report cards being visible on Skyward on April 6. 6th graders will be changing to their fourth 9-weeks classes this Friday. Their teachers for those classes will be reaching out to them with further instruction.
Thank you for your support as we move forward through these uncharted waters.
David Foley, Ed. D.