We Got This...
During the past week, I have been witness to people coming together in an attempt to design and provide something never before accomplished. While our twelve month employees put the finishing touches on everything needed to ensure we welcomed back the rest of our staff this week, our teachers have been hard at work participating in trainings and collaborating with each other as they prepare to welcome students to the 2020-2021 school year. Teacher participation in professional development is at an all time high, and it's a testament to the desire and determination that teachers everywhere have to the duty of helping children grow. As we enter the final week of preparation, it is clear that everyone this year is a first year employee! None of us have ever attempted to do what we are about to do. The playing field is level and collaboration and support for each other is necessary today, more than ever. It is likely that some students will know more about technology or a specific app than an adult. That's okay. From that, a learning experience can occur and a student can grow by sharing knowledge and collaborating with a teacher or the class. That sharing of information from a student to another is a 21st century skill! Our mantra this year must be, "If we can't teach in a 21st century environment, how can we expect our students to learn for a 21st century environment." (which by the way, is THEIR future). Education systems have long spoken a big game about teaching for the future, embedding 21st century skills into teaching, etc.; however, the truth is, the restraints placed on schools due to over-testing, minute/hour requirements for courses, and a litany of other mandates has made it practically impossible to be creative and flexible for teachers. This is the reason we have entitled our reopening plan, "Redefining Opportunities for Meaningful Education." We have the opportunity, right now, to redefine what it is that matters in a school setting. We can remove the word "traditional" in front of "school setting". We now have the opportunity to clearly define and build 21st century skills such as: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, information, media, technology, flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity, and social. Further than just our staff capitalizing on this opportunity, our entire community is coming together to help build the new normal. Throughout the entire COVID situation, it could have been easier for communities to become keyboard warriors and hide behind their computer screens throwing molotov cocktails via social media; however, many have chosen to collaborate, seek information, and attempt to understand the situation and help before passing judgements. These situations are what will allow us, together, to build an education system unlike any before and unlike any in our region. While frustration, stress, anxiety, and sometimes anger will not be absent from our daily lives, don't lose site of the opportunity we all have that has not been present EVER in any of our lifetimes. Together, we can rebuild what educational experiences should be and can be. Together, we got this. So together, let's do this!
For any family that completed the Instructional Model Request form and indicated that they needed a Chromebook to support remote learning, devices are available this week (September 8-11) for pick up at your child's school. Details on specific times and days can be obtained by contacting your school's main office, if you have not already received that information.
Throughout the last week, you should have received information directly from your child's school that provides more detailed information related to specific daily schedules and classroom teachers. We have experienced several situations where a family may not have an accurate address on file with the district and if you have not received information as of now, we urge you to contact your child's school to verify that we have the correct address. Daily elementary school schedule information, by grade level, can be found on our website here: https://www.romecsd.org/news_page/rcsd_virtual_at-home_supply_lists.
Student Health Screening
Each Monday, we are asking all parents to complete the student health screening to help assist in monitoring any possibility of virus exposure within our school district. The screening is short and is modeled after the daily screening required by all employees and the screening required for visitors. A button for the link is included on our reopening website and a link to the Student Health Screening is here:https://docs.google.com/forms/studenthealth.
Information and Questions
As opening day draws closer, we understand that people will continue to have questions and be in need of information. In recent days, the questions have far outnumbered the time available to respond, however, many questions have already been answered through one document or another. For information on everything related to COVID-19 for the 2020-2021 school year and for reopening schools this Fall, please visit our webpage at www.romecsd.org/reopening. If you do have questions that you cannot seem to find an answer for, we encourage parents and students to either contact the appropriate administrator or send an email to email@example.com.