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Update on Lincoln County Schools

From Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Karen Gray

Dear Lincoln County School District Family and Friends,

The following is another update on the status of education in our school district and our plans for the Fall 2020 school year. I will use the same numbered format as the last time for clarity. Here goes:

1. WHEN DOES COMPREHENSIVE DISTANCE LEARNING (CDL) AND EDMENTUM BEGIN?  The answer to this question is different for elementary and secondary.

  • Elementary CDL –  Sept 14-Sept 25 is when teachers and families will be getting together to talk about Comprehensive Distance Learning and what each student needs to be successful. The whole group lessons start Monday, Sept 28. Students will be provided instructional materials for students that will be accessed online for the Sept 14-25 time period.
  • Secondary (7-12th grade) CDL – Sept 10-11 is when teachers and students will be gearing up for Comprehensive Distance Learning and the students will be logging on. Instruction begins Monday, Sept 14, because high school students need to log in many hours of instruction to receive credit.
  • Edmentum, the K-12 fully online program our schools offer, begins instruction on Sept 14 for all grades. There will be an orientation for elementary students using the Edmentum learning platform on Sept 10-11. More information on this to come soon.

2. HERE ARE THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE TWO EDUCATIONAL MODELS THIS FALL:

Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL)

Your school in a virtual format. Students will access learning online with their LCSD teachers daily, with materials for activities provided as needed. CDL this fall is more robust and has more accountability and more in-depth educational requirements than the Distance Learning we offered in spring. Student work will be graded, attendance will be taken, and teachers will provide daily instruction from their classroom. Teachers will meet with elementary students and families during the first two weeks of school to orient them to the CDL program and regularly connect with students and families. These meetings will be in person as much as possible using ALL safety precautions (social distancing, face coverings, sanitizing, cleaning, sneeze-guards, etc.). All teachers will continuously connect with families. Your teachers will present office hours.

K-12 Online Edmentum Program (new)

The all-online Edmentum learning framework is K-12 and follows all Oregon Standards for Education. We have been using Edmentum for three years for secondary students and recently added the curriculum for grades K-6. The program administrator is Zach Lillebo, the Vice Principal of Taft Elementary School in Lincoln City. He is terrific and has been working hard planning how our new program will work. He will be in charge of this K-12 program full time, and there will be other educators within the program to assist our students. This program is self-paced and does not have a daily connection with an LCSD teacher. There is an expectation of daily participation and progression through the curriculum and assessments. Students in K-6 will have access to the core subjects of Reading, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math.

Registration is now open! More details or to enroll go to our website homepage. 

REGISTRATION CAN BE COMPLETED ONLINE.
YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR CDL OR EDMENTUM AT REGISTRATION.
YOU WILL HAVE UNTIL SEPT 18 TO CHANGE PROGRAMS. AFTER THAT, YOU MUST WAIT UNTIL THE 9 WEEK MARK.

PLEASE REGISTER BY AUGUST 28. 

3. OREGON DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION GUIDANCE UPDATE. Last Tuesday, August 11, the final ODE education guidance was issued. This Guidance is called Ready Schools, Safe Learners or RSSL. There was some additional guidance addressing Special Education, namely, that when the educational model changes, it does not necessarily mean that IEPs must be re-written. The guidance on English Language Learners was also posted and frankly, there wasn’t much to it. Friday, August 14th, guidance on Early Learning PreSchool (child care) came out.

Another update was that individual schools with zero cases of COVID for staff or students in their school area for at least 14 days might be eligible to bring back limited in-person instruction for specific students under very strict guidelines even if they do not meet the county’s or state’s metrics. This is for districts like LCSD, where they do not meet the Governor’s parameters for reopening in person under a Hybrid in person model. (You have to be under 5% positivity for COVID for three weeks in order to meet the county metrics, and we just can’t seem to get there. That is why we are providing online learning and no in-person learning at this time.) However, some of our schools may qualify under the new guidelines for a minimal group of kids for a limited number of hours. This is under consideration.

If a school district can meet the requirements needed for opening in person in any way, they can also have child care. Right now, we do not qualify. We are all VERY concerned about child care. I am meeting this week with United Way of Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties to see what child care possibilities there are as well. We are desperate to help our staff and community find ways to provide healthy, safe, and adequate childcare for their children this fall. We know this is not easy. We have had this problem since last March.

4. OSAA UPDATE (ATHLETICS AND EXTRA CURRICULARS). 

OSAA issued new guidance with a schedule that allows for four seasons and for all sports and activities to play. Season 1 will begin with the OSAA Association year, August 31st, and let some schools start having training contact with students on a limited basis. While some schools in the state may enter practice and local competitions, our schools do not yet meet the guidelines for on-campus or face-to-face activities and cannot resume athletics. Athletic Directors are currently planning individual and at-home health and wellness activities for our student-athletes. It is important to note that physical and athletic eligibility requirements have not changed and will be required if our schools can start OSAA Season 1 or Season 2. For more information about the ODE and OSAA return to play guidance:

Statewide Reopening Guidance – K-12 School Sports, Limited Return to Play

5. BLUEPRINT FOR REOPENING UP ON OUR WEBPAGE. Each school district in Oregon is required to post their Blueprint for Reopening on their website, and ours is now posted here: Back To School (Fall 2020). There is a CDL Blueprint and a Hybrid Blueprint with three sections. Our County Health Department is vetting our safety Blueprint. The School Board approved our plans last Tuesday August 11. Please visit our website to review the documents. The Blueprints from our three charter schools will be posted to our homepage as soon as possible.

Over the last two weeks, the school district has met online with almost 1,400 community members, including many staff. We have met with our Hispanic and Mam speaking families and our tribal partners. In my opinion, most people support the district’s plan this fall. The soft-start phased-in Hybrid model (beginning with CDL) seems reasonable given our current circumstances. Some do not believe we have a reason for keeping education online and kids out of the buildings. However, the metrics given to school districts by the Governor’s office and the ODE are clear, and we do not meet the numbers necessary for a safe reopening. Our county is still in Phase 1. Between weeks 3 and 9 this fall, administrators will be carefully evaluating the safety of our community (community spread has to be down and stay down for three weeks) and the safety of our schools to slowly and safely bring the hybrid teaching model (on campus two days a week and off for most of 3 days) back onto the campuses a few grades at a time and as soon as possible. We want to get this right. We cannot start a model only to shut down again. We see what is happening back east and in the south where districts started back in person too soon and have now shut back down. It’s heartbreaking, and we do not want to do that.

Please trust us and register your kids for school. Our two online programs are excellent, and we are confident that our educational program this fall will be a significant improvement to our “Pandemic Crisis Learning” from the spring. We have learned a lot about how to do this better for kids and families.

Please stay tuned for more information.

Thank you for your continued support.

Karen Gray,
LCSD Superintendent

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