Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday Update April 3 4 p.m.

Saturday Meals

Our Saturday meal service is in jeopardy. When we began this service, we believed that TSD would be reimbursed through federal programs for the cost of these meals. We learned last week that federal programs will only reimburse for meals Monday through Friday. Tomorrow's meals will be delivered today, but they will be the last Saturday meals unless we can find sponsors to help. 320 meals will cost $928 each Saturday. Not including tomorrow, there are 10 Saturdays remaining in the school year. This means we need $9,280 to fund these meals. If you can help, make your donation to the Katie's Kids fund at Timberland Bank. I'm reaching out to other organizations to find support. TSD will cover the cost of the Saturday meals so far-including tomorrow. Without needed support, today's delivery will be the last Saturday meals delivered. Mon-Fri meals will continue next week without interruption.

Instruction

With the extension of the requirement to stay home, it doesn't appear that we'll be returning to face-to-face school until after May 4. Our Response Team has a plan that we'll implement when the Governor allows us to return. In the meantime, our teachers and paraeducators continue to provide educational support and instruction through the internet and in packets. We believe that every family with students in our system has been contacted. If we missed you, please call me at 509.770.0067 so that I can get you connected with your teachers.

I have encouraged all of our instructional employees that are not involved in food service, deliveries or maintenance and grounds to observe Spring Break and rest this coming week. I encourage you and your family to do the same. This is beginning to look less like a sprint and more like a marathon, so we need to pace ourselves for the duration. Everyone has been working so hard to find a new normal. This is a good opportunity to pause, reflect, restore and recommit to our families and community.

Food Service

With the exception of Saturdays, food service and deliveries will continue through Spring Break. We enjoyed seeing everyone during Thursday's Food Parade. Even though it looked like cars were getting stacked up behind the bus, those were all TSD teachers, staff and friends coming to say hi to our students and families. We'll let you know when we plan to do it again.

We're beginning to find a new rhythm to our work and hope that you're doing the same. We'll be back at it on April 13th and look forward to seeing you. I'm committed to this blog every Friday and when there are changes to report. If there isn't anything to report, that's what I'll report. Until next time, be well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 1 6 p.m.

There is still plenty of uncertainty, but what is certain is that we get better at delivering instruction at a distance every day. We learned in our Response Team meeting this Tuesday that all families with children in our schools have been contacted. This hasn't been easy. Some phones don't have voicemail set up. Not everyone has given us their emails. Some folks don't return phone calls. Our team has been diligent in tracking folks down on Facebook, asking neighbors to pass along messages to call us and even visiting homes to deliver packets and ask for contact. If we're mistaken, and no one in your family has been contacted, it is vitally important that you call or email us. If you don't have the school's number, use mine: 509.770.0067 or email me at crust@toledoschools.us. I'll put you in touch with your child's school.

Instruction

Our teachers continue to learn new ways of connecting with students. We've had several teachers take on zoom meetings for their classes this week and have had some great success with those. Others continue to post to YouTube and the high school is uniformly using Google Classroom to deliver instruction. All of our seniors have tailored plans for courses leading to a diploma this year. TES will be providing feedback on learning to students. TMS and THS will be providing "Credit/No Credit" grades rather than traditional A-F. This allows for individual students to demonstrate learning in different ways and overcome some of the inequities associated with learning this way. It also insulates students' GPAs from damage during this time.

We've loaned out over 100 devices to families in the community and ToledoTel informs us that everyone they serve in our district has been given internet access. We continue to be grateful to ToledoTel for the support that they provide to our students, families and staff. We couldn't do this without them.

We're adding more OdysseyWare licenses to our online capacity to serve our students with disabilities. This specialized curriculum allows our Special Education teachers to provide specially-designed instruction for many of our students with special needs. This coursework is expected to be available early next week.

Food Service

Since March 17, we've served 2,662 meals to children throughout the District. Most of these have been delivered. This has helped families who are experiencing financial hardship and has reduced the need for people to go to the grocery store. I saw a home made card done in crayon on the table in the ready room at the bus garage. It said, "Thank you for bringing us meals!" Our team says that it has been inspiring to be part of this effort and we're proud of their service.

Parade for Class of 2020

Thanks to Brandie Devine and several community members, there are plans afoot to have a parade through town. Residents and businesses on the route will be asked to decorate their front porch to honor the Class of 2020. On Saturday, April 18, THS Seniors will drive the route to look at all of the decorations and residents will be asked to be outside to wave and make as much noise as possible while maintaining social distance. If you live outside of town or off the parade route, I've heard there are plans to decorate the fence at the baseball field at THS as well as other places in town. Follow the City of Toledo Facebook page for more information. Thanks Toledo!

Whatever your current circumstances, know that your neighbors care about you and stand ready to provide support and assistance. Reach out by phone, email, text. Don't isolate. Together, we can do anything. Be well. Wash your hands. Next update on Friday morning.

Friday, March 27, 2020

March 27 4 p.m.

We've had some great successes this week!


Instruction: Within 2 hours of the announcement to provide more than enrichment to our students, teachers were working to push out lessons and assignments via the internet and packets. There was lots of concern about "grading". TES is electing to continue their practice of providing feedback to students. There is research evidence that grades actually limit student learning. Once a student is given a grade, they tend to stop learning more- regardless of the grade. Feedback on the other hand, gives students encouragement on what to do next and is associated with higher rates of engagement and learning over time. TMS and THS are choosing to transcript either Credit or No Credit for courses during the shutdown. This insulates students' GPAs and athletic eligibility during this unusual time. Each teacher in the district will continue to have their own practice on assessment and feedback. For more on this, please consult your child's teacher or principal.
Mrs. Cannon's 1st grade zoom meeting today

ToledoTel reports that all families in their service area that are also in the Toledo School District have been connected to the internet. TSD has loaned nearly 50 devices to families with access but no device. We have additional devices to loan if your family still has a need. We're working hard to identify families that are not connected so that arrangements can be made to provide packets of lessons. If you know someone in this situation, please ask them to call Heather Ogden at TMS. She is compiling a roster of these families so that we can make arrangements to serve them.

Mr. Hopf and his team at TES are responsible for the Learning Assistance Program (LAP). This team supports students with additional Math and English (ELA) help. Mr. Hopf reported today:
"I just wanted you to know that starting next week our LAP department will be offering targeted standard based ELA intervention to 171 LAP students in grades K-5. We will be calling families to help them log in to their Mobymax account. Our goal is to reach out to our students on a weekly basis to see how they are doing and to check if there is anything we (or their teacher) can do to help them. We will communicate any special needs to their teacher if need be through email. I am putting together a template that my staff and I will use when calling home and will plan on us beginning calls by the middle of next week. 

I am so proud of my LAP staff! They have all been working hard to help me, our school and students. They are all on the front lines delivering meals .... I am so thankful to work with such amazing ladies!!"

Teachers are using Google Classroom, YouTube, Class Dojo, Classcraft, Zoom, and other means to stay in touch with students and to help students stay in touch with their peers. The more connection we can have, the more we maintain the relationships that make learning possible. For folks not on the internet, IGA is allowing us to use a shelf in the front of the store (near the bottled water) as a drop zone for packets. Teachers can leave materials there for students and students can leave materials there for teachers. This is coordinated using phone calls and email. We're also experimenting with including deliveries on Tuesdays with the meal routes.

Food Service: Chartwell's team of cooks has been busy each day preparing meals for children in our district. We began with 38 meals and now are serving and delivering over 600 each day! In addition to two meals Mon-Fri, we're providing two meals for Saturdays as well. We are planning to continue this service through Spring Break (April 6-10).
 Rickene Reynolds, Food Service Director

Chartwell's Team (they're farther apart than they look)

I want to acknowledge our Transportation Department and especially our supervisor, Don Hall. Each day, Don organizes the new requests for meals, creates new routes (four of them), notifies the families regarding delivery times, organizes drivers and paraeducators for delivery and then does dispatch duties while the deliveries are underway. 

I also want to acknowledge the drivers and paraeducators who have been doing the deliveries. This is not the work they were hired to do and each one of them has volunteered for this duty. While they are observing social distancing and special hygiene protocols, there is a certain amount of risk to this work and they're doing it in service to the children and families of our community. Be sure to share your gratitude when they come your way.

Closing: I meet with superintendents and administrators from all over the state to talk about what's working and the challenges we're facing. Many districts are having difficulty even connecting to the internet. Some are having trouble providing meals. Others are still trying to make their first contact with families since the shutdown. In Toledo, I hear from our parents often how pleased they are with the supports they're receiving from our team. If this is your experience, I hope you thank our staff for their hard work. If it isn't your experience, I hope you'll contact me so that we can improve.

Prepared, not scared.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March 25 4:00 p.m.

I'm attaching a link to an article from the American Psychological Association. It talks about how to maintain our mental health while observing social distancing and self-quarantine procedures. Not only are these important ideas for ourselves, they are important for children. All of us are feeling the effects of routines and systems in disarray. It will take us some time to establish a "new normal".


Instruction: When schools in Washington were closed on March 17, the guidance we were given was to provide enrichment activities for students and supports for parents at home. We were told that if we provided educational services, we needed to be able to provide for all students regardless of ability. For some of our students, packets and the internet don’t meet their special needs. We decided to make all of our activities enrichment and optional.
We received new guidance on March 24 from the Federal Dept. of Education and OSPI that indicates we are expected to provide educational services. In the words of our State Superintendent,
Although schools are closed and are not providing traditional in-person instruction, education must continue.”
This means that enrichment is not enough. We've been charged with taking risks and redefining what educational service means. A colleague of mine likened this to being told in the third quarter of a football game that everyone would now be required to dribble the ball when running. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is a heavy lift. However, within hours of the State Superintendent's announcement, Toledo teachers and staff had already begun ramping up efforts to meet this new directive. Teachers at all four schools are increasing their efforts to be in contact with families and to provide lessons and assignments that will keep our students moving forward. In addition, our special education staff is developing ways to continue to provide specially-designed instruction for all students with disabilities. We need your help.

If you have not been in contact with your child’s teacher, please contact them by phone or email this week so that your child doesn’t miss out on instruction. Maintaining relationships and contact with school and teachers is more important than ever now that we don’t see each other every day.

If you don’t have a connection to the internet or a device to access the internet, be sure to tell your child’s teacher. ToledoTel has nearly finished connecting all families in the district who are within their service area. We are working to find out who remains so that we can develop ways to deliver instruction to those families.

Food Service: We're serving over 500 meals each day now and delivering on four bus routes. We continue to get orders for food and this is great! We won't ever stop taking orders. Our staff continue to provide this essential service for our families and I am humbled by their efforts on a daily basis. They are overcoming food shortages from purveyors to provide two healthy meals six days a week. 

In closing, I urge everyone to follow the Governor’s directive to stay home and stay healthy. Our only weapon against this virus is to not pass it to one another and to take the strain off of our healthcare providers. We come together by staying apart.  Best wishes to you and your family during this difficult time.


Monday, March 23, 2020

March 23 11:30 a.m.

With the exception of one person, staff of the District Office will be working from home beginning today. The office remains closed to walk-in traffic and all business will continue to be conducted via phone and email.

Enrichment: Staff continue to provide enrichment activities that parents can use with their children. In addition, staff are contacting families by email or phone to provide additional support and to answer questions. We're working on instructional services for the Class of 2020. Students will have  courses that they need for the diploma.

Staff emails follow the pattern: firstinitiallastname@toledoschools.us. So Chris Rust is crust@toledoschools.us If you haven't heard from your child's teacher, it may mean that we don't have up-to-date contact information for you. Take a moment to email your child's teacher with your updated contact information.

Food Service: We served over 200 meals on Friday! That's more like it! It was great seeing our buses running and people out at their stops to get meals. There's no deadline for signing up for this service. Send your information to dhall@toledoschools.us

Childcare: Parents who need childcare are encouraged to contact one of the licensed daycare providers in the Toledo area.


Friday, March 20, 2020

March 20 9:10 a.m.

ToledoTel: I want to take just a moment to thank our friends at ToledoTel. When the Governor closed schools and it was clear that some of our students would not have internet access, Dale Merten and the team at ToledoTel cross checked the addresses of all of our students with their list of customers. Those who did not have access were called by ToledoTel and given free, 100mb service for the duration of the shutdown.

ToledoTel has been out since the beginning of this week helping us meet our mission of each child, each day each classroom. In addition, for those families outside of ToledoTel's service area, Dale and his team have been referring them to resources that can provide similar service. This is just one example of the many things that ToledoTel does for our school district and our community. On behalf of all of us, THANK YOU ToledoTel!
____________________________________

Happy first day of Spring! Here's your Friday update:

Enrichment: Teachers continue to support families engaged in enrichment activities at home. I'm seeing some amazing work by our teachers with video lessons and support as well as links to activities.

THS staff continue to work to develop solutions for our Seniors. We're expecting guidance from the State Board of Ed and OSPI next week on allowable adjustments to requirements. In the meantime, we're looking at what each student needs in order to graduate and making plans to provide that. We're also looking at how grades will be assigned so that student GPAs don't suffer as a result of this event. Advisory teachers will be in touch with Class of 2020.

Special Education staff are engaged in solving some of the issues around keeping IEPs and evaluations current. In addition, we're exploring ways to provide specially designed instruction (including speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy). This is evolving and like many of the other challenges we've faced, I know we'll find a way to overcome them.

Our transportation department is working with principals and teachers to develop a way to get materials out to students so that the activities that can't be provided online can get to families. Watch for information from your teacher.

Food Service: We're planning to serve 180 meals today. These are meals for the weekend. Monday will have two deliveries- one for Monday meals and the other (in the afternoon) for Tuesday meals. Our food service department is not able to provide menues because they are dealing with food shortages from our suppliers. The team is planning day-to-day at this time. One example is milk. Only chocolate milk is available to us right now. We're hoping that our kids won't be too unhappy with this challenge.

Childcare: This is on hold right now pending more support from the State. I'm told that with many families at home, there are spaces available in some of our local daycares. I encourage families who need childcare to contact them.

Board Meeting: We conducted our first remote board meeting last night. Using Zoom software, we were able to conduct a full meeting without having to be in the same room. Several community members were "in attendance" and while audio public comment wasn't feasible, the Board is always accepting written public comment. Send yours to me at crust@toledoschools.us. I send your comments to the Board right away and include a copy in the correspondence section of the next Board meeting packet. This makes it a public document and all can see it. I expect that our next meeting will also be conducted in this fashion.




Thursday, March 19, 2020

March 19 1:10 p.m.

The "dark room" of COVID continues to evolve, but we get a little more light each day. Here is what we're working on today:

Enrichment: Teachers are working to stay in touch with students. For THS, this is from advisory teachers. For TES this is classroom teachers. TMS has allocated differently depending upon grade level. Every student should have one teacher to be in contact with. We're providing enrichment activities that families can do at home. You should not expect your children to do 6-8 hours of school work each day. It is important that kids have the time to play, explore, relax, do chores, etc. In addition, all learning is learning. Learning how to do laundry, cook, clean, pay bills, hang pictures, fix toilets, check the oil in the car (change the oil!). All of these are important skills that your kids can learn from you. Finally, lessons about how to cope with adversity, help neighbors and the elderly and participate in keeping everyone safe are critical right now.

Food Service: We continue to provide two meals a day at no cost for every child 0-18. We're operating bus routes according to our meal orders and food is available for pick up at curbside at TES from 2-3 p.m. daily and additionally from 9-11 on Mondays (two sets of meals on Mondays). If you haven't let us know your needs, the sign up sheet is here. We plan to continue to provide food service through our calendared Spring Break in April so that there won't be an interruption of service.

Childcare: The risks associated with the provision of childcare are enormous. We're awaiting guidance from the State regarding licensing, operations and safety. Since many of the people who work for our District are in the high risk categories, this may be difficult for us. We're looking at some innovative options, but I'm not confident we'll be able to provide childcare without additional supports. Local daycares may have openings given changes to parents' schedules. Please check with them first for your needs.

Class of 2020: THS is working to develop programming to allow seniors to finish credits and requirements. The State Board of Education is expected to provide guidance next week on this issue. Our team is working to develop plans to adjust so that all of our seniors are positioned to finish their diplomas by June 19. We do not have information regarding Commencement or other senior events at this time.

Staff: Currently, all staff are working from home with the exception of a few of our drivers, custodians, transportation and maintenance supervisors and our District Office staff. Those who are on-site are observing social distancing protocols, hand washing and respiratory etiquette. For teachers, working from home involves staying in touch with students, developing enrichment activities, book study and other professional development. Classified staff are doing clerical work from home as well as professional development. Staff who are in high risk categories are able to be placed on paid administrative leave while they self-quarantine. This is a benefit to us all as they are less likely to become infected and  burden the healthcare system.

Our District team continues to work hard to support the children and families of the District. When you're in contact with them, be sure to share your gratitude for their continued efforts.

Board Meeting: The regular monthly Board meeting is tonight at 7 p.m. I am working to deliver this meeting via zoom. The Open Public Meetings Act requires that a person be on site at the announced meeting space when a virtual (online) meeting is held. I plan to operate the zoom meeting from TMS. The public is welcome to be on site, however, only 9 others besides myself will be allowed in the room and we'll be maintaining a minimum of six feet of separation. Attendees will be asked to wash their hands prior to entering the meeting space. I recommend that members of the public interested in the meeting use the following zoom coordinates to call in:

Topic: Toledo School District Regular Board Meeting
Time: Mar 19, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting by computer or smartphone (audio and video):
Meeting ID: 997 070 017

Join Zoom Meeting by Telephone (audio only):
669.900.6833

Meeting ID: 997 070 017