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March 20th, 2020

Dear USD 289 Students, Parents, and Patrons,

This is an unprecedented time in our state and district. However, it gives me great comfort to know that we have a district full of talented staff, students, and a tremendously supportive community and parents. Together we will get through this.

On Tuesday, March 18th, 2020, Governor Kelly issued an executive order that school buildings would essentially be closed for the remainder 2019-2020 school years, but that schools would be developing continual learning plans to meet the educational needs of all students. The Kansas Department of Education convened a task force of educators from across the state to develop guidance to districts in developing their plans. On Thursday, March 19th, 2020, their report was released.

Our staff has been working very hard over the past two days to review the report and create a framework and process for developing the USD 289 Continuous Learning Plan (CLP). On Monday, teachers will begin meeting and working to create this plan for their classrooms, courses, and students. We will be hard at work March 23rd - March 27th.

While some details are unknown at this time, what I can tell you about our continual learning plan at this time is as follows:

  • We will be focusing on essential learning and essential outcomes for students - “less is more.”
  • This will be a flexible plan that is adaptive as needs change.
  • Relationships, social/emotional and mental health supports will be a key focus throughout the plan.
  • We will establish a consistent and agreed upon framework of expectations, communication models and practices that all stakeholders share.
  • The plan must support all populations of students.
  • Instruction models may be a blending of non-technology, face to face, and virtual platforms.
  • KSDE task force guidance has recommendations on time for students to spend on learning each day -- this will not look like the typical 6.5 hour day.
    • KSDE recommended guidelines for MAXIMUM student commitment each day are as follows:
      • Pre-K : 30 minutes
      • Grades K-1: 45 minutes
      • Grades 2-3: 60 minutes
      • Grades 4-5: 90 minutes
      • Grades 6-12: 30 minutes per teacher (3 hours max in a day)
  • The plan will have input from multiple stakeholder groups.
  • The CLP will not just be making copies of worksheets and sending them home.
  • The CLP will not be hours of screen time for students and parents.

We understand that all families and students will have situations and needs that are unique. As staff work to create and finalize the plan, we are asking for your assistance. Please complete the Planning for Continuous Learning Parent Survey for your student(s) HERE. This information will be essential as we complete our CLP.

If you have seen the movie “Martian”, Matt Damon is stuck on Mars, when he returns to Earth - he talks to his students about his experience and what it took to make it home. He described it by saying, “You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem. And you solve the next one. And then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home”. In many ways, that is exactly what our staff has been doing over the last few days and will continue to do next week. When they are done, I am confident that we will have a valuable continuing education plan for all students.

A huge thank you to our custodial department who has been deep cleaning the buildings all week, to our Food Service staff who is preparing free Grab and Go Breakfast and Lunches beginning Monday, March 23rd, and to our administrators and staff who gave up their Spring Break to begin working on this plan. Our teachers have been tremendously positive throughout the process and have been filling in throughout the break wherever needed. Thank you.

Parents and community members have been extremely supportive through what I know are times filled with anxiety and uncertainty. I know that you have a lot of questions. I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers that we know at this time. It can be found here.

A COVID-19 link has been added to the district website (top of the page) and school app. All COVID-19, continuous learning plan news and announcements will be placed here.

In the words of Gene Kranz, flight director of Apollo 13, when told that the outcome of this mission “could be the worst disaster that NASA ever experienced” - he responded by saying, “With all due respect sir, I believe this will be our finest hour”.

While this situation is far from ideal, by working together, I have no doubt that we have the opportunity to make this our finest hour.

Sincerely,

Ryan Bradbury

Superintendent

USD 289


USD 289 Timeline

  • Spring Break, March 23-27, will remain student and staff time off as scheduled.
  • March 30-April 3, will be a planning week for our staff to plan and finalize the CLP for USD 289. The anticipated start date is March 30th, 2020. Once the plan is ready to implement we will notify students and families of what this will look like going forward.
  • USD 289 will serve Free Grab and Go Breakfast and Lunch beginning March 23rd for any student ages 1-18 at Wellsville High School (curbside by the main office doors). If you need to have the meals delivered, please request this via email at jsnyder@usd289.org. Your child and/or student must be present in the vehicle to get the meals (USDA waiver requirement)