Reflections about next fall, meal box update, elementary/middle school grading and another webinar

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

I have received a lot of thoughtful and varied feedback about next school year after I sent my email on Saturday. I appreciate how many of you took the time to reach out and share your reflections. I shared only two of many ideas being discussed around the state, country and world. I did not intend to signal a preference, but I am grateful that my message may have inspired discussions and questions in my inbox and in your homes. My hope is that we are back next fall with all students in all of our schools, but I cannot with confidence promise that. I can guarantee that school will look and feel different in the near future, just as going out to eat, attending a ball game or flying on an airplane will be different.

We are putting together a work group to further develop ideas for next year. We will engage with staff, families, students and community partners, as well as other school districts, child care organizations and health officials. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has created a statewide Reopening Washington Schools 2020-21 Workgroup, which has provided initial guidance to districts across the state, including its timeline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just yesterday published its detailed, delayed road map for reopening schools and child care facilities, which will also be an important resource for our district.

We anticipate asking for feedback and sharing updates throughout the spring and summer, so please continue to stay engaged.

Weekly meal box update

I am excited to share that our food services team is going to continue to provide our multi-meal boxes over the summer months. One quick note for distribution next week: we will distribute our meal boxes from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at our regular sites on Tuesday, May 26 due to Monday’s Memorial Day holiday. We go back to our Monday distribution on June 1.

Grading in elementary and middle school

I have received consistent questions about how elementary and middle schoolers will be graded during the closure, and what role student and family engagement in remote learning will play.

For our elementary and middle school learners, we will continue to follow the state guidance to “do no harm” with remote learning and grading this spring. Between now and the end of the school year, we want students to stay engaged in learning and connect with their teachers as much as possible. All students in elementary and middle school will be promoted to the next grade in the fall. When school reopens in fall 2020, it will be our job to take care of your children and meet their educational needs where they are.

Elementary students’ report card will note the closure and their promotion to the next year’s grade. A letter from their principal with more context and explanation will be mailed home to families. Middle school students will receive a report card with P (Pass/Promote) marks for all standards, except for math classes that earn high school credit like Algebra. These classes will follow our A/I high school grading system. Please reach out to your principals and teachers for more information, or visit our grading guidelines webpage.

We want to hear from you!

We will host another virtual conversation via Zoom from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27.  Please join the meeting using this link:  https://bellinghamschools.zoom.us/j/92033215419.

To simply listen in, call 253-215-8782 or 669-900- 6833 and enter webinar ID: 920 3321 5419.

As in previous webinars, you can submit a question or topic before noon on May 27 via this webform. We will do our best to provide answers during the meeting. For those of you who cannot attend in real time, we will post a recording of the event on our website.

I also love how many of you send in funny memes! Below are two of my favorites this week.

Thanks for your continued support, questions and pandemic times humor!

Greg Baker