Update for March 25: remote learning, resources for families and memes

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear students, staff, families and community,

Many of our teachers and students (and in many cases, families) have been engaged in remote learning this week.

Our elementary teachers have been sending messages and videos through the SeeSaw app and email this week to engage with students and families. Middle and high school students should be checking their school email for messages from their teachers, guiding them toward where their learning activities are found. Having our one-to-one devices as a resource at this time is wonderful.

Families, please check in with your students to see that they have checked their school email. Starting next week, middle and high school students will receive weekly assignments, generally on Monday and Tuesday.

Building new routines will take time, especially in a time of stress. Our amazing teachers and other learning leaders are taking innovation to new levels and learning themselves as we go. Many of them are also parenting and supporting their own children’s learning at this time. Thank you to this staff for all for their hard work and thoughtful planning.

If your family has capacity for more learning at this time, we encourage you to:

  • Read! All Bellingham Public Schools students have access to the Bellingham Public Library collection, and can check out e-books and other resources.
  • Take advantage of this set of curated resources, vetted by our teachers.
  • Reach out to your child’s teacher(s), understanding they are also adjusting to a new routine and means of teaching that is very different from what we are all used to. They know your children well. They will have suggestions and ideas for extensions and quality resources.
  • Consider learning in other areas during this time — perhaps areas your own family has expertise in. These could include lessons in cooking and baking, outdoor learning, or practicing a new skill.

High school credits and graduating seniors: We have a team of folks working to understand the state’s recent guidance for seniors and for high school credits. Our high school counselors are prioritizing seniors and will be communicating with their students. Counselors and high school administrators are all available by email if students or staff have any questions.

During our closure, we are primarily hearing from two groups of families: those in crisis and those at home ready to highly engage in remote learning. For every parent who reaches out wanting more academic work for their child, there are parents—health care workers, our own teachers, other essential workers—reminding us that this is a high-stress time and families only have so much capacity. We have families who are losing jobs, who are losing homes and who have food insecurity. Our diverse community also includes hundreds of students experiencing homelessness who need help more than ever and families living in tight quarters with multiple children and little to no technology. Others are working long hours supporting essential services in our community.

This may not describe your family; if not, we ask you to remember that they are out there, and they are hurting. Our district is working hard to support our staff, students and all families to meet their needs, including meals, computers, WiFi and other supports (get access to these resources here) – AND our primary responsibility in normal circumstances, which of course is teaching and learning.

Speaking of supports, we have created a one-stop shop webpage in an effort to have one point of access to our growing list of resources and request forms, including drive-thru meals and our request form for technology and other needs.

A graphic that says F A QA graphic that says MealsLearning resources linktech request formContact us icon

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You can access it on our homepage or visit bellinghamschools.org/resources.

And thank you to those of you who have sent me innumerable messages of support and gratitude, beautiful student poems (here’s one of them shared out on social media already), and a variety of internet memes. Keep ‘em coming! They are a nice blend of inspirational and fun, both very welcome during these tough times.

Here’s a punny one:

a screenshot of puns

Thanks for your continued support and feedback,

Greg Baker