Messages to Families

  • SBLSD Family News: 11/20/20

    Posted by SBLSD on 11/20/2020

    COVID-19 updates

    Appointments required to visit District buildings 

    In the best interest of our school district community during this rapid rise of COVID-19 cases, we’re choosing to increase our efforts to help curb the spread of the virus by restricting public access to our schools, administrative offices and support buildings. We ask families and community members to please make an appointment in advance of your visit. Find building phone numbers and office hours at www.sumnersd.org/directory.

    Planning for January/February hybrid start continues

    Despite recent statewide restrictions related to COVID-19, the District continues to plan for all elementary students, along with those from Stage 3, to begin hybrid learning sometime in January, with secondary students starting in early February. Families are invited to attend the next School Board study session at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2 for an update on these planning efforts. We’ll post the agenda and virtual meeting link a day prior to the meeting.

    COVID-19 School Board presentation 

    District administration regularly presents COVID-19 reports at each School Board meeting. Read the Nov. 18, 2020, COVID-19 report

    COVID-19 positive cases dashboard 

    A new page on our COVID-19 web section shows the number of positive cases and the associated number quarantined by building. This will be updated as new cases arise.

    Robust online conversation about distance learning yields ideas for improvement

    In mid-October, a month into distance learning, the District asked families and students what they think we should start, stop, and continue doing to ensure that distance learning is an effective model.

    Using a new feedback tool, Thoughtexchange, we were thrilled to see high participation in this critical conversation that generated 1,665 thoughts garnering 50,412 ratings. The ratings are especially valuable as the thoughts with the highest ratings were deemed most important and where we placed our focus in proposing enhancements to our distance learning format.

    We very much thank everyone who participated in this Thoughtexchange. Please know that we heard you and your feedback is instrumental in making changes and improvements to help ensure student success.

    Here’s a high-level summary of the results broken out by the top themes, thoughts and ideas for action steps. Find more detailed results with an array of charts, graphs and other visual summaries at www.sumnersd.org/thoughtexchange.

    Theme 1: Workload  

    Top Thoughts


    • Students feel there is too much homework 
    • School work is due in a short amount of time
    • Monitor how long assignments are taking and adjust accordingly

    Top Ideas for Action


    • Analyze use of priority standards and align to assigned work
    • Analyze amount and type of asynchronous work students are expected to complete, then adjust accordingly
    • Build in make up time for students as we seek balance of workload

    Theme 2: Communication 

    Top Thoughts


    • Confusion on assignments given over the weekend
    • Need clarity on due dates
    • Keep assignments in one place



    Top Ideas for Action


    • Review process for Friday communication that includes assignments for Monday and a preview for the following week
    • Evaluate how we communicate assignments and due dates to students and families 
    • Add all assignments, including work from specialists, in Google Classroom

    Theme 3: Instructional Model 

    Top Thoughts


    • Provide hardcopy materials to reduce screen time 
    • Too much learning on own trying to teach self 
    • Want teachers to explain homework more and extend due dates 

    Top Ideas for Action


    • Provide non-screen time work for primary students 
    • Continue to send materials home to support off-line learning 
    • Teachers review asynchronous work expectations during live Zoom sessions so expectations are clear

    Theme 4: Social Emotional Learning Connections 

    Top Thoughts


    • Students are struggling with personal life, mental health, and getting everything done
    • Students need to have more peer interaction, break them into groups to talk and discuss 
    • Check in with students to see how they are feeling, not just how they are doing on work 

    Top Ideas for Action


    • Create more (and different) interventions for students who are struggling
    • Encourage more social interaction for students on Zoom
    • Explore opportunities for kids to connect/make friends such as Lunch Bunch 

    Theme 5: Standards Based Assessment 

    Top Thoughts


    • Grades need to be posted regularly
    • Fewer assignments that cover the same topic 
    • Don’t fail students when assignment turned in upside down; possible underlying reasons for missing assignments 

    Top Ideas for Action


    • Communicate that grades are in Skyward and assignments are in Google Classroom 
    • Increase opportunities to demonstrate learning in live classes 
    • Incorporate more group work or project based assessments so students can interact with one another

     

    District Equity Advisory Council continues to meet; connections, conversations and change happening virtually

    The District’s 39-member Equity Advisory Council met virtually for its second meeting of the school year on Nov. 17. The members, comprising parents, students, community members and a school board member heard reports on the Safety Advisory Committee, curriculum research and adoption, hate and bias response protocol staff training, and more. Members also broke out into discussion groups to share their perspectives and experiences in relation to these topics. This input advises the District and helps inform planning work.

    A highlight from the meeting is the District’s work on researching and adopting curriculum that is dedicated to the teaching and learning of cultures and ethnicities. Read more about this curriculum and our larger, multi-year equity initiative, which includes plans, progress and action in many aspects of leading with racial equity.

    Sumner High students place at National FFA Convention 

    Congrats to 10 Sumner High School students who earned awards at the 2020 National Agriscience Fair, held virtually during the National FFA Convention! Even in the midst of pandemic-related challenges, these students remained dedicated to their research, representing SHS at the state and national level.

    • Adeline R (Class of 2020): 3rd Place, Gold Award
    • Nazaaha P & Sierra B (Class of 2021): 4th Place, Gold Award 
    • Madeline M & Sydney M (Class of 2023): 9th Place, Silver Award
    • Hailey H & Maggie W (Class of 2021): 10th Place, Silver Award
    • Kayce H (Class of 2020): Bronze Award
    • Kennedy S (Class of 2020): Bronze Award 
    • Chance R (Class of 2021): Bronze Award 

    Read more about the award-winning student projects and the process to get to Nationals.

    Secondary conferences scheduled for Nov. 23-24

    The District’s middle and high schools are holding fall Parent-Teacher Conferences on Nov. 23 and 24. To accommodate the conferences, schools will modify the instructional schedule for students on Tuesday, Nov. 24, where there will be no Zoom classes. Students will receive asynchronous work focused on missing work, retakes and/or extension activities. Schools have communicated details with families. If you need more information about Parent-Teacher Conferences, please contact your child’s school.

    Highly Capable referral period open now through Dec. 10

    Does your child perform at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others? Consider referring them for Highly Capable Services by submitting a referral packet by Dec. 10. Referral packets are now available online and in all schools. Forms are available in English and Spanish

    Any parent/guardian, community member or staff member may refer students for Highly Capable Services. The referral window for all students in the 2020-2021 school year is now through Dec. 10. All students referred for Highly Capable will be tested after Winter Break. Learn more about the District’s Highly Capable Services at www.sumnersd.org/hicap.

    More students now eligible for the Washington College Grant

    The new Washington College Grant (WCG) gives additional money to more students for different types of education after high school. WCG can help you access many types of education and training:

    • Public and private colleges and universities
    • Workforce and training programs
    • Approved apprenticeship programs

    Applications for the 2021-22 academic year are now open. Learn more at wsac.wa.gov/WCG.

    Financial Aid Awareness Night recording

    Did you miss SBLSD’s Financial Aid Awareness Night? View the Nov. 17 recording of the virtual event to hear the District’s counseling staff and college admission professionals discuss post-high school financial aid opportunities, including how to complete the FAFSA and WASFA.

    Nov. 18 School Board meeting highlights feature presentations on PE, Special Ed distance learning

    Donations Accepted: The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation through Pierce County Connected has donated $25,000 to the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District to be used to support McKinney-Vento students at the Family Center through outreach and basic needs support. This donation directly supports the District’s COVID-19 response efforts for these students.

    Board Action

    • Adopted Resolution No. 4/20-21 Certification of 2021 Excess Property Taxes
    • Adopted Resolution No. 5/20-21 Out-of-Endorsement Assignment Waiver 

    Presentations

    Reports 

    Meeting Recording: https://bit.ly/3nJ0Jor (Passcode: 4a6*8o7F)

    Upcoming Meetings (virtual) at 6 p.m.

    • Study Session: Dec. 2
    • Board Meeting: Dec. 9

     

    Meal ‘double-bag day’ Nov. 24; December menu 

    There will be no school Nov. 25-27 for Thanksgiving Break. For families who pick up free curbside meals, you’ll receive double the meals on Tuesday, Nov. 24. These are offered curbside from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday on regular school days at these seven schools located throughout the District. We’re also thinking ahead to next month. Check out December’s meal menu

     

    Comments (-1)
  • SBLSD Family News: 11/6/20

    Posted by SBLSD on 11/6/2020

    COVID-19 updates

    • Health department pilot program

    COVID-19 continues to dominate news headlines (along with election coverage, of course ;)). Among recent stories is the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s development of a COVID-19 screening and testing pilot program for rural K-12 schools in the county. Some are asking if our District is eligible to apply to participate in the pilot.

    SBLSD is not eligible for the pilot program. Instead, smaller more rural school districts such as Peninsula, White River, Eatonville and Carbonado qualify as they are some of the furthest away from major healthcare facilities and resources found along the I-5 corridor.

    • Staged for Success: Stage 3

    Staged for Success, our six-staged approach to determine the timeline to implement various learning models, is now in Stage 3, which allows the District to bring back even more students, in groups of five or fewer following safety protocols, for in-person support.

    We’ve expanded our scope of students who are in the greatest need of additional support by offering in-person support to high school students. Over the upcoming weeks, we plan to gradually increase this support to middle school and elementary students.

    Stage 2:  This stage allowed only in-person learning for select students with Individualized Education Plans in our special education program. We continue to support 200 with special needs for in-person learning, which began in September. We thank our staff for their hard work and diligence in creating and maintaining safe in-person learning for those who need it most!

    • Fingers crossed for January/February 

    We continue to closely monitor COVID-19 data and trends, and follow recommendations and guidance from local and state health authorities. We’re hopeful, as we continue to plan, that all elementary students, along with those from Stage 3, will begin Hybrid learning sometime in January, with secondary students starting in early February. The short history of COVID-19 tells us that data can change rapidly, sometimes requiring a change in best-laid plans with so many of us wanting our students back in buildings.

    Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences happening soon

    Connecting with teachers about your child’s progress is especially critical in our distance learning format. Both elementary and secondary schools are offering virtual opportunities for Parent-Teacher Conferences, in which families are able to select the dates and times most convenient for them. Look for detailed information from your child’s school with how to sign up for a conference. In the meantime, mark your calendars for these dates:

    • Elementary: Nov. 18, 19, 20, 24
    • Secondary: Nov. 23, 24

    No changes to SBLSD’s Sexual Health Education curriculum

    On Nov. 3, voters passed Referendum 90, which requires public schools in Washington state to provide sexual health education to all students. What does this mean for students in the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District? There will be no changes to our current curriculum. 

    The new law (Senate Bill 5395) requires the teaching of age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health education to students in grades 6-12 beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, and in grades 4 or 5 beginning in the 2022-23 school year. Students in grades K-3 are required to be taught social emotional learning skills such as managing emotions, establishing relationships, setting goals, and making responsible decisions. There is no sexual health content required in K-3.

    In our District, the sexual health education currently offered to students in grades 4-12 meets the requirements for the new law. This means we will not be making changes to our current curriculum.  

    Families will continue to be encouraged and are invited to review our curriculum at any of our family review events, or by special appointment. After viewing the curriculum, families have the ability to opt their child out of any or all lessons. 

    Read details about an upcoming review for students currently enrolled in 8th grade Skills for Life and 9th grade Health classes. We’ll communicate other curriculum review dates in our newsletters and on our website.

    Curriculum review for grades 8 and 9

    Do you want to review and understand the health content for grades 8 and 9? The District invites families to preview the teaching materials for HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum for students currently enrolled in 8th grade Skills for Life and 9th grade Health classes. 

    To preview the curriculum, email a request to dawn_palumbo@sumnersd.org and include the student's name, school and grade level. You’ll receive an electronic copy of the curriculum in PDF format for review along with the exclusion form.* The review window is Nov. 16 to Dec. 11. 

    Washington state law requires that every student receive HIV/AIDS prevention education in grades 5 through 12. Because this unit covers sensitive topics, Washington state law and SBLSD board policy require that families are provided the opportunity to preview these lessons.

    Families of students in other grades will have the opportunity to preview the curriculum in the spring.

    * Families wishing to exclude their child from the state-required HIV/AIDS curriculum must preview this curriculum and sign the exclusion form.

    Workshop for Spanish-speaking families

    Spanish-speaking families are invited to attend a Distance Learning Tips for Parents workshop on Nov. 16 and 17. The 30-minute workshop, located at the Sumner-Bonney Lake Family Center, will offer technology tips for helping your children succeed during distance learning. The presentation will be available in English and Spanish.

    • Sessions: 
      • Nov. 16: 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. 
      • Nov. 17: 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
    • Registration required: (253) 891-6150 
    • Classes limited to five participants, who must wear masks and practice social distancing 

    SBLSD Financial Aid Awareness Night: Nov. 17

    Join SBLSD counseling staff and college admission professionals for a free webinar on post-high school financial aid opportunities, including how to complete the FAFSA and WASFA.

    READY! For Kindergarten Classes: Fall Session

    Registration is now open for virtual READY! for Kindergarten fall classes. This free program for parents and caregivers of children birth to age five provides tools that prepare children for kindergarten. Learn important information specific to your child’s age on how they learn, grow, and receive essential tools and activities to make learning easy and fun. Families who are new to READY! will learn more at an orientation prior to the class sessions.

    • Orientation for new families: Nov. 16, 6-6:30 p.m. 

    *Spanish Session offered

    Celebrating Native American Heritage Month 

    November is Native American Heritage Month; a time to celebrate the rich and diverse history of Native Americans. It is important to acknowledge the contributions Native people have given and continue to give to society.

    The District’s Native American Education Program will use this opportunity to educate students in schools about Native people and culture, with a focus on the past 120 years. 

    SBLSD’s Native American Education Program serves nearly 200 students throughout the District who have Native American heritage. This year, the program has set up elementary, middle, and high school Google Classroom pages. Students also have access to video check ins with staff from the program.

    School Board meeting: Nov. 18

    Families are welcome to attend the School Board meetings and study sessions. Here’s information for the next virtual School Board meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 18.

    • Zoom Link: bit.ly/BoardMeetingNov18
    • Passcode: 660864
    • Audience comments: Submit online by 5 p.m. the day of the meeting

     

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  • SBLSD Family News: Meal Menu | Art Winner | Elections | Curriculum Review & More

    Posted by SBLSD on 10/30/2020

    Free grab-and-go meals; November menu

    Is your kid curious when Pizza Day is? Check out the menu for November’s grab and go meals! These free meals, served hot and ready to eat, are available to anyone 18 or younger. To go along with the lunch entree, you’ll receive a bag with fruit, vegetables, a breakfast item, milk and juice. Meals are offered curbside from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday on regular school days at these seven schools located throughout the District

    Bonney Lake HS sophomore places in art contest

    Congratulations to Bonney Lake High School sophomore Iris Rogel for winning 2nd place in the drawing category for ninth and tenth grades in the Pierce County Library art contest! More than 800 students from schools across Pierce County submitted their artwork for the contest. Iris's pen and ink drawing, "Odin in Ink," is published in the library's annual Our Own Expressions chapbook. View Iris's drawing and the other winning entries.

    Sign it, seal it, drop it

    Please vote: There are only four days left to vote! Simply sign, seal and drop your ballot in a drop box by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. There are two ballot drop boxes located within our District: Bonney Lake South Park & Ride and Sumner Library. How do you know if your vote was actually counted? You can track it at votewa.gov

    Elections in the classroom: Even after the election, discussions about the outcome could surface in classrooms between teachers and students. If these conversations arise, SBLSD staff will navigate neutrality in the classroom.

    Parents Right to Know: Title I schools 

    School districts are required to annually notify parents of students at Title I schools of their right to request the professional qualifications of their child's teacher. This includes licensing and certification for grade level and subject; emergency or other provisional status; B.A. major and graduate degrees; and paraprofessional qualifications. Districts are also required to notify parents if students have a teacher for four weeks or more who has not met applicable state certification or licensure requirements at the grade level and subject area in which the teacher has been assigned. Learn more ...

    Directory information withholding

    Parents and guardians may choose whether their child’s name, photos and other directory information is used in District and school publications (print and electronic), social media or by the news media. If you would like to opt your child out of directory information and photos in publications, complete the Directory Information Withholding Form and return to your child’s school or District Office. Please think carefully before restricting this information as your child’s name and photo cannot be included in yearbooks. They also will not be able to be part of classroom, team or club photos. Learn more …

    Curriculum review for grades 8 and 9

    Do you want to review and understand the health content for grades 8 and 9? The District invites families to preview the teaching materials for HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum for students currently enrolled in 8th grade Skills for Life and 9th grade Health classes. 

    To preview the curriculum, email a request to dawn_palumbo@sumnersd.org and include the student's name, school and grade level. You’ll receive an electronic copy of the curriculum in PDF format for review along with the exclusion form.* The review window is Nov. 16 to Dec. 11. 

    Washington state law requires that every student receive HIV/AIDS prevention education in grades 5 through 12. Because this unit covers sensitive topics, Washington state law and SBLSD board policy require that families are provided the opportunity to preview these lessons.

    Families of students in other grades will have the opportunity to preview the curriculum in the spring.

    * Families wishing to exclude their child from the state-required HIV/AIDS curriculum must preview this curriculum and sign the exclusion form.

    Comments (-1)
  • What are your thoughts on distance learning

    Posted by SBLSD on 10/21/2020

    We know you have feedback about distance learning. We want to hear it, really!

    This is a reminder to join our online conversation about distance learning: add your thoughts, and see and rate the thoughts of others. If you’ve already submitted your thoughts, we encourage you to go back into the conversation and rate what you think is most important.

    Your participation will help the District learn what we should start, stop and continue doing to ensure that distance learning is an effective model for our students.

    The conversation is open now through Oct. 23. Join the conversation here and learn more about Thoughtexchange, including a video and Q&A.

    Comments (-1)
  • Family Message: 10/16/20

    Posted by SBLSD on 10/16/2020

    Join the conversation: How is distance learning going for you

    Now that we’ve completed the first month of the school, we want to know how distance learning is going for you. Families and students are invited to contribute thoughts to a community-wide conversation about distance learning using an online tool called Thoughtexchange.

    You’ll be asked to share your thoughts on an open-ended question, and will also be able to read and rate the thoughts of other participants immediately after you have finished sharing thoughts of your own. 

    The question: What should our district start, stop, and continue doing to ensure that distance learning is an effective model for our students? 

    The conversation is open now through Oct. 23. Join the conversation here and learn more about Thoughtexchange, including a video and Q&A.

    Meal assistance applications necessary for funding, reduced program fees 

    Thanks to the USDA, the District is able to continue distributing free meals, but we still very much depend on receiving completed meal assistance applications in order to offer students a reduction in activity and program fees, and receive funding for academic support services.

    Here’s a list of just some fee reductions and programs that come when eligible families complete the meal assistance application: 

    • ASB card
    • Class fees 
    • Activity participation fees
    • Advanced Placement test fee
    • College Bound Scholarship eligibility
    • Learning Assistance Program (state-funded program that provides supplemental instruction to the regular education program) 
    • Title 1 (federally-funded program designed to help students who need extra academic support) 

    If you feel you are eligible for meal assistance benefits, please apply online through Family Access. Applications are also available online and at your child’s school. For more information and assistance with applications, please call Child Nutrition Services at (253) 891-6450.

    Modified sports workout sessions begin with strict safety protocols in place   

    Following strict health and safety requirements, modified workout sessions for some school sports may begin Oct. 19. 

    The nine-week “Out of Season” fall sports window includes restricted in-person outdoor practices sessions in groups of six or fewer for those sports choosing to begin. Should COVID-19 case rates drop, some restricted indoor practice sessions in some sports may be offered.

    In accordance with state health guidelines and approved by the state school athletics board (WIAA), this move to small-group, in-person workout sessions is met with a comprehensive list of safety requirements and protocols to be firmly followed.

    With safety a top priority, we are creating outdoor opportunities that safely foster social and emotional well-being through sports.

    Victor Falls teacher honored as educator of the month 

    Sound Credit Union honored Kim Schmitz from Victor Falls Elementary School as their Educator of the Month!

    A Victor Falls Falcon for the past 5 years, Kim currently teaches 3rd Grade and is the 3rd Grade Team Leader. Kim’s nominator described her as one of the most selfless people they know, noting that she always gives students and parents the time and support they need without feeling rushed.

    Along with her selfless nature, Kim teaches her students to serve and give to others as exemplified in annually partnering with local organizations during the holidays with a toy, hygiene and food drives.

    Congratulations, Kim!

    2020 general election 

    Please vote: Local ballots have been mailed for the general election! Are you registered to vote? The deadline to register or update your voter information online or by mail is Oct. 26. Learn about the issues, candidates and the general election

    Elections in the classroom: It’s likely that topics concerning the election and events in our country could surface in discussions in our classrooms between teachers and students. If these conversations arise, we want families to know how SBLSD staff is navigating neutrality in the classroom. 

    • Teachers will address controversial topics in an impartial and objective manner within the range, knowledge, maturity and comprehension of the students.

    • Teachers will not use classrooms or discussions to support or endorse any political position or ideology to students. 

    Start your college search -- virtually 

    The Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling is offering a free virtual college fair next week, connecting students and families with colleges and universities from all over the country in one location. 

    • Attend live presentations to get the most out of your college search
    • ​​​​​​​Connect with over 100 colleges from across the US and beyond
    • Check out live workshops about the college search process, financial aid opportunities and more 

    Live virtual fairs 

    • October 19: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    • October 20: 4-7 p.m.
    • October 21: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.
    • October 22: 4-7 p.m.

    Learn more and register online at pnacac.swoogo.com/PNACAC

    Free grab-and-go meals continue; revised site locations 

    Through an extended waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we’re continuing to offer free meals to any child age 18 or under. Curbside grab-and-go meals are available at the following locations. Note: Beginning Oct. 26, Lakeridge and Sumner middle schools are no longer locations.  

    Curbside Grab-and-Go Meal Sites | Monday-Friday | 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

    • Bonney Lake Elementary: 18715 80th St E (Bonney Lake)
    • Daffodil Valley Elementary: 1509 Valley Ave (Sumner)
    • Donald Eismann Elementary: 13802 Canyon View Blvd E (Bonney Lake)
    • Emerald Hills Elementary: 19515 S Tapps Dr E (Bonney Lake)
    • Liberty Ridge Elementary: 12202 209th Ave Ct E (Bonney Lake)
    • Mountain View Middle School: 10921 199th Ave Ct E (Bonney Lake)
    • Sumner High School: 1707 Main St (Sumner)

    October study session highlights include updates on athletics, COVID-19

    Study sessions are opportunities for the School Board to learn more about specific topics. No decisions or actions are made at study sessions. Audience comment is generally not available at study sessions. Highlights from the Oct. 14 School Board study session included these presentations and reports:

    Presentations

    Reports

    View a recording of the Oct. 14 Study Session  (passcode: 7G!34qDB). We invite the public to attend School Board meetings, which are, for the time being, held virtually.

    The next School Board meeting is Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. A link and passcode to the meeting will be posted on our website the day before the meeting. Audience comments are welcomed through an online submission form submitted by 5 p.m. the day of the meeting. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Family Message: 10/9/20

    Posted by SBLSD on 10/9/2020

    In this message:

    • COVID-19 cases continue to rise; district continues support for families
    • Eligible families encouraged to apply for meal assistance by end of October
    • Important reminders about attendance and tech helpline 
    • View secondary students’ Chromebook online activity
    • Financial aid offers options for the future; apply now for 2021-22 school year
    • Construction continues for two remaining 2016 bond projects
    • SBLSD earns awards for architecture, communications 
    • Webinar Recordings: Social Emotional Well-Being and School Sports

    COVID-19 cases continue to rise; district continues support for families

    Last Friday you learned about our decision to delay the transition to hybrid learning until January. While it was a very difficult decision, we believe it is the right one for the health and safety of our students and staff, especially in light of the continuous increase in COVID-19 cases.

    The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reports our county is experiencing its third surge in COVID-19 cases, the highest number we’ve seen in the past two months. Today, TPCHD announced the county’s move from a “moderate” disease activity level to “high,” in which the state Department of Health strongly recommends a distance learning format with the option for limited in-person learning in small groups for students with the highest need. 

    We continue to closely monitor COVID-19 data and trends, and follow recommendations and guidance from local and state health authorities. We also continue our support for students, staff and families.

    We’re here to help families navigate the challenges that come with balancing distance learning and regular work-life commitments. We’ll communicate soon about plans to bring back more students with the highest need, in groups of five or fewer, such as students with disabilities or those who are homeless.

    In recognizing the critical social-emotional component to students’ learning and well-being, our school counselors are here to guide and support families. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s school for help and resources.

    Resources: 

    • Resources for mental health and wellness, counseling and community
    • The Family Center remains open to help connect families to a variety of human service programs, resources, information and referrals: (253) 891-6150.
    • The cities of Sumner and Bonney Lake offer CARES funding for families who need help paying utility bills, rent or garbage bills due to the effects of COVID-19. 

    Eligible families encouraged to apply for meal assistance

    While the District is currently able to provide free meals to children 18 and younger, we still need eligible families to complete the free and reduced-price meal application by the end of October in order for the District to receive school funding, low cost internet and reduced school fees.

    SBLSD’s Child Nutrition Services has mailed notification letters to families of children automatically qualified through Basic Food or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs, and to those who have sent in an application. If you have not received a notification letter and feel you are eligible for benefits, please be sure to apply as soon as possible. 

    Please apply online through Family Access. Applications are also available online and at your child’s school. For more information and assistance with applications, please call Child Nutrition Services at (253) 891-6450. 

    Reminders about attendance and tech helpline

    • Attendance: If your child is going to be absent, please call the school and let them know. The District differentiates between excused and unexcused absences during distance learning. Learn more about attendance.

    • Tech Helpline (253) 891-6055: Please remember that interpretation services are available for those who need assistance in a language other than English. Also, if a staff member doesn’t answer the phone, please be sure and leave a voicemail message. The helpline is staffed 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; someone will get back to you during that time.

    View secondary students’ Chromebook online activity

    Securly Parent Portal is a web filtering tool that provides parental controls and reports on District-issued Chromebooks. The portal offers the ability to view online activity outside of the classroom, such as sites browsed, social media use and activity, and items searched.

    Families of secondary students automatically receive weekly email reports from Securly with the opportunity to create an account to receive access to your child’s full online activity history and establish parental controls.

    The frequency of email reports may vary, as reports are based on outside classroom use. Parents may unsubscribe from Securly emails at any time. 

    Learn more about the Securly Parent Portal.  District Chromebook guidelines, responsibilities, technology discipline and device security is available in the Chromebook & Digital Device Handbook.

    If you have questions, please contact help@securly.com as schools are not able to assist with Securly Parent Portal questions.

    Financial aid offers options for the future; apply now for 2021-22 school year

    As of Oct. 1, students can apply for financial aid for the 2021-22 school year. With all the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, education after high school is more important than ever. Filing a financial aid application gives you more options for the future.

    Two application options:

    Completing a FAFSA or WASFA financial aid application is a crucial first step toward college and career training. Many families assume they won’t qualify for aid, but there’s more help available than ever before—the only way to know for sure if you’ll qualify is to apply. Learn more, get support, and apply for financial aid at wsac.wa.gov/apply.

    Construction continues for two remaining 2016 bond projects

    Passage of the 2016 Capital Projects Bond allowed the district to embark on nine construction projects located throughout every region of the District. Seven projects have been completed, with the remaining two ongoing and on schedule for completion.

    • Mountain View Middle School Track & Field: Regulation-sized, eight-lane track and a turf field striped for football, soccer and lacrosse, with a new shot put area in an adjacent small grassy field. LED lighting has been installed for year-round use. Other features include new soccer goals, hurdles, field benches and spectator bleachers. We anticipate completion of the upgraded track and field within the next month depending on the weather. View project updates
    • Sumner High School Expansion Phase 1: Last month’s School Board meetings featured updates and action on items related to the project. The School Board:
    • Reaffirmed its commitment to the Sumner High School Master Plan and Phase 1 Implementation Consistent with the 2016 Capital Projects Bond
    • Adopted Resolution No. 2/20-21: Revocation of Resolution No. 15/17-18 and Substitution of Authorized District Personnel Relating to Sumner School Modernization and Expansion (Phase 1)

    SBLSD earns awards for architecture, communications

    • Design teams with Erickson McGovern Architects and Tehaleh Heights Elementary earned the honor of appearing as an Outstanding Design in the 2020 American School & University Architectural Portfolio, which showcases and celebrates the best in education design.
    • The District’s Communications & Community Relations Office earned an Award of Excellence from the Washington School Public Relations Association for the 2017-18 Annual Report

    Webinar Recordings: Social Emotional Well-Being and School Sports

    We enjoyed hosting two webinars last month. If you missed them, you can access the recordings and presentation slides below. Are there more topics you’re interested in learning about? Email your ideas for topics to communications@sumnersd.org and we’ll consider adding more webinars to our Family Webinar Series.

    • School Sports: Includes the decision-making process for returning to play, middle and high school sports schedules, and the District’s plan for extra-curricular activities (clubs, band, choir, theater, cheer, dance, etc.).
    • Social Emotional Learning & Well-Being: Includes an overview of Social Emotional Learning, why it’s important and how it’s integrated into the curriculum at each grade level. Also offers resources and strategies to use at home.

     

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  • Transition to hybrid learning delayed amid rising COVID-19 case counts

    Posted by SBLSD on 10/2/2020

    SBLSD Families,

    I’m writing today to let you know about some changes to the timing of when students will transition from distance learning to hybrid learning. 

    Through each step of the process in gradually returning to in-person learning, I am fully aware of the impact our decisions have on our students, families and staff. My commitment is to make each decision thoughtfully, with care and attention to all that’s required to keep our staff and students safe while delivering and receiving a quality education.

    This process brings with it the unwelcomed frustration of uncertainty that creates stress for our students and families. Information changes rapidly, often requiring a complete change in direction. 

    The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Sept. 30 guidance to school superintendents reported an increase in COVID-19 case counts in the county, which  puts our District in an unpredictable situation for determining the exact dates of when to safely begin hybrid learning.  

    After careful consideration, based on TPCHD’s guidance and consultation with the District’s board of directors, parent leaders, community members, and leadership, we will delay the transition to a hybrid learning model. At this time, we’re looking to start hybrid learning for elementary students sometime in January and in early February (beginning of second semester) for middle school and high school students.  

    During this delay, the TPCHD is allowing the students with special needs who started in-person learning Sept. 22 to continue with in-person instruction in small groups. We are working on plans to support other students who are in the greatest need of additional assistance.

    I recognize that this timeline to begin hybrid learning will be too slow for some and too fast for others, as families need to plan for childcare, work, and other activities. My hope is that this decision provides families with a timeline that’s not only predictable but also consistent.

    Thank you for your continued partnership. You can expect to receive communication and updates as we work through the process to begin hybrid learning in January. Stay safe and remember to mask up, stay 6 feet apart, and stay home if you are not feeling well. It’s also a good time to get your flu shot. I’m going to get mine this weekend! 

    Sincerely,
    Laurie Dent, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

     


     

    Due to rising COVID-19 cases, along with guidance from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, the District has delayed its transition to hybrid learning.

    Factors that go into making decisions   

    The safety of our students and staff is our top priority and what all subsequent factors are based upon in making decisions for when to bring students and staff into school buildings.

    • Data: Pierce County’s daily COVID-19 case counts 
    • Metrics: State Department of Health Decision Tree for determining when it’s safe to begin/resume in-person learning according to COVID-19 activity levels  
    • Guidance: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department COVID-19 guidance and metrics for schools
    • Staffing: Ensuring we have the staff needed to teach, support and transport students  
    • Schedules: Predictability and consistency for families to plan and students to learn; limiting a back and forth of learning formats  
    • Liability: Washington Schools Risk Management Pool guidance for safe and protected employees, students, school environments, and financial resources 
    • Family input: Ongoing discussions with parent group leaders, who offer input on the planning process 

    Distance learning and student/family support continues
    We’re pleased to hear that many students and families are experiencing success in distance learning. Here’s a reminder of the various support and resources available for those who need assistance.  

    • All students will continue with distance learning, keeping their same teachers and schedules (students with special needs who started in-person learning Sept. 22 will continue with in-person instruction in small groups)
    • Technology resources and other distance learning support is on the 2020-21 School Year section of our website
    • Technical assistance with chromebooks and digital tools continues through our Tech Helpline: (253) 891-6055, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
    • Hotspots are available to any family who needs internet connection at the District Office: 1202 Wood Ave, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
    • The Family Center remains open to help connect families to a variety of human service programs, resources, information and referrals: (253) 891-6150

    If you have questions, please contact your child’s school. 



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  • Survey Extended | By the Numbers | Sports Webinar | Board Meeting Highlights & more

    Posted by SBLSD on 9/25/2020

    Return to School survey deadline extended to Sept. 27

    For those who have completed the Return to School survey, thank you so much! About 78 percent of our families have selected their learning model, which helps us tremendously in furthering our planning efforts. 

    We need to hear from all of our families to get the most accurate count possible to ensure our plan accounts for adequate classes and staffing in both the distance learning and hybrid models.

    In order to get a complete count, we’ve extended the survey deadline to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27.

    Learn how to access the survey and instructions for selecting your learning model.

    By the numbers: First two weeks of school

    In wrapping up our second week of school, we’re pleased to report impressive numbers around attendance, meals and technology assistance. We thank staff and families for their patience and support in partnering to create a strong start to the school year in these areas that are critical to student success. Here are stats for Sept. 15-25: 

    Attendance 

    • Average daily attendance: 99.98%

    This means that students made contact with their teacher or submitted classwork.

    Reminder: What families need to know about attendance during distance learning.

    Meals 

    • Free meals distributed (breakfast and lunch): 31,216

    Reminder: Free curbside grab-and-go bagged meals are available to children 18 and younger at our nine meal sites Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn more. 

    Technology Assistance

    • Phone calls to Tech Helpline: More than 5,200
    • Email requests to Tech Department: More than 1,700
    • Most frequently-asked question: How to log into Zoom. Find step-by-step guides and videos. 

    Reminder: Find a host of Technology & Support resources online or call the Tech Helpline Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at (253) 891-6055. 

     

    Power, internet loss during storms

    Most everyone likely agrees the rain is a welcomed change to our weather after the recent wildfires. At times, rain and wind storms may cause issues during distance learning, such as loss of internet connectivity or power. 

    If a student loses internet connection and is unable to reconnect, they or their parent/guardian should follow up with the teacher as soon as possible. If outages interfere with assignments, students can continue to work with the resources they have.

    If a teacher loses power or connectivity and is suddenly absent from a live Zoom session, the students in the Zoom should also leave the session and the teacher will follow up with the class as soon as possible.

    What will school sports look like this year?

    Are you curious what school sports will look like this school year? What about other extra-curricular activities? Tune in on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. for a School Sports webinar hosted by SBLSD Athletic Director and WIAA Board President Tim Thomsen, who will give an overview of the state of our District’s sports program and touch on related student clubs and activities. Webinar Link: https://bit.ly/31MrfFh (passcode: 908005).

     

    Superintendent, School Board honors Bonney Lake Food Bank 

    The Sept. 23 School Board meeting featured our first-ever virtual Golden Apple Community Partner Award presentation. While virtual, it in no way diminished the substantial impact and committed partnership of the Bonney Lake Food Bank.

    Feeding Bonney Lake and parts of Orting, Sumner and Buckley, the food bank serves 600-700 families each week. That means each week about 3,800 individuals are receiving food support.

    We thank the Bonney Lake Food Bank for treating every person with dignity and making them feel like family. Students who are nutritionally-satisfied are more ready to learn and succeed academically.

     

    View recording, highlights of Sept. 23 School Board meeting

    We’re pleased to see much more participation in our School Board meetings since going virtual. If you missed the Sept. 23 meeting, view highlights and a recording, which included action on policies, resolutions, and reports on construction change orders and budget status. 

    Families, staff and the general public are welcome to attend our virtual School Board study sessions and meetings. Meeting agendas, links and passcodes are posted on our website the day before each meeting. Virtual meetings will continue as long as Open Public Meeting Act requirements are in effect. 

     

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  • Select Learning Model Preference | School Board Meeting Highlights | Webinars

    Posted by SBLSD on 9/18/2020

    District planning for transition to in-person learning; student learning model selection due Sept. 22

    With a drop in COVID-19 cases and a move from the high level to the moderate level of infection, we’re planning to transition to in-person learning. View the plan that was presented to the School Board on Sept. 16.

    Families should have received information from their school about a survey asking you to select your preference for either continuing with distance learning or transitioning to in-person hybrid learning.

    Tentative dates for beginning in-person hybrid learning is Oct. 13 for students in grades K-5. Students in grades 6-12 are slated to begin in-person hybrid learning on Nov. 3. These dates are subject to change barring changes in COVID-19 activity and recommendations from health authorities.

    As we plan for a transition to in-person instruction, we’re reconnecting with families through a survey to determine your preference in a learning model. We are striving to meet the request of all families across the district. Find details on the learning models and instructions for completing the survey here. Please select your learning model by Sept. 22.

    Find information about learning models and stages, health and safety protocols for students and staff, and more in our 2020-21 School Year section of the website.

    Sept. 16 School Board meeting featured plan for transition to in-person learning

    Highlights from the Sept. 16 School Board meeting included these presentations:

    View a recording of the meeting (passcode: UT*E2VSY). We invite the public to attend School Board meetings, which are, for the time being, held virtually. The next School Board meeting is Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. A link and passcode to the meeting will be posted on our website the day before the meeting. Audience comments are welcomed through an online submission form submitted by 5 p.m. the day of the meeting. 

     

    New dates for webinars: Social Emotional Well-Being and School Sports

    • Social Emotional Learning & Well-Being: Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.
      SBLSD focuses on more than only academics. We believe it is our responsibility to educate the whole child for success in school and their future. We incorporate Social Emotional Learning into students’ daily learning, even during this distance format. Dr. Jeannie Larberg, Director of Whole Child, will provide an overview of Social Emotional Learning that includes why it’s important, and how it’s integrated into the curriculum at each grade level. Families will also learn about resources offered at school as well as strategies to use at home. Webinar Link: https://bit.ly/3lJ3vtN  (passcode: 717090).

    • School Sports: Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.
      Are you curious what school sports will look like this school year? What about other extra-curricular activities? Tune in on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. for a School Sports webinar hosted by SBLSD Athletic Director and WIAA Board President Tim Thomsen, who will give an overview of the state of our District’s sports program and touch on related student clubs and activities. Webinar Link: https://bit.ly/31MrfFh (passcode: 908005).
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  • Instructions for how to connect to Zoom: Step-by-step screenshots and videos

    Posted by SBLSD on 9/15/2020

    11:18 a.m.

    We’re receiving a lot of calls from families needing help connecting to Zoom. Zoom is operating normally. It is unrelated to the recent Google Drive partial outage. 

    Please visit www.sumnersd.org/zoom for detailed information on how to connect with Zoom. 

    You’ll find step-by-step screenshots (Spanish) for how to connect with Zoom using various devices, as well as videos walking you through the steps (Spanish). 

    Please also remember our new 2020-21 School Year section on our website that has an array of information, resources and support regarding distance learning. Scroll down to see these topics and then refer to the left-side navigation to drill down into subtopics: 

    Update: We’re happy to report that Google Drive is now up and running for all users. Thanks for your patience as we worked to quickly resolve the issue.

     ---------------------------

    Connecting with Zoom: Step-by-Step Screenshots

    SBLSD Zoom meetings have an extra layer of security and require user authentication. Students must be logged into their District account to join a Zoom meeting. Learn how to log into Zoom with these step-by-step instructions:

    Connecting with Zoom: Videos

    Watch video for how to connect with Zoom
    (Spanish version

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