School Reopening Fall 2020
School Board approves SBLSD’s 2020-21 Reopening Plan; students begin school year 100% distance learning
At the Aug. 12 School Board meeting, the Board approved Sumner-Bonney Lake School District’s 2020-21 Reopening Plan, which starts the school year in a 100% distance learning format for all students, and moves, in stages, toward hybrid and in-person learning.*
More than 250 people tuned in to the virtual meeting featuring detailed information about the reopening plan, called Staged for Success. One pivotal item of note is the newly-released directive from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department requiring all schools to begin the year in a distance learning format.
“I have full confidence the District has provided the best scenario with the limitations that the department of health has now mandated in Pierce County,” said School Board President Deb Norris. “It is important to recognize the commitment to the health, safety and well being of our students, their families, our staff and the community while offering the best educational format under these circumstances.”
The presentation to the School Board included:
- New Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department directive, issued by Dr. Chen Aug. 11, requiring all Pierce County schools — public and private — to begin the school year using distance learning
- Comprehensive, 40-page guide that serves as a roadmap for logistics as the District moves among stages and learning formats throughout the school year
- Review of the six stages and associated standards under the Staged for Success plan for advancement that goes from 100% distance learning (Stages 1-2) to Hybrid Learning (Stages 3-5) to 100% In-Person Learning (Stage 6)
- Health requirements: Physical distancing, face coverings, meals, cleaning, screenings, symptoms protocols
- Education requirements: School days/hours, attendance, learning standards, grading, distance/hybrid learning schedules
- Technology: Google Classroom, chromebooks, internet access
- Professional learning, student support, special services, family/community engagement, childcare and financial impact
School Board action, Aug. 12:
- Adopted Resolution No. 28/19-20 Sumner-Bonney Lake School District’s Reopening Plan
- Approved Sumner-Bonney Lake School District’s Reopening Plan
“This plan shows that we are relentless in fine tuning and adjusting to make sure that it works for families, and still provides and delivers a quality, exceptional education,” said Superintendent Laurie Dent. “Our core mission is student learning, and that will never change.”
* Per Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the plan’s exception allows schools to provide limited, in-person instruction to students who need additional intensive learning support, such as students with special needs and an Individualized Education Plan.
School Board to take action on Reopening Plan Aug. 12
The public is invited to virtually attend the next School Board meeting — Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. — when the Board will hear a second presentation and take action on the 2020 SBLSD Reopening Plan.
To submit comments, fill out this online form or call (253) 891-6080 by 5 p.m. on Aug. 12.
Here’s the link and passcode to join the virtual School Board meeting:
School Board Study Session: View Recording & Presentation
About 500 people joined the July 30 School Board Study Session to learn about the District’s new six-staged approach to gradually resume in-person instruction, and details about our greatly-improved Distance Learning 3.0 model.
Under eight guiding principles, ranging from health and safety requirements to offering as much face-to-face instruction as possible, the presentation to the School Board highlighted:
- Details for each of the six stages
- Outline of distance learning improvements
- Weekly schedules for elementary and secondary in distance learning format
- Professional learning for staff and training for families/childcare providers
View the recording of the Study Session (password: C65ib&qN)
The School Board will vitually meet next at 6 p.m. on Aug. 12 and Aug. 19. The public has the opportunity to submit comments online or by phone (253-891-6080) 5 p.m. the day of each meeting.
School Reopening Plan Details: July 30 School Board Study Session
As our beautiful weather continues, I hope you continue to enjoy it!
Last week, in sharing the news that all students will begin the school year in a distance learning format, I promised to follow up with additional information.
Staff has been working diligently to create a new approach to reopening in the fall while maintaining our top priority — the health and safety of students, families and staff.
This new approach holds true to our ultimate goal of getting students back in school — face-to-face — as soon as safely possible. While we’re starting the school year in a distance learning format, we’re hopeful we can gradually add face-to-face and hybrid formats in stages. I very much recognize the burden that distance learning can place on many of our families and I will do whatever is safely possible, in time, to provide other learning options.
I invite you to learn more about our new approach, called Staged for Success, during a virtual School Board Study Session on July 30 at 4 p.m. The two-part presentation will include critical details on our Fall Reopening Plan and the newly-enhanced Distance Learning 3.0 model. Here’s what you’ll learn in this presentation to the School Board:
- Staged for Success: Six-staged approach where students start the year in 100% distance learning and, over time, resume school in 100% face-to-face instruction. These six stages will be determined by the impacts of a changing health situation, available resources, and direction from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), our governor and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
- Distance Learning 3.0: Distance learning will be greatly improved from last year. We took the input from students, staff and families seriously and designed a robust distance learning plan that incorporates best practice and your feedback. To help families learn more about the plan for Distance Learning 3.0, staff will present details on the structure, breadth and depth of our newly-improved and enhanced distance learning model.
If you’re unable to make the 4 p.m. July 30 School Board Study Session, we’ll post a recording of the meeting and the presentation slides online. And please know that the District will offer even more information, including webinars, to make sure you’re fully informed on our Fall Reopening Plan.
- Virtual Study Session Zoom Link: https://bit.ly/2Df2gAL
- Passcode: 016621
Laurie Dent, Ph.D.
School in 2020-21 will be different as we continue to deliver instruction for each student while addressing student, staff and community health and safety during COVID-19. Our planning for the upcoming school year is being informed by guidelines from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and other agencies.
We are moving forward in selecting a reopening model, within state guidelines, that best meets the needs of our students, staff and families. Planning continues to be a collaborative effort among our Reopening Committee, labor partners, and representatives from our schools and parent associations. As family feedback is a critical part of our planning process, we provided two opportunities for input through an online survey and virtual town hall.
Whichever teaching and learning format becomes our reality due to this extended and unfortunate circumstance, we’re committed to making sure every student receives a quality, continuous education with as much face-to-face time with their educators and peers in schools as much as possible with safety a priority.
Please know that clear and transparent decision-making is a priority for us, and we'll provide regular updates to make sure you have the latest information.
Focused on Equity
As we plan for the reopening of our schools, here are our key commitments focused on equity:
- Ensure equity and access for each and every student
- Center on the needs of our most marginalized and vulnerable students
- Enlist family, student and educator voice in the planning process
- Use learning from COVID-19 as an opportunity to break inequities
State Superintendent Reykdal Video Message (June 20)
State Superintendent Chris Reykdal addresses four key questions that are driving a lot of conversation statewide. This includes clarification that it's "very unlikely and almost impossible" that school districts are able to safely bring back every student for face-to-face instruction at the same time.