School Closure

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Thanks in advance to our families for filling out the survey below (very short, 2-3 minutes).  The survey allows the district to collect some data, regarding the following:

  • How many students will be enrolling in our hybrid program at our schools (some in person-some out as allowed by health metrics and ODE/Governor guidance).
  • How many currently plan to enroll in our FRSD OPTIONS program that will be fully online with some teacher support.
  • How many are pursuing an option outside of the FRSD school district and will not be returning.

This information will help us tremendously with our planning over the next several weeks. This is for returning AND new students to fill out.  Please take one survey for EACH student that you have.  The survey will remain open until Monday morning, August 10th.

If you need more information before filling out the survey regarding what our hybrid/in-person model will  look like, or more information on the FRSD OPTIONS program, please feel free to call or email  your building principal.

CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY

Below is a general description of our framework, following our large group committee meeting today.  Please be aware that these are subject to change based on several factors, most importantly the required metrics (number of infections in a county and test positivity rate both county and statewide).

To summarize:

The 1st day of school for all students (regardless of model) will be Tuesday, September 15th.

Grades 4-12 will begin in Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL).  This is the only thing allowed by the Governor’s order and ODE directives. There are some exceptions for students with Special Needs to receive “limited” on-site instruction in grades 4-12.  We are looking into the ODE definition of “limited” and we will be exploring those options.

Grades K-3 will begin with in-person instruction on an A/B schedule (either Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday).  Many Lane County School Districts are beginning the year with all of their students K-12 in distance learning.  In an effort to try and support our K-3 students and families, as well as provide as safe an environment as possible for our staff, we have agreed to utilize the governor’s exception for K-3 as long as metrics allow.

Starting school one week later gives staff, instead of the normal 4 days, to prepare for the school year, a full 2 weeks.  This will significantly improve the CDL experience for our students, parents, and staff.  It will also allow our classroom K-3 teachers time to prepare.  With the work we have already begun, combined with what will occur the first two weeks staff return, we are confident we can provide an engaging and rigorous Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) model for our students. Currently, having 4th-12th grade students attend in person is NOT allowed with the Governor’s guidance.

For families in all grades K-12, an FRSD OPTIONS program will be available.  This program is for families that, for example, have a medically fragile student, a high-risk household member, are waiting for a vaccine, or simply want to start the year in CDL and will not be moving back to the building when the metrics allow us to open up with more in-person instruction.

Every 4-5 weeks we will decide, based on both state and county metrics, whether or not we can begin to move 4th-12th graders into some form of on-site instruction, expand our K-3 on-site instruction, or not.  A decision on whether we can make this move will be made on or before October 5th.  If we can, it will begin Tuesday, October 13th.  If it cannot, we will stay with the CDL model in grades 4-12, and A/B schedule in grades K-3 at least through the end of the quarter (Friday, November 13th).  A decision regarding moving to in-person instruction that could occur beginning Tuesday, November 17th, will be made on or before November 9th (again, mostly determined by what is allowed based on current state and county infection metrics).

There are still MANY details around this that need to be worked out.  Your FRSD staff is working around the clock to prepare for the return of our students.  It is our goal to provide options for parents, stay in compliance with the requirements, and provide our families with as much in-person instruction as possible.  When it is not possible, we will be working hard to ensure our CDL program is one that is as engaging as we can possibly make it, and that parents and students have the supports and technology they need to make it work for their family.

As usual, we will have our Wednesday community Q and A tomorrow at 3:30 where I will review the information above.  The link for that virtual meeting is:  https://meet.google.com/wro-ifnp-ans

 

 

FRSD Students, Families, and Staff,

Yesterday, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), in consultation with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released new health metrics and standards for opening schools.  These metrics were discussed in an announcement by Governor Brown.  What this means for Fern Ridge is that all students in grades 4-12 will participate in a comprehensive distance learning model to begin the school year.  Our planning committee will be reviewing all of this information and guidance over the next few days.  On Tuesday, August 4th, our planning committee will finalize our recommended structure (for all grades K-12) and it will be communicated to the community later that day.

At that time, it is my hope/goal to be able to share the following information on August 4th:

  • General information about the registration timeline and process.
  • The date of the first day of school for all grades.
  • What the K-3 model/plan is in regards to in-person vs. Comprehensive Distance Learning, as well as dates and timelines.
  • How long (at a minimum based on infection rates) students in grades 4-12 will be in Comprehensive Distance Learning before returning to in-person instruction.
  • Any options for students with special needs for periodic, individual, or small group in-person instruction or technology support on campus.
  • A clear description of our “FRSD OPTIONS” Program for families that want to engage in full-time online learning (K-12) for the remainder of the 20-21 school year.

I realize everyone is anxious to receive final confirmation of what the school year will look like, and that this news is frustrating for some, and a sense of assurance for others.  The District will continue to use the metrics established by the health experts in the state to guide our decisions.  In all our plans, flexibility will be critical, as guidance/directives from the state changes often.  We ask that families be aware of this and understand that plans WILL change as needed.

In regards to what comprehensive distance learning will look like for Fern Ridge students, you should know that this model will be different from the student learning experience of this past spring.  Our goal will be to start the school year prepared to provide all students with a robust learning experience.

The district understands the importance of getting our students back in our buildings as soon as it is possible to do so, and we will continue to work on our detailed health and safety plans so we are ready to make that transition.  The district is fortunate to have supportive certified and classified association partners, parents, and community leaders that are collaborating with us daily. A return to in-person learning will occur as soon as possible, until then we look forward to meeting the needs of our students and families to the best of our abilities in this new, virtual environment.

As a reminder, the district holds a virtual google meet each Wednesday at 3:30.  These meetings can be accessed through the following link: https://meet.google.com/wro-ifnp-ans

Thanks to everyone that participated and asked great questions in our virtual meeting yesterday.  I mentioned that I would type up something today in response to questions I did not have the answer to or simply missed in the chat box.  Below are those 3 questions and answers:

1. Will traditional grading be used in 20-21 (or Pass/No Pass like in the Spring of 2020)?

The final answer to this might take a little more research/work.  In the ODE guidance, under the Assessment and Grading sections is where this is addressed.  Under the “required” segment of this guidance it states (among other things), that in hybrid or Comprehensive Distance Learning models, districts must “develop and implement an equitable grading policy.”  Under the recommended section it states (among other things), “Use assessment to celebrate student strengths, identify needs, document learning as it progresses, and verify student performance in comparison to levels of expectation or proficiency.”  To summarize, I would say this gives our teachers and administrators some flexibility and will be something that is decided in the coming weeks.  While grading scales and how we assess may be modified some, letter grades on a transcript are important for many reasons at the High School level so I would anticipate that to continue.  Having said that, know there will be more information to come.

2.  Was there a survey sent out for staff preferences (like the one given to parents)?

There was not.  The survey was given to the community and students, the people that all FRSD employees serve.  However, there was plenty of staff input, and continues to be, on how our staff will meet the needs identified by our community and students within our capabilities, as safely as possible, and in compliance with all the guidance we are receiving.  Our current “model” was what was recommended by the teams of certified, classified, and administrative staff (including M.S. and H.S. student representation) as a part of our re-opening committee that met at each level (Elementary, M.S. and H.S.).  Staff continue to be involved in sub-groups (and make decisions and recommendations) on a wide range of topics.

3.  Finally, there was one question that I missed answering the second part of.  It was around the topic of well-being and stress on staff and students. 

Support around this topic will be incorporated.  What that looks like exactly hasn’t been determined.  However, we have a sub-committee (titled Social Emotional Health) who will be addressing this issue.  Luckily we began some mindfulness practice last year.  In addition, we have a district staff wellness committee whose work will look differently in 20-21. There are many resources on this topic, including a section on the ODE website at the following link: https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/healthsafety/Pages/COVID19.aspx titled Mental Health & Social Supports.  Our sub-committee will be using these resources and as our teachers return to work it will be something that can be discussed at the beginning of the year at the building level as needs will vary.

Thank you to everyone for their participation, as additional questions arise, the best point of contact will be building administrators.  See you next Wednesday for the latest updates.

At the board meeting on Monday night, I shared the framework of our re-opening school plans for the Fern Ridge School District.  This framework has been created over the past few weeks based on the extensive requirements and guidelines put out by ODE and OHA, as well as input from our staff, students, and parents. The framework is as follows:

For families that need or choose to access Comprehensive Distance Learning, we will have a program. We have created a new department within our district:  The FRSD Options Program.  The staff in this department will support students and families that choose this option.  At the elementary level it will be through the Google Classroom platform and for grades 6-12, it will be through the platform of Edgenuity.  The extensive logistics of this will be worked out in the coming weeks.  We have started the work on this.  The exact start date, how to register, and more detailed information (a handbook so to speak) will come out as soon as it is available.

For families that need or choose to have students in school, our brick and mortar schools will be open as follows:

Elementary school: There will be no school on Mondays. Every Tuesday through Friday throughout the year, school will be in session. All students enrolled will come to school each of the four days. Google classroom will be taught and used in school, so that if we need to transition to either Short Term Distance Learning or Comprehensive Distance Learning for all, we will have the ability to do so. In addition to traditional Spring Break and Winter Break, there will be no school the week of Thanksgiving.  We will be implementing extensive hygiene and sanitation protocols, and using cohorting along with physical distancing as required.

Middle School and High School: There will be no school on Mondays.  Every Tuesday through Friday throughout the school year, school will be in session.  Students will be split into two cohorts and attend school on either the “A-days” (Tuesday and Thursday) or “B-days” (Wednesday and Friday). Some of our students with higher needs will have the option of attending all four days. In addition to traditional Spring Break and Winter Break, there will be no school the week of Thanksgiving.

In the coming weeks, as we work on the logistics of this massive undertaking (including but not limited to supporting staff,  students, and families, transporting students safely, delivering meals, and creating daily schedules) we will keep parents informed.  The exact start date of school has not been determined.  We are just now beginning to address critical details on whether or not we  need to stagger our start (bring students back slowly or on an adjusted schedule) and what that looks like to ensure we are prepared for what will be a new and challenging school program.

Per ODE requirements, the district must submit a “blueprint” documenting what “re-opening” looks like at each building by August 15th.  At that time we will be able to share more of the specific details of each option, we will be asking parents to review those details and inform the District of which option they prefer for their family.

Sometime in the next week to ten days I expect ODE, in cooperation with OHA, to put out more specific metrics that will give local leaders additional information. This will be on what local infection rates are, and how districts should consider that information when considering full-time distance learning vs. full-time brick and mortar as well as a wide range of possibilities that lie somewhere between those two models.  That guidance will be reviewed, as well as any other new information or trends that occur.  We are trying to create a model that allows for flexibility and the ability to move into and out of brick and mortar buildings with minimal disruption, when required to do so.  Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate this and try to find creative ways to serve our students and families.

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr.

Superintendent, FRSD

FRSD Students and Families

For the past several weeks, staff have been reviewing the Oregon Department of Education requirements, along with Oregon Health Authority and Centers for Disease Control recommendations regarding re-opening schools.

This week our formal planning began with a “brainstorming / planning session” that included nearly 30 folks from a wide group of constituents, including staff, students, and community members.  These planning sessions will continue every Tuesday, through the month of July.  In addition, this past Wednesday I hosted a a google meet for some parents and community members.  These are held to share what was discussed during our session, our challenges, and thoughts so far, as well as  an opportunity to ask questions and provide input.

These sessions will continue on Wednesdays at 3:30 and anyone is free to attend and listen, as well as type any questions in the chat box.  You can access these meetings at:  https://meet.google.com/wro-ifnp-ans or by calling 1-385-393-4218 PIN 537353691#.  Please mute yourself upon entering the meeting.  The login information will be the same for each of these Wednesday meetings.

The requirements we must operate under to bring students back are extensive and extremely challenging.  Our plans are due to the Oregon Department of Education by August 15th.  When we submit our plan, it will be shared and posted to the website.  The goals for our re-opening/planning committee are:

  1. The maintain the safety of our students and staff.
  2. To follow OHA, CDC and ODE requirements and guidelines.
  3. To get all students K-12 into brick and mortar buildings as much as possible.
  4. Create a model that allows for a seamless transition to comprehensive online distance learning if required.

The committee hopes to have a framework of a proposal to present to the FRSD School Board on Monday, July 20th for them to review and offer their approval.  If the framework of our proposal is approved by the school board, the extensive work will begin in regards to the logistics of executing this framework.  There are many elements, outside of providing quality instruction, that the district is charged with addressing, including:  Transportation, Food Service, Sanitation and Cleaning, Cohorting, Social Distancing, Entry and Screening Protocols, Technology for Online and Distance Learning, Professional Development for Staff, Public Health Communication / Isolation Protocols, and  Staffing and Personnel issues, just to name a few.

As we progress, we will continue to provide updates as they become available, so that parents have all the information they need to make decisions that are best for their families.  Thank you in advance for your patience and support.

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr.

Superintendent, FRSD 28J

Free summer meals for youth in the community begins on June 29th-August 28th.  This is a Food For Lane County program.  Below are the details:

WHERE: Territorial Park in Veneta (The skate park)

WHEN:  Monday through Friday, from 11 AM-12:00 (closed July 3rd due to the holiday)

WHAT:  Breakfast and lunch are served together!

HOW:  You can “walk up” or “drive through”

WHO:  To pick up the meals, the child does NOT have to be present.  All children age 0-18 are eligible, no geographic requirement or documentation needed!

QUESTIONS OR MORE INFORMATION:  Call FOOD For Lane County at 541-343-2822, or visit them at foodforlanecounty.org.  Click here to see the map of all the food sites around Lane county.  Click here to see their informative flyer.

Have a great summer, and please, utilize this resource!

Fern Ridge School District Colleagues and Families,

Over the past week we have observed our nation react to the senseless death of George Floyd while in police custody.  While this event didn’t take place here locally, it is certainly felt everywhere and by everyone, including our local law enforcement that care about our community. Everyone in the Fern Ridge School District stands with people of color that make up our students, staff, and families. While our thoughts are with our entire community, they are especially with those who are most affected by the recent news and events. While it is impossible for many of us to fully understand what it is like to live in a world where racism exists, and how that manifests itself in the daily experience of the communities that experience it, know that all of us in Fern Ridge stand with you.

As a district, we stand by our mission to “Provide excellence for every student”. In recent years, staff have had extra training on supporting students that have experienced trauma and the implicit biases that we all have. In partnership with some excellent Lane ESD staff, we have started Black Student Unions at both the Middle and High School to afford our black students an opportunity to discuss challenges they are presented with and to problem solve solutions. Having said that, it is clear we must do more.   For example, as a rural community it has been difficult to hire staff that look like all of our students. How different and disheartening must it be for our students of color to attend school every day, for 12+ years, yet rarely if ever have an instructor that looks like them? Schools are to be a safe place for all students, and we have both an obligation and a unique opportunity to ensure we graduate students that prioritize kindness and equity in all of their interactions.

I look forward to a future when communications like this are not necessary, as I certainly know I am growing weary of seeing our country torn apart by injustices, just as many of you are.

To our families of color, we stand ready to support you any way that we can. You are invited to talk with us about your experiences within our school system, or the experiences of your children at any time.

Professionally,

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr. Superintendent, FRSD 28J

In stressful times, parents can help children feel safe by openly discussing issues that are impacting them. Below are some links to resources that some may find useful at this time:

  1. “Talking to children about violence”: (visit link here)
  2. Tips for educators: (visit link here)
  3. Tips for parents: (visit link here)
  4. A shared call for action to end racism and violence against people of color: (visit link here)

Below is some general information about our graduation ceremony this Friday, at EHS.  Late Wednesday, or early Thursday following a test/run-through we will be sharing additional information for folks that will not be able to attend, and how they can access a live broadcast of the ceremony.

  1.  The graduation ceremony will be taking place in the EHS Parking lot at 7:00 PM on Friday Night.  We have a stage set up extra high so that hopefully everyone can see from their cars.
  2. We are working in conjunction with KOCF 92.7 FM to broadcast the ceremony.  Attendees at the ceremony will listen via their car radios.
  3. Unfortunately, each graduate is only allowed 2 vehicles max.  One that they are in, and one additional vehicle.  These “2nd vehicles” must have a pass (the graduates will get them Wednesday night) you must have this pass in order to enter.  All of these “2nd vehicles” must enter EHS via Fir Grove Lane off of Territorial.  The gate to enter will open at 6:00 PM.
  4. Folks not in attendance will be able to listen to the broadcast via KOCF 92.7 on their radios (if local) or through a streaming of the KOCF broadcast at:  http://kocf.org/live-stream/
  5. We hope to have a live video stream of the ceremony through either facebook live, or youtube live.  More information on how to access that will be coming out shortly.
  6. We are working on expanding our wifi capabilities tremendously for this event, in the parking lot.  This will allow attendees in cars to view the stream.  However, with 180 cars, all streaming….limiting to one device per car (phone, tablet, laptop, etc…) will be VERY helpful.  Thank you for your assistance.
  7. The nature of this ceremony is undoubtedly going to take longer than the traditional hour.  Please be patient, and there will be port-a-potties available on site.
  8. Please maintain social distancing guidelines when in attendance.
  9. Masks are recommended for visitors and graduates, but not required.  All staff assisting with the ceremony will be wearing masks.

We look forward to celebrating the class of 2020!  Go Falcons

  1. Today is DOUBLE meal day.  Meals will come in larger bags that include 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches.
  2. No Meal Service Tomorrow.
  3. No Meal Service Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.
  4. Meal service and packet-pickup/deliver continues on Tuesday, May 26th!
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