April 2020 Superintendent’s Message

Superintendent's MessageComments Off on April 2020 Superintendent’s Message

It’s Not a Question of If, But A Question of When?

I find such pride in the work of our staff, our students, our parents and the support of our community as we move through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Everyone is committed to doing the best possible for each other. We will soon get to the other side and we will return to a more normal sense of our previous lives.

While we obviously have the goal to get everyone to the other side of this safely, we also have the goal that we will be able to keep students engaged and learning.

As we’ve seen to this point, we are in this together and I have faith that amongst us continues to lie the ability to support our students in their continued learning.

Last Thursday, Governor Reynolds presented three options for the continued learning of students across the state. School districts must submit their plan by Friday, April 10th.  Our administrators and leadership teams have been diligently working on the plans.

During this time of great disruption in our lives there is no right or wrong answer…but rather “it depends”.  As a parent, as a student, as our staff, and as a district there are multiple reasons to align with any of the three choices.  Each has pros and cons depending on each of our personal circumstances and perspectives. 

The end goal of each of the options presented is that students, supported by their teachers and the district, their parents/guardians and their communities learn and are held accountable for that learning. 

How and when it gets done is the variable found within each option with the control mechanism being when the grade or formal assessment of learning can be granted.

  •  One option is to do nothing and bring kids back to school when the emergency has passed.
  • The second option was to provide voluntary continuous learning which means that new learning can be offered, but it cannot be required and cannot count toward a grade or formal assessment.
  • And finally, the third is required learning which is basically school with all of the expectations of a brick and mortar learning structure where attendance is taken, assignments are given, and grades/credits are awarded. This model also maintains all of the equity obligations and other state and federal assurances of the typical brick and mortar school structure.

A district can move in and out of the models to meet its needs and can provide different models at different grade levels.

A key question I believe our staff has strived to continually focus on and answer is, “How do we build the best system possible to address the needs of our diverse circumstances in spite of the lack of clarity around the length of time this crisis will last.” In the hours of dialogue with our principals and others this is a constant to center us.

At this time the district will be operating under the Voluntary Continuous Learning Model as we believe it provides the greatest flexibility for families to work and manage within these challenging times while also affording the district to position to provide valuable instruction and support on key standards that would have been expected to be learned during this time.

 

This new phase means that the concept that this is “voluntary work” must be dispelled. We are moving to a period of new learning…..The expectations of this learning will eventually have to be mastered.. now or later. The term voluntary is only speaking to the timeframe in which it is mastered. It is not a question of if; it is only a question of when. Students may work to learn it now or they may learn it later..regardless they have to learn it.

As always the district and our staff will do everything possible to support our students and their families in their journey of learning wherever and whenever that may be and we will welcome students the same when we get back to our brick and mortar buildings. 

When we walk out to the other side of this emergency, I am confident that the expectations held for student learning will not have changed.  Our students with the support of this amazing village will have mastered or will then master what was/is expected. And while these are hard, often frustrating and worrisome times… and that is OK…together..……we’ve got this….Together we’ve got this.

We ask for your continued support in supporting your children to learn.  Lean on us to help get through it. 

Please take care of you and yours and each other too.  Remember each day one foot in front of the other…we’ve got this…Together we’ve got this.

  • Events

Notice of Nondiscrimination: It is the policy of the West Burlington Independent School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy please contact Equity Coordinator, 607 Ramsey St., (319) 752-8747, Equity.Coordinator@wbschools.us.