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Superintendent's Newsletter

      

 

    Dr. Mike Simpson, Superintendent

 

December 14, 2021

To say that the past 22 months have been a blur would be a huge understatement.  When I attempt to communicate with our community about issues associated with our school district, the first question I ponder is, “where do we start?”  So many aspects of our school district and our efforts have been changing daily.  Responding to those changes have tested the resources and patience of our staff, students and parents. 

One recent example is responding to an ever growing student population.  The current second grade class is a visible example.  When they were in Kindergarten, the class totaled 283 students.  We added a teacher at one site to reduce class size after the school year started.  Due in large part to the COVID pandemic, that number dropped to 200 when the class was in first grade.  We were staffed appropriately and didn’t need to add any teachers.  This year, to address the growth from last year we have added two teachers for second graders in the district.  Classes at two sites were approaching 30 students when the decision was made to split up classes and reduce class size.  Each of those sites has continued to enroll new students as the Fall semester has progressed.  We have over 270 second graders this year and continue to grow.  This has required students to change teachers which naturally is not the best situation but ultimately is a better option than continuing with an overcrowded classroom.  Second grade is a very pivotal year for learning to read under normal conditions.  Considering the situations of many current second grade students not being in brick and mortar learning last year, the learning environment and ability to deliver instruction in smaller classes is essential for the future success of our students.

You may have heard school districts would receive federal assistance due to the COVID pandemic.  We have been allocated over $9.7 million in relief dollars.  Because of this assistance, many of the bond projects scheduled for the next three years may begin much sooner.  Additionally, we have targeted areas where our students need extra support socially and emotionally.  We partnered with multiple agencies both public and private to assist.  We have created an English Language Learner Coordinator position.  This person serves as a liaison between our staff and the ever-growing Hispanic population within our school district.  Soon, we will have thermal cameras online that will notify us if a student has a fever when they walk through the path of the camera.  These are only a few of the items we have used the federal funds to purchase.  Collectively, we have attempted to utilize these funds for items that will impact learning for all of our students.

We recently re-opened the COVID testing hub provided by Total Wellness at Cotteral Elementary.  They provide much more in the way of services as they can also administer flu and strep tests and provide a telehealth appointment.  The provider may even issue a prescription if needed and all services are delivered without a copay provided you have current health insurance.  Because of rising COVID, flu and strep cases locally we felt renewing this service would offer a much-needed option.  They plan to be open during the Winter Break as well. 

As we approach the Winter Break, I want to wish everyone a happy Holiday Season.  We have made great progress in closing the achievement gap created for our students by the pandemic.  Our teachers, staff, students, parents and community have rallied behind each other and our hard work is paying off.  Please take the time to rest and enjoy family and friends.   

 

 

Previous Newsletters:

 

September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013  
April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013  
November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 April 2014 May 2014 August 2014  
October 2014 December 2014 January 2015 March 2015 April 2015 June 2015 July 2015  
August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 January 2016 March 2016 April 2016  
June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 February 2017  
May 2017 August 2017 November 2017 February 2018 April 2018 August 2018 October 2018  
December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 May 2019 July 2019 September 2019  
December 2019 March 2020 April 01, 2020 April 2020 August 2020 October 2020

November 2020

 
May 2021 August 2021 October 2021