April 3, 2020
Dear Students, Parents, Educators, and other Patrons,
What an eventful three weeks we have had since the original suspension of school. So much has happened in those weeks that it seems that we have been in this situation for three months! It has been a steep learning curb for all of us. Students have had to learn to self-discipline and focus themselves, even when on their own, to understand and carry out assignments! Parents have had to become tutors and facilitators, struggling to learn the applications of concepts and technology! Teachers have had to learn to present through many new applications and platforms, and to communicate effectively through the use of technology. I would say at this point, all three groups are still learning and adapting to this new environment, but I would also say that we are getting better at it every day! The more we can communicate the strengths and weaknesses of our practices, the better we all become. At this point, we have a few specific concerns I would like to address, in the hope that we can improve.
- We have many students who are falling behind. We have encouraged our schools to try to reach all students and parents. Please assist this in occurring. If you have not heard from the schools, please reach out to the teachers of your students. They have posted office hours when they are available to visit with you online or by telephone. Please reach out to see that this happen. They can give you specific feedback for your child and together you can close gaps in our instruction processes.
- We are concerned about technology or connectivity gaps that many of our student may be experiencing. Some parents have spoken about the length of time it takes to download videos in more rural areas. Please be reminded that we have posted maps on our website, as well as local businesses, government offices, and churches where you may access the internet. We have pulled most of our buses back in from outlying areas because that resource seemed unnecessary based on the usage we recorded, but can return them if a need exists. We encourage you to find those areas where the internet connections are best and strongest to download lengthy materials, and then you can return to places with less connectivity to watch or to do the work.
- We continue to look for an appropriate balance in the amount of work assigned in a class on a given day. We recognize that the ideal varies from student to student, home to home, and teacher to teacher. The best suggestion we have for this is communication. Please use the office hours that have been designated by each school and each teacher to contact teachers directly to share your input. While it is unlikely that we will ever meet the needs of every situation, we will do our best to adjust for the benefit of most, if not all.
March 30, 2020
School Meal Update
Thank you to all who have shown their love and appreciation to us as you come and pick up meals at the schools and other sites. We love the signs, posters, and other treats we have been given. It makes our day to see the happy faces of the students we miss seeing at school each day.
As Spring Break approaches, we need to inform you that we will be taking a few days off. We will not be serving breakfast and lunch from April 6 th – April 14 th . We will start up again on Wednesday, April 15 th . We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and we look forward to seeing you again after Spring Break is over.
March 27, 2020
Dear Parents and Students,
We have made it through the original two-week suspension of school! We appreciate your support and your patience as we have entered into a new world of teaching, communication, and living. It is a period of adjustment for us and we know it has been a period of adjustment for you in your homes as well. We hope we are fine tuning our lesson delivery and communications in ways that make your difficult job as parents a bit more do-able.
We appreciate the extra burden the suspension has placed on our homes. Many of our teachers also have small children at home and they, like you, are balancing all of the regular challenges of life with the added burden of following the education of their own children much more closely than in the past. We wish for, and look forward to, the time when your students can rejoin us in our buildings. In the meantime, we are excited to be able to provide actual instruction that is comparable to that which they would have been receiving. We expect and believe that those students who successfully complete the assignments and work they are given will be prepared to advance to the next level in the Fall without problem.
I wish to make it very clear to all of our parents and students that the work we are giving is focused and curriculum based. It is not an optional time filler until we can return to school. It is our expectation that this work will be graded and will count toward student progress and grades. We have made every attempt to be sure that these assignments are accessible to all. If any parent or student is having difficulty accessing assignments on a frequent basis, they should visit with their school principal. They can assess the needs and provide options to you and your students.
Our suspension has currently been extended until May 1. During this extension, we will continue online instruction. As of this moment, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Millard County. We hope that remains the case, but suspect that this will not be the case. We are preparing our teachers and all of our employees to continue assisting students from their home in the event of a shut-down of our facilities. Either way, the education of our students will continue.
For your consideration and planning, we will take a break from our instruction over Spring Break. That will be a nice vacation for students, parents, and teachers who have gone the extra mile over this difficult period of adjustment. Thursday, April 9th through Tuesday, April 14th will be without assignment for all students. This also means that no school lunches or breakfasts will be served on those days. The 14th had been taken away from the break at one point as we changed how we conducted PLC’s, but is now added back in as a vacation day because of the changes in our ability to collaborate with teachers. Students should look for online communication and assignments to resume after that break on Wednesday, April 15th.
Please continue to communicate with us on how we can assist you in your roles as students and parents. Our goal is the success of all our students and we continue to learn as we move forward in this new challenge and opportunity.
Thank you again for all your support!
David V. Styler, Superintendent
Millard School District