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Clarkston Community School District

Superintendent's Report 2/26/21

Superintendent's Report 2/26/21

Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,

As we reach the end of another week of continuously improving COVID-19 case data in our local area, I want to reconfirm our plans to move forward with our transition for secondary students to five full days a week of in-person learning beginning Monday, March 1. This means that all students in Grades Y5-12 who are currently enrolled in face-to-face instruction will participate in face-to-face instruction at school Monday through Friday, according to their building's traditional full-day school day schedule.

It is important to me as your superintendent to continue to look forward. The past year demanded that we adapt quickly to teaching and learning remotely, and I'm interested in looking at potential ways we can use this experience to continue to innovate and grow as a school district. Considering all we have collectively invested in distance learning — from technology and training to practical lessons learned — it makes sense to explore what this learning model has to offer outside of the pandemic. And, as current state guidelines afford us some flexibility in how we deliver curriculum for the rest of the school year, this is the ideal time to see what distance learning can offer as a space to create new learning opportunities.

Over the past several weeks, I've had collaborative conversations with my team (which includes teacher representation from every building) that sparked some exciting ideas. Based on these conversations, I believe we can use the remainder of the school year to work out some creative uses for distance learning in a very controlled environment. I brought this to our Teaching and Learning Council yesterday and will put it before our Board of Education at the Monday, March 8 meeting.

Specifically, I will recommend incorporating five additional distance learning Wednesdays for the purpose of examining long-term uses for this learning model. Our analysis over the next few months will include gathering survey feedback related to the utility of these distance learning days to better understand how they're serving our students, staff, and families.

Distance learning for secondary students would take place on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month:

  • March 24
  • April 14
  • April 28
  • May 12
  • May 26

Elementary students would participate in distance learning on just the fourth Wednesday of each month:

  • March 24
  • April 28
  • May 26

Clarkston Virtual staff and students will remain in their current instructional setting, with an opportunity to transfer back to face-to-face instruction for the 2021-2022 school year. Transfer request forms for any student wishing to change their learning model next year will be emailed next week, so please keep an eye out for more information soon.

Our free curbside meal pick-up program will continue each Wednesday at Clarkston Junior High and Sashabaw Middle School from 12:45pm to 1:15pm (new time). Meals will be available for Clarkston Virtual Students, community children not in school, and for all students on distance learning Wednesdays. Please note that Clarkston Junior High meal pick-up will be at the back of the building near the bus garage while Sashabaw Middle School's curbside service will be at the front entrance.

My high school cross country coach always said to "finish the race with grace." We've been in the race for a year now, and no one's sure where the finish line is, yet we continue to run this race with grace. I believe we are in the homestretch.

Have a great weekend.

Dr. Shawn Ryan
Superintendent of Schools

About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.

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Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Director of Marketing and Community Relations (248) 623-5460.

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