Remote learning letter from superintendent
March 23, 2020
Dear Cherry Creek School Community,
The world is a dramatically different place than it was just weeks ago. I want to thank all of you for your patience and support as we navigate the new uncharted territory of this COVID-19 pandemic crisis. My team and I continue to meet virtually every single day to monitor the situation, review updates from public health officials and find ways to meet the needs of our 55,000 students.
As we enter this first week after spring break, I wanted to share information on our current planning regarding multiple items:
The Cherry Creek School District will begin remote learning for all students on Monday, March 30, 2020. Our teachers will spend this week acquiring materials and preparing for the delivery of instruction. Our goal is to ensure that lessons are reasonable and meaningful so that students can remain engaged and learning can continue during this time. You or your students will hear from your child’s teachers by Thursday, March 26, with information about their learning plan.
Please note, the remote learning plan does not apply to Cherry Creek Elevation, which will continue to operate as an online high school without in-person classroom teams. Elevation students will resume classes as usual on Monday, March 30.
We are committed to creating a remote learning plan that serves all students and provides a reasonable balance for you, your student and their teacher. As part of our planning, we are considering ways to ensure that all students have access to technology and internet service in their homes. We will be sending out a survey via text and email to identify families that are in need of technology in the home.
We are also working on plans to meet the needs of our students who receive special education, English language supports and gifted and talented supports. We will have more information on those plans in the coming days.
It will take some time for teachers to master the use of online instructional technologies and models. Additionally, teachers will need to adjust lesson plans to make learning meaningful and accessible within an age-appropriate remote learning environment. Some of our teachers currently offer assignments and activities online, but that is significantly different than moving all teacher-based instruction and learning to a remote learning environment. We are doing our best to design and implement a new way of teaching and learning in CCSD. Your principal and teachers will provide details, but I want to offer a few specifics for your planning.
- Communication with families is critical. Parents should confirm that their contact information is accurate in PowerSchool so communication can be received.
- School work
- The first lesson of the week from each course or content area will be emailed/posted to students/parents by 2 p.m. on Monday of each week. The teacher will assign and communicate to students the due dates for all work.
- Students will be allowed to submit assignments for review through a variety of formats. (For example: Schoology, Google Classroom, PDF and JPG, emailed attachments, pictures of their handwritten work, etc.)
- Our mission remains the same as it did before this crisis: We will work to ensure that your child receives the education that he or she deserves and needs to pursue their pathway of purpose and build a bright future. The purpose of the lessons is to provide essential standards and content and to keep students working towards the end-of-year expectations. Students will receive feedback on work and assignments that are turned in for review. Grading practices will be level-specific and intended to support students rather than negatively impacting their grades. More information will come directly from your child’s teacher.
I am asking our teachers to shift what has been purposefully developed as a brick-and-mortar operation for the last 70 years into a remote learning environment in four days. I ask for your patience, grace and support as we enter this new phase of excellence in Cherry Creek together.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
- We will provide access to school nurses and mental health providers Monday through Friday each week during the closure. This, and information on a Tele-Health / Mental Health phone number for students, parents and staff will be communicated by the end of the week.
HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
- Prom - Due to the ongoing guidance from state and national authorities banning gatherings with more than 10 people and active guidance regarding social distancing, I have made the decision to cancel all high school proms this year.
- Graduation – It is more than likely we will face similar restrictions in May that would impact graduations. I believe high school graduation is one of the most important events of a young person’s life. I am committed to finding a way to hold graduation, even if it means postponing the ceremony to a later date or making modifications to ensure public health and safety. We will find a way to enable families to celebrate the achievement of their child graduating high school.
I am thankful for our Board of Education who has taken the lead on collecting food items for several local food banks that we have agreed to work with in support of our community. If you are in need of support or are able to support others in our community, more information is available here: https://www.cherrycreekschools.org/Page/12126
BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND A BOOK
Every school day throughout the closure we will provide grab-and-go meals for any and all students 18 and under at 11 sites around the district. For information on sites and times visit our website at https://www.cherrycreekschools.org/freemeals
EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
The Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, in coordination with the district, has established the Cherry Creek Schools Emergency Relief Fund to aid our students, families and local communities during this crisis. During this continually changing situation, the Foundation is working closely with us to monitor and respond to the areas of greatest need and utilize this fund to help our students, teachers and staff navigate these uncertain times. For information on how to donate to the fund visit https://ccsdfoundation.org/cherry-creek-schools-emergency-relief-fund.html
I have so much confidence in and admiration for our employees - our maintenance staff, bus drivers, office staff, food and nutrition workers, administrators and teachers. I am also in awe of the resilience of our students and the strength and resolve of people and families in our community. I am inspired by the stories I have heard of people helping people during this time of crisis.
We will get through this together. Stay safe. Stay healthy.
Scott A. Siegfried, Ph.D.