May 8, 2020 update on distance learning and fall planning
Happy Friday! I want to start by thanking you for all you have done this week to celebrate our staff during Staff Appreciation Week. I know our staff misses our students and families so much right now, and it means the world to us to see so many messages of support all around our community. On behalf of the entire UA Schools staff, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Please continue reading below for this week’s updates, or watch my video message for this week.
State budget cuts
I also want to address something that I’m sure you have heard about in the news - and that is the budget cuts to K-12 education that the State of Ohio announced this week. Our district got word of a significant cut in state funding. We will be working with the Board of Education to determine how this impacts the five year forecast for our district.
Planning for the 2020-2021 school year
I want to take some time today to go into a little bit more detail about the process that we’ll be putting into place for planning for the fall and the 2020-2021 school year. Based on what the governor's office has shared with all of us, we know that the 2020-2021 school year will look different than school years of the past. We will be receiving guidelines from the state for the upcoming school year, and our district will be able to work within the state’s guidelines to develop the best possible plan for our staff and students. To do that, we’re going to do what we always do in UA - we will be asking our staff, our students and our families to share their thoughts.
We will be developing a rapid-design planning and engagement process — and we will be gathering as much feedback as possible to inform the recommendations I will be making to the Board of Education for the 2020-2021 school year. We will be moving quickly, but your feedback is an extremely important part of this process.
We will roll out this process and opportunities to provide feedback the week of May 18. The process itself will feel very familiar - we will look at this challenge through the lens of continuous improvement, the foundational element of our new strategic plan, to come up with an innovative plan for our schools. As always, we will be guided by our values — Start with Heart, Strength in Team and Contagious Drive — and our mission of challenging and supporting every student, every step of the way. And - I know I’ve said this many times, and I will continue to say this - the safety and well-being of our staff, our students and our community will be a top priority in our final plans.
I encourage you to take the time to share your thoughts when those surveys are released. We will have more information to share with you over the next two weeks — so please stay tuned!
With so many unknowns remaining for the fall, we are pressing pause on school supply lists and sales until our fall planning process is complete. We’ll have more information for families during the summer.
Finally, I want to highlight this week’s bright spot. As many of us know, field day is an elementary tradition here - it’s something our kids look forward to, and our PTOs do such an amazing job supporting this fun day each year.
Of course, this is one of those special end-of-year events that just isn’t possible this year, at least in the way that we’re used to. But our elementary physical education teachers have come together to promote National Field Day activities for families at home. National Field Day is today, and I know many of our students and our teachers were very excited!
There are two teachers I’d specifically like to highlight - and they are Jodi Palmer and Jayson Schott. They put together a video National Field Day torch relay with the entire Windermere staff - which is quite a heroic feat. It isn’t easy pulling this off when they can’t be together in person!
So, as a fun end to our week, watch Windermere’s Torch Relay.
Please continue to take care of yourselves and your families. Have a great weekend, and, as always, go Bears!
Paul Imhoff, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Upper Arlington Schools