School Year Plan 2020-21

August 20,2020

Dear Gladstone Families,

We know you are eager to hear more about the two school options we will offer this year– Gladstone Teacher-Led Learning and Online School.

Follow this link to view a video that explains more about what each program will look like:  https://youtu.be/4avsMBCUGxY

Teacher-Led Learning does not require registration. You will be automatically enrolled. This program involves a regular school-day schedule and frequent two-way interaction with Gladstone teachers and classmates. The program will start the year with distance learning but could eventually transition to a hybrid model [half in classrooms and half at home] if our region meets the state’s COVID-19 metrics

Online School has a sign-up deadline of midnight on Sunday, July 23 at this link. This independent program allows families to set their own schedule for learning. While a daily check-in with a Gladstone teacher and peers will be provided, instruction is delivered via computer rather than a teacher. Parent support will be required. This program will remain in distance learning mode all year.

Families are able to switch programs but only between trimesters.

Students in either program will be provided with a Chromebook computer, access to free meals for all who qualify, and services from Special Education, the English Learner program, academic supports, and any social activities or clubs schools provide online. Students in either program are considered Gladstone students.

If you have any questions, please send them to info@gladstone.k12.or.us and we will respond as quickly as we can.

Thank you for your patience as we work out the many details of a new way of providing education. This will be a school year like no other, but with creativity, perseverance, and collaboration, together we will make this a positive experience for students. We can’t wait to reconnect with you!

Sincerely,
Gladstone Schools
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August 14, 2020

Dear Gladstone Parents,

We are hard at work developing our two program options for the new school year. Due to local health metrics, both programs will begin the new school year with distance learning.

Gladstone Teacher-Led Learning will provide frequent interactions with teachers and classmates through teacher-led instruction and small group discussions throughout the school day. This program will flex between distance learning and hybrid learning depending on local COVID-19 metrics. 

Gladstone Teacher-Led Learning does not require sign up. Students will be automatically enrolled in this program unless they are enrolled in Online School. At this point, we do not know when hybrid learning would begin. Parents will be updated monthly regarding whether and when this transition could occur.

Online School provides a 100% distance learning option for families with health concerns or schedule conflicts. This program provides independent, family-guided learning and nearly complete schedule flexibility. Frequent check-ins with a Gladstone teacher and peers provide an opportunity for social interaction. 

Online School sign-up will be available on our website and provided through an email sent to all families on August 17. If you are enrolling multiple children in this program, a separate form must be submitted for each student. The deadline is midnight on Sunday, August 23, 2020. Registrations received after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list. 

Students who want to change programs can do so, but only at the end of a trimester. For the sake of learning continuity, grading, and staff allocation, we ask that students remain in their chosen program for the full term. Please choose carefully.

Students in both programs will be provided with a personal Chromebook for schoolwork, academic supports, social-emotional supports, regular grading, and opportunities to connect with their teacher and peers. Free meal pickup will be provided to all students who qualify.

Thank you for your patience while we continue to build our plans for the new school year. We know some parents are seeking more detailed information than we can currently provide. We hope to provide that information by the middle of next week.

Until then, please review our newly updated Frequently Asked Questions page, and send any unanswered questions to info@gladstone.k12.or.us.

Take care,

Bob Stewart, Superintendent
Gladstone Schools


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August 7, 2020

Dear Gladstone Families and Staff,
 
Our decision to begin the school year with Comprehensive Distance Learning was reaffirmed on July 28, when Governor Kate Brown set state health metrics that define when school districts can allow the return of students to classrooms. Virtually all Oregon school districts will begin the school year with distance learning, and we expect this may continue all fall.
 
Thank you to all who wrote to share the challenges of distance learning. Your input has helped us create plans that meet a range of different student needs. We plan to offer families a choice of two programs this year.
 
GLADSTONE TEACHER-LED LEARNING is a flexible plan in which students could move between distance and hybrid learning depending on health metrics. This program uses district curriculum presented by our Gladstone teachers and real-time, personalized instruction via video conference. Students will connect with teachers and classmates daily on a regular schedule. Students in this program will also have time for independent applied learning and practice work, as well as academic and social-emotional supports. We expect that most families will choose this option.
 
ONLINE SCHOOL is an alternative for families who choose 100% online learning due to health concerns or scheduling needs. This year-long plan provides independent, family-guided learning using nationally accredited curriculum from an outside provider. Families have the freedom to choose their own schedule for school work and are not tied to the regular school day.
 
Students in both plans will receive:
• A loaned Chromebook computer
• Free meal pickup [for eligible students]
• Graded assignments
• Social-emotional support
• Academic support from district teachers
 
The specifics around these plans are still being developed. Principals will likely be able to provide more detail by August 14, and our plan is to enroll families in the program of their choice for each child the week of August 17.
 
Obviously this will not be a typical school year. However, in our small, close-knit community, we are lucky to have strong support from parents, our staff, and partner organizations. Working together, we can meet family needs and make education a positive experience for kids.
 
I know you are eager for more details. We have launched a Frequently Asked Questions section on our website and will add to it as we know more. If you have additional questions or comments, please send them to info@gladstone.k12.or.us.
 
Take care,
 
Bob Stewart, Superintendent
Gladstone Schools

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July 23, 2020

Dear Gladstone families,

We have spent the summer considering a range of school operating models for the upcoming school year. I’m grateful for the many parents and employees who shared input through letters and group discussions. Because protecting the health of staff and students is paramount, we will begin the new school year with Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL).

This is a very difficult decision. We all wish we could have our students back in school connecting with classmates, teachers, and staff. However, cases of coronavirus across our country and state continue to escalate, reaching daily records in Oregon and across the nation. In Oregon, cases of COVID-19 that could not be traced back to a known infection source are driving the increase in infection rates. We have also seen a rise in cases among children. These are all disturbing trends.

Choosing our instructional model now gives us time to focus on instruction and engagement best practices. Our team is planning a quality distance education program for students that will give students frequent real-time connections with their teachers and classmates. To support that, each student will be provided with a Chromebook or tablet for schoolwork.

Our program will offer a regular weekly schedule, substantial learning time, interactive teacher feedback, challenging academics, opportunities to connect with peers, regular grading, student meals, and academic support.

The pandemic has impacted every student, so social-emotional learning and support will be more important than ever. We will also provide support to meet the unique needs of students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, and low-income students.

While we all wish we could return to school and life as usual, the COVID-19 virus will determine how long comprehensive distance learning will continue. We will keep planning for the hybrid model so when the virus recedes to a safe level, we will be ready to bring students safely back to classrooms.

If you have questions, ideas, or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me at info@gladstone.k12.or.us.  Your input will help us make this school year work better for students. We will continue to keep you informed and we appreciate your patience as we work to address the full spectrum of student needs.

Take care,

Bob Stewart, Superintendent
Gladstone Schools


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July 9, 2020

Dear Gladstone families and staff,

Last night the School Board met to think about a range of possible models for reopening schools this fall. Obviously the COVID-19 outbreak poses a rapidly-changing situation that will require a plan for schools that is flexible. At this point, our budget is unknown and we are still waiting to hear whether there will be federal or state assistance to lessen the impact of funding cuts.

To protect the health of our students and staff, the plan we create for each school must adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Oregon Health Authority, the Governor’s direction and Oregon Department of Education guidance. Currently we are looking at three types of operating models for fall.

Hybrid Learning Model
This model gives every student some classroom instruction and some comprehensive distance learning at home. It allows schools to follow social distancing guidelines and limit cohort intermingling while providing access to teachers and classroom materials.

Students would be divided into cohort groups, with one of these schedule types:

• Cohorts alternate days, half weeks, or weeks: 
For example, Cohort A attends school on Monday, while Cohort B learns at home. On Tuesday, they switch. Or cohort A attends school the first week while Cohort B does distance learning. The following week they switch.
• Cohorts alternate on a morning/afternoon daily schedule: 
Cohort A attends school from 8 to 11 a.m. and learns at home from noon to 3 p.m. Cohort B does distance learning from 8 to 11 a.m., and attends school from 12 to 3 p.m.
• Cohort schedules vary by grade level: 
For example, some elementary students attend school daily, while secondary students alternate days/weeks or morning/afternoon.

Note: The school will be thoroughly cleaned between cohorts.

When an outbreak of COVID-19 requires a school building to temporarily close, this model would shift Distance Learning to allow continuity of on-going classes and lessons. Then students would shift back to a mix of classroom and distance learning as the situation allows.

Comprehensive Distance Learning
This model could be used for all students if the state does not allow return to classrooms due to the spread of COVID-19.

Education might include a mix of live and pre-recorded video instruction, along with online sessions for students to get academic support and social engagement from teachers and peers. Direct instruction could be enhanced using an online curriculum. Elementary families preferring paper packets could have regular pickup and drop off times.

Full Return to Classroom Instruction
This model would only be possible if state health and social distancing mandates can be met in the school buildings we have.

Reducing the spread of COVID-19 will require minimizing the number of different people with whom students and staff intermingle.  We would need to create “stable cohorts,” which resemble the elementary class model, but are very different from the typical secondary school model.

Given current guidance from health and education authorities, as well as recent trends in COVID 19 diagnoses, we do not expect a full return to schools in September.



While these three models are just broad outlines of the possibilities, we welcome your input as we continue the planning process.

Please email your thoughts, questions, and concerns to info@gladstone.k12.or.us.

Take care,

Bob Stewart, Superintendent
Gladstone Schools
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June 29. 2020

Dear Gladstone families and staff,

Our school district leadership team has begun the challenging process of planning the new school year during a global pandemic and an economic downturn. There is a great deal of uncertainty about the spread of the COVID-19 virus and what that means for schools. In addition, we are waiting for news on possible federal or state emergency funds for schools.

Regardless of these uncertainties, our mission remains the same: protecting the health and wellbeing of our students while providing them the best possible education.

These principals will frame our planning:

Guidelines:

• Plans must adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Oregon Health Authority, the Governor’s direction and Oregon Department of Education Guidance.

• We must maintain flexibility and the capacity to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances as needed.

• The safety and security of students and staff is a top priority.

Immediate Focus:

• The district’s Equity Stance reinforces that student needs are varied. We will plan according to student needs.

• To the extent possible, we will maintain a breadth of experiences for students across the spectrum of abilities.

•  Staff development is necessary to help staff meet our students’ needs.

Long-term Focus:

• The district will persistently seek new revenue sources through grants and maintain ongoing partnerships.

• Schools will maintain high standards for student performance.

• The district will address student and family social, emotional, physical and behavioral health needs.

• The district will attract and retain outstanding teachers, administrators, and classified staff, essential to the long-term success of the district.

Our planning work for school reopening will continue for several weeks, and we will keep families informed at regular intervals. We are involving diverse groups of parents and teachers to help us understand community needs  and concerns. We are also working with school districts across the state to share ideas and strategies that will work given health guidelines, budget limitations, and student needs. Our final plan will go to the School Board no later than August 12.

Thank you for your patience during this time of uncertainty. If you have ideas or concerns about  the reopening of school, please share your input at info@gladstone.k12.or.us.

Sincerely,

Bob Stewart, Superintendent
Gladstone Schools
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June 9, 2020

Dear Gladstone families,

While this school year did not end as expected, as it draws to a close I hope we will remember not just the challenges of distance learning, but also the good times we shared last fall and winter. From the GCCF Harvest Festival and John Wetten’s Battle of the Books to Kraxberger Outdoor School and Spirit Week at Gladstone High, students made new friends, built new skills, and helped our community.

No doubt you are wondering what school may look like in the fall. The state released guidelines this morning that will be updated throughout the summer. Before we begin detailed planning, our next step will be to gather input from parents and staff to help us understand the best ways to meet student needs given COVID-19 protocols.

At this point, no one knows what the spread of the virus will look like moving forward. Perhaps a vaccine will soon be available, or maybe we will see a resurgence in our area. Given that uncertainty, district leaders are now looking at a range of scenarios so we can continue educating students while adapting to a changing situation as needed. 

I remain very hopeful that classroom instruction can resume this fall so teachers and students can work together directly. Reopening schools will require careful social distancing, and plans for that are already underway. In this scenario, we anticipate that some adjustments to school schedules and routines may be needed due to spacing requirements.

Another possibility is a hybrid education model in which students alternate between distance learning and classroom learning. This is a way to allow more space in classrooms while ensuring that each student also has some direct classroom instruction.

Fully remote comprehensive learning is another option to meet the needs of students with health risks or in the event that the virus resurges for a time. To prepare for that possibility, we are working with our education team on ways to boost student engagement, include more teacher feedback, and increase academic progress.

We will keep you informed throughout the summer as we know more about our plan for fall. The first day of school will be Tuesday, September 8 for grades K-6 and grade 9. Grades 7, 8, and 10-12 will start on Wednesday, September 9. A copy of next year’s school calendar is attached.

So we can make teacher assignments and plan course schedules, please complete online registration verification for current students using ParentVue as soon as possible. Kindergarten registration information is at http://gladstone.k12.or.us/center/

Thank you for your patience and flexibility through this challenging end to the school year. Through it all, I appreciate that the one thing that remained constant was the strong commitment of both parents and staff to care for our students. 

Take care,

Bob Stewart, Superintendent
Gladstone Schools