Fall 2020 School Reopening

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