Dear Bulldog Families,
First, this week is Educator Appreciation Week and I want to pause to recognize our outstanding team of Bulldog teachers. It has been truly inspiring to see the many shout-outs and acknowledgements for our staff members coming from students and families across the district throughout the week. This is a true testament to the relationships our staff have built with students and families throughout the school year, and the relationships they continue to maintain and grow even in the face of these challenging times.
At the end of this week we officially reach the eight week mark since this extended closure of our schools was announced. I continue to be incredibly proud of our teachers, support staff, administrators, students and families as we look ahead to navigate the remaining weeks of our 2019-2020 school year. Our teachers, administrators and staff throughout the district will continue to serve our students and families through to the very end of this unprecedented school year.
I am emailing today with some important updates regarding the final month of our school year. Please take a few minutes to read through the following information carefully as NEW INFORMATION AND IMPORTANT DATES ARE INCLUDED.
PLANNED INSTRUCTION & STAFF DEVELOPMENT
As in a traditional school year, new instruction will begin to wind down ahead of the last official day of school as we turn our attention to wrapping up the year. Normally these final days are also filled with special year-end activities, field trips and transition celebrations for our students moving on from one building to the next. While we can’t virtually replicate all of these elements, I know that our buildings have been working hard to do everything they can on a virtual level. Please continue to stay tuned in to emails and communication coming directly from your respective building principals.
From a district level, the plan is to wind down new instruction on Friday, May 29. Beginning Monday, June 1, no new instruction will be provided, however our teachers will remain connected to students to provide assistance with completing assignments, to answer questions, and to support any individual needs that have arisen during the course of distance learning.
Students and families will notice an adjustment to teacher availability June 1 - 5 and June 8 & 9, as teachers adjust their virtual classroom schedules to accommodate important professional development sessions being provided by the district as we begin to prepare for next school year. In the event that we end up needing to return in the fall under a continued distance learning model, we want to ensure that all staff have additional tools and training that will maximize the success of continued distance learning.
Again, while no new instruction will be provided after June 1, teachers will remain accessible to students to provide support as needed through the official last day of school. For students in grades 1 to 11, the official last day of school is Tuesday, June 9. For our kindergarten students, the official last day of school is Thursday, June 4. Families of graduating seniors will be receiving a detailed end of the year schedule for the Class of 2020.
SURVEY FOR FAMILIES
It is important that we take time to reflect on the Distance Learning model that Olmsted Falls City Schools has put into place during the closure. Gathering feedback on that experience from our Bulldog families regarding how we are doing is a critical part of evaluating and adjusting. We’ve all learned from this experience and we want to use your feedback to ensure we are providing the best possible distance learning experience for our students recognizing it will never replicate a face-to-face model.
A brief online survey has been created to gather your feedback. This single survey will quickly collect parent/guardian responses for students by building. I am confident you will find the format simple, streamlined and efficient, and encourage you to participate today. Please take a few moments to click on the link below and complete the OFCS Distance Learning Feedback Survey:
BELONGINGS PICK-UP SCHEDULE
The schedule for safely allowing parents/students back into the buildings to pick up any personal belongings and/or medications has been finalized. A common rotating schedule based on the student last name has been established for students across grades 1-12. This will allow parents to visit multiple buildings during the same block of time if desired. Additionally this rotating alphabetical schedule also provides flexibility to meet the needs of family schedules by providing three different date/time blocks over the course of a four day period.
- Pick-up dates for Grades 1 to 12 will take place June 2, 3, 4, & 5. Please click HERE for the alphabetical schedule of available pick-up days/timeframes, and watch for additional details regarding individual building entry points and pick-up process to come directly from your student’s building principal.
- For our Early Childhood Center families, pick-up times are being organized by classroom teacher (instead of the student’s last name) and the ECC will be using a drive-thru pick-up only process. The ECC will hold parent pick-up as assigned by teacher on May 28 & 29 for Preschool and on June 3, 4 & 5 for Kindergarten. Click HERE and scroll down for the ECC pickup schedule. Please watch for additional information and specific details to come directly from the ECC.
GOVERNOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT CUT THE K-12 EDUCATION BUDGET
The district continues to be so grateful for the passage of the recent operating levy, however the recent announcement of the mid-year reduction of $700,000 in funding from the state to Olmsted Falls City Schools was awful news. Our school relies on funding from the state to operate (about 33% of our overall budget), and a 5.17% cut to that funding with 2 months left in a fiscal year is unprecedented. I'm sharing this to be clear that our financial situation continues to change and we plan to keep you informed on a regular basis. The Federal Government has provided some relief to public education through the CARES act and the district has realized savings on some operational costs as a result of being closed. Right now, there are many moving parts that will need to be evaluated before we can determine how detrimental the impact will be to our operation. We will continue to take part in budget discussions at both the local and state level and plan accordingly.
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT YEAR
We are getting many questions about what the start of the 2020-2021 school year will look like. The most honest answer I can give you at this point is that we truly don’t know and we need to prepare for anything. In Olmsted Falls City School District, we will continue to closely monitor and abide by the Governor’s orders and follow the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as our local Cuyahoga County Board of Health. You are likely hearing talk about different scenarios that could occur ranging from students returning with social distancing / enhanced health monitoring in place, to continued distance learning exclusively, to some sort of blend of the two. Until we have definitive information and directives, our focus in Olmsted Falls Schools will be to serve and assist our families under the current distance learning platform and continue to make improvements and enhancements to that delivery model.
Throughout this extended closure we have been committed to providing our families with timely updates and information as it becomes available, and you have my commitment that will continue in the days and weeks remaining ahead of us. I encourage you to reach out to your student’s teacher, building administrator, school counselor or any member of my district administrative team for assistance at any point.
Again, please plan to take just a few minutes to complete the important Distance Learning Survey by clicking HERE. Your feedback is important to us!
Our school year ends with a great deal of gratitude to our staff, students and families for a multitude of reasons--passing a levy; shifting to distance learning, and uniquely celebrating the Class of 2020. It seemed that it would also conclude with a future that had fiscal solvency as well, however with a fragile National economy, Ohio is experiencing a negative trickle-down effect that will seep its way in and impact us locally by way of school funding. Despite these challenges we remain vigilant and hope that you and yours are safe and well.
Jim Lloyd, Ed.D.
Olmsted Falls City School District
26937 Bagley Rd.
Olmsted Township, OH 44138