Distance Learning

School districts throughout Columbia County are now advising parents of what the new school year will look like. Most are opting to use Distance Learning instead of in-class room teaching due to the pandemic.

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The Clatskaine and Rainier School Districts have announced new details concerning how they will operate in the new school year ahead.

The following is a letter sent Monday, Aug. 3, to all Rainier School District parents from interim Superintendent Dr. Joseph Hattrick concerning the new school year ahead.

Dear Rainier School District Families and Community,

Let me begin by thanking the staff, parents, and community for such a warm welcome as I step into my new role as Interim Superintendent at Rainier School District #13. While this is a very challenging time, it has been incredibly reassuring to have everyone’s support while we navigate these uncharted waters.

You may have seen that during our July 28 board meeting, a proposal to reopen both in-person instruction and virtual learning was presented. This was on the same day that Governor Brown presented the “Ready Schools, Safe Learners: Community COVID-19 Metrics.”

The Oregon Department of Education has studied those countries who have managed to reopen school buildings once infection rates had declined and there was on-demand testing. Because we continue to see escalating infection rates, this pandemic is not yet under control to the extent that it is safe to reopen schools.

Following the directive provided by Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority, I am very sorry to announce that Rainier School District will begin the 2020-21 school year in Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL).

I know this comes as unwelcome news to many but please know that I have taken all of the feedback I have received in our last parent survey to heart. I will be leading the Rainier staff in developing an improved and redesigned learning platform that will strive to meet the needs of ALL students while understanding the challenges of limited technology and internet.

When redesigning our CDL, I will use the expertise I gained from serving as a principal at a large online school. This week I am conducting parent, student, staff, and leadership team focus groups to incorporate the positive components of Rainier’s virtual learning platform, while improving on those areas that may not have met your child’s needs.

Additionally, our team will continue planning for reopening with a program that will provide parents a choice of virtual or in-person learning. Unfortunately, providing options will not be available until we meet state and county metrics.

It is by belief that our students need consistency, therefore, unless there is a change prior to the first day of school, students will begin Comprehensive Distance Learning on September 14 and we will review county and state data for a possible in-person reopening on November 9. We will constantly analyze the data and make shifts cautiously and thoughtfully.

To ensure the best possible learning platform, our teachers will undergo professional development focused on virtual instruction beginning September 2, which will delay the start of school one week. For clarification purposes, the following timeline has been provided:

  • September 2, 2020 Teachers return to work for professional development
  • September 14, 2020 First day of school for students (CDL)
  • October 19, 2020 Review state and county cases/positivity rates
  • November 9, 2020 First day of hybrid (virtual and/or in-person) ONLY IF we meet state and county metrics for three weeks

Let me assure you the decision to begin the 2020-21 school year is not one we have taken lightly. As educators, we prefer to see your children’s faces in person and know that is your preference. Please know that we take the safety of you, your child(ren), and our staff very seriously and look forward to a safe and healthy reopening. As we conclude the last month of summer break, I invite you to watch for information on a parent and student focus group. Those groups will be virtual and will provide me an opportunity to get to know you, hear about how we can meet your student’s needs in CDL, and begin a process of hearing your voice as we initiate a strategic plan.

Thank you for your patience as we know plans are subject to change. Additionally, thank you for understanding and doing your part to keep Rainier safe and healthy! It is my hope that we will be able to meet in-person very soon!

Your partner in education,

Dr. Hattrick

Interim Superintendent

The following is a letter to the Clatskanie School District parents from Superintendent Cathy Hurowitz concerning the new school year.

Dear Clatskanie School District Families,

Since closing our schools in March, it has been our greatest hope to bring students and staff back together in our buildings.

As you are aware, COVID 19 cases are rising across the State and in Columbia County. Yesterday, Governor Brown, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education released metrics to clarify when schools and districts are safe to return to face-to-face instruction. This information has significant implications for our district. Currently, Columbia County and the State of Oregon case rates exceed the limits set forth by the Governor for in-person instruction. Because we value our community’s safety we are going to begin our school year via Comprehensive Distance Learning beginning September 8th. Per the guidance from the Governor and the OHA, we will monitor our metrics every three weeks in the hopes of bringing our students back to the buildings on or before November 16th. The health and safety of our students and staff is our priority and we will carefully adhere to State guidance every step of the way.

We know from our community feedback that families have concerns about the effectiveness of distance learning based on their experiences this past spring. Keep in mind that our staff had little time and relatively no training, yet built a system to feed and educate students. We now have the systems, tools, and experience to provide your students with a high quality education. We have partnered with our ESD and have invested in both a comprehensive K-12 curriculum and a new learning management system to provide the platform that will allow students and families to stay in touch with teachers and the school.

For students and families the system will provide:

  • Predictable schedules and routines for daily learning activities
  • High quality instruction and ongoing support for students by teacher(s)
  • Daily synchronous learning for students (e.g., Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts, or phone calls)
  • Increased teacher instructional time and meaningful student assignments
  • Progress monitoring and assessment
  • Clear and consistent grading practices
  • Clarity around attendance and participation
  • Counseling and mental health services
  • Family engagement and partnerships

We will be able to provide Chromebooks for every student in the district as well as support families who need internet service to their home. We are also working on providing hot spots if internet access is unavailable due to location.

Just like this spring, we will provide meals for students.

Additionally, all families will have the option to remain completely online if they are not comfortable with their children returning to school once it is safe to reopen.

Watch for a survey that will be coming out. It is critical that you respond so that we may understand your needs to better serve your family.

I know this is very disappointing to many of you but we must put the health and safety of our staff, students, and their families first.

I’m asking for your patience and a bit of grace as we move forward together. None of us asked for this and we are all in uncharted territory. This pandemic is an ongoing and fluid situation and things seem to change weekly/daily/hourly.

As always, if you have any comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your support.

Cathy Hurowitz

Superintendent

29 de julio de 2020

Estimadas familias del distrito escolar de Clatskanie:

Desde que cerramos nuestras escuelas en marzo, ha sido nuestra mayor esperanza reunir a los estudiantes y al personal en nuestros edificios.

Como sabe, los casos de COVID 19 están aumentando en todo el estado y en el condado de Columbia. Ayer, el Gobernador Brown, la Autoridad de Salud de Oregón y el Departamento de Educación de Oregón publicaron métricas para aclarar cuándo las escuelas y los distritos están seguros de regresar a la instrucción presencial. Esta información tiene implicaciones significativas para nuestro distrito. Actualmente, las tasas de casos del Condado de Columbia y del Estado de Oregon exceden los límites establecidos por el Gobernador para la instrucción en persona. Debido a que valoramos la seguridad de nuestra comunidad, comenzaremos nuestro año escolar a través del aprendizaje integral a distancia a partir del 8 de septiembre. Según la orientación del Gobernador y la OHA, supervisaremos nuestras métricas cada tres semanas con la esperanza de traer a nuestros estudiantes de regreso a los edificios el 16 de noviembre o antes. La salud y seguridad de nuestros estudiantes y personal es nuestra prioridad y nos adheriremos cuidadosamente a la orientación del Estado en cada paso del camino.

Sabemos por los comentarios de nuestra comunidad que las familias tienen inquietudes sobre la efectividad del aprendizaje a distancia basado en sus experiencias de la primavera pasada. Tenga en cuenta que nuestro personal tenía poco tiempo y relativamente poca capacitación, pero creó un sistema para alimentar y educar a los estudiantes. Ahora tenemos los sistemas, las herramientas y la experiencia para proporcionar a sus estudiantes una educación de alta calidad. Nos hemos asociado con nuestro ESD y hemos invertido tanto en un plan de estudios integral de K-12 como en un nuevo sistema de gestión del aprendizaje para proporcionar la plataforma que permitirá a los estudiantes y las familias mantenerse en contacto con los maestros y la escuela.

Para los estudiantes y las familias, el sistema proporcionará:

• Horarios y rutinas predecibles para las actividades de aprendizaje diarias.

• Instrucción de alta calidad y apoyo continuo para los alumnos por parte del maestro (s)

• Aprendizaje sincrónico diario para estudiantes (por ejemplo, reuniones de Zoom, Hangouts de Google o llamadas telefónicas)

• Aumento del tiempo de instrucción del maestro y asignaciones significativas de los estudiantes.

• Monitoreo y evaluación del progreso.

• Prácticas de calificación claras y consistentes.

• Claridad en cuanto a asistencia y participación.

• Servicios de asesoramiento y salud mental.

• Participación familiar y asociaciones

Podremos proporcionar Chromebooks para cada estudiante en el distrito, así como apoyar a las familias que necesitan servicio de internet en sus hogares. También estamos trabajando para proporcionar puntos calientes si el acceso a Internet no está disponible debido a la ubicación.

Al igual que esta primavera, proporcionaremos comidas para los estudiantes.

Además, todas las familias tendrán la opción de permanecer completamente en línea si no se sienten cómodos con que sus hijos regresen a la escuela una vez que sea seguro reabrir.

Esté atento a una encuesta que saldrá la próxima semana. Es fundamental que responda para que podamos comprender sus necesidades para servir mejor a su familia.

Sé que esto es muy decepcionante para muchos de ustedes, pero debemos poner primero la salud y la seguridad de nuestro personal, estudiantes y sus familias.

Le pido su paciencia y un poco de gracia a medida que avanzamos juntos. Ninguno de nosotros pidió esto y todos estamos en territorio desconocido. Esta pandemia es una situación continua y fluida y las cosas parecen cambiar semanalmente / diariamente / cada hora.

Como siempre, si tiene algún comentario o inquietud, no dude en ponerse en contacto conmigo.

Gracias por tu apoyo.

Cathy Hurowitz

Superintendente

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