Communication to GBSD Families
Communication to GBSD Families - March 31, 2020
Dear GBSD Families,
Thank you for your ongoing patience and commitment to Gresham-Barlow School District. We know that our state’s response to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic has not been easy for you, our students, nor the community. However, we feel a moral imperative to meet the changing needs of all GBSD families and students.
We, along with many families across Oregon, have consistently communicated our needs to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and on Monday, March 30th ODE announced that all Oregon public K-12 schools will shift from providing Supplemental Education and Learning Supports to Distance Learning for All. The supplemental learning was intended to be a reasonable and essential solution to facilitate a continuum of learning through what we thought would be a short-term closure. In an email sent to school districts, ODE Director Colt Gill shared that, “As we continue the effective measures of Governor Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives order, we also foresee the strong possibility that students may not come back through our schoolhouse doors this academic year.” This potential of not returning to school for in-person instruction will take time to fully process and know the impact, but we know that this decision will be tough to comprehend and will weigh heavily on everyone’s hearts. Regardless, we are looking forward to engaging with students and partnering with families in a remote digital learning format - distance learning.
Distance Learning is not just online instruction. It provides for blended learning strategies and access to appropriate educational materials through which, in addition to remote digital teaching, could include various modes of communication and in some cases paper packets. We know school districts throughout the country are making this shift due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. ODE has partnered with other states already providing distance learning for guidance.
While we are in unchartered territory, we do know that there will be challenges of access, connectivity, and the continuity of learning. We believe we were already preparing our staff, students, and families for much of the changes ODE is requesting. We know going forward, we will need to provide digital learning opportunities for all GBSD students in our care, and we know that this won’t happen overnight.
The GBSD Leadership Team will need some time to fully analyze the ODE directives, shift our plans, prepare a deployment plan for distributing digital devices (Chromebooks) to families, and provide additional guidance for teachers on how to best serve our families using distance learning tools. Families in need of digital devices will be able to pick them up late next week. We will share more details as the plan unfolds.
The District’s Distance Learning for All plan will focus on care, community, and continuity of learning. Connecting with you and your student regularly will be very important to this work. This week an electronic letter instructing families how to enable their ParentVue account, if they do not have one already, will be sent. The ParentVue account is important to families being able to fully access Distance Learning opportunities. If there are problems creating an account, soon the school office staff will be available to assist. Also, this week we are asking our school staff to reach out to every family in the District. It is more important than ever for us to partner with you as we work together to co-facilitate learning, design consistent routines, and establish a new digital learning environment.
Please watch for updates. You can learn about signing up for text messages from your school and the school district on this webpage.
Thank you for all you are doing as we work together during this public health crisis and charter new ways to amplify new learning, teaching, and leading opportunities.
Gresham-Barlow School District
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