Eagle Update: District 88 focusing on what’s best for students
Like everyone in Minnesota, we are adjusting to a different set of circumstances around us than three weeks ago. In my last article, I referred to work we do each spring to prepare for the next school year. This is indeed a much different spring than envisioned back then. Our focus remains on doing our very best for our students and families. We will make necessary adjustments to our work and how we do business for this spring, while at the same time making plans for the fall.
In the Governor’s Executive Order, he tasked all public schools to provide distance learning to all students in grades K-12, prepare and provide meals to all students age 18 and under in the district, and to provide daycare to school-aged students, up to age 12, for parents who are tier one emergency workers.
We kicked off distance learning this past week, a new philosophy and delivery of education to all of our students. It isn’t online learning alone – it’s a combination of online learning, physical assignments, and assessments while maintaining connections with the classroom teacher throughout the process. Our teachers are learning new strategies to make connections and deliver instruction without a student in the actual classroom. We prioritized our first week on reestablishing student-teacher connections, understanding distance learning expectations, answering parent questions and confirming digital systems were working at all ends.
We are providing daycare for approximately 50 students each day, spread over three of our buildings to provide separation and proper distancing. My thanks to our staff who work hard to keep students separated and purposefully busy all day long. We are doing our checks each morning when students arrive to limit exposure of illness to our staff and other students.
Since March 18, we have been providing meals to students and families who are in need. Each day we provide a lunch meal that includes a sandwich, vegetable, fruit and milk. We also provide a breakfast meal for the next day at the same time. We have pick-up sites at each of our buildings, St. Anthony Elementary, and at drop sites in Hanska, Searles and Courtland. At this time, Lafayette Charter School is providing meals to their students. We average 800 meals served per day.
Through the planning and implementation of distance learning, I’ve learned new terms or have been reminded of terms not used in quite some time. I’ve “zoomed” in several meetings, held discussions about synchronous and asynchronous learning, approved teleworking from home, asked why hand sanitizer is so expensive and thought, how do you really keep young students in daycare socially distant from one another (ever tried to keep five year olds six feet apart from one another….. all day!)?