Superintendent's Welcome Back Letter

Superintendent Jean Shumate's 2020-21 Welcome Back Letter

Espanól
Welcome to the start of the 2020-2021 school year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe summer break.  We are pleased to welcome returning and new families this school year.
As you may know, the Stanwood-Camano School District will begin the year in Distance Learning 2.0 out of the concern for safety and well-being of the entire school community. The first day of school is Thursday, September 3, 2020. 


Our 4-Step Reopening Plan for learning will be determined by the impacts of a changing COVID-19 pandemic, available resources, direction from the Snohomish Health District, OSPI and Governor Jay Inslee. Districts such as ours must be able to adapt and move quickly from distance learning to a hybrid learning model and back to distance learning, if necessary. We are currently in Step 1 - Continuous Learning 2.0 where specific student populations will come in for additional support as safety allows.


I would like to extend a big thank you to all staff for preparing for this year’s learning experience for students. Instructional staff have attended multiple google and zoom meeting workshops and training sessions to sharpen their knowledge and skills to ensure the best possible learning experiences for all children. Our maintenance and custodial staff have worked countless hours preparing facilities and school grounds to make sure our schools are safe for staff and students. Office personnel are greeting families, registering students, and making sure that we are ready for all of our students to begin the school year. Below are important district updates.

Teaching and Learning

A number of activities in the Teaching and Learning area have taken place in order to get ready for the new school year. The first priority was to review parent, student and teacher survey data to learn how we could improve our work from the spring. That knowledge guided the work of the Continuous Learning Committee, which developed common templates for teachers to use in their Continuous Learning work to better communicate with students and parents. The committee also recommended additional professional development for teachers in August and beyond. To that end, teachers have been engaged in professional development throughout August, led by our new Technology Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs). Additionally, teachers are engaged in the "Shifting Schools" work, led by Jeff Utecht. His work supports the changes teachers need to make when teaching in the Distance Learning mode.Teachers have learned how to better record videos for instruction, how to better use Google Meets, and how to better and consistently use our student learning platforms (Seesaw and Google Classroom). Beyond the teacher professional development, classes for parents were held on August 26th and 27th. Teacher and parent professional development will be ongoing throughout the 2020-21 school year.

School Safety and Security

The physical and emotional safety of our students and staff continues to be a priority. We have been busy preparing our schools for a safe return. Any individual coming onto our facilities will be required to wear a cloth face covering and participate in a health screening prior to entry. Our school spaces have been set up to meet the new social distancing requirements.  We have purchased masks, shields, no-touch thermometers, desk shields, plexiglass, signage, cleaning/disinfecting supplies/equipment, and have trained staff. District level maintenance workers have adjusted our HVAC systems to allow for the maximum amount  of outside air to enter our facilities. Transportation has developed new protocols for seating, loading and unloading buses, and air circulation. 

The district has adopted Character Strong to meet the Social Emotional needs of our students. Character Strong focuses on the whole child teaching self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship, and decision-making skills. Students will have Character Strong lessons in elementary school classes and during advisory class at the middle and high school levels.

Capital Projects (Facilities and Technology) 

This summer contractors have been busy working on multiple projects throughout the district. These projects are funded by the voter approved capital levy or voter approved bonds. All projects are "on-budget" and "on-time" even though the number of available tradesmen has been impacted by the large number of construction projects in our region and by public health related concerns. 

New Stanwood High School (SHS): This project is scheduled for substantial completion by mid-November. Crews have been busy installing interior carpet, flooring, plumbing fixtures, and lighting fixtures. In addition, furniture orders have been placed and delivery dates have been set. Exterior trim, concrete walkways, utility connections, and landscaping are also underway or complete. New all-season baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, and ADA restrooms (located at the existing batting cage building) are also underway. Once the new SHS is occupied, the demolition of the old building and construction of new parking lots will begin after the first of the year.  

New Church Creek Campus (CCC): This facility will house Lincoln Hill High School, Lincoln Academy, and Saratoga School students.The district began moving into the new school in August. New furniture which has been delivered and equipment salvaged from the existing buildings are in the process of being relocated to the new building. Teaching materials have also been relocated. The general contractor has been busy installing interior and exterior finishes, landscaping, and street improvements. Demolition of the old CCC will begin when the new SHS is occupied this winter.

Remodeled and Expanded Facility and Technology Maintenance Building (MTC): This facility was substantially complete in August. The full transition of all maintenance staff from temporary facilities into the new facility should be complete no later than mid-September.  

Playground Updates: Three elementary schools, Cedarhome, Elger Bay and Utsalady, received playground and safety improvements, including new equipment. This work will be substantially complete by the first of September.  

Other 2020-2021 School Year Capital Improvements: District staff will be working to close out all of the above projects during the coming school year. In addition this fall, preparation of bid specifications will begin for the replacement of the Port Susan Middle School roof project, scheduled for next summer. Planning for a window replacement and weatherproofing project for Stanwood Middle School will begin in the fall of 2021. This work is scheduled for construction during the summer of 2022.

Technology: The technology department has been busy preparing to support teachers and families in this distance learning environment. Here are some of the highlights from the department:
- Chromebooks are available for all student
- We have 250 hotspots available for families and have ordered 200 more, due to high demand, that will be arriving next week.
- The department has been providing training for staff throughout August.
- The department has prepared resources and tutorials for families and students.
- There will also be a technology helpline for families and students beginning in September.

All of this wonderful progress would not be possible without the support and involvement of our community, amazing volunteers, parents, staff, and students. We are truly, “One community dedicated to the success of each student.”  

Enjoy the last few days of your summer vacation. I look forward to connecting with you throughout the school year. Please continue to refer to the district and school websites for more information. It is my sincere hope that every student and family will have a healthy and safe learning experience this school year.

Sincerely,

   Jean Shumate, Ed.D. Superintendent