Some Wake County seniors think graduation plans aren't enough
The Wake County Public School System is making plans for both in-person and virtual graduation ceremonies to celebrate the Class of 2020. The school board announced Friday that principals at each school will decide what their celebrations will look like.
great lengths to assure the physical and emotional well being of her family's, particularly those who find themselves in unstable living situations. She has regularly delivered food to families living in hotels and has also taken social work shifts at the emergency department at Wake Med, even as she cares for her own two young Children. The colleague who nominated her wrote his Pappalardo does all of this matter of fact Lee and expects no praise. She's a social worker at heart and simply does what is necessary to help others. Social workers like Miss Couple Arto help remove barriers to student learning by ensuring families and students have their basic needs met a difficult yet essential challenge during school closure. During this time, school social workers have connected families to community Resource, is volunteered to deliver food to families in transition and worked tirelessly to locate hard to reach students. I think Miss Pappalardo said it best when asked about her work. I'm always amazed that even in the ugliest situations, there is beauty to be found in the way humans help each other and in the strength parents can muster for their Children. I'm truly inspired by the dedication and energy demonstrated daily by staff members like Miss Pappalardo. We can't thank them enough for everything they are doing to help our students and families. Whether this crisis, I'd like to touch briefly on calendars for the 2020 2021 school year. For several weeks, a group made up of administrative staff principles have been working on proposed calendars for all schools in 2020 2021. As I said several times in the past month. We know schools will operate differently next year, and that likely will include calendars. The state Legislature is requiring traditional calendar schools to start on August 17th and end by June. 11th year round, calendar, modified calendar and early college and restart schools were exempt from those start dates. On Tuesday, we will be presenting the school board with some proposed calendars for all schools. While there are multiple ways to create a school calendar, the staff recommendations for 2020 2021 will be determined by the guidance of state health officials and the new calendar law approved by legislators. The calendars must also be flexible enough to accommodate future health emergencies. Given the uncertainty surrounding Kobe 19 in the coming weeks and months. We understand that parents and students are anxious to receive these details, and once again we are grateful for their patience as we work through the countless changes created by this pandemic. The most obvious change, of course, has been the switch to remote learning, which, as I just said, could also play an important role in the 2020 2021 school year. To that end, the school system sent a survey to all parents and teachers on Tuesday asking for their feedback about the remote learning experience. We have already seen a tremendous response. With nearly 14,000 surveys completed, we will use survey data as well as feedback and suggestions provided directly to our teachers, um and principles to assess what's working and what needs improvement. Parents and teachers have until Wednesday, may 20th to submit their survey response, and I encourage everyone to do so in closing. I want to share a message that I deliver to our principles earlier this week. I realize this unprecedented event has been a challenge for everyone students, parents and staff alike. But I'm but I reminded our principles that as we near this year's finish line. We all need to continue to pull together and finish strong. While we continue to extend grace inflexibility to our students and families. I want to encourage everyone to do what they can to ensure meaningful learning happens. Every day the Mawr engage, students can stay now, the easier it will be to transition back to classroom instruction. Plus, because we know that remote learning is going to be a key part of our next school year. Developing good remote learning habits will benefit students and their families now and moving forward. Beyond academics, we need principals and teachers to keep nurturing the connections that we have made in these past two months to keep their school communities intact. This is not only important to make the most of the current school year, but also to set the stage for next school year. More than anything, we want our students and families to be excited about returning next year. Maintaining personal connections and keeping students sharp will put us on a solid footing when the day finally arrives that we're once again growing and learning together in one physical place called school. With that, I will turn it over to chair something. Thank you, Superintendent. More as we often do, I like to start by recognising the tremendous work about China, Tricia staff and bus drivers as they continue to serve our students and families day in and day out, we're operating 59 food distribution sites throughout the county, serving hot lunches and breakfast items, including our big bus food trucks, which are delivering food to 19 neighborhood locations. This week, our staff served nearly 117,000 meals, averaging more than 23,400 meals every single day. Since our school Gooden's close in mid March, we've served more than 900,000 meals to ensure our Trajan continue tohave healthy food again. I want to come in and probably think our time, interest of staff and bus drivers for doing this important work in order to give them a much needed break. Our food distribution services will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 25th. To help families prepare for the closure, we will distribute extra food next Friday, May 22nd and most weekend food service sites will still operate on a normal schedule more than a week. As always, you can find out food distribution locations, dates and times at W. C p ss dot net slash fruit as superintendent. More mention her comments. Work is already underway for the 2020 2021 school year. As part of that effort, I want to take this time to announce our intent to create a community of work that would assist us in the reopening and operation of our schools in 2020 2021. Then there's the purpose of this group, which will be made up primarily of committee members. Parents and educators would be to provide feedback on the minute details still to be decided for the opening of schools as they moved past that first phase of the new academic year. I anticipate the work group will remain intact to provide recommendations and strategies for the Board of Education and superintendent to consider on improving delivery of instruction in Wake County in alignment with the evolving W. C. P S s strategic plan. Focus areas could include topics such as the future roles of online learning and of technology in general, possible changes to school board policy lessons we have learned that can be applied to inclement weather days and of course how to ensure equity in all of our future operations. I will provide more details in the future and look forward to the insights and support this group can provide as we take advantage about current situation to reimagine and even stronger a school district on the other side of this pandemic. I want to close my comments today about offering an update about graduations. We announced last week that we will not be able to hold traditional graduates of ceremonies in June due to the current guidelines of state health officials. This was a heartbreaking decision, but I only choice given the public health concerns. Yet we believe that our seniors deserve the very best we can give them in honoring their accomplishments. Over the past 13 years, after listening to students and families, we have worked with schools to plan both in person and virtual celebrations. Our House School principal has met with academics team leaders earlier this week to craft a plan that has already been shared with seniors and their families. This plan was based on meetings that superintendent more and I had with singer leaders and parents. Along with many comments and suggestions shared with us via phone calls, emails and social media, The plan allows each hostile the host celebrations on their respective campuses. The dates and times will be determined by the school principal and shared with graduating seniors. All celebrations will be designed to comply with current safety guidelines. These events will allow students to keep some graduation traditions and to celebrate together with classmates, teachers and principals. This one including opportunity for students to receive their diploma from the principal, along with the opportunity for families to celebrate and take photos. In addition to the school based celebrations, How schools Work host online graduation ceremonies between June 8th and 13th. The virtual ceremonies would include the plane of pomp and circumstance, speeches from students and the principal, the calling of every singer's name turning of tassels and photos of the class of 2020 during the recessional, the virtual ceremonies will occur as close to the originally scheduled graduation dates and times as possible. Seniors and their parents should hearme or from their principles by this afternoon. While we are working to do everything we can to are the class of 2020. We know that we would never be able to replace all that I seen just have lost due to this unprecedented of it. No matter how schools commemorate the significant life, me, please remember that the legacy of the class of 2020 it's so much more than crossing a stage or turning a tassel. This class will be remembered as a group of strong, intelligent and bold young people who made the very best I one of the most difficult periods in the history of it on the way county but indeed the world. We will now take questions from the media. Please state your name and the news organization you represent. It's animal Wins with double Uriel News just wanted to confirm that every high school will have that in person graduation event that you were speaking off. Would that be the plan for every high school that is correct that we anticipate every house school boot will have that a man. But I let Superintendent more speak. Speak to that more with regard to details. We've asked every high school to facilitate an in person event that will allow receiving a diploma while following the current health guidelines so it won't look like a traditional graduations their money. But it will be an opportunity to maintain some traditions and to have a diploma experience and one quick follow up. With that Was there thought to maybe pushing graduation further back so it potentially could be more like it would look. Traditionally we did. We did have that conversation with both the seniors and the parents that we talked to and then, you know, there was. It was mixed. There were folks who thought it would be a really good idea to wait until later. We also had folks who felt like seniors would leave, go to college or the military, get a job, and then some would miss out. Um, and they would go their own way. And given the uncertainty of what health regulations will look like in the future, we wanted to make sure that we had something to offer our seniors in the original timeline. Rainy Ayala with CBS 17. I'm wondering, Are these in person celebrations? Are they gonna be drive thru style that we've been seeing some high schools doing already? Do you all have any idea of how these principles are gonna decide to honor these seniors in person. I'll start with that, Mr Sutton. Our principles are really figuring that out with their students and their staff in their schools there, maybe drive thru type options, or maybe in other different types of options that are not drive through. We're really leaving that up to the school principals to determine with their communities. Yes, sir. Sudden, you think No, I don't have anything else that Adamo into the WRL News again, Um, what is the message to year round parents and students? As you know, week to week, the beginning of their school year could draw near. I know there's a lot of planning and groups that are being brought together. What is what is the message to those parents of students about what to expect? And do they need to just hold on? So we are planning to bring some proposed calendar revisions to the board at the Tuesday work session. We know in particular that almost tracking around families are anxious about what can he looks like for the next school year? Um, and we want to make sure that we have options that provide an opportunity to ensure that we're maintaining the health and safety of our students as the highest priority while planning for a meaningful school year. So we will have those calendar revision options presented to the board next Tuesday, and we invite our families to tune in and listen to that conversation. It's your time. I don't have it against the ad over that. The board, as super treated more, said the poor will be receiving that information on Tuesday, and we look forward to hearing more about that. Carell Sampson With Spectrum News Mr Owens, Ask my question about year round schools. I have a further down the line bank camp for the summer and athletics this'll summer. Is there any planes on what students should expect? Uh, looking forward to the fall for those athletic programs Go. I can start that, Mr Sutton. So we've been having discussions about what that might look like all summer activities, quite frankly, And, um, we are still waiting and hoping that there will be some guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services at the state level that will provide us opportunities to really determine how and if those can be helped within safety guidelines. So we're we're having asked for patients. Here is Well, um, and hopefully we'll have some information within the next few weeks so that if we can operate any of those functions in the summer safely and there are ways to do that, we hope that we will certainly be able to consider and do that. Do you have anything else, Mr Son? Nothing else. I don't think you covered it, could you? From the news Observer went, you envision those in person celebrations being held at the schools? And when will the specifics about where and when he'll be out? When will that be announced? Teoh So believe that Mr Sutton Minton and his remarks that all of the principles should be sending something to their families today, some time with some more detail. I'm not sure if they've worked out final details about when and how, but, um, family should expect to hear something directly from their school. And I just never got some tremendous staff at all of our schools. Principals on quite frankly, counselors, graduation advises are are really excited about planning out some of these events and they've already had some plans. I believe up their sleep on just ready and waiting to implement eso again. That message will be coming from those principles, and we expect that those would be happening again between Alpha State mid June and late June. It was opportunist, a suboptimal. I think it'll vary. They may actually try toe pull something's off earlier than that, but it's really up to each school. Carell, Samson, Inspector News again kind of the counselors and teachers air kind of the front lines of students safety, mental health, child abuse where they discovered child abuse is our hotline, and I apologize if there's already been this has already been discussed. Is our hotline or a number that students can reach out to, uh, stop Adi and staff if they have problems at home that they just can't get to right now? Hi there. So we do operate a 24 hour hotline that students or families or staff or anyone can call. We can get that information out if you feel it. You know, we can feel it's important to publicize that again, and we do through the remote learning process. Ask our teachers when students are not engaging where they see something to also notify our housing and student support services staff so that they can follow of individually as well. Do we have any last questions? I think this, uh, for this Superintendent, um, chairman said. Mentioned about what? He's envisioning the community worker. What could we do? Contribute what? You're hoping that group will be able to provide real in Queens? Sure so Chair, Son and I have discussed this a couple of times. There's a lot of decision points and as well as uncertainty about what the beginning of the next school year can look like. And so we thought that it would be important, Um, to, as staff is planning on different options for us to have an opportunity to connect with board members and stakeholder groups, your parents, as at sort of a community advisory level about what those plans are, so that we can have broader messaging, broader support and alignment around what school will look like when we open. So we think it's a really good opportunity, and additionally, as Mr Sutton mentioned, this group, um, can also support the work that the district is already doing towards Riva revising our strategic plan which, as you know, expires in 2020. And we're looking at new ways to update that and include relevant information. And certainly this pandemic has allowed us to learn some things that will inform our planning for years to come. Any other questions? Great. With that, we will close our press conference. Thank you so much for joining us.