Wake County Schools discusses changes in calendar, remote learning
Wake County School Board shares updates on remote learning and provides more insight into the school calendar changes.
Okay. Good morning, everyone. This is Matt D's with Wake County Public School System Communications. Thank you all for joining us. Speaking today will be Keith Sutton or chair for the Wake County Public School system and Kathy Mawr superintendent. We'll take questions after the conclusion of their remarks. When you ask your questions, it would be helpful to introduce yourself and your outlet and let us know to whom you are directing your question chair. Sutton will begin with remarks. Your son. Thank you, Thank you all for joining us today. I'm Keith Sutton, chair of the Wake County Board of Education. Today we will discuss our efforts to prepare for successful 2020 2021 school year. We also wish your updates on food distribution and graduation ceremonies as well a summit bias for parents as they continue to support learning at home. I'll ask super tuna Kathy more to get us started. Syringe in and more. Thank you cheer, Sudden. I'd like to start today by highlighting a major milestone for our child nutrition services team, who have been a steady beacon for thousands of families throughout this uncertain period. This week, they surpassed over one million meals served in school buildings closed in mid March. They've been well supported by transportation staff who are delivering meals to 20 neighborhoods every week day to ensure families have access to healthy food. In all were operating 60 food distribution sites serving hot lunches and breakfast items. And families will be able to count on us all the way until schools reopened, as we just announced this week that we will be extending food distribution through the summer, a reminder that food distribution will not occur on Memorial Day. But we are making sure to provide extra food to families today. These staff members, day in and day out, are living examples of just how much the district cares for our students and families to all of them. I continue to and simply say, thank you. Next. I would like to provide information about our efforts to gather a parent and staff input regarding the proposed 2020 2021 school calendars. On Tuesday, the board discussed proposals from our calendar committee, which have been working for weeks to develop calendars that meets state requirements. We shared information about these proposals directly with our families and staff on Tuesday. Those communications were followed on Thursday by a frequently asked questions documents sent to families and staff. We have also established online forums to receive additional feedback and answer questions. This information can be found at W. C p ss dot net slash calendar proposals. Parent and staff feedback will be factored in as we consider any changes to the proposed calendars. But I would caution that state requirements and the need to delay the opening of your own calendar schools pose significant restraints. The state is requiring districts to add and designate five remote learning days and add five in person instructional days separate and distinct from our regular instructional days. These requirements directly affect the calendars were able to offer families. For example, Traditional calendar teachers will likely lose five teacher workdays to account for the newly required in person instruction days. And you're all schools are proposed to add 15 minutes to their school days to ensure they need state requirements for total instructional hours. So we must ask for everyone's understanding of our legal limitations as we work towards final calendars, which we expect the board to approve on June 2nd again for more details on the proposed calendars and state requirements. I would encourage you to visit W c p ss dot net slash calendar proposals. Next, I'll briefly touch on a message for families who wish to apply for Title one pre K programs for 2020 2021. We have extended the deadline for families to apply to June 5th to accommodate those who may have been unable to apply due to school closures and stay at home orders. The free preschool program, which is open to students who turned four years old on or before August 31st prepare students to enter kindergarten ready to learn. Visit W C P ss dot net slash pre K enrollment to learn mawr and apply. Lastly, I'd like to directly address parents who are supporting their Children's learning at home. We know that you may have some good days with remote learning and that some days can be a challenge that is to be expected. As I have mentioned several times, I've been impressed by the adaptability and creativity of our teachers, students and parents, as we have all figured out together the most effective ways to do remote learning while it can never replace the classroom experience. We know the majority of our students are engaging daily with meaningful content to those parents who have encountered obstacles. I want to remind you of two things. First, you are not alone. Your teachers and principals are there to help you address any problems you are facing. Make sure that you are saying in regular communication with that, we have also provided useful Resource is at W c. P ss dot net slash remote learning tips. Here you'll find practical advice about setting up a home learning environment that will maximize your child's ability to complete their work effectively. Second, you are succeeding, even if it doesn't always feel that way. Part of our grace and flexibility mantra is reminding parents that perfection is not a realistic goal. If your child is regularly engaging with teachers and classmates as well as with content to help keep their minds sharp, that's really what Matt we have always revealing a supportive parents. But this pandemic has forged even deeper relationships between schools and parents. That is something that I hope that we can build off of as we look not only to survive but thrive in the next school year. Partners, please know that we value your parents. Please know that we value your efforts as partners. We're here for you, and we are extremely grateful for all that you have done with that. I will turn it back over to cheer, son. Thank you. Super 10. Or first electrified an update on graduations. As we told you last week, we want to do everything we can tow honor the class of 2020 giving the other celebrations and remembrances they so richly deserve while maintaining safety for all involved. Academics, team principals and school staff have been working diligently to plan and host graduation celebrations on high school campuses over the next several weeks. Two. Small How schools running my long college and career Academy and Wait Young Women's Leadership Academy are celebrating today, with two of our larger high schools hosting events next week. Most will be hailed the week of June. We are also planning virtual graduations and want to remind seniors that it is very important that they visit the senior portal at W. C. P S s class of 2020 dot com to review and complete information, including their name, photo and additional info needed for the virtual celebrations. The portal closes at 6 p.m. Today, so Senior should make sure to visit the site as soon as possible. And again our sincere and heartfelt congratulations to this very special class of young people. We know this isn't easy, but we admire your courage and your strength. You might not see it now, but this experience will embolden you as you face challenges and celebrate triumphs for the rest of your lives. As I see it, look to their futures. I want to speak to how we are looking to the 2020 2021 school year with optimism and determination, and how we plan to make sure is a year marked by efficient operation and high student achievement. I mentioned last week the formation of a community working group made up primarily of community members, parents and educators who offer advice on the many issues feel to be decided for the opening of schools. Given the level of interest who are thinking through the most effective way to engage stakeholders, we expect this group will continue to provide counsel once school buildings. Really, This week I also want to mention the creation of a court See representing all facets of our organization in the coming weeks. This core team would develop detailed readiness plans for every department as we return to in person school, and they will also make sure we are well prepared should there be a resurgence of Kobe 19. But even more importantly, there will be providing a roadmap to help ensure its next school year is a true success. They have a formidable task. Following preliminary work about district leaders the past several weeks, the core team would accelerate plans and attend to details in several key areas. Those areas include insuring we can implement social distancing and health guidelines delivering core instruction, including via digital earn. I mean the social emotional needs of students and staff providing robust child nutrition and transportation services and much, much more. I want to emphasize what Superintendent More said early. Our intention is not really to survive in 2020 2021 but right. Our intent is to ensure every student experiences, learning relationships and services they need to excel in school in life. This pandemic has tested our capabilities, but in many ways has also strengthened. We have found new ways to connect and stay connected to students and families, and we have greatly expanded access to technology district wide. We also have discovered new ways to teach, as students have discovered new ways to mark. Now it is our task to capitalize on these innovations, blend them with successful practices of the past and shape our future where our students succeed like never before. We will now take questions from the media, things that are yourself have a name of the media organization you represent. Hi, this is Joe Fisher with WRL. Can you hear me? Yes, sir. I just wanted Teoh get an update. I know we covered your, uh, the July start date for year round schools. Is that something that is still being considered? What is the process for getting ready for that? And also, you know, we just heard from a lot of parents who feel like that might be too soon. So what is what is the latest on year round schools? So I'll start with that, Mr. Sutton, The proposal that staff has brought to the board for consideration delayed the beginning of year round schools to August 3rd. That is the proposal that is before the board right now. And we That is the feedback that we're taking from families right now. But, um, in our multi tracking around schools, we are delaying the start to August 3rd. Did you have anything, Mr Sutton? No, I don't. Everything else. Carell, Samson with spectrum news. Good morning, Teoh. Chairman and Superintendent, Um, there's a report out about school Trent buses being every other seat, and? And what? Not kind of spacing the kids is that something that Wake County schools is looking into? And what would be the cost if that was implemented? I'll start with that. Mr. Sutton. We are reviewing what social distancing would have to look like on our buses and whether that would mean additional routes or longer routes. Or, um, how we stagger if we having to stagger student attendance. All of those play into what that's going to look like. But we are committed to ensuring not only that our students are safe, but that we are following. Whatever the guidelines are that were given anything else, Mr Certain? No, Nothing else. Yeah, Thank you. You can use them ever have you discussed what you're going to be doing for a city? The parents and staff? We don't feel comfortable starting in August at any of your articles or any of the ever schools. I can start this one to Mr Sutton. So, um, we are We are aware that we have both staff and families who have concerns about starting even in August. And so we're going to look to see what the options are that we can provide. You know, we've talked about the school year next year will need to look different. We already know that we're going to be required to have at least five days of remote learning. We are really exploring options at this point that allows us to see whether or not there is an expansion. That is possible because we know that we have families that are concerned about their Children returning, and we have stepped that are concerned about returning. Um, and we are exploring scenarios that would allow that we're just not sure what they look like at this point and whether or not, quite frankly, they would be allowed. So we really need to pay attention to the guidance that's coming down from both the state and local health officials as well as the Department of Public Instruction. And I'll just add, you know, we have received through e mails of conversation options and ideas with desires from one end of the spectrum to the other. We've seen where parents want a return to school. That is, that is normal. And we've seen or heard from parents who believe that we should not return sweet until the vaccine has been has been found. I think our job is to listen to and consider all of the concerns and ideas that parents staff in the community has just try to create and find an environment. Oh, that is suitable for all, while at the same time making sure that we provide options to those that either feels safe. But they don't feel safe in their options that meet their needs. Us. Where do we have any more questions? Yeah. Carell, sample inspection news Once again, eyes there Any other school district that your consultant with, um are kind of using piggyback in ideas with our this kind of something that you guys are not what they going on your own but, um, using your own plan, do more of that. You start. Could you repeat the question using our own plan to do what? Yeah, Yeah. Are you Is this something that your consultant with other districts with across the state Are Carson country to formulate a plan? Or is this kind of what you're using inside sources? Well, there's I mean, we have an internal staff that are working on options, but we are looking at plans that have been created in other states. There's numerous states that have created reopening plans. We've looked at the CDC guidance. That's more detail that came out recently. We have two working groups of superintendents and staff in the state of North Carolina that are working on this one through the Super Tennis Association, one through the Department of Public Instruction with our state superintendent. And then we're also Wake County public schools is also going to be joining a group this being formed out of Guilford County. That includes some large districts to discuss not only the immediate reopening but sort of the long term effects and impacts into the school year. So there there are a number of groups that are informing our work. Doesn't Mr Sutton, if you anything else? No. It just was going to mention the same attracts some of the invitations and partnerships that will look at that. Will consider that leave proceed. Requested to join some other larger districts across the state to share ideas and strategies as well. So with a force to be a part of those here in the near future, this is Joe Fisher again with WRL Just a quick question about these in person graduations. Are you expecting to see a big crowds? Obviously, we know that you are doing you know you're working, trying to keep with the social distancing guidelines and also honor them in person. Are you requiring people to tell you whether they're going to come to the graduation and have you gotten any idea about how big those crowds will be? So the guidance that we sent to our principles at schools, what was that we needed to follow? Whatever the guidelines that health and safety guidelines were that were in place at the time, each school is managing their process and their messaging to their families on their own, but from the district level, What we have asked them to do is to make sure that they are following whatever guidelines are in place around the size of crowds and social distancing. And that sort of thing you've been using, observer goes when we saw him gotten guidance from the state yet. But is there some I am lies to when you hope to be able to tell traditional calendar families about the start of the school year? Do you mean you don't mean when you mean what it's going to look like? Uh, both. So, based on the legislation that was passed a couple of weekends ago, the first day of the school year for traditional calendar families will be August 17th. It was to be August 24th and the Legislature added the week of August 17th those five days so we know that we will. Traditional calendar schools First day of school is slated to be August 17 and again, the work around your crew will look like when you're cornice of work. That's happening right now to make sure that we understand what this figure crowds might look like. Other baggers Brutus schools are leaning forward called We're gonna have to change recalled best transfer take than all those conversations that we're having right now. Drinking? No, nothing expected I'm director expected, still will occur on August, simply that they won't have to be some kind of delay due to any lingering issues. So obviously the start date of August 17th is dependent on us being in a position such that that is allowed to move forward. If the governor issues an order that is different than, obviously, we would need to readjust and abide by that, as with every other district, any other questions hearing on, we will go ahead and conclude this press conference. Thank you all for joining us today.