Coronavirus Community Update
May 18, 2020/6:00pm
I want to start by saying thank you once again to all families, staff, and the community for working together through this difficult situation over the final few months of the school year. As we are wrapping up this school year we are going to enter a summer of uncertainty as in what next school year will look like. It is important to understand that the district is working on multiple plans to make the next school year a success.
End of 2019-20 School Year
There are several reminders to include here:
- Student Work
- A reminder to all families that the last day to submit paper/pencil work is this Thursday (May 21st), and digital/online work is Friday (May 22nd).
- Next week will be the final week of the 2019-20 school year. While there will not be work to complete and turn in the expectation is that the students continue to check in with their teachers to complete the year. There will be extension and summer learning activities to finish out the year.
- Grades- Over the last several weeks the district has been working to develop a plan to address how grades will be calculated for the fourth quarter and the second semester of the school year. Knowing that every family has had to deal with various circumstances in the adjustment to distance learning the district wants to make sure to be acting in the best interest of the students while making sure there is meaning to the fourth quarter of our school year. The following information will outline how grades will be handled overall broken down by the buildings.
- Students will receive a 4th quarter grade as normal. However, students will receive the earned 4th quarter grade, or the grade will be the average of all four quarters combined, whichever is higher. If you have a semester course then the grade would be the fourth quarter grade, or the average of the third and fourth quarter, whichever is higher.
- The semester average will be calculated in a weighted format with 60% for the third quarter and 40% for the fourth quarter. There will be no semester exams to end the year.
- Students in grades 5-6 will be graded in the same manner as students in grades 7-12 for the fourth quarter. Students will receive a 4th quarter grade as normal. However, students will receive the earned 4th quarter grade, or the grade will be the average of all four quarters combined, whichever is higher.
- Students in grades K-4 will receive a Pass/ Fail grade for the fourth quarter. This will also be reflected in the grades for the students in their specials classes as well.
- Summer School will only be offered at the JSHS this year. Mr. Bauman shared the specifics for the program in his update last week. I am sharing the link for the application here: https://forms.gle/kxDij6i2pShpFCCx5
- Both buildings should be communicating the turn-in of textbooks and other materials. It is important to note that we are going to allow students to keep their Chromebooks this summer. If you do not wish to do this then please turn them into the building when you turn in other materials.
- I would like to start by thanking everyone involved in putting together the senior parade down Main St. yesterday.
- As for the upcoming ceremony the date is still going to be on May 31st. This will be a limited in-person ceremony that will follow the guidelines that have been put in place. While we know it will not be exactly what we imagined earlier in the year our seniors will still have the opportunity to participate in a ceremony and have a memorable experience. We will be creating a video production of the ceremony that will be broadcast at a later date. We will share information on that date as it is determined.
- Food Service
- Meal distribution will continue throughout the summer on the Monday/ Thursday rotation.
- Next week's meal pickup will be Tuesday/ Thursday because of the holiday. On Thursday of this week, there will be an extra days worth of food to cover the longer stretch between pickups.
- Stakeholder Survey
Parents were sent a survey link that will provide the district feedback on the current experiences for students during the school closure as well as information for us planning the next school year. The link is; https://forms.gle/oxSW1tu2cb9Loc447.
May 2, 2020/1:24 pm
I want to start this update by saying thank you to all of our families, students, and staff. None of us knew what to expect going into this situation and we do not have all of the answers for the future. However, everyone has worked together to make the best out of this situation. It has not come without sacrifice and frustrations and everyone’s cooperation is greatly appreciated.
I want to address this issue first in my update this week. First, I want to say that we are going to do everything in our power to have some type of ceremony for our students. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey that was sent out to families. The feedback that we have received has provided us with great information as we make our plans for moving forward. This is a process that must be done in coordination with the local health departments. Just this week alone the state has changed its position on ceremonies 3 times. Whatever our plan is for the district, we must work with the health department to get clearance. My goal is that we get a plan approved and then share it out once, instead of creating confusion by having multiple plans. What we can say for sure is:
- Social distancing is a must
- Currently, the number of participants at any gathering right now is still 10.
- We are looking at maintaining our original date for our ceremony.
- There will be limits on who/ how many can attend.
- The end in mind is to make this a memorable experience for our seniors and your families.
- Digital recording
All of those items are priorities in whatever plan that we have moving forward. I believe that we will be able to have a more formal announcement within the next week.
Student Work Submission Deadlines
It is important that we all remind students that we still have a month f our school year to go. I am continuing to stress the importance of making sure that students are completing and submitting assignments for credit. As we move later in the month the final date for assignment submission in a paper/pencil format will be May 21st. Then online work will need to be submitted by May 22nd. During the final week of the school year, it will be important for students to still check in with teachers. Teachers will be providing some resources for summer learning opportunities that students can engage in. There will be various activities and teachers will communicate more about this in the weeks to come. The goal of these activities is to reinforce skills that have been learned over this school year and to keep students engaged in the educational process.
Summer Learning Opportunities
With the closing of schools to children through the month of June we are having to look at summer programs differently this year. At the elementary there will not be the summer camps that have traditionally been done in the past. Hopefully, the summer learning opportunities will be able to provide some activities for students. I also know that the Kaubisch Library is also working on a virtual summer reading program for students as well. At the JSHS level summer school will be offered online for core subjects only this year. The summer school session will run from June 08- July 10th. More information on registering and requirements will be shared from the building in the coming weeks.
This summer we will be allowing students to keep the Chromebooks that have been assigned to them. The first reason for this is to allow students to have the opportunity to complete summer learning activities. The second reason is in the case that we have to start next school year with a remote learning environment like we currently are in then we will be able to do so with students already having their devices. We will maintain the tech support services throughout the summer as well.
Calling all Future Band Members
Students who will be in the 5th grade this fall can sign up for the FES Redmen band online at https://www.bepartofthemusic.org/group/index.php?id=1854. (The link to this page can also be found on the district website and the Facebook pages for “Fostoria Elementary” and “Fostoria Redmen Bands”)
On this website, you can find out the benefits of being in the band, watch sample videos of each instrument, and sign up for the 2020-2021 school year by emailing Mr. Kauffman directly from the website. Also, be on the lookout for videos from the band staff and a virtual parent meeting later in the summer!
While it is still recommended that you get your own instrument, we have a supply of school-owned instruments for rent and are willing to work with anyone whom the financial fallout from this crisis would prevent their student from participating. No student will be turned away due to money!
Student Locker Clean-out/Textbook Return
Over the next few weeks, a more formal plan will be put in place for returning materials to the building, and for students to get any materials that have been left at school. As these plans are finalized, we will share this information. I wanted to respond in this update as this was a question that I have been asked several times.
U.S. Census impacts FCS
This spring will be the once a decade U.S. Decennial Census count. Why is this important for school districts? The census helps determine not only legislative representation but also key assistance for schools such as Title I aid, the National School Lunch Program, as well as special education grants. Specifically, what does this mean for us at Fostoria City Schools? This year the district received 1.7 million dollars in Title and special education funding. These funds allow us to provide intervention services to students whether it is staffing or resources to be used with the students. Other uses of these funds are for professional development, resource officers, as well as technology supports, and McKinney-Vento resources, to provide some example uses. Regarding the school lunch program, the district received just over $752,000 last year and have received $320,000 so far this year. These federal funds essentially provide the resources to run our food service program. Overall as a district, all of our federal funds put together is between 9-9.5% of our overall district budget.
The annual distribution of these types of funds is over $675 billion spread across schools, hospitals, and emergency services. By this time every household should have received information on how to complete the census. I ask that you please take the time to do this in order to support our youth, our school, and our community as a whole.
April 21, 2020/2:50 pm
Saturday, April 04, 2020/10:30 a.m.
We have made it through another week in our remote learning. This concludes our first three weeks, but as well all have heard this will continue until through at least May 01, 2020. That means the first day that we can be back in session would be Monday, May 04, 2020. While this is not what any of us would prefer to have happened for our school year, we will continue to be as supportive as we possibly can be in continuing the educational process. I want to share a couple of general reminders before I discuss some of the more specific topics for this week’s update.
• This week we will be heading into what is on our district calendar as spring break. Therefore, there will not be school on Friday, April 10th or on Monday, April 13th. Students do not need to sign on during these days. Please take some time to relax and hopefully enjoy some spring weather!
• In mentioning the weather we recognize the importance of being outside and continuing to exercise during this time of social distancing. There have been many great days to take a walk, run, bike ride, etc. Our school campus does provide a great venue for these types of activities. However, I need to share several reminders so that we are in compliance with the Governor’s order.
o Remember to comply with social distancing. We cannot have large groups of people on school property together.
o Playgrounds and the athletic fields, courts are closed. This was specifically addressed by the Governor and we need to make sure that we work together in order to comply.
o Construction is continuing on campus so if you are on campus please be careful, watch for trucks and other equipment, as well as staying away from the dirt piles and other materials that are on site.
There are several topics that need to be discussed this week in regards to school work continuing. First, I would like to say thank you to all families that returned work to the schools for the teachers. In order to comply with the orders, we are letting this work sit until Monday when staff will be able to come in and pick this work up to grade. If there is more paperwork to be picked up it will need to sit until Thursday and then families will be able to pick that work up. Your teachers will be sending out messages if you need to pick up work. If you do not receive a message then there is no need to come out to the school and get things.
Some other talking points include:
• We have started the 4th Grading Period. Work is for a grade and it is very important that students complete this work in order to complete their school year.
• Starting this week, we are making a change to our requirements for students. They need to sign on at least two times per week with their teachers for attendance purposes. Individual teachers may require more time than that so please follow the teacher’s guidelines. We want to make sure that we keep the lines of communication and assistance open during these times. We also understand that some families may be sharing one device, which could make schedules difficult if class sessions overlap. If that is the situation please communicate that with your child’s teacher in order to work out an alternative plan.
• If you are signing in to a class session, and you are not using a school device please let your teacher know in advance. The sessions ask the teachers to grant permission for users and they will only approve users that they have knowledge of in order to make sure that those that need to be in the class are the ones that are in the class.
In this section, I am carrying forward a few messages from last week as well as some new information.
Parents, I want to encourage you now more than ever to remember to check Progressbook to monitor your child’s progress on activities. It is important that we all support one another to have a successful end to our school year.
A new reminder is for students to please take care of the devices. In working with other districts through this process, it has become even more apparent how blessed we are to have these devices in our district. Many districts had far fewer resources than we did. While it is great that we have these devices, it is important that we protect the district investment and make sure that these devices are returned at the end of the school year in working condition.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to continue this program. To date, the district has served over 8400 meals for our families in Fostoria. There are a few reminders as well as some program announcements for this week so please give special attention to this section.
• Please fill out the survey on our website so that we have an accurate count of how many bags of food that we need to prepare. There was an incident this week where we ran out of food at one location. If you get to a location and there is no food remaining, please check with one of the other locations.
• The times for pickup are changing slightly. The distribution will be between 11-12:30. This change is being made as we do not have many arriving during this last half hour. This limits the time that people are out in public.
• On Thursday this week, the meal bags will be larger as we will be packing for a week, due to spring break, and the holiday. There will be no meal distribution on Monday, April 13th.
As I mentioned last week district events are all postponed at this time. With the extension of the stay at home order this week, as well as the descriptions for how we will have to phase our way back into what was normal ways of life, we could be looking at an extended period of time before we can return to hosting activities and events. With that said, our commitment remains that we will do our best to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students and community when we are given the ok to do so. As we get schedules updated, we will share this information with all of you.
There were a few items that we have consistently been questioned on; spring pictures, and fundraiser items. The school has been in contact with Lifetouch and when pictures arrive we will share that information with all of you. The fundraiser items are still coming as well. When we get delivery information we can and will share that as well. We truly understand the desire to have these items, and we are working to get them to you as soon as possible.
In conclusion, I just want to thank everyone, students, families, and staff, for all that has been done over the past three weeks. As I said there is nothing that can replace the opportunities that we typically have but, everyone has worked very hard to make this transition as successful as possible. The good news is that by working together we can get through this! Have a great week and we will share another update next week.
Sunday, March 29, 2020/9:00 pm
After two weeks of our new school plan, I wanted to take the time to share some updates and some highlights that have come about through this process. I would like to say thank you to all of you for working through this adjustment with your student’s at home. It is still very important that we continue the educational process for the duration of the school year. The rest of this update will be broken down into separate areas to provide as much information as we can at this time.
The past several weeks have caused us to work through learning in different manners. You should have received an email earlier in the week that described a turn in process for paper-pencil activities. Students need to make sure that they have their names and teacher on their materials. They will be able to drop these materials off at the main entrances of their building between 7:00 am -7:00 pm, Tuesday-Thursday. You will not be able to access the remainder of the building. We ask that you think of social distancing while dropping assignments off at the buildings.
This past Friday was the end of the third quarter. I cannot stress enough the significance of making sure that your student is completing the assignments they receive. These assignments are for a grade. As we all know we are scheduled to be out of school until April 6th. However, in all likelihood this closure is going to extend beyond that date. There will be important information coming from teachers in the near future about office hours, and required instructional times for students to be on their devices and completing work. We will get more information out this week in regards to this process.
You also should have been receiving several emails about resources that can supplement activities for your child as well. Please use them to keep your students engaged if they are completing assignments that have already been sent home.
Over the past two weeks staff and students along with parents have entered our virtual world of school and there have been many great activities going on. We have a community bear hunt going on, we celebrated kindergarten students hitting their WIG in a virtual WIG Wednesday, conversations, as well as group activities, therapy, and many other activities. While these activities are happening away from one another, it is great to see and hear the efforts around the district. I look forward to this work continuing in the uncertain time period of our future.
All state tests have been cancelled for this year. There are still details being worked out by the Ohio Department of Education on situations such as graduation and the third-grade reading guarantee. Everything that has been shared shows that the local district is going to have final judgment on these issues. As we move into the final quarter of the year your student’s teachers and building administrators will be following up on these issues.
Parents, I want to encourage you now more than ever to remember to check ProgressBook to monitor your child’s progress on activities. It is important that we all support one another to have a successful end to our school year.
The district is continuing its meal program on Monday and Thursday at all three locations, the elementary building, the bus garage, and the Townhouses. Meals can be picked up at those locations between 11:00 am -1:00 pm. If you have not signed up and are in need of assistance please fill out the survey on the front page of our website. This will help us in making sure that we have enough meals to provide for students. We will continue to do this as long as we can. If there becomes a situation, where it is not ok to go out to a restaurant and get take out we will have to re-evaluate whether or not to continue the program, for the safety of everyone involved.
At this time all district events are postponed. We will continue to monitor the situation and will adjust schedules accordingly. As I have said we want to do our very best to save as many opportunities for our seniors as possible. We are entering a memorable time for these students and want to give them every opportunity possible. To that extent I will say that we will have a graduation ceremony, a senior awards night, and will do our best to schedule a prom as well for these students.
The district is working on a prioritized list of events and will begin rescheduling events as we learn more about when we are able to have groups of people together. Obviously, if there is an event such as kindergarten registration, 6th grade camp, athletic contests, and our performances that fill up the calendar at this time of year we will keep everyone informed of dates and any changes that are made. We truly understand the significance of these events for our students, families, staff, and community.
To conclude, I want to say that we cannot accomplish anything that we have in the past few weeks, or that we will do in the weeks to come without everyone working together. Everyone is giving a remarkable effort and has had to deal with change on the fly. As a school district we will continue to share information as it becomes available and will do our best to support the many needs for our students and families in this difficult time. I will work to provide an update like this at least one time a week moving forward.
Sunday, March 22, 2020/4:30 pm
After Governor Dewine’s update today I want to share what the district will be doing. We will be continuing our meal distribution on Monday and Thursday. At this point in time we are covered under the order as providing an essential function. Therefore, we will maintain our distribution between 11-1 at the established locations.
Another topic to be addressed is the Chromebook distribution for our students in grades K-4. Since the Governor’s order does not take effect until the end of the day tomorrow, we are going to go ahead with our distribution of devices at the Elementary building between 11-1. If you need to pick up a device please use the north parking lot. I would also like to remind everyone that these devices are being provided to families that do not have technology at home already. Also, if you have multiple students we will be asking that you share the device that we provide.
A third topic that I would like to address would be the playground at the elementary building. As Governor Dewine mentioned today playgrounds need to be closed. I am asking that we all work together and do not use the playground on school property until further notice.
I wish you all continued safety and please know that we will do everything that we can to support our families in this challenging time. Hopefully, all of the measures being taken now will allow us to be back to our normal activities sooner rather than later.
Friday, March 13, 2020/12:20 pm
At this time, I would like to share an update in regard to instruction for our students. Today, March 13th will be our last day with students in session. When your students come home today, they should be bringing activities, supplies, and materials home with them today. As it has been mentioned this is an unchartered time for all of us. The staff has been working throughout the day to prepare these materials. It is important to note that these activities will contribute to your student’s overall grade for the grading period. The goal with the instruction that will be coming home is to review already introduced concepts, spend time on units or activities that a deeper understanding of skills could be acquired, and then to potentially introduce some new skills. With the new skills, this information will be primarily used as a pre-assessment for when we are able to return to regular class activities. I stress again that it is very important for your child to complete this work. Obviously, it is difficult to have everything prepared all at once. If there are more materials that need to be distributed over the coming weeks we will communicate that as we go and will schedule times for pick up. I know that we have absences in the district today, we will be working to establish pick up times for materials similar to any future activities as described.
In other district information, I want to share that all activities, events are postponed until further notice. This is an ever-changing situation and we will be providing updates on an as-needed basis over the weekend. We will continue to utilize our all call system as well as the district website and social media platforms.
I want to conclude by once again stating that students should not report to school on Monday, March 16th.
March 12, 2020/9:00 pm
As we all know, today Governor DeWine announced that schools will be closed for three weeks at the end of the day Monday. This is going to cause all of us to look at school functions, learning, and general day to day experiences in a very different lens for the next few weeks. There are many factors that the district has been considering throughout the evening to reach the announcement that I am prepared to deliver at this time. Starting tomorrow Fostoria City Schools will operate on a two- hour delay schedule for Friday, March 13, and as well as Monday, March 16. Staff will be asked to report on time for an emergency staff meeting and time to continue preparing for the pending shut down of our district. The goal is to continue providing educational options for students to continue to work on skills. There are still issues to work through in order to make this process work. Another consideration is the meals for our students. We understand the service that we provide with serving meals to our students and we are very close to having an option available to make this happen during the time that school is not in session. We understand that childcare is going to be an issue for families to work through. If we can help on these other issues then hopefully, we can ease some of the overall burdens that this crisis has created for our community, our state, and our nation.
The next few weeks are going to be trying for all and we have no definite end in sight at this point in time. As we were working on plans this morning, they were changed dramatically by the timetables that were announced this afternoon. I ask that everyone be patient and stay tuned for updates in the coming days. As we have more details finalized, we will share this information. At the end of this closure and unique event, we look forward to resuming normal operations for the remainder of our school year. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last that we in Fostoria have had to persevere through difficult times. As we have done in the past, I am sure that we can be successful again.
Governor DeWine has Closed schools for three weeks - starting the end of the day Monday, March 16, 2020. FCS will close at the end of the day Monday, March 16th. Information is changing rapidly and the District will provide information as it is prepared.