Click here to view message from Mr. Chad Molley, Superintendent
Click here for our Reopening Plan document.
Our Reopening Plan
July 27, 2020
A message from Mr. Chad Molley, Superintendent
These last few months have been very trying and emotional times for our country, our commonwealth, and for all of us here in Erlanger and Elsmere. Even deep into summer, there is still so much uncertainty… about what the future holds and about the bedrock of our communities - our public schools.
While there have been no easy decisions as we determine how to move forward with the start of the upcoming school year, we have kept a few core values at the center of our discussions.
Schools have the primary responsibility in our society of providing a rigorous, standards-based, quality education in a learning environment that is comfortable and safe. Here at the Erlanger-Elsmere Schools, we take this responsibility very seriously.
We are also committed to the vision and mission of our school district – to embrace and attend to the needs of our students, regardless of the obstacles, so that they may reach their full potential.
The “Healthy at Schools” expectations issued by the Kentucky Department of Education for in-person instruction provides for significant measures to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff, and families, but the resulting environment does not align with what we know is best practice for teaching and learning.
Simply put, the guidelines would not allow us to provide the cooperative, collaborative, and hands-on learning experiences we know our students need to build 21st-century skills.
We have kept these factors and our district standards in mind as we approached our decision on the reopening of our schools.
I cannot, at this time, recommend that the Erlanger-Elsmere Schools open for large groups of in-person instruction. Therefore, we will begin school on August 25, 2020, with virtual learning for all Erlanger-Elsmere students.
We all know that virtual learning has its challenges. I experienced many of them firsthand in our household. The non-traditional instruction we implemented from March to May did not meet our expectations for rigorous, standards-based, engaging instruction. We can, we must, and we will do better this fall.
We are in a good position to start the school year with a virtual learning experience for our students that meets our high benchmarks for teaching and learning.
- This year’s virtual learning will be a structured, teacher-led online model that will engage students in daily hands-on learning. It will also allow for a more interactive experience than we would currently be able to provide at school.
- We’re pleased to be able to offer two learning options for our students in grades 7 through 12, allowing families to choose online learning led by a district-based teacher or participation in a virtual learning academy, based on what best fits their child’s needs.
- We have been working hard to gather the technology we need to do this well. We’ve secured Chromebooks for each of our teachers, and we stand ready to distribute devices to any students who need them to use at home. Our partnerships with the United Way and Cincinnati Bell will allow us to help families without reliable internet apply for free access to it through the Digital Equity Project.
- Our teachers have been training throughout the summer, learning how to most effectively implement virtual instruction through the Google Suite for Education and other digital platforms.
- We have restructured and employed personnel at the district level to provide support and training to staff, students, and families in the use of our Chromebooks and the virtual delivery of instruction.
- We remain committed to our whole-child and whole-family approach. We’re developing virtual and safe face-to-face opportunities for students and families to access the academic, social-emotional, and health supports they need for a successful school experience.
- Any good model of instruction promotes consistency in its routines and procedures. As we look at current data related to the spread of the coronavirus and the potential impact on the delivery of in-person instruction, we recognize that this could result in a very inconsistent schedule for students, staff, and families. Unpredictable school closures, possible quarantine of students and staff, and the difficulty of finding substitute teachers make a virtual learning model the most consistent schedule of learning we can provide at this time.
For these reasons and many others, we stand ready to provide an elevated, beneficial virtual learning experience.
I’m sure you have questions about how this virtual learning model will work. Families will soon begin to receive their specific information about virtual learning — including curriculum details, schedules, necessary supplies, and more — from their child’s school.
As extracurricular activities are available, we’ll share information about how students can participate based on the latest guidelines.
We’re planning transition and orientation activities for students newly-enrolled in one of our schools, as well as for incoming kindergarteners, 6th-grade, and 9th-grade students.
And, as always, we will work hand-in-hand to break down any potential barriers to learning. We’ll continue to provide carry-out meals through our Food Service Department, and we’re exploring the best ways to deploy many of the other supports and services our families count on us to provide.
We know that an all-virtual learning model presents its own unique challenges to our families. We have plans in place to regularly revisit our approach with the goal of returning to our school buildings as soon as we can do so safely and effectively. We’re all eager to get back in the classroom.
In the meantime, please call us if you need anything. We’re here to help.
Thank you for your partnership, your support, and, most importantly, for entrusting us with the care and education of your children.