Hearing the Voices of Our Employees

Return to School 2020-21

Dear Colleagues:

I want to congratulate all of you for your outstanding contributions leading up to our school division’s transition this week from Stage 2 to Stage 3 of our return to school plan. Through all of the challenges of the pandemic and its impact on student learning and on our own lives, your dedication to the health of our community and the learning needs of our students has been extraordinary.

We have learned a great deal from these experiences, not the least of which has been the importance of involving as many staff as possible in our decision-making process and the need to communicate early and often with you. These are the purposes of today’s message.

During this Thursday evening’s School Board meeting, we will be informing Board members of our plans for how Superintendent Haas will determine if he will recommend a change in our instructional delivery model for the third quarter, which begins on Monday, February 1.

Among the options, he will consider staying in our current Stage 3 or moving ahead to Stage 4. In Stage 4, the division will offer face-to-face instruction four days per week for all elementary students and one or two days per week for all middle and high school students. The state of the pandemic and its impact on our community early next year will be the most important factor in Dr. Haas’ recommendation.

To be clear, there are no assumptions being made that Dr. Haas will make a recommendation to move to Stage 4 in the third quarter, but we need to be prepared with a plan in case conditions warrant such a recommendation. To ensure we are prepared for Stage 4, should that be the recommendation of Dr. Haas and the decision of our School Board, we are establishing a Stage 4 Task Force to examine all of the issues and needs around a transition to Stage 4, whenever conditions make it possible to safely consider such a move. We want teachers and staff to be involved in this work, especially as we consider the impact of a Stage 4 transition on our operations, human resources, policies, and instruction.

In the near future, lead coaches will be reaching out to our teachers to let them know how they can offer their insight and be a part of the process. All other staff are encouraged to submit their insight and suggestions to their supervisor.

In order to facilitate this collaborative process, our original timeline for a Board decision on the third marking period will shift a bit. At the School Board meeting on December 10, we will make a presentation on our findings and on the specific details that would describe how Stage 4 would operate, if and when it was to go into effect. One month later, on January 14, Dr. Haas would make his third marking period recommendation to School Board members. The Board could convene a special meeting on January 21 to make their decision about whether there will be any change from our current Stage 3. If there is a change, it would occur shortly after the start of the second semester. This would allow for a reasonable transition period should our instructional model change.

Thank you for your continuing service on behalf of our students and I hope you join us in this important decision-making process for our next marking period.


Patrick McLaughlin

Dr. Patrick McLaughlin
Chief of Strategic Planning