Date: March 29, 2020
From Superintendent Dr. Adam Fineske
Good Sunday afternoon, Green Bear Nation.
I hope this email finds all of you safe and healthy. As the so-called "Spring Break" for our families draws to a close (officially tomorrow evening), I hope everyone found time (probably in ways very different than in the past!) to get much needed rest and relaxation. This unprecedented time is filled with many emotional ups and downs.
Before I share several important district updates, my first and top priority as your superintendent is to make sure you are taking care of yourself and your family. Your health and your family's health is #1 -- no matter what!
Picking up where we left off
As we transition from Spring Break to Week 3 of Gov. DeWine's initial plan for Ohio school closures, the week ahead (Tuesday, March 31 - Friday, April 3) for students picks up where we left off before Spring Break: online academic lessons, activities, and recommended exercises from their teachers.
During the break, Gov. DeWine signed into law HB 197, which makes COVID-19-related changes in state testing and graduation for the 2019-2020 school year. Here are the main points of the legislation:
- Waives state and federal testing.
- Waives the third-grade reading guarantee retention requirement.
- Permits schools to grant high school diplomas to students on track to graduate and for whom the principal determines that the student has successfully completed the curriculum.
Based on information I am receiving from state and education agencies, it is no longer a question of "if" but "when" the school-building closure is extended. In anticipation of the closure extending beyond the original April 5 deadline, a district team worked over the last two weeks to prepare us for educating students in ways that none of us could have anticipated even a month ago.
To that end, we have developed a well-researched plan to serve children at all levels remotely. Details will be finalized at a meeting Tuesday of the OH Coronavirus Response Team. Once approved, the Ottawa Hills Remote Learning Plan (RLP) will take effect Wednesday, April 8. I will share its highlights with you in an important email Thursday (April 2) to help you plan your household activities and family learning time for the weeks ahead.
My email will describe the tools students will use on their Chromebooks or Apple computer devices to communicate with teachers and each other. I also will outline the learning schedule and expectations by subject and grade.
I am very proud of the work our teams accomplished in preparing us for this new reality. We will not nor do I expect our faculty to duplicate "school as we know it" online for your children. This is not realistic. Instead, our plan seeks to support students' learning, keep them engaged, and provide stability and routine. Second only to their parents, students get this encouragement and guidance from our outstanding teaching staff.
The district's school psychologist and guidance counselors from both the Elementary School and Junior/Senior High School also are working on a plan to be accessible to students during our transition and implementation of remote learning. The social-emotional well-being of our students is at the forefront of our decision-making. The counselors will be accessible for all students during these challenging times; high school guidance counselor Jennifer Nagy will continue to assist students with the college admissions process.
News for the Class of 2020
For our Green Bear seniors and their parents, I want you to know we will have a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. This is too important of a moment and a "must" for all involved. If we are unable to host this once-in-a-lifetime event as scheduled on Thursday, May 28, a future date will be announced (based on COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines). Stay tuned for further information to come!
Lastly, I want to say a special thank you and recognize the substantial number of Village residents who are healthcare professionals. We appreciate all of their tireless efforts during these incredibly challenging times.
Please continue to keep your family's health and well-being as your top priority. We will get through this challenge. In my heart, I know we will pull through this, and be better because of it.
Stay safe, healthy, and as always … #GoGreenBears
Dr. Adam Fineske