This message was emailed from Baldwin County Public School Superintendent Eddie Tyler to parents on Friday, May 15, 2020.
Parents, I hope this email finds you well.
This is a long message but please read all of it. These announcements are very important as we enter our last week of school.
Yes, next week is our final week of school. In a normal year, seniors would have donned their caps and gowns and children would be competing in field day, but nothing about these last two months has been normal. The good news is, we made it through stronger and better.
I am so proud of what our teams pulled together and how our teachers turned on a dime to change their instructional methods to support our kids. Things ended well and from all indications at the beach, it appears we are moving toward a normal summer.
I have many things we need to cover so let's start with how we're going to officially wrap up school under distance learning.
Teachers will be working with your children to close out the school year next week. For middle and high school students, we are assigning grades based upon their completion of assignments. For elementary students, we are not assigning specific grades for fourth-quarter work but there is a component to monitor student growth. All assignments and monitoring for students will be completed by the end of next week. We can be flexible with this, so please contact your child's teacher or principal if you have any concerns about your child wrapping up their fourth quarter.
In line with that, we will be providing summer school options this year. We are finalizing those plans and I will have an email out to you after Memorial Day regarding our options, any costs as well as the process for signing up.
On to graduation. I've had very little to say about graduation since we postponed it. We've watched as we moved through the restrictions during this coronavirus and we prepared backup options for both virtual, drive-by and small group events while hoping we could do graduation in-person at some level.
The governor's announcement about the opening of Alabama last week gave us the opportunity for which we were hoping. I am pleased to announce we will hold in-person formal graduations in the month of June. We will be putting that information out next week.
Looking forward, you can expect we will have a limit on the number of guests who can attend. We will be requiring social distancing not only among our seniors but also among the attendees in the audience. We will be following the protocols provided for church and worship services and we are working with law enforcement, health and state officials to finalize these plans today. Look for information next week and once again, CONGRATULATIONS to our graduating seniors in the Class of 2020!
As we bring the school year to an end, there are a lot of questions about what to do with school-issued equipment. If you have already returned your Chromebooks, band equipment or other items, then you don't have much to do.
If you are not returning to Baldwin County Public Schools next year, please get in touch with your principal to set up an opportunity to return school-issued equipment back to the campus.
For everyone else, we will be setting up return opportunities at schools after the 4th of July. We're intentionally allowing your kids to keep these items in hopes you will encourage some continued enrichment through the summer.
Speaking of enrichment, we are providing summer workbooks for all elementary students. Your local school will be in touch with you next week about these workbooks and how they will be distributed. We are also providing students with a digital summer reading library. The best way to keep your child from falling behind in reading is to keep them reading. For our high school students, we will also be providing free ACT preparation courses online. I hope you will use these opportunities and encourage your kids to strengthen their skills over the summer.
Registration for new students is taking place next month. More information can be found at https://www.bcbe.org/registration.
We have a configuration change in several school districts this fall. These plans have been widely circulated so this shouldn't be a surprise to those affected. Foley, Spanish Fort, Daphne and Fairhope will start their new districts at the elementary school levels this fall. As a parent with a currently enrolled student, there is nothing you need to do other than be aware of which school your child will be attending next year. For those parents enrolling new children, you will need to make sure you initiate your enrollment with the proper school location. You can find out more information about what school your child should be attending by visiting https://www.bcbe.org/zone.
I gave you a commitment that we would have an update on summer activities heading into Memorial Day weekend. I am pleased to report that the governor's announcement last week has provided the opportunity for us to open certain school-sponsored events, however, there has been no decision on which events will be open and when they will be rescheduled.
The advice we have gotten thus far will require us to continue limiting the number of participants and providing elements of social distancing, masks or other protocols. I have asked the principals to work with their staff to determine how we will move forward with athletic, band and other school-sponsored training during the summer.
As many of these programs and events are tied to other organizations, including the Alabama High School Athletic Association, I cannot give you a final answer until we have further direction from them. I hope to have this to you by the first week of June, but for now, I can tell you the restrictions have been eased enough for some of our programs to be allowed to proceed forward.
Again, our After-School Care Summer programs will not be open this summer. After school childcare will be available on campus in the fall.
I know that's a lot of information but it's important that I keep you up to date with the decisions we're making for the benefit of your children. As always, I want to take a moment to thank you for trusting us with your children and their education. I'm so honored to work with 4,000 of the best educational professionals any superintendent could ever ask for and with your partnership as parents, we have, what I believe is, the best school system in Alabama.
While we look forward to enjoying the summer and getting back to normal, please continue to be safe. Observe other people's personal space and respect their concerns. We don't know what everybody has going on their life or what their challenges may be. While we may be doing well, others may be dealing with sick people or people who could be vulnerable to the virus.