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Principal's Message, August 2, 2020
Principal's Message, August 2, 2020
Michelle Stephens, Principal
Sunday, August 02, 2020

Dear Bolinas-Stinson School Families and Community,

I hope you are well and able to enjoy some summer fun with your family. This summer has been incredibly busy preparing for the coming school year. Teachers, staff, admin, board members, parents, and community members have all been working extremely hard to ensure that our students will have the best possible experience when they return to school on September 1st. 

Students will most likely (not board approved yet) start school with distance learning. Teachers will return to work on August 17th and classified staff will return on August 18th. All staff will be participating in staff development training and working to get ready for the coming school year. We are developing a framework for rigorous and engaging learning activities as well as providing important social emotional support for students and families. I will be sharing information soon about upcoming parent training opportunities to help parents navigate new technology, online platforms and to connect with other families and resources.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate the many pieces that need to come together to inform our next steps. Union negotiations with classified and certificated staff are very close to being signed, union ratified, and board approved. The process after that is as follows:

  1. Gather staff and parent input on class cohort/configuration model

    1. I will be sharing/discussing class cohort/configuration models at the parent zoom meeting on Monday, August 3rd 

  2. Board  approval of a class configuration model and cohort/group size. 

    1. I will be sharing information about possible models at the board meeting on Tuesday, August 4th. 

  3. Once class cohorts/class configurations are board approved, I will share teacher placements and room assignments.

  4. In collaboration with the task force, we will be sending out information about what school reopening will look like with distance learning and in person models.

  5. Based on recommendations from the task force and admin the board will decide when and how students will return to school.

  6. Parents will be surveyed on whether or not their child will be returning to school in person or participate virtually.

Please take a moment to review all the information below regarding the reopening of our school. This information reflects countless hours of work dedicated to making sure our school provides a healthy, happy, supportive environment for all.

IMPORTANT SCHOOL REOPENING INFORMATION

Parent Zoom Meeting, Monday, August 3rd, 2:00 PM

Please join me to discuss the latest information about our school. I will be sharing the most updated information about classroom configurations, reopening plans, and task force work. Zoom Meeting Information will be sent via email and text/notification. 

BSUSD Special Board Meeting, Tuesday, August 4th at 9:00 AM (tentative)

Please join us for an important Board Meeting addressing the latest school reopening information. Zoom link with date time and joining instructions will be provided soon via email and text/notification. 

What’s Up with The Waiver? What Is It, And What Does It Mean?

There has been a lot of talk about a state waiver that provides a framework for districts to reopen in-person learning for elementary schools. As of right now, the waiver process and what it means, remains largely unclear. The language of the waiver is being hotly debated across California, with school districts and county offices of education seeking clarity on waiver language and  what the process should be. We will keep you informed as we learn more from the state, county and health department.


BSUSD Reopening Task Force Update, July 30, 2020. Please read the following message from our BSUSD Reopening Task Force.

Our BSUSD Reopening Task force continues to make headway on the many issues involved in what school will look like in the fall for the 2020-21 school year. Below is their latest update:

Dear BSUSD Families,

We wanted to give you another update on the status of the work being done on the Task Force and what we know moving forward into the school year.

First of all, school will be beginning September 1st, not August 19th.  Teachers will be back at work as of the 17th, doing planning, undergoing professional development, and accessing their classrooms to prepare for the year.

In all likelihood, we will be starting the year with distance learning.  Marin County is on the Covid19 watch list due to its numbers which requires that the school be restricted to distance learning, until those numbers change.  While there is the possibility of applying for a waiver to be in person, this would require consulting with all stakeholders in the school (parents and members of both unions, administration, and the board) and would then need to go through both the county public health review and the governor’s office review, making it an unlikely prospect. 

Our intention is to move back towards in person learning as soon as we are able to do so.  In order to help make that possible, please please follow the public health guidelines around mask wearing and physical distancing.  The science has come back repeatedly on the effectiveness of wearing a face covering in public spaces to prevent the spread of Covid 19.  We want to express our hope that all families will consider the important role that masks play and will begin now giving their children practice wearing them and learning which type works best for each child. Together we can work to bring the numbers down, make our communities safer, and get our students and teachers back in person together.  This position is unanimously supported by the Task Force, School Board, and administration.   

Union negotiations look to be very close, which will guide the ongoing work of the Task Force. Meanwhile, detailed research and work is being done to create safer outdoor spaces, physically distanced (and fun!) PE and other enrichment classes, and integration of social emotional learning and play.   

Preschool planning is underway.  Preschool parents, in order to ensure that we are prepared for your children, please complete your enrollment paperwork.  An accurate headcount will help determine how we might organize cohorts. And if you haven’t already filled out our parent survey, we would still like to hear from you so that we may best accommodate our incoming children and families. It is very helpful to hear from as many (if not all parents) as possible. Thank you!  

We will have more information to share soon.  Please feel free to reach out with questions and concerns by email or by attending a Task Force of Board meeting.  Your voices matter!  Your children’s safety and well being are foremost in everything that we are doing and we are working with heart and diligence to put plans in place to support you all the very best that we can.

Best, 

Ilie Watterson, Task Force Chair

Meadow Evans, Parent Chair

Lina Scott, Preschool Subcommittee representative

 

BSUSD Strongly Supports Wearing Face Coverings to Reduce the Spread! Help keep our community safe. A Message from our BSUSD Reopening Task Force, Health and Safety Committee.

Please read the following message from our BSUSD Health and Safety Committee:

The Bolinas-Stinson School, combined with the Re-opening Task Force, and our Board of Trustees strongly support the use of cloth face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID19. Marin County Office of Education is requiring face coverings for all children and adults returning to school, and we strongly support this.  

Many scientific studies now show that the spread of COVID19 is dramatically reduced when people wear cloth face coverings or masks. (Here’s a good recent article about the science behind wearing face coverings, from UCSF.) This is why Marin County mandated face coverings, and the state of California has, too. To help keep us all safe, everyone coming onto the Bolinas-Stinson School campuses (including students, teachers, staff, and parents) will need to wear cloth face coverings.  Exceptions may be made for some outdoor activities and people who are medically unable to wear face coverings.  

We all know that wearing a face covering at school will take some getting used to.  So, it’s a good idea to start talking with your kids about it now, and to begin preparing.  Here are some ideas about how to do that:

Personalize it and make it fun. Come up with an idea for face coverings that your kid likes. Maybe your kid wants to look like a superhero? Or a cat? Or wear tie-dye? Creating your own signature look can be fun. Then make or buy it together. There are many inexpensive options available on eBay and other online retailers. Here’s a really good article about how to make or buy a cloth face covering .

Get your kid used to face coverings. Talk regularly with them about why they are important. Set an example by wearing one yourself whenever you leave home. Once you have bought or made one, show your child how to put it on and off and how to wear it correctly.  Begin having your kid wear their mask for shorter and then longer periods of time so they begin to get used to having it on.  For younger kids, this is a nice video with Sesame Street’s Elmo talks about making your own mask. Kaiser Permamente also has information and a short video about the right way to wear face masks

The school will provide masks for kids who don’t have or forget them.  So there’s no need to worry if your child loses or forgets the mask.  There will always be a back-up. 

The more people that wear masks, the safer we all are. 

BSUSD Health and Safety Committee


Keeping our Families and Staff Happy and Healthy. Please read the following updates/plans from our BSUSD Reopening Task Force Mental Health and Wellness Committee.

The Mental Health and Wellness Committee has been working to ensure that all BSUSD families and staff are prepared and have access to the resources they need. Great effort is being made to ensure that our kids have a robust social emotional support system in place as we return to school either virtually or in person. Please use the link above to view the plans. If you are interested in joining the team or have any questions, please contact Ilie Watterson, the Reopening Task Force Chair.


VALUABLE ONLINE RESOURCES FOR PARENTS 

General School Information from MCOE

The Marin County Office of Education is making every effort to keep their website updated to reflect the ever changing information affecting schools and COVID related information.

 Social Emotional Wellness Tips for families from childmind.org

 

Warmly,

 

Michelle Stephens

Bolinas-Stinson School Principal

mstephens@bolinas-stinson.org