Superintendent’s Message

May 15, 2021

Masking Update

 

Good evening,

With so much new and conflicting information in the news, please read carefully for the plan at LPS regarding mask wearing and outdoor gatherings. With the exception of outdoor mask requirements being adjusted, all other COVID mitigation measures are status quo at LPS. 

Will LPS require indoor mask wearing even for people who have been vaccinated? 

Yes. There are several reasons that everyone at LPS still needs to wear masks indoors at all times. 

  • Not everyone at LPS is eligible for a vaccine. Students in the 4-11 age range are not eligible and are, therefore, still at risk. Any student or adult not vaccinated is also still at risk. 

  • None of our 16-18 year old students could be considered fully vaccinated until May 26th, and that’s if they received the first dose on the first day students aged 16 and over were eligible to receive it. No one is considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second dose. May 26th is the soonest any student could be considered fully vaccinated, and, again, that date is for those who were vaccinated with their first dose on April 19th, the first day they were eligible. 

  • And here’s the big one: We have no mechanism or process for knowing who has been and who hasn’t been vaccinated. Per HIPPA, we cannot request this information from our students and staff. 

Will LPS require masks to be worn outdoors if the gathering restrictions are followed?

No. Per MHSAA and health department guidelines, no one will be required to wear a face mask outdoors during events in which gathering limits are followed. 

Will LPS still follow indoor gathering restrictions?

Yes. We will follow all MDHHS and local health department recommendations regarding indoor capacity limits. We will also follow all outdoor capacity limits. Everyone will be required to wear masks at all indoor events, including but not limited to Prom, Graduation, Board of Education meetings, etc...

Do athletes still need to be tested each week?

Yes. Per MHSAA rules, only those students who are fully vaccinated are exempt from testing. Again, the first date any student would be eligible to skip testing would be May 26th, and that’s only if they were vaccinated on the first day 16 year olds were eligible to get the vaccine. 

All of our additional mitigation measures are still in place as well.

If you have any questions or concerns, please submit them via this survey link. Jeanne and I will be reviewing these questions routinely, and we will continue to communicate via our website, Jeanne’s weekly update, and messages from me regarding our COVID practices. 

Thank you, and enjoy your weekend, 

Stephanie



May, 11, 2021

Good evening, I am sharing the following message on behalf of the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. Thank you, Stephanie


Great news!!!

The State of Michigan has said that we can begin administering Pfizer vaccine to 12-15 year olds immediately, since it has been approved by the FDA!

We will be offering Pfizer vaccine at the following clinics this week (click the link to schedule):

*Please note that if you schedule your child for a first dose at one of the above clinics, you will be assisted to schedule their second dose at one of the future Tuesday in Suttons Bay or Thursday in Benzonia clinics*

Beginning next week, we will be offering clinics every Tuesday in Suttons Bay at the old Middle School Gymnasium, and every Thursday in Benzonia at the Crystal Café. All of these clinics will be offering Pfizer vaccine  (in addition to Moderna and Johnson & Johnson). You can schedule an appointment for your child by clicking on the links below:

Parents will need to be present at all appointments for anyone under 18 (with the exception of the arrangements we have made through the schools for those students 16-17 who will be receiving their second doses this week)

Please feel free to share the links with anyone who you know has not yet been vaccinated. At this point, all of our clinics are open to everyone

Autumn Jurek, RN, IBCLC 

Personal Health Supervisor

Immunization Coordinator and Parenting Communities Supervisor

Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department

7401 E. Duck Lake Rd

Lake Leelanau, MI  49653






May 6, 2021

Dear Leland Families,

By now you have probably heard that our annual operating millage renewal passed! That’s great news for our school, and we are so grateful for your support. We could not receive our state aid without our local millage renewal each year, and these funds are used to operate our school. We appreciate your continued commitment to our programs, staff, and most importantly, our students.

Unfortunately, our three-year sinking fund renewal proposal did not pass. That tells me that we have work to do to better explain the necessity of these funds in operating our facilities. We will regroup and come back with a clear message about what we have used sinking funds for and why we need them for capital improvements.

We did not ask for sinking funds during the construction project because our construction bonds were specifically designated for new construction and renovations. Now that the project is wrapping up, we need to initiate work on the existing, unrenovated portions for the facilities and continue our routine schedule of improvements and upgrades. We will need to consider a sinking fund proposal again. As we reflect on this election and make plans to revisit this ballot proposal, we will do a better job of sharing information, encouraging questions, and telling the story of how sinking funds make our school a better, more safe, and efficiently run facility.

Thank you again for your continued support of LPS and the work we do here every day to ensure a high quality, personalized, and engaging educational experience for your children.

Sincerely,
Stephanie




April 9, 2021

Dear Leland Community

Governor Whitmer held a press conference today in which she asked schools to consider pausing in-person instruction and athletics for two weeks for high school students in order to help slow the rapid spread of COVID in Michigan. 

The regional superintendents in conjunction with area medical and health department representatives have met, and after careful consideration and discussion with these groups, LPS will remain in person. We feel strongly that our mitigation strategies and efforts have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus in school. The positive cases we’ve experienced have not been the result of in-school transmission. Student activities outside of school have resulted in positive cases, contract tracing, and quarantining.

However, if we want to remain in person, the community and our families have to stay vigilant. We need every family to commit to practicing the proven strategies for mitigating the spread. Our parents have been diligent in keeping kids home who are symptomatic, monitoring for symptoms, and communicating with LPS when contact tracing has been necessary. I encourage everyone to continue with this vigilance for the good of all of us. When contact tracing is necessary, we need everyone’s cooperation to identify potential exposures during infectious periods of transmission. The timeline for quarantining has returned to 14 days given the increase in positive cases, the rapid spread, and the variants in the community, and those who need to quarantine need to take this practice seriously to help us remain in person. 

Everyone needs to wear a mask when in the presence of anyone outside their family bubbles. Everyone needs to practice social distancing, avoid in-door dining, avoid socializing with people outside their family bubbles, especially indoors. And this is the hardest part, we need our parents to monitor their kids to ensure that they are adhering to these practices outside of school. For example, when students from different families share rides or travel to and from sporting events together, everyone in the car should remain masked. Unmasked carpooling, indoor sleepover parties, multi-family group gatherings, student socializing and parties, and other indoor activities are a major source of spread. These are the events that need to be avoided. 

With so many of our staff vaccinated, with rapid testing, with mask wearing, and frequent hand washing, socially distanced meal times, lots of outdoor activities, and anyone over the age of 16 now able to be vaccinated, our students are less exposed in school than they are in the community. 

Please help us stay in person and continue with our spring activities and events by staying vigilant and doing your part to slow the spread! 

Thank you, 

Stephanie



April 5, 2021

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone enjoyed some time away from school to rest, recharge, and enjoy the milder weather. It's April already, the sun is shinning, and we are heading into the busy season at school.

Some great news - The building project is progressing nicely, and we are hopeful that our first day in the new building with students will be April 19th. Fingers crossed!

Of course, in order to fully enjoy all that our school calendar has to offer this spring, we will need to stay vigilent with our COVID mitigation strategies. Some facts to consider:

  • The numbers of positive cases and hospitilizations in our region are skyrocketing.
  • Thankfully, the numbers in Leelanau County, while increasing, are not as critical as they are across the state and in surrounding counties. Check out the most recent data here. 
  • The Grand Traverse County Health Department has directed GT County schools to go remote for the next week (CTC students and students who attend ISD special education programs will be remote. Look for direct communication from them if your child attends one of these programs.)
  • The CDC has urged travelers to:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
      • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
      • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
  • Our spring athletes begin state mandated rapid testing tomorrow as a condition for participation in spring sports. 
  • We are working with the Benzie-Leelanau County Health Departmennt to provide rapid testing for anyone who travelled (stay tuned for a survey to guage interest). This list also details the most up-to-date testing locations

It is our goal to remain in person as long as we can do so safely. If our numbers at school increase, though, we will have to revert to hybrid or fully remote instruction for some or all of our students. We do not have a set number of positive cases as a metric, but managing contact tracing, finding substitutes, and providing for both online and in-person instruction are all factors that present challenges and play a part in that decision. 

As I mentioned above, there are senior and end of year events being planned in anticipation of us being able to enjoy them in person. Again, in order for that to happen, we need your help. Please do your part in helping us maintain our in-person instruction. 

Some important dates to put on your calendar now:

  • May 10 - Senior Composite Photo
  • May 11 - NHS Induction
  • May 12 - Academic Awards Night
  • May 18-20 - Senior Trip
  • May 21 - Last Day for Seniors
  • May 22 - Senior Carnival/Prom
  • May 24 & 25 - Senior Exams
  • May 28 - Graduation
  • June 8-11 - Secondary Exams

Details for these events will be communicated a later time and will be fluid. 

Thank you again for all you're doing to support our students, staff, and school community. It's never been more true that it really does take a village!

Happy spring,

Stephanie

 





April 2, 2021

Dear regional school community,

I hope you all enjoyed some well-deserved time off for spring break and are prepared to make the final push toward summer and another season of graduations. It is an exciting time for our students and families, as well as all school staff who work tirelessly to support academic success throughout the entire year. On behalf of a consortium of area leaders representing the medical, educational, public health and business communities of Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties, we would like to welcome everyone back to class as we regroup and focus on achieving our educational goals in the midst of an ongoing public health pandemic.

COVID-19 data continues to be gathered by our regional health experts and the situation remains concerning, with trends similar to what we saw in December 2020. At this point, there has been no decision to transition to distance learning. We will continue with in-person classes as we have been doing, but encourage everyone to double-down on efforts to slow the spread and follow the advice of health care professionals, including those with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

If you have traveled recently, it is crucial to watch for the development of symptoms over the next couple of weeks so that proper steps to protect others can be taken as quickly as possible. Here is some information that may be useful as you return to work or school:

●  Closely monitor and screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms; if your child has any symptoms, even mild ones, keep them home

●  Follow MDHHS recommendations for mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing

●  Consider other information and steps you can take to protect yourself from COVID-19 through regional resources from Munson Healthcare

Testing remains a critical component in our collective effort to overcome this pandemic. Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) will host a COVID-19 testing site from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, April 5 at Traverse City Central High School, 1150 Milliken Drive. The service is available at no cost to anyone in the community, not just TCAPS students, families and employees. The site entrance will be in the central parking lot in front of the gymnasium, located along Eastern Avenue. Pre-registration is available online, but people can register on-site as well. Visit TCAPS’s website for more information.

If you are unable to attend this event, we encourage you to contact your local health department about COVID-19 testing or vaccination opportunities available to you:

● Health Department of Northwest Michigan (Antrim County), 1-800-432-4121
● Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, 231-256-0219
● Grand Traverse County Health Department, or schedule a COVID-19 test directly online
● District Health Department #10 (Kalkaska County), 231-258-8669

Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, families and employees. We are committed to preserving in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities, which are a high priority for many families and serve as an excellent supplement to the education gained in the classroom. There is great value in the lessons learned on the field or the court, but an entire team – or that team’s entire season – may be jeopardized by just a single student who exhibits symptoms and attends school and practice. Moreover, the fellow classmates, teachers, administrators, support staff and others who interact with that student during the school day are likewise put at risk.

We ask everyone to consider the big picture when faced with a decision involving the status of their own health, or their child’s, and the health of those in our school communities. Even something as trivial as a runny nose may be reason enough to stay home.

Thank you for your continued support throughout this challenging time. By working together, we can ensure the safety of our school community and provide an outstanding educational experience for our students.

Respectfully,

Nick Ceglarek, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Northwest Education Services
(formerly Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District)

 

Supported by:

 

Regional Health Officers

Dr. Josh Meyerson, Medical Director, Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department and Health Department of Northwest MI
Lisa Peacock, Health Officer, Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department and Health Department of Northwest MI,
Kevin Hughes, District Health Department #10 Health Officer
Wendy Hirschenberger, Grand Traverse County Health Department Health Officer
Dr. Michael Collins, Grand Traverse County Health Department Medical Director
Dr. Christine Nefcy, Munson Healthcare Chief Medical Officer

Regional School Leadership

Rich Satterlee, Alba Public School Superintendent
Mark Brenton, Bellaire Public Schools Superintendent
Amiee Erfourth, Benzie County Central Schools Superintendent
Jessica Harrand, Buckley Community Schools Superintendent
Mike Hill, Crawford School - Excelsior District #1 Superintendent
Julie Brown, Elk Rapids Public School Superintendent
Josh Rothwell, Forest Area Community Schools Superintendent
Jeff Tousley, Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools Superintendent
Jon Hoover, Glen Lake Community Schools Superintendent
Jim Coneset, Grand Traverse Academy Superintendent
Mike Buell, Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools Superintendent
Dr. Robert Walker, Greenspire School Head of School/Superintendent
Trey Devey, Interlochen Center for the Arts President
Terry Starr, Kalkaska Public Schools Superintendent
Dr. Keith Smith, Kingsley Area Schools Superintendent
Arden Wilson, Leelanau Montessori Public School Academy Head of School
Stephanie Long, Leland Public Schools Superintendent
Jeff DiRosa, Mancelona Public Schools Superintendent
Darci Long, North Central Academy Principal
Neil Wetherbee, Northport Public Schools Superintendent
Renee Kolle and Danielle Clayton, Old Mission Peninsula School Principals
Lisa Medina, St. Mary Hannah School Principal
Megan Glynn, St. Mary Lake Leelanau Catholic School Principal
Casey Petz, Suttons Bay Public Schools Superintendent
Michele Shane, The Children’s House Head of School
Rob Hansen, The Leelanau School Head of School
Jill Vigenski, The Pathfinder School Head of School
Dr. John VanWagoner, Traverse City Area Public Schools Superintendent
Tyler VanSchepen, Traverse City Christian School Superintendent
Kyle Smith, Trinity Lutheran School
Jeremiah Stieve, Woodland School Director

 

4.02.21 Spring Break Return Letter.pdf 




31, March 2021

Good evening,

This afternoon we learned of two positive school associated cases of COVID-19. These  cases are related to 5th grade students in Mr. Kelenske’s class. Nine fifth grade students have been identified as direct contacts and will quarantine per health department guidelines.

In addition, we were informed that a person in attendance at the district basketball games at Leland Public School on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 was positive for COVID. If you attended either of these games and were seated in the student section, you should monitor for COVID symptoms through Monday, April 5th. 

Individuals who were identified as close contacts and needing to quarantine are being contacted. If you are not contacted by Ms. McClure, Ms. Olson, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that means your child was not identified as a close contact of the person(s) who tested positive. Only close, direct contacts to the positive cases need to quarantine. 

Communication about this case will be posted to our website as required by the MDHHS.  We will continue to work to keep our school community safe and keep you informed.

The health department advises that you please monitor for the onset of symptoms related to COVID19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue.

Please continue to practice the recommended mitigation strategies: maintain six feet of social distance, wear a mask, limit your social circles, and frequently wash your hands. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider.

Respectfully,

Stephanie Long

Superintendent

 


23, March 2021

Good evening,

Late this afternoon we learned of a positive school associated case of COVID-19. This case is related to a student in the senior class. Eleven seniors have been identified as direct contacts and will quarantine per health department guidelines. 

Individuals who were identified as close contacts are being contacted. If you are not contacted by Ms. McClure, Ms. Olson, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that means your child was not identified as a close contact of the person who tested positive. Only close, direct contacts to the positive case need to quarantine. 

Communication about this case will be posted to our website as required by the MDHHS.  We will continue to work to keep our school community safe and keep you informed.

The health department advises that you please monitor for the onset of symptoms related to COVID19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue.

Please continue to practice the recommended mitigation strategies: maintain six feet of social distance, wear a mask, limit your social circles, and frequently wash your hands. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider.

Respectfully,

Stephanie Long

Superintendent




Sunday, March 21

Dear LPS community, 

The numbers of positive COVID cases in Michigan are increasing. We now have the second highest increase in positive cases for the UK variant in the country.

We are also experiencing an increase regionally, and that increase is highest among the 10-19 year old age group.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced a new mandatory testing policy for all athletes, both club and school teams, to begin on April 2nd.

Spring break is coming up and many will be traveling.

We know that positive school related cases are most frequently associated with indoor athletics and outside of school social gatherings: parties, social events, indoor gatherings, multiple family events, indoor dining, etc… 

I’m writing to plead a little bit: If we want to preserve our in person learning model; if we want to preserve spring activities like prom, graduation, field trips, award events; if we want to protect our extracurricular activities; we have to stick together, support each other, and continue to practice safe mitigation strategies. Now is not the time to throw in the towel. We have a lot of school left, and we want to stay in person. 

I will be traveling for spring break as will many of you. I will be driving, not flying, and packing a cooler for food to avoid having to eat in restaurants. I’ll be staying in an Airbnb rather than a hotel so I can fix my own meals, limit my exposure to others, and avoid social gatherings. I’ll be enjoying outdoor activities. With some planning and adjustments, safe travel is possible.  And I’m vaccinated. Travel itself is not the issue. It’s how we plan to travel that will make or break us when we return. 

We are asking that if you travel, please be intentional about how you will practice safe mitigation strategies. If you fly, follow the CDC guidelines. All unvaccinated travelers should please consider quarantining when you return for the recommended 7 days and test within 3-5 days of your return, especially if you are traveling to places where your exposure risks increase - Disney World, states without masking guidelines, international destinations, with groups where you will be engaged in large social gatherings with multiple families, if you will be enjoying multiple indoor dining experiences, etc… 

We are not in a position to require quarantining upon return, but we are asking you all to help us preserve in-person instruction and activities for our students by considering how you travel and what your mitigation strategies upon return will look like. 

I know this is a lot to ask; I know we are all fed up and exhausted by this virus and the havoc it’s wreaking on our normal routines and our way of being. But... we at school cannot do this alone. 

We are all for one and one for all in this. We can help our students and school community by monitoring our travel experience during COVID.  Please, let’s stick together and do everything we can to maintain the progress we have made. Let’s keep our kids in school. 

Thank you, and have a safe, restful, peaceful, healthy break!

Stephanie

 


7, March 2021

Good evening,

We learned this afternoon of a positive school associated case of COVID-19. This case is related to a student in the senior class. Nineteen seniors and one teacher have been identified as direct contacts and will quarantine until March 16th per health department guidelines. 

Individuals who were identified as close contacts have been contacted. If you were not contacted by Ms. McClure, Ms. Olson, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that means you or your child were not identified as a close contact of the person who tested positive.

Communication about this case will be posted to our website as required by the MDHHS.  We will continue to work to keep our school community safe and keep you informed.

The health department advises that you please monitor for the onset of symptoms related to COVID19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue.

Please continue to practice the recommended mitigation strategies of maintaining six feet of social distancing, wearing a mask, limiting your social circles, and frequently washing hands. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider.

Respectfully,

Stephanie Long

Superintendent






February 17, 2021

Dear Comet community, 

Last night we learned that our basketball games on Thursday, February 11 and Saturday, February 13 were officiated by a referee who has since tested positive for Covid.  We have contacted our coaches and team and kept them home today while we reviewed game film to determine if anyone has been in direct contact (within 6’) with the referee for a cumulative of more than 15 minutes. We also contacted the health department for guidance, and we notified the opposing teams of the situation.

After careful review of game video, we determined that none of our students or staff met the threshold for direct contact with the referee. Our boys basketball team will do a rapid screening test tomorrow morning before returning to school.

We’d like to remind our school community that we have limited spectators to parents only in an attempt to limit any potential spread of Covid, and everyone will be wearing masks at all times one in our school. Social distancing, frequent handwashing, and compliance with CDC and BLDHD guidelines will help us increase the likelihood that our student athletes will be able to continue with their season.

Thank you for your cooperation, and as always, we will keep you informed as situations or need arises.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Long

LPS Superintendent



December 18, 2020



Community Christmas Letter




December 7, 2020

Good Evening, 

This afternoon at 2:30 pm, Governor Whitmer announced an extension of the DHHS orders that are currently set to expire tomorrow. These orders are now set to expire on December 20th. 

In light of this announcement and in consideration of additional factors, we are going to extend our learning schedule and reduce the number of students we bring into the building. The Zoom link has been posted on our website for a special school board meeting to be held on tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8th, at 12:00 noon.

The other factors we considered in making this adjustment include:

  • The number of students who are attending in-person instruction has fallen
    significantly since Thanksgiving. 
  • The sustained increase in the number of positive cases of coronavirus in Leelanau County https://www.mistartmap.info/?area=county%3Aleelanau
  • The percentage of positive cases among those being tested in Leelanau
    County has risen significantly and continues to rise
  • It is our desire to limit student and staff contacts and exposure heading
    into the holidays.
  •  In order to provide more direct instruction for secondary students in grades 6-12, their schedule will change starting Wednesday, December 9 running through December 18th, the last day of school before we begin our holiday break. That EXTENDED schedule is:


EXTENDED SECONDARY SCHEDULE

Class

Daily Schedule

Speed Schedule for Half-Days

1st Hour

8:20 - 9:05 AM

8:20 - 8:45 AM

2nd Hour

9:10 - 9:55 AM

8:50 - 9:15 AM

Break

9:55 -10:55 AM

9:15 - 9:30 AM

3rd Hour

10:55-11:40 AM

9:35 - 10:00 AM

4th Hour

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

10:05 - 10:30 AM

Break/Lunch

12:30 - 1:30 PM

10:30 - 10:45 AM

5th Hour

1:30 - 2:15 PM

10:45 - 11:05 AM

6th Hour

2:20 - 3:05 PM

11:10 - 11:30 AM

Open Office

3:05 - 3:15 PM

N/A

If secondary students in grades 9-12 are allowed to return to school on Jan 4th, we will resume our HYBRID schedule. If the  order for 9-12th graders to stay home is extended, we will adjust our hybrid model to accommodate the order by grade bands. CTC students will continue in their remote schedule. 

First-fifth grade students will follow the schedule below:

EXTENDED ELEMENTARY (1ST - 5TH GRADE) SCHEDULE 

Subjects

Daily Schedule

Speed Schedule for Half-Days

Check-in with teacher

8:10 - 8:20 AM

8:10 - 8:20 AM

Math or ELA Block

8:20 - 9:20 AM

8:20 - 9:20 AM

Break/Outdoor Recess

9:20 - 9:30 AM

9:20 - 9:50 AM

Math or ELA Block

9:30 - 10:30 AM

9:50 - 10:50 AM

Outdoor Recess/Break

10:30 - 11:30 AM

10:50 - 11:00 AM

IB Explorations

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM  

11:00 - 11:30 AM

Lunch/Recess

12:30 - 1:30 PM

N/A

Enrichment 

  • 1:30 - 2:00 PM - 3rd/4th 
  • 2:00 - 2:30 PM - 5th
  • 2:30 - 3:00 PM -1st/2nd

Students will be scheduled into small groups at least twice per week during the hour that  they are not engaged in enrichment classes

1:30 - 3:00 PM

Elementary students will not attend enrichment classes on half-days.

Afternoon Check-in

3:00 - 3:16 PM 

N/A


All kindergarten students will meet virtually as well, and they will continue to follow their half-day schedule with AM classes meeting from 8:15-11:15 AM and PM classes meeting from 12:15-3:15 PM.

We are not yet prepared to determine the schedule for K-5 students after the holiday break, but we will notify families as soon as we can. 

Additionally, we are permitted to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs, at-risk learners, and vulnerable students. Teachers of these affected students will reach out to families directly to provide these personalized schedules. 

We will also continue to provide the Learning Lab support for families who have been enrolled in that program. Please confirm tomorrow with Mrs. DuPeron whether your child will continue to attend the lab through December 18th. 

Meal Pick-up will continue until Thursday, December 17th and resume on Monday, January 4th. 

It is our hope and desire to return to in-person instruction for all students as soon as possible. To that end, we are asking (pleading...exhorting...begging?) all families and students to please help us by doing the following between now and January 4th:

  1. Limit contact with people outside your immediate families to emergency
    situations
  2. Wear a mask at all time outside your homes
  3. Self-quarantine if you have had exposure to someone with COVID
  4. Keep kids home for 7-10 days upon returning from travel and monitor for
    symptoms  before returning to school


The vaccine is just around the corner, so there is real light at the end of the tunnel that looks to be something more than an oncoming train. It would be so lovely if we could start the second semester with everyone in-person and enjoy athletics and school-related social events that enrich the school experience. Please help by doing your part now to limit exposure and slow the spread. We all want to be with our friends and families, especially during the holidays, and limiting our social exposure will be difficult for sure, but if we can hang on for several more weeks, we might just be able to resume some semblance of normal school on January 26th. 

Sincerely, 

Stephanie



December 2, 2020

Good Afternoon,

We were recently informed of a positive school associated case of COVID-19 that dates back to November 17th. The student was not attending in person instruction during the infectious period, and there is no school related contact tracing to be done.  

Communication about this case has been posted to our website as required by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).  We will continue to work to keep our school community safe and keep you informed.

The health department advises that you please monitor for onset of symptoms related to COVID19, especially during this holiday season when the likelihood of exposure may have increased because of travel or social gatherings.  Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/ congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider. 

Respectfully,

Stephanie Long

Superintendent



November 22, 2020

Good afternoon,

We have recently learned of a positive school associated case of COVID-19. This case is related to a student in the elementary school who was not in school or on campus during the infectious period of the virus. 

Individuals will be contacted directly by the Health Department or our school liaison if they are identified as a close contact with someone in the school setting who tested  positive for COVID-19. If you were not contacted by the Health Department or our school liaison, that means you or your child were not identified as a close contact of the person who tested positive.

Communication about this case has been posted to our website as required by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).  We will continue to work to keep our school community safe and keep you informed.

The health department advises that you please monitor for the onset of symptoms related to COVID19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/ congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider.

Respectfully,

Stephanie Long

Superintendent




November 20, 2020

 

Dear Leland Family,

 

We have recently learned of a positive school associated case of COVID-19. This case is related to a middle school student who was not in school or on campus during the infectious period of the virus. The health department determined that there was no contact tracing necessary given there was no direct contact in the school. The family, in consultation with the health department, has been in quarantine and has voluntarily chosen to remain there beyond the two week window. 

 

Communication about this case has been posted to our website as required by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).  We will continue to work to keep our school community safe and keep you informed.

 

The health department advises that you please monitor for the onset of symptoms related to COVID19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/ congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider.

 

Respectfully,

Stephanie Long

Superintendent




November 15, 2020


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFbfH5BcXhQ&feature=youtu.be




November 11, 2020

Today, we were informed of a positive school associated case of COVID-19. This case is related to our volleyball program in which there are additional symptomatic members and close contacts of positive cases. After consultation with the health department, and in adherence to our COVID-19 plan, we are implementing their recommendation to quarantine the team until November 21st. This is devastating for our team to learn that their state championship run will end today due to COVID-19, and our entire school community shares in their grief.  We will plan to celebrate this amazing team at a later date. 

Several of our staff members also need to begin a quarantine period today, and as a result we will be pivoting to all remote instruction starting tomorrow for the remainder of the week until contact tracing can be completed. 

Communication about this case has been posted to our website as required by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).  We will continue to work to keep our school community safe and keep you informed.

The health department advises that you please monitor for onset of symptoms related to COVID19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/ congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider.

I'd like to provide some additional information regarding our programs at Leland for the next two days. 

1. We will continue to provide meal pick up tomorrow at both locations but only for the regularly scheduled 11:00 am pick up. 

2. CTC students will attend the Tech-Center as scheduled on Thursday and Friday, and transportation will be provided as scheduled.

3. MS boys basketball will not practice tomorrow or Friday.

4. There will be no Learning Lab tomorrow or Friday.

5. Many of you have questions about whether your child needs to quarantine. Only those people in direct contact with a person who has tested positive need to quarantine. Please see this Frequently Asked Questions link for clarification and information. 

6. Parent-Teacher conferences will continue as scheduled unless you hear directly from your child's teacher that your conference needs to be rescheduled. 

Please know that we are working diligently to keep things as normal as possible as we work through our case investigations and that our first concern will always be the safety and health of our students, staff, and families. 

Respectfully,

Stephanie Long

Superintendent





October 5, 2020

Good evening, 

Many of you have heard that the Michigan Supreme Court has struck down the executive orders of Governor Whitmer that were issued after April 30th. In response, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued his own Executive Order today restricting the size of gatherings and requiring masks, including in schools and during sporting events. His order can be found here

Thankfully, we will continue to operate under our school board approved Continuity of Learning Plan and Extended Learning Plan. As noted in the weekly update on Sunday, we continue to gradually increase the number of students on campus in the afternoons with the goal of returning to full face-to-face instruction for the second semester. Our hybrid plan allows for both online and in-person instruction and provides for the highest threshold of mitigation strategies available to us, including face masks for K-12 students when in the building, improved ventilation systems, frequent hand washing, frequent cleaning and disinfecting, and reduced numbers in the building to allow for social distancing where possible. As other schools have opened only to close again, or have ping-ponged between open and closed, we have been able to provide a consistent, reliable instructional model. We will continue to monitor its implementation and make adjustments where necessary.

Again, while we all wish for the normal days of school years past,  the first four weeks of school have demonstrated that our plan is effective and realistic. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our teachers, counselor, Jeanne, or me if you have any concerns about your child's well-being or health.

Finally, I'm happy to say that I received the result of my COVID test this evening and it was negative. Per health department protocol, I will finish my 14 day quarantine this week and return to the building on Monday. 

Thank you for your communications, understanding, and support. We will enjoy one heck of a celebration as a school community when this pandemic is over. 

Be well, 

Stephanie





October 3, 2020

Dear LPS Community,

Yesterday at approximately 12:40 in the afternoon, I learned that I had been in direct contact with someone from our construction team who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

This contact occurred on Sept 25th during a face-to-face meeting off-campus, and at no time was this person in our building or in contact with other staff or students. At this time, I am the only person on our staff who has had direct contact with this individual. All of us in attendance at that meeting observed social distancing and were wearing masks except while eating.

As per our school and health department protocols, I immediately left the building. I also got tested and began quarantining where I will remain while awaiting results of my test. These results could take 4-7 days to be returned.  I consulted with the health department and my doctor, and I will work from home for the remainder of my quarantine which ends next Friday. At this time, I am experiencing mild symptoms which according to my doctor could also be attributed to seasonal allergies. 

If you need to reach me, I will be available via email or phone.

While certainly not ideal, it is not unexpected that at some point exposure would occur, and I am confident that because of the safety protocols that we have put in place at school, the risks for further exposure have been mitigated as much as possible. I will, of course, be in contact with you with updates as information becomes available. 

Thank you for your understanding, and I wish you all a healthy and restful weekend.

Stephanie



August 18, 2020

Return to School Update


Good afternoon, 

The recommendation to open school was approved at last night’s school board meeting. Thank you to everyone who was able to tune in. While the plan is not ideal when compared to what school used to look like, the safety of our students and staff and the unity of our community were our primary goals. We feel confident that it will provide for flexibility and consistency, personalization, and safety. 

The printed presentation and a recording of the live presentation have been posted on our school website for anyone who would like to watch and review the details. 

Given the recommendations below, we are asking all families to take a survey confirming their fall enrollment intentions. We are asking all families to complete the survey before midnight Friday, August 21st. Families who do not fill out the survey will be automatically re-enrolled in LPS. 

To summarize the key points, the plan outlines that: 

Students will attend school in person for one day the first week of school to meet teachers, fill out and submit forms, collect materials, and safely engage with their peers in their assigned cohorts. Everyone will follow all safety protocols as outlined in our approved Return to Learn plan. The schedule for the first week is as follows: 

    ◦    10th - 12th grades     Tuesday, September 8th 

    ◦    6th - 9th grades       Wednesday, September 9th

    ◦    3rd - 5th grades       Thursday, September 10 

    ◦    K-2 grades             Friday, September 11 

LPS will continue in an e-learning environment for the remainder of the first semester for all students with LPS staff and curriculum 

LPS staff will host on-site, optional small group instruction, interventions, and student support as scheduled by teachers

LPS will approve a limited number of all-virtual, third party enrollments based on medically fragile circumstances
Our CTC students will be attending in person at the Career-Tech Center each day. Details regarding transportation and scheduling will be provided at a later date. Please watch for a town hall meeting specifically for CTC families in the next week or two. Additionally, to help you in your decision making, we will be hosting town hall meetings for kindergarten, English as a Second Language, and general information inquiries and information. The meeting schedule can be found on our school website.

There are still many questions about how school will function. One of the questions is around meal service. During the COVID crisis in the spring, the federal government allowed for free meals to any family who wanted or needed them. At this point, the federal government has not put this program in place for the fall, which means that LPS can only provide meals for those LPS families who qualify for free or reduced lunch. All families are encouraged to complete this confidential form to apply for free and reduced meals. These meals will be delivered using a similar distribution system as was used in the spring. We are working to develop an optional fee-based, pick-up meal option for families who do not qualify as well. 

The question around child care for families is also foremost on our minds. We understand that having students home during the day creates child care issues for many families; however, the decision to learn remotely for a full semester allows families to develop long-term solutions. We are unable to provide childcare on site, so we are encouraging our families to organize and work together to create personalized solutions. It was encouraging to see that this conversation already started last night in the chat feature within our Zoom board meeting. 

We will be sending out more communication in the next two weeks with information about enrollment forms, technology use agreements, immunizations, emergency contacts, and all of the other beginning of the year paperwork. Please stay tuned as we approach our first day of school. 

Thank you so much for your engagement, questions, ideas, and participation. We are eager to get started again!

Stephanie



August 16, 2020

Good Afternoon, 

Decision to return in person or via e-learning

Our Return to School Task Force plan was approved by the board of education on July 11th and submitted to the TBAISD for approval by the Michigan Department of Education. That was a major milestone for the school, and I plan to recommend how we should re-open, whether in person or via remote e-learning, tomorrow night at the regularly scheduled August school board meeting which will be held via Zoom. 

While none of us has ever experienced anything like this, we feel extremely confident that our decision will provide for a high quality, rigorous, and meaningful learning experience for students regardless of whether we are in person on September 8th or start at home for remote e-learning. 

We will also host two more Zoom town hall meetings, one for families for whom English is a second language (ESL), and one for families of kindergarten parents. Below are the links for these Zoom events which are also posted on our school website:

We will be sending a survey on Tuesday asking parents to make their selection based on the decision to return in person or via e-learning. That survey will need to be completed by Friday, August 21st, at midnight. Any families who were enrolled in LPS last year who choose not to participate in the survey will automatically be re-enrolled in LPS. 

Again, we are asking for your trust, grace, and support as you listen to the recommendation tomorrow evening. 

Athletics

As communicated earlier in the week, we suspended practices for two days for contact tracing due to an athlete’s positive test for COVID-19. It is important to note that the family and student did absolutely everything correctly, followed protocol, and through their quick and comprehensive actions, reduced potential spread. It is this kind of response that we will need everyone to emulate as we move forward. We are so grateful for the seriousness with which they dealt with the situation and the seriousness displayed by the direct contacts who are also quarantining.

The notification and tracing process outlined in our Return to School plan was efficient and worked as we hoped and expected it would. The health department coordinated with us and we are able to resume practices tomorrow. However, the MHSAA announced on Friday that the football season will be moved to the spring, so students participating on the co-op football team will not be competing this fall. We know that this is a disappointment to many in our football community and are available with emotional support for these students and families.

Construction Project Progress 

Work continues on the construction project, and with only two weeks before staff are scheduled to return and three weeks before students are scheduled to begin classes, we are monitoring progress daily. The exterior brick on the new gym and the elementary school is progressing rapidly, and it is becoming easier to envision the completed project. 

With the construction project considerations, and the executive order that limits indoor gatherings to 10 people and the directive to work from home where possible still in effect, our team is making adjustments day-to-day. The decision tomorrow evening will prioritize the safety and wellbeing of staff and students as our number one goal and keeping our community unified as we move forward through this pandemic together as a second key factor. 

I hope you are all well and will join the Zoom board of education meeting tomorrow evening. 

Stephanie




August 13, 2020

Dear LPS families,

We recently became aware of a student athlete on the soccer team who tested positive for COVID-19. We found out on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 4:00 pm. We are responsible for informing all who are considered “close contacts” by the CDC guidelines, but felt it appropriate to notify our entire school community. There was no direct exposure during LPS athletic practices that we are aware of at this time. If you or your child(ren) are required to quarantine because of an exposure, the health department will contact you. If your child does not qualify as a close contact, you will not hear from the health department. The health department wants to protect the confidentiality of this person unless there is a reason to inform you of this person’s identity. At this time, it is the role of LPS to tell all the families that we are moving forward under the guidance of the Benzie-Leelanau Health Department and that all measures have been taken to protect the wellbeing of your child(ren), including suspending all athletic practices until contract tracing can be completed. The health department advises that you please monitor for onset of symptoms related to COVID19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, runny nose/ congestion, diarrhea, or new fatigue. If you note any change in your health or the health of your child, please call your regular medical provider.

Sincerely, 

Stephanie Long, LPS Superintendent




August 3, 2020


Dear Leland Families, 

We are excited to share our plan to return to school this fall. Our Return to Learn Task Force, which included staff, teachers, students, parents, board of education members, health department officials, and administrators has been working all summer.  While clearly not a “business as usual” model due to the ongoing pandemic, we have every confidence that the LPS plan outlines a high quality, rigorous, compassionate, and safe learning experience for our students, whether we are in-person or have to remain or return to remote e-learning. 

As you will see outlined below, the timeline for our launch and approval is tight. Our next steps as we move toward September:

- Parent review of the plan
 
- Question and answer virtual town hall meetings tomorrow or Wednesday

- Respond to parent survey before August 7th

- Board work session to review and finalize the plan on August 11

- Superintendent submits the plan to the ISD and State of Michigan for approval before August 15th

- Enrollment forms for Option 1 (LPS in person or remote) or Option 2 (virtual school) due on August 21st

- LPS’s decision to begin school in person on September 8th or to begin the school year at home with our remote, e-learning alternative

•Parent review of the plan 

•Question and answer virtual town hall meetings tomorrow or Wednesday

•Respond to parent survey before August 7th

•Board work session to review and finalize the plan on August 11

•Superintendent submits the plan to the ISD and State of Michigan for approval before August 15th

•Enrollment forms for Option 1 (LPS in person or remote) or Option 2 (virtual school) due on August 21st

•LPS’s decision to begin school in person on September 8th or to begin the school year at home with our remote, e-learning alternative


In addition, if we hope to return to school in person, we all need to be working to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by following safety guidelines: wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, avoid large social gatherings, and maintain social distance whenever possible. 

Please visit our website to read a quick summary of our plan or the full plan. The links to the Zoom town halls and the link to the survey are also posted there. 

Once the plan has been approved by the State of Michigan, the final version will be posted on the website. We will hold off as long as possible before making the decision whether to return in person or remotely. This is difficult for everyone, and while it’s extremely hard to live in the land of the unknown, in order to provide the safest educational experience for children, we need to continually monitor the situation. Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and continued support. 

Warmly, 

Stephanie Joseph Long, Superintendent





July 31, 2020

Good Evening, 

Return to School Task Force Plan: Our return to school task force and staff are excited to be finalizing the plan to reopen school on September 8th. Please look for an email with the plan from Jeanne Gross on Monday. To help everyone process the information and ask questions, we are holding virtual Q&A sessions next week by grade levels. The schedule for those meetings: 

  • Tuesday, August 4th - Grades 6-9, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
  • Tuesday, August 4th - Grades 10-12, 7:30 - 8:30 pm
  • Wednesday, August 5th - Grades K-2, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
  • Wednesday, August 5th, Grades 3-5, 7:30 - 8:30 pm

After you have read through the plan and asked questions at our town hall meetings (the Zoom links for these dates will be included in the email on Monday), we will be asking families to complete a survey to help us prepare for the new school year. We will send that link next week as well. 

While none of us has ever tried to start a new school year under these conditions, and we will all have to adjust our expectations to accommodate for increased safety protocols, we feel extremely confident that our plan will provide for a high quality, rigorous, and meaningful learning experience for students regardless of whether we are in person on September 8th or start at home for remote learning. Once our plan is approved, we will make the decision of whether to start in person or remotely. 

We are asking that you keep an open mind as you read through the plan and consider your options. Returning to school in person on September 8th is our ultimate goal and will require that all of us practice and model the safety protocols now with our children so that they are comfortable with the new expectations before school begins. 

 

Athletics: We have received the most recent update from the MHSAA, and we are currently reviewing the sport specific guidelines and protocols with our coaching staff. We are monitoring the Governor’s order with regard to how the new limits on indoor gatherings impact the most recent MHSAA guidelines.  We will plan on sending out updated information for the start of fall sports next week. Thank you for our patience. 

 

Construction Project Progress: Great progress is being made to the new elementary school. There will be additional soft space between the current elementary school building and the garden for our littlest students to play outdoors this fall while we wait for the new playground to be completed. The cafeteria renovation will be completed in the next couple of weeks, and we are so eager for you to see it. It’s pretty amazing to stand in the cafe and be able to see straight down the new hallway all the way to the end of the elementary school. The new staircase is in, too!

hope you are all well, and wish you happy weekend, 

Stephanie 

 




July 17, 2020

Good Afternoon, 

Our Return to School Task Force sub committees and full group have been meeting to continue our work to solidify plans for reopening. We are confident that the plan will provide  high quality, in-person or virtual instruction if necessary. We are also working on the parent and staff surveys to accompany the plan when the finished draft is released. Student council representatives will be joining the team next week to help us plan with student insights in mind. As mentioned last week, the task force includes teachers, school administrators, our athletic director, board members, parents, the health department, and our facilities and transportation personnel. Everyone is to be commended for their dedication and time this summer in working to develop the best, most thoughtful plan possible. Attending to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs as well as their personal safety are all at the forefront of these planning conversations.  

In trying to plan for next year, we’d like to get some indication of the number of students who will be returning given the COVID situation. Please complete this brief survey to let us know your thinking at this time regarding your plans for returning to school. Please respond by the end of the day on Monday. Thank you for your help with this. As mentioned above, we will also send a survey soliciting your feedback to our plan once it is ready.

The very difficult decision was made this week, after consultation with the county health department, to hold commencement virtually on Thursday, July 23rd, at 7:00 pm. Seniors, their families, and staff were notified earlier this week. We will share the link with the whole community, so anyone who would like to tune in and congratulate these amazing seniors is welcomed and encouraged to participate. 

The health department statement in part, reads, “Between July 4 and July 15 there have been 16 young people between the ages of 15-23 in the Leland community who have tested positive for COVID-19. These individuals are all connected through work, family and social gatherings and between them there are many close contacts (close to 100 known contacts) who have been exposed and potentially infected.  Some are still some waiting for test results, and it is likely that there are others who have not yet been tested or identified. The extent of positive infections and the number of potentially infected is concerning as we can assume at this point that COVID-19 is fairly widespread. While most of these young people have had either no symptoms or mild symptoms, the concern is that if this continues to spread we will soon begin seeing more severe illness in those community members who are most vulnerable. The Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department has been working to identify and isolate those who have COVID-19 or who have been exposed, but we need the community’s assistance in stopping the spread by avoiding social gatherings, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask when around non-household members, and frequent hand washing.”  To access the full Public Health Alert, click here. 

The link on the school's homepage to Construction Project Progress has been updated. Please share that with our neighbors and the residents nearest the school. Our intention is to keep everyone updated about next steps, noise, and general neighborhood happenings regarding the building project. 

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Monday, July 20th, at 6:00 pm via this Zoom link. The link is also posted on the school website and the doors of the school. 

I hope you are all well, and have a happy weekend. 

Stephanie

Superintendent




July 10, 2020

Good Afternoon,

Well, that was a fast week! I will be sending a weekly note to keep you updated about what’s going on at Leland. These notes will be informal and informational. Please call or email if you have questions.

Many of you expressed difficulties opening the two student Black Lives Matter letters I linked in my previous communication. Those will be posted on the school website for easier student and parent access. Check for them under the Superintendent’s Message within my July 1 letter below. These weekly notes will also be posted there if you ever need or want to reference them later.

Our return to school task force met yesterday to develop the school reopening plan. The task force includes teachers, school administrators, our athletic director, board members, parents, the health department, and our facilities and transportation personnel. We will be working to develop the reopening plan between now and August 1st. We will share a final draft of that plan with you on or before August 3rd and ask for your feedback . Additionally, we will ask you to complete a survey to help us prepare to welcome students on our first scheduled day, September 8th. Our plan will flex to accommodate the current phase of our region regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will be hosting a live virtual launch of the plan with families once it has been approved by the board and the state of Michigan. That date will most likely be sometime during the third week of August.

There is now a link on the school homepage to Construction Project Progress that will be updated each Friday. Please share that with our neighbors and the residents nearest the school. Our intention is to keep everyone updated about next steps, noise, and general neighborhood happenings regarding the building project.

Commencement is still planned to occur live on Thursday, July 23, at 7:00 pm at Hancock Park. Masks and social distancing will be required. There will be reserved designated seating for families, and Jeanne will be sending a letter this evening with more details and specifics.

I hope you are all well, and have a happy weekend,

Stephanie Long Superintendent


July 1, 2020

 

Dear Leland Families, 

I am so excited to write this letter from the main office at school after my first official full day as your new superintendent. It was a great day, the first day in what I hope to be many years of service to you, your children, and the Leland Public School community. 

Your confidence in me and your support have been truly humbling and heartwarming. It is a joy to be working on behalf of the students and families who have enjoyed a long tradition of educational excellence in the care of the staff and administration here. I am honored to be in your service. 

I’ve also been busy getting up to speed with the plans for reopening school, the work on the construction project, and the adjustments to the budget. A few of things I’ve been doing to get on board have included:

  • Attending weekly regional principal and superintendent meetings
  • Participating in meetings with state legislators
  • Participating in legislative meetings with key educational lobbyists
  • Meeting with interim superintendent Mr. Hartigan, Principal Gross, and the business manager, Mrs. Thomas
  • Communicating with Mr. Robinson and the school board
  • Facilitated a staff development training session
  • Meeting with Mr. Stowe and the construction team

While the learning curve is steep in these uncertain times, our team here is dedicated and working diligently throughout the summer to learn as much as we can and develop the best plan possible to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  As if that weren’t plenty, we have also been paying attention to national civil unrest, the state and national budget crisis, and the local impact of educational funding shortfalls. It feels like we have been under siege with confusion, and upheaval. 

As an educational organization, we have a responsibility to respond in ways that promote learning, civility, engagement, and collaboration. We need to model for our students how to deal with adversity, how to overcome disappointment, and how to move forward in ways that allow us to seize opportunities and build something stronger and better. It is in that spirit that we are working to:

  • Respond to Governor Whittmer’s Executive Order 2020-142 to develop plans for reopening by mobilizing our Continuity of Learning Task Force 
  • Support staff in learning about culturally responsive instructional practices
  • Engage our students in conversations about racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and police brutality
  • Follow the MHSAA and national guidelines regarding resuming athletics and competitions
  • Monitor and amend our budget in response to cuts or increases in state or federal funding
  • Provide professional development for staff, specifically around teaming, new curricular materials, and best practices in virtual learning models and strategies

I have also emailed two letters to students as well, one for secondary students and one for our younger students that talk about the protests and civil unrest they have been seeing in the news and on social media. I encourage you to read these letters with your children and learn alongside them and us as we work to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the disparity in the quality of life so many in our country experience by virtue of their race. 

In the next month, our task force will be working to develop reopening plans that we will share with you before they are finalized. Please look for these plans and a survey in late July that we hope you’ll take to help us understand your thoughts and feelings about returning to school. 

We are also working on an informal meet and greet that will allow us to get to know each other and explore the construction progress, both from safe distances. The progress on the building projects has been incredible. So much is happening now. More on that to come. 

Commencement is planned for Thursday, July 23, at 7:00 pm at Hancock Park. Jeanne will be sending a reminder later this month with details. 

We have a lot of work to do - good, meaningful work - and we will need your support to make sure we plan, learn, and grow in community and collaboration with each other. I’m eager to do this work together. 

Thank you again for your support, and I’m looking forward to meeting you in person soon. 


Stephanie Long

Superintendent

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