A Message from the Superintendent - 09.13.20
Dear Parents and Community Members: (09.13.20)
Welcome (again) to the 2020-21 school year in Ballston Spa. Below, please find the latest updates on a number of topics related to our reopening with the start of remote learning for all students on September 14. Before I get to that information though, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the significance of this past Friday. Although it now seems like forever ago, September 11, 2001 remains deeply engrained in so many of our memories as the day the world stood still. As I noted to our team on Friday morning, for our students, this is now one of many days that they read about in textbooks and in various memorials for the day. That is both good and regrettable as history is so often forgotten in the fast-paced world in which we now live. But while the world stage has certainly changed since that time, the memories have not. For those of you who were directly impacted by this event and particularly those who lost acquaintances, friends, and loved ones in the events of that day, please accept our sincere condolences. We have not forgotten.
- Student Orientation – Thanks so much to you all for working with building leaders, faculty, and staff in picking up the instructional materials, Chromebooks and for taking the time to participate in last week’s orientation days. As we went through each day, it was so gratifying to see the students and the readiness they are displaying to get back to their schooling. For those that were not able to attend the orientation days, please be sure to stay in close contact with your child’s teacher and principal just as you would in a typical school year.
- Technology Challenges – Gone are the days where our biggest technology challenge was resetting the time on the VCR after a power outage. We are now dealing with a wide variety of challenges that could arise at any given time due to our dependency on technology in our reopening models. Please be assured that when such challenges arise, we will work as quickly as we can to resolve them so as to keep the focus on teaching and learning. To assist with this, please be sure to review the information sent by building principals so as to familiarize yourselves with the assistance that is available and to help establish routines and expectations of your children over the coming weeks. Your partnership with us in this regard is greatly appreciated! Please also keep in mind that because this is still new to students and teachers alike, there are going to be areas that don’t yet equate to in-person learning. We are absolutely committed to getting better each day once we go “live” with our online learning, but we want to keep it simple to start so as to maintain our focus and build early successes that we can expand upon as we move forward. As I noted to our staff in a recent update, if our first assumption is that everyone has positive intent, we will be off to a good start.
- Visitors to our Schools – As a reminder, no walk-in visitors will be allowed to our schools until further notice. All visitors must have an appointment and will be asked to complete a health questionnaire and have their temperature taken at the front desk before being allowed to proceed into the building. Masks must be worn at all times. If a wellness check or wearing of masks is refused, entry into the building will also have to be refused in order to keep everyone in the district healthy and safe. As I have said before, if each of us plays our part in adhering to the rules of reopening and health and safety in particular, we will have fewer disruptions and the chances of getting back to a more typical year will be that much greater.
- Fall 2020 Athletics – On Monday, September 14 at 6:00pm, the Board of Education will hold a special meeting to address the fall sports season based on the guidance provided by the State Department of Health and the State Public High School Athletic Association, and the capacity of the District to host the available sports. For additional information on how to attend, please check our website HERE.
- Food Service Begins This Week – Just a reminder that our food service program begins this week on Monday, September 14. For information on where meals can be picked up, please check our website HERE.
- Communications – Just like the typical school year, please direct questions or concerns to your child’s teacher, school counselor, or building principal so as to get the most detailed and timely responses. We will continue our periodic Updates, newsletters, and video messages to keep you as informed as possible given the likelihood of ongoing changes including the impact of positive COVID-19 tests on students and staff or quarantining because of contact tracing procedures by county health departments.
- Get Better Each Day – Finally, as I noted to our staff on our opening day, my challenge and expectation is that as we reopen with our various phase-ins over the coming weeks, we will work diligently to get better every day. We will rely on our internal partnerships, our parent partnerships, and our community partnerships to make this happen as our District mantra – Educating Everyone Takes Everyone – comes to life starting tomorrow morning.
We are so very excited to start the teaching and learning for the year. We look forward to working together to provide our students with every opportunity that we can in order to get them off to an excellent start this year.
Most sincerely and with many thanks-
Ken Slentz, Superintendent of Schools, Ballston Spa CSD