10:30 AM: Seattle Public Schools‘ new interim superintendent Dr. Brent Jones has just announced the district is preparing to fully reopen schools this fall. In an open letter published on the district website, Dr. Jones said, “My staff know how to successfully open school across 104 sites and that is exactly what we plan to do in September, while continuing to follow public health and state guidelines.” District schools closed in mid-March 2020 and reopened for part-time in-person learning less than a month ago; (corrected) June 18th is the last day of this school year, while the 2021-2022 school year is currently scheduled to start for most SPS students September 1st (see the calendar here).
11:31 AM: More details from the official news release, which has since arrived:
… While the focus is on in-person instruction for all students, the plan does include a remote option for students who may be unable to attend full-time in-person for health-related or other significant reasons. …
… Dr. Jones identified important areas of collaboration and partnership that will be prioritized as the plan is developed:
• Working in partnership with the SPS Board of Directors to approve the final plan for submission to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI);
• Working in partnership with the Seattle Education Association during development of the best possible instructional environment that will ensure the highest student outcomes;
• Including input from key stakeholders, community groups, students and families, with a particular focus on students and families furthest from educational justice.
With the return to full-time in-person instruction, Superintendent Jones plans a range of student and staff-focused supports:
• Focus on student mental health – SPS will use federal emergency funds to invest in additional mental health services, trauma-informed practice and working with families and staff to create a “culture of care” as students return to classrooms.
• Supporting student growth – Focus on each student’s individual learning path in collaboration with parents and caregivers. Additional academic supports, community partnerships, and learning opportunities will be in place to support those students with the most need.
• Robust wellness supports for SPS staff.
• Continuing to use new and innovative instructional practices that have evolved over the past year.
Fall implementation planning teams will be convening to design the plans for the full-time in person model.
The SPS Board of Directors will hold a special board meeting on May 26, 2021 to review the Washington LEA Academic and Student Well-Being Recovery Plan, which is required by OSPI. On June 1, 2021, SPS will submit the board-approved plan to OSPI.