ISD 279 - Osseo Area Schools

Updates

Message from the Superintendent: Start of school year delayed to Sept. 14
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Dear parent/guardian:

I’m writing to update you on board action taken last night related to starting the school year.

First day of school: Monday, Sept. 14
The board approved my recommendation for a delayed start in order to provide more time to:

  • Assign staff to the Distance Learning Academy and adjust staff assignments in our physical buildings
  • Revise master schedules at all schools, including the Distance Learning Academy
  • Provide additional training to staff in safety protocols and the effective delivery of instruction in the hybrid model
  • Provide time for staff to plan and prepare instruction in the event they have been assigned to teach at a new grade level or a new course within their subject area 

By gaining an additional four days for the items above, I believe we’ll have a more successful start to the school year. Those four days will not be added back to the school year calendar.

Instructional model for starting school year is being reconsidered
Last night, the board voted not to approve my updated recommendation to open in a more restrictive model (Distance Learning Plus, with additional supports).

The board indicated willingness to consider a different recommendation at an emergency school board meeting, which I intend to schedule by the end of the day this Friday. In the meantime, my earlier recommendation to start in the hybrid model, which was approved by the board on Aug. 4, is still in place unless and until the board approves a different recommendation. 

I believe temporarily operating in a more restrictive model is necessary for two key reasons, which I shared last night:

  1. Virus case rates in our greater community are concerning. My team and I have been in regular contact with state and county public health officials, and I have specifically consulted with MDE, MDH and Hennepin County Public Health regarding our start plans. Each of those agencies advised taking a more cautious approach that puts safety first. 
  2. We also need more time to finalize staffing in our physical schools and the DLA, and to provide staff training in the hybrid model. Starting the hybrid model later will provide more time to plan for that model and will help ensure that our staff is confident and ready for hybrid learning.

What do these changes mean for the start of the school year?

  • The first day of school for all students is Monday, Sept. 14. (Note: This is a change from the previously posted school year calendar.) DLA students will start in full distance learning. All other students will start in a model that will be confirmed by the end of this week (see next bullet). 
  • I will request an emergency school board meeting to seek approval of a revised recommendation to start school in a different model (which would not affect those who are already enrolled in the Distance Learning Academy). 

What do these changes mean for my student?

  • When we start the hybrid model, your student <<FirstName>> <<LastName>> will attend on the Group <<assigned group>> schedule. Please note that because group assignments are based on capacity limits, available staffing, and transportation routes, we cannot accept requests to change groups. Hybrid group assignments will also be posted to ParentVUE and will be sent via US mail.
  • All K-12 students (including DLA students) will pick up technology on either Sept. 1 or 2 at their home school. Hours for distribution vary by school; you’ll receive specific information directly from your child’s school.
  • Distance Learning Academy (DLA) students will receive back-to-school information separately later this week.
  • Students who are eligible for bus transportation will receive bus assignment information with as much advance notice as possible prior to the start of hybrid instruction.
  • Need childcare? Visit Kidstop279.org; registration opens at 9 a.m. on Aug. 28 and closes Sept. 4.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the challenges associated with creating a new way to do school in a pandemic context.

Respectfully,

Cory McIntyre
Superintendent

Superintendent Cory McIntyre