Andrew Withers: Additional engagement, support options for Grass Valley District students
As Nevada County nears the one year anniversary of COVID-19 school closures it is important that we take the time to reflect upon how much we have been through together during these difficult times. The pandemic and its ever evolving and changing safety guidelines, regulations and updates have made our communication and cohesion challenging at best. Throughout this time we remain proud and committed to the extra efforts to ensure we are providing safe and effective learning and support for students. We value the hard work of our staff, students and families and we look forward to the future as our region’s status continues to improve. While COVID-19 incidents remain high in our state, county and region we now know how effective it is when we work together to follow mask, social distancing and sanitation protocols at school and within our community.
The Grass Valley School District recognizes that our students and families need more support and we are working collaboratively as a staff team to analyze how we can improve our program before the school year ends. We know everyone is doing their best and we are working to continue to adapt our efforts to ensure students get what they need while maintaining all social distancing and safety protocols. We encourage families to reach out to our staff if additional assistance is needed. We will be providing a districtwide update in the coming weeks, however, we have also recently launched several new engagement and opportunities to help address the student’s academic and social emotional needs.
GVSD staff are working collaboratively in grade level or department groups across the district to ensure that students are receiving additional instruction, tutoring, or support based upon their need. This is completed through after school intervention, outreach and office-hour time slots. We are working together to focus these efforts with clear data and assessments to help maximize success.
Middle School Student Clubs
In January and February we began several new clubs for Lyman Gilmore students to help increase engagement. These clubs include; Among Us, Club Live, Dungeons and Dragons, Gay Straight Alliance, Leadership, and Yoga with Friends. Each of these clubs hold weekly meetings and in total they have helped engage hundreds of our students. The Yoga club has been a recent popular addition. They meet on Wednesdays from 1 to 1:30 p.m. and enjoy connecting with others while simultaneously stretching, learning deep breathing techniques, and rejuvenating their brains and bodies. Students can also use this 30 minutes toward their PE logs as well!
4th-8th Cross Country
We are starting Cross Country for Margaret G. Scotten, Bell Hill Academy, and Lyman Gilmore students on Thursday March 4 and we are developing a school running program for the Grass Valley Charter students as well. We know how essential group activity and exercise options are for students!
These offerings are just the new opportunities we’ve added. We look forward to continuing to add clubs and activities to help our students. Our district has terrific staff including our dynamic counseling team.
“Now more than ever, our kiddos need to connect with their peers. Specifically on a non-academic level,” said District Counselor Joy Nocerino. “There is so much laughter and silliness that happens in some of these clubs and this is vital to their mental health well being. Please encourage your kids to check out the clubs and support we offer our district students.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, however, the updated state guidelines, agreements, and regulations as well as the success we’ve had safely serving students in-person this year give us confidence. We value the partnership of our staff, students and families working together (#GVSDBetterTogether).
Andrew Withers is the Grass Valley School District Superintendent.
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