Andrew Withers: Teaching, learning and adapting together
Great teams and partnerships have a way of coming together during difficult times! While the Grass Valley School District is extremely thankful to be able to offer full time in-person instruction this school year, teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to pose significant challenges. I would like to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for everyone’s hard work and support during the start of this school year. I am beyond impressed with the work of our learning community to ensure our students, staff and families get the resources and assistance they need.
The Grass Valley School District adheres to the strictest COVID-19 health and safety recommendations and we have created a detailed Safe Reopening Handbook as well as detailed COVID-19 Exposure and Symptom Flow Charts to help us communicate and clarify district practices. While we have needed to quarantine large groups of close-contacts this school year, we have now signed an agreement with an outside agency to offer COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic students and staff when they are exposed to a positive case. This is critical and will help us keep students and staff safe and in school. We are awaiting formal approval from our Nevada County Public Health Office and we look forward to implementing this very soon.
One of our school district’s essential focus areas is the development of a clear Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) which will be used to guide all academic, social-emotional, and behavioral supports for students. Critical to the academic support is our use of individual student assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics which help us target our instruction and academic support. We are also furthering our work and structures to address the social-emotional and behavioral needs of students as these have been dramatically impacted by the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support high levels of engagement we have numerous activities happening throughout the district including the official opening of the new Bell Hill Academy library and multipurpose room, district cross country team competitions, 7th and 8th grade boys volleyball competitions, as well as the return of the Artist’s In Schools Program at Bell Hill Academy and Margaret Scotten. It is activities like these that help school “come alive” for students. A special shout-out to our Lyman Gilmore boys volleyball teams! 7th grade is 5-1 and the 8th grade is undefeated with a 6-0 record.
Teaching and learning during a pandemic is challenging work, but in Grass Valley we work to ensure student engagement and success are thriving.
Andrew Withers is Superintendent of the Grass Valley School District
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