Andrew Withers: Grass Valley School District transitions to hybrid learning
The Grass Valley School District began the 2020-2021 school year on Aug. 20 in a full distance learning format and we transitioned last week (Nov. 2) to hybrid learning model districtwide. As a school district team, we acknowledge and appreciate the hard work of our staff, students, parents and community. Since the beginning of school closures in March of last school year, our team has been planning and preparing for a variety of reopening scenarios with a clear focus on the safety of all students and staff while keeping the focal point on high-quality learning experiences for students. As you may imagine, our early plans were adapted numerous times as we learned of additional changes within the state and county guidelines and as we learned more about the spread of COVID-19.
Throughout our transitions and new experiences this school year we have been continually impressed with the hard work and efforts from our students and staff. As a new district superintendent and county leader, I don’t believe I’ve ever had the privilege of working with a more dedicated and inspiring group of educators. In my first four months in Grass Valley, I have been overwhelmed by the quality of our instructional program and personalized work we put into our engagement efforts for students. All of our Grass Valley staff show a deep respect and care for our students and community and they strive to make a difference every day.
As a collaborative district team with support from our School Board, we have transitioned to a hybrid learning model a few weeks later than other districts within our county. We felt we needed this additional time to help us continue to deliver a student-centered program that would best serve our students. Our hybrid program at Bell Hill Academy, Lyman Gilmore and Margaret Scotten include two in-person contact days and three distance learning days while our students at Grass Valley Charter School attend an AM/PM program with four shortened school days along with one day of distance learning. Beyond these options, all of our school sites also offer a full distance learning program for families by request as we are committed to offering learning options to support all students.
Although we have only had one week of in-person learning via our hybrid model, our teachers, staff, parents and site leaders are already reporting positive signs and progress. Extra precautions have been implemented across the school day including our transportation services, food services, student check-in processes, and our direct instruction services. We are extremely proud of the collective efforts from everyone and we look forward to a great school year ahead. We acknowledge and appreciate the unwavering support from our parents and the Grass Valley community.
Andrew Withers is superintendent of the Grass Valley School District.
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