SKSD Superintendent's Snapshot

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We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. – Maya Angelou 
(SKSD Student Artwork is pictured above)

Superintendent's Snapshot
June 25, 2021


 

Please join the SKSD Leadership Team as We Celebrate a Successful Year and the Many Reasons to be SK Proud.....


We would like to take this time to review with you the positive highlights that have taken place over the past two years, including during a pandemic, while underscoring our ongoing dedication to our students and our community. 

During this time, the South Kingstown School Department has had continuous improvement under our leadership which is displayed on the Rhode Island Department of Education’s Survey Works public website. Specifically, South Kingstown has seen positive results in nearly all categories surveyed over the past two years including school leadership, school safety, school climate, teaching efficacy, and adequacy of school resources. 

It is important that we recognize that none of this would have taken place without the dedication of the teachers and staff at our schools. They have worked tirelessly to not only be safe but feel safe during these unprecedented times. Our students were able to continue to attend school in person and our district was commended for the safety protocols and learning environment that we had in place during the pandemic. 

At the onset of the pandemic, we instituted a quality virtual environment that had South Kingstown recognized as one of the best remote learning environments in the state (link to plan here: https://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=2643750&present=true ). This fall, our school district was one of the only districts in Rhode Island to return full-time in-person to the classroom with an option for simultaneous streaming in a hybrid environment for any of our families who wished to stay at home. This was not the case in most of the districts in our state and across the country. (link to RIDE approved plan here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iM-m_RtYgxUc2oq1MByAX852evvhY5s7UST72Rc_WLU/edit?usp=sharingWe implemented: 

>A comprehensive weekly update from the Superintendent (Link to Superintendent’s Snapshot & archives HERE:
https://www.skschools.net/cms/one.aspx?pageId=43986554 )

>Updates from each school each week

>Over 350 air purifiers/filtration systems immediately in August with comprehensive plans for regular filter changes.

>Students & teacher schedules that reduced the number of pods and transitions each day, allowing for deep cleaning between classes.

>Additional custodial staff so cleaning could be maintained at the highest of levels.

>Additional teaching certified staff so that arrivals and dismissals could be staggered.

>CNAs so that our School Nurse Teachers would have additional support.

>Reviews of the buildings by Arden Engineering on our HVAC settings. They also calculated our air circulation with HVAC and the air purifiers. They determined that we were over our required air changes per hour, even in our oldest rooms.

>Development of outdoor learning spaces and continuous use throughout the entire school year.

>Rigorous COVID-19 testing schedules that include testing over 1,000 each week in our schools. Administrators, teachers, and school nurse teachers were all trained to be able to provide these local clinics on a regular basis.

>Provided personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff, including KN95 masks, shields, gloves, and gowns.

>Transformed our school buildings so that staff and students could physically distance, screen and do temp check on entry, have one-way hallways, eat lunch while being able to spread out, simultaneously use technology and devices.

>Offered vaccine clinics for staff and students (six clinics to date) at various times and days.

>Screen and monitor COVID-19 learning loss with tools that would support an in-person and virtual environment and included a social-emotional component.

>Provide food services every day for free for anyone, whether in-person or virtual. This service began on March 23, 2020 and has never stopped.

>Provide technology services via a newly established help desk. This service began on March 16, 2020 and has never stopped.

>Had a successful athletic season for SKHS varsity and junior varsity sports. Curtis Corner was able to also have a modified season. This was no small feat with required testing and state requirements.

>Reimagined education for the summer and school year of 2021-2022 so that we can consider the ways our children, especially our most vulnerable, have been impacted and provide the layers of support for these gaps.

>Provide celebratory events for the end of the year that met the state-required COVID-19 safety protocols but allow the children to be celebrated and enjoy milestones that are so deserved. This includes outdoor high school graduation where 2,000 people could come together for an in-person music-filled, smile-packed event.

Simultaneously, fifteen out of twenty-one administrators were new to the district or new to the position when we began together. We had only worked together for seven months prior to the pandemic transforming our educational world. We have rebuilt a school district that could serve the needs of all of our students during the pandemic, and most importantly beyond. 

The achievements of the team include but are not limited to: 

*Using the lenses of equity, wellbeing, and quality learning has allowed us to design structures, processes, and policies to support learning and the community. We are committed to providing every child with rich learning experiences that not only address academics and 21st -century learning but are supportive of the social-emotional needs of our children during this challenging time. This commitment is more important now than ever. If we are to determine how to best consider safety and operations, well-being and learning then we must be steadfast in our approach at this critical time. 

*Continuous education for all students during a global pandemic, supporting being safe and feeling safe for every student every day whether in-person or virtual. Addressing COVID-19 learning loss through extended summer, before school, and after school, programming focused on literacy, math, and social-emotional interventions for ALL students who need them. We will know that most children will need added time and support. We believe that this is an opportunity to reimagine school, to be mindful of and build on what we have learned during our virtual learning, in-person learning, and leading during a pandemic, and adjust going forward. 

*Commitment to equity, antiracist culture, and social justice by taking clear action in our work with each other to build anti-racist identities and practices. True anti-racism training must be ongoing, and it must involve networks to support us in this practice. This work must be accountable to the people of color who find themselves targeted by racism on a daily basis. We have focused on policy and curriculum work. We will continue to move our district forward together.

*Development of a theory of action that focuses on literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional development for all and uses it as a lever for improving the performance of high needs students by closing their achievement gap. The actions are also based upon the need to develop the capacity to raise the performance of all students. 

*We have built our budget to support this commitment and reimagined not only school but our process and approach to maintain our moral obligation to our children while being sensitive to the needs of the community at this unprecedented time. This includes level funding for FY22. Our school district returned $1 million dollars for FY21 back to the town for unused bussing money, which was not the case in all towns. During the two years, we have worked tirelessly to secure significant grant funds, including over $300,000 for our literacy work. 

*Thoughtfully grown student-centered learning grounded in a collaborative learning environment: Through intense training as a Professional Learning Community & Deep Learning, we have been able to move our culture to allow our students and staff to embrace cycles of improvement and a growth mindset. While we began with a focus on literacy, we will continue our curriculum work into all content areas. This is being layered with the development of systematic intervention processes with evidence-based assessment tools and interventions. Professional development to support PLC and assessment literacy, including action research that has continued throughout the pandemic. Building-based teams will be developed next year.

*Development of a K-12 literacy curriculum that will ensure that our core educational program is grounded in evidence-based practices that will position them for a strong future. We will finally have the much-needed high-quality curriculum including explicit instruction in all components of structured literacy.

*Expanded the language and culture program (world language) for all students (includes expansion of dual language immersion for grades 5 and 6). We will continue to implement the world language and culture program by ensuring our 2021-2022 grade 6 students have continued access to the dual language immersion (DLI) program. We will also begin to re-establish Spanish classes for our elementary school students that are not enrolled in the DLI program. (The 2021-2022 will be year one of this multiyear implementation.)

*Improved special education programming ensures a strong program for our most vulnerable students through co-teaching models and transition programs. The specialized programs at the middle school level will also be expanded.

*Expanded the social-emotional learning & health programs to ensure that we are committing to a social-emotional learning (SEL) core that establishes a systemic approach to SEL. We are infusing the principles of emotional intelligence into the immune system of pre-K to 12 schools, informing how our leaders lead, our teachers teach, our students learn, and our families support our students. 

*We are in the process of re-establishing a strong health program and staffing for our elementary schools as when I started the school district was not currently meeting the RI General Law for the physical education and health minutes. This will be addressed in the 2021-2022 school year.

*Continue the commitment to the high-quality visual & performing arts program. These programs are critical to our community and students. 

*Support an engaging STEAM program for all students, using Project Lead the Way programming, Continue to expand our STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Career Technical programs through the high school state-approved programs. We are also strengthening our own elementary and middle school feeder programs. We believe that STEM education is now part of the core for all students and should be part of the educational programs for every child in every grade.

*Commitment to address our capital improvement program through the use of one-time funds to ensure building and technology infrastructure are proactively addressed. It is our responsibility to maintain our assets. We know that years of neglect of our capital have long-term impacts on our children’s learning environment.

*We have begun the work to revise the policies and practices surrounding the disclosure of directory information.  This will include an update of a standard operating procedure that ensures our students' privacy is a top priority at all times.  We have also created a new registration office that will be the center of student data management. In addition to policies and practices, there will be an annual, mandatory training for ALL teachers and staff. This training program has been developed. (Link here: https://corey.ispring.com/s/preview/27cc5d7a-bd70-11eb-999a-e2ba74138d7f )

It is our hope that we can all work together for our students. The leadership team has been laser focused on having clear objectives to step through what is best for our amazing learners. Moving forward we will:
1.Keep ALL Students at the Core

Our goal: Students who are highly engaged learners and ready for their future, will be engaged citizens in the service of making the world a better place.
 
2. Support Our Highly Effective Teachers and Staff

Our goal: Teachers who utilize evidence-based research, differentiated instruction, and assessment to engage all students in critical thinking and problem-solving.
3. Provide Strong Structures, Systems, and Teams

Our goal: To create systems and structures that promote teams, trust, and transparency, that include clear expectations, efficiency, and are fiscally responsible. 
4. Lead the District to a place where our South Kingstown students will be highly engaged, future-ready, and contributing stewards to a global society.

As we begin to emerge out of the pandemic, we will need to continue to focus on how to best position our schools for the future. It is important that the families of this great school district know that we are committed to their children’s future and that we will all continue to work together in their best interest. 



CALENDARS & DATES


>June Monthly COVID Calendars is Available HERE
>District Calendar is available HERE
>2021-2022 District Calendar is available HERE*
* Please note that the 2021-2022 District Calendar was updated on April 13, 2021. The first day of school for students is September 9.


Date

Type of Learning / Event

 Friday, June 25  Last Day of School



SKSD CASE DATA


From the time when we have opened our schools, we have had a total of 272 positive cases associated with SKSD. 

SKSD COVID Data can be viewed here.


SKSD COVID TESTING

On June 21, 2021, SKSD held COVID-19 Testing Events in each school. We tested 903 participants. We had no positive cases during this testing event.

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Location Total Number Tests Total Staff Total Students
SKHS 45 3 42
CCMS 205 8 197
BRMS 200 27 173
PDES 192 19 173
WKES 102 5 97
WES 82 14 68
MES 77 14 63
Total 903 90 813

  

Thank you to all that participated in our weekly testing events. 

SKSD COVID Testing Data can be viewed here (click the SKSD Testing tab)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION


DAILY SCREENING / WELLNESS CHECK

The COVID-19 symptoms are Fever or Chills • Cough (new) • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • Fatigue • Muscle or body aches • Headache • Sore throat • New loss of taste or smell • Congestion or runny nose (new) • Nausea or vomiting • Diarrhea


VACCINE INFORMATION


 COVID-19 SCHOOL AGE VACCINE INFORMATION  

From the State: All Rhode Islanders age 12 and older are eligible to register and be vaccinated and, according to RI law, parental consent forms are not required for those 12 and older.  Please visit Frequently Asked Questions | COVID-19 Vaccine for Adolescents Age 12 to 15 for more information or covid.ri.gov/kidsvaccineFAQs

 COVID-19 STATE VACCINE APPOINTMENT INFORMATION

The RI Vaccination sign-up is available here: https://www.vaccinateri.org/  This link allows you to search by location and by vaccine type.  

You can also visit C19VaccineRI.org and use the Vaccine Site Locator.

If you need help making an appointment, you can also call 844-930-1779.


COVID-19  VACCINE DATA

In South Kingstown, 54.6 % of the population is fully vaccinated. This is up from 54.1% last week. You can view additional information about this here.


 

IMPORTANT LINKS FOR ALL


Updated K-12 Health & Safety Guidance June 2, 2021

Spring Events Guidance June 2, 2021

Youth, adult, and school sport guidance (RIIL) May 21, 2021

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