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COVID-19 UPDATES

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

MAY 29, 2020 6:00 P.M.

Good evening Students, Staff, Families and Community,

I hope this email finds you doing well and taking good care of yourselves and your family. This weekend the month of May will come to an end, leaving us with just two weeks until graduation and three weeks until the end of this school year for all of our students. The feedback we continue to receive from our families tells us that celebrating the culmination of the Class of 2020’s high school careers and the many unknowns that surround the 2020-2021 school year are the primary topics of concern.

Graduation

This is a reminder the virtual graduation will air on our YouTube Channel, “Blaine School District, WA”, on Friday June 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

As I mentioned last week we have been working on a Phase 2 plan. If, and only if, Whatcom County is in Phase 2 by June 8 at 4:00 pm we will move to a pre-recorded session. The basics of this plan will involve recording on June 10. Students would receive a predetermined time to come walk across the “stage area” and have their picture taken. In order to meet social distancing expectations it will be critical that the schedule is followed.

We are still working on the details of where this recording and stage area will be located and are awaiting final guidance from our health department. There remains a possibility for limited family viewing, and we will communicate the final plans as soon as possible. As mentioned in my previous weekly message, if we remain in Phase 1, this will be a virtual presentation of prepared slides for each student. The final decision regarding the celebration for our graduates will be made no later than 4:00 P.M. on Monday, June 8.

2020-2021 School Year

Right now there are still far more questions than answers. Just a few of the questions families have asked us so far are in regards to the method of delivery for education, transportation, meals, social distancing, cleaning and the wearing of face coverings. We are working every day to problem solve around these, as well as many other issues. One thing has been made abundantly clear so far, and that is that we should all expect the coming school year to look different than both the start of this year and its end.

In addition to the state guidance, what we need now is your input. On this coming Tuesday, June 2, 2020, we will be publishing a survey that addresses some of the above points. We can plan all we want, and we can outline what we think will work best for our students and families, but we also realize collaboration with our families is essential for a successful plan. We also acknowledge that every family has to do what is best for them, and every family’s comfort level will be different. In the shortest and briefest of terms, the delivery model we implement will only work if you are willing to be a part of it. Please, watch for our survey next week and give us your input.

When I was honored with the opportunity to become your superintendent last August I could have never guessed this first year would look the way it has. Yet despite the adversity we have faced, we have faced it together. At every turn, I have been blessed to see our community coming together. When this all began in March I said this would be our time to shine, and it has been, and will continue to be, just that. It’s a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way.

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

MAY 22, 2020 8:30 P.M.

Good evening Students, Staff, Families and Community,

I hope you all are doing well and are able to enjoy the upcoming weekend. I wanted to give you an update on a few items from this week.

Meal Delivery

We want to make sure everyone is aware that we distributed two days worth of meals today, Friday, May 22nd, and there will not be a meal delivery on Monday. We will resume our meal routes on Tuesday and continue through June 19, 2020.

Seniors

Thank you to all the seniors and their parents who attended the question and answer session last night. We recognize that graduation is an important event to schools and families alike. I want to thank the high school administration and staff for working in collaboration to come up with the best plan for celebrating our seniors. Throughout this school closure we have continued to adapt as guidance has changed, and I believe our group of staff has come up with tremendous virtual plans that could be adapted for a Phase 1 or Phase 2 opening option. This decision was made after considering guidance from Governor Jay Inslee, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Whatcom Unified Command and state and local health department officials. We understand you may hear of other events occurring in different manners. I ask that you remember circumstances are different in different areas. Just today Governor Inslee reminded us, “these are decisions that are driven by public health data and science, not the calendar.” “To be clear: this does not mean that we will be able to open every county in the state on June 1.”

The premier of the virtual event, whether we are in Phase 1 or Phase 2, will occur on Friday June 12, 2020 at 5:00 P.M. local time on the district’s YouTube Channel, “Blaine School District, WA”.

Item Collection

As the calendar approaches June we are fast approaching the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year. Once we develop plans that meet social distancing guidelines we will begin to release them so students can return items such as textbooks, library books, and chromebooks. We want to let you know this will likely begin June 8 for Blaine High School, as the last day for seniors is June 12, and on June 15 for the other campuses.

2020-2021 School Year

With the close of one school year we also recognize questions will come up about the next school year. The State of Washington has created a group of stakeholders from across the state to work through some information and begin planning for next year. They are anticipating presenting options to school districts the week of June 8. Science tells us that school will look differently, and we are working to reduce the likelihood of a Fall spike in cases, which has been seen in previous outbreak situations. We are working on a survey for families with some basic questions around a potential return to the building and hope you will all take the time to complete this when it comes out, hopefully next Friday in our message. Your responses will help provide information that will be useful in our planning process.

Thank you for everything you are doing for your students and families. It is a great night to be a Borderite, and as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

MAY 15, 2020 8:30 P.M.

Good Evening Students, Staff, Families, and Community,

I hope this message finds you well and able to enjoy the recent beautiful weather.

I want to start this evening by addressing our Class of 2020 Seniors and their families. We know this year has not been what any of us envisioned, and we know you are missing out on many rites of passage that are normally a part of the last months of your high school career. I want to assure you that we are continuing to work hard to find the best way to celebrate your achievements. We received new guidance just yesterday, and we are evaluating the options the Department of Health has outlined. We want to make the best decision in support of our students and public health. Mr. Ellis and I will be hosting another question and answer session Thursday, May 21st at 6:00 pm.

For parents of students in every grade, we will be adding guardians to the Google Classroom for our students. This is not a requirement, by any means, but a way you can see the work your student is assigned and working on in the Google Classroom environment. You will get an email inviting you as a guardian in Google Classroom and can make a decision based on what’s best for you as to whether you accept the option or not. This is not intended to replace communication with the teacher, as you can still expect that to continue, but rather an additional tool we would like to make available to those who may want it.

We know there are many questions about what the start of the 2020-2021 school year is going to look like. The State has convened a group of stakeholders to discuss potential options, and we are awaiting the results of their work. We are living in a time of new normals, and I think we are all beginning to realize this next school year is going to involve discussions around a new way of looking at school. More guidance continues to come out from around the country and world about what reopening of schools might look like in support of public health. No one can say for sure yet what next year will look like, but we are beginning to have those deliberations as a leadership team. While we wait for the state group to present available options to us, we continue to evaluate the possibilities and logistics of multiple options. We are blessed in Blaine with tremendous educators and leaders and will continue to prepare for the best opportunities for our students in alignment with the options we are presented with.

We appreciate all the efforts our students and families are putting in place to support continuous learning in the Blaine School District. Please continue to give yourself patience and grace as we navigate this together. We welcome everyone to join us on Wednesday, May 20th at 6:00 P.M. for Question and Answers. I appreciate the opportunity to hear what is on your mind and to address your questions and concerns. Please follow our website and social media for information on the virtual meeting.

I am so appreciative of the community of Blaine and your continued support of our school district and its students. We take tremendous pride in our mission to be the best place in Washington for students to get an education. It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your Superintendent.

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

MAY 8, 2020 6:45 P.M.

Good Evening Students, Staff, Families and Community,

We hope this email finds you well as the calendar turns to May. We are so blessed to be in a community that has bonded together during this challenging time. We have just a few updates this week.

Seniors

Under new guidance seniors will be able to end the year on Friday, June 12, 2020. We are working through guidance to establish a plan for graduation, in some fashion, to occur on that date as well. Please stay tuned for updates in the next two weeks.

Google Meets

The Blaine School District is utilizing the Google for Education services that includes Google Classroom which you may have heard your students mention. In addition, we are using Google Meets for virtual classroom sessions. If your child has not attended a session their teacher may be having one in the near future. This provides us an opportunity to work together to improve our delivery of instruction in the event we need to operate remotely in the future.

Counselors are Available

We have counselors available for each age group in our district, and they are here to help you. Please find the email address below for your student’s counselor;

P-2 Craig Robinson crobinson@blainesd.org

3-5 Sarah Point-Moore spointmoore@blainesd.org

6-8 Mike Campfield mcampfield@blainesd.org

or Regina Twigg rtwigg@blainesd.org

9-12 Jed Decker jdecker@blainesd.org

or Rick Vanderyacht rvanderyacht@blainesd.org

Career Connected Learning Month

May is Career Connected Learning Month in Washington. Every school day at 3:30 PM, students can go to CareerConnect@Home and hear from people doing different types of jobs in our state.

Imagine your future at leading organizations like Seattle Children's Hospital, public radio station KUOW, Spokane's Avistaenergy company, superfast superstar Mod Pizza, and more. Learn about companies and careers linked to each weekly theme:

  • May 4-8: Technology & Innovation
  • May 11-15: Manufacturing, Trades & Energy
  • May 18-22: Startups, Small Business & Entrepreneurship
  • May 26-29: Education, Health Care & Government

Internet Access in Rural Communities

The State is conducting a survey of broadband internet access in rural communities. The link is below, and we would appreciate your participation.

https://www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-statewide-broadband-act/

We hope everyone gets to take some time to rest, relax and enjoy the weekend. Thank you for all you do for the students of the Blaine School District. It’s a great night to be a Borderite, and as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Respectfully,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every student. Every day. In a New Way.

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

May 1, 2020 6:00 P.M.

Good Evening Students, Staff, Families and Community,

Thank you to all the families who have been engaging in meaningful work and communicating with our exceptional teachers. Please remember there is an expectation of work from all students up to the time recommendations released by OSPI;

  • Pre–K: 30 minutes
  • Grades K–1: 45 minutes
  • Grades 2–3: 60 minutes
  • Grades 4–5: 90 minutes
  • Grades 6–8: 20 minutes per class (2.5 hours maximum per day)
  • Grades 9–12: 30 minutes per class (3 hours maximum per day).
  • If your child has difficulty completing the assigned work in the allotted time please communicate this with your child’s teacher. We appreciate all the work you are doing on behalf of your students by supporting them in giving their best efforts.

    GRADING

    One of the most common questions we continue to receive is in regards to grading. Students in grades 6-12 will receive letter grades of A, B, C, or Incomplete. An incomplete is reserved for those unique situations wherein individual circumstances prevent the teacher from being able to assess the level of the student, and will require collaboration of the teacher and family on a plan to complete any needed work when the 2020-21 school year begins. We will utilize the grade that was in place on March 13 as a baseline for students to ensure, as they continue to do work for their classes, that their grade does not end up below that baseline point when the 2019-2020 school year comes to an end on June 19. Again, this will only apply if an effort is being made and meaningful work is being completed.

    ITEM COLLECTION

    As for item collection from PE lockers, school lockers and desks, we will be doing this as a drive thru service next Tuesday and Wednesday May 5-6 based on the first letter of the student last name. All grades will be done at the same time in order to prevent families from having to make multiple trips. We ask that at the time you are scheduled to come you bring any items you need to return to the school such as library books or athletic uniforms. In addition, in respect for social distancing and safety of all please send 1 individual to pick up the items and please wear a mask. We will identify in the map below the traffic pattern for pick up. When you come to a stop, a staff member will ask for the students last name. The bag will be brought out and placed on the hood of the car for you to retrieve. For 7th/8th grade students who share a locker, campus administration will review items in the bag with the first individual and coordinate the return of items to the appropriate person.

    Next Tuesday and Wednesday 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm last name A-G

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm last name H-M

    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm last name N-S

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm last name T-Z

    Once we have completed these days and times we will have someone from the school district contact those individuals whose items have not been picked up to ask if you would like them mailed to you or donated to community-based support organizations for those in need.

    SENIOR / SENIOR PARENT QUESTION AND ANSWER

    Mr. Ellis and I will be hosting another question and answer session this Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 6:00 pm. Please look for the meeting information on our social media platforms. Please know that registration will be required to get into the meeting; a first name, last name and valid email address will be required. You will be denied entry to the meeting if the device you are using does not allow you the option to register. A password will not be published, as we are taking strict measures to help reduce the likelihood of zoom bombings in our meetings.

    I was recently listening to a talk by someone who I have appreciated as a big influence in my life. He said, “the greatness of a community is measured by the compassionate actions of its people.” We appreciate the patience and grace you have extended the school district and our staff in this pandemic and ask that you give yourself grace as well. We are weathering the same storm, but each of our stories and struggles are as unique as we are as individuals. Giving ourselves and one another grace and understanding is how we will get through this. I want you to know we are here for you.

    It is our time to shine as a district, to support all of you the best we can, and our time to shine as a community. I see examples of that everyday, with people finding unique and meaningful ways to support one another. My family and I are so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to become a part of this great community. It’s a great night to be a Borderite, and as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent

    Every Student. Every Day. Now in a New Way. 

    A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

    APRIL 24, 2020 5:45 P.M. 

    Good Evening Students, Staff, Families and Community,

    We have reached the end of another week of continuous learning for our students. Although I shared a video message earlier this week, I wanted to communicate the main points of the message to you again. I want this message to reach each and every one of our families, because supporting students and families remains a priority of mine. I want to assure you that you are being heard. We understand that us educating your kids, while they are in your home rather than in our buildings, is difficult.

    Although the situation we find ourselves in is fluid, with guidance from the state continually evolving, the recommended guidelines for maximum student time commitment each day remain, as of 4:00 P.M. today, Friday, April 24, 2020;

    Pre-K: 30 minutes

    Grades K-1: 45 minutes

    Grades 2-3: 60 minutes

    Grades 4-5: 90 minutes

    Grades 6-8: 20 minutes per class

    Grades 9-12: 30 minutes per class

    We are also asking that your child read, either with you or independently, for 20 to 30 minutes each day. Remember, we have Bedtime Stories for Little Borderites on our YouTube channel, Blaine School District, WA. We started the project prior to the COVID-19 situation to assist families with nightly reading, and we are working hard to make sure it is still there for you every night.

    We have amazing teaching and support staff in the Blaine School District. Teaching is a craft that takes years to develop, and we do not expect you to have perfected it in the 41 days since we last saw your children in our classrooms. What I ask is that you give yourself grace, that you take a deep breath, and trust that we are here for you.

    For children in our Primary and Elementary schools, focus on reading, writing and math. There are many other things available to your students through their google classrooms, and if your student is one who needs more to stay busy, then dive in to those enrichment activities. If it takes all you have to get your student through their reading, writing and math assignments, that is enough.

    For secondary students, continue to complete work for each of your classes based on the time expectations. If you have challenges or needs, please communicate them to your teacher through Google Classroom or email.

    Everyone, everywhere, is finding themselves impacted by our new reality. Know that this may mean your student’s best might look differently right now. Continue to support them to do the best they can with the hand we have all been dealt, and help them to know they are not in this alone.

    Every student, every day, now in a new way. It’s not just a tagline, it is how we will get through this. We are strong, and together we are stronger.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger

    a message from the superintendent

    APRIL 17, 2020 7:30 P.M. 

    Good Evening Blaine Students, Staff, Families, and Community,

    I hope this email finds everyone doing well. We hope you have all found time to engage in continuous learning opportunities with the wonderful staff of Blaine School District this week. As a district we had a great week being able to connect virtually with staff as well as a virtual supper with the superintendent and with senior students and their parents. We realize the events of this pandemic health crisis have been hard on our entire community, and we will be the beacon of light for our staff, students, families, and communities.

    One of the most frequent questions we’ve heard this week involves the materials your students may have in their desks or lockers in the school buildings. As we are under the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order we are only allowing essential personnel to access the buildings. These teams are working on gathering items and properly identifying them so we can schedule a “drive thru” pick up time, once conditions allow this type of activity.

    We have been working diligently to get chromebooks to those families who need them. Our current procedure is that students in the same household share a chromebook based on the number of hours of work we are asking students to complete. If you, or someone you know, is needing a device please ask them to email chromebooks@blainesd.org. They will then be emailed an information sheet to complete. Once that information is received, someone from the school district will get in touch with them.

    The issue of lunch money has been another common question. For those families who may wish to receive a refund of the money remaining on their student(s) lunch account, you can initiate the refund process by emailing food service director Laurie Pike (lpike@blainesd.org).

    Tonight at 8:20 p.m. – 20:20 – we will join the WIAA and school districts across our state as we light up our stadium for 20 minutes to celebrate the Senior Class of 2020. We will post pictures to social media, and wish to remind everyone not to gather, as the campus remains closed.

    We want to thank all of the staff of the Blaine School District who have been working so diligently to serve the students and community we care so much for. From those coming to the campus every day to clean, provide childcare, prepare and deliver meals, and prepare packets and materials, to those working remotely while balancing home and work life, we appreciate you. Working remotely is a new venture for all of us, and we appreciate the patience and grace you all have extended us. We will have the same patience and grace with our students and community.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger
    Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way.

    A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

    APRIL 10, 2020 6:00 P.M.

    Dear Students and Families,

    We know this is a unique and challenging time for the families in our community. We want to assure you the Blaine School District and all of its employees are committed to being a source of support and encouragement for you and your student(s). Although not being in the physical building for the remainder of the school year, we will remain in communication with you and ensure students are prepared for their return to our campuses when the time comes.

    Rest assured the health and safety of our students, staff, families and community are the priority. You can assist by establishing routines for your child at home to include academic time. We know each household may have situations that arise. Please continue to communicate any needs with your child’s teacher or the district office. We look forward to this new partnership with you in the education of your student(s).

    HERE you will find resources and information gathered from the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Teaching is a full-time job, and we are not asking anyone to become a replacement for the high-quality teachers we have in Blaine School District. What we are asking is that you encourage your student to give their best effort. Know we are here to support you. You can expect weekly communication from the school district through the Skyward system, our website, and social media accounts.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger

    Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way.

    A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT 

    APRIL 6, 2020 5:30 P.M.

    Dear Blaine Students, Staff, Families and Community,

    This afternoon Governor Inslee and State Superintendent Reykdal announced that in-building schooling will remain closed through the remainder of this school year. We have been preparing for this contingency, and the plans we have begun to implement for distance learning are a part of this preparation. We have worked hard to make sure that what we implement can be expanded upon and be sustainable.

    Any announcement of this magnitude comes with a lot of questions. Rest assured that we will always put the needs of the students first and look forward to learning together. We are working to evaluate all options, and are also waiting to receive more specific guidance from the state on the parameters around the closure.

    We will continue to be open with our communications as we navigate this new way of educating our students. As I said in my last update to you, we are strong, but together we are stronger. I continue to strive to meet the needs of every student, every day, in a new way. With you help I know we will achieve this.

    Take good care,

    Dr. Christoper Granger, Superintendent

    A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

    april 4, 2020 10:00 a.m.

    Dear Blaine School District Students, Staff, Families and Community,

    I hope this message finds you and your family safe. I can’t believe it is already April. As you are aware we have been focusing on feeding children, providing childcare for essential staff, and optional educational opportunities for students. Beginning Monday, April 6, 2020, we will be discontinuing our meal picks up at Blaine High School and replacing them with neighborhood stops in the Central Blaine area. Please remember to practice social distancing and remain at least six feet away from others. Visit our COVID-19 Nutrition Plan page for more information.

    Our staff has been working together this week preparing for continuous learning opportunities, educational services, and opportunities for families with a roll out date of Monday, April 13, 2020. We have been inviting students in grades 6-12 to pick up chromebooks on a limited basis after surveying family needs and will be working on the same process in grades K-5 this week. In addition, we are providing materials via US Mail for the week of April 13 to all K-5 students, and those students in grades 6-12 who need paper-based materials. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we transition to providing learning opportunities in a new way.

    You should expect at least weekly communication from your student(s) teachers to support their work. As these assignments will be reviewed and graded, it will provide a means for your student(s) to receive feedback from their teachers as well as prepare your student(s) for their next grade level. At the bottom of this letter you will find some at home activities from the US Department of Education, as well as parent resources from our insurance provider for helping your children stay safe online.

    We know there are questions about students moving to the next grade level. Rest assured those students who were on track to promote or graduate on March 13, 2020, when school buildings were closed, will remain on track to promote. In support of a new method, we are also discussing a plan to move all grading scales to a Pass/Fail status as opposed to numeric grade. We realize most parents are not teachers by trade, and the craft of teaching takes time to develop. What we are asking is for you to support your student in giving their best effort, so we can assist them in their academic progress. Please, reach out to us if you need assistance. We are stronger working together in collaboration, as we support every student, every day, in a new way.

    Finally, we want to remind you to stay safe, stay healthy and know we look forward to seeing you again soon! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the Blaine School District Website for updates and information.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent

    Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way.


    At Home Activities – US Department of Education (https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus?src=feature)

    Department of Defense: Learn about careers in STEM fields

    Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics: Kids' Zone

    Department of Energy: Games and Activities; Virtual Field Trips to National Energy Labs

    Environmental Protection Agency: Games, Quizzes, and Videos about the Environment

    The Library of Congress: Presentations and Activities to Help Students Learn about History

    NASA: Interactive Lessons about Space, Earth, Solar System and Universe; Lessons from Astronauts about Living in Space; STEM Activities for Students of All Ages

    The Kennedy Center: Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems; Tour the Kennedy Center with The Pigeon

    The Smithsonian: Free Smithsonian STEM Games and Simulations; Meet the Animals of the National Zoo; 3D Exhibits and Virtual Tours; Smithsonian Magazine Ten Museums You Can Virtually Visit; The Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour; Digital Smithsonian American Art Museum; Distance Learning Resources

    NOAA: Use Real-Time Ocean Data to Explore the Environment

    USGS: Learn from Home About Physical science, Geography and Maps

    STAY SAFE ONLINE- PARENT RESOURCES

    With younger students spending more time on the internet, communicating with them about online safety and cyber bullying is more important than ever. Please find below resources that parents can use to help them have these key conversations. WSRMP recommends that parents review the material and videos before sharing with their children.

     Provided by the Federal Trade Commission these “Protecting Kids Online” resources are available both online and in printable PDF form. Topics include cyber bullying, online safety, mobile phone safety and tips for how to have the conversation with your kids. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/protecting-kids-online

     Shared by the Stay Safe Online branch of the National Cyber Security Alliance, this website provides an outline on how parents can guide their children to become good digital citizens. It includes links to other resources specifically for teens. https://staysafeonline.org/get-involved/at-home/

     A lesson plan example that parents can use to teach younger children about internet safety. Includes links to online quizzes and videos to help support learning. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/internet-safety-younger-elementary-mary-beth-hertz

     This tutorial by GCF Global is designed for any parent or guardian who wants to learn how to keep their kids safe online. The tutorial includes tips, recommended guidelines and links to other internet safety resources. https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/internetsafetyforkids/teaching-kids-about-internet-safety/1/

     The Australian Government eSafety Commissioner has created animated video resources that parents can share with their elementary school aged students. Students will follow story characters, “Hector and his sea creature friends,” as they learn about safe online practices.

    o Link to Videos: https://www.esafety.gov.au/educators/classroom-resources/hectors-world/student-home

    o Link to a classroom teacher's guide, which includes activity sheets and lesson plans. https://www.esafety.gov.au/educators/classroom-resources/hectors-world

    a message for senior students and their parents/guardians

    APRIL 3, 2020 7:45 P.M.

    Dear Parents/Guardians of our Borderite Seniors,

    I write to you tonight not only as your proud Blaine School District Superintendent, but also as the parent of a senior student. I am certain you have some of the same wonderings and conversations that occur in our household. We know the highlights that accompany the culmination of 13 years of education mean as much to parents as they do to students, and it is something we as educators look forward to each year as well. We are currently working on contingency plans for a graduation activity for June 8, in case there are still restrictions on gatherings in our area at that time. We will communicate those as soon as we have additional guidance on gatherings.

    With that in mind, we want to share with you some important information and reassure you we will provide all means necessary to assist students in meeting all graduation requirements. These include the following:

    • Earning needed credits
    • Completing a High School & Beyond Plan
    • Fulfilling a graduation pathway with test scores or alternate means

    Throughout this school year counselors have met with many seniors and continue to have ongoing conversations regarding each student's progress towards meeting graduation requirements. You can anticipate counselors reaching out, in the coming week, to any students who are not on track to graduate. If your student is unsure about their status they can reach out to their counselor via email, Mr. Decker (jdecker@blainesd.org) or Mr. Vanderyacht (rvandryacht@blainesd.org).

    Credit Acquisition:

    All students have the ability to turn in any unfinished work that was previously assigned in the third quarter prior to closure. Teachers are accepting this work and will assess it for a grade/credit. Our teachers will continue to communicate with their students weekly and continue moving their learning forward. Please make sure your student is aware of how to check their school district Google email (first.last@stu.blainesd.org) as well as Google Classroom where teachers will be placing work for students during the school closure. They should anticipate approximately 2 hours of work per week, per class period. It is important they manage their time wisely and complete assignments for all courses to ensure they remain on track for graduation.

    Obstacles to work Completion

    We know there are many things going on in the lives of our students and their families. If you have an obstacle to completing work such as technology oraccess, or simply need assistance, please reach out to your counselor, advisor, teacher or contact the district office at 360-332-5881. We are committed to helping you remain on track in completing work towards graduation.

    High School & Beyond Plan:

    For students who have not yet met this requirement, counselors will communicate any specific remaining components of their High School & Beyond Plan. This is a requirement for senior students.

    Testing or Alternate Graduation Pathways:

    For students who have not yet met this requirement, counselors will communicate specific plans to help them complete their pathway.

    AP Course and Testing:

    As you may already know, the College Board has made a number of changes to this year’s AP testing process, due to school closures across the nation. The link below provides specific information about AP testing, online resources, and other important information about all things AP. Your student's AP teacher will also be in regular communication throughout our closure.

    AP Course and Testing Information

    Senior Student and Parent/Guardian Question and Answer:

    Mr. Ellis and I are working on a virtual question and answer session for seniors and their parents/guardians. It is currently scheduled for Thursday April 16, 2020 at 6:00 pm. We will have information on our website soon for accessing this meeting.

    We thank you for your grace and understanding and look forward to connecting with you soon.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent
    Scott Ellis, Principal       
    Wayne Vezzetti, Assistant Principal
    Every Student, Every Day, In a New Way

    a message from the superintendent

    march 27, 2020 7:15 p.m.

    Good evening students, staff, families, and community,

    I wanted to reach out and give you an update. Our staff has worked many hours navigating the guidance from the state and ensuring we are providing the best opportunities for our students and families. We currently have three top priorities we have been able to get in place; nutrition needs of students, childcare for healthcare workers and first responders, and continuous learning opportunities for students.

    Our teaching staff has been working on plans to provide educational services and opportunities for families. We are testing out the distribution of chromebooks to a small control group, so that we can determine what bugs may need to be worked out. I will have more information to share with you on this in a future update. As teachers are beginning to reach out to families, we encourage you to make sure your contact information is current in Family Access.

    I will continue to communicate with you as we navigate our way through this process and begin, together, to find a new normal. I have expressed before that I believe the Blaine Way is one of a community that rallies together to lift one another up. I truly believe we will find the best way to provide for every student, every day, if we continue to work together and support one another.

    Below you will find a brief message about learning opportunities and resources from elementary and secondary campuses. We put them in this one location in an effort to make it easier for all. Please know our staff is thinking of you and your family, and we are all looking forward to seeing our students soon.

    I wish you all good health and perseverance for the times ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger

    BSD Resources

    Blaine School District Skyward Family Access

    P-5 Resources

    P-5 staff are providing a list of available optional learning resources for you to engage with as you work with your child in the coming weeks. These resources are intended to support student learning in a variety of academic, social and emotional learning areas. We encourage you to explore these resources as you engage with your learning at home. We look forward to ongoing engagement with you as we support our students during this unique time. Please feel free to reach out to your child's teacher with questions about ongoing learning opportunities.

    Blaine Primary and Elementary Staff

    Imagine Learning - Math and Reading Activities

    Readworks - Reading Passages and Activities

    Storyline Online - Free Read Alouds

    Go Noodle - Mindfulness and Movement at Home

    Conscious Discipline - Links to Family Resources

    6th – 12th Google Classroom

    We believe that meaningful connection and learning between students and teachers is tremendously important during this unusual time. Our goal is to stay connected with every student and give them access to individual instruction that meets them where they are. All teachers will be using Google Classroom as a starting point to achieve this goal.

    Using school logins (firstname.lastname@stu.blainesd.org) and passwords, students have access to Google Classroom and school GMail accounts. Students should visit Google Classroom and check for updates daily. Students should also check their recently activated student Gmail every day, and use it as a way to communicate with their teachers.

    Yes, we have a lot to figure out, teachers included. But learning is what we are here for, right? Please be sure to contact your teachers as soon as possible if you have any technology concerns, and we will do our best to problem solve.

    Go to sites.google.com/blainesd.org/6-12learningresources for more information and helpful guides to our new classroom environment. Be patient. Be kind. Be Strong. Be BORDERITES!

    Blaine Middle School Resources

    Blaine Middle School staff has put together more than forty optional learning activities for you and your family organized by grade level and subject area. Included are engaging social emotional learning and a wide variety of literacy, math, and science lessons and activities. We encourage you and your family to explore all the learning activities we have assembled regardless of your grade level. Miss you and care about you. - BMS Staff

    Grades 6-8 resources

    Blaine High School Resources

    High School teachers have set up Google Classrooms with enrichment activities that have been incorporated into those classrooms for next week. Students should communicate with their teachers about missing assignments now and throughout this process. Staff are here to help and should be communicating with you.

    • BHS Staff

    If your student is unable to communicate with their teachers at this time via Google Classroom, please contact Mr. Ellis or Mr. Vezzetti and consider the following enrichment activities for next week:

    Blaine High School Library Webpage -Stay connected to Blaine High School and access the fun, engaging and useful research provided. https://sites.google.com/blainesd.org/bhslibrary/home?authuser=0

    Khan Academy - Khan Academy includes math, science, history, reading, storytelling, career exploration, and much more. https://www.khanacademy.org

    WOIS- Continue exploring WOIS for career and educational planning. Login as you would in your BUILD Class.

    Other Community Resources

    Pt. Roberts Resources

    Opportunity Council Nutrition Resources

    A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

    MARCH 25, 2020 5:30 P.M.

    Dear Students, Staff, Families, and Community,

    We hope you are staying well and finding ways to connect as a family unit during this time. Earlier in the week we shared some enrichment activities for you and your student(s) to engage in and we will be sending additional ones to you this Friday. As many of you may already have seen there have been many updates to the guidance coming from the state this week. While initially we were told to focus voluntary enrichment activities and investigate our capacity for other learning avenues, the state is now increasing the expectation to include providing learning for all students. In preparation for a more robust instructional delivery program we are adding these priorities between now and April 12, 2020.

    1. Continuing process of surveying families about access to devices and wifi, for a deployment plan for those in need.
    2. Teachers are meeting in grade level and content teams
    3. Teachers are engaging in professional learning including training on Google Classroom
    4. School level planning for ongoing learning opportunities and providing meaningful feedback to students

    As a reminder for privacy reasons school staff may be calling you from a phone number that will show up as “UNKNOWN CALLER” as they are working remotely, so if you have the availability to answer it would be greatly appreciated.

    I could not ask to be in a better location than Blaine Washington surrounded by an amazing staff and community that continues to show their flexibility and grace. Please feel free to reach outat any time if we can assist you in any way.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger

    Every Student. Every Day.

    A MESSAGE REGARDING TEACHING AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

    MARCH 23, 2020 8:00 A.M.

    Good Morning students, staff, families and community,

    Below you will find a letter from Dr. Thomas, our Director of Teaching and Learning. She and her team have been working tirelessly to develop learning opportunities for our students during this unprecedented closure. We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff working on behalf of our youth.

    As we roll out this first of what will be many communications to you regarding teaching and learning, please remember that for now we want children to work on refreshing, reviewing, and retaining what they know. We don't want families to feel like they have to replicate the school learning environment. Try not to stress. Try to enjoy your time together.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent
    Every Student. Every Day.

    A Message from the Department of Teaching & Learning

    Dear Families,

    We love our students and are deeply committed to their learning and growth, so we’re eager to provide support and connect with kids during this challenging time. That said, our top priority must be protecting the health and safety of our community. We’ve been busy getting food service up and running, keeping track of changes in guidelines, as well as engaging in some initial planning for childcare options. This week, our amazing teachers are back working in new ways to provide resources, connect with students and families, and engage in remote professional learning opportunities.

    As Dr. Granger shared Friday, our goal will be to offer some optional enrichment activities that help students continue learning during this extended time at home, rather than try to replicate what their typical classroom experience would be. As many of us are parents as well as eduEverycators, we can imagine you’ll be more than happy to have some ideas to keep the kiddos busy! Below you’ll find a link to a message from your child’s principal with some basic initial resources to use with your kids during this time, if you so choose. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we are all working hard to navigate a complex and rapidly changing situation.

    PK-5 Message from Dr. Baldwin
    BMS Message from Mr. Benson
    BHS Message from Mr. Ellis

    You can expect to have weekly communications regarding learning resources from your child’s school. Please reach out via email to your child’s teacher or principal if you have questions.

    Warmly,

    Stacy Thomas, Ed.D
    Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
    & BSD Teaching & Learning Team

    A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

    MARCH 20, 2020 7:00 P.M.

    Dear staff, students, families and community,

    It is hard to believe we are approaching the end of March. So much has changed in our community over this month. We are working hard as a district to meet the needs of students, staff and the community as a whole in the form of meals and planning for childcare. We are also working through what enrichment learning opportunities would look like in the ever-changing environment as we prepare for the scheduled return to the traditional school setting on April 27. Once we have addressed the nutrition and child care needs, identified by the Governor as top priorities, we will be able to turn more of our attention to learning.

    Free meals for children

    It is with great pride that I can tell you our first three days of providing meals to our community has been a huge success. I would like to thank the staff in our district office, food service department, and transportation department who worked to get meal pick-up and delivery started this Wednesday. This is a tremendous opportunity to ensure the children of our community continue to receive nutrition during this challenging time. Meals can be picked up on weekdays between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon in the parking lot between the high school and the new high school grandstands. In addition to meal pick up, we are delivering meals along bus routes for children as well. Please visit our nutrition plan website for information on times and locations.

    Childcare

    Once we were able to get food service started for the children of our community we turned our attention to the Governor’s directive to provide childcare in a narrow scope of healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel. This task has proven to have several requirements we are navigating carefully with the guidance of the state. As we work through this, please remember this will be a very limited service, and a small group setting is the best place for everyone at this time. Thank you to those who completed our survey. We will have a small staff at Blaine Primary School on Monday March 23, 2020 from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon to allow individuals in qualifying categories to complete required paperwork. This will further allow us to evaluate our capacity to provide this service on campus or through a community partnership.

    Continued learning

    As we entered this closure at the end of last week we asked staff to treat this week similar to a weather closure. We know at this time we will have to make up days through June 19, 2020. Our administrators have spent this week developing plans and procedures for the extended closure. Early next week families and students should expect to hear from more from principals and teachers through the phone numbers and emails that are on file in Skyward. If you need to update information please contact the district office (360-332-5881) and we will direct you to the appropriate department. One of the items we will be gathering data on in these initial contacts will include identifying family needs around wifi and computer or smart phone availability. We know online learning is not a replacement for the wonderful things that occur in the classroom environment with teachers and students, and we are not trying to replicate that typical experience.

    At this time we are considering providing students with optional enrichment learning opportunities aimed at refreshing, reviewing and retaining information. Please extend grace to one another (and yourselves) when it comes to these efforts. While we navigate the evolving health crisis, we need to approach at-home learning with patience and know that when we work together great things will continue to happen for our students.

    Please, continue to take good care of yourselves and of each other.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger
    Every Student. Every Day.

    BLAINE SCHOOL DISTRICT TO CLOSE BEGINNING MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020

    Good afternoon Blaine School District Students, Staff, Families and Community,

    We know the past few weeks have been stressful for many in our communities because of the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. We are grateful to all our students, staff and families for navigating this situation in partnership with our school districts.

    Today the Whatcom County Health Department made a recommendation to close all schools until at least April 24, 2020 (WCHD release). All Whatcom County superintendents have agreed to follow this recommendation and close schools no later than March 17, 2020. (Superintendent’s release) The decision was made not in response to any case(s) in Whatcom County, but in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. Today’s announcement followed one yesterday from Washington State Governor Jay Inslee ( video link / statement) to close school districts in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties from March 17 through April 24, with the indication that an order for other counties would follow.

    As the Governor and Washington State’s Superintendent Chris Reykdal have charged school districts to do, we are working on childcare options and nutritional services. We are moving forward to develop systems to allow for food delivery and pick up for children in our community, as well as providing childcare for those who serve our communities in health care, as first responders, and in other essential areas, such as utilities.We want to do as much as possible to ensure the critical systems of healthcare and safety can continue to respond to the needs of our community. If you are a family who works in one of these areas, and the closing of schools will lead to you needing childcare during regular school hours, please complete our survey here by 8 p.m. Sunday, March 15, 2020. We will use the information you provide to be best prepared to help.

    We expect to receive further guidance from state officials in the coming days and will provide updates as soon as we are able. As new information becomes available we will communicate through our website, app notifications, social media channels, and email.

    We recognize and understand the multiple impacts this will have on our families. We also recognize our responsibility to support early, comprehensive, and sustained social distancing measures in order to lessen the pressure on our health care system and potentially save lives. We are learning from the experiences other communities are enduring around the world.

    I want to assure you this is not a decision we have made lightly or without considerable thought and consideration. Making challenging decisions is a part of what we must do at times, and this has been one of the most difficult. We will continue to communicate and partner with you as we navigate this difficult time.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger

    MARCH 11, 2020 7:30 P.M.

    Dear students, staff, families, and community,

    Today my staff and I listened to Governor Jay Inslee’s briefing on COVID-19, where he provided guidance on ways to slow the spread of this virus, including efforts being implemented in some Washington counties to reduce social interactions. I also met with Whatcom County superintendents today and attended an online briefing from the Washington State Department of Health.

    The governor and the health department are asking schools in our area to stay open for now; however, he is asking all school districts in the state to begin contingency planning. We have been planning and will continue to do so. We are preparing for the possibility of closures and encourage our families to begin planning as well.

    Schools serve many important functions in our community, and we are aware of the many impacts a closure may have. They are key to meeting students’ basic needs, such as nutrition and care, and keeping our community functional. There is overlap between our health care professionals, first responders and our parent community, and we want to support these critical local employees and maintain the capacity of the health care system by taking care of children, so parents can work.

    Here are the actions we are taking:

    • We continue to develop and refine contingency plans for possible local closures
    • We have updated our directives for increasing social distancing. This will affect meetings and events in our schools (see FAQ Page).
    • We continue to encourage staff and students to stay home when they are sick.
    • We are continuing to take extra care in our schools and workplaces to follow the CDC’s best advice for non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes.
    • We are utilizing additional custodial staff to assist with nightly cleaning of schools.

    Since Governor Inslee's press release this morning, several school districts south of us, where there are more confirmed cases, have instituted closures. You also have likely heard about cancellations of in-person classes at local higher education institutions like Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College. Please remember that our context is different than each of these situations. What a college can implement is different than what is easily implemented in a system with students from grades pre-K – 12, and the governor and the health department are still asking us to remain open to serve our families.

    You can find updates to our new COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page for families and staff, such as:

    • Am I too sick to go to school or work?
    • What are our plans for district and school events?

    Our Communicable Disease Information page remains our most up-to-date source of information.

    We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time as we navigate waters which are uncharted for us all. We understand each family's need to make decisions based on their unique situation and will continue to support your ability to do so. We have come to understand that early, comprehensive, and sustained social distancing measures will be important during this time. We believe we have an obligation as a public institution to do what is in our power to lessen the pressure on our health care system in order to have the greatest impact on our community's overall health. As we move forward together, please, make sure you are taking care of yourself and your loved ones at this time of stress and anxiety. It is going to take an abundance of leaders working together to support our community, and we are blessed by so many natural leaders in Blaine to collaborate with in situations such as these. We are truly appreciative of your support.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Christopher Granger

    Every Student. Every Day.

    March 11, 2020 11:35 A.M.

    A Message from the Superintendent

    Dear Students, Staff and Families,

    Our staff has just finished watching Governor Inslee’s press release. It is our understanding that there will be an impending announcement specific to education and potential closures, and we are working to identify potential scenarios and coordinating operating solutions. I have additional meetings occurring today, including one with the Whatcom County Health Department and one with all Whatcom County superintendents. I intend to gather information from all available sources today before making any specific announcements about activities or schedule changes.

    Keep following the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as washing your hands, and take good care of yourself.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Christopher Granger
    Every Student. Every Day.

    MARCH 10, 2020

    A Message from the Superintendent:

    I wanted to reach out to you this evening as I am sure by now you are aware the Whatcom County Health Department has announced new information this evening. A portion of the press release included the following;

    Today, Satpal Sidhu, the Whatcom County Executive, in coordination with the Whatcom County Health Board, declared a Whatcom County public health emergency to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. In response to the rapidly evolving situation in Whatcom County, Dr. Greg Stern, Whatcom County Health Officer, has also issued new recommendations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

    The Whatcom County Health Department has confirmed one person tested positive for Coronavirus, improved and was later discharged. The health department did update their recommendations, included in the link below. At this time they are not recommending the closure of schools, but are recommending the cancelation or postponement of non-essential large public gatherings (groups of 10-50 or more).

    https://www.whatcomcounty.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1644

    Our leadership team and I are participating in a health department update in the morning. We will plan to announce any impacted events for this week by the end of the day tomorrow and I will continue to keep you informed.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Christopher Granger

    Every Student. Every Day.


    THURSDAY, MARCH 05, 2020

    A Message from the Superintendent

    Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

    As of the latest Whatcom County Health Department briefing at 3:00 p.m. today, there are NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Whatcom County. We know as the global circumstances are reaching close to home people are becoming more concerned about the virus. I want to assure you that Blaine School District staff members are continuing to work diligently to monitor the situation, are following all recommendations by the health department, and are preparing for multiple possible scenarios.

    Some of you have reached out to us regarding your concerns about potential illnesses and the impacts they could have on your families. Although health jurisdictions are currently recommending against the closure of schools, we understand and support each family’s need to make decisions based on what is best in your unique situation. We are following normal communication procedures for absences and ask that you communicate any absences to your child’s school.

    There has also been some concern expressed regarding events and activities. At this time there are no planned cancellations, however we are reevaluating these daily and will announce any schedule changes immediately.

    The care and safety of our students and staff remains my top priority, and I will continue to communicate with you as this situation develops.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Christopher Granger
    Every student. Every day.

    MONDAY, MARCH 02, 2020

    A Message from the Superintendent:

    Good Evening,

    As we make our way through this evolving, fast-changing situation that surrounds COVID-19, I have decided I would like to err on the side of over-communicating with our staff, students, families and communities. So, although there is nothing new to report as to the status of COVID-19 in our community or even in the larger community of Whatcom County, I still wanted to reach out to you and provide my assurance that we are continuing to closely monitor the situation.

    As of this time, the message remains that of a focus on slowing the spread of the virus through NPI's (non-pharmaceutical interventions) such as, regular and repeated hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, and staying home when ill. Eating fruits and vegetables and drinking extra fluids are other ways to keep your body healthy and help it fight off infection.

    Tomorrow afternoon I, and a team of district staff, will participate in the latest briefing from the Whatcom County Health Department, this one specifically directed towards schools and the unique concerns the education community is facing. We are continuing to work closely and in conjunction with the Health Department to ensure we are doing everything possible to best protect the health and well being of our staff, students and community.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Christopher Granger
    Every student. Every day.