Blaine Way

SUPERINTENDENT'S MESSAGES

FEBRUARY 26, 2021

Good evening students, staff, families and community, 

Much planning is happening at the school district as we look ahead into the 2021-2022 school year. As is always the case for school districts, we are operating with one foot in the current school year and one in the upcoming school year. Our goal is to have all of our students in class, all day, five days a week in the 2021-2022 school year, and we are planning for that. In order for that to be possible however, the six foot social distancing regulations would have to change, and since we can’t be sure that will happen, we must also plan for a hybrid learning model with an online only option.  

We will be seeking the help of our families to successfully plan for a hybrid/online model. In March you will see a planning survey from us asking for your feedback about this school year and your plans for next year, should a hybrid model still be required. We will make plans based on your input, and then, in May, we will ask you to attest to your learning model choice for the 2021-2022 school year. (If full time school is available those attestations will be moot.) 

Although this may feel like an early timeline for families, it is critical for us to have time to plan while both staff and students are still on campus. Much of our staff does not work year round, and everyone needs to be present for the planning that will have to occur. In addition, we want our school counselors in the 6-12 grades to be able to communicate with students about their schedules for the next year. 

I want to assure you we have all the appropriate safety measures in place and a solid COVID-19 response plan. We believe the processes we have in place provide for a safe educational environment for staff and students, and we believe the absolute best place for kids is in our buildings, interacting with our amazing teachers and staff, every day. We are committed to working to make that happen for the 2021-2022 school year, and we are advocating for a social distancing rule that would make it possible. Without a change in the social distancing guidance, full school days for all students, every day, will be logistically impossible. We encourage you to join us in advocating for this safe change by reaching out to Governor Inslee, your state legislators and the Washington State Department of Health

This Monday evening, March 1, 2021, I will host a virtual Community Q&A at 6:00 P.M. Although we cannot yet hold our Supper with the Superintendent and share a meal together, I will, as always, offer a gift card and treat one random participant to dinner at a local Blaine establishment. I hope you will join us. 

Finally this evening, I would like to say thank you to our students, families, staff and community for all their efforts and support of a successful return of Borderite student athletes to the field and court this week. While the scoreboard may not always reflect our desired outcome, the sportsmanship and class we display on the field and in the stands is part of what makes Blaine a great place to be. Thank you for supporting and cheering on the Borderites in challenging times in the stands and at home through our Borderite Sports YouTube channel.  

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger  
Every student. Every Day. In a New Way!

FEBRUARY 19, 2021

​Good evening students, staff, families and community, 

It has been a very busy week for us, as the BHS Borderites have hosted three athletic competitions this week, and we have had visitors on our campus for the first time in almost a year. Two more will take place tomorrow, Saturday, February 20th. Although COVID restrictions limit the number of supporters who can attend, the events will livestream for free on our new YouTube channel, Borderite Sports. Visit goborderites.com for our full schedule of sporting events. 

A few important guidelines regarding athletic events;

  • Only those who have received a ticket in advance may attend an event 

  • For football games - a parking pass will be required to drive onto campus

  • Please bring your completed health attestation to the event entrance (distributed with tickets)

  • Temperatures will be taken at the event entrance

  • Visiting fans are not permitted at away games

  • All campus visitors must wear a mask at all times

  • Per Governor Inslee’s Sporting Activity COVID-19 Requirements a maximum of 200 people are permitted at an event

  • If you do not have a ticket and a parking pass for football - please do not come on campus

  • People congregating in parking lots or along fence lines on school grounds will be asked to leave

We know many of you are disappointed by the attendance restrictions on our sporting events, and we understand. We want to see our stands full of fans and have our athletes feel the energy of your support. We know there may be times when it feels as though following these guidelines is unfair, but going against them risks potential consequences for our students, such as lost opportunities to continue participating in extracurricular activities. We ask for your understanding and support as we celebrate this opportunity our students have been given to play the sports they love, however different it may be for us all.

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger 

FEBRUARY 12, 2021

​Good evening students, staff, families and community, 

I hope this message finds you well on this first evening of our mid-winter break. I know many of you are waiting and wondering if it will be a snowy weekend. For the sake of our many students who have been waiting for a chance to play in it, I hope we get just enough flurries to bring them joy. 

As we announced last week, our Season 1 athletic practices have begun, and we appreciate all those who took time to attend the parent and student information meeting earlier this week. Regulations regarding gathering during COVID will prevent us from having many fans in the stands, with the exception of a small group of parents, so our staff are working hard to bring you the events in a new way. They will be live streaming on our new YouTube channel Borderite Sports, so head on over and subscribe to be kept up to date on what’s coming up. 

I would like to thank our parents and students who took time to fill out our most recent survey. That particular survey is collecting high level data we will be able to use for comparison over the coming years. However, we also heard you when you said you wanted to be able to provide more detail. We will publish a survey in March that is specific to learning during COVID and affords you the opportunity to add comments. In addition, I am planning to hold virtual focus group feedback sessions, beginning with parents of Special Education students. 

While we are adding these new opportunities to offer feedback, please know that I will continue to host regular Community Q&A’s, and I encourage you to attend. Our next Q&A will be Monday, March 1st at 6 P.M. I began these before COVID as our Supper with the Superintendent events, and intend to return to that format when we are able. It is my way of making myself available to you and ensuring you know I am always willing to listen. 

Please know you never have to wait for one of these events to reach out to me. I am just an email or a phone call away, and I am here to serve the students and families of our district. It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent. I wish you all a wonderful long weekend. 

Sincerely, 

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

FEBRUARY 5, 2021

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

We have wrapped up the first week of February, and, with the year progressing, will begin looking ahead to the 2021-2022 school year. Thank you to those who have completed the survey we shared out this week. This is a high level survey that is administered in many districts and allows us to get data from year to year to compare locally and with other districts. As we prepare for next year, we will be gathering information from various sources to refine our planning beginning in the March time frame. I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher, campus administrator or me with questions or concerns, as we are working in partnership with our families to provide the best education possible to the students of Blaine. I also encourage you to contact me anytime with your feedback, and mark your calendar for our next Community Q&A on Monday, March 1st at 6 P.M.

Picture days are coming up for all campuses in the near future, so please be aware of those dates. We are using Lifetouch district-wide this year, and you should have received an email communication with the details. For those students who are online only you should have also received an email from the district with more information and a link to schedule a time for your student’s pictures. This is an opportunity for families, but not a requirement. For those of you who may not feel comfortable coming to campus, but would like your student represented in the yearbook, there is an option for submitting your own photo. Please contact Mary Lou Kelly for the middle school and Jennifer Wheeler for the high school.

We are excited to announce we are starting our High School Season 1 Athletics. Volleyball and Girls’ Soccer return Monday, joining Cross-Country, Cheerleading and Football. All Season 1 sports will begin under Phase I guidance of the governor’s Roadmap to Recovery Plan and in accordance with the Department of Health and WIAA. The website links above should lead you to the sport specific guidance and safety protocols. We will be hosting an informational session on high school athletics this Wednesday at 6:00 pm via zoom, and the link will be available on our website.

The referral period for REACH, our Highly Capable program, opened this week, and emails were sent to all families with details about the program. For additional information about REACH, or to complete our Online Referral Form, visit our website

There are a couple of calendar items I would like to remind you of. Mid-winter break will begin on Friday, February 12th and include President’s Day, Monday, February 15th. New to our calendar this year are the built-in snow days. With the remote learning options now available to us, and no need to make up days, March 12th and 26th will be non-school days. We hope you can plan to enjoy a much deserved break on those days with your kids. 

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!

JANUARY 29, 2021

Good afternoon students, staff, families and community, 

This week marks the end of the first week of our second semester at Blaine School District. Next week is a B week, and we are excited to welcome those students who will be returning to the building for hybrid in-person learning for the first time. All families with students who are new to hybrid learning for the second semester should have received an email from their building principal, and if you have additional questions we recommend you visit your schools 2020-2021 school year page for more information.  

BHS Pre-Registration

The high school is working on building its master schedule for the 2021-2022 school year. Pre-registration for current 8th -11th grade students is part of that process. The areas of interest indicated by students during the pre-registration process helps to shape the schedule. The process will take place February 11th through February 19th. Please encourage your students to start thinking about their areas of educational interest, so they can help us plan. 

Be On Time and Be Prepared

Our campuses have mentioned some concerns about student attendance and preparedness. We know these times are difficult, and school is so very different. However, it is that difference that makes regular attendance more important than ever. If your student is participating in the hybrid learning model, please make sure you are familiar with the daily schedule and learning expectations and help your student understand the importance of following them. Remember, the school day does not end at 12:20, but rather with additional asynchronous learning in the afternoon. If you have questions about the schedule or expectations, please reach out to your student’s teacher or building administrator. Students also need to be sure to bring their chromebooks fully charged, and we suggest bringing their charger along as well just in case. 

Make Real Change

In December and January the school district expanded on what was formerly the Blaine Middle School’s Coin Drive for Blaine Food Bank and launched a new campaign called “Make Real Change”. BMS had been unable to hold ASB elections and bring its student leaders together, but the whole district and the wider community came together and made sure their efforts from past years continued. Staff, students, families, individual community members and local businesses rallied, and I’m pleased to say we raised $7,825 to support our local food bank and the many people in our community they serve. I send a heartfelt thank you to all who participated. 

I am so grateful for the many ways our community continues to come together during these difficult times to support one another. It is a great day to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great day to be your superintendent. 

Sincerely,

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


JANUARY 15, 2021

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

As this week comes to a close we are able to say that we have had all grade levels of students, PK-12, on the Blaine Campus for in-person learning for the first time since March 13, 2020. This is a tremendous accomplishment and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the educators and leaders in the Blaine School District.

As you are likely aware, we have seen rising COVID-19 case counts across Whatcom County. As schools are part of the larger community, this has impacted our campus, and we have had individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. We are pleased to report however that we have not seen any school based transmission of the virus. This means that, although there may be individuals who have tested positive, there has not been a spread of the virus in the school setting.

I want to thank all of our families for educating their students on the health and safety protocols and the students and staff for their cooperation in abiding by our daily screening, spacing, handwashing, masking, and cleaning procedures. Please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page for the latest updates on what you can expect if your student has been in close contact, within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, with a lab confirmed positive case. In addition, we are working with our website provider on a COVID-19 dashboard.

Recently the WIAA has cleared the path for a return of high school athletics in the State of Washington. We will begin having small group, outdoor, fitness based activities in preparation for the upcoming season. If you have any questions about the schedule, or if your student may be interested in joining an athletic team, please contact your student’s coach or our athletic director Sean Linville at 360-332-0394 or by email.

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!

JANUARY 8, 2021

Things to know

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

I hope this message finds you and your family in good health. We believe in our plans and procedures to keep students and staff safe at school and ask our community to continue their good work in following mask wearing, distancing and hand washing procedures. We were fortunate to bring back our 6th - 9th grade B Week students back earlier this week and look forward to the return of all grade levels to hybrid learning beginning Monday January 11, 2021 .

As we welcome all grade levels back we want to remind everyone of the importance of knowing which schedule your student is on, completing a daily health attestation, staying home when ill, and communicating with your teacher if you have any needs.

Also, as a reminder, for those families who requested a return to hybrid learning on the December survey those changes will take effect on Monday January 25, 2021 with the A Week students. You will receive an email through the Skyward system this Wednesday January 13, 2021 with your students A or B Week assignment. If there are any questions please contact the school office.

Thank you to our families and the greater community for all the work you have done to support our students during these unprecedented times. It is important that we remember we are in this together. Supporting one another is something I have seen this community do so well in my time here, and I have no doubt that will continue long after this pandemic has become only a memory.

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

DECEMBER 18, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

As I mentioned in my message last evening, the Governor’s office and the Department of Health have come out with a new decision making “tool kit” with revised metrics, guiding schools toward more in-person learning based on a growing research base that strongly indicates how safe our schools are.

While there is always a possibility of a positive case entering a school, research does not support that cases are spreading there. We believe in our well thought out protocols and procedures to mitigate transmission in the school setting and have seen them work well in our K-5 environment. We will continue to follow Whatcom County Health Department’s recommendations and safety measures.

We were able to meet with local health department officials as well as our labor representatives this morning, and we are happy to announce a plan to return to hybrid learning. We will remain on the schedule of half-day in-person learning and alternating weeks.

  • Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - Grades 6-9 Start Hybrid Learning

  • Monday, January 11, 2021 - Grades 10-12 Start Hybrid Learning

Additional important dates are below. Watch for links to these events to be published in the coming week.

  • Monday, January 4, 2021, 6:00 P.M. - Community Q&A

  • Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 6:00 P.M. - Middle School Hybrid Learning Information Night

  • Wednesday, January 6, 2021 6:00 P.M. - High School Hybrid Learning Information Night

Please review your student’s schedule assignment. If you requested a change to hybrid learning from online in the beginning of the year please know those changes will not take effect until Monday, January 25th. Those who requested schedule changes will receive confirmation from the district by January 15th.

While this is a wonderful step in the right direction, we are not out of this health situation. Our ability to continue with in-person learning is impacted by county metrics. We want you all to enjoy this holiday season, but please continue to follow the recommendations of distancing, masking, frequent hand washing, cleaning and limiting gatherings.

I want to thank all the administrators and teachers for their collaboration and support for a return to in-person learning. Through all of this, our team has never wavered in our advocacy for students to be in the building learning with our exceptional staff. We are so excited to share the news of this next step with you and can think of no better gift for our community this holiday season. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. I remain committed to making myself available and accessible to our 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!

DECEMBER 17, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

Yesterday, December 16, 2020, Governor Inslee, along with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Health, released new recommendations for the safe re-opening of schools in our state during a press conference. Many of the measures discussed are things already occurring in our district, including the return to hybrid learning for our youngest learners. We are working to refine those items that included changes from previous guidance.

Several new and/or updated documents came out of yesterday’s announcement. The Department of Health has released new “Tools to Prepare for Provision of In Person Learning among K-12 Students at Public and Private Schools during the COVID-19 Pandemic” which include new metrics for determining moderate and high levels of COVID-19 in a community. They have also made updates to the “K-12 Schools 2020 2021 Guidance”. In addition, the Governor issued Proclamation 20-09.3

Our administrators have been reviewing these documents and all those linked to within them, as we work to determine our next steps and develop a plan. In the next 24 hours our administrators will be continuing to work collaboratively with all involved. We will be meeting with the Whatcom County Health Department as well as our represented labor groups.

We will provide an update to our families as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

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

DECEMBER 11, 2020

Good Evening Students, Staff, Families and Community,

For the first time in what feels like a very long time, this was a week without any major changes or new guidance for us to report to you. We have just one week left before winter break and a chance for us all to rest and recharge. All of our buildings, including the district office, will be closed during the winter break. So a deep cleaning can occur and then our custodial staff will also get a much needed break. Some staff will continue to work remotely.

A few brief points of interest;

  • Daily Wellness Screenings are required and can be done in Skyward

  • Bus Schedules are available in Skyward

  • Changes requested through the online forms this week will go in effect Jan 25th

  • Those with schedule changes will receive an email confirming them by Jan 15th

  • Monday, Dec 14th at 6 P.M. is our next Q&A

As we make our way into December and this season of holidays, I hope that you are taking time to enjoy the things in life that matter most to you. Although many different traditions will be celebrated throughout our community this season, many of them will share a common theme of light. As you travel through these last few weeks of 2020 I hope you are able to embrace the light and begin to look forward to a much brighter year in 2021.

We will continue our Blaine Gives Back campaign through next week to benefit the Blaine Food Bank and hope all who are able will consider giving. After a little over one week we have brought in more than $1,400. That makes it a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way.

DECEMBER 4, 2020

Dear Students, Staff, Families and Community,

I hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe. Last week we were able to communicate that the Whatcom County Health Department had issued a strong recommendation to not only halt the return of 6-12 learners, but to also roll back in-person learning in this age group for all public and private schools in Whatcom County. We want to assure you that this does not mean we have stopped planning for next steps for these learners.

Please know that all of our staff are committed to providing in-person instruction for all students. No staff have indicated to us that they will not be returning to the building to work with students. In fact, all staff will be working from the buildings when we return from winter break to allow us to transition all Hybrid 6th-12th grade students to in-person learning as soon as the Whatcom County Health Department recommendations allow. When permitted, we plan on returning all grades to a hybrid model and will be prepared to do so with as little as 24 hours notice.

In order to prepare for a smooth transition on short notice, we are asking all families of 6th-12th grade students to be familiar with their student’s hybrid assignment (A or B) and the hybrid calendar. Virtual information nights for hybrid learners will occur Tuesday, January 5th for middle school and Wednesday, January 6th for high school.

All families should have received an email this week with their current schedule assignment and a link to make a request for a change to their method of instruction for the second semester, beginning January 25th. If you are unsure of your student’s assignment please check Skyward. If you would like to request a change and need assistance please email pr@blainesd.org. All requests for changes must be received by 5:00 P.M. on December 10th to allow us to review staffing and building capacity to accommodate our students.

Our next Community Q&A will be Monday, December 14th at 6:00 pm, and we hope you will join us.

This week the school district launched “Blaine Gives Back” to help continue and expand on our middle school’s annual coin drive for Blaine Food Bank. The need in our community is greater than ever, and we hope everyone who is able will consider giving. You can donate online or drop coins off at the District Office during business hours. (If you donate online, please add a note that it is for the school drive, so our students can track the progress of their efforts.) Our two day total is already at $905, which can purchase over 30,000 pounds of food. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we work together! It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

NOVEMBER 25, 2020

Dear Students, Staff, Families and Community,

On November 18th, 2020, the Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) recommended that local school districts pause plans to expand in-person instruction for middle and high school students. Since that time, the District has been in contact with WCHD Health Officer Greg Stern, MD, in an effort to understand the recommendation and to determine whether we can continue with planned expansion of in-person instruction. After multiple contacts from the District, Dr. Stern and the WCHD have not modified the WCHD recommendation. There is clear concern regarding the spiking transmission rate and the increasing daily COVID-19 cases within Whatcom County.

Unfortunately, were the District to proceed with the expansion of in-person learning at this time, contrary to Dr. Stern’s recommendation, there is a strong possibility that doing so could compromise the insurance coverage protecting our students and staff.

On November 24th, after conferring with legal counsel and myself, and in consideration of the recommendation of the WCHD, the Board of Directors of the District elected to adhere to the recommendation of Dr. Stern and the WCHD and temporarily pause further expansion for middle and high school student in-person instruction. This unfortunately includes the upcoming plan to return 6th and 9th graders on November 30th. However, all students who are currently attending for in-person instruction will remain on their existing schedules for the time being.

The Board is also aware that the recommendation from WCHD was directed at expanding in-person education models and allowed nearby school districts to continue with in-person instruction if such instruction had already commenced. This appeared to disadvantage public school districts, including Blaine, who had taken the time to plan carefully and thoughtfully for the expansion of in-person instruction. For this reason, while the District must realistically adhere to the guidance of the WCHD at this time, we began immediately seeking further clarification for such an approach.

While all of this was unfolding, Dr. Stern was drafting a new, stronger recommendation to not only halt the return of 6-12 learners, but to also roll back in-person learning in this age group for all public and private schools in Whatcom County. I received this new recommendation shortly after midnight on November 25th. With this new recommendation, the District will now put on hold the return of additional grade levels pending new health authority guidance. Following multiple meetings and conversations with local health officials and leaders in education, I believe it is prudent for all grade levels to be prepared for changing guidance and the possibility of a change in the method of instructional delivery at any time.

Be assured that our Board is committed to delivering learning in the best model possible for our students, and doing so in a safe and healthy environment consistent with expert medical guidance. More significantly, we have been and will continue to confer with the WCHD as to how we can best resume our plan to bring more students back expeditiously and safely, consistent with their expert medical direction. The best interests of our students will be the District’s goal at all times, and having students learning together in our schools is our eventual target.

We also want to thank the community, the families, and the students we serve for your patience and continued support and wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. These are difficult times, but they do not have to be divisive ones. I believe our strength lies in our unity and willingness to come together, despite our differences, to continue to work hard for every student, every day. I believe that although we may not always agree on the best course of action, we are all moving forward with the best of intentions. Finally, I believe every night is a great night to be a Borderite, and a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

NOVEMBER 20, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

As things around our state continue to evolve we continue to monitor the local conditions in our county. The Governor has taken steps to address the rapid uptick in cases around the state. At this time those restrictions do not lead to the closure of schools. We know that is in large part due to our safety protocols and the steps we are taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in schools by wearing masks, staying distanced, and hand washing, to name a few.

While we realize there are differing opinions in our community in regards to these restrictions, what we do know is that community levels of transmission can have an impact on our ability to remain open for in-person learning. Please do your best to help us in keeping community transmission down.

We are in receipt of an updated letter of guidance from the Whatcom County Health Department recommending a pause on adding any more grade levels to the building above grade 5. While we know this is not ideal, we also know we have to consider the impact schools can have on a community and respond accordingly. We will continue to advocate for our students’ access to in-person learning while also continuing to provide safe environments for students and staff.

In the event that a student has symptoms while at school, we may need to move other students to a different learning space to allow for cleaning. We want to assure you this does not mean there is a case of COVID-19, rather it is simply a part of our protocol to keep everyone safe. Rest assured if there is a case in the school in which your student is identified as a close contact you will receive direct communication from the school district and/or health department. We also want to remind families that a student who comes down with symptoms while at school will have to be picked up. A student cannot remain at school with symptoms and cannot ride the bus home.

From December 1st to December 10th we will publish an online form to allow families who wish to change their learning model (hybrid or online) for the second semester to make that request. The information in this survey will be critical to our planning process. We will evaluate the results of these requests beginning December 11th to determine our staff capacity. Changes impacted by these requests could include an increased number of learning days or the transition of some staff to online only instruction. Please save the date - December 10th - and plan to notify us of any change requests, so we may plan accordingly to provide the best possible experience for all of our students.

If you have any questions or concerns about your student’s return to the building please contact the building administrator who can review the concerns with you.

We know these times are difficult and in many ways divisive. Please rest assured that everyone at Blaine School District remains committed to our community and its students. We continue to navigate these challenging times alongside you and trust that we are stronger when we work together. It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way.

NOVEMBER 13, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

We are halfway through the month of November, and we are looking forward to the start of hybrid learning for our fourth and fifth grade students on Monday, November 23rd. We will have a virtual back to school night for these students and their families on Thursday, November 19th at 6 P.M. Be sure to check our website for the login information.

Our 6th and 9th grade students are currently scheduled to return to hybrid learning on Monday, November 30th. There will be a virtual informational meeting for freshmen and their families on Wednesday, November 18th at 6 P.M. 6th grade students and their families are invited to a virtual meeting on Tuesday, November 24th, also at 6 P.M. Logins for both events will be posted on our website the morning of.

Teacher conferences for students in grades K-8 begin next Friday, November 20th. If you haven’t registered for your conference time yet, please be sure to login to Skyward Family Access and get signed up. Skyward Family Access also has bus route information and is where you will complete mandatory wellness screenings for those students coming to campus. If you don’t have your Skyward login information, please contact your student’s school.

As many of you know, our state and local health jurisdictions have been issuing warnings about rising COVID-19 case numbers. We are grateful for all the efforts being made by our community to help mitigate this pandemic, and we ask that you continue these efforts in support of keeping our phase-in process on track.

I would like to close this evening by recognizing the holiday we observed earlier this week and extending my deepest gratitude to our nation’s veterans. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for us all.

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

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

NOVEMBER 6, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

How wonderful it was this week to welcome back our A Week students in 1st - 3rd grades, and we look forward to seeing our B Week students, beginning Monday, in those same grade levels. In addition, we continue to work in collaboration with our teachers and staff to prepare for 4th and 5th grade students in a short two weeks on November 23 as well as 6th and 9th grade students on November 30. We are also preparing to welcome the remaining grade levels back in a hybrid model on Monday January 4, 2021, should our county numbers stay in the moderate category range.

What We Need From You

As we plan for larger groups of students, we need your help. We have two important surveys for our families to complete (if you have not already done so);

  1. Does your student require school bus transportation? https://forms.gle/1y4fMmVP1Qorzh9p6

  2. Do you wish for your student to remain in an online only learning model? https://forms.gle/433i3MHaBWJYgD896 for

These surveys are for students in all grade levels. If you could please assist us in providing the best plan for a safe return by completing these surveys by Sunday November 15th, we would appreciate it.

Hybrid in Second Semester

On December 1st - 10th we will open a survey for those families who may wish to request a move from online to the hybrid model beginning at the start of the second semester, on Monday January 25, 2021. Due to the time needed to reschedule students and determine our space capacity in each grade level, we wanted to make sure this was on your radar for the beginning of December.

Attendance

In order to assist everyone in the process of taking attendance for asynchronous learning, we are now asking that students who complete work outside of their synchronous learning time (8:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.), to show their participation and count as their attendance for that day, add a private comment to the assignment for that day. This allows the teacher to receive a notification, making it easier to track. This would only be necessary to count for attendance if the student had not attended the Google Meet or Office Hours for that day. Remember, for 6-12 students, attendance is taken by period, just like it would be if the student was in the building.

This helpful video explains more about attendance and how to make a private comment on an assignment; https://youtu.be/IbXZYqWxh6Y

Skyward Family Access

If your student is coming to the campus soon and you don’t have your Skyward Family Access login, please contact your student’s school. You’ll need it for a variety of things this year. These are just a few;

  • Student Daily Wellness Screenings

  • Bus Route Information

  • Scheduling Teacher Conferences

Food Service

Meal pick-up this coming week will be on Tuesday, November 10th, due to the Veteran's Day holiday. If you have not been picking up meals regularly but would like to participate for the first time, please contact Amber Porter. At this time we are preparing meals based on the number of people who have been coming, and we would want to ensure there are enough meals on hand for everyone.

Emergency Schedule Changes

With all students and staff now equipped to participate in remote learning, you can expect any emergency schedule changes to become days of remote learning for all, rather than closures. Decisions will still be made around the 5:30 a.m. time, and notifications will still be sent out via our app, website, and social media channels.

Coming Up

  • November 9 - Community Q & A at 6 P.M. (visit our website for login info)

  • November 11 - Veteran’s Day (No School)

  • November 13 - Non student day (No student work)

  • November 20, 23, 24, 25 - K-8 Parent Conferences

  • November 26-27 - Thanksgiving Holiday (No School)

I know this message contains a lot of information this week, but there is a lot happening. A lot of good things are happening, and we continue to be grateful for our community and its support. It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

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

OCTOBER 30, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

This Monday, November 2nd, will be an exciting day as we bring three grades of students back to hybrid learning. The A Group cohort of hybrid learners in grades 1st, 2nd and 3rd will be back on campus, and we can’t wait to greet them. Below are a few of the most important things you need to know if your student is one of those.

  • Daily Wellness Screenings must be completed in Skyward Family Access

  • Students without a completed wellness screening will not be permitted in the classroom

  • Hybrid learning school day runs from 8:20 A.M. to 12:20 P.M.

  • Drop off begins at 7:50 A.M.

  • Drop off and pick up looks different than last year, check the website for more information

  • Bus schedules can be found in Skyward

  • Be at the bus stop 5 minutes early and give up to 5 minutes after, especially while drivers adjust to their new routes

  • Check the 2020-2021 School Year pages for the Elementary School and Primary School for more information

No matter the stage in our phase-in plan, there is an important logistical detail that will impact everyone who drives onto our campuses, beginning Monday, November 2, 2020. All entrances and exits on district property will be designated as right turn only. In order for us to provide the safest drop off and pick up process for our families, left turns into or off of our main campus property (that contains the four schools) will not be permitted. We know this is a big change and will take some getting used to, but we strongly believe it is the safest option for our students.

Another big thing next week: the return of daily attendance robo calls from the schools. Believe it or not, this is one more step in the progress towards returning to normal. This does not mean we have abandoned the idea of flexibility for our learners and families. There will still be opportunities for students to complete asynchronous work to count towards attendance. However, as more students return to our campuses, for the safety of those students, we must have a process in place to notify families if their student is not on campus as expected.

While many of us had hoped that schools would be operating under our traditional learning models this year, instead we find ourselves continuing to find new ways to work together and persevere. We know many of our families are struggling, and we encourage you to hang in there with us as we work to bring our learners to our buildings as quickly as we can safely and logistically do so. If you need help, during these times, or any other, please reach out.

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!

OCTOBER 23, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

We have successfully wrapped up week two of hybrid learning in kindergarten with our A Group. We will take the next step in our phase-in process on November 2nd, bringing 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade hybrid learners to the campuses. We appreciate the community-wide effort to mask up, stay distanced and keep your social circle small. The health and safety of our community is always a concern for the district and is attached to school and athletic activities continuing.

There has been a lot of discussion about the transition to hybrid and its impact on the instructional delivery models. As is often the case with transitions, we know there may be adjustments needed. Those who are in the hybrid model will be in the building every other week. In K-5, our hybrid learners in their at-home week and our online only students will have a couple of times in the day to login and be with their entire class, as well as additional access to the teacher during office hours. As we move ahead and teachers become more comfortable with managing multiple groups, and students become more comfortable with their new routine, you could see an increase in the amount of live time your child's teacher may be providing. In the 6-12 classes we are moving forward with the plan to live stream content from the classroom for those students who are at home.

I’d like to remind all of our families that wellness screenings are required for every student to enter the building, and students K-5 cannot complete their own attestation. Wellness screenings must be completed in Skyward Family Access before your student arrives at the building. In order for the screening process to remain unobtrusive on the education process, it requires everyone to do their part. If you haven’t started practicing yet, please do. If you need Skyward help, please contact your student’s school.

Upcoming Virtual Events:

October 27th: 1st/2nd Grade Parent Night,6:00 P.M.

October 28th: BMS Open House, 6:00 P.M. (Google Meet codes on our website)

October 29th: 3rd Grade Parent Night, 6:00 P.M.

Each step of the Phase-In Plan is a stage of transition. Please give yourself, your students, and your teachers grace as we make our way through this. If you need help or have questions, please reach out to us. It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!

OCTOBER 16, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

I hope this email finds you and those you care about doing well. We are happy to report we have completed week one of a hybrid schedule for Kindergarten in the building and look forward to welcoming our “A” week Kindergarten students next week.

We have received good news that the case counts in Whatcom County are trending down currently, and we are working on bringing the next group of students to the campuses. We will plan on bringing our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students to the buildings on November 2, 2020, barring any new guidance from the health department, or an increase in cases that leads us to move this date back. All families with students returning in this group will receive an email in the next few days with their student’s A/B hybrid schedule or Online assignment and a link to an important transportation survey. If families could please review the email and let the campus know if you have any questions, it would be greatly appreciated.

In future weeks, around November 23rd, we plan to bring additional grade levels to complete the elementary school phase-in to the building. Those families will receive a similar email and transportation survey.

As a district, we want to continue to allow our families as much flexibility as we can in our learning model choices, but we also want you to understand the options in order to decide the best instructional option for your students. We have just started the transition from remote learning for all students to an incremental offering of either Hybrid or Online Learning . With remote learning, the instructional models look very similar for all students. However, moving forward, as teachers begin to teach students both in the buildings and at home, you should expect that both Online Learning and the at-home week of Hybrid Learning may involve less direct interaction with the teacher than remote learning does now, and could vary by grade level. Please remember that the Online Learning option was initially created to provide our families schedule flexibility and comes with a higher expectation of independent work and parent involvement.

When attestations were completed in July anyone not selecting the online option was defaulted into the hybrid model of instruction. Currently anyone wishing to opt into an online learning model can do so. Prior to each grade level’s phase-in, an email will be sent that includes a way to respond and request to remain online only. Selecting this option will mean your student will remain in online learning through at least January 22, 2021. There will be an opportunity between December 1st and December 15th for families to request to change to the hybrid delivery model, and those will be reviewed based on space availability.

One of the most important things to know about a return to school during this time is that we are asking students and staff to not come to the building if they are sick, or feeling ill. Please review the symptoms and your student’s health daily before they head off to the bus stop or get in the car to come to school. If your student is ill, please contact the school office as you would in previous years to report their absences from school. What we have learned is that the building entry process runs much smoother when families have completed the wellness screening prior to arrival, and we want to do everything we can to assist in a smooth transition for everyone. If you haven’t already done so, please visit our website and familiarize yourself with the wellness screening process.

Upcoming Q&A and Other Events

  • Community Q&A: Monday, Oct 19, 2020 at 6:00 P.M.

  • REACH Parent Night: Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020 at 6:00 P.M.

  • BMS Open House: Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 6:00 – 7:10 P.M.

Despite these difficult times we are all working through, I continue to be blessed to witness the hard work and commitment of our staff and the community support and connection among our families. These things remind me that it is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!

OCTOBER 9, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

I hope this message finds you and your families in good health and in good spirits. The hustle and bustle around campus has picked up this week as we prepare to welcome back our kindergarten students to the hybrid schedule on Monday, as well as our Pt. Robert’s Primary School students, and our high school athletes have begun their conditioning program in preparation for a transition to sports’ specific practices on October 19th. For all students returning Monday, please visit the District’s current school year section of the website for important information. For those Kindergarten students who are on the “B” schedule for hybrid, and will return to the building on Monday, please visit the Primary School’s 2020-2021 section of the website for critical information on the procedures surrounding drop off and pick up. Our staff have been working hard to prepare and are looking forward to welcoming you to the building.

As this school year began we have been talking with you about the impacts of reduced enrollment on the district's finances, both now and in the future. We wanted to take some time to outline some of those impacts for you to assist in understanding. This year’s school budget was built by the district, presented to the public and passed by the school board with an anticipated full time equivalency (FTE) enrollment of 2199.57 students. As of this week our current enrollment is 2069.47 FTE. The budgeted vs. actual amounts creates a deficit of 130 student FTE. At this time, the resulting difference of the budgeted number of students and current enrollment creates an estimated revenue shortfall of over $2 million.

It’s also important to note that enrollment numbers published by the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and often referenced in the media, are head count numbers, not FTE. A student may attend school in the district on a less than full time basis, which is reflected in the FTE, for example, as .5 FTE, but in the head count as 1.0. This accounts for what may appear to be a discrepancy in reported numbers.

In addition to State funding from the prototypical school funding model (basic education funding on a per-pupil basis), there are other funding sources the district is monitoring to determine the financial impact to the District:

  • Transportation funding based on unpredictable ridership numbers & missed/limited funding

  • Learning Assistance Program (LAP)

  • Future Levy Collections

As things stand currently, a large portion of transportation funding is based on ridership on buses. Having had no riders for a large portion of the start of the year due to remote learning, seeing a reduction in families utilizing school transportation in hybrid, and with the potential for public health and safety to impact our return to the buildings at any time, this is an area of great uncertainty. School districts and OSPI are interested in legislative action by way of some sort of hold harmless or make whole provision, to assist in ensuring funding will be available to meet the needs of students. With the legislature set to return to session in January this is something we are hopeful will be discussed.

Learning Assistant Program (LAP) offers supplemental services for K–12 students scoring below grade-level standard in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. These services focus on accelerating student growth to make progress towards grade level and addressing barriers preventing students from accessing core instruction.

An additional portion of LAP funding is referred to as High Poverty LAP, which schools can receive if their 3-year average of free and reduced lunch students is greater than 50% of their student population, based on the approval number as of October 1of each year. In the 2019-2020 school year we had two campuses (BPS/BES) received these funds to the total of just over $300,000. As of today, we do not expect to reach the threshold for the next school year on any of our campuses. You can find more information about LAP here; https://www.k12.wa.us/student-success/support-programs/learning-assistance-program-lap

Lastly, we would like to briefly mention levy funding. The Blaine School District has been fortunate to have received the support of our community in passing an enrichment levy last Spring. The collection amount is limited by a “levy lid”, or restriction, the state imposes on school districts. Our district’s levy lid is $2,500 per pupil, which the state has set to rise with inflation. Collection per pupil is also impacted by the previous year’s enrollment, so our current reduced enrollment, as mentioned above, will decrease levy collection capacity in future years.

While we know these are difficult topics, in light of recent information that has circulated regarding school enrollment and funding, we wanted to provide some base information to inform our community about the anticipated impacts on the finances of our District. We have been working hard to determine the best way to address these anticipated short-falls, beginning now and moving into next school year. While these decisions are difficult and will likely impact District programs and staff, we are committed to making sound financial decisions.

In closing, we will continue to advocate with our local legislators for the adequate funding of public education in the State of Washington. We want to continue to partner with our families and community to continually improve and make Blaine School District the best place in Washington for your student(s) to receive a high quality education.

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Respectfully,

Dr. Christopher Granger

SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

I hope this email finds you and those you care about doing well. We are happy to report we have completed week one of a gradual student return to the building. A lot of learning has occurred for all involved, and it will continue to inform our process as we bring additional students to the buildings.

PHASE-IN UPDATE:

The next step in our phase-in plan will be to bring our Kindergarten students, as well as some of our language learners, to the buildings on the A/B Hybrid schedule, beginning Monday, October 12, 2020. This date remains open to adjustment should we receive any updated guidance from health authorities, or experience an increase in cases in our county.

Once we bring this first group of students in on hybrid learning, we will begin considering the return of a few grade levels at a time, moving forward in 2-3 week increments. Those increments will be based on the current conditions in Whatcom County and our ability to adequately staff those grade levels.

DO NOT COME IF YOU ARE SICK:

One of the most important things you need to know about a return to school during this time is that we are asking students and staff not to come to the building if they are sick, or feeling ill. Please review the symptoms and your student(s) health daily, before they head off to the bus stop or get in the car to come to school. If your student is ill, please contact the school office as you would in previous years to report their absence from school. These steps are critical in a successful return to in-person learning, and provide reassurance to all involved that anyone coming in the building is symptom free and feeling okay.

DAILY WELLNESS SCREENINGS:

In preparation for hybrid learning, we want to make sure that everyone is aware of the daily screening expectations. Please talk with your student(s) about this and begin planning and preparing for when their grade level(s) will return to the building. We have created a short presentation to review the steps of the wellness screening process, which can be viewed on our YouTube Channel and other social media, as well as on the 2020-2021 School Year page of our website. If you have questions or concerns please contact the campus your student attends. One thing we have learned in this first week is that the building entry process runs much smoother when families have completed the health attestations prior to arrival. We want to do everything we can to assist in making this happen.

We want to thank all of our families for the work they are doing to support their student(s) in remote learning. Please make sure you are remaining in contact with your student(s) classroom teacher(s). We are excited to be moving forward with welcoming additional students to our buildings throughout the Fall.We hope many of you will join us on Thursday at 6:00 P.M. for our next community question and answer session on Zoom. The link to the meeting will be posted on our website the morning of the meeting.

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!

SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

I am pleased to be bringing you this week’s message with the ability to announce we are moving to Phase II of our phase-in plan. A small number of students will be returning to the school buildings beginning Monday. Those families who have students returning have been contacted by the district. As we progress through this process and refine our procedures to welcome additional students and grade levels back we will be communicating with you. As we return students to the building we continue to update our website with new information. Please visit our website’s 2020-2021 School Year section for the most up to date information about what is happening in Blaine School District.

It is my hope that we will begin to move forward incrementally over time. We ask that everyone in our communities do their part in staying safe by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing their hands.

As I mentioned last week, we continue to monitor the guidance around the return of high school athletic activities. There have been a few meetings this week around the state and guidance continues to evolve. We are committed to monitoring this and reviewing it as it comes our way to make the most informed decision around the safest time and manner in which to return to athletics.

Our faculty and staff have been working hard to deliver a high-quality product to your students, and many wonderful things are happening in our digital learning environment. We hope you agree that it is improved from the Spring. We continue to work hard every day to improve and will continue to do so. If you have questions or concerns I encourage you to reach out to your student’s teacher, as they have the best information about what is occurring in the classroom.

We are excited to see students on our campuses this week and appreciate all the time and effort families are putting in to supporting their students. We are here to help you in and want to maintain positive relationships with our families. We are in this together and our collaborative efforts are showing in the work we do with students. Thank you.

It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your Superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

I would like to start this evening by recognizing this solemn and historic day. I ask that you take a moment this evening to remember all the Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. We will never forget.

During this time of remote learning, our students are spending more time than ever in front of screens. With this comes an increased need for supervising screen time and its content. We want to alert you to some disturbing information that we have become aware of recently on social media. There was a completed suicide that was recorded live on Facebook in August and was reposted to TikTok and is now being disguised by using a title with animals or food items.

Across the country, youth and adults are accidentally coming across these videos. We encourage you to be vigilant about monitoring your child’s activity on social media, and be aware that these graphic and disturbing posts are circulating.

To all of our students, of every age, I would like to say, YOU MATTER, and we are here for you. No matter how down you might be feeling, no situation is hopeless. Reach out to your teacher or your school counselor, talk to a friend or a trusted adult. For anyone who sees this message and may be feeling hopeless, please reach out or call the suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255. Because you matter.

It has been a busy week in our school community as everyone continues to work to make the very best out of these difficult times. We are also busy planning and preparing to begin bringing our most vulnerable students to the buildings for in-person instruction the week of September 21st. It will be a huge step for us as we proceed with our phase-in plan.

Another huge milestone is on the horizon, as we anticipate beginning some high school athletic practices the week of September 28th. I would like to thank our athletic department, as they have been working hard to make this possible. We understand that extra curricular activities, of all types, are important for the engagement and overall health of many of our students. We look forward to taking this important first step as soon as we can safely do so and guidelines allow.

We welcome your feedback and questions and hope you will join us this Monday evening for a Virtual Community Q&A at 6 p.m.

It is 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. In a New Way. 

AUGUST 28, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

We have made it to the first Friday of the 2020-2021 school year. This week has had a few glitches, as any new school year does, but all things considered, we’ve had a successful start. I would like to thank all of our hard working staff for their continued dedication as well as our students and families for approaching this year with patience and a willingness to help make it great. Our 6-12 students have been doing synchronous and asynchronous learning this week, and our K-5 students have been making connections with their teachers, getting used to the new look and feel of school and setting routines that will work for them.

Although this topic is difficult, and what we want most is to focus on the things that are going to make this year great, we cannot ignore the fact that many in our school district family have recently suffered great loss. We were all saddened this week to find ourselves in the position of having to place a number of our employees in furlough/standby status due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not lost on us that many of these employees are the dedicated individuals who rallied to support the district, and the families in the community we serve, to provide childcare, prepare and deliver meals and work extra hard to keep the facilities running smoothly. They were essential to us all during that time, and they remain essential in our hearts. We are committed to bringing as many employees back to work as quickly as we can safely do so, and we want them to know that we are here to help however we can.

As we travel down this path of remote learning, I feel I can not overemphasize the importance of responsible and respectful conduct in an online environment. As adults in a technological age, I think most of us have experienced or encountered someone who behaves differently behind a keyboard than they would ever think to behave in person. We have an opportunity and responsibility to teach our students how not to be that way.

Similar to staff and students attending school in the physical school building, the Blaine School District has high expectations for all of our learning environments. In the virtual classroom, we expect students will display a neutral background. Specifically, the Google Meet video frame showing a student and his or her background is part of the virtual classroom, which is expected to be free from behaviors, props, or visuals which may offend or distract from the teaching and learning in the classroom. While it is extremely difficult to create an exhaustive list that could cover all the possible items that could distract from the virtual learning environment, it is expected that students or staff will not display: Posters with offensive words, phrases, or pictures, political signs or phrases, family photos showing minor siblings, or open hallways potentially exposing the virtual audience to distracting or compromising family interactions. We expect every classroom to be a safe, respectful, compassionate and inclusionary learning environment. As I mentioned in my message on Wednesday, we have a new section of our website for Remote Learning Resources and Responsibilities, and some new content has been added, including self guided videos for students of all ages. I encourage you to take the time to review the content with your students and have discussions around this topic. As long as remote learning is happening, these conversations should be ongoing.

Some families have opted to withdraw from the district to homeschool their students. To those families we would like to say, while we honor your choice to do what feels best for your students, we would also like you to know that if homeschool turns out not to be the right fit for your family, we will always be here for you. We hope you will hear some of the many positive stories coming out of this first week of school and consider a more flexible online option with us, should you need something different. We are all a part of this community, this Borderite family, and, at the core of it all, we want what is best for kids.

We have continued to make changes and improvements to our processes and communications this week, as we have been throughout the summer. We listen to the feedback we receive and are doing our best to incorporate many of your suggestions. Please keep reaching out to us, so that we may continue to do better tomorrow than we did today.

While we have received some constructive feedback, I am also pleased that we have received a great deal of positive feedback. I am so grateful to see the hard work our administrators and staff have been putting in is paying off for our families. We know families still have concerns, and we encourage you to keep the lines of communication open with teachers, building administrators, and with our district office staff. I truly believe that if we continue to work together we can make this year great.

I will hold a Community Q&A session on Monday, August 31, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. and look forward to “seeing” you then. (The link for the Q&A will post to our website Monday afternoon.)

It is 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. In a New Way!

AUGUST 26, 2020

Good Evening Students, Staff, Families and Community,

Welcome back to learning Borderites! Although this year did not start off with the sounds of children squealing with excitement as they passed my window this morning, or kids pouring off the buses, greeting their friends and classmates, it was still a great day. It was great, because we as a community are coming together to embrace the process of learning remotely, to support one another and to show grace and patience.

As is the case every new school year, on every first day, there were a few bumps in the road, and we’ve worked with those of you we have heard from to do our best to iron those issues out. Please continue to keep the lines of communication open, with your teachers, administrators, and with our district office staff, so that we can continue our collaborative problem solving efforts.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to visit the new section of our website for the 2020-2021 school year. We are continuing to load content, literally almost around the clock, as we receive suggestions and comments from both staff and families. Please know we are listening to your feedback and working as rapidly as possible to produce the content you are seeking.

I encourage you to review a section that was added today for Remote Learning Resources and Responsibilities. With this new fully digital platform of learning comes the even more critical component of preparing our students to be responsible digital citizens. Any actions constituting harassment, intimidation or bullying, including cyberbullying, hate mail, defamation, discriminatory jokes, remarks are deemed unacceptable use by School District Policy and Procedure 2022. We have high expectations for all students and staff of the Blaine School District in our learning environments whether they are in the building or in a virtual setting. We expect the image displayed on the screen and/or within the visual frame to meet the same expectations of an in-person classroom environment. I suggest families read through this section of the website and take the time to have conversations around the topic, so all students can contribute to a respectful, compassionate and inclusive online community within their classrooms.

I would like to thank everyone who has reached out with feedback, both the good and the bad, because it all helps us to ensure we do better tomorrow than we did today. That remains my commitment to you. May we continue to elevate one another and rise to the greatness within.

It’s a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your Superintendent.

With Gratitude,

Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent

Every Student, Every Day. In a New Way!

AUGUST 21, 2020

Dear students, staff, families and community,

This coming Wednesday, August 26, 2020 is the first day of school for Borderites and we are excited to welcome them back to learning! Our staff has been working hard all summer to provide an improved online learning experience, and we can’t wait for our students to experience all the things that will make this school year great.

Chromebook distribution has been happening this week, and we appreciate the feedback we’ve received regarding the process. If you haven’t yet picked up a chromebook for your student, and need one, please come down this Monday or Tuesday between 10:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. or 3:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. These additional pick up days and times are for both new and returning students.

We have had many questions regarding mobile hot spots. The quantity of hot spots we are receiving is based on the results from our earlier survey about internet connectivity. Those families who completed the survey will be contacted directly in the coming days to arrange pick up of a device which has been determined to be best suited for your home’s geographical location. For those families who did not complete the survey, or who find themselves in need of assistance after the school year begins, we will have a method soon for you to communicate your need. Those families will be put on a waiting list, and given assistance as soon as we are able.

We know there are many questions that still exist for our families, and our staff are working hard to put together the answers you are seeking. A new section of our website is under construction, and it will contain details about the year for each school, sample schedules, school meals information, tech help, updates and announcements and more. Also, our school buildings are all open for office hours, and we encourage you to reach out to them if you have questions or need help.

Each of our schools in central Blaine are hosting a virtual orientation night this year, both for new and transitioning students as well as for those who would like to learn more about how this school year will work. Blaine High School’s event is coming up on Monday, August 24th at 6:00 P.M. The Primary School’s event is Tuesday, August 25th at 5:00 P.M., and the Elementary School’s event will follow it on Tuesday at 6:00 P.M. The Middle School held their event last evening, and their presentation is now available on their website.

We know we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, with many difficult times still ahead, but we are making a conscious effort to steer our ship into the storm, so to speak. We are no longer viewing this as simply something we must get through. Instead we are choosing to embrace the whole experience and focus on the good. We are working hard to make this year great. Not great in spite of the pandemic, simply great. We invite you to turn your ship and head into this storm alongside us, because together we are stronger. It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.

Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent

Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!