Lake Washington School District and Lake Washington Education Association Joint Press Release
Lake Washington School District jointly with the Lake Washington Education Association are releasing pertinent information and details related to secondary educational offerings for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
The District and Association have a shared agreement that secondary students need to be offered access to in-person experiences. Dr. Holmen stated, “We need to ensure that any secondary student who wants an in-person experience is afforded that opportunity.” He went on to say, “Our adolescent youth are experiencing this pandemic in many different ways. We need to be responsive to those needs and be creative in how we address the varying needs across our district.”
Secondary students can expect to maintain their current remote courses and teachers for the remainder of the school year. After analyzing a number of factors, the District has determined that the shift to a hybrid model and disruptions to schedules would create more challenges and problems for secondary students than benefits. Superintendent Dr. Jon Holmen will release a live-recorded message for secondary families on Friday providing additional information about the decision to maintain the current remote instructional model.
Currently, the District and Association are in active negotiations related to the provision of in-person services for some secondary students. LWEA President Howard Mawhinney stated, “Health and Safety have been the LWEA’s primary concern from the onset of the pandemic. Jointly, the District and the Association have dedicated significant time and resources to identify and implement the best practices possible for the key areas of ventilation, PPE, sanitation, classroom configuration, and class scheduling. We share an equal concern for student and staff emotional health and safety and have dedicated equal time and resources to address these pressing needs. That fact has been true since select students returned to in-person learning last fall. It remains true today. We look forward to continuing that good work with the District to ensure we maintain our health and safety standards going forward.”
When considering the in-person service needs of students, the team is developing agreements regarding a support model. This model would offer in-person services for identified students by addressing needs in a variety of areas using several different approaches:
Academic Support: There are students who are struggling with the remote academic experience. By providing consistent small group academic support, we will be able to address some of the learning needs of students who are struggling, which can lead to course failure or no credit. Additionally, there will be the provision of some in-person classes that would supplant a current academic course as a means of academic support.
Social and Emotional Support: There are many students who are impacted socially and emotionally due to isolation and challenges related to the pandemic. Through small groups for social and emotional support, we will be able to provide opportunities for in-person social interaction, emotional supports and, for students in need, mental health supports. These may be episodic or consistent experiences for students.
Organizational Support: Some students are having a difficult time with the organization of learning in a remote instructional model. By providing small group organizational support, we will be able to address the learning needs of students and provide opportunities for consistent, in-person experiences and connection with adults and peers.
Transition Activities: We know that specific groups of students, like Seniors, 6th, 8th, or 9th graders, benefit from certain experiences as they transition back to school and in-person learning. This could include activities related to grade level changes, graduation and orientation to a new campus.
Athletic and Activity Experiences: The District continues to implement additional opportunities for our students in the areas of athletics and activities. High School athletes were offered athletic training opportunities starting in early January. Over 1,600 students participated in this opportunity. Clubs and activities are currently meeting remotely, and the District will soon be expanding club and activity opportunities to meet in-person. High School football officially started on February 24 with additional sports starting on March 1. Middle schools are currently developing a plan to provide intramural sports this spring.
The District and Association are committed to providing creative options to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of our secondary students. We will provide joint communications over the coming weeks with additional information including targeted timelines for implementation.
We appreciate the community’s understanding during these challenging times.
|Dr. Jon Holmen
Lake Washington School District
Lake Washington Education Association