August 14, 2020


Dear LWSD Families:

When we started the planning process for the 2020-21 school year, we knew our timeline was short and that we had much to accomplish. I am incredibly grateful for all the staff and administrators that changed summer plans to spend the necessary time on this work. Even with all the attention our planning processes have received we know as families you are anxiously awaiting key decision points. I appreciate the support we have received from our families and hope that our updates today and next week will provide additional clarity regarding plans for the school year.

To supplement our written communication this week, we are pleased to announce that we will be holding two Live Events next week. Each of the events will start at 6:00 p.m. and are anticipated to run for about 90 minutes. Both Live Events will be recorded for families that are not able to attend the live broadcast but are interested in the information. Content experts will present specific information related to elementary and secondary instructional models, ensuring equity in remote learning, family technology supports, and District health and safety protocols. More information and links to the Live Events are provided later in this message.



Successful Completion of Negotiations with the Lake Washington Education Association
Part of our planning this summer was to work with our teachers’ association, Lake Washington Education Association (LWEA), to review and negotiate the working conditions related to the implementation of reopening school. Our negotiations with LWEA are conducted using an Interest Based Problem Solving model and allows both sides to identify interests and creatively problem solve solutions. We appreciate our partnership with LWEA as we committed to keeping our focus on students, issues related to equity, and appropriate health and safety conditions for students and staff. Through our collaboration we were able to reach a mutually agreed upon Letter of Understanding to supplement the current teacher contract. The finalization of the negotiations allows us to move forward with communicating more definitive plans.

 

Formal Planning Documents and Information
At the LWSD Board of Director’s meeting on Monday, August 10, the Board adopted Resolution 2299 which approved the school reopening planning. At that meeting I provided the School Board with information and evidence of the District’s current action and documentation. Three key pieces of information were shared with the Board:

  1. OSPI: Washington Schools 2020 Reopening Plan

    At the August 10, 2020 School Board meeting, the LWSD Board of Directors approved the LWSD Reopening Plan for 2020-21. Washington state is requiring each school district, charter school, and state-tribal education compact school (“local education agency” or “LEA”) to adopt a reopening plan for the 2020–21 school year through local board resolution. This plan will be continually monitored throughout the year and will be updated as needed.
     
  2. Department of Health – Decision Tree for Phasing back to in-person learning

    Last week I provided information related to the Decision Tree developed by the Department of Health. This guidance helps school districts to consider when and how to phase students back for in-person learning and activities.
     
  3. LWSD: Return to School Workbook

    As an organization, we are documenting each detail of our reopening plan in what we are calling our Return to School Workbook. We are actively working on this and will publish it on our Return to School Task Force webpage when it is finalized. This is a document that will be constantly updated so we will maintain the most up-to-date copy on the website.
     
  4. LWSD: COVID-19 Safety Plan

    The LWSD Safety Plan has been posted on the website for families and staff to review. This plan will be continuously updated as new information becomes available. The purpose of the COVID-19 Safety Plan is to identify and communicate Lake Washington School District’s plan for protecting the health of all students, employees, and visitors to our school campuses and support facilities. This plan is effective immediately in response to guidance and regulations put in place by the Department of Labor and Industries, Washington State Department of Health and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    Each school/building will have a Safety Team. The roles/responsibilities of each Safety Team member are available on the website. Also included is the Safety Plan Guidance around:
  • Activity or Event Planning
  • LWSD Staff and Visitor Face Covering Guidance
  • Suspected or Confirmed Positive Case Response Plan
  • LWSD Attestation and Screening Guidance
  • Screening Station Plan
  • LWSD Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols
  • Face Coverings and PPE Descriptions
  • LWSD Face Covering and PPE Guidelines

 

Childcare

On Monday, August 17, we will post registration information for emergency childcare options on our website. As a reminder, we have been working with our community partners, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and our district extended day program to offer childcare at a number of our elementary schools. Space may be limited initially but may be expanded if there is additional demand.

It is important to note that childcare is not the same as school. Children will not be with a certificated teacher all day, rather a childcare staff member. They will be able to assist the students with their remote learning as needed. These childcare services are to provide emergency or critical support for families that cannot otherwise be with their children during the day due to work responsibilities outside of the home.

 

Schedules

LWSD educators have been working through the summer to develop elementary and secondary schedules for remote learning. These schedules are being designed to ensure a higher quality learning experience for students than last spring. They will include: 

  • Live instruction and increased student-teacher connection 
  • Reasonable screen time based on student age 
  • Whole and small group learning and individual student support 

Example schedules can be found by clicking on the links below. These schedules were created to provide for greater consistency across the district.

At the elementary level, consistent content schedules will be helpful for families with children in childcare or who are considering pods or other collaborative supports, as children in each grade will have the same lessons and instruction whether or not they have the same teacher. 

The next step is for our schools and teachers to work with these sample schedules to identify specific and consistent daily and weekly times for:

  1. Synchronous or “live” learning where teachers deliver real-time instruction via teams to the whole class or small groups of individual students 
  2. Asynchronous learning where teachers provide per-developed lessons that students complete when convenient for the student and family 

Schools and teachers will then communicate final daily and weekly schedules to families. 

 

Start and End Times 

Elementary school student start and end times will follow our traditional schedules (8:50 – 3:20 and 9:20 – 3:50). Start and end time for individual schools can be found here: https://www.lwsd.org/schools/school-hours.

Secondary school start and end times for students will be from 9:00 a.m. – 3:50 p.m. when remote. If we return to in-person learning this year, we will return to our traditional middle and high school start and end times.  

For both elementary and secondary, students will be able to complete some asynchronous work outside of the school day schedule.

 

Laptops for Students

LWSD is committed to providing a district laptop to all students for remote instruction. A parent or guardian does have the choice of opting out from checking out the district laptop if they have a preferred device already available for their child’s schoolwork that better meets their personal circumstances. Please note that experiences on LWSD student laptops may at times offer additional resources or closer alignment of software experiences between teacher and student.

Schools will notify families of laptop check out dates starting mid-August to distribute all technology before school starts.

Technical support is being enhanced with expanded hours and more technical staff to answer phone calls and respond to emails to assist families.

Short parent/student training tutorials for Microsoft Classroom Teams will be posted before school starts.

 

Family Information Sessions: Microsoft Teams Live Events - August 18 & August 19
LWSD will host two Family Information Sessions next week. These sessions are designed to help answer the questions that families have asked on the topics of equity, special education, elementary programming, secondary (middle school and high school) programming, Classroom Teams and health & safety. Please join us for these events. They will also be recorded and available after the event on the LWSD website.

August 18, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Topics: Equity, Special Education, Elementary Education
Meeting Link: Click here.

Live captions available in: Chinese (simplified), Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese

Featuring:

  • Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent;
  • Mike Van Orden, Associate Superintendent of Student Academic Success Services
  • Gloria Henderson, Director of Opportunity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Dr. Shannon Hitch, Executive Director of Special Services
  • Kelly M Pease, Director of Intervention Programs and Literacy

 

August 19, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Topics: Secondary (Middle School & High School) Education, Family Technology and Support, and Health & Safety

Meeting Link: Click here.
Live captions available in: Chinese (simplified), Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese

Featuring:

  • Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
  • Mike Van Orden, Associate Superintendent of Student Academic Success Services
  • Dr. Jen Rose, Director of Teaching & Learning
  • Sally Askman, Assistant Superintendent of Technology and Information Services
  • Forrest Baker, Director of Technology Operations
  • Mindy Mallon, Director of Technology Integration
  • Scott Emry, Director of Risk and Safety Services
  • Brian Buck, Executive Director of Support Services

 

Updated FAQ
We are continuously updating the FAQ for the website. You can see our latest version here: https://www.lwsd.org/get-involved/task-forces/return-to-school-task-force/return-to-school-faq.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District