Message from the Superintendent, September 9

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope that the first week of school was a positive experience for your child.  This has been the most challenging start to a school year that we have ever faced.  Our teachers and staff have worked countless hours to prepare for an educational model that is complex and very demanding.  I am very proud of the work of our schools and know that we are continuously refining and streamlining the processes and learning platforms we are using.

Many of our teachers are teaching students in a classroom while also simultaneously delivering instruction to students at home.  While we are committed to keeping all children on pace and focused on the same high standards, the way in which learning occurs will vary from the classroom to the distance learning setting.   Your child’s teacher is tasked with preparing variations in lessons because students are on two platforms.  Teachers need time to adjust to the demands of dual platforms and develop the most effective strategies that can be sustained.

To that end, I ask that parents use the same methods of communication that you have used prior to the pandemic.  Teachers cannot respond to parent communication during the school day while teaching.  The Schoology instructional platform is specifically designed as an instructional management system to be used by the teacher and the student.

The mobility of students between brick and mortar and distance learning is also a significant challenge to schools.  We understand that there are times when students move from one platform to the other perhaps due to COVID-19 exposure and extended quarantine, but it is vital that families remain committed to the option that was chosen to begin the school year.

This week is the start of many activities that make the school experience fulfilling for students and families.  High school athletics and extracurricular activities will allow very limited attendance for spectators.   It is imperative to maintain the COVID-19 protocols at all school activities and important to understand that there may be different protocols for events in other school districts.

Lastly, I want to share our thanks to all parents for your patience, suggestions and support as we have navigated this school year.   As we do not know the duration of this pandemic, we are prepared to adapt and modify as needed throughout this school year.  We will continue to provide feedback including the school district COVID-19 data located on our website.

Sincerely,

Tim Forson
Superintendent of Schools
St. Johns County School District