Greetings RCS Parents:
On behalf of the entire RCS Family, I want to thank you for believing in and trusting our school district in this most critical time. While all districts are struggling regardless of what is promoted to you, we are doing our best to respond to the daily changes and challenges. I, too, am concerned for my sons' education right now. Both of them report being stressed, as they interact with virtual instruction. But before anyone is quick to suggest face-to-face (f-2-f) instruction, there is just not one perfect fit, ANYWHERE. COVID is everywhere.
I will be communicating with you monthly through various sources; so, please subscribe to our Twitter and Facebook account where I will be doing most of my communications.
Facebook: Romulus Community Schools
I will also be working on establishing a blog and this monthly video series. Stay tuned. For now, enjoy this, my first attempt.
The school reality is the COVID reality. Each one of us has our own fears. Open schools, risk exposure. Opt for virtual school, disrupt the family. This is my dilemma as a father and a superintendent. My concerns are the same as yours. I cannot promise you that everything will be the same in terms of schooling. This is not the case. Teachers are scared; teachers are anxious; teachers are leaving the field. This is yet another dilemma as your superintendent. How do I assure teachers and parents when this is ALL out of my control. In speaking with all other local superintendents, we share the same burden; we share the same fears; but hope unites us.
Virtual "home" Atmosphere
In the past few weeks, I have had the fortune of observing virtual teaching and have gotten a new understanding. Many parents have expressed concerns with the newness and adjustments. Let me make the following suggestions, none of which are formally backed by evidence or research:
- Make your child get up and shower, as normal for school
- Have your child change into fresh clothes
- Provide a decent (or better) breakfast
- Find an appropriate room for learning other than the bedroom (I have seen too many kids looking like they just woke up and are in pajamas in their bedroom)
- Sit down with them (doing your own business) while he/she is learning
- Provide a lunch (or use our food services)
Children, alone, cannot be in control of their education, particularly at the early childhood through middle school ages. They need your expectations, interventions, and corrections. Together, the school and home must set high expectations for our students.
Michigan Department of Education Speaks....
Recently, MDE mandated that ALL schools would be required to assess ALL students kindergarten through 8th grade within 9 weeks of the start of school. I am furious, as this feels very insensitive to our reality. Kindergartners, most anyway, do not even know how to hold a pencil and yet we will be testing them shortly. Cmon! If you are a voter, please contact your State Representative and Senator to express your displeasure during our new virtual education world. Our testing has begun this week and will continue throughout the next week or so.
The Wayne County Public Health Division (see attachment)
Schools will now be required to share the "score" they earn from the County Health determining our readiness for face-2-face instruction. The health department is currently developing criteria. Certainly, this will, again, put school district against school district; but it is a requirement. We have to fill out data regarding PPE and instruction. We turn it in to the Health Department for a "score." Before opening up our schools to face-2-face, we will report our score to the Health Division AND certainly to you.
I am thinking about the decision RCS must make after October 31 regarding the State of our instructional program (school day). I am gathering information and will be sharing options with our board of education. We will utilize the Health Division standards to better inform our pending decisions; but, we will not open face-2-face unless we are certain that we have sufficient PPE and adequate training and protocol to make both staff and parents comfortable in our return. For now, we will continue virtual learning for AT LEAST the next three weeks.
Each week it seems we are getting new instructions not only from the Governor but now the Health Department. Today, I was just informed that any school that reports of having two or more persons with COVID will be identified as an "outbreak" school and placed on an MDHSS website. We then have to send out a letter to all families. Once on the MDHSS list, the school remains there for 28 days; and if there is another case, the 28 days starts over. The school will then moved down to the "continued outbreaks" list and sit there for 28 days or move back up to the "new outbreaks," if they get another case.
As you know, this is very difficult to manage. From a school management view, it is far more responsible to remain virtual than exacerbating risks. I will be presenting a recommendation to the board at month's end as it relates to the next few months. Feel free to join us at our two monthly board meetings occurring on the second and fourth Monday of each month.
Enhancement Millage Renewal (see attachment)
Beyond the Presidential Election, US Senate (Michigan), District 34 Judge, and other State elections, Wayne County, specifically, has an Enhancement Millage RENEWAL on the ballot. No additional taxes are being levied on tax payers. A renewal simply means that a YES vote keeps the current funding level. A NO vote means you no longer pay the existing tax and schools lose the current enhancement funding. While I cannot use this forum for an endorsement, I will just inform you that this is a renewal. Our district benefits tremendously from the support of the County Enhancement millage. Please vote what is in your best interest.
Realigned. Reshaped. Reimagined.
I am committed to changing the culture of the district. I continually stress the need to be responsive to the needs of families who are trusting us to educate their children. In the next few weeks, we will be unveiling our newest campaign, Romulus Community Schools: Realigned. Reshaped. Reimagined. The reality is that RCS must be relevant in our community. As staff, and you as parents, we must assure that the delivery of a quality education is first and foremost.
I feel compelled to share with you in a manner that most superintendents will not and do not often do; but, I am always going to be transparent in my communications. Already, I have love for the community and have received an exceptional welcome by many. I am excited to lead the district in becoming "the destination spot for families living in western Wayne County."
There is no organization more important to the vitality and vibrance of a community than its local school district. There is a direct correlation between one's property value and how she/he views and supports the local school district. While I do not believe one should enroll his/her child in a failing school (district), I do know that a district can be dissolved by the State (Inkster) and then the community struggles to recover.
As superintendent and collaborator of RCS, I ask a few things of you, our greatest supporters:
- ONLY post on social media (Twitter, FB, Instagram) the positive interactions you have with our district; positive news helps market the community and elevates our level of pride and expectations
- help market the district by displaying our "soon to be" RCS yard signs: Realigned. Reshaped. Reimagined.
- beyond athletic events, be knowledgeable in school matters; read emails sent by RCS; contact us when you need specific information; identify and share (with us) where we can make improvements
CONVERSELY, complaining at Board meetings, first, and before addressing the person or process at the heart of your complaint is not advised. The home and school must be partners. Neither can afford to bad mouth the over....hurts all parties. If you have any concerns with the delivery of education, please begin with the teacher then the principal then me and lastly, the collective school board.
My next update for you is on all the great things happening in our district, some known and possibly unknown.
For now, enjoy your day and let this video soak into your bones, minds, psyche, your essence. RCS. Realigned. Reshaped. Reimagined. Pick up your lawn signs that can be found at your child's school or a visit to the board office here on Grant Road. I would love an opportunity to meet you.
Have a great week. Stay safe.