The letter below from Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker was emailed to families the evening of May 20, 2020:
Dear P-H-M Families,
Congratulations, you and your students persevered and continued on an academic path during this period of extended eLearning! We started this journey on March 17. Coupled with the stress, anxiety and economic impacts caused by the pandemic shutdown, we know that these past three months have been a challenge for our students and families. This was definitely a growth experience for all of us, teachers, school administrators and support staff included. We’ve all been trying to maneuver our way through uncharted territories. I want to thank you for your commitment and partnership to ensure your child(ren)’s continued academic success. This situation has truly been a representation and fulfillment of P-H-M’s “Triangle of Success.” Our teachers could not have continued to provide a quality education without parent engagement and support. We are not only extremely grateful to our dedicated teachers, but to all of you as well, the teachers at home!
Teachers will be using the days between May 21 and June 4 (for K-8 teachers) and June 5 (for high school teachers) to finalize grades. During this time period, teachers may reach out to follow up with students/families about any missing assignments.
Our schools are also coordinating pick up of any personal items left at school back in March, and the drop off of any school issued items (such as library or text books). Your child(ren)’s principal has or will be sending the information about days and times. You can also check your school’s website for the information.
Our school year meal service at the three locations (Prairie Vista, Grissom and Penn) will continue through June 3. Next Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day and no meals will be available. However, we will be handing out food backpacks at Grissom and Penn this Friday, May 22 during lunch. Each backpack will have enough food for two meals for two kids. More details can be found here. We will be continuing our meal service through the summer. We are still working out the locations and logistics; more details will be shared soon.
As has been previously communicated, in-person summer school has been canceled. However, we are offering a virtual summer school program instead. Principals have communicated with families and registrations have been completed. At Penn High School, online remediation courses will be offered. Those students who previously registered to take summer P.E. and Health at Penn will now be taking the classes online. Principal Galiher has been communicating these details. Please check his past newsletters for more information.
We know as this year wraps up there is a lot of uncertainty about what the start of the next school year will look like. We are still awaiting guidance and details from Governor Holcomb, the Indiana Department of Education, as well as the CDC and U.S. Department of Education. However, we can assure you that we have already begun our preliminary planning and discussions about multiple scenarios.
Soon we will be sending surveys to get parent/family feedback on this extending eLearning period. Looking forward to the fall, we will be focusing on developing an education model that will support all types of learners so that we can continue to ensure that every student has a positive and successful educational experience that meets their needs, both inside and outside the traditional classroom. Some of the key areas we will be focusing on as we develop a re-entry plan with teachers for the 2020-2021 school year:
- Addressing and closing learning gaps
- Exploring hybrid models of eLearning and in-person instruction
- Technology tools and supports for both families and teachers
- School day models that will support effective social distancing (that include transportation, food service and recess)
- Student engagement
- Social emotional learning
We will be very busy this summer indeed!
We appreciate your patience and support over these past few months. We are a family all working together to provide excellence in education to all of our students.
Enjoy your summer and stay happy, well, and healthy. We hope to see you very soon!
Dr. Jerry Thacker, Superintendent
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation