Office: 503/916-6308 E-mail: email@example.com
March 31, 2020
Dear Maplewood Families,
I hope you are all healthy and finding ways to take care of yourselves and your children. Know
that we are all in this together. We miss the students and the amazing community that is
We held our first on-line staff meeting yesterday. It was nice to see each other and check in.
now you all should have heard something from your child’s teacher. We are all working on
setting up options of on-line instruction. If you need assistance with that do not hesitate to reach
out to the teachers or Elin via email.
You may have seen communication from the district that indicates students will have daily
activities in the areas of math, reading and writing. In addition, science and social studies may
be offered as supplemental activities.
Often teachers give work that overlaps content areas.
The next several weeks will not be easy. There will be mistakes, problems, and concerns along
the way. However, there will be more successes, happiness, hope, laughter, fun, and purpose!
We understand many of you are still working and have several children to help, financial
concerns, health issues, etc. We are here to patiently support our students and you throughout
this challenging time. Please do not stress over the school work via distance learning or printed
Frustrations are high due to our circumstances and we don’t want to increase the
stress on our families.
We are going to do our best to provide schoolwork to keep our students'
minds moving forward.
But you are the parents and they are with you, so you have control to
adjust as needed for your child/children.
Again, contact your teacher or me via email, if you
need help. We also ask for your patience and understanding as we travel this new territory, too.
Our teachers and other employees are working long hours from home while dealing with their
new, but temporary, normal.
Cybersafety: Sadly in these times, there are bad people that want to take advantage of us in our
new "digital" distance classrooms and increased “free” digital time. We must be diligent in
ensuring they are not allowed to invade the world of our children.
Please discuss cyber safety
with your children and monitor them as much as you possibly can.
Kindergarten Registration Forms:
If you are the parent of an incoming kindergarten student
or know someone who has an incoming kindergarten student please remember to complete registration.
Currently all registration is on line only-you can find the
information for online registration on the PPS website.
This is a new process and you will be asked for in person verification for DOB and 2 address verifications at a later time. You will also be asked for Immunizations and an Intake Kindergarten form at a later date.
A Thank You to our Hard Working Local Heroes:
We would like to thank everyone for your
kindness and support, especially our health professionals, truck drivers, grocery store employees,
first responders and all other essential operations personnel.
From the Oregon Department of Education State Director:
I wanted to include a message
from Colt Gill our state director.
How We Are Evolving
Our state’s response to COVID-19 has responsibly and necessarily evolved with the use of data and
knowledge of effective suppression measures.
We now have a moral imperative to meet the
changing nature of the pandemic and evolve our approach to serving our children.
As we continue the effective measures of Governor Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order, we
also foresee the strong possibility that our students may not come back through our school
house doors this academic year.
This calls for a shift from providing supplementary education to
a formidable effort to provide Distance Learning for All.
Of course, education without face-to-face interaction between students and teachers will look and
feel different and cannot be fully replicated across a distance. It will not and cannot happen
overnight. We need the grace and patience of our state’s leaders, our communities, our families, and
our educators as we learn together to move powerfully to ensure care, connection, and continuity of
learning happen in entirely new ways for our students.
I was recently reminded of the power of student and teacher relationships in a classroom setting.
Over two decades ago I was a 4th grade teacher at Creslane Elementary School in Creswell,
I worked with an amazing Educational Assistant, to cook some noodles in an unusual way
to help bring a book to life for my students.
Here is the story from Colin Lyons, one of my former
students, who is now a candidate for Oregon Teacher of the Year,:
“Mr. Colt Gill, was my 4th grade reading teacher in Creswell (and my first superintendent when I
worked in Bethel SD). I attribute my career path to him and a random day when he cooked
us worms to try and eat with ketchup and mustard after reading Thomas Rockwell’s How to
Eat Fried Worms.
It was a silly event, but memorable and my tiny 9 year old brain
gravitated to wanting to emulate him and his passion.”
I share this story for two reasons. First, it underscores how our relationships and interactions with
students can have a lasting impact and more than we might realize at the time. We must be caring,
intentional and reaffirm a sense of community and continuity in all our actions. We need to be
clear-headed regarding the experiences our children will lose over the next two and half months –
proms, field trips, graduation and award ceremonies, and simple classroom activities that shape
The loss of these experiences should not mean students lose the opportunity for connection,
belonging and optimism in the future. Every caring adult has a role and responsibility to play in
guiding our students through this moment of challenge and uncertainty. It is a time to highlight the
assets and resilience we see in our children and let them know how much we value them.
Second, the passion that Colin referred to runs deep in educators. Educators are the most caring,
flexible, and determined people I know. They are true professionals. Educators, as they partner with
families in new and deep ways, can make this work for Oregon’s children.
We must move into this shift with honesty regarding known and unknown challenges:
● The vast majority of Oregon educators have not taught online and some districts have
varying levels of experience, capacity, and technology tools. Let’s take this head on
utilizing our resourcefulness and creativity understanding not all distance education will be
online. Meaningful education can be provided through educational materials distributed in
packets, via individual and group calls, and other efforts that may be employed to ensure
continuity of learning.
● Imagine a family with a 7th grader and a 10th grader, each with 6 or 7 different teachers
and classes with one computer to share between the students. We must find ways for their
classes to be scheduled in ways they can access all the content.
● For our younger students, the success of distance education overwhelmingly relies on
parents and adult family members to be active partners with teachers. It will be important
for parents to know their role to support, including making time outside interactions with
their child’s teacher to serve as tutors, helping to ensure attentiveness to the instructional
time with teachers, providing structure to the daily schedule and helping support
connectivity and continuity of technology at home, and more. Primary students going
through the rigors of learning to read requires the support of a teacher “scaffolding the
lesson” minute-by-minute to meet the needs and strengths of the student. This will look
different within distance learning and we have to find ways to partner teachers and parents
to nurture learning within this context.
● In Oregon last year 22,215 students lacked “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime
residence”. The number of children experiencing houselessness is likely to grow this year.
We will need to think of creative strategies to provide access to learning for students in
these situations where a tablet or laptop and hotspot connection to the internet may not be
the most practical way to provide access to learning for some students.
● ODE will work with relevant state agencies and ESDs to address data from the Oregon
Broadband Commission regarding potential connectivity issues communicated by Internet
Service Providers (ISPs). We also recognize that there are parts of the state yet to be
served by broadband or cell connectivity. This will require flexibility for these schools to
serve students during the school closure in ways consistent with the specific needs of their
communities and families.
● And, family needs, strengths, make-up and values play a significant role. Some families
work hard to limit screen time and will have to navigate new patterns in the home. In some
homes older siblings must care for younger siblings and family members because parents
and other caregivers must work. We all have to work together to communicate
expectations for learning while making allowances for the specific customs and routines of
families within their home environment.
These are a few of the issues our state and our schools will be working to meet head-on at the same
time they are beginning to deliver Distance Learning for All. The effort carries its challenges,
through them we will center on equity.
Our school house doors were open to every single student in
our state, and as we shift to Distance Learning for All we must ensure our education services are
accessible to every student in our state. We will do all we can to meet the needs and strengths of
students with disabilities, emerging bilingual students, talented and gifted students, and students
navigating poverty and houselessness.
Our children and educators deserve more than we can provide right now; we must let this thought
drive our innovation and help us strive to overcome disparities and build resilience in our students
This effort will call on all our creativity and talents as well as deep partnership with
families to reach all students to provide care, connection, and continuity of learning.
Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education