August 4, 2020
Fort Lewis Mesa Families~
As you know, we are in the middle of a widespread public health crisis. Despite a shared want for normalcy, we cannot expect things to be like years past. As we move forward into a new school year, the planning I am witnessing is some of the most complex and thoughtful work I have ever seen in education. The requirements are challenging yet important.
Please recognize that any in-person learning this year will be unlike what we have considered typical in years past. At Fort Lewis Mesa we continue to aim at engaging all students in learning with a strong focus on supporting them academically as well as social-emotionally. Given the current situation with COVID-19 here in La Plata County, our local public health agencies feel it is possible to open schools so long as we ensure students stay in consistent, socially-distanced cohorts. Our school is committed to following safety recommendations per the Colorado Department of Education; our teachers look forward to meeting their new students. As a reminder… fall registration is Wednesday, August 13 from 8am-3:30pm. We will be doing this out front of the school.
As you may already know, there are three different learning models that you can choose from. Choices will be made for Semester 1 (school starting date through winter break). With this, Fort Lewis Mesa’s administration will give an opportunity for feedback on your child’s learning model and will consider making changes to placement after the first quarter. Any change for the 2nd quarter will be dependent on availability and need. Below are the three options:
1) Remote Learning Model: In this model, students participate in home learning. They will typically have opportunities to check in with their teachers virtually on those days, but will largely participate in assignments that can be completed independently. Students will have access to live lessons and home learning will be connected through the itsLearning platform. Durango 9-R will support students with access to technology tools where needed. We strive to provide students with an opportunity to continue to interact with their school community while meeting their need to stay home. We will work to ensure an engaging and rigorous experience that meets the needs of our students.
2) Blended/Hybrid Learning Model: Students will attend school two days a week in a classroom. For this option, students will receive in-person instruction a couple of days a week and remote, at-home structured learning activities on the other days of the week. These at home learning activities will provide opportunities for students to practice, apply, and continue their learning while solidifying skills and knowledge. FLME will work with other schools to ensure alignment with families.
3) In-Person Learning Model (five days a week): Students learn in a classroom, on-site at FLME, five days a week as long as permitted by public health orders. Students who choose to participate in in-person learning will be required to go through passive health screenings on the days they go to school and take health precautions throughout the day.
In the classroom, students will be spaced with as much room as the class size allows. Students will have limited access to areas in the buildings, including designated bathrooms. There will be a strong emphasis on washing hands, maintaining distance, and wearing face coverings.
If more information is needed, please read through the district’s Return to Learn plan HERE.
Family Engagement Sessions: Join one of the district’s two family engagement sessions regarding the plan on either August 6th or 7th, at 7:30 am, 12:00pm and 6:00 pm on both dates. These Zoom sessions will also be available in Spanish. Please visit the district’s webpage to access the meetings and participate in the engagement sessions. You may also provide feedback to the district through our online feedback form HERE.
Shortly after the feedback sessions, parents will receive a digital selection form to choose the model most appropriate for them. We are shooting for August 10th as a deadline for families to make their choice so that administration has time to create the master schedule and assign staff appropriately.
School Funding: School funding is allocated on a per pupil basis in Durango 9-R. Each student enrolled in ANY of our 3 models will bring with him/her approximately $8,000 to our school budget. The number of dollars a school receives is based on how many students enroll by October 1st (we do not receive additional funding for students who enroll after this point in the school year). If you are considering having your child engage in a remote model, we hope that you will give FLME the opportunity to provide this programming. This will ensure that our school can weather the pandemic while still providing the necessary resources for our students.
Recess: Students will have an opportunity to play outside and on the playground; they will stay in their groups (cohorts). Recess times will be spread out over the day to ensure each group remains separated from each other.
Lunch: Students will eat lunch together in their cohorts, in the classroom. Meals will be provided, per usual, at a cost for families. If you will need a free or reduced lunch, please fill out the free and reduced application HERE.
While we are in this together, we are all in different situations; I respect each of your decisions on how to provide learning for your child. If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a parent, I too feel the weight of the decision of which model to choose as it is tough to decide what is best for your child/children and family. Ultimately, the decision you will make is the right one. I thank you for the continued support and look forward to a wonderful, safe school year.
With so much gratitude for this amazing community...