Dear Parents and Guardians,
In addition to our work to improve our academic programs, there are a number of equally important updates to our district policies and procedures that I would would like to share with you as we prepare to return to school. More detailed information regarding each item will either be shared by your building principal when your children return to school or later in the fall. In the interim, please take note of the following:
Beginning in September, all students in grades 6-12 will receive a Chromebook computer. We are excited for the final phase of our 1:1 program that began three years ago. The use of Chromebooks has proved beneficial for our students and the expansion will help improve instruction without replacing the special connection between teacher and student. Students will receive their Chromebook when they return to school. Please make sure your child completes the Acceptable Use Policy when he/she receives their Chromebook.
Cell Phones in our Classrooms
With the use of Chromebooks in most classrooms across the district, there is no need for cell phones in the instructional classroom or their potential for distraction from instruction. Understanding this, I have asked our principals to develop and implement policies for their buildings limiting the use of cell phones; these will be shared with students when they return to school. In the fall, the district will convene a committee of students, staff and parents to explore the need for a district-wide policy on cell phone use in our schools.
Cultural Competency/Character Education
Developing our students to live, study and work in a diverse world is equally as important as our academic mission. Over the course of the next school year, we will take a major step to improve the cultural competency of our staff and revise our character education programs in all schools, Kindergarten through grade 12. We will be partnering with local organizations to train our staff and we will assemble a committee of students, staff and parents to review and revise our character education programs and policies to ensure that they are reflective of our district values.
Student ID Cards
Beginning in September, all students in grades 6-12 will be provided with a student identification card. Students must carry their ID with them each day to school as it will be used for a variety of different things such as purchasing lunch, signing out books in the media center, and printing from their Chromebook. At Central High School, the cards will also provide students internal building access during passing time.
Building Entrances / After-school Building Access
Based on a review of our current practices with our district Security Committee (which includes members of local law enforcement) we are proactively making changes to some of our current practices in an effort to improve the safety and security of students and staff. Once building doors are locked each day, every visitor will be asked the reason for his/her visit prior to entering the building and ID’s will be required when she/he signs in at the main office.
After dismissal, school doors will remain locked and access will be limited to emergencies only. Once our elementary enrichment programs begin in October, only visitors with children enrolled in the enrichment programs will be provided entrance to our elementary buildings. At Timberlane and Central High School, access will be limited only to areas that are needed for clubs and activities.
Thank you in advance for your support and understanding as we work to improve our district policies and procedures, which will in turn, make our classrooms more productive and our buildings safer for our community.
Thomas A. Smith, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools