April 3, 2020
Dear MCS Staff and Families,
Perhaps like many of you, the governor’s decision to keep our school doors closed for the remainder of the school year came with mixed emotions for me. In one sense, I was tired of kicking the proverbial can down the road and welcomed a definitive decision that keeps our students and staff most safe. On the other hand, I hurt, and continue to hurt, for how such distance impacts the love and learning our staff can pour into your children. I have full confidence that our students, staff, and families will persevere through the range of emotions and make the most of our new circumstances. As I have done each Friday, I am providing you with information that I hope is relevant to where your head and heart are this week. My thoughts below serve as a glimpse into the discussions central office leaders and principals are having, all intended to support you and your child(ren).
Continuity of Learning
Our central office priority this past week has been the distribution of Chromebooks and hotspots to students and families who so desperately want to stay connected to you. After a combined eight hours of distribution on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, we delivered 1,664 Chromebooks and 274 hotspots to the MCS families who completed our technology survey. Our technology staff will be available this Tuesday, April 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the MCS central office for any MCS student who still has a need for a Chromebook or hotspot. If this applies to your child, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (678-695-7215) to reserve a Chromebook or hotspot.
I’m sure that one of your main questions is about how we will grade and assess your student during the closure. This has been the topic of many discussions among principals and central office leaders. The simple answer is that grades earned throughout the closure will not negatively affect your student’s overall grade; student work submitted during this time will only be allowed to add value to the overall numeric grade. Now that I’ve shared this information, I have an important and heartfelt request: please stay committed to online learning. Our teachers are dedicating time and energy into providing learning experiences and educational opportunities; please continue to honor their time and effort. Your students have worked hard and achieved so much throughout this academic year, before and during the closure; please encourage and support them for the remainder of the school year. Additionally, it is important to remember that your child’s time, effort, and learning this spring will impact their preparedness for their class and grade level next school year. Put simply, for all the above reasons, the learning we achieve from now until May matters.
To that end, in an effort to be transparent and consistent in our expectations of students, staff, and families, I am providing you with grading and assessment guidelines for students in grades K-8 and 9-12. I encourage you to review the appropriate guide with your student and, as you have questions, please contact your child’s teacher, principal, or me.
There is no pedestal high enough for the food nutrition staff, bus drivers, and staff volunteers who continue to deliver meals to our MCS students. These heroes are meeting our students’ most basic need, as we know children cannot learn when they are hungry. Today, we served the most students in any single day since we closed our school doors: 3,122 children. For the last three weeks, as we consider total breakfast and lunch meals, our MCS staff and volunteers have provided 65,580 meals to our Marietta children. I applaud them, as I know you do too, for living and feeding our district value of “Be Somebody”.
Given our schools are now closed through the end of the May, we realize that some families may need to retrieve their child’s prescription medication from the school clinic. If this applies to your child, please contact Elin Brumbaugh, School Health Coordinator, by email (Elin.Brumbaugh@dph.ga.gov) or phone (404-550-3770) for scheduled times at each school to retrieve medication.
The Cobb Collaborative is an organization that connects community resource leaders to holistically meet critical needs in our community. I share their comprehensive list of community resources in the event your family has a need.
One of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs is “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On”. As the song title not-so-eloquently captures about our current reality: we will get through this. We will continue to breathe in, breathe out, and move on, albeit six feet apart for now. Our Marietta community was strong before the school closure and I have no doubt, with each breath and each step forward, we will be stronger tomorrow.
For the children,
Archived Letters to Families
Coronavirus Information from the CDC