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SAS Community Update | August 28, 2020

August 28, 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

Saline Area Schools Community, 

We are quickly approaching the starting line of the 2020-2021 school year, which will be unlike any we have experienced before. Our staff continues to dedicate time to meet each child’s academic, social and emotional needs both in and out of the classroom. Our Board of Education, Foundation for Saline Area Schools and district leadership are committed to providing students with the necessary tools to ensure success. We are all busy navigating uncharted waters to prepare our buildings and resources for an unusual return. I want to take this opportunity to update you on a few important items: 

Survey + Connected Learning Plan 

Thank you to all SAS families who participated in the Opening of Schools Feedback Survey that was collected in early August.Your submissions, feedback, suggestions and most importantly patience and flexibility were key contributors to building the Connected Learning Plan

Welcome Week 

The first day of the school year for SAS students has been moved to Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Therefore, next week (August 31 – September 3, 2020) will be treated as “Welcome Week” for SAS families. You will receive daily communication from your building leaders with information relative to staff introductions, building tours, food service, technology, student schedules, and various tips and tricks to help navigate learning this year. 

Learning Models 

As of today, our Learning Model Timeline is still accurate. Reminder, for the first three weeks all students will participate in 100% distance learning. Once we open the hybrid window (if local conditions allow), our staff will remain committed to providing a robust learning environment for both distance and in-person learners. 

Health + Safety 

On Monday, I had the honor of hosting Dr. Varsha Moudgal (Infectious Disease Specialist, IHA Health) in a Facebook Live Q&A session. Dr. Moudgal presented valuable information specific to our community and commended our staff for the details outlined in the Connected Learning Plan and our strategic timeline for reentry. To view her presentation and watch the session, click HERE under “Presentations.” 

Equity for all Students

The COVID-19 Pandemic has visibly displayed some serious inequities across our country. This is a stern reminder that Saline Area Schools needs to continue to invest significant time, energy and commitment to creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for ALL  our students. We have been working hard in this area over the summer which has culminated in an outstanding day of professional development on August 27th that involved equity training for 450 SAS staff members.

Student Class Placements at the Elementary Level

As many of you are getting class placements at the elementary level this week, there are a few important considerations that we want to share with all of you. First, we worked very hard to try and meet the needs of the students (families) in our district. That meant combining some students from all three of the lower elementary schools (Harvest, Pleasant Ridge and Woodland Meadows) who requested a virtual class placement for the first trimester to make a full class of students with a virtual only teacher.. In addition, in order to meet the safety needs of the eventual hybrid in-person classes and to keep our class sizes lower for in-person instruction, we have some virtual classes that are higher in class size than the in-person classes. Again, we are trying our best to create the best possible learning environment that meets the safety and educational needs of all our students and families. This has meant making adjustments with our instructional model in the midst of this COVID-19 Pandemic.

The strong sense of community that radiates in Saline will continue to carry us through the complications of the pandemic. As we all make the final preparations for the coming school year, let’s offer each other support and understanding on behalf of our remarkable students and their voyage through the coming months. 

In partnership, 

Scot A. Graden


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