Superintendent's Message to SPS Families - Dec. 18, 2020

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Spokane Public Schools
Published at : 18 Dec 2020
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Hello SPS Families,

With winter break upon us, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to students, staff, and families as we have navigated the turbulent road of the COVID-19 pandemic. The road we have traveled together has reflected the best values and ideals of our Spokane community. Together, we will get through this.

Distance learning and in person instruction during a pandemic have presented numerous challenges to overcome, and our staff is working harder than ever to plan and deliver instruction as well as make personal connection and provide interventions to students.

Their work is evidenced by recent feedback by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who recently shared that our district model is one of the best in the nation, as they have researched school districts across the country. This is not a perfect situation by any means, but we should be proud of that recognition.

In the days ahead, we will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials and return students to in person instruction as soon as possible. As one of only ten districts in the state selected to participate in a rapid testing pilot with the Washington State Department of Health, we are hopeful to begin voluntary testing in January.

This opportunity reflects recognition of our district’s thoughtful and successful planning for reopening school buildings. As we have implemented a plan based on the recommendations of public health officials, transmission of COVID-19 in schools has been extremely rare. In light of the rising county case counts, I want to assure you that we remain committed to following public health guidance on the process to reopen schools.

We will be closely evaluating the updated Department of Health school reopening guidelines released this week, and develop a plan to thoughtfully return additional students back to in-person instruction. We will share a plan for phasing additional grade levels on January 6th.

As we enter the month of January, you will be hearing more and more about the upcoming replacement levy on February 9th. This is perhaps the most important levy that we have ever run, given the very unique circumstances we are facing during the pandemic. Our replacement levy provides basic programming, activities, and services, such as nurses, counselors, safety staff, technology support, activities, athletics, advance placement courses, special education services, performing arts, and reasonable class sizes.

Provided all our students have missed during the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we are able to provide them these experiences when our buildings reopen. Without a replacement levy, this would not be possible. I encourage you to view factual information on our website and vote.

I hope that you have the opportunity during winter break to rest, relax, and find joy. This is a very hard time for many members of our school community, and I encourage you to remain optimistic, seek help if needed, and approach each day with an outlook that is realistic and recognizes that grace and positivity will help us persevere and emerge from this crisis ready to take hold of a bright and hopeful future.

Take care, and be well,

SPS Superintendent Dr. Adam Swinyard
spokanespokane schoolssuperintendent

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