Letter from the Superintendent 3/26/20

I thought it was important for me to reach out and share with you the district’s plan moving forward in regards to education. Please understand that we as an administrative team have been continually meeting to look at how we can build a plan of continuity of education for all students in the Canton Area School District. We acknowledge there will be many barriers, but we are going to do our best to meet all students’ needs. We believe it is our responsibility as an educational system to provide this to our students and the community as a whole.

First, I think it is important for me to share with you all we have done so far as a district to prepare for implementation of our continuity of education plan. Over the past week and a half, we have been planning on how we can move forward with education should our closure be over an extended period of time. When I speak of an extended period of time, we are planning that we may never get back into our buildings by the end of the school year. This decision has not been made at this point, but that is how we are planning moving forward. We anticipate the Governor to continue to close school for two-week increments. Nonetheless, we have developed a continuity of education plan for our teachers.

The first part of the plan was to determine the technology availability for our staff and students. I am happy to report we were able to account for over 700 of our students and their internet and device availability. That means we have less than 200 students who did not respond. The district is well aware that a family could not respond if they do not have internet, so we will be having our teachers reach out to these students via telephone to see what connectivity or device issues they may have. In addition, I wanted to share that we read all of your responses about the concerns you have moving forward with “virtual education.” We acknowledge the challenges we face. We know that internet connectivity is an issue. We are aware that families have five members, but only three devices. We are not sure how the internet will respond with thousands of people on it at one time. We will work through any issues that may come our way, and we will be flexible with our students and our families.

So, what will this all look like you may ask?  Our continuity of education plan at this point (until April 9), will focus on remediating and enriching all skills that have already been taught in the classroom. I know many of you have already heard from our teachers during the first week and a half of school closures and they have voluntarily offered to provide you with educational opportunities. We are grateful for them stepping up and doing this for you, our students! We will not be delivering new instruction to our students at this time. The only potential (and the key word here is potential) change in this may be with students who are working in college type courses (Advance Placement or Dual Enrollment). Our teachers, beginning as early as tomorrow, March 27, will be reaching out to their students. This will be a personal communication to each student and/or parent/guardian from his/her teacher. They will share their individual continuity of education plan as well as how they plan to deliver remediation and enrichment activities.  I would anticipate you being provided these opportunities as early as the beginning to middle part of next week. For those students who do not have an “electronic means” to receive their education, we will be providing remediation and enrichment packets that will be mailed home for your students to complete. Our teachers will be available for students daily from 8 AM – 2 PM.  Communication with students will be left to the discretion of the teachers.  Examples of ways we anticipate communication to occur may include Google Hangout, Zoom, email, or a phone call.  Finally, we will be giving our teachers specific guidance on our administrative expectations for providing education to all students.

I also think it is important for you, as parents and guardians of our students, to understand the integral role you play in this process. Obviously, we cannot be with our students in person to ensure that the work and opportunities we provide can be completed. Our goal is to provide the greatest amount of structure for you and our students to mirror what our “brick and mortar” education looks like. We would greatly appreciate you working alongside your child, when possible, to support him/her in this educational process. Our teachers will have office hours every day where you can send them questions.   They will do their best to answer all questions in a timely manner.

It is our hope that you and your family continue to be safe and healthy.  Together, I know Warrior Country will survive this pandemic. I want to personally thank you all for your continued trust in my team, and I appreciate your flexibility and patience with us through this very challenging time. If you have any questions about the ‘how’ or ‘why’ we are doing things, please feel free to send an email to Questions@canton.k12.pa.us

From our families to yours, stay strong, as this too will pass!

Yours in Education,

Eric Briggs, D.Ed.

Superintendent of Schools

Canton Area School District