Important Letter from Dr. Cook – Updates Concerning School Closure, May 8, 2020

May 8, 2020

Dear Catskill CSD Community,

Last Friday, the Governor announced that schools are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. I know this is disappointing news, but the social distancing regulations are in place to protect our school community. Nevertheless, distance learning, meal distribution and child care will continue through June as planned.

The Governor also announced that our annual school budget vote and board elections will take place on June 9, 2020 by absentee ballot. All registered voters in the District will be mailed a ballot and return envelope with pre-paid postage. Additional information can be found on the District’s website at www.catskillcsd.org.

Survey for Graduating Seniors, Family Members and Catskill CSD Staff
The school closures and social distancing regulations have also impacted our traditional recognition celebrations and school-related activities, which includes moving-up ceremonies and graduation. This is heart-wrenching, especially for the Class of 2020. We understand your frustrations and have generated a survey for graduating seniors, their family members and our staff. The survey can be found on the District’s website. Different options for recognizing our seniors have been provided and your response to the survey is valued and appreciated.

The Importance of Continued Learning and Home Visits
Although the Governor has closed schools for the remainder of the year, distance learning is on-going. It is rumored that some students are academically checking-out. I encourage all students to complete their assignments. All assignments will count towards their final grade. I also encourage our students to maintain communication with their teachers.

As per my April 17, 2020 letter, many of our teachers have been unsuccessful with trying to communicate with you. As a result, we are scheduling home visits to check-in with our students and families. Our support teams have valuable resources for families in need of social-emotional assistance. It is critical that communication is on-going during this uncertain situation. The team will contact you in advance of the home visit.

Grading
Fourth quarter grading will be implemented to ensure that equity amongst all students remains the priority. We plan to evaluate the quality of work, while providing flexibility to students who have had difficulty with internet access and with working from home. The grading plan is structured to ensure that students are successful during this difficult situation.

Retrieval of Items Left in Lockers and Classrooms
It was brought to my attention that parents are contacting our schools to come in and pick-up items that were left in lockers and classrooms. Your child’s belongings will be bagged, labeled with his or her name and a pick-up time for retrieval will occur in June. Again, we do not want students to start checking-out. Additionally, our custodians started the summer cleaning process weeks ago. Tables, desks and chairs are in our hallways for cleaning. These items will be placed back into classrooms by the second or third week in June. Please contact your child’s principal to schedule a June pick-up date and time. Your continued support and understanding is appreciated.

The Return Process for Chromebooks, Books, Calculators and Other School Items
We are targeting the week of June 22-26 for students / parents to return District-issued chromebooks, library books, textbooks, scientific calculators and other school-issued items. Additional information is forthcoming.

National Teacher Appreciation Week
This is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Although the week is coming to an end, please take the time to thank your child’s teacher(s) for their hard work and effort. They have kept our students informed and engaged from a distance. Despite the obstacles thrown in their way, they have gone above and beyond to support the students in our community. We are extremely proud of their efforts.

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Registration
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten registration is scheduled for June 1-5, 2020. The registration process will take place in the front circle at Catskill Elementary School. Please contact Ms. Nuala Jubie at njubie@catskillcsd.org for immediate support. Lastly, we have tentatively rescheduled Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten screening to the last week in August 2020. Additional information is forthcoming.

In closing, I am extremely proud of our entire staff for exceeding expectations during this unfortunate situation. Their hard work and dedication to our students, staff and community is commendable. We will overcome this pandemic together. Please stay safe and healthy! Cats Can, Cats Will!

Regards,

Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools

Posted in District.