South Summit School District Prepared For New Reality
With schools closed for another week, and possibly longer, South Summit School District says the district is adjusting to the new reality of education.
South Summit School District Superintendent Shad Sorenson says the district has been prepared for the shutdown, as they have used one to one devices to access educational tools via technological for several years now. Sorenson says the district is prepared to instruct this way as long as needed.
“There are a lot of people that are concerned that this will go throughout the end of the year," Sorenson explained. "We are not saying a specific date. There're rumors in our community that school is completely done and I want to clarify. We do not have a specific date as to when this will end. However, we are prepared if it goes that long to do it and do it well. At this point we're saying we're going until that two-week period that the governor talked about and then reevaluate from that point.”
Thursday the state board of education lifted many requirements for schools for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those requirements lifted was mandatory hours and days as well as statewide tests. South Summit already does their own internal assessments.
“We're going to do internal assessment regardless, because we will want to know where our students stand," Sorenson continued. "Then of course next year when we begin school, we’ll do additional assessments not only measuring summer slide, but if there's some gaps that maybe happened because of this. I was a little hopeful there would be state-wide tests that maybe wouldn't be used in any type of accountability, except for information. Simply because I'm very intrigued to know how well his approach to learning is for our students and how well received it is. I think we'll be able to get that data through our internal assessment processes.”
Sorenson says education will be transformed, long-term, as a result of the school closures.
“I don’t think you can ever replace that face to face, and some of the things that come out of traditional school experience," Sorenson said. "I've even had these conversations, perhaps you go to school half day in a building and half day online. Or maybe a couple days in person and a couple days online. There are definitely going to be possibilities and I think this will be good for families to see if it works for them, as well as learning for students. I'm completely confident in our faculty to be able to deliver curriculum this way. So, I’m anxious to see on the receiving end, how well it works.”
Sorenson says paraeducators are still involved working even as small as individual levels to aid students who don’t have needed resources. Additionally, the district is providing breakfast and lunch for all students, not just those on free or reduced lunch programs.
"Between 8:00 and 11:00 am students come and they picked up their lunch for that day and breakfast for the next morning," Sorenson explained. "The breakfasts are prepared in a way that they can throw it in a refrigerator or on a counter for 24 hours. For students that do not have transportation., we are delivering those. That's where we're using the support of some of our transportation people to assist. To give them an opportunity to contribute, and continue to receive paid, and also to be making a positive difference.”
Sorenson says although their buildings are closed, administrators are there and available to answer parents' questions via phone call or email. Sorenson also thanked the community for their support.