Dear HCPSS Community:
We are quickly winding down to the end of the school year. Next week, June 15-18, students will take part in activities focused on well-being, including self-care and support. For the final three half days, June 19, 22 and 23, schools will hold end-of-year activities to engage and honor every student and give closure to the school year. More information regarding June 15-23 scheduling is provided online.
Preparing for 2020-2021
We continue to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year. Our primary consideration for fall planning continues to be the health and safety of our students and staff, and equity is a critical priority as we seek to serve the needs of all students, including those who are most vulnerable. Many decisions will largely depend on guidance from MSDE and health authorities; for others, HCPSS has considerable discretion. Ultimately, all plans will reflect the needs and priorities of our students, staff, and families.
Next week we will launch a dedicated webpage to share updates on our progress, and roll out surveys to students, parents/guardians and staff to request your feedback about the current continuity of learning program and your most important priorities and concerns for the fall. We will also provide a dedicated email address where you may send feedback.
We will also convene a new Recovery Plan Stakeholder group, whose members will include parents, students, staff and community members, as well as representatives from the health community. This group will review the survey results, emailed feedback and other data to inform and help to refine our planning for the fall. Additional details about the considerations for fall planning are provided online.
Outdoor Facilities Update
HCPSS playgrounds, basketball courts and playing fields have reopened for public use beginning today. Our tennis courts and stadium fields have been open since mid-May. More information about public use of HCPSS outdoor facilities is provided online.
I'm pleased to announce that HCPSS will continue Grab-N-Go meal services through the summer. We will provide an update on summer locations and other details next week. HCPSS has already served over 1 million free meals to provide essential nutrition to children during the school closure.
On Wednesday, State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced that high school athletic training activities may resume, and this week MSDE released revised guidelines outlining a range of options for fall athletics, with decisions to be jointly determined by the local school system, Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), and local health department. HCPSS will continue to work with MPSSAA through the summer as we approach the scheduled return to athletics in August, and will prepare our facilities for anticipated use by HCPSS athletic teams this fall.
Also on Wednesday, Dr. Salmon indicated that school may offer face-to-face opportunities to small groups of students. We will use that flexibility to provide opportunities for families and students to engage in the diagnostic, educational assessment that is associated with making decisions about special education services, early admittance to Kindergarten, and other placements. This is great news because much of this work has been delayed due to school closures. We are looking forward to ensuring that students are ready for success in the fall.
On a related note, the following summer programs will remain in the planned virtual model and are scheduled to begin in just a few weeks: Innovative Pathways (Comprehensive High School Summer School), Extended School Year (ESY) Programs, BSAP Summer Institute, and the Gifted and Talented Summer Institute for talent development. The decision to remain in a virtual model was made after careful consideration for the health and safety of students and staff and the timeline for program implementation.
Best wishes for a peaceful and healthy weekend.
Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D.