Last night we received clarification from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) regarding its expectations of us during this unprecedented time away from schools. You can read the full language online, here. Simply put, it states that no decision has been made regarding how long students will be out of school. That decision will probably be left to the Oregon Health Authority, as it should be. In the meantime, ODE has called on school districts to shift from the initial “supplemental learning” model that we began with, to a “distance learning for all” model. This may appear at first glance to be a nuance, but it is a significant assignment. We at Springfield School District embrace this challenge, because it will be best for our students.
We will be reaching out to you with more details over the coming days (the memo and documentation are lengthy, and we need to move through it more thoughtfully than a night allows), but it essentially calls on us to provide a learning experience for each Springfield student, regardless of location. This request will be a big lift for us as a community. Our teachers are quickly learning the ropes of distance learning and will be ready to help.
The model puts responsibility on each parent as well. Our goal at Springfield Public Schools is to provide you with materials, guidance and resources that will help you and your student be successful. We know you are not teachers, and we know you are maintaining a household, feeding children, working remotely or away from home, and dealing with the stress that this time has presented. Our goal is that when this is over: 1) your child has avoided stagnation, and has continued to learn, 2) you had access to materials to support that, and 3) we have done everything within our reach to make this as successful an experience for you and your child as possible.
Future correspondence will include more information about “Distance Learning for All.” In the meantime, as a parent myself, I urge you to be realistic and gentle with each other. There will be days when you make good progress with your child, and there will be days that have bumps. This is, as we know, parenthood. And right now, it’s parenthood on steroids. So be kind to each other and yourself. I am not offering a pass on the education that should be happening during these difficult times, but I am reminding you that your healthy and loving relationship with your child is most important. And please, if you find yourself struggling, please reach out for guidance. We are here to help.