June 24, 2020
Dear Parents of Kirby Students,
The Kirby School District would like to start off by thanking you for how well you handled the unexpected closing of our schools during the COVID-19 crisis this past Spring. We understand that the scenario that evolved was not in the best interest of everyone, especially our students. Your flexibility and commitment to our schools and your children are very much valued and respected. There are so many questions and so few answers at this time as to what school will look like when we return in August, but the truth is we do not know. We are working together with the Department of Education and Secondary Education (DESE) and Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) on a re-entry plan for the 2020-2021 school year. The “vision” of how school will start for the 2020-2021 school year changes weekly with new updates from the Governor, Commissioner of Education, and the Arkansas Department of Health. What we do know is that with careful collaboration of multiple departments within our state, these departments have created re-entry plans for school districts called “Ready for Learning”.
The “Ready for Learning” plan for the 2020-2021 school year will provide flexibility and the ability to quickly shift gears in the event that interruptions take place to the learning environment as we experienced this past Spring. With that being said, the DESE and ADH have mandated that parents be allowed to either send their children to school traditionally or attend school virtually. This is known as “Blended Learning.” “Blended Learning” will allow students to receive direct instruction (whether in person or through recorded lessons) in combination with digital content and lessons. Kirby School District is creating a detailed blended learning plan for all students to move from on-site to at-home instruction at any time.
A survey will be sent out in the coming days regarding our “Blended Learning” plan. Please fill out the survey and help us gather data that will be pertinent to our “Ready for Learning and Blended Learning” plans. There will be questions regarding sending your child back to school traditionally or virtual for learning. We will also be collecting data on devices and internet connectivity.
Using this planning strategy and additional guidance and support for the Department of Health and DESE, Kirby School District will continue the task of looking at each component of the school day for our students. As the district narrows down more specifics on the re-entry and re-engagement plan, the district will communicate that plan to you. Once again, this is just not Kirby School District implementing these plans. This is state-wide and required by the Department of Education and Secondary Education and the Arkansas Department of Health.
Thank you for your support and dedication to Kirby School District. We look forward to the day we can get back to normalcy and hope everyone has a safe summer!
Pike Palmer, Superintendent
Kirby School District