APPLEGATE: Distance learning moves forward at Niles Community Schools

These times are unlike any other, but they will not define us. As COVID-19 continues to have devastating effects in our community and around the globe, we must move forward as best we can. At Niles Community Schools, we are hard at work to make sure learning continues for all students.

With our continuity of learning plan now approved by the state, our teachers, administrators and staff have quickly transitioned to new modes of learning for the remainder of the year. We will continue to provide students with the instruction and resources that they have come to expect from our schools, but we do ask for continued patience from our school community as this is a new experience for all of us.

The district’s continuity of learning plan factors in all levels of access — students with devices and internet at home, students with internet but no devices, and students without internet.

We are using a combination of online learning platforms, teacher phone calls and hard copy instructional packets to continue educating students. The district will provide resources to families that need them, whether those are Google Chromebooks or materials such as paper, pencils and crayons.

The education of all our students is our first priority, but there are hurdles that need to be overcome to accomplish our continuity of learning plan. That said, we would encourage all students to spend adequate time on their lessons to support continued academic growth and so that they are ready to hit the ground running when we are back on campus in the coming months.

We are remaining flexible and compassionate with students and families in understanding there are many emotional, physical and financial hardships affecting our community. School staff, including counselors, continue to be available and we encourage students and families to reach out to them. As always, OK2SAY is a valuable resource for those in crisis as well as for anyone who is aware of someone in need of critical assistance.

As superintendent, I continue to be amazed by the creativity and passion of our teachers and staff. As always, they are committed to our students’ best interests and are going above and beyond to make sure students feel cared for and valued during this difficult time. I am equally amazed by the strength of our families and the support we receive from the community.

I remain grateful for the commitment of our students and families, who have been patient and flexible as we navigate this uncharted territory. Together, we will learn, innovate and adapt. There are brighter days ahead for us all. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected and go Vikes!