A year of school changes and challenges recalled
While it's hard to believe that summer is already just around the corner, as I write this article our schools are beginning to plan for the end of the 2020-21 school year — from graduation and prom at the high school level, to promotions for our fifth and eighth grade students, the traditional signs of another school year coming to an end are all around.
After a year of changes and challenges, opening new buildings following construction and "reopening" our schools to welcome back our in-person learners, these traditional types of end-of-the-year events feel so familiar, and I hope that participation in these events provides our students, staff, and families with meaningful memories of these important transitions.
The end of school marks the start of summer, which is a much busier time for a school district than most people realize! For the last few years, summer months in the Sherwood School District have centered around construction and deferred maintenance work at buildings throughout the district -- culminating in last year's significant construction projects to complete our new Sherwood High School campus, as well as our four "transformations" buildings, on time and on budget in spite of the many challenges presented to our hard-working construction teams during the pandemic.
This summer, we are glad to switch our focus away from construction and towards providing a larger, more robust summer program for our students. Thanks to new grant funding from the Oregon Department of Education, we are expanding our traditional summer offerings with a four-week core program June 22-July 15, which will be available for students grades K-12 free of charge.
This program will focus on academic learning and readiness supports, connections with peers, and social-emotional supports, as well as offering credit recovery options for our high school students. Meals will be available to all students participating in this summer program free of charge.
We are also exploring other opportunities for enrichment beyond this initial four-week core program. Please watch for communications from our schools or district office with more details on all of our summer offerings. In addition to supplemental programs for our students, summer also provides the time each year where our administrators work diligently to prepare for the start of the new school year. As you may have seen in our district communications, SSD will be returning to offering full-time, every day, in-person instruction in fall 2021 for all students and at all schools.
This is an exciting step for our district, and throughout the summer we will be reviewing and responding to any changes to keep student and staff safety a priority as we implement this return to our pre-pandemic schedule. In addition to the work happening in our school buildings to plan for a return to full-time, everyday learning, departments throughout the district do a lot of work in the summer to prepare for the return of students each fall.
Our custodians work throughout the summer months, providing cleaning support to our summer program and deep cleaning all buildings to be ready for the first day of school in the fall. Our maintenance teams will be hard at work tending to any needed repairs or upkeep, and our technology staff ensures that equipment throughout the district is ready for student and staff use right from day one.
In the weeks leading up to the start of the new school year, staff throughout the district tend to all of the logistics involved with operating our schools — from finalizing bus routes to preparing meal calendars, processing enrollment forms or preparing curriculum — and the list goes on! While so much of the work completed during the summer months happens "behind the scenes," all of these elements are an essential part of preparing to welcome back students each fall.
One final detail I am excited to share with our community for summer 2021 is the opportunity to tour the buildings most impacted by the 2016 Capital Improvement Bond. This summer, we will be providing opportunities for our community members to tour our new Sherwood High School campus, as well as our transformations schools (Sherwood Middle School, Ridges Elementary, and Hawks View Elementary). While our long-standing plans for a "grand opening" at each of these locations in 2020 was thwarted by the limitations of the pandemic, we know there is great interest in our community to see these schools firsthand. We will be providing a schedule very soon of tour opportunities for each of these locations – please watch our website and district communications for details on signing up for one of these tours!
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.