Welcome Back DECA Students!!!

Return Plan 2020-2021 Academic Year

July 27, 2020

Dear DECA Families,

This has been and continues to be a challenging summer for DECA and schools across the country. We've been hard at work crafting a plan that we can be confident will ensure our students' successful return to school in the fall. Our priority for the 2020-21 school year has been to keep our entire DECA community safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That priority has not changed and as we move closer to the start of the school year, we have been actively monitoring the status of the virus in Montgomery County. As you know, the spread of COVID-19 continues to rise across the nation, and Montgomery County is experiencing alarmingly high positive test rates, especially within the Black community. 

Last week we reviewed the DECA health and safety plan with our Return-to-School Task Force to address concerns we have received from teachers, staff and parents.  We concluded that even with implementing social distancing on school busses and in classrooms, we are not confident given the continued increasing viral spread that we can keep our DECA family safe.  Simply put, we cannot risk the safety of our DECA students, teachers and staff.

Based on these discussions and our monitoring of local and national trends in COVID-19 cases, we have decided to postpone the start of the academic year to Monday, August 24, and begin our school year virtually in the full-time distance learning model for all students for at least the first quarter.  Remote instruction will be delivered by DECA teachers, not a third-party provider. 

With this proposed change, our teachers and staff will return to school as scheduled on August 5, so that we can devote more time and resources to professional learning to ensure we are well prepared to provide a robust full-time distance learning program with DECA teachers that supports all students. 

We want to emphasize that this decision weighs heavily on all of us and, while this is not the solution we would prefer to be offering to our families, our team believes it is the only sensible option that can protect our students, staff, and families while continuing to provide a quality education.  We recognize that this change will present challenges for many of our families, and we hope that by informing you as soon as we made the decision, you will be able to make necessary adjustments to your plans for the fall. 

We will share an updated Frequently Asked Questions document with you by this Friday, July 31, which will provide more details on the plan for distance learning, including information about Special Education, Social-Emotional and Mental Health, and Technology.  We will also be having another Facebook Live Town Hall scheduled for Tuesday, August 4 at 6:30 pm.  If you do not have access to Facebook, we will email the link for you to join. 

We know that remote learning is not how most children are best suited to learn, but these are extraordinary times we are living in. It remains our greatest hope to have students return to our building as soon as it is safe to do so, and in the meantime we have every intention of providing a rigorous, engaging remote learning education.  Thank you for our continued support as we move forward together during this challenging time. 

Dave Taylor
DECA Superintendent

Monday Messages

We will be updating you with Monday Messages every other Monday throughout the summer beginning June 15, 2020!

 

May 25, 2020

DECA Families,

Dr. Hennessey, the entire DECA team, and I would like to express our appreciation for your incredible work supporting your child as we learned how to do school entirely remotely. Our parents and our students stepped up in huge ways because this was a challenge for all of us! We are incredibly grateful for your patience as we worked through some issues, and we hope you are pleased with our effort to make this a meaningful and enriching opportunity for your child. 

Across all three campuses, this week marked the final days of new assignments for DECA students. Next week is our final week of school, and as such we want to take some time to hear from you about how the remote learning experience has been for you and provide you with a brief update about a few key events happening over the summer. Please complete the survey by June 6, 2020 to be entered into a raffle for one of 10 $15 doordash gift cards.

Parent Guardian Survey: https://forms.gle/jVBSt57BAjTYsYEw8.  Please take a few minutes to complete the survey to help us learn how to improve this experience should we be required to provide remote learning again next year in some manner. 

Student Survey: https://forms.gle/A6djKQRYcvKK47Hr9. Parents please share this student survey with your children. We know that some of our youngest scholars may need help completing theirs, but it’s important that we hear their perspective.

Chromebook Return: Since the announcement of the school closure a bit over two months ago, over 1,300 chromebooks have gone home with our students. We now have the incredibly important (and difficult) task of ensuring that we’re in good shape for next year. We ask for your help in returning all of the DECA-issued chromebooks you have, so that we can get them inventoried, cleaned, and repaired so that they are ready for use for the upcoming school year. 

Summer Intervention & Enrichment: We are incredibly excited about all of our virtual summer intervention and enrichment programs that begin on June 15! Each campus is rolling out the details of their summer programming so if you’ve missed something, stay tuned. We have something for every DECA student to participate in, and we hope that we can set records for the numbers of pages our students read in June, July, and August! We know that many of our students will need chromebooks to participate in our summer programs, and we plan to make chromebooks available for that purpose. We will have times set up for families who need a chromebook over the summer to come pick one up from us in mid-June after we’ve had enough time to get them ready. 

Finally as we look to the fall, we are currently investigating three possible scenarios for what next year may look like: 1) continued remote learning if schools are not permitted to reopen, 2) all students returning to the building while maintaining social distancing, or 3) a blend of the two that would have some students in school with others remaining at home learning remotely. As we learn more we will continue to keep you informed. Thanks for your continued partnership with us as we work to develop your child into a college graduate.

Sincerely,

Dave Taylor
Deputy Superintendent