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Perrysburg Schools News Article

Community Update 04/03/20

Good Afternoon Families, Employees and Community Leaders,

I hope that this message finds each of you well.

As Governor Mike DeWine announced earlier this week, all school facilities in the state are now required to remain closed until Friday, May 1, 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. As that date draws nearer, the Governor will continue to evaluate the length of this order. At this time, we will plan for school to continue to take place online until Friday, May 1. However, we must also recognize that the Governor and Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health Director, may extend this current closure. 

We have been hard at work planning for the extension of the original order for school facilities to close. Principals and teachers have been busy reaching out to families over the phone and online. In grades K-4, during the week of April 13th, we will be introducing the “Schoology” learning platform to those families. It is the same learning platform that is used by faculty, students and families in grades 5-12. This shift will significantly expand the learning options for those elementary students and their families. Making the transition from daily in-person instruction to an online, home learning environment in a matter of days was challenging and required us to make immediate adjustments while working around spring break. We have learned things during the initial period that will help us as we begin this transition to Schoology as our online platform. We now have additional time to continue to refine our efforts. 

We appreciate your patience during this time. We want to be respectful of the delicate balance that is needed between continuing the educational process uninterrupted and the reality that there may be more pressing, literally life-and-death, issues that our students and families face. We have families who want to be challenged and are disappointed we are not providing more while there are other families for which keeping up is impossible, while bringing tears to students and caregivers alike. We respect where each family is today and recognize that conditions will change. There is nothing more important than one’s physical and mental health. Like many of the families we serve, we as an institution are looking to strike that healthy balance. 

We remain committed to doing our best to ensure all students achieve their greatest potential - academically and mentally. There is no doubt that over the next few weeks there will be additional challenges and changes in our personal lives and the world around us.  We will continue to communicate with families and employees regularly. 

We continue to look to the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Department of Health, Wood County Health Department and Wood County Emergency Management Agency for guidance. We pledge to answer your questions and to do our best to tackle this challenge.

Thanks to the many families and employees who have already shared positive stories and photos. We take this crisis seriously, and we also understand how lifting each other up and celebrating our students, employees and families is more important now than ever. We are honored to be able to share your smiles and efforts with the community.

I would like to acknowledge the amazing work of our dedicated faculty and staff members in transforming our school district in such a short period of time. This would also not be possible without our amazing students, who have demonstrated that they are always ready for a challenge, and the support of all families and citizens throughout our community. Together, we will weather this storm and emerge even stronger than we are today.

Wednesday, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Acton said at their daily press conference: “I feel like we are living in ‘Groundhog Day.’ If you remember Bill Murray’s character went through the stages of grief. I think many of us are going through this now. Please BE KIND to others. Don’t forget that everyone is going through the same stress.”

Piero Ferrucci’s book, “The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life,” has a passage I was reminded of when I heard Dr. Acton’s statement: “It is clear that our very survival, even today, depends upon the acts and kindness of so many people.” Today, more than ever, we are relying on the kindness of others for so much. How can we show kindness to help others? A simple smile to the clerk at the grocery store, a call to a neighbor who is alone or adding an extra line expressing care and gratitude to the bottom of an email can provide the nutrients to help sustain hope in others. With hope, life can blossom.

Following, please find some information that we hope you find useful. If there are questions or topics you would like us to address, please email them to thosler@perrysburgschools.net.

Be healthy,
Thomas L. Hosler
Perrysburg Schools

Food for Students
This week it was an honor for Perrysburg Schools staff and volunteers to prepare 4,500 meals for 450 students. Supplies were pulled from all of our school buildings and meals were prepared at Toth Elementary School, where families could pull up and take delivery. Please follow this link for more information about food assistance: http://www.perrysburgschools.net/protected/ArticleView.aspx?iid=6G0BU3Y&dasi=3PU0.

OHSAA - Junior High and High School Athletics
The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) will be adjusting its spring sports timeline  with the announcement that school buildings will remain closed through May 1. Currently, athletes and coaches in spring sports are in a no-contact period that began March 17. OHSAA released the following statement on March 30 via its official Twitter account: “@GovMikeDeWine has announced schools will continue with ‘distance learning’ through May 1. As previously announced, there cannot be school sports if school facilities are not open. #OHSAA staff & @Jerry_Snodgrass will send update to schools with adjusted spring sports timeline.”

Reaching Out to Students and Families
Perrysburg Schools has over 5,600 students. As we have moved to online and home learning, we recognize that there are some students and families who have not been in contact with teachers or the schools. We realize that there are some families who have been displaced. For example, students may be staying with other family members while parents or guardians are working or ill. We also know that some families have limited or no access to the Internet, making it more challenging to communicate. There may be some families who are just overwhelmed. We need your help to touch base with each student. We want to make sure that all of our students are safe. If you or your student have not logged in, contacted or responded to a teacher or school staff member, we need your help. Please take a moment to respond to our call, email or reach out to us so we know how our students are doing.

As we approach the anticipated peak of COVID-19, it is important for us to keep track of our students. The process being used for outreach will have different levels of engagement. It is our hope to have a stronger connection to these students during and after this crisis.

Top 10 Ways to set up a Home Classroom Atmosphere for Parents/Guardians
Turn off the TV
Limit distractions as difficult as it may be. Try to schedule a family time for everyone to work distraction-free. 

Create a Work Station
Clear a table and set it up as a desk. Avoid couches. Sitting at a table, like school, is going to keep the brain engaged in a task mode, rather than a relaxed mode.

Nourish the Brain
Have breakfast before learning starts and snacks when needed.

Move Around
Plan in breaks to move around in between lessons.

Use “Growth Mindset” language
Reinforce how proud you are of your student’s effort, praise how fun it is to watch them work hard. Stay away from only praising getting the right answers. If they are not mastering the material, they are just not mastering it yet. Reinforce that they will in time with practice.

Ask what your students are learning
Mastery comes from teaching new information to another.

Struggle = Learning
Remember, the process of struggling through a problem or seeking a solution is when the real learning is happening. Staying calm and showing interest in finding the solution will teach how important and positive struggle can be. 

You are a teacher
We know this; we see your influence everyday. Trust your instincts.

We are here for you
We want to help – please reach out to us on anything! There are no silly questions!

We know this feels different
Learning is like muscle memory. The more you practice, the more you grow! This is not a race; it’s hopefully only a half marathon! 

Schoology (Learning Management System) Issues Update
We have become aware of issues involving Schoology, the learning management system that Perrysburg Schools faculty and students rely on for online learning. We apologize for this inconvenience. Schoology is working to resolve as many of these issues as possible. We are also aware that some of the issues may be as a result of operator error. We will continue to share instructions, helpful links and respond to questions as quickly as possible.

Our faculty is aware of these challenges and will be offering a great deal of flexibility with assignments and class materials. They will make it work for students. We do not want students and families to face additional stress due to networking-related issues.  
Today, anyone who can be is online. Because of the volume, this is an issue not only with Schoology but many platforms across the nation. Our staff reports Schoology is working as quickly as possible to handle the unprecedented load they are receiving. This link https://status.schoology.com/ shows the issues that Schoology is having and families can track what those are. All we can do is be patient with them, understanding with each other and allow their engineers to work through the issues.

Posted Friday, April 3, 2020
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