As we near the end of this school year, I would like to express my gratitude to our wonderful community for supporting Roseburg Public Schools. We have all faced extraordinary challenges, yet we continued to stretch our minds and embrace new opportunities. Together, we persevered and achieved incredible milestones.
I am deeply proud of everything our students, staff, families and community members have accomplished in 2020-21. I would like to share with you some of our greatest achievements and our most exciting plans for the future, all made possible by our community’s willingness to pull together for the sake of our students.
- We were the first 6A district to reopen in Oregon while following all state guidelines and requirements. Our adherence to state requirements enabled us to open full-time to elementary students for several weeks in the fall, and then reopen again full time in January. The majority of our secondary students also began learning in person via the hybrid model in early February.
- The pandemic and resulting disruptions to education proved how much families value choice and flexibility. Before the pandemic, we were working to create a virtual school for students who prefer to learn at their own pace from home. This year, we accelerated our plans and established Roseburg Virtual School, which is currently enrolling elementary students for the 2021-22 school year. In addition, our secondary students enrolled at our middle schools and Roseburg High will be able to choose a fully virtual learning experience next year while maintaining connections to their home school.
- Through our continued adherence to state guidance and our community’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, we managed to keep our kids in classrooms since January without school or district-wide closures. I realize that mask requirements and other restrictions to daily life created frustrations in our community; I frequently shared that frustration over shifting and unclear guidance from the state. But please know that these efforts have not been in vain. While we have experienced some positive cases in our schools, they have been isolated incidents and our quarantine procedures have proven to be effective. Thank you for your support as we’ve prioritized the need to keep our students, staff and families safe.
Certainly the above examples are not the only successes worth celebrating. Our students never stopped learning this year thanks to the dedication, flexibility and creativity of our entire staff. Our food services employees provided well over half a million meals to children this year, and our IT (technology) staff connected families to thousands of devices and wi-fi hot spots. Students have also continued to participate in hands-on vocational education experiences, earning valuable job-readiness skills. I could go on, but I would also like to share some of the amazing plans we have in store for the future.
- With grant support from the Oregon Department of Education, we are gearing up for robust summer programs that will address unfinished learning and provide opportunities for acceleration and renewal. All students are invited to participate in enrichment activities and academic support opportunities.
- Through Student Investment Account funding, we are growing our STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) opportunities by hiring STEAM teachers and further investing in support materials for the 2021-22 school year.
- We are planning for a return to in-person instruction five days a week for all grade levels in 2021-22. ODE is currently working on guidance for next school year but has paved the way for districts to invite all students back to classrooms full time. This return to a sense of normalcy will be a welcome relief for us all.
- Our goal to provide high-quality learning experiences to all of our students, regardless of income, ethnicity or disability, is at the heart of our district’s strategic plan and will remain our guiding light moving forward. Although we’ve taken many steps toward reducing barriers for students, this work is ongoing. Our most exciting opportunity to provide equitable opportunities for our students will come in the form of safer, high-quality learning and teaching spaces — our top priority identified for our May 2022 Capital Improvement Bond. We look forward to working closely with the community on this endeavor.
I hope that you will continue to follow our district’s journey this summer and into next school year as we work to care for our students and provide opportunities for each of them to learn, grow, and thrive. I encourage you to stay updated via our website, www.roseburg.k12.or.us, and our social media channels. And as always, if you have a question, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to partner with you as we strive to better serve kids, strengthen families and help our community prosper.