First day of school for students is Wednesday, August 25th.
I would like to write a quick letter to let you know what my tentative plan is for the upcoming school year. My tentative plan is to ask the Board to consider going back to school full-time for the 2021-22 school year. This would mean we would not be offering any remote learning next year. The following are practices that will either be the same or changed from the current school year:
Keep the daytime custodians – Administrators and teachers felt having these custodians during the day really made a difference. This will allow us to keep the cleaning protocols we currently have in place, which according to the staff might have led to a decrease in the flu and other contagious outbreaks they normally see. The daytime custodian will also continue to keep common areas cleaned and sanitized.
Making masks optional – We will continue to follow the CDC, state and local guidelines that are in place. Students and staff will still have the option of wearing a mask or shield if they so choose. Our District mask mandate ends on June 4, 2021, with the conclusion of school for the current year.
Increased paraprofessional support – As a District, we are expecting over $10 million dollars in ESSER II and ESSER III funds from the federal government to help schools open and help with the learning loss due to the COVID pandemic. One of the provisions of the funding states 20% ($2,000,000) must be applied to those two areas over the next three years. That is about $700,000 per year over three years. We feel if the workforce is out there, we could be looking at hiring more paraprofessionals. I feel our District pays competitively for a paraprofessional. For the 2021-22 school year, a first year para with no education can make $13.70 per hour. One with any bachelor’s degree starts at $15.27. Employees also receive insurance, vacation, and sick pay. This is a great job for someone with kids in school, because when your kids are at school you are getting paid working and when they are home, you will be off with them also. The District is also looking for food service help. They also start at $13.70 per hour with the same benefit package. Keep an eye on the Districts website and click the employment button to see any and all current openings.
Additional Counselor at the middle and high school – We are pleased to have an additional counselor hired as half-time at the middle and half-time at the high school. We feel there will be a need for more mental health services for next year, and it will give additional support for career counselling for all of our students.
Seven period day at RMS and RHS – We will go back to a seven period day next year. Even though we know there is some support to continue with block scheduling, the middle and high school share many staff members. After some discussions within the buildings, we felt that at this time a seven period day is our best option.
School days – For next year we will be going back to our original times for our students.
Pablo – Start serving breakfast at 7:30 AM and instruction runs from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
K. William Harvey – Breakfast starts at 7:50 AM and instruction runs from 8:20 AM to 3:20 PM
RMS and RHS – Doors open at 7:45 AM and instruction run from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Here Comes the Bus APP – The District purchased bus tracking software with a tracking app you can download. This app will let you know where your student’s bus is, if they are on the bus, or how far away the bus is. This should really help if there is a delay or when you need to be at the bus stop. Information about the Here Comes the Bus app can be found on the main District webpage, www.ronank12.edu. Contact the transportation department if you have any questions about downloading or using this app. Matt Gaut, head of transportation, can be reached at 676-3390 Ext 7230.
Tentative Plan – Keep in mind that all of this is tentative and things can change. The best we can hope for is to be back in-person full-time for the upcoming school year. We all understand that this plan needs to be fluid in case of a setback. We will embrace the positive things we have learned and incorporate them into the way we do business. There are aspects that I hope to never deal with again.
I would like to personally thank the students, staff, parents, community, and the Board for being supportive during this challenging year. I know we are not perfect and probably would have made some different decisions if I had a crystal ball, but under the hand we were dealt, everyone really stepped up. The District has been tracking COVID numbers since the beginning of the year and from April 5, 2021 to today, we have only had one positive COVID case. That is awesome considering we have over 1450 students and 250 staff. Hopefully, this is behind us.
Mark Johnston, Superintendent Ronan School District No. 30