Thursday, December 17, 2020
Dear Woodland Public Schools families,
Woodland Public Schools proudly announces that our elementary students in grades K-4 will return to in-person learning on a hybrid schedule beginning Tuesday, January 5, 2021.
The Superintendent, in consultation with the Board of Directors made the decision for our youngest students to return following revisions to Department of Health guidance and revised, science-based metrics based current research on COVID-19 transmission rates among children; presented by Governor Jay Inslee and his health team during a press conference on Wednesday, December 16.
Research studies demonstrate that the transmission of the virus remains incredibly low with young children. Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) along with health professionals throughout the scientific community now believe that in-person schooling for elementary students in groups of 15 or smaller can safely take place, even with higher community COVID-19 infection rates.
The safety protocols we have followed will continue to remain with all students and staff wearing masks (Personal Protective Equipment or PPE), practicing proper physical distancing guidelines, and remaining in strict cohorts to limit any potential of spread.
These revised metrics also show a pathway for the return of students attending our secondary schools – Woodland Middle School, Woodland High School, and TEAM High School – if the county’s case loads decrease to more reasonable levels of less than 350 cases per 100,000 people. Unfortunately, the same studies used for our younger students show that middle school and high school aged students transmit the disease at rates more similar to adults which means we need to limit the spread before bringing them back to in-person learning.
Accordingly, our older students will not return to in-person learning until case counts fall. Our principals and school teams will continue to diligently plan for the return of our older students, and we hope to begin phasing grades 5-8 and 9-12 to hybrid learning as soon as the start of the second semester in 2021.
We once again thank you for your patience, support and understanding during this truly unprecedented year. Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Together, we can continue to conquer these challenging times and emerge as a stronger, united community.
Remember, by wearing masks, consistently physically distancing, and limiting contact to only those in our households, we will be able to flatten the spread of the virus and get ourselves that much closer to full in-person learning.
To keep up with the latest updates from your schools, we recommend you visit our website and the COVID HQ at www.woodlandschools.com/covid-hq.
We wish you and yours a very happy holiday season!
Michael Z. GreenSuperintendent
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington Department of Health has released guidance for reopening schools (Read the OSPI Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Planning Guide). The guidance includes two safety mandates that impact classroom learning:
Social distancing will be required. There must be six (6) feet of distance surrounding each student sitting in a classroom. Facilities staff have been working to measure and configure classrooms and have determined the number of students that can fit in each classroom with social distancing. This factor is the main limitation to the number of students that the district can accommodate for in-person learning on a campus at one time.
Masks will be required. Watch OSPI State Superintendent Chris Reykdal's video below where he addresses these requirements and other questions his office has received.
Friday, November 20, 2020
In consultation with the region’s public health officials, as Superintendent of Woodland Public Schools I have made the decision to maintain hybrid learning for kindergarten and first grade students but return our second through fourth graders back to remote-only learning.
Over the past several weeks, Cowlitz and Clark Counties have seen unprecedented increases in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Our 14-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents is nearing 300. That’s nearly a 600% increase since October 14 and triple where we were just two weeks ago.
Unfortunately, due to this increase, we have decided to take a step back in our transition to in-person learning. Beginning Monday, November 23, second through fourth grade students will return to full remote learning. Only kindergarten and first grade students will remain in the current hybrid learning model.
In making this decision, I worked closely with Clark and Cowlitz County health officials who reviewed a number of factors including new COVID cases, hospitalization rates, test positivity rates, and the virus reproduction rate (the number of new infections resulting from a single infected person). All data points are increasing at such a dramatic rate that we must take steps to reduce the risk to students, staff, and our community.
You may be wondering why grade levels are being impacted differently. According to recent studies of COVID, the younger the learner, the lower the transmission and infection risk. While there is no “bright line” with regard to age, the risk for a six-year-old is greater than for a five-year-old, the risk for a seven-year-old is greater than for a six-year-old, and so on. As a result, the safest grades are those with the youngest students; in this case - kindergarten and first grade.
I have made the difficult decision to limit in-person learning to these two grades for two key reasons:
According to county health officials, this meteoric rise in cases stems largely from indoor, adult social gatherings. With that in mind, we encourage you to give serious consideration to the role you can play in slowing the spread of COVID-19. If we all make a concerted effort to limit contact with those outside of our immediate household (whether we believe we are sick or not), we have a great chance of rapidly bringing cases down and returning all grades to in-person learning.
Please note: There will be no virtual learning on Monday, November 30 as our 2-4 teachers plan for a return to virtual and distribute the necessary materials to our students.
I want to thank you for your patience, support and understanding as we work to get through this pandemic with as few illnesses as possible. Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Together, we can get through these challenging times and emerge as a stronger, united community.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
It is with great excitement that Woodland Public Schools announces the COVID cases continue to reduce in Cowlitz and Clark county. With that being said, we are planning to resume face-to-face instruction at Woodland Public Schools for all students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade as early as September 28, 2020.
As we prepare for this endeavor, we wanted to clarify what a typical day will look like upon our return of face-to-face instruction.
For the families who have already indicated the interest in continuing with remote only instruction, a survey will be sent via email. For planning purposes, it is urgent that you complete the survey by Monday, September 21, 2020.
Also, medication forms and emergency medications need to be signed into the health room before your student can start, as well as up-to-date immunization records.
As always, we would like to thank our families for their continued partnership as we continue on this journey together. We look forward to continuing to provide the best education opportunity we possibly can for your child.
Friday, August 28, 2020
Click here to download an English PDF of this infographic or click here to download a Spanish PDF
Recently, you have received packets from your students’ schools with suggested schedules for the upcoming school year by grade level.
Please – do not panic or feel stress over these suggested schedules!
Woodland Public Schools, like all Washington school districts, is required to present a schedule that offers 333 minutes per day of instructional opportunities for our students. Given the busy schedules of our families, your learner will likely not be able to participate in some of them.
For example, you may choose to only focus on English Language Arts (ELA) and Math, doing more work some days than others. Additionally, it may take your learner significantly less time to finish the material presented in class. We also hear and feel your concerns regarding excessive screen time. Despite the need to return to school this fall with full remote learning, the state has, seemingly contradictory, asked districts to limit screen time, as well.
On September 1-3, you will have the opportunity to take part in intake conferences that will help us support each student and their individual circumstances. The goal of these meetings will be to help develop flexible and successful options that work for both our students and their families. Also, please remember we hope remote learning will only take place for a short time – Woodland Public Schools plans to reopen for on-site, in-person learning for those families who want and need it very soon.
Now is not the time to abandon your community schools! Our staff has worked diligently to make significant improvements to the remote learning experiment that was spring 2020. This fall will look completely different than the spring and we promise it will look and feel more like a traditional school with live online classes as well as the opportunity to learn asynchronously with recorded video lessons for families whose work schedules prevent their child(ren) from attending live. These are the same wonderful teachers and staff who rose to meet the crisis this past spring – they have worked and will continue to work hard to ensure remote learning feels as much like traditional school as possible for our students and families.
Once again, we want to assure our families that schedules are suggestions for how to organize your learner’s day. Your child’s teacher will work together with you to find a schedule and learning strategy that works for you. By working together as a team with all of us doing our best, we will provide a great learning experience this fall where students keep learning and everyone stays safe… and sane.
We thank the Woodland community for their faith, trust, and ongoing support in us to deliver for you during these unprecedented times. With your help, patience, understanding, and flexibility, we can and will make this a great year for Woodland Public Schools!
As always, we encourage you to stay up-to-date with the most recent information which will be posted to our COVID HQ website at www.woodlandschools.org/covid-hq
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Dear Parents, Caretakers, Students, and Families of Woodland Public Schools:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our return to education this fall looks different than in the past. Health and safety must be the top priority for our students and staff in addition to providing a quality education for our students. With these important goals in mind, I am writing to share an update on our plans to deliver education this fall.
In early August, state leaders and the state Department of Health (DOH) announced a “decision tree” framework to guide school districts as they determine how to resume learning this fall. The framework emphasizes that community transmission must be low in order for schools to reopen safely for in-person learning.
Using the DOH’s “decision tree” framework and recommendations from the public health leaders of both Clark and Cowlitz County, we have developed a plan for school reopening as approved by the Board of Directors:
To review the district’s Fall Reopening Plan in its entirety, please click this link:https://district.woodlandschools.org/storage/file/7086/WPS%20Reopening%20Plan.pdf
Many parents and community members have expressed concerns that the learning experienced this spring lacked structure and one-on-one lessons from our teaching staff. These concerns were also expressed by our teachers.
Over the summer our administrative team along with dedicated workgroups of teaching staff have revamped the district’s approach to distance learning. As such, we have developed new approaches to learning at each grade level. Teachers will receive additional training in distance learning before the school year begins. Each student will be issued a Chromebook and we will work with families who have difficulties obtaining high-speed internet access.
Attendance will be required and structured learning will be provided from each of our schools with live lessons taught at each grade level. Teachers will be available to help students as needed and guide students through their academic learning. The district’s grading model has also been returned to pre-pandemic grading with grades A-F provided in respective classes.
More information will be sent to you shortly from your students’ respective schools. Families whose children cannot attend live lessons during the school day due to scheduling conflicts from work or other responsibilities need to reach out to their student’s teachers to arrange for asynchronous learning options (learning performed from recorded lessons).
As we all know, plans and information will change as the coronavirus progresses through our lives. We pledge to keep you informed with regular updates as we move forward together. You can stay up-to-date with the most recent status updates by visiting our COVID-19/School Reopening Headquarters at www.woodlandschools.org/covid-hq. In addition, Cowlitz County Health posts the latest information each Monday at: http://www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/2750/COVID-19-Data-Reports-and-Presentations
Thank you for your patience as we navigate Back to School 2020.
If you have questions, I encourage you to reach out directly to your child’s principal. In addition, please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Z. GreenSuperintendent – Woodland Public Schools
Monday, August 3, 2020
Dear Parents, Caretakers, and Community Members:
While your Woodland Public Schools teachers and staff were hopeful we would be able to begin the 2020-2021 school year with in-person learning, the progression of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus along with increased infections within our community have made this no longer a safe option.
This past Friday, Dr. Steven Krager, M.D., Medical Director of Cowlitz County’s Department of Health, recommended “school districts in the county start the school year with distance learning and continually re-evaluate conditions. Our concern is that with high community transmission, the risk of outbreaks in schools is elevated, which could lead to schools closing again quickly.”
In addition, the Institute of Disease Modeling released a report on July 13, 2020 outlining how in-person instruction, even with safeguards in place, risks significantly worsening COVID-19 transmission rates in the community.
At the advice and counsel of Dr. Krager and the Cowlitz County Department of Health, I am recommending to the Board of Directors that Woodland Public Schools begin the new year with full-time distance learning.
We have hope of a gradual return to face-to-face instruction as the year progresses. As our community increases the use of face masks; consistently observes physical distancing
guidelines; and avoid large social gatherings, the data are showing an improvement in reducing the rate of newly diagnosed infections in our region. Your schools are working closely with regional health officials and other professionals to identify metric targets that will allow us to implement a phased return of students to school for face-to-face support
In the coming weeks, we will continue our planning to ensure that we can successfully offer high-quality distance education for students, while concurrently developing plans for a phased return to school for students. I want to assure you that we are committed to supporting the educational needs of students and their families with high-quality distance education. While we know it is impossible to fully replace the quality of education received in-person, we will strive to replicate the classroom experience as closely as possible using distance learning methods to provide the very best support possible for our students.
I encourage you to visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpage for the most up-to-date information on the status of Woodland Public Schools during this global pandemic at www.woodlandschools.org/covid-hq.
For ALL the Kids,
Thursday, July 30, 2020
School leaders in Cowlitz County anticipate release of 2020-21 school year plans the week of August 10
Cowlitz County school districts including Castle Rock, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, Toutle Lake and Woodland School Districts consider multiple options in their return to school planning.
After seeking input from families and staff, and in close consultation with the Cowlitz County Health Department, Castle Rock, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, Toutle Lake, and Woodland School Districts, plus Wahkiakum School District in Wahkiakum County, are coordinating with one another and considering one of the following back-to-school options:
Superintendents in Cowlitz County anticipate sharing back-to-school 2020 plans the week of August 10. According to state guidance, school boards must approve district reopening plans two weeks prior to the official start of the school year and before any plan can be implemented.
While school boards will ultimately decide on school reopening plans, public health officials stress that getting the virus under control to support a return to in-person education is a community responsibility.
“Our community holds the key to getting kids back in the classroom,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Cowlitz County’s health officer. “By wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distancing and washing our hands frequently, we can help get kids back in the classroom sooner.”
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Woodland Public Schools' remote learning offerings: Lewis River Academy for Grades K-8 and TEAM High School for Grades 9-12
Dear Parents, Caretakers, Students, and Staff:
As you have likely heard, OSPI provided guidelines to all Washington State schools for a variety of reopening options this coming fall.
Woodland Public Schools continues to closely monitor the state's health and safety guidance to assess the ability of our schools to meet the requirements and recommendations for the different possible reopening options. We understand the amount of anxiety our families feel right now as we, too, are feeling the same anxiety with our own families.
While the situation continues to change, scientific data suggests the virus poses little risk to children. However, this same data also shows the virus load in children is the same as adults meaning that while the risk to our students could be low, the risk to their parents and our staff members could be high. Accordingly, our priority to open schools in September will be the safety of our students and our staff by providing the safest learning and working environment for everyone.
New information about the novel coronavirus Covid-19 and its impacts on our region, state, and nation continue to affect the way people think and feel about a return to in-person learning in the fall. As the 2020-21 school year approaches, we will continue to provide updates via both our Skyward Family Access email system as well as on our website at www.woodlandschools.org.
While we work diligently on planning for the different potential outcomes of the return to school this fall, we also want to take the opportunity to re-introduce our two existing, award-winning alternative- and remote-learning programs available for free for all Woodland students: Lewis River Academy (LRA) for students in grades K-8 and TEAM High School for students in grade 9-12.
Both programs have served students throughout Woodland Public Schools for many years and provide authentic, rigorous, and enhanced alternatives to in-school instruction for students in any grade. In fact, the district has put plans in place to provide staffing and support as necessary should the two programs see increased enrollment this fall.
Does your family live in a surrounding school district and not Woodland? Not a problem. Any interested student can enroll in LRA or TEAM by applying for a Choice Transfer boundary exception. More information is available on the district’s website here: https://www.woodlandschools.org/choice-transfer
Lewis River Academy (LRA) offers families of K-8 students innovative at-home curriculum with dedicated teacher support alongside optional in-classroom activities. In addition to teacher support, families and students use online platforms like Edgenuity (www.edgenuity.com), FuelEducation (www.fueleducation.com) and Odysseyware www.odysseyware.com) to work on their studies.
LRA requires the same amount of rigor as traditional schooling with students dedicating, approximately one hour per subject per day, just like any other student. The program also allows enrolled students to take electives like art and band as well as participate in extracurricular programs like clubs, drama, and athletics at Woodland’s other schools while continuing their core classes at LRA.
TEAM offers Woodland’s high school students a path to earning a diploma (not a GED) with an approach to school that accommodates extenuating life circumstances facing individual students such as full-time work, challenges with traditional school schedules, or family responsibilities. The dedication of students and staff at TEAM has paid off with the school’s graduation rate doubling In the past few years.
Students create a learning plan with TEAM’s teachers and work at their own pace within the scope of remote program minimums. TEAM students check in with the school’s staff via video teleconferences, phone, email, or even by text message on a weekly basis. Students are assessed based on multiple-choice quizzes taken online at home and through tests and exams taken at the TEAM building by appointment while adhering to proper hygiene and social distancing guidelines.
To enroll at TEAM as a remote learning solution, students will need access to a computer or other form of technology connected to the Internet at their homes. If your family needs support obtaining Internet access, please reach out to the Family Community Resource Center for assistance (www.woodlandschools.org/fcrc).
While learning is self-directed at TEAM, the school’s teachers can provide instruction and support in all subject areas whenever a student needs additional help or would benefit from more detailed lessons. If a student struggles to make progress at any point, the school’s teachers help students adjust learning plans, if necessary, to ensure academic success leading to graduation.
Jillian Domingo teaches English, social studies, and all humanities and business courses for TEAM. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, and holds a master’s degree in education from University of California Irvine, a bachelor’s degree in English literature, and teaching certificates in English, language arts, social studies, and history. Jillian is also working on acquiring her teaching certification in computer science and art.
Elizabeth “Liz” Vallaire teaches math and science for TEAM. She is currently working on her master’s degree in special education at Washington State University and holds a bachelor’s degree with a double-major in biology and zoology along with minors in writing and anthropology from Humboldt State University. She holds teaching certificates in biology, general science, health/fitness, art, and math. Liz was also the Washington Association for Learning Alternatives Teacher of the Year in 2019.
Just like K-8 students enrolled at Lewis River Academy, students enrolled at TEAM High School can take electives like art and band as well as participate in extracurricular activities including clubs, drama, and athletics at Woodland High School while earning their high school diploma at TEAM.
To learn more about LRA and TEAM, you can visit www.woodlandschools.org/lra and www.woodlandschools.org/team, respectively. Additionally, we are pleased to announce an upcoming virtual open house where our staff will introduce and describe their programs as well as provide the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.
Virtual Open House
When? Tuesday, August 4, 2020 starting at 6 p.m.How? Join us using your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android smartphone with the following Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/98896517597
In addition to asking questions during the open house via chat, you can also send any questions you may have in advance to Jake Hall, Executive Director Learning Alternatives and Supports, at email@example.com.
Originally sent on Monday, June 22, 2020
Dear Parents, Caregivers, Students, Staff, and Community Members:
Earlier in June, we invited all of our caretakers, students, and staff to take part in a ThoughtExchange, an innovative group-generated feedback system, to help plan our return to school this fall.
The community’s participation and feedback was outstanding with nearly 900 individuals participating in the district’s ThoughtExchange generating 1,175 thoughts and 26,700 ratings. If you would like to review the results of the inquiry, please visit the following link: https://bit.ly/WPS-ThoughtExchange-June2020
The most highly-ranked thoughts fall into four specific priorities: protecting the health and safety of our students; a return to normalcy with in-school learning; equity in remote learning; and educational opportunities for all students.
I wanted to take this time to review each of the priorities as well as provide you with our current plans on how we intend to address them:
Unsurprisingly, all participants - families, students, and staff - identified health and safety — reducing the risk and spread of COVID-19 as the highest priority. The health and safety of our students, our employees, and our community is our top priority.
We have clear guidance from state and federal agencies (Dept of Health, Centers for Disease Control, OPSI, L&I) that we must follow in order to protect the health of our community. We are implementing strict cleaning and sanitation standards that follow these guidelines to ensure our facilities are clean and sanitized.Students, staff, and visitors to Woodland’s schools must be screened on a daily basis for fever and other health indicators. Staff and students showing any fever or potential symptoms of the virus including coughing, sneezing, etc. must stay home.
A common theme of comments and feedback from participants spoke to the challenges of learning from home. Students expressed concerns over not receiving enough guided feedback from teachers. Parents and caretakers talked about feeling overwhelmed by the combination of having to work from home and ensure their children kept up with their studies. In addition, staff, students, and caretakers alike spoke to the importance of the social aspects of school from visiting with friends and classmates to enjoying the company of teachers and colleagues.
OSPI recently released guidelines for the return to in-school learning for this fall. While this news likely provides relief to many families, we must stress that in-school learning will not look the way we remember it.
The State Health Department, the Department of Labor and Industries, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public instruction have issued strict guidelines for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. These guidelines include strict social distancing and PPE requirements. For instance, masks and social distancing will be required for all students and staff. Many participants in our ThoughtExchange expressed displeasure with the idea of wearing masks, however, locally we must comply with this statewide directive. School will not look quite like how it has in the past.
While it is the goal of Woodland Public Schools to return to robust face-to-face instruction for all students, it may be necessary for the new school model to be a hybrid of in-school learning and home learning,
School districts must follow the guidelines provided by the state. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding the guidelines, you may wish to direct your feedback to your local state legislator or OSPI.
We will continue to keep you informed throughout the summer as we learn more about in-school learning as well as extracurricular activities including athletics and clubs.
Woodland Public Schools must be ready to pivot to a remote learning model in the event of a local outbreak of COVID-19. Given the expansive and diverse geographic area the district serves, many families expressed concerns regarding future remote learning due to the lack of high-quality Internet and/or access to appropriate technology such as laptops or other computers.
During the statewide closure, the district ramped up its procurement of Chromebooks for students without access. In the fall, each student in grades 5-12 will be issued a Chromebook. We are also exploring different opportunities for internet access for students who do not currently have adequate internet access. Should we need to reenter a remote learning environment during the next school year, we aim to ensure families who need Chromebooks and other learning tools will have them.
Another concern many of our parents and students expressed in the ThoughtExchange related to how, even with all of the efforts to protect student and staff safety, there is still a risk. We want to be sure we provide the opportunity for a rich educational experience for all children within our community, whether they plan to return to the classroom for face-to-face instruction or prefer the opportunity to learn in a home-based model.
We offer rich opportunities for students who do not plan to return to face-to-face instruction through the Lewis River Academy Program and the TEAM Alternative High School. You can learn more about these programs by clicking here.
The COVID-19 pandemic is very fluid. Information and guidance is changing as scientists and public health experts learn more about this novel coronavirus.
We are hard at work planning what school opportunities will look like come September, and anticipate that we will be publishing our draft plan near the beginning of August. We will update you as these plans are developed in the coming weeks. I also encourage you to regularly visit our website for the latest updates.
In the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other, stay healthy, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather however you can.
Michael Green, Superintendent of Schools
Originally sent on Friday, June 12, 2020
Dear Woodland Families,
First, thank you for the partnership you have had with the teachers of your children during this very difficult time. Navigating the many challenges of distance learning has been difficult for parents, students, and teachers alike.
On Thursday, June 11, the Washington State Education Department (OSPI) released the much-anticipated guidance for return to school in the fall. These required guidelines were developed by OSPI in close collaboration with the state Department of Health and Governor Inslee’s office.
General principles in the guidance include that school will resume in the fall with in-person instruction and with modifications and measures to protect the health of students and staff. This is welcome news for many. The state is also advising that we be prepared to shift to robust remote learning opportunities for all students if there is a local outbreak of COVID-19.
In the coming weeks and months, we will plan to provide opportunities and options that will best serve the education and health of all students. There are many details to wade through between now and the start of the 20-21 school year. The input gathered in the recent “Thought Exchange” will be helpful in guiding our planning, and we thank those of you who took the time to provide input. As we begin the process of a thorough review of the state guidelines, we will continue to engage our parents and staff to gather input as we develop the reopening plan for Woodland Public Schools so we can develop a plan that fits the needs and desires of Woodland’s students and aligns with the state’s recommendations. Information about opportunities to weigh in on the school reopening conversation will be forthcoming.
Some of our families may wish to continue at-home learning for their kids next fall. We understand and hope to be able to support you and your children if you are planning on this option. Woodland has high quality alternative programs that provide great opportunities for at-home learning — Lewis River Academy (K-8) and TEAM High School (9-12). If you are interested in considering these options, please contact Jake Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org, 360.841.2700) to discuss these opportunities.
This is uncharted territory, and there will be some elements of the plan that will need to be worked out along the way. Please know that our number one priority is always the health and safety of our students and staff. This priority will be at the heart of every decision we make. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this process and promise to stay in close communication with you as we move forward.
As we end this school year, please stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!
Michael Green, SuperintendentWoodland Public Schools