Superintendent's Blog

Information and updates from Dr. Vivanco, Superintendent of the Mount Vernon School District


Fri, 01/15/2021 - 11:51

Superintendent Update 01.15.21

Happy Friday! I hope this message finds you well and healthy. As you may already be aware, the district finalized its plans yesterday to begin providing an in-person hybrid learning model to our elementary students. This model will begin with our earliest learners, and gradually add additional grades over the weeks to follow. Please see my full letter found on our website or by clicking here.  As you will notice in the letter, If case counts are 350 or below, as measured over a 14 day period and per 100,000 people, we will begin hybrid services. It will be very critical for us all to continue avoiding social gatherings, social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands, to reduce the spread of COVID 19. Assuming a positive health climate in our county, we will add additional elementary grades over the upcoming weeks.

The Mount Vernon School District has two levy renewal measures on the February 9th special election ballot. You can find information on the proposed levy renewals and a Q&A on our website at: mountvernonschools.org/2021Levies. 

Skagit County Public Health will begin Phase 1b vaccinations on January 26th at the county fairgrounds. This will affect its COVID-19 testing site hours, including a January 25th site closure to allow staff transitions. Please see their full press release here.  

Going into the weekend, I want to remind you that Monday, January 18, there will be no school and all district buildings will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Today, Dr. King would have turned 92. During his short life, he served as an activist and leader in the civil rights movement, among many other accomplishments. One of Dr. King's quotes seem fitting with respect to the challenges we have faced in 2020, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Wishing you a safe and healthy weekend.

Superintendent Vivanco


 


Fri, 01/08/2021 - 16:11

Superintendent Update 01.08.21

 

Happy new year! I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season. As we make our return to the second half of the 2020-21 school year, the question about what learning for our students will look like continues to come in. As stated in my December 11 communication, our first priority will be to bring our youngest learners in as soon as our health environment and appropriate guidelines allow. 

This week, our school board met and discussed our reopening plans. We had additional questions come in from our community, some of which were answered during the meeting but I would like to provide those and some brief answers to you here. 

What would that look like for a dual language classroom?

Students will be in-person for half the day, and in remote learning for the other half, just like other schools. The two languages would be taught on alternating days. For additional information you may contact Madison Elementary at 360-428-6131. 

How long would we expect to wait after K-1 go back before addressing the next grades? ie: is there a month built in between grades/groups?

Other schools have waited anywhere from 2-4 weeks before adding other cohorts/classrooms.

If we reopen schools at metrics under 350, at what point would our schools return to distance learning?

Please see the DOH decision tree for learning model guidelines. (Page 8) 

With an am/pm model that puts the teacher at a lot more exposure. What happens when a student and or teacher tests positive? Are both the am/pm quarantined?

The district follows local health department guidance regarding “close contact” and quarantine. In collaboration with the health department, our nurses and staff would assess the situation before determining who would be quarantined.

I have tried to get into Skagit Academy and not had a response.

Skagit Academy can be reached by phone at 360-428-6206 or by emailing principal Joy Walton-Kawasaki at jwaltonkawasaki@mvsd320.org 

Is there any consideration being put forth about offering increased services over the summer after vaccinations are available? Would that help our enrollment numbers and budget?

We would love to provide increased services over the summer as finances allow us to do so. School districts do not receive funding to support summer school and attendance/enrollment at summer school does not generate any funds to school districts.

Where can the public find the strategic plan if interested?

The Board of Directors finalized the approval of the district strategic plan on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. You will be able to find the updated plan on the District website under publications and reports by mid January.

When the schools reopen, will our school board members spend the day in our classrooms to observe how the safety protocols are enforced? Will the school board also return to in person meetings?

When the schools reopen, the school board will resume their regularly scheduled visits. It is the district and school administrations responsibility to ensure safety protocols are enforced. The superintendent will report that to the board. School boards follow the Open Public Meetings Act Guidelines and proclamation by our Governor. Currently, in person meetings could occur on January 19, 2021 unless the proclamation is amended or extended. I understand they are having conversations about trying to align in-person meetings with schools reopening. 

 

As a reminder, our district welcomes questions from the public at any time. Those can be addressed to questions@mvsd320.org and the appropriate person will be happy to respond. 

As we continue moving towards our reopening plans, please look out for a parent survey coming to kindergarten and first grade parents in the coming week. We appreciate and value parent input as we consider next steps towards hybrid learning.

Please remember to continue to follow health and safety guidelines. 

Superintendent Vivanco


Tue, 12/29/2020 - 11:27

Superintendent Update 12.29.20

I hope you all are staying safe during this break. I want to provide you with a brief update. Since our last communication on December 11th, there has been an update on the Department of Health Decision Tree from the governor that remains in alignment with our reopening plan steps.  

As stated in previous communications, our priority remains to return our youngest learners next, beginning with Kindergarten and first grade students. This will be in a hybrid model that combines in-building learning time with remote learning time so that we can comply with the physical distancing requirements. We anticipate that the earliest we would begin a K-1 Hybrid would be at the semester break, which occurs on January 25. We will be communicating with parents and staff. We will be surveying our parents to determine their preference of am or pm in-person service or remain in remote learning. We will then need to build cohorts, bus routes and provide our teachers preparation time to move from remote to hybrid instruction. We will continue to monitor our county's health environment and move forward as appropriate. 

Our winter edition of Community Link will be out mid-January where you will find additional information on the district's future learning plans. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday break. Wishing you all a Happy New Year! 

Superintendent Vivanco

___________________________________

Espero que todos estén manteniéndose seguros durante este receso. Quiero proporcionarles una breve actualización. Desde nuestra última comunicación el 11 de diciembre, ha habido una actualización al Árbol de Decisiones del Departamento de Salud por el gobernador que se mantiene en alineación con nuestro plan de pasos de reapertura.

Como se había declarado en comunicaciones previas, nuestra prioridad sigue siendo regresar a los estudiantes más jóvenes próximamente, empezando con los estudiantes de kínder y primer grado. Este será un modelo híbrido que combina aprendizaje en las instalaciones con aprendizaje remoto para poder cumplir con los requisitos de distanciamiento físico. Anticipamos que lo más pronto que empezaremos el Modelo Híbrido K-1 sería en el receso de semestre, que ocurrirá el 25 de enero. Nos comunicaremos con los padres y el personal. Estaremos encuestando a nuestros padres para determinar sus preferencias de servicios en persona de turno de mañana o tarde o si permanecerán en aprendizaje remoto. Entonces necesitaremos formar los cohortes, rutas de autobús y proporcionar a nuestros maestros tiempo para prepararse a cambiar de instrucción remota a hibrida. Continuaremos monitoreando el entorno de salud de nuestro condado y proceder apropiadamente.

Nuestro boletín Community Link, edición de invierno, será publicado a mediados de enero donde encontrará información adicional sobre los planes de aprendizaje del distrito. Mientras tanto, espero que disfruten el resto de sus vacaciones. ¡Les deseo a todos un feliz año nuevo!

Superintendente Vivanco


Fri, 12/11/2020 - 14:56

Superintendent Update 12.11.20

Dear Mount Vernon Families,

As we approach winter break, I would like to provide you with an update about our services to students. Winter break is December 21 through January 1, 2021. During this break there will be no childcare or meal services. Remote learning for ALL students will resume January 4, 2021 along with meals and childcare services through our partners. Plus services will be taking a one day “exposure pause” of in-person learning and resume on January 5, 2021. Please contact your child’s teacher or school if you have any questions. 

See my full letter here: mountvernonschools.org/index.php/121120Update


Fri, 12/04/2020 - 08:13

Superintendent Update 12.04.20

Dear Mount Vernon Community,

I hope you had a safe and healthy Thanksgiving break. We continue to closely monitor our county’s health environment and COVID-19 infection rate. At the time of this post, the infection rate in Skagit County is at 338 cases per 100,000 and counting. The Mount Vernon School District remains in its current model until our community health environment improves. In November, the school board held an open discussion with district administrators about the local health environment and what that would mean for our reopening plans. To view those meeting minutes, click here.

We know that the current model is not ideal and we want to see your kids in our classrooms. I want to ask once again for your assistance in helping to get our schools open for in-person learning. To give us our best chance in reducing the spread of COVID-19, please remember:

  • Maintain physical distancing

  • Wash hands frequently 

  • Disinfect surfaces

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Stay home when sick

  • Mask up

This week, the state health department released a new exposure notifications feature for smartphones, WA Notify. WA Notify is a new tool that works through a smartphone to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Learn more about Washington Exposure Notification here (WA Notify).

As we enter the winter season and approach colder weather, the Mount Vernon School District would like to help students and families be prepared in the event of inclement weather. Please visit the Winter Weather FAQ page to view our protocols.  

There is no question that this has been a challenging year. I ask that we continue to show one another patience and compassion, especially this holiday season. 

Stay safe and healthy, 

Superintendent Vivanco