Superintendents E-Update 4/16/2020

Superintendent's E-Update 4/16/2020
Posted on 04/16/2020
eupdate logoDear Robbinsdale Area Schools Families and Staff,

As we near the end of our third week of Distance Learning, I want to thank our families who continue to provide us feedback and work with us in partnership to support our students in an equitable manner. We value the crucial role you play in your student's education, now more than ever. We know this can be difficult as we have all had to make adjustments to our daily lifestyles - and we are all in this together!

We continue to be inspired by the many ways our students, staff, families and community have offered comfort, kindness and compassion - not only in our neighborhoods but across our state and nation. I would like to recognize Robbinsdale Middle School Gateway to Technology teachers Joseph Meyers and Jared Severson, who used the school's 3D printers to create 'splitters' which can be used to increase the capacity of ventilators.

We all are encouraged to do our part to model human decency and slow the spread of COVID-19. On April 8, 2020, Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-33 extending Minnesota's Stay at Home Order until May 4, 2020. Governor Walz also recently expressed distance learning may be extended beyond its initial timeline of May 4, and could last through the remainder of the school year. We continue to meet with Minnesota Department of Education officials for guidance as we move forward in our distance learning journey.

Through uncertainty, we must continue challenging ourselves to become more innovative in our practices. As such, our district is navigating the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation by planning for a variety of scenarios. This planning includes recognizing our students who are transitioning from preschool to kindergarten; elementary to middle school; middle to high school; and from high school to careers, articulated skilled trades and college. Our planning also includes addressing disruptions to co-curricular activities, as well as other events and culminating experiences. Finally, we have been engaging in planning conversations about making this year's graduation something our seniors will remember for the rest of their lives.

Our resolute Class of 2020 continues to demonstrate excellence. I would like to take a moment to highlight two of our high school seniors who have had outstanding achievements in academics and co-curricular activities. Bethany Brynteson, senior at Cooper High School, and Luis Hammer, senior at Armstrong High School, have worked hard to earn state and national distinction in debate. Among their many accolades, Bethany is a three-time winner of the Metro-West All-Conference Debate Award, while Luis is a National Merit Commended Scholar and recipient of the Hispanic Recognition Award from the College Board.

With many students and families adjusting to a "new normal" during the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is especially important to find ways to cope and relax. Cooper High School's 'Virtual Calming Room' is an online place for students, staff and families to find tools and strategies for managing their social-emotional health. Also, Sandburg Middle School has created a similar resources website.

We hope these stories about our students and staff continue to inspire and uplift as we lean forward into these unprecedented times together.


Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Robbinsdale Area Schools