Dear Big Sandy School Community, 

We hope that you are all well during these uncommon times.

As I came to school this morning, it makes me sad that the parking lot is empty. It makes me feel good when thinking about all of our exceptional young people and staff within our community.

Thank you all for all the things that you bring in being a part of our community.

(I must say that not having to think about whether or not to have a snow day today is a positive) 

Big Sandy 100J Proactive Operations to Meet Current Conditions

At Big Sandy, over the past few days we have been trying to be proactive in case the schools were going to be closed for in-person instruction. Our staff has been great in trying to develop and go from never having done remote learning to developing it and getting it ready to go to meet our needs.

Some of these plans include secondary teachers/students largely being educated from the Google Classroom platform.

Upper elementary teachers/students will also be working on using the MobyMax platform.

Students without internet access and younger elementary students will be receiving paper/hardcopy packets; we will probably deliver these packets on April 1 through our transportation department. (We are still working on the logistics and will communicate in the future)

In the meantime as a general procedure, it is good for elementary students to read at least 15 minutes every day, doing some math problems and keeping a log of the time on tasks spent.

We at the school are stretching and growing through delving into new ways of educating that we have not experienced in the past, and I imagine the students will be doing the same; we hope it goes well, but will probably have to do a lot of monitoring and adjusting as we go.

We do look forward to continuing to work together within our Big Sandy School Community.

Much of the following information in this letter is taken from a group that we are a part of, the Pikes Peak Areas Superintendents group:

Information from the Pikes Peak Areas Superintendents Group

To help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Colorado, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis ordered that all public and private schools across the state suspend in-person learning from March 23 to April 17.

The executive order directs Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute to make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time while taking into account the needs of local communities. This order also directs the Commissioner of Education to issue guidance to support P-12 school systems in developing and implementing plans to assist families and students in accessing alternative learning, providing free and reduced lunch and breakfast, and offering waivers for instructional time as appropriate.

(The Calhan Food Pantry/ Eastern Plains Food Pantry is available now for those in need of food…our school hopes to be providing “grab and go” lunches starting after spring break…we’ll have more information in the future)

“Protecting the health of all Coloradoans is our top priority, and moving to online learning and other ways to support learning at home is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “We know school leaders, educators and families will have a lot of questions about how to support their students’ learning at home during this unprecedented time. The department is working on guidance and developing resources to support our schools and students, and it will be available very soon.”

The Governor made this order via press release last night, which you can read it online.

School districts in the Pikes Peak Region had already decided to close school buildings through March 27. This order will extend that timeframe.

At this time, and per this order, students will return to school on the week of April 20. 

Our district is committed to serving all students during our extended school closure. Please know it is our commitment to provide our students with their IEP services during the time that schools are providing remote learning to all students.

Special Education & Services Providers – Plan of Action

Special education case managers and special service providers, such as Speech Language therapists, will be reaching out the week of March 30th in order to discuss service delivery options and schedules.

“We appreciate the Governor’s guidance and leadership during this challenging time. Our local districts are meeting today and in the coming days and will provide individual communities more specifics after those meetings,” said Dr. Walt Cooper, superintendent of Cheyenne Mountain School District 12.

Pikes Peak Regional Educators & Leadership Plan for Educational and Nutritional Support during closures

Educators and leadership in the Pikes Peak Region have already started working on how to provide educational resources for students and families, and school districts are planning for how to ensure that students can continue to receive breakfast and lunch while schools are closed.

Pikes Peak Area Superintendents emphasize that this is a new reality for all and it will require all of us working together in support of children in the Pikes Peak Region. We know that this information brings both certainty and uncertainty for the weeks ahead.

We’d ask that we allow each other a measure of grace, as we develop plans for what school looks like in the weeks ahead. Now, more than ever, we must work together for the benefit of our children and our community. We thank you for being patient as we navigate this new reality.

We will be sending out additional information as we learn and get more information.

Steve Wilson

Departments: School Nurse, Superintendent