March 2020 Newsletter - 2nd Edition

School News

Our lives have certainly changed over the past week.  Schools are closed, students and staff are at home, and a lot of uncertainty exists.  I want to offer a huge THANK YOU to the school administrators and staff who tackled the announcement of schools closing with incredible speed, grace, and an overwhelming focus on the needs of our students!  I am in awe of the rapid response and dedication our school personnel showed during the first twenty-four hours of the closing, and the continued efforts being made since closing.  I am also extremely appreciative of the humor so many of our staff have used as a way of coping with this closure and bringing laughter to others.

So, what are some things highlighted by this closure?  One, we have a great community in the EUP.  Our people are our strength.  We will continue to work together throughout this immediate crisis and in the weeks to come.  Second, the disparity of adequate internet connectivity is being brought to a national level.  About 50% of our students in the region have adequate internet connectivity at home.  We need to remedy this issue before any conversation of true online learning can become an option for our students.  The Moonshot K-12 Citizen Science research study titled “Broadband and Student Performance Gaps” was recently published.  It quantifies the negative impact lack of broadband connectivity outside the school has on academic performance, the likelihood of post-secondary enrollment, and overall life opportunities. The report also forecasts the long term effects the worsening gap will have on our communities. Check it out at http://quello.msu.edu/broadbandgap/.

HOT OFF THE PRESS:  The U.S. Department will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.  Great news!!!

Please continue to be vigilant in containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. Let’s work together to keep our families safe and healthy!

Early Childhood

Disaster Relief Child Care Services for Essential Workforce

The Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (EUPISD) is working in cooperation with state and local partners to support the Executive Order No. 2020-16 issued by Governor Whitmer last night. The EUPISD and the Upper Peninsula Regional Resource Center (Child Care Network) are working to ensure the following two priorities are addressed immediately.

  1. To ensure that local licensed child care providers respond to the survey from the Michigan of Health and Human Services- Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) in order for us to monitor the existing capacity of local providers who are able to provide emergency care to essential workers.   The link to the short survey is:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/childcare-covid-response.  This survey link was included in the email that was sent out last night by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.   Thank you if you have already completed the survey.

  2. To connect local essential workers to child care providers who have the capacity to provide care for their children.  Please direct employees of the essential workforce to www.helpmegrow-mi.org/essential and their information will be routed to someone in our community who will help them find care. Thank you if your agency or staff have already communicated childcare needs to our ISD in the last couple of days. If employees do not have access to internet, they can call 211 and a representative will take their information over the phone.

The EUPISD is also working with the local school district community to put in place contingency plans to open emergency child care centers in some existing licensed school facilities.  At this time, these facilities will only be activated if the pressure on the existing local child care capacity is exceeded. Our first priority is to support existing providers who have the capacity to provide care for the essential workforce.

Please share this information with your licensed child care colleagues and partners and with all members of the essential workforce who may need child care as they support our community during this emergency.

Thank you and wishing you calm and safety during this time.

General Education

Free online educational content for educators!! 

Michigan Virtual has more than 250 online courses for educators.  Many are free, and teachers can earn SCECHs.  For example, teachers are encouraged to access the series on Social Emotional Learning.  These courses were developed to support the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students.

To view the entire library of opportunities for educators, CLICK HERE.

EduPaths also offers online courses for educators with free SCECH’s for many courses as well.  You can browse their catalog here.  In light of our current situation, these courses may be helpful.

Read by Grade Three Survey Opportunity- Earn 5 SCECHs

The MDE is partnering with the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State University and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA) General Education Leadership Network's (GELN) Early Literacy Task Force (ELTF) to promote a statewide survey of current K-8 teachers and principals, superintendents and ISD early literacy coaches on Read by Grade.  The MDE is offering 5 hours of State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) for completing this approximately 25-minute survey. Schools that reach a 65% response rate for their building will be entered into a raffle for $500 deposited in the school’s Scholastic account. The survey can be completed here: https://msu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9p2rheudlTRAZwx . Please pass this information on to your K-8 colleagues. The survey will close April 10, 2020.

Literacy Professional Learning Opportunities During School Closings

MAISA recognizes that COVID-19 may have the education community feeling isolated or disconnected. We would like to offer some ways to remain virtually connected around our shared commitments in literacy. The following resources are FREE and  available at literacyessentials.org

*SCECH’s are available for the Modules*

If you need assistance with how to sign up to access the modules please visit https://literacyessentials.org/literacy-essentials/resources/.

MSU Extension Remote Learning Resource Center https://www.canr.msu.edu/rlr/index

Special Education

OT Update

With the amount of changes going on in our world right now, we can all appreciate how important routines have been in our daily lives up until this point.  Just like us, our students have had their daily routines drastically altered, and with little opportunity to prepare them for this change, many may still be struggling to transition to their new "normal." The good news is that your district OTs have plenty of experience helping students transition between activities, environments, and schedules and are here to lend a hand! 

Five things to remember are: 

  1. Some individuals have a harder time adjusting to change than others. Some students will require what seems like an over-the-top amount of time, cues, and front-loading to adjust to whatever is coming next.

  2. Visuals are ALWAYS better than verbals. Visuals level the playing field so that our top-tier readers and our students who are still working on reading are all aware of what is expected of them. Visuals are easier to access than verbals are when someone is under stress, and they also increase continuity across staff and environments.

  3. Visual timers are a great tool to help students prepare for a transition! Whether it is being used for a switch between worksheets or a countdown until it's time to get ready for recess, a visual timer is a great way to help kids of all abilities prepare for what comes next.

  4. Visual schedules are not only useful in younger grades. A large, class-wide visual schedule that is referenced frequently during the day may make the difference in preventing challenging behaviors from popping up among your students that are struggling to adjust to their routine.

  5. With an unexpected leave of absence for the entire district, it is very likely that we will all start "back at square one" whenever we return to class. Challenging behaviors that might have been on their way out might be back in full force; but that's okay! Taking this time off to discuss three to four simple, school-wide behavioral expectations that can be made into visuals and posted throughout buildings might be a good way to ensure we all return on the same page. And if problems still occur, feel free to talk with your school's occupational therapist about other techniques or strategies that may be worth a try!

When everything is said and done, there are sure to be many, lasting effects from what has happened so far in 2020. Stay safe and remember, we're all in this together! 

Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)

PAC Educator of the Year Awards:

The EUPISD Parent Advisory Committee wishes to recognize area educators and others who have provided exceptional service to students with disabilities during the 2019-2020 school year.      

The PAC will be acknowledging individuals in the following categories: special education teacher, general education teacher, paraprofessional, ancillary staff, other support staff (transportation, secretarial etc.), administrator (supervisors, principal, and superintendent), and volunteer and community group/agency.    

Please use the following Nomination Form and submit by email to jjahn@eupschools.org by May 30. The PAC will review the nominations. A rubric will be used to determine the Educator of the Year awards.  Information about the reception will be sent out later in the spring. The award ceremony will be held in August and will be a Family Friendly Event.

Technical Services

“Washing” your tech

Disinfecting your technology is as important as washing your hands! Here are some helpful tips from our technology staff:

  • We recommend using disinfecting wipes to clean your devices.
    • Ensure that the wipes do not contain bleach!
    • Squeeze the wipe to remove excess disinfectant to ensure it is not too wet.
    • Avoid using disinfectant sprays.
  • Unplug your device prior to starting to clean.
  • Use the disinfectant wipe,  then dry the area with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Drive-In Internet

Just like the drive-in movie theater our school networks have now become drive-up internet access! We have enabled EUPSchools and EUPCommunity WIFI network access to at most school buildings throughout the region. EUPSchools for school staff and students who connect using their normal school network username and password. EUPCommunity is for all community members to use for access to the internet. Drive-in, connect, enjoy the access from your car, and drive out. If you need help, information on how to get help is available on our website: www.eupschools.org/helpdesk

 

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!