From The Superintendent

Dear Highland Families,                                                                                            May 22, 2020

Due to this closure we certainly understand the many challenges our students and families have had to face.  We are very appreciative of how the vast majority of our families and students have joined with HSD in doing the best we all can each and every day in providing supporting a revised learning platform to our students.  We thank you for being a partner in your child’s education.  Outlined below is some information as we know it at the moment, and our plans moving forward. Much is still unknown as to what fall will look like.  Please continue to check the Highland District website and Facebook page for any new information and guidance. 

  • Important dates:  No school May 26. Last day of food service is June 11 and last day of school is June 18.
  • Graduation:  We are working to finalize a plan that meets the current safety guidelines while providing a ceremony that allows immediate families to join and celebrate with their graduates.  Our graduates deserve a memorable ceremony and we are doing our best to provide that opportunity while balancing the safety guidelines we are required to follow. We are also planning a way for the community to join in the celebration from their homes.  The ceremony will take place June 12th.  Please be watching for the finalized plan as it will be communicated to the seniors and their families and the Highland community through our normal communication methods.
  • Remainder of the school year: The state expects all school districts to provide required continuous learning for their students during the closure, until the last designated day of school which is June 18. Students will continue their learning in the platform that has been put in place.
  • Fall 2020:  Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Yakima County, there is not a scenario that would allow us to return to the “normal” school setting to start the 2020-2021 school year.  If the situation improves over the summer then we can adjust our plans that best fit the return to school.  We currently are exploring options such as a combination of on-site/off-site learning environment if in fact the COVID-19 situation does not improve enough for the state to allow a total onsite start of school.  If we are not able to return to a complete on-site setting, I feel very strongly it is imperative to structure a format that allows students and teachers to meet in a personal setting while following all guidelines to keep students and staff safe.  This format would be a hybrid version of continuous learning; such as allowing students on site in small class settings, at reduced hours and days a week, along with remote learning until we are allowed to safely bring students and staff together full time.  Whatever the situation of COVID-19 is in late August, our goal will be to provide the best learning environment we can while maintaining the safety of our students and staff. 
  • Another request/reminder: Parents, we need you to listen, and respond when needed, to all phone messages that come from the school district/principals/teachers in order to stay updated on how the District is working to support your child’s/children’s education. Principals and teachers are doing the best they can to meet each student’s unique needs.   We have a shared responsibility in this endeavor and we greatly need your assistance.  Please watch for a survey that will be coming to parents to help us prepare for a hybrid version of learning if we are still needing to implement remote learning as part of the 2020-2021 school year.  We want to know what has worked, what doesn’t work and how we can improve to better support our families and students.  We plan to take the survey data and use it to improve our continuous learning model in the case we need to implement a hybrid learning model.
  • I mentioned this in my last note but feel it is worth repeating: Please remember that this continuous learning will look different than what educators, students, and parents are used to. This remains an unprecedented moment in our world’s history, and one of the most important things we can do for one another is grant each other grace, patience and understanding.

As a district, we are committed to whatever we can to support our students, staff, families and community.  We also understand that there will be many questions to answer and continued information to share as we navigate through this challenge.  Please be watching for information from principals, teachers and district personnel moving forward.  While we are not all in the same boat, we are all battling the same storm.  Please take good care of you and yours.

Respectfully,

~Mark Anderson, Superintendent