3.30.20 1:55pm SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE (Spanish)
As we move into our distance learning program, we need to make sure our students have either Wi-Fi access at home or they are assigned to a non-digital distance learning curriculum. To accomplish this, we need your help.
If your family does NOT have Wi-Fi access at home, please use the link below to complete the information so we can either provide you a hotspot device at no cost to your family to complete this school year or provide you with an alternative non-digital distance learning program.
Again, only those families who do NOT have Wi-Fi at home should complete this form. To complete the form, please visit www.bcbe.org/wifi or click here: https://clicktime.symantec.com/3QhxVG9SiMN4JV3EWzDd7EG7Vc?u=www.bcbe.org%2Fwifi.
If you know of a student's family who does not have Wi-Fi access at home, would you please help get them this information so they can get on board with our distance learning program, as it is also first come first serve. Ask them to please visit www.bcbe.org/wifi or click here: https://clicktime.symantec.com/3QhxVG9SiMN4JV3EWzDd7EG7Vc?u=www.bcbe.org%2Fwifi.
Only one device will be issued per family. We have a limited number of devices, so not everyone will be able to get Wi-Fi at home and some families will be given an equivalent non-wifi distance learning program. Devices will be issued based on several priorities including: grade level, location, number of students in household and financial necessity. Signing up is not a guarantee, but it is the first necessary step toward your family beginning the process.
I want to thank AT&T for their partnership in providing these devices to us. I am very excited about what our team has been able to pull together to make sure we keep your students up-to-date and properly educated for their advancement to the next school year without remediation.
Your local teachers and principals will be in touch with you about additional information regarding distance learning. I will be in touch with you again later this week to keep you up-to-date about what the system is doing to move forward.
Please continue to do your best to enjoy the time you have with your family. I know you are as concerned as I am about our health, the health of our family members and also our economic circumstances. I'm with you in worrying, but I continue to believe we're going to come through this stronger than we were before. What I have witnessed in cooperation and assistance, as well as a good attitude from thousands of parents and employees over this very trying time, is part of what has encouraged me. I hope you find your encouragement!
We will talk soon. Practice social distancing and stay well.
3.26.20 5:00PM SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE (Spanish Version)
When you see the evening news, you will hear Governor Kay Ivey, along with State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, announced today public school students in Alabama will NOT be returning to physical classrooms for the remainder of this school year.
We learned of this information just as quickly as you did today but we have been anticipating such an announcement. Our curriculum teams have prepared for this announcement and we have a plan to continue education with a distance learning program for your children. In fact, we don't just have one plan, we have multiple plans.
Some students will continue their online course of study much like our virtual students currently learn. Some students will work in a hybrid format with packets of information provided by their instructors.
We will send you detailed information on how this distance learning program will work for you and your family based specifically upon your child’s grade level: graduating seniors, high school students and K through 8 and our exceptional students. You will receive this information next week.
Please continue with practice and enrichment as scheduled through the end of next week. We will hold our spring break as originally scheduled and when we return from spring break on Monday, April 13th, we will begin this new regimen of distance learning.
During this time, we will continue working with our staff and teachers to make sure everyone is prepared to instruct and support this technology, as well as the alternative methods being offered.
Once again, I cannot express to you the incredible team of teachers and support staff we have in our system. All four thousand of our employees have remained on call, working from home and other remote locations as instructed, to support our mission. I have never felt so blessed to work with such an amazing group of people and to live in such an amazing part of the country.
Thank you again for your support of our system and thank you for the patience you have had with our adjustments to this new setting. We have had a very short amount of time to make what is a very dramatic change in how we typically do business and all of us appreciate the positive attitude you and your children have shown throughout this process.
We will be in touch again next week. Stay safe and enjoy the beautiful weather.
3.24.20 MONDAY UPDATE (Spanish Version)
It's been a week since our last day of school and I wanted to check in and give you some updates.
I've heard some of you wondering what's worse, the Coronavirus or keeping your children at home? I understand, but I want to encourage you to take this time as a valuable opportunity to spend time with your kiddos.
I know it's hard not to worry about jobs, futures, the stock market, and retirement program values, as well as the health of you and your older family members. I have those same concerns throughout the day and night, but in life, we often find that as one door closes another one opens. It's my hope that you will find an opportunity to connect with your kids through this unexpected break.
We've also heard from parents who want more information and direction on at-home practice and enrichment programs our system has provided. I want you to know our teams are working on those and we have more extensive programs ready, but as I've stated before, we need state guidance on what we can and cannot do. To that point, we will be meeting with the state department and State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey later this week to cover some of those issues. I will update you on those meetings later this week.
After talking with some of our subject matter experts I want to provide you with the following suggestions which may help make your days a little easier and keep your kids progressing.
1. Relax and try to have a good time. We can't always dictate our circumstances and this is a perfect example. I've always tried to live by the rule: try to change the things you can change and try not to worry about the things you cannot. This is a great time for some movies, some yard work, and catching up on some household projects. Reconnect with your kids, play some board games, and find an opportunity to just spend time with each other. Opportunities like this don't come along very often so do what you can to enjoy it.
2. Let your kids guide you. This may sound strange but they probably know more about those electronic devices than you do. That doesn't mean you shouldn't ask questions. One of the best ways for a child to learn something is to have them explain it to someone else. Ask them questions and let them explain things to you. It gives them the spotlight and you might even learn something.
3. If you have a question, reach out to your child's teacher. All of our employees continue to work while also taking care of their own families. We may not be at school or the office, but I can assure you all of us are continuing to work and provide support. If you don't have your teacher’s email address, you can up look it up online by going to their school website and searching the “Teachers and Staff” tab.
4. Exercise is very important. I said this last week but as an old football coach, it bears repeating in my mind. We all hear about social distancing and quarantines but nobody has said we shouldn't go outside. In fact, I saw a news conference yesterday where they encouraged people to get outside in the sunlight and walk around. Yesterday it was 77 degrees. I’m told it's going to be even warmer later this week. Let your kids get outside.
One parent told me they were letting the kids plant a garden. Another said they were letting them earn extra computer time by doing yard work. One parent said they were taking this opportunity for their son to practice his foot skills in soccer with a goal of 2,000 ball touches in one week. Whatever works should be your plan, but staying inside all day isn't going to help any of us physically or mentally.
I'll be back in touch with you later this week. Thank you for all the notes and responses. Again, I cannot tell you how blessed all of us are to live here in Baldwin County. I want to say thank you on behalf of myself, the board, and our 4,000 employees for your support and cooperation throughout this ordeal.
3.20.20 5pm FRIDAY UPDATE (Spanish Version)
We have reached the end of what I think we can all agree will be a life-changing week and one we will remember for a very long time.
I want to take a moment and tell you how much I appreciate all of your support and cooperation through this process. I also hope you are as proud of our team as I am. For my principals and teachers, transportation, cafeteria, central office and support teams, what our employees have been able to pull off in a very short amount of time is remarkable.
I've had several questions asking why we are not doing full-blown distance learning with testing and I want to provide you the best answer I have. Baldwin County was prepared to go through that process. The taxpayers here have blessed us with great resources. We are the largest county school system providing computers on a one-to-one basis. Our technology capabilities far exceed the vast majority of schools in Alabama. The software and technology we use are cutting-edge and can be compared to anybody in the education world. The problem is, federal regulation will not allow us to go 100% digital because of the requirements to provide for every student. I'm attaching a link to a USA Today article which might help you better understand the challenges public education systems across this country are facing in this situation.
We are continuing to plan for what the future might bring. We have hope the regulations might be relaxed while we are also looking for ways to ensure we can provide a digital learning environment for every student and meet both the state and federal guidelines in doing that.
Once again, I want to thank you for your support of our system. Should you have questions or need assistance, please visit our website at https://clicktime.symantec.com/3AHVGgwCrpa5NGukgG5SXBa7Vc?u=www.bcbe.org. It is my prayer each and every one of your families come through this unharmed and that together we will be a stronger nation as a result of the challenges we face today.
3.18.20 2:55PM CURRICULUM UPDATEParents,Thank you for all of your efforts and support throughout this process.I want to share with you some information from our curriculum team which has been working hard to keep your students in practice and ready to return to school. You may have already gotten some of this information from your local school, but I want to make sure everyone received it.I also want you to know that while we are currently dealing with the immediate short-term closure, there is the possibility that we may not return to school. We do not know at this point what the future will bring, but I can assure you that our teams are continuing to work on a response plan should that become reality.In addition to what is provided below from our curriculum team, I would also like to encourage each of you to find an opportunity for your children to get outside for exercise. Not in groups, but within your own family unit to the degree you are comfortable. Sunlight, exercise and fresh air is something we all should be thinking about as we move through this process.Here are the updates and recommendations from our curriculum team:Thank you for your support and understanding during this challenging time for our schools and communities. As you know, the Elementary Curriculum Department has gathered resources for students to practice their Math and Reading skills during the two week school closures. In an effort to alleviate fears and clear up any misunderstandings, please note the following:· Students have access to practice and enrichment materials through the student portal at students.BCBE.org under the section labeled “School Closure Resources”. This icon will open to a folder of resources for students.· Students are NOT expected to complete all of the activities included on the site. Rather, a variety of materials were provided to allow students and parents to pick and choose activities for students to practice.· Please remember these materials are for practice and enrichment only. No grades will be assigned for completed work upon returning to school. We just want students to practice reading and math skills to stay sharp in a relaxed forum.· If a student does not have internet access at home, a device can be provided with material already downloaded on it or a printed packet of material can be provided. Please contact your local school.Please understand this is just for the period before spring break. In the event school closures are extended, our team will communicate our expectations. Again, thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. We will come through this together and be stronger for it! Remember, we continue to update www.bcbe.org/coronavirus with the latest from the district.Eddie Tyler,Superintendent#BaldwinProud #CommunityStrong
3.17.20 11am IMPORTANT UPDATE (Spanish)
As a result of further discussions, there will be NO SCHOOL for students tomorrow. Our goal was to assist families who had few options for child care or needed time to make arrangements for their children. Based on attendance numbers from today and yesterday, we feel as though that mission was accomplished, and we have given parents ample opportunity to make arrangements.
Kindergarten through 12th grade parents may come to our campuses through Friday at 4 p.m. to pick up the educational enrichment packets and Chromebooks as directed by your local principal and teachers.
Our teachers will be dismissed at the close of business today for the closure. Teachers will remain available via electronic communications.
After Friday of this week, all school facilities including central office, will be closed. All staff and employees of the system will remain on call and will remain working throughout this closure though they may not be in office or on campus.
I want to take a moment and thank you all for the kindness you have shown to those within our school family. This has been a very difficult time for all of us to try to move so quickly and to balance so many needs. The comments and responses we have seen from many parents across this county have been very encouraging.
I am very proud of our teachers and staff, our board and my senior leadership on how everyone has come together to exceed expectations in how we processed all of this so quickly keeping our kid's education, health, and safety at the forefront of our efforts.
We will be pushing out more information through our local schools. You may also visit www.bcbe.org/coronavirus or @bcbealabama on Facebook for more details throughout this closure.
After what I have witnessed this week, I am convinced that we will come through this and we will be stronger and better for it.
3.16.20 UPDATE: Week of March 16-18
The situation we are in continues to be fluid and ever-changing. I wanted to bring you up to date on a few things, and remind you of a few as well.
School will still be in session tomorrow and Wednesday. Just like I communicated over the weekend, if you choose to not send your child to school, those absences will be excused.
We will have after school care on Monday and Tuesday, no after school care will be provided on Wednesday due to Governor Ivey’s order closing all public schools by 3:00 p.m.. Parents will not be charged for the first week back of after school care to make up for payments made for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week.
Chromebooks can be checked out starting Wednesday for elementary students. If your child is absent on Wednesday, you may pick up your child’s Chromebook Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at their school. Your child’s Chromebook will come with instructions as well as information from our Curriculum Department on how to keep your child on track academically. Paper packets are also available at all elementary and high school locations for those students who do not have internet access.
If a student has medication kept in the school’s health room, it must be picked up by 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Grab and go lunches will be available Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to all students, regardless of free, reduced or paid. The lunches will be available on all of our campuses.
Just as a reminder, all athletic events for Baldwin County Public Schools are canceled through spring break. We will evaluate April’s schedule later this month.
We continue to sanitize our buses and facilities with hospital-grade disinfectants. We continue to do our best to make sure our student’s environment is safe.
We will continue to update you as needed this week. Thank you for your patience and for supporting our kids and schools. We are all in this together.
3.14.20 UPDATE: School closures and chromebooks
As I have committed, I am pushing to you information as it becomes available from our team.
I have directed that all athletic events for Baldwin County Public Schools be canceled through spring break. We will evaluate April’s schedule later this month.
We have just received advice from the State Department of Education that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this coming week will be excused absences should anyone choose to keep children at home. Regardless of what you choose as parents, we will still be operating schools until 3 p.m. Wednesday.
I am aware that Infirmary Health has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Baldwin County. I know this will raise the level of concern dramatically and we understand that as families you will make the best decision for your children.
I would like to tell you that I think it is important for your children to attend school this week. We will be distributing educational enrichment material to our students to take home as we think it is important to keep your children learning through this break. This will include the distribution of Chromebooks and tablets for kindergarten through sixth-grade students, just as we do with middle and high school students.
All distribution of electronic devices, printed materials, or textbooks will take place Wednesday, March 18. For those students not in attendance, we will designate a pickup time at your school Thursday and Friday. More details on pickup information will follow.
Parents, we have spent a lot of time preparing for this, which is why we are able to shift and accelerate our plans so quickly. Our schools and our buses are being sanitized. We are fully stocked with hospital grade disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and cleaners. Our staff has been trained on how to properly spray and disinfect our facilities. Should you choose to send your children to school, we are doing our best to make sure their environment is safe.
I want to compliment our board, our senior staff, our teachers and all of our support personnel throughout the county for the hard work they are doing to make sure thatour facilities are clean, that we process this closure in an orderly fashion and do the best we can to provide our students with academic enrichment during the time in which they will be out of school.
We will be pushing out much more information over the coming days. If you have any questions please contact your local school principal.
3.13.20 UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM THE SUPERINTENDENTThis afternoon Governor Ivey issued a state of emergency and directed the closure of public schools in Alabama. This is an announcement we have been anticipating and of course, Baldwin County Schools fall under her order.The last day of school in Baldwin County will be upon dismissal on Wednesday, March 18. Baldwin County Public School students will be out starting March 19 through April 12 to include our regularly scheduled spring break. School will resume after spring break on Monday, April 13. This is subject to change and we will provide you information should the governor extend the closure.We will provide additional information next week as we get clarification from the State Department of Education and others with regards to curriculum and annual requirements.I know there are going to be a lot of questions and I'm going to ask you to please hold your questions until we have an opportunity to get more details from the state. We may push that information out to you over the weekend or it may come early in the week. Please rest assured we will provide you information just as soon as we are able to gather those details and process them through our leadership team.Also, please know that we have been preparing for several weeks to deal with these issues. Our teams are not only ready to assist families but we are also ready to bring students back to school and adjust the pacing guides so that we can meet all of our core standards and requirements for the end of the year.Should you have any concerns or questions please direct them to your local school principal. We will be in touch with you very soon.Eddie Tyler,Superintendent#BaldwinProud
Superintendent Message (Spanish) Spanish Message
3.12.20 4:40pm: UPDATE from Mr. Eddie Tyler
I have complete faith that our country is going to get past this Coronavirus challenge, and I don't want to create any panic, but I do have some additional updates I want to share with you.
Many parents have called or emailed me and I want you to know that while I do not have the authority to declare a State of Emergency, nor close our schools, the health of our students and our community is my top concern.
To be clear, as of today we do not have any reported infections in our school system though we expect this could change.
Over the last three weeks, our system has been planning for staged responses to the impact of the Coronavirus in our area. This staged response includes plans to close schools for short term and long-term periods if necessary.
In addition to the previous notifications we are implementing another stage of response this evening.
Effective immediately, all in-state and out-of-state school sponsored travel has been cancelled through the end of spring break. This includes all field trips, academic and extra-curricular activities. Athletic events are at the discretion of the school athletic directors, coaches and state athletic association. We will evaluate travel for April and May at the appropriate time.
We will keep you up to date with changes as they become necessary. Please contact your principal for questions related to your student or situation.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent