06.23.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE:Parents,
I write to you today with a very sad heart. You may have seen the recent news about three students who died in a car accident over the weekend. These students attended Baldwin County High School and Spanish Fort High School. While I did not know these students, what I have read and learned from those who did, makes this even more heartbreaking. I know their families are hurting as are their friends, classmates, teachers and principals.
Having lost my own son in a tragic accident, I unfortunately know the dark, deep feeling which comes with the sudden loss of child. It is a feeling that never goes away and is something I would never wish upon anyone. I hope you will join me in lifting up our thoughts and prayers for these families as they go through such a difficult experience.
Parents - hug your child today. I can tell you first-hand that you never know when it may be your last opportunity to do so. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that their school system loves them. Tell them that while they may feel invincible, they are not.
As we come up on the Fourth of July, I would ask that you to talk to your children who may be of driving age, or riding with other teenagers who are. Please remind them about the importance of road safety. Including keeping their hands on the wheel, not holding their phone, texting or making phone calls. Remind them that other drivers can be distracted, under the influence or driving dangerously. As a driver, or a passenger, remind them that they need to do their part to be safe and to watch out for others to ensure their own safety.
I hope each and every one of you remain safe and continue to enjoy the beautiful weather. I hope that you have a great Fourth of July and celebrate the wonderful country in which we are all privileged to live. I will be back in touch after the holiday with specific information about our return to school campuses on August 12th.
06.11.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE:Parents,In line with yesterday's email about our plans for the fall, I would very much appreciate you taking the following survey about virtual school options we have for distance learning in Baldwin County.For nearly a decade, Baldwin County has offered one of the finest virtual school programs in Alabama. This program has been open to 7th-12th grade students who meet certain qualifications. The students do not attend regular classes and are, in many ways, self-directed in their studies. Their testing and assessments are monitored on-site, but they do not attend school every day. There is no bussing for this program and the student must have Wi-Fi access to do their work. The students learn through internet connected computer programs and videos with support and tutoring instruction from the Virtual School staff as needed. This program will continue as it has for many years.This year, we are adding an elementary option with K-6th students being given the opportunity to join the virtual school program. While students will learn from home as they did this spring, this program is very different from the distance learning your elementary children did this spring. This is a comprehensive elementary learning program. Like the secondary program, children will not attend school every day. Just like the secondary virtual school program, enrolled students will do their learning from home, while being advised, tutored and tested on campus locations. While home internet connectivity is recommended for the elementary virtual school, there is no requirement for such at this time. There is no bussing and no place for children to be left unattended during the traditional school day. A guardian must participate in this program with the child to provide assessment and tutoring at our campus locations when necessary.The decision on enrollment will need to be made before the school year begins. To assist us in gauging interest for this school year we are asking you to please answer this short survey even if you have no interest in participating in this program. This will help us tremendously and I greatly appreciate your time.https://bit.ly/2YpSa75Sincerely,Eddie TylerSuperintendent#BaldwinProudP.S. As a reminder, this survey is through a 3rd party. Advertisements and additional surveys you choose to participate in are not related to, nor endorsed, by the Baldwin County School System. Our final question will be identified with the words FINAL QUESTION.
06.10.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE:Parents:I hope your summer is getting off to a beautiful start and your family is doing well.There have been numerous calls about what school might look like this fall and when we will start. Also, there was a recent news story suggesting Baldwin County Public Schools will be implementing a hybrid school term. This is not accurate, and I want to clarify where we are.I do not intend to release any specific plans until after the Fourth of July but make no mistake, we have several plans being considered. We are already acquiring new software and programs. We are implementing new training and evaluating all of our protocols. We will be ready for whatever is sent our way.Many people want to know what we are doing but I'm not comfortable making that decision today. Information surrounding this virus changes daily. How our country responds to the virus also changes daily. As a result, I want to wait until we have as much information as possible before locking in on any specific plan.What I can tell you is that as of today, I expect we will start school on August 12 as scheduled. That may change but as of now, this is what we are planning for. As to the format - I do not see a hybrid plan for Baldwin County Public Schools. I expect your student will either be in our classrooms or he/she will be doing distance learning. I don't see a circumstance where we would have a student going to school one day and doing distance learning the next. I can't predict the future, but that is not something for which we are planning. My goal is to provide consistency. I hope we can provide some sense of normality for your children.Regardless of our system plan, we will continue to offer virtual school should you have concerns about sending your child back to a classroom. We will be pushing information out very soon about our K-12 virtual school options here in Baldwin County.I will be back in touch with you after July 4th. You will hear rumors and suggestions from people about what will happen, but please know that it is not official until you hear it from me.Stay safe and enjoy the summer,Eddie TylerSuperintendent#BaldwinProud #CommunityStrong
05.21.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE: Registration (Spanish)
Online registration for returning students to Baldwin County Public Schools will open on Monday, June 1. Within the next two weeks, each student should receive a letter containing the details for completing the 2020-2021 registration process. The window will close July 31, 2020.
Returning student registration is only available for students who completed the 2019-2020 school year enrolled in Baldwin County Public Schools. Those not enrolled at that time will need to complete the New Student Registration.
More information can be found at www.bcbe.org/registration. Specific questions should be directed to your local school.
05.18.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE: GRADUATION (SPANISH)
Once again, congratulations to the graduating seniors in the class of 2020!
As I referenced Friday, we will continue our tradition of in-person graduation ceremonies but we will have a few changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First - graduation will be held on Monday, June 1 and Tuesday, June 2 with all ceremonies starting at 7 p.m.. The ceremonies will be held at their traditional stadium locations.
Here is our schedule for graduations on June 1 and June 2:
June 1, 2020
Baldwin County High School- Mitchell Field
Daphne High School- Trojan Field at Jubilee Stadium
Foley High School- Ivan Jones Stadium
June 2, 2020
Robertsdale High School- J.D. Sellars Stadium
Spanish Fort High School- “The Hill” Spanish Fort High Stadium
Fairhope High School- W.C. Majors Field
For students graduating from the Baldwin County Virtual School, your principal, Mrs. Resmondo, will provide further details on the BCVS ceremony to be held that same week.
Due to the regulations set by Governor Ivey, and to comply with social distancing, each senior will be allowed four guest tickets just as we have provided for rain events in the past. Please note, no one will be allowed into graduation without a ticket.
Seating in the stadium will be arranged in a socially-distanced configuration. While family groups may sit together, we ask that you leave a space between families. The seniors will be spaced according to social distancing guidelines as well.
Parents, I ask that you help me keep us in compliance. Please respect the few conditions we have put in place, as well as the other families attending the ceremonies. Everyone has a different expectation but I ask we all work together to make this a great, safe, celebration.
Additional details will be provided by your school’s principal including rain scenarios, attire as well as when and where to arrive. Look for that information from your principals before Wednesday.
We look forward to celebrating these accomplished young men and women. This is a class that will forever be remembered in all they have been through this year. I am so proud of them and believe this challenge will better prepare them for the rest of their lives.
Again, thank you for patience as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We hope this helps bring some sense of joy and celebration for your family and for your senior!
05.15.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE
Parents, I hope this email finds you well.
This is a long message but please read all of it. These announcements are very important as we enter our last week of school.
Yes, next week is our final week of school. In a normal year, seniors would have donned their caps and gowns and children would be competing in field day, but nothing about these last two months has been normal. The good news is, we made it through stronger and better.
I am so proud of what our teams pulled together and how our teachers turned on a dime to change their instructional methods to support our kids. Things ended well and from all indications at the beach, it appears we are moving toward a normal summer.
I have many things we need to cover so let's start with how we're going to officially wrap up school under distance learning.
Teachers will be working with your children to close out the school year next week. For middle and high school students, we are assigning grades based upon their completion of assignments. For elementary students, we are not assigning specific grades for fourth quarter work but there is a component to monitor student growth. All assignments and monitoring for students will be completed by the end of next week. We can be flexible in this, so please contact your child's teacher or principal if you have any concerns about your child wrapping up their fourth quarter.
In line with that, we will be providing summer school options this year. We are finalizing those plans and I will have an email out to you after Memorial Day regarding our options, any costs as well as the process for signing up.
On to graduation. I've had very little to say about graduation since we postponed it. We've watched as we moved through the restrictions during this coronavirus and we prepared backup options for both virtual, drive-by and small group events while hoping we could do graduation in-person at some level.
The governor's announcement about the opening of Alabama last week gave us the opportunity for which we were hoping. I am pleased to announce we will hold in-person formal graduations in the month of June. We will be putting that information out next week.
Looking forward, you can expect we will have a limit on the number of guests who can attend. We will be requiring social distancing not only among our seniors but also among the attendees in the audience. We will be following the protocols provided for church and worship services and we are working with law enforcement, health and state officials to finalize these plans today. Look for information next week and once again, CONGRATULATIONS to our graduating seniors in the Class of 2020!
As we bring the school year to an end, there are a lot of questions about what to do with school issued equipment. If you have already returned your Chromebooks, band equipment or other items, then you don't have much to do.
If you are not returning to Baldwin County Public Schools next year, please get in touch with your principal to set up an opportunity to return school issued equipment back to the campus.
For everyone else, we will be setting up return opportunities at school after the 4th of July. We're intentionally allowing your kids to keep these items in hopes you will encourage some continued enrichment through the summer.
Speaking of enrichment, we are providing summer workbooks for all elementary students. Your local school will be in touch with you next week about these workbooks and how they will be distributed. We are also providing students with a digital summer reading library. The best way to keep your kid from falling behind on reading, is to keep them reading. For our high school students, we will also be providing free ACT preparation courses online. I hope you will use these opportunities and encourage your kids to strengthen their skills over the summer.
Registration for new students is taking place next month. That information can be found athttps://www.bcbe.org/registration.
We have a configuration change in several school districts this fall. These plans have been widely circulated so this shouldn't be a surprise to those affected. Foley, Spanish Fort, Daphne and Fairhope will start their new districts at the elementary school levels this fall. As a parent with a currently enrolled student, there is nothing you need to do other than be aware of which school your child will be attending next year. For those parents enrolling new children, you will need to make sure you initiate your enrollment with the proper school location. You can find out more information about what school your child should be attending by visiting https://www.bcbe.org/zone.
I gave you a commitment that we would have an update on summer activities heading into Memorial Day weekend. I am pleased to report that the governor's announcement last week has provided the opportunity for us to open certain school-sponsored events, however, there has been no decision on which events will be open and when they will be rescheduled.
The advice we have gotten thus far will require us to continue limiting the number of participants and providing elements of social distancing, masks or other protocols. I have asked the principals to work with their staff to determine how we will move forward with athletic, band and other school-sponsored training during the summer.
As many of these programs and events are tied to other organizations, including the Alabama High School Athletic Association, I cannot give you a final answer until we have further direction from them. I hope to have this to you by the first week of June, but for now I can tell you the restrictions have been eased enough for some of our programs to be allowed to proceed forward.
Again, our After-School Care Summer programs will not be open this summer. After school childcare will be available with fall classes on campus.
I know that's a lot of information but it's important that I keep you up to date with the decisions we're making for the benefit of your children. As always, I want to take a moment to thank you for trusting us with your children and their education. I'm so honored to work with 4,000 of the best educational professionals any superintendent could ever ask for and with your partnership as parents, we have, what I believe is, the best school system in Alabama.
While we look forward to enjoying the summer and getting back to normal, please continue to be safe. Observe other people's personal space and respect their concerns. We don't know what everybody has going in their life or what their challenges may be. While we may be doing well, they may be dealing with sick people or people who could be vulnerable to the virus.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
05.08.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE 3PM (SPANISH)
Happy Friday Parents,
I hope this update finds you and your family well! I want to give you a few updates as we close out the week.
First of all, I want to say how much I have enjoyed seeing all the messages, parades and honorariums being given to our teachers in this time of teacher appreciation. As a former teacher and administrator at the school level, I know how much it means to see the community take a minute to thank us for the job we do. What an awesome community we live in and I want to tell you once again, thank you so much for entrusting us with your children!
In light of Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to announce our Teacher of the Year recipients. Drum roll please!!! Our Elementary Teacher of the Year is Laura Ruth Hunter! Mrs. Hunter teaches at J. Larry Newton Elementary School. Our Secondary Teacher of the Year is Dianne Casolaro! Mrs. Casolaro teaches at Daphne High School. Every school in the district awards a Teacher of the Year, from those, a district Teacher of the Year is chosen by a panel of judges. Congratulations to Mrs. Hunter and Mrs. Casolaro! What a tremendous honor!
This morning, Governor Ivey updated her health and safety orders for the state. As I'm sure you have heard, personal care businesses, restaurants and many others have been authorized to open while observing social distancing and sanitation requirements. I know how excited everyone is to see our country getting back to some level of normalcy but please continue practicing social distancing, be aware and safe in all of your activities.
How do these updated orders apply to our schools? As of now, these orders do not change anything with regards to our school system. We remain under State Superintendent Eric Mackey's order to halt all campus and school-sponsored events through June 5th. We are evaluating our options moving forward through the summer and plan to provide an update before Memorial Day regarding summer activities.
As a reminder, our After-School Care Summer programs will not be open this summer under any circumstances.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020! We have a lot of very excited seniors who are ready to move on to the next chapter in their lives. We previously made the decision to postpone all graduation events until the month of June. We expect to have an announcement about graduation before Memorial Day. We are trying our very best to provide some type of in-person event, but we are dependent on direction from the state superintendent. Please know that we have backup plans should this not be allowed but considering today’s announcement, I am optimistic we will be able to do something in-person.
We have two weeks left in our school year and I know so many of you are counting down the days. I have been told our elementary students have completed more than a million lessons through their distance learning programs and the number of disciplinary issues has fallen dramatically since we started this program. Thank you so much for all of your support and effort through this process. You make it truly an honor to serve you alongside what I consider to be the best 4,000 coworkers anyone could ever ask for.
Stay safe and enjoy the weekend!
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
04.28.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE (SPANISH)
By now, you are starting to hear word of the governor's announcement to reopen parts of Alabama's economy. I want to get ahead of the rumors and give you first-hand information to clarify that schools will not be reopening under her plan.
At this time, none of our guidance has changed. There is no change in summer activities, athletics and on or off-campus school-sponsored events. All students will remain on our distance-learning program. All employees should remain physically located in the area and working remotely and on-call as necessary.
I know everyone is excited to see Alabama working back toward normal conditions in a cautious and safe manner. As soon as we identify changes in our previous education system guidance, I will alert you.
04.24.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE (SPANISH)
I have just a few updates to share with you.
I want to recognize a very special award given to the counselors at Fairhope Intermediate School, Fairhope Middle School and Foley Middle School. Each of these schools receivednational recognition from the American School Counselor Association for the outstanding work they are doing in their schools. This is a tremendous honor because this is the first time in 20 years a school in Alabama has received this prestigious award and we have not one, but three schools! Great job!
As we are completing our first full week of distance learning, I want to report our participation numbers are amazing. Your children's assessment scores are very impressive and show our students were heading into the fourth quarter well prepared and ahead of schedule. We are confident we are going to be able to finish this program by May 21 and have our kids ready to begin next school year with a short review of their previous grade level without any interruption.
I previously mentioned to you some concerns I had with Zoom conferencing. We have identified a new video conferencing option which we believe provides better security for our students. Google Meet will now be utilized by students throughout the systemstarting May 1 and we will block access to Zoom conferencing on student devices. We did not suffer any hacking or inappropriate engagements to any class activities but as I reported to you previously, students were able to create their own account and conference with people outside our system and that's simply not a risk I think we should be taking. Please know we have been monitoring all of these engagements to ensure our children are safe in their classroom activities and I appreciate your patience as we work through this process.
I was reminded today we have more than 100,000 digital devices in our system which our team is constantly monitoring. From the trackers in our buses, our remote Wi-Fi systems, freezers and refrigerators in our cafeterias, printers and digital boards in our classrooms and, of course, all our student and employee devices - we are truly living in a digital world. Our systems have experienced no down time and no major problems. I am so grateful for the resources our taxpayers have trusted us with to deliver these opportunities to your family.
I hope you have found some joy in this unexpected time with your family. I know many have a newfound appreciation for our classroom teachers and those parents who choose to homeschool their children. I know this from the messages I've been receiving about all the hard work going into this program - not just from within our system, but from thoseat home with their families. I’m thankful for the partnership we have in Baldwin County between our educators and our families!
I continue to be optimistic and look forward to the opportunity where we can all stand together again without social distancing. I understand some parts of our state, including our own beaches will be opening soon. I hope it comes about in a way that doesn't just satisfy our need to get back to business, but also in a way that protects us going forward.
Thank you for trusting us with your children!
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
04.17.20 SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE (SPANISH)
Here we are at the end of our first week of distance learning and I just want to take an opportunity to tell you thank you for your patience as we have rolled into this process. I have heard a lot of good feedback from so many of you and our employees across the system. There are always hiccups and concerns but I am genuinely impressed with what we have been able to pull together especially in comparison to what so many other public school systems are being challenged with.
I want to give a big shout-out to our Education Technology team for their amazing technical support and our curriculum teams who are working to support not just our 4,000 employees but our 31,000 students who are working their way through an at-home digital process. From an old football coach with more than 40 years in public education, I just cannot express to you how amazing it is to watch this unfold in such a positive manner in what is clearly a challenging environment.
We have gotten a lot of good news this week about the virus and the trajectory for which we are headed. I hope that good news keeps coming.
I continue to believe we are going to come out of this stronger and better as a nation in large part because of what I witness here with the 4,000 employees who are working every day to bridge the gap and make sure your children are taken care of.
I'm going to be brief here at the end of the week and wish you a great weekend. You will hear from me next week.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
04.13.20 4:38pm SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE (SPANISH)
I hope you had a wonderful break and are ready to see your kids get back to school. Today, we have teachers all over the county in professional development working digitally to get your kids on track to completing our core requirements for this year.
I need to clarify some information I sent to you last week about the cancelation of summer programs.
We have many different types of summer programs in our school system. It is correct to say that as of now,all school affiliated summer programs have either been canceled or are on-hold. Let me provide you further information by addressing these in three different groups.
Our summer activities run through our After-School Program. Both grant and non-grant programs are canceled. These programs run summer-long and they are partnerships with other organizations. There are great concerns about where to hold these camps, whether or not we will be able to provide the appropriate distancing and health checks as well as our ability to staff up for the entire summer in light of current circumstances.
We know this will be a great challenge to many families, but it is also why we wanted to get this information out as soon as possible so that you could begin to look for alternate options. Please continue to monitor our social media pages where we will be sharing information about other summer camps going on in our area. If you have information about a summer camp that you would like to share with other parents, please email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org, go to https://www.bcbe.org/summersuggestions or share it to the district Facebook page at facebook.com/BCBEAlabama. The information you share with us will be shared system-wide.
Athletic programs are the next group. All athletic programs for the summer have been canceled until further notice. This is subject to change and I am sure there will be some changes as we get a little more clarification and direction at the state level. As you know, our athletic programs are regulated programs. The Alabama High School Athletic Association along with the State Department of Education and, in some instances, national organizations control what we can and cannot do.
Until we are given specific direction on how to proceed forward, we are taking the position that summerathletic activities will be canceled. A better word might be delayed or postponed but I don't want to give any false sense of hope or expectations because truthfully, we do not know.
This is not only affecting Baldwin County but the entire state. It is also affecting private schools and collegiate programs, as well as professional sports. I hope to be able to provide you better news. It is my hope our fall sporting programs will continue as planned but until we have more details about the summer,everyone should expect there will be significant changes, if not full cancelation.
The third group is school-sponsored programs. This could include band, cheerleading or other non-athletic but school-related events and activities. It does not matter if the event was scheduled to take place on our campus or at another location. The cancelation of all of these events applies to anything that was paid through a school organization or anything which was scheduled to take place on a school campus. All of those events at this time are canceled.
Again, we are hopeful we can revise this decision to maybe a postponement or a delay. Many of these events are not organized by us. Some of them are regional or national events that we participate in and a cancelation of those events is taking place outside of our control.
I want to be clear, I am not happy about these decisions. I wish with all of my heart that things were different and we were back to our regularly scheduled programming. I promise you, if we are given the opportunity to put these athletic and school-sponsored programs back on track we will do so quickly and communicate that information to you. The only exception is our After-School Program activities which will not be rescheduled at any time this summer.
If you have questions about a school-sponsored or athletic event please reach out to the sponsor of that event or your principal for additional information.
After speaking with the state superintendent last week, as well as other regional leaders, it is my hope to provide you another update on this matter before Memorial Day weekend. I hope that I have better news to report to you then.
Please stay well, continue to respect the orders from our health officials about social distancing andsheltering at home. None of us want to see this virus pop back up if we are successful in avoiding the crisis as many have suggested.
I will be back in touch later this week with some updates about our first week back to school.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
04.09.20 3:30pm SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE (SPANISH)
I hope you are finding a way to enjoy what we have traditionally referred to as spring break. Many of you have forwarded me stories about your own experiences during this extended time at home. I've seen the memes about fire drills and kids calling in to say they have missed the bus. There is nothing typical or normal about what we are going through and I want you to know you are in my heart and prayers at every moment.
As we approach Good Friday, I have to acknowledge the good news we are hearing around the country. The rate of COVID-19 cases seem to be falling in hot spots and it seems as though many of the supplies and necessities we so desperately needed are starting to show up.
What a great time for good news as we come upon Good Friday, here in the middle of Holy Week where so many celebrate the message of hope and good news.
Next week, we will be starting official online instruction. You should be hearing from your teachers and principals about what that schedule will look like. I don't expect all of you will start back first thing Monday morning. In fact, many of you won't start until Wednesday or Thursday while some of our teachers finish out their professional development and training on new software and we distribute materials to some of our students who don't have digital connectivity.
I also need to inform everyone we have been instructed to close all summer activities on all of our campuses. I know many of you were planning to attend summer camps within the Baldwin County Public School System and this is going to create yet another great inconvenience for you and I am sorry. Many of these decisions are well above my paygrade and I am simply directed to enforce those decisions. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing information about other summer camp opportunities throughout the county, and if you have any questions or concerns I encourage you to reach out to Cherry Penn and her team who may be able to assist you with finding the right solution for your family. You may email her CPenn@bcbe.org.
Online registration for kindergarten students is now available. For more information about kindergarten registration, new or returning student registration, please visit www.bcbe.org/registration. Many people have asked if they can hold off on sending in official documentation such as social security cards and personal records until this crisis passes and that will be fine, but please understand your child’s registration will not be complete until those documents have been received.
All of our system employees and myself remain working through these times. We are here to serve you in answering questions or helping you to overcome a challenge. Please feel free to reach out if you feel you need help, advice or just someone to lean on. All of us are dealing with this in our own way and we are here to serve.
Parents, I cannot emphasize enough what a great place in which we live. The last few weeks have given us an opportunity to see how the rest of the world lives and deals with a crisis such as this. To look at our nation, the way with which we have bonded together and responded. The resources we have as a nation. To see our leaders fight for us. Our technical industries ramp up efforts to find a cure or just stem the tide. The stores who have marked the floors for social distancing and wiping down the carts and shelves. The volunteers who are sewing thousands of masks for people on the frontlines. Those who are cooking for families and helping take care of others. God has blessed America as I see it and I hope all of us come out of this more proud as Americans than we might have been before.
Thank you for trusting us with your children. Please know your families are in my heart. We are going to get through this better and stronger than we have ever been!
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
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.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
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.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
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.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
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.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
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.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
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.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
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.
Eddie Tyler, Superintendent
3.13.20 UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT Spanish MessageThis 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
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