COVID-19 and the State of the District - June 9, 2020

By Peninsula School District June 9, 2020

Dear PSD Staff and Families,

We hope this message finds you and your family well. Here are some updates for this week.

Plans to Reopen Schools in the Fall
Over the weekend, we received over 1,300 comments from students, parents, and staff on our initial plans to reopen schools in the fall. We hear you. We want to see all children back in our classrooms on the first day of school and we are considering all of your feedback to create a solution that works for every student within health department guidelines.

To continue planning, we need guidance from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and we learned this information will not be made public until later this week. We had planned to incorporate the state’s guidance with our community feedback and then make a fall reopening proposal to our school board at their study session on Thursday, June 11. Given the delay from the state, we have moved our board meeting to Thursday, June 18. Now that we have more time, we have opened our comment form again until Friday. Please consider commenting here.

If you haven’t seen Dr Jarvis’s video address about reopening schools, please watch it here.

Elementary Report Card Update
The physical closure of schools this spring due to COVID-19 has made it difficult to accurately assess student learning the last 12 weeks of the school year. As a result, the Peninsula School District has made several temporary changes to elementary report cards for the end of this school year.

  • The Work Habits & Citizenship section of the report card will not be reported;
  • A new mark of CL has been added to the Academic Scoring Key to represent those standards where teachers provided Continuous Learning opportunities during the physical closure;
  • These marks of CL do not reflect your student's progress or work for the 3rd trimester - they are intended only to indicate which standards were taught during this period; and
  • No standards should be marked with a 1, 2, 3, 4, or M in 3rd trimester - these marks will remain on the key to apply only to the 1st and 2nd trimester.

These report card changes are not intended to apply during the 2020-2021 school year.

We know that learning and school-related activities this spring have been challenging and we are thankful for all of the ongoing support from families. Students will still move on to the next grade in the fall, unless there is a mutual agreement between families and the school. We look forward to having students back in the fall. Teachers will be able to support students with learning missed and help all students grow and succeed.

Varsity Letter in Community Service Awards - Spring 2020
Since 2017, Peninsula School District has honored high school students who volunteer their time and talents to uplift others in our community and region.  This year, we have 31 remarkable students who have earned the Varsity Letter in Community Service.  These students have dedicated over 5,100 hours of service to organizations, including Food Backpack for Kids, St. Anthony’s Hospital, PenMet Parks, and Stand Up for Peninsula Schools. Congratulations to these amazing students!

Tutors with Tails Storytime Videos
Hollywood might be facing cancellations and postponements of movies and popular TV sitcoms, but here in our PSD community, our local dog therapy teams are becoming local celebrities…bringing reading fun and social-emotional support to children during these challenging times.  In partnership with Communities In Schools of Peninsula, the Tutors with Tails reading program offers a series of 6 virtual Storytime Read Alongs– geared towards K-3rd grade readers.  The certified dog therapy teams are part of a reading mentoring program at schools across the school district, and the four-legged friends are sure to bring lots of smiles to kids and parents alike! Check these fun videos out on our YouTube channel.

Stay Strong PSD - Virtual Art Exhibition Deadline this Week
PSD is inviting all students to use creative expression and show what it means to Stay Strong PSD with our virtual art exhibition. Students may choose any medium for their artistic expression, including poetry, music, painting, 3D creation, photography, baking, woodworking, and more. Digital submissions are due by June 12, and we will share all entries virtually with our PSD community. For more information and to submit your work, go to Outstanding Entries will be featured on social media in the last week of school.

Evergreen Elementary School Under Construction
Evergreen Elementary’s groundbreaking ceremony took place on Friday, June 5 on property near the school. The ceremony officially started construction of the 52,000 square foot facility located on the adjacent Evergreen land parcel. After construction is complete, the existing school will be demolished and the parking area and fields will be reconfigured. The new school will house 19 classrooms and open in the fall of 2021. View event photos here.

Celebrating the Class of 2020
The Peninsula School District and the Tacoma Narrows Airport are excited to celebrate our 2020 Peninsula High School and Gig Harbor High School seniors with a Graduate Car Parade on June 13. Student leaders helped develop the parade plan as a way to celebrate seniors while safely practicing State guidelines for social distancing. The airport facility is a unique venue where family and friends can safely gather and remain in their cars to cheer on the graduates. The parade will be live-streamed at for those who cannot attend. 

Peninsula High School’s parade starts at 10 a.m., and Gig Harbor High School’s starts at 1 p.m. Families and guests should arrive at the airport between 9 and 9:50 a.m. for Peninsula and 12 and 12:50 p.m. for Gig Harbor.  Families will be instructed to park along the parade route in the airport near the buildings, away from the runway. Airport operations will continue and all guests are asked to remain in or near their cars for the duration of the parade. Graduate families have priority in the airport viewing area.

Thank you to our community partners, especially the Tacoma Narrows Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young, Pierce County Sheriff, Gig Harbor Cruisers, KGHP-FM, Gig Harbor Fire/Medic One, and Key Peninsula Fire.

Continuous Learning Survey Summary
Our second survey was helpful as we continue to work on your system for the remainder of the year.  It showed that motivation is a serious issue. We are well aware of this issue, and will see it as a main consideration in our planning for the fall.  It will be important that if we are opening in a hybrid on-site/remote system in the fall that it will be a full school experience, including assignments and grading.  The survey also indicated that our staff are feeling more proficient in managing remote learning and gave us some ideas on improving our technical support. Thank you for participating in the survey; we will have one more coming soon focused on the fall. 

Thank You
We want to thank all of our staff, students and families for your grace and patience as we have worked to address the challenges resulting from the closure of our schools this spring. We have greatly missed working directly with our students, but are committed to making what lies ahead for the fall of 2020 as positive and engaging as possible. Stay healthy and safe!