Sawyer Woods Elementary School

Watts Happening

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WATTSHAPPENING SUPERINTENDENT'S UPDATE WITH DR. CALVIN J. WATTS FEBRUARY 2021 Dear KSD Community, In March of 2020, our lives were forever changed by a new coronavirus that had spread across our nation. Kent School District responded quickly to keep students and teachers safe while quickly revisioning school as we knew it to keep students learning. We have continued to focus on safety and learning amid tremendous uncertainty and continuously changing conditions while preparing and always hoping the COVID-19 situation would improve dramatically enough to allow us to return to in-person learning during the 2020- 2021 school year. As we begin the second semester of this school year, there remains so much uncertainty surrounding this virus. More challenges continue to emerge as we determine the best plan for reopening our school buildings. There continues to be conflicting information about COVID-19 from multiple sources; as the number of new positive cases in King County decreases, the test positivity rates in our community remain high, the presence of the B117 variant strand in our county and the Puget Sound region have been confirmed, all as we continue to wait for the vaccine's mass availability. We continue to weigh the information we have from Public Health against the concerns of families and staff. In the most recent KSD survey, families continue to be distinctly divided in their readiness to return to in-person learning. For the third time since the pandemic began, approximately half of families who have responded to the survey are ready for their children to return to in-person learning and half want their children to continue learning at home. Return to In-Person survey results from both KSD families and staff are available online. Since the state's release of new metrics for K-12 in-person learning last month, we continue to carefully and closely monitor multiple points of measure relating to the gradual return of additional students by grade level. Based on current COVID-19 activity trends, we still anticipate that the soonest Prek-1st grade students could begin limited in-person learning is February 22, 2021. We will assess the COVID-19 activity on Friday, February 12, for the City of Covington, City of Kent, and King County for the 14 days prior. As soon as the data is available, we will confirm or delay in-person learning for PreK, kindergarteners, and first graders by sending communications through our KSD platforms. Based on our labor agreements with coaches and partnership with the North Puget Sound League (NPSL), athletic high school conditioning will begin on February 15 following all public health, district, and league guidelines. Student and staff safety will continue to be the primary factor in determining the pace at which we will move forward with returning to in-person learning. We will continue to rely on public health experts' guidance and work together with our school leaders, labor partners, and Back to School Task Force members. A complete list of protective measures in place to sanitize our facilities, maintain social distance to the fullest extent possible, and make the return to school safe for students and adults, including what to expect when your child returns to school for in- person learning, is available in our Hybrid Learning Family Guide. You can also review our revised Hybrid Plan online, which has been modified based on new and updated guidelines from the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health. 1-28 Black History Month FEB 1-28 СТЕ Моnth FEB 1-5 National School FEB Counselling Week 10 KSD Virtual Board FEB Meeting 15 No School, FEB President's Day No School, With guidance from our health partners, we will either slow down returning to school or continue with the plan accordingly. Adjustments to the hybrid start date and plan details may be necessary based on the still-fluid COVID-19 situation in King County. As we have seen throughout this pandemic, once we do reopen our schools and fields to students, families also need to prepare 16-19 FEB Mid-Winter Break Continued on next page 24 KSD Virtual Board JAN Meeting KENT SCH OOL DISTRICT EQUITY | EXCELLENCE | COM MUNITY |UPCOMING EVENTS

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(Continued) for the probability they will close for 10-14 days should an outbreak occur. Public Health Seattle King County defines an outbreak as two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases within 14 days and evidence of transmission in a shared location. Through this, our leaders continue to discuss how best to address the needs and the concerns of our students, families, and employees. We continue to negotiate the changes needed to collective bargaining agreements with labor partners to support hybrid learning. We also understand that no plan will be universally popular with all our students, families, or staff. We are committed to doing what we believe is best for the health, safety, and education of all students while keeping all Team KSD members safe and healthy. Thank you in advance for your continued patience, understanding, and cooperation in helping us achieve a positive, safe start to hybrid learning for KSD's youngest learners while supporting all students in their educational journey. In partnership and service, Dr. Calvin J. Watts Kent School District Celebrating Black History Month: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity* The black family has been a topic of study in many disciplines-history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy. –Its representation, identity, and diversity have been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the days of slavery to our own time. The black family knows no single location since family reunions, -and genetic-ancestry searches testify to the spread of family members across states, nations, and continents. Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large. While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the "foundation" of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective-as Kings and Queens, enslaved or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as black or interracial, etc. Variation appears, as well, in discussions on the nature and impact of parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, employment and incarceration. The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present. Black History Bulletin VOL03. No.2 THE BLACK FAMILY INSIDE EXCELLENCE COMMUNITY The Kent School Board interviewed and unanimously selected Joseph Bento to serve as the director representing District 1 in a special meeting on February 2, 2021. We believe communication with our families, staff, and community is critical to student success. From school closures to updates about our return to in-person learning plans, to receive the most up to date, we must have your most up to date contact information. Mr. Bento wil during the regular board meeting on February 10, 2021. More information will be available after that time. Welcome, Director Bento! appointed and take the oath of office Please be sure to notify your school office to update your mailing address. You can update your phone number or email address by logging in to Skyward Family Access or contacting your school office. This will ensure you receive important information from teachers, staff, schools, and our district. * “ASALH Announces 2021 Black History Theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity: ASALH - The Founders of Black History Month." ASALH, 1 Feb. 2021, asalh.org/asalh-announces-2021-black-history-theme/.

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