Superintendent's Weekly Message - October 30, 2020
Dear CCS Community,
As we are preparing to fall back this weekend with the end of Daylight Saving Time, we are ready to move forward as a school community into a new phase of our remote and blended learning models.
Most of our students will be remaining in remote learning through January 15, 2021. For these students and their families, we are rolling out enhancements to the supports we provide, including daily meal pickups and extended hours for technology help. Please see below for more details.
Our students in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Columbus Downtown High School and the Fort Hayes Career Center will begin blended learning next week. These students will attend their CTE classes in-person two days per week and continue to learn remotely three days a week.
We are looking forward to welcoming the more than 1,400 students back to their CTE campuses over four days next week. Each school will follow all the necessary protocols to protect the health and safety of these students and the staff who are working with them on-site.
No matter what educational model we may be using as we move deeper into the fall, I am most proud of how our community has come together to support our students and their families and also to rally around our dedicated teachers and staff.
Here are a few updates about how we are coming together as a community:
Enhanced Fuel Up! Meal Distribution Sites
Starting next Monday, November 2, Columbus City Schools will roll out an added option for families to pick up food at its 44 Fuel Up! meal sites.
Beginning Monday, families will be able to pick up freshly prepared meals Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. During this time, families will also be able to pick up the next day’s breakfast. Also, new take-home meals will be available to support students on the weekends and holidays.
Our Food Services team will continue to provide families with the option of picking up a five-day family meal pack on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and in the evening from 5 to 7 p.m.
In compliance with federal guidelines, families who choose to pick up a five-day meal pack on Wednesdays will not be eligible to pick up a daily meal over the next five (5) calendar days. For more information and to download a map with all 44 Fuel up Meal Sites, click here.
Extended Hours for Family Tech Help
We have extended our hours for students and families to get help with their technology questions or issues related to Chromebooks, hotspots, and technical issues with CCS loaned devices.
Families can call the CCS Help Desk at 614-365-8425 at these times:
- Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Families can also email the Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Invests in Learning Extension Centers
On Thursday, I participated in a press conference with the City of Columbus, I Know I Can, and City Year to announce that the City is investing $2 million in Learning Extension Centers (LECs) in our communities. This investment, which comes on top of the already $7 million the City provided to purchase 20,000 Chromebooks for CCS students, will help us better serve our families during virtual learning.
LECs are a true community partnership effort with many of our city’s non-profit and faith-based organizations that address the educational and social-emotional needs of our students and families during this time of virtual learning.
We have 145 LECs around the city with a collective capacity to serve 3,500 students daily. These LECs offer internet access for students to interface with their teachers and virtual assignments while also providing safe, educationally-conducive environments for students whose families may not have the resources at home.
To make it easy for families to find the LEC closest to their home, we have created an interactive map on our website.
Thank you once again to Mayor Andrew Ginther and City Council President Shannon Hardin for the City’s continued investment in our students and their families. And thank you to our valued non-profit partners for walking alongside us as we navigate the ways to best serve our school community.
CCS, CEA Reach Agreement on Memorandum of Understanding
Columbus City Schools and the Columbus Education Association (CEA) reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week to finalize the District’s learning plans through the end of the first semester, which concludes on January 15, 2021.
The agreement, which covers the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, includes provisions for students in the CTE programs at Columbus Downtown High School and the Fort Hayes Career Center to begin blended learning on Monday, November 2.
My goal throughout the discussions with our union partners has been and always will be how to best achieve our priority of providing an equitable education to all students within the context of the health and safety concerns of the pandemic. The MOU that we reached this week with the Columbus Education Association does just that. I am grateful for the work of the negotiations teams for collaborating on an agreement that prioritizes the needs of our students.
Finally, I want to recognize the efforts of our teachers, staff, and families for coming together over the past two months to create the best virtual learning environment possible. We knew that remote learning had to be better than what it was in the spring, and it was thanks to the collaborative efforts of our school community. Now the time is upon us to make the second quarter even better than the first. Let’s rise up together once again.
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools