Thanks for tuning in for Paul’s weekly update. Here are a few of the highlights:

Summer Focus

  • COVID-19 and related school restart plans are at the center of our national and local conversations.
  • The Black Lives Matter movement is continuing to challenge the systemic racism upon which our nation was built.
  • The weight, breadth and power of these historic and monumental events is, at times, overwhelming to absorb.
  • As we have always done in the past, we will continue to find ways to best serve all of our students and families even during these challenging times.
  • And with equity as a central focus, we must build on the current momentum to change an education system that has not well served our students and families of color.

Unemployment and CARES Act Update

  • The state is still woefully behind on sending out unemployment checks. We have not heard that anyone from the ESD has received theirs yet. We were told it could be August before we receive them.
  • Clarification: the $600/week CARES Act compensation is incorporated into our unemployment payments; those should not be separate payments.
  • The legislature decided this week to use federal money to give $500 to some who have been waiting longest for unemployment payments. We don’t know the details of that agreement or if we are in that group or not. If/when we hear more, we’ll let you know.

Fall Planning

School Start

  • We continue to focus our planning on three teaching and learning models:
    • Back to classroom
    • Distance learning
    • Hybrid of back-to-classroom and distance
  • We will be ready to partner with our districts and community to implement any one of these three models, depending on where we are with the virus.
  • We review the first parts of our plan with our board of directors next week.
  • There is still work to do to finalize the specifics for each HDESD program. We will have more information for you in August.

HDESD Welcome Back Kick-off

  • We’ve been planning for a re-imagined “Weeks of Welcome” kick-off for the entire ESD in late August and early September.
  • It will include a series of virtual experiences and trainings that bring us back together as a team to tackle the challenges ahead and continue planning for a different kind of school year
  • You can watch the schedule and opportunities develop at 
  • Activities will start as early as August 17th and include:
    • webinars
    • equity trainings
    • We Read
    • guest speakers
    • sessions on how our programs will open in the fall
    • a culminating virtual meeting for all staff on September 3rd

Opportunity and Acknowledgement

Along with the opportunities that lie ahead, I want to acknowledge that this isn’t an easy place to be. We’re all feeling the tension of staying safe while taking care of our kids. As educators, we are—without question—among the “essential workers” who have a critical role to play in this new reality. 

While we won’t have all of the answers right away, I’m asking that you continue to share your questions, concerns and ideas with us via the Your Voice form.

And while we have no control over the pandemic, we do have a unique opportunity to re-imagine how we approach teaching, learning and engaging all of our students and families; and, especially an opportunity to improve the way we welcome, include, and serve our students and families of color.

Our next fireside chat is Wednesday, August 12 at noon. Until then!