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LCMSD Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year

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Dear Staff, Families, and Community Members:

Welcome to the most unique school year in Larkspur-Corte Madera School District history! We have planned not one, not two, but three models of instruction aimed to adapt to this unprecedented time and the variance of circumstances we might face. We’ve created this website as your one-stop-shop for all information regarding LCMSD’s COVID Response Plan. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with it.

The current times might have us asking - did I really sign up for this? The answer to this question in LCMSD is - yes we did! We signed up to be there for our students no matter what. In challenging times like this, students and families need us the most and we are ready! #WEareLCMSD

We started the planning process back in April when we learned that this pandemic is going to be a long journey. As a district we deeply value stakeholder feedback and collaboration; therefore, we immediately formed the Distance Learning Leadership Team (that also examined hybrid models), held parent meetings, surveyed stakeholders, hosted a town hall meeting, created regular administrator office hours for staff, and held parent orientations last night, among other outreach activities. Please know that at the Board and Leadership Team level we’ve reviewed and considered all of your input. As you can imagine, there was a wide range of opinions. We try our very best to incorporate the feedback of all stakeholder groups when making decisions; however, please understand that not all stakeholder input received can be incorporated into a plan, such as distance learning. We do our best to understand the stakeholder feedback/input, educational code, and best practices to design a plan that ultimately supports the best interests of students, our number one priority. 

One key component of our decision-making process has been equity. Distance learning is not the optimal model of instruction, in-person is a best practice, and we recognize that as a district. Distance learning limitations that expand the equity gap are the home setting, access to a teacher, language, parent availability, and many other factors. We are proud to offer more live instructional opportunities and live access to teachers through our revised distance learning plans (shared on July 31, 2020). These not only will begin to counteract the equity gap, but also enhance the experience for all students. 

As discussed in April, through our Local Control Accountability Plan draft, equity is proposed to be our number one LCAP goal. While access is a key component, so are many other factors, including addressing our own experiences with race and how to infuse the equity lens into our teaching practices. This summer, all LCMSD staff were given a copy of Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain by Zaretta Hammond. Staff formed a book club and engaged in deep discussions around this text and what it means for LCMSD students. This fall, we will encourage all staff, parents, and community members to participate in reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and participating in a community-wide book club (details will be sent out in September). Over the summer, Dr. Watson, equity staff developer, shared with me, “One is either working against racism or perpetuating it, there is no in-between.” LCMSD has not and will not sit on the sidelines - we stand for social justice. We encourage all members of our learning community to join us in these important conversations and actions we will continue to take towards equity and access for all children. 

As you know from my previous communications, we prioritize the health and safety (both physical and emotional) of all of our students and staff as we’ve developed our models for instruction. Our school reopening plans have evolved over the past five months as we have combed through updates in research/data/statistics, county and state health and schools reopening guidelines, educational program operation requirements as outlined by the State, consulted with other districts, and the list goes on. These have taken herculean efforts of all involved. I want to send extreme gratitude to the dedication and investment our staff made this summer in creating comprehensive reopening plans and preparing our schools (both in-person and virtually). This work was deeply supported and guided by the Board's student-centered and data-driven leadership, as well as the foundational commitment to provide the very best education possible to all of our students. Thank you, President Jill Sellers, Vice President Katherine Chan, Clerk Monica Cañas, Sasha Morozoff, and Sarah Mueller. 

Additionally, I would like to thank you for your partnership. Your involvement with PTA/O, SPARK, and as your child’s learning partner make LCMSD the exemplar district it is. Now more than ever we are going to count on you for your continued support. As we discussed last year, through the Fiscal Advisory Committee, parent meetings, Board meetings, and staff meetings, the economic outlook for school funding isn’t in our favor. Parent participation in SPARK and PTO/A are key elements to our community funding approach. We understand the sensitive nature of fundraising in a time like this. Please know we appreciate your consideration in giving what you can to support the future of music, art, wellness, science enrichment, technology, and engineering/robotics. 

As we go into 2020-21, I want to commend the dedication and hard work of each and every member of our staff. We believe that our internal talent, coupled with clarity, purpose, and intention will provide us the adaptability necessary to transition between instructional models while striving for academic excellence, as well as student wellness. 

It’s inspiring to come to work each day, virtually and in person, and be joined by an extraordinary team of dedicated people who are passionate about educating students and committed to supporting and serving all students and families. It’s the people that make Larkspur-Corte Madera a great place to live, learn, and grow. I am honored to be part of the LCMSD team.

Here’s to the most unique school year in LCMSD’s history! We were made for this - as educators, as parents, and as a community; made to be there for our students in even the most uncertain of times!

 

Take care,

Brett Geithman, Ed.D.

Superintendent

#WEareLCMSD