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LCMSD Important Parent Meetings: Expanding School Hours and Budget

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Dear LCMSD Community,

Yesterday was magic. To see students playing safely and having a blast made this year’s Global School Play Day the absolute best! School isn’t just about academics and today was a clear reminder of the significance school has on social-emotional learning. The pure joy and environment for kids to be kids was exactly what our school community needed. Thank you to all staff who made it possible, as well as LCMSD parent and former Hall Middle School Principal, Eric Saibel (co-founder of Global School Play Day). 

We have two important updates:

  • We have (tentatively) scheduled a return to full classes on April 12 with approximately 5+ hours of instructional time daily. We will discuss this at the Board Meeting on February 10th at 6:00 pm and have scheduled parent meetings on February 11th to present data and plans, as well as gather feedback. The meeting recordings and the slide deck will be available here by 5:00 pm on February 12th.
    • Elementary Parent Meeting: 2/11/21 at 8:30 am (Zoom Link)
    • Hall Parent Meeting: 2/11/21 at 9:30 am (Zoom link)
    • Note: one goal for meeting this timeline is parent volunteers - please attend these meetings to learn more about the vital role parents will play in extending our school day.
  • To follow up on the Board’s Budget Study Session held last night, we will provide the Board with budget scenarios to discuss on February 10th at 6:00 pm and have scheduled a parent meeting to gather feedback on February 23rd at 8:30 am (Zoom link). The meeting recording and the slide deck will be available here by 5:00 pm on February 25th.

Further details are below . . . 

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Consistently LCMSD has led with the lens of science, seeking the interests of stakeholder groups, and what is in the best interest of students. These commitments have kept students and staff safe while providing in-person instruction without a vaccine. Additionally, the positive public opinion regarding the lenses for our decision making and the way in which LCMEA, CSEA, and the District have worked together is an anomaly as most districts throughout the state are experiencing a great deal of conflict on many levels. The opportunity for staff to be vaccinated is a significant development in our fight against COVID 19. Casualties of COVID are not only in the form of physical health, but also mental health, learning loss, and economics – all of which can have lifelong implications. Urgency and thoughtfulness have allowed us to successfully navigate the pandemic and our decision to (tentatively) return to full classes on April 12, 2021 is no exception to that.  

We are in a state of emergency, and it is our obligation to continually adapt and respond to this situation as new information and variables are presented. The vaccine, with approximately 25% of LCMSD staff having received the first dose, brings new hope and protection against COVID-19. We have created a timeline for offering a longer school day (approximately five hours of instruction per day, Monday-Friday) with typical classroom sizes. Per the Marin County Department of Public Health, it is safe to set up classrooms with four feet of distance between students and some schools in Marin are already implementing this distancing guideline. Our goals to meet this timeline include all in-person school staff having the opportunity to receive the second dose of the vaccine by March 26, 2021, as well as parents signing up to be regular volunteers for lunch support. For the past four weeks, we have been gathering feedback from staff on the bell schedule, as well as identifying and answering questions regarding our decision to return to full classes on April 12th. 

Schools are safe places to be. Through various public meetings, Marin County Department of Public Health has shared our local data, as well as research citing the very low school transmission rates of COVID. We will share these data, our LCMSD data, and plans at the parent meeting. Additionally, we are aware of the recent statements by President Biden and Governor Newsom that staff vaccines are not necessary for school openings. We believe these statements are aimed towards the many school districts that have yet to open their doors for in-person learning. LCMSD has served as a lighthouse district for other schools on how to safely reopen. As we've been having discussions with teachers and staff over the last four weeks, a key concern has been safety. While the science behind school transmission rates does support a full classroom model, we have heard teacher and staff concerns. Our goal is to provide all in-person staff the opportunity to be vaccinated prior to our April 12th full classroom and longer day schedule. We are extremely appreciative and proud of our LCMSD staff members, this additional measure reinforces our respect and commitment to safety.

We will discuss this at the Board Meeting on February 10th at 6:00 pm and have scheduled parent meetings on February 11th to present data and plans, as well as gather feedback. The parent meeting recordings and the slide deck will be available here by 5:00 pm on February 12th.

  • Elementary Parent Meeting: 2/11/21 at 8:30 am (Zoom Link)
  • Hall Parent Meeting: 2/11/21 at 9:30 am (Zoom link)

Here is our timeline:

  • Bimonthly Meetings with LCMEA Leadership
  • Monthly Meetings with CSEA Leadership
  • 1/11/21 District Advisory Panel
  • 1/19/21 Letter to LCMEA - Invitation to Bargain
  • 1/21/21 CSEA Meeting
  • 1/21/21 District Advisory Panel & Distance Learning Leadership Team
  • 1/25/21 25% of District has Received First Dose of Vaccine
  • 1/25/21 Asked Teachers for Furniture Requests
  • 1/26/21 Email to all Staff with LCMEA Letter Attached & Timeline
  • 1/26/21 Cove Staff Meeting (Teacher Requested)
  • 1/28/21 Hall Lead Team
  • 1/28/21 CSEA Negotiations Regarding the Effects of a Full Classroom Return
  • 1/28/21 Neil Cummins Created Recess Kit Lists for Teachers to Provide Feedback On
  • 2/2/21 Cove and NC Lead Teams
  • 2/3/21 Hall Staff Meeting
  • 2/3/21 Email to Parents with Timeline
  • 2/9/21 Joint Elementary Staff Meeting
  • 2/10/21 Board Meeting Update
  • 2/11/21 Parent Meetings
  • Week of 2/22 or 3/1 - Assess Vaccination Status
  • Week of 2/22 or 3/1 - Survey Parents
  • Week of 2/22 or 3/1  Confirm Bell Schedule 
  • 3/22/21 Begin Reconfiguring Classrooms 
  • Week of 3/29/21 - Parent Volunteer Training
  • 4/12/21 Begin Full Classroom Instruction

Budget

Last night we held the Board Budget Study Session (slide deck here) and on February 10th the Board will examine specific scenarios we discussed. California school funding is amongst the lowest in the nation (typically around 45th) and revenue increases do not cover annual expenditure increases, assuming all programming remains constant. LCMSD is heavily dependent on community funding through the parcel tax, SPARK, and PTO/A. However, due to escalating costs that are beyond our control and uncertainty regarding the economic effects of COVID, we must take action to reduce components of our budget. Compounding the issue is the fact that our teachers and staff are paid in the bottom quarter of educators in Marin; however, the level of service we deliver, many would suggest (especially during the pandemic) is amongst the very best. Thank you to those who participated in last night’s meeting. We hope you consider attending the February 10th Board Meeting at 6:00 pm and February 23rd parent meeting at 8:30 am (Zoom link).

 

Take care,

 

Brett Geithman, Ed.D.

Superintendent