October 13, 2021
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations and questions about the District’s response to the ongoing COVID situation our community. I can understand the questions or concerns you may have because of the uncertainty surrounding the issue. I can also understand how that concern increases as we learn about positive cases in our school and our community. I always laugh a little when told to “follow the science.” My response is usually, “follow which science” because, as you know, there is no shortage of conflicting guidance. However, providing a safe school is no laughing matter, and it’s something we pursue constantly. In the end, perhaps the best we can do is keep you informed of circumstances as they evolve, to provide you with what you need to make an informed decision for your students and families.
I want to take this opportunity to explain the District’s response and to offer thanks, once again, for the community’s partnership with us in that response. Our goal is to serve our students and families in ways that meet their needs. During the last school year, we enhanced and improved our remote access capability, and that capability is still available to students and families. For that reason, if you choose to send your student to school, we will do our best to serve them there. If, on the other hand, you choose to have your student served at home we will provide that support. We have asked you to keep your child home if they are sick or if they have been exposed to someone who is, and we are grateful that your partnership in that effort has been outstanding. Your help has been critical in keeping our school open for in-person instruction. We will continue to inform you when students come in contact with known positives, and also when they come in contact with people who have been in contact with known positives. These “contacts of contacts” usually pose less risk, but we’re committed to giving you all information of which we become aware.
We have not been untouched by the virus this fall. There have been positive cases and contacts in our school. Thankfully, they have been few, but it’s probably reasonable to expect there will be a few more. There have been and will be times when the school will be running with reduced staff across all departments. The possibility still exists that staff outages could force a temporary closure, but we will make every effort to avoid that. We will make that effort because our observation and experience has confirmed our belief that students’ ability to be together is valuable and incredibly important, and must be preserved as long as possible. Risk avoidance is impossible in life. Risk management must be the goal, and the question has always been one of comparative risk. We will continue to balance risk and service to the best of our ability. Until we meet, be well.
David K, Slothower, Superintendent, Calhan School District, RJ-1
We believe that:
- Everyone has inherent worth – Every one of us in this community; teachers, parents, students, leaders, and residents, has a role to play and a contribution to make in our school, our town, our state and our country. Furthermore, our individual and unique roles are, ultimately, critical and important. Even if we don’t know yet what they are.
- Everyone can learn – Even though we all differ in talents or interests, every one of us can learn something, in some way, if we so choose, and we can do it every day.
- Learning is something we choose to do, not something that is done to us – The choice to learn is a choice to act. It is something we do with the help of a school, teachers, parents and peers, but they can’t, do it for us. Real learning is not passive. It requires work and sometimes even productive struggle. The greatest learning tends to happens as a result of the greatest struggles. Embrace the struggle.
- Opportunity to learn is a right – Every human has a right to know, to question, evaluate, to understand, to come to their own conclusion, to their own belief based upon what they know, and to come to a different conclusion and believe based on what they’ve learned.
- Choice is a right and a responsibility – We all have the right to choose to learn and improve or to do nothing and remain the same or regress. We all have the right to work and advance or be idle and put ourselves at risk. We are then entitled to all the privileges or penalties of our choice. Not choosing, or letting someone decide for us are choices. The choice is ours. The choice is always. No one can choose for us. The choice is everything and choosing is sacred.
- Success is a choice – Learning, getting better, trying, failing and trying again are the unavoidable and undeniable elements of success, and we all have the choice to do these things or not to do these things every day.
- Education matters – In a world that is changing as fast as ours is, the skill of learning, of coming to terms with something new, or about which we don’t not know, and doing it independently, is more important than it has ever been. Knowing where to go to get in information we need, and what to do with it, is critical. That entire process is what we call education, and, for reasons presented, it matters. And, as much as it matters now as the rate of change increases, it will matter more in the years to come.
I invite you all to bring your ideas, your observations and your concerns to the process. Whether we agree or disagree, I believe the collaboration will make our school better and our community stronger. I am looking forward to the coming school year and continuing our work together.