Update Message from Superintendent Mark Bedell
First, and most importantly, I hope you and all of your loved ones are safe and healthy. I know this has been a very challenging time. Since my first day at Kansas City Public Schools, I have said that we have among the most resilient students, families and staff that you will find anywhere. Your response throughout this COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced my opinion. It’s been truly inspiring seeing you all weave a network of support to ensure that our children thrive and continue to learn while our school buildings are closed. You have my lasting respect and gratitude.
We are working in the midst of a national emergency that requires us to change our plans as the situation evolves. I want to provide you with an update about several things that I know are top-of-mind for many of our parents and guardians. I appreciate you taking the time to read through this important information. We will communicate with you about Missouri Governor Mike Parson's announcement today that all school buildings in the state will be closed for the remainder of the academic year. We are finalizing plans and will provide more detailed updates soon.
As always, all information and updates about our COVID-19 response are available at www.kcpublicschools.org/coronavirus.
I’m excited to share that we are prepared to once again distribute school meals for our students! We temporarily suspended this operation due to concerns that one of our food service workers may have become ill from the coronavirus. Happily, that staff member tested negative for COVID-19. I want to thank the Kansas City Health Department for their support and guidance throughout this situation.
After consulting with local public health officials, we are ready to relaunch curbside pick-up of student meals next week based on the following schedule and locations:
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays & Thursdays
Northeast Middle School (4904 Independence Ave.)
East High School (1924 Van Brunt Blvd.)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School (4848 Woodland Ave.)
Visit www.kcpublicschools.org/meals for a list of additional food resources for families in the Kansas City community.
We plan to transition to fully digital classwork and we will be ramping up this instruction. Teachers will begin (or have already begun) using our virtual tools – such as Google Classroom, Seesaw and Classroom Dojo – for their classes. In order to continue making this transition, we will be launching an initiative to ensure that every household has a Chromebook laptop computer and Wi-Fi Internet access. Our plan is to rollout Chromebooks and hot spots for our students in grades K-8 throughout the remainder of April. We will share more details when they are available.
Our team has pulled together a detailed plan for distance learning. Please take some time to review this information by visiting www.kcpublicschools.org/Page/8007. This Frequently Asked Questions section will be a good source of information on teaching and learning. Please contact your teacher or principal if you have questions, concerns or need support.
Students In Special Education
The transition to fully digital distance learning means that many classes will be led using virtual applications like Zoom. That will require students to appear on screen with their classmates. We understand that this may cause concern for parents with children who participate in our Special Education program. We are asking all parents and guardians to please visit our website to review a notification regarding FERPA rights during distance learning: www.kcpublicschools.org/Page/8008
High School Seniors
If your child is a high school senior, I want to reassure you that we are working to ensure that our seniors will be graduating as part of the Class of 2020. We are working with high school principals, teachers and counselors to determine which students have the necessary credits for graduation and which students need additional support. Parents will be notified by the school counselor or designee with details about what needs to happen for each senior to graduate on time. We have waived all district graduation requirements for the Class of 2020. This waiver includes, but is not limited to, public service volunteer hours, the completion of the FAFSA and visiting one college. Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has waived all state requirements for graduation except the necessary 24 credits. We are taking these factors into consideration as we work to ensure that our seniors are ready to graduate.
That was a lot of information, but it’s all important and I truly do appreciate your time and attention. There are a lot of unknowns right now, and we are working as a team through a new experience. As families and KCPS staff, we will continue training, working with each other, supporting each other and finding new ways to connect and thrive. I want to reassure you that all will be well. I know one thing is absolutely true: we will overcome this challenge and we will be stronger than ever. I know this because I know our students, our families and our staff. We are resilient. We are unified. We are KCPS.
Yours in education,
Dr. Mark T. Bedell, Superintendent