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Holmes District Schools Announce Revised 2020 Graduation Plans

On Friday, May 8th, Holmes District Schools announced graduation plans for the Class of 2020. From the beginning, Holmes District Schools has been committed to honoring our 2020 seniors with traditional graduation ceremonies if at all possible, while still adhering to the guidelines set forth by the CDC. In the previous announcement, Holmes District Schools Superintendent Terry Mears stated that these plans were fluid and subject to change. In the past week we have continually engaged with our community task force in an attempt to improve the graduation experience for the Class of 2020.

At this time, based upon new data and further coordination with our community task force, the Florida Department of Education, and the Department of Health, the graduation plans for the Class of 2020 are updated as follows:

Holmes County High School will have a ceremony with all students present, with each student being able to invite four guests. The ceremony will be at Memorial Field in Bonifay on June 4th at 7:30 p.m.

In addition, Ponce de Leon High School, Bethlehem High School, and Poplar Springs High School are planning to host a graduation ceremony at their campus or a community location that meets updated CDC guidelines. The dates for these schools will be as follows:

Poplar Springs High School: June 1st
Bethlehem High School: June 2nd
Ponce de Leon High School: June 5th

Specific details will be forthcoming from the individual schools.

Please know that these plans are fluid and subject to change. We are hopeful that over the next few weeks, restrictions will be lifted further, and we will be able to allow more family and friends to join us in honoring our graduates. Any changes will be posted on our mobile app and social media accounts. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement these plans in these trying times. We are thankful for a community that pulls together as a family to make these celebrations unique and memorable for our Class of 2020 graduates!

God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America!

Terry L. Mears, Superintendent

The May 19 school board meeting has been moved outdoors to Bonifay K-8 School at the bus ramp.  Visitors will be asked to park in front of the school. Seats will be spaced out to maintain social distancing. There will be a workshop at 8:00 a.m., followed by the regular session at 9:00 a.m.

Holmes District Schools Announce 2020 Graduation Plans

 

Throughout the past seven weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most frequently asked questions from students and parents has been, “Will we be able to have graduation ceremonies?”  From the beginning, Holmes District Schools has been committed to honoring our 2020 seniors with traditional graduation ceremonies if at all possible, while still adhering to the guidelines set forth by the CDC.  We organized a community task force, and after many hours of discussions, research, and planning, we are excited to announce our plans for graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020.  

All graduation ceremonies will be held at Memorial Field in Bonifay.  This venue will allow the most family members to attend while still practicing social distancing, and also provide handicapped access.  The schedule will be as follows:

Monday, June 1—Poplar Springs
Tuesday, June 2—Bethlehem
Thursday, June 4—Holmes County High
Friday, June 5—Ponce de Leon

All ceremonies will be held at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of Holmes County High.  Each graduate will receive four admission tickets.  Seating will be assigned with sections for each graduate’s four guests, and placement will be determined by a random drawing.  Due to the number of graduates at Holmes County High, the class will be divided into three separate ceremonies.   Those ceremonies will be held at 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00 p.m. on June 4.  Specific details will be announced by HCHS.

We know that many people want to celebrate our students’ accomplishments.  We will be providing a live stream of each ceremony on the school’s Facebook page for those who are unable to attend.   We will also have outdoor screens set up at Bonifay K-8 all four nights, and at the graduating school site on the night of graduation, for family and friends who may not have reliable internet connections to come and view the ceremony.  For example, on Monday night there will be an outdoor screening of Poplar Springs’ graduation at Poplar Springs and at BK-8, and so on throughout the week.  Each graduate will also be provided with a DVD of their ceremony, free of charge.

In addition to graduation ceremonies, each school will be honoring the Class of 2020 with a parade at the school on the evening of their originally scheduled graduation.  Schools will announce specific plans for their events on the mobile app and their social media accounts. 

Please know that these plans are fluid and subject to change.  We are hopeful that over the next few weeks, restrictions will be lifted further, and we will be able to allow more family and friends to join us in honoring our graduates.  Any changes will be posted on our mobile app and social media accounts.  We appreciate your patience as we work to implement these plans in these trying times.  We are thankful for a community that pulls together as a family to make these celebrations unique and memorable for our Class of 2020 graduates!

Yesterday Governor DeSantis announced his plans to begin reopening the state.  Although the stay-at-home orders and business closures were handed down quickly back in March, the reopening of our state will be a gradual, conservative process to ensure continued safety for our citizens. 

 

Phase I of the reopening process lifted some of the restrictions on retail businesses and restaurants.  However, the majority of the previous orders remain in place, including guidelines prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people in enclosed spaces.  Given these continued restrictions, and guidance that individuals are “safer at home”, Holmes District Schools will continue to follow the remote learning/working model that we began in March.  Employees will continue to work from home whenever possible for the coming weeks.  We will continue this model through the end of the regular school calendar on May 28.

 

I could not be prouder of the way our employees, students, and parents have risen to the challenge of implementing this new method of learning and working.  Our staff was given approximately 2 days to develop and submit an instructional continuity plan to the Department of Education.  While our employees had plans for relaxation during Spring Break, the necessities of preparing for remote learning caused the vast majority of them to spend the week hard at work on the specifics of how they would begin teaching their students the following week.  I am pleased that we were able to begin fully implementing our plan the week following Spring Break.  We have been in contact with 100% of our student population.  Our district has provided paper learning packets to approximately 41% of our student population.  These numbers have caught the attention of lawmakers and provided us the opportunity to advocate for providing our rural areas with faster, more reliable internet connectivity.   We have distributed technology to our students and teachers, including Chromebooks, laptops, and mobile hotspots, as we have been able to secure those devices.  Additionally, we have worked to provide meals to our students.  During this time, our staff has served over 45,500 breakfast and lunch meals to our students. 

 

During times of trial, small towns and communities are known for pulling together, so it’s no surprise that has been the case during this pandemic.  We’ve witnessed an outpouring of love from our employees who have gone the extra mile to connect with their students, whether by handwritten letters mailed home, Zoom meetings, YouTube videos or social media.  Our teachers have come up with new and innovative ways to present content and have embraced the role that technology can play in teaching.  As a result of this experience, I believe our classrooms and teaching will be transformed when we return to our physical school buildings.   We’ve seen our schools and communities show creativity in honoring our graduating seniors, and we are committed to provide our seniors with traditional graduation ceremonies.  More details on those plans will be announced on May 8.  More than ever though, these challenging times have cemented the fact that our schools are truly families!  I am confident that we will come through this pandemic stronger than ever!  May God bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America!

Terry L. Mears, Superintendent

VPK Registration 2020-21

April 16, 2020

2020 Voluntary Pre-K Registration Information

THIS IS THE PROCESS FOR ALL 4 SCHOOLS (Bethlehem, Bonifay K-8, Ponce de Leon Elementary and Poplar Springs) IN HOLMES COUNTY

1.     Parents will log in to  https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com/Account/LogOn

Parents must have a valid e-mail address to complete this procedure.

Families must upload (scan & send) the child’s birth certificate and proof of Florida residency as prompted during process.  Everything has to be completed online. 

2.     The Early Learning Coalition will email the certificate to the parents.  Then families will complete the HDSB online registration form (found on the HDSB website), and email their certificate of eligibility to the VPK lead instructor for each school:

BHS                 [email protected]

BK8                 [email protected]

PDLE               [email protected]

PSHS               [email protected]

Limited space is available.  It will be first come, first served. The slots will be assigned based on the date and time the registration form is submitted. Remember, certificates of eligibility must be emailed to the school VPK contact in order to complete the registration.  Only complete applications will be considered.  VPK registration will open online on Monday, April 20, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.  There is no deadline for registration, but when our slots are filled additional student registrations will be placed on a waiting list.

VPK is free from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. There is a $10 daily fee for students to stay after 11a.m.  This fee must be prepaid each week or month. Please contact Carmen Bush at 547-9341 x 1253 or Danielle Suggs, ext. 1228 for more information.  Email:  [email protected]

Holmes County Kindergarten Registration 2020-2021

Registration for Holmes County students who will enter Kindergarten in fall of 2020 will begin Monday April 20, 2020, and will continue through April 30, 2020.  Parents or legal guardians should register the child online at www.hdsb.org and select the school that they would like to attend (Bethlehem, Bonifay K-8, Ponce de Leon or Poplar Springs).

The following information will need to be provided at each school when you are contacted after school campuses reopen:

  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of immunization
  • Copy of physical from a physician on a Florida physical form
  • Social Security Card (Copy will be kept sealed in the student’s permanent record and is not mandatory, but does help our school system with tracking important information for funding.)
  • Two proofs of residence (driver’s license, power bill, voter’s registration card, etc.)

To be eligible to enter kindergarten this fall, a student must be five years of age on or before September 1, 2020. 

School of choice is dependent upon enrollment capacity.  If you are outside of your school of choice zone, please complete the online Controlled Open Enrollment applications located online at www.hdsb.org.  All out of zone applications will be reviewed in May and a letter of acceptance or decline will be mailed to the address provided as soon as the review is complete at each school.

It is very important that children be registered so that staffing plans for the 2020-21 school year can be made. 

Updated 4/3/20:

In response to the Governor's Executive Order, and to meet social distancing guidelines to ensure our employees' health and safety, we will be transitioning our meal distribution to school pick-up only.  There will be no bus distribution or community pick-up points.  

Meals will be distributed on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00-11:00 a.m. at the following locations:

Bethlehem School
Bonifay K-8 School
Ponce de Leon Elementary School
Poplar Springs School

Paper work packets for those who requested them in advance will be available during Wednesday's pick-up.

Updated 3/30/20:

Beginning March 30, 2020 HDSB will implement curbside drive-through meals for all children 18 years and younger and all children 21 years and younger with special needs at the following school sites’ car pick-up areas Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00-11:00 a.m.  Breakfast and lunch meals will be served/delivered at the same time.

School Sites:

Bethlehem High School
Bonifay K-8 (middle school drop-off area)
Ponce de Leon Elementary
Poplar Springs High School

Bus deliveries to other distribution sites in the county will be made on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:15-11:00 a.m. (Schedule is below.)

Monday deliveries will contain meals for 2 days (2 breakfasts/2 lunches).  Wednesday deliveries will contain meals for 3 days (3 breakfasts / 3 lunches).

Meals provided during this emergency school closing will not be packaged using food allergy considerations.  Parents and guardians are responsible for monitoring any food allergy.

Children do not have to be school age to receive meals, but must be present to receive a meal per USDA regulations.

All individuals preparing and delivering meals will follow CDC guidelines.

If you are in need and do not receive a meal, please call 850-768-8007 or 850-768-3039

Bethlehem Area:

Pittman Fire Department, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
New Hope Fire Department, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Poplar Springs Area:

Noma Park, 8:45-9:20 a.m.
Esto Park, 9:30-10:05 a.m.
East Mt. Zion Methodist Church, 10:20-11:00 a.m.

Ponce de Leon Area:

North Route--
Hickory Hill Baptist Church, 9:00-9:20 a.m.
West Pittman Baptist Church, 9:30-9:50 a.m.
Hurricane Creek Baptist Church, 10:00-10:20 a.m.
Leonia Baptist Church, 10:30-10:50 a.m.

South Route--
Bridge Creek Baptist Church, 9:00-9:20 a.m.
Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, 9:30-9:50 a.m.
Pineview Holiness Church, 10:00-10:20 a.m.