June 25, 2020
From the Superintendent
It has been a very challenging few months for everyone in our community. However, during every crisis some positives occur through the process. As we develop our Holmes District Reopening Plan, I feel that you should know what is being planned, the process of planning, and the circumstances surrounding the plan. I want to stress the importance of remembering that the process is fluid, and even after the plan is released to the public, it may change as conditions mandate.
I feel that a positive aspect that has been reinforced is that the connection between schools, families, and communities is stronger than ever. Our community must continue to work as a team and build upon the success that permeates our school campuses. I also feel that this has validated the positive progression in our schools and simultaneously offers us a chance to adopt new, innovative learning strategies that will lead to continued student achievement. Although the final plan will be very detailed and contain numerous guidelines as directed by our Governor and other agencies, I feel the need to reassure parents, students, employees, and community members about a few topics:
1. We plan to begin school on August 12, as previously scheduled.
2. We are committed to providing a safe, positive learning environment, while still following good common sense, as well as CDC and state-directed guidelines. These guidelines change often, and we will adapt as needed to ensure compliance.
3. We are working to revise our Instructional Continuity Plan using lessons we learned from the spring closure. We are planning for both in-person and remote learning so that we will be well-prepared to continue educating our students regardless of the circumstances. Our plan will allow for a smoother transition to remote learning, should the need arise. We are also working to have our own locally-directed virtual franchise to serve any families who choose to enroll their children in virtual school rather than returning to our brick and mortar schools. This will allow our Holmes County students to be taught by Holmes County teachers. Given the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic, we must be prepared for anything!
It is imperative that we show patience, trust, and confidence in each other as we navigate this journey. My staff, the reopening task force, and I are committed to improving upon the current progress that Holmes District Schools are experiencing. We can’t afford to digress. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to continue our investment in their futures.
To our employees, I would like to thank faculty, staff, and administrators for your efforts during this crisis. We all could have thrown our hands up when our schools closed. However, you stayed the course and went above and beyond what was required in order to be sure our students stayed safe, received meals, and continued engaging in learning activities to maintain their skills. To our 2020 graduates, much as been said of all the things that you were deprived of this spring. However, one thing I can say with certainty is that you never gave up. You set a new record for graduation rate in Holmes County with 94% of students graduating with a diploma. This community is proud of you, and America is a better place because of you.
Since we will not publish an update next week due to the Independence Day holiday, I want to wish all of you a safe and enjoyable 4th of July! May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America!
Terry L. Mears
Superintendent of Schools