In an effort to help parents prepare for children to return to school, Milford School District provided information on how the district plans to navigate into the 2021-22 academic year. According to Dr. Bridget Amory, Director of Student Learning, the district has developed several critical components for the upcoming school year.
“We have been working with a variety of stakeholders with our first priority in-person learning opportunities with five full days of in-person instruction this school year,” Dr. Amory said. “We have adjusted our daily learning schedules to maximize instructional time. We are offering remote learning options to those students who can provide documented medical rationale for not returning to in-person learning. We will continue to follow guidance from the Department of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Education.”
Dr. Amory explained that the district had expanded some of the programming they offered over the summer and some of these programs will be available throughout the school year, such as the after-school programs.
“Through the pandemic, we have learned there are a variety of needs for student mental and emotional health,” Dr. Amory said. “We will have social and emotional support available to all our students with dedicated curriculum, time and support staff as well as continued access to ongoing assessment and screening systems to ensure we are targeting areas of identified need. For those students with unique learning needs, we will use strategic student groupings and course assignments. Extended day, tutoring and individualized support will remain available along with one-on-one technology tools. All students will have access to mental health support staff and counselors.”
In addition to supporting the needs and mental health of students, Dr. Amory explained that there would also be assistance for staff. The district’s goal is to continue providing clear and consistent communication as well as ongoing assessment and screening systems to be sure they are identifying areas of need. Access to mental health support staff is also available to staff members who may need those services. Staff will also receive training on how to use technology as a learning and management tool along with tips for social and emotional learning. Trauma informed practices will also be discussed.
“Community and family supports will continue as well,” Dr. Amory said. “We will continue to use email, phone calls, Talking Points, texts, conferences and meetings to relay information to our parents and the rest of the community. We have learned that we have been able to pivot effectively with online and remote meeting options so we can continue those through the school year. We are planning to expand our Building Bridges program that has been very successful as well as the ongoing Community Childcare Center meetings. Of course, we will continue our Parent/Teacher Partnerships and the Citizen Budget Oversight Committee.”
The district also hopes to engage with parents and the community through Open Houses, Curriculum Nights, Tech Tutorials, Transition Events and more.
Dr. Brittany Hazzard, Supervisor of Equity and Support Services, explained that, as part of the district’s social emotional learning support system, teachers would be using a program called Conscious Discipline, which is a trauma-informed, evidenced-based program designed for better classroom management and improved social-emotional learning.
“This program allows students to self-regulate,” Dr. Hazzard said. “At the elementary level, students learn to understand, manage and regulate emotions. At the middle and high school level, the program also includes college and career readiness, personal development, leadership development, character education and more which will allow students to carry these tools into adult life. By using this program from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, we create consistency.”
School schedules are available on the district website by clicking this link.
According to Jon LoBiondo, Supervisor of Transportation, families will hear from their child’s bus driver prior to the start of the school year. If there are any issues with transportation, parents are asked to contact Lobiando at email@example.com or Rose Viramontes at RViramontes@msd.k12.de.us. They can also call 302-422-1600.
The first day of school for Milford School District students is September 7. As a reminder, all students are required to wear a face covering as are all staff and parents who must enter the building while children are present.
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