May 1, 2020

Dear Parents,

The “year” of April is finally to a close and we are now entering what will hopefully be a less stressful and more hopeful May. As I have said before, as hard as this all is, I’m so grateful to be journeying this time with you--our amazing MPCSD community! Please take a moment to read these important district updates. 

Teacher Appreciation Next Week (May 4-8)
YES! You may have never appreciated teacher(s) more than right now! What they have been able to accomplish with distance learning in such a short time is amazing. While we all look forward to being back together in the classroom, the connection with teachers has been a highlight of my - and I hope your - children’s days. As next week is national Teacher Appreciation Week, it would be a wonderful time to flood your teachers’ email inboxes with supportive messages and photos of your kids, whom they are missing so much right now. We have also prepared a great thank you video with representation from families around the district that we will share in our Monday staff newsletter. Please look for communication from your sites, too, that may have specific ways to honor your teachers. 

Will MPCSD Start Next Year in July?  
Do I have your attention? Governor Newsom raised more than a few eyebrows on Tuesday, April 28 when he announced that schools should consider opening as early as July this coming school year. I personally have appreciated the Governor’s leadership during this crisis and mean no disrespect when I say that Governor Newsom knows better than anyone that such a move would require a large financial commitment from the state and intense negotiation with a number of state agencies and unions to make happen. It’s not impossible; however, in my own humble opinion, I just don’t see how California schools start early. Suffice it to say, District leadership remains open to the possibility, but is clearly moving forward on the plan to start next school year on August 20, 2020.

Summer School and Enrichment
While we expect to open school on August 20, 2020, we recognize that the Shelter in Place may have impacted the learning progression for many students. Our COVID-19 Response Team will be working with me to design a modified in-person Summer School plan for students who could benefit. We will also consider designs that provide in-person and online learning opportunities for anyone who wants them, regardless of whether they would normally qualify for Summer School. More information will be provided in the coming weeks. We hope to serve those families who would like to see Governor Newsom’s vision of an early start, just as an optional program. Of course, resources and adequate staffing will determine whether or not we can provide that program. 

Next Year’s Schedule. We want to HEAR from YOU!
I wish I had a clear and straightforward answer to the question of what the fall will look like. Honestly, no one really knows. It is not necessary for MPCSD to be first out of the gate on a design for next year, as I’m fairly confident the health conditions and politics will continue to change dramatically over the next few weeks. That said, the MPCSD COVID-19 Response Team will partner with the MPCSD School Board and Leadership Team to design plans around different scenarios. As we begin that process, we would like to hear from YOU ! We have developed this informal, unscientific survey that will help us understand a little more about how you are feeling, what you are worried about, and what your needs may be next year--as best as you can assess that right now. 

While we don’t know much, we can say for certain that next year is not likely to be “typical.” Everything we are hearing from policy makers and health officials is that if in-person school is to occur this fall, social distancing measures will need to be in place that will require a different schedule with fewer students on campus at one time. With large student bodies and no extra space in MPCSD, we will have to schedule creatively to accommodate. We are also hearing that schools must prepare for a return to Shelter in Place at any point next year should the virus return in force without an available vaccine. As we start designing our plans, your input on the parent survey will go a long way to supporting our efforts. Please complete the survey by Wednesday, May 13 at 3:00 p.m.  

We do not yet know when we’ll be able to advertise our plans for returning in the fall, but the Board and leadership are prepared to work into summer to prepare and communicate. 

Re-enrollment deadline
While we are on the topic of next year, if you haven’t already completed your RE-enrollment for next year, please do so without delay. On April 17 all parents with K-7 grade students received their student’s 2020-21 re-enrollment notification email from SchoolMint. Please complete your student’s re-enrollment no later than Friday, May 8 . If your plans for next year may not be finalized, don’t worry. Please complete the re-enrollment process in any case; you always have the option of contacting our registrar to update your enrollment status. If you have any questions about this process, please contact our registrar at registrar@mpcsd.org .

Distance Learning Update
We will continue to provide education to our students and support families through distance learning for the remainder of the year. Thanks to the innovative and prescient leadership of our Boards, leadership, and staff over the last ten years, MPCSD was well positioned to transition to Distance Learning. While there have been bumps in the road and recalibration needed, I am proud of the level of engagement and learning that continues virtually. It is not easy. It is not preferable. However, it is a remarkable substitute, all things considered. REMEMBER: If the Distance Learning that is offered isn’t working for your child in some way, you are empowered to make decisions and changes to support your child’s learning and emotional well being . Our staff remain open to feedback and are full of empathy for those that need to adapt expectations for their individual child. All MPCSD school principals will provide parents with another check-in survey next week to get Distance Learning feedback now that we are several weeks into the journey; your feedback after the first two weeks was extremely helpful and we believe it will be just as helpful now especially as we consider what Distance Learning may need to look like next year, should we be required to provide it. 

Supporting Those in Need
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders are having a significant impact on students and their families, affecting their ability to continue learning, access food, and manage stress. School districts throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties require additional assistance as they work to provide needed distance learning, nutritional, mental health, and other support to students and their families. We have been so fortunate here in MPCSD to be supported by our community’s generosity in funding our newly established MPCSD Helps initiative. Through MPCSD Helps, we are providing food security for over 85 district families, either with groceries or grocery gift cards. The outpouring of donations to MPCSD Helps has been incredible: nearly $60,000 in funds have been committed already plus weekly donations of grocery and other essential items. Thank you to all the families who have donated toward this effort. If you wish to donate with a credit card, check, or bring grocery items to our pop-up food pantry, please read more here .

Not all districts have the capacity to support their needs as generously as MPCSD. Therefore, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in partnership with the San Mateo County and Santa Clara County Offices of Education, has established the COVID-19 Education Partnership to expand the local capacity of school districts to address the extraordinary educational and mental health needs of students as efficiently as possible. The Education Partnership will provide funding to school districts to help them address immediate challenges and long-term recovery efforts related to COVID-19. If you’d like to find out more about this regional effort, including how to donate, please click here .

End of Year Celebrations
Site leadership and staff are working hard to create alternate virtual plans for those end of year activities that we love so much. All sites are working with District leadership to provide “safe” socially distanced, in-person alternatives for ELC promotion, fifth grade clap out, and eighth grade graduation. While plans for celebrating our transitioning students are yet to be finalized and communicated, please know that we are working behind the scenes to provide memorable experiences. We will not be postponing those transition ceremonies to the fall. 

HV talent show
Speaking of end of year traditions, one community-building event that always sells out has been reworked and this year everyone can enjoy it - the Hillview 8th grade talent show! Our 8th Grade ASB has decided to make this special event a YouTube LiveStream spectacular with the goal of having 6,000 live viewers tuned in and raising $6,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank during their livestream on Friday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. You don’t want to miss this extraordinary event starring 8th graders and staff you know and love. Tune in at the YouTube Live Stream Channel.

I’ll be in touch soon with more details. Thanks, as always, for your patience and attention.

Warm regards,
Erik
Erik Burmeister, Superintendent | mpcsd.org
Governing Board
Stacey Jones , President
Sherwin Chen, Vice President
David Ackerman
Mark Box
Scott Saywell