As we approach the midway point of the second semester of the 2021-22 school year, I want to give an update on our recent experience with the pandemic and to provide our current thoughts about the rest of the school year. While our experience with the pandemic may not yet be fully over, our recent data is a cause for optimism as it relates to the next several weeks.
Our Recent COVID-19 Experience
After experiencing extremely high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in January and early February, our recent numbers of positive cases among students and staff have been very low. This is a very encouraging development. We made the commitment since the beginning of this pandemic to share with our parent and staff communities information of each positive COVID-19 case among students and staff within 24 hours of the District’s director of human resources being notified by the Cass County Health Department (CCHD). The daily number of new positive cases of COVID-19 can be found on our website dashboard.
Given this encouraging trend, I have asked our district and building teams to look at ways to continue our trek back to a semblance of normalcy. We want to make changes in an orderly fashion, but suffice it to say that many of the things that we have gone without over the past two years, such as assemblies, field days, and end of year celebrations, need to be discussed as to when and how these can return this year. Any changes to our protocols will occur after Spring Break and will be communicated to you by your building principal.
There Have Been Many Reasons To Celebrate This Year
I wrote to you earlier that the 21-22 school year has been outstanding. Students are back in classes, and activities are starting to feel a bit more normal. We have celebrated student achievements in academics, the arts, athletics, and activities. I have thoroughly enjoyed attending games/meets/matches, seeing musicals, listening to choirs, peeking in at practices and rehearsals, and watching students learn in classrooms.
The new LEAD Center is in full construction mode. We are planning for the ground-breaking of the new Ninth Grade Center and Performing Arts Center. We have expanded our virtual learning program known as VIPR to include students from other Cass County school districts, and next year plan to offer this to the entire state of Missouri.
Our staff has been lauded for their work with the Kauffman Foundation’s Real World Learning Initiative, and Ray-Pec’s program has been described as a leader for the Kansas City Metropolitan area. We are in the final phases of developing a new strategic plan, which will serve us with great ideas and opportunities for our future.
We have seen students excel at service-learning projects throughout the district. Our Ray-Pec Academy has been “revamped” to include project-based learning and a higher level of engagement. We are now at full implementation of a K-12 curriculum called Project Lead The Way (PLTW), which provides all students the opportunity for hands-on inquiry-based learning.
Without a doubt, we have used this year to move forward for the betterment of students.
On behalf of the Ray-Pec Board of Education, thank you for entrusting your children to the Ray-Pec School District.