Dec. 18, 2020
Ray-Pec Parent Community,

As we end the first semester, I want to thank you for your patience and grace during this challenging year. I truly feel that no school district has handled this pandemic situation better than ours has, given the unique hand that we have been dealt. What our teachers, support staff, principals and district teams have done over the past 17 weeks has been nothing short of incredible. Has this experience been perfect in every situation? No, as this has been the most imperfect of years. As I told you in a community email in July, no plan by any school district was going to be perfect. However, I am extremely proud of this community for how we have approached this first semester, and look forward to even a better second semester.

Speaking of which, here is our plan for the second semester.

Start date for second semester

At its December 17 meeting, the Board moved the start date for the second semester from January 6 to Monday, January 11. The primary reason for this change is to create as much time as possible between potential group gatherings over Christmas/New Year’s Day and the start of school. As we did in December at the elementary school level, limited opportunities for childcare will be available on January 6, 7, and 8 for working parents. More information will be coming to parents of elementary school students about that option.

Second semester academic supports

At the secondary school level, additional support will be offered to students who may be struggling with their studies.  Staff are developing numerous approaches to assist students during the second semester.  Plans to adjust struggling students' schedules to provide additional math and ELA support at the middle level, along with targeted additional Friday in-person learning opportunities at both the middle and high school are just a few of the efforts being developed.  More information will be provided from our middle and high schools after winter break.

Elementary school Fridays

As we navigated the first semester, it became evident that elementary school teachers need additional time to stay ahead of the many demands of teaching in a pandemic. Time was created in December for teachers on Fridays. In this same way, we will follow a similar schedule for the Fridays of February 26, March 19, and April 23. More information will be communicated as we get closer to those dates. Like we did in December, limited opportunities for childcare will be available for working parents who need that option.

Bringing students back

I learned early in this pandemic not to make promises about “tomorrows”. There is enough uncertainty in everything right now that any promise about tomorrow is subject to things beyond our control. However, many of you have asked about bringing our secondary students back for more in-person days given the potential for vaccine availability in the spring. While it is definitely our desire to bring our secondary students back for more in-person days than the current hybrid model, any changes in our instructional approach will be guided by information from the Cass County Health Department and/or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While I am not promising that more in-person days are definitely in our future, we will be ready to make changes should it become possible at some point during the second semester.

As I have said before, this is a year unlike any other. Our guiding principles for dealing with our current situation remain strong. Plan and adjust. Patience and grace. These characteristics are the hallmark of any great organization as it makes its way through difficult and challenging times. 

On behalf of the Ray-Pec Board of Education, thank you for entrusting your children to the Ray-Pec School District.

We wish you a great holiday season.

Mike Slagle

I am passionately driven by the belief that Everyone Is Created To Flourish