Chelan School District moves closer to reopening

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan School Superintendent Barry DePaoli told the school board on Tuesday evening, August 25, that the Chelan-Douglas Health District did not accept its first proposal to allow small groups of kid into the classrooms. “We will be approved by Friday to bring in small groups,” said DePaoli. “We have to be really careful on how we do that.”

DePaoli also stated that there are a number of families who want their children in a remote environment. “Some prefer to remain remote. We need an online option more specific to COVID.”

From Tuesday, September 1 to Thursday, September 3, the District will be holding an orientation with parents and students. “We are going to be connecting with each student one-on-one with Zoom,” said DePaoli. There are 1,400 students in the District.

Food service will begin again on September 1. “We are getting that system built,” said DePaoli.

School will officially begin on Tuesday, September 8. Staff has been receiving online remote learning training over the past week. “A lot of the staff have been sharing ideas with one another,” stated DePaoli.

The District will be utilizing a Project Based Learning protocol that will require collaboration and teacher guidelines with the students. This model will allow the teachers to instruct student lessons t home whether it be by video/podcast/book/website. The students will work in class and receive teacher support as needed.

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“I think the Project Based Learning has a lot of clout,” said DePaoli.

Board member Lynda Foster remarked that she was glad that a Project Based Learning system will be used. “I understand the value of that.” DePaoli replied that it really dovetails well with critical thinking. “I love the fact that we have student choice. Staff will be really engaged.”

MOE Principal Erin Morin remarked that the elementary school will have a drive up teachers table to meet students from afar. Staff at MOE are learning how to utilize the technology.

Middle School Principal Brian Wood said that they are partnering with the high school so parents with students in both the Middle School and High School won’t have to come in twice. Parents will be learning passwords for their students to alleviate any potential problems of signing onto Skyward.

High School Principal Brad Wilson said he has met with his staff and they are being fine tuned for the start of school. “We are trying to work with parents and kids at both schools for some face time with teachers… especially the (incoming) Freshmen.

CIS Principal Erik Peterson said they were finding new ways to engage kids in his system. “We are establishing accountability and expectations,” said Peterson.

DePaoli remarked that the District is in a much different place than last spring. “The staff is in a way better place and we are excited even though we are going to be remote.” However DePaoli stated that, “Child Care is the biggest issue in the community. I wish we could take care of that.” DePaoli is seeking answers to the child care issue.

At least 90+ percent of the District’s staff will be working from their individual classrooms at each school and all staff members will be required to attend staff and department meetings. “It’s going to be a challenge,” said DePaoli.

AllThingsLakeChelan will continue to update the community as more information about District school reopening comes forth.

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