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2/9/2021 Monday Message from Dr. Hart-Olivis

Good Evening Hillandale Families,

 This is Principal Hart-Olivis with this week’s Monday Message, but on Tuesday.  Thank you for your patience as we got this one out.

 You may have heard or seen information about Senate Bill 37, which would mandate that all school districts provide an option of in-person instruction to students for the remainder of the scheduled 2020-21 school year.  This bill would require school districts to select Option A (minimal social distancing) or Plan B (moderate social distancing).  For students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) or 504 plans, the bill would require instruction under Plan A.  Senate Bill 37 would also require districts to offer a remote instruction option for families of students who would prefer their children to continue to learn remotely.  The bill also encourages local school boards to coordinate with local health departments and vaccine providers to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations for school employees.  As a frame of reference, many educational professionals fall into the category of “Group 3.”  Our state is currently in the process of vaccinating “Group 1” and “Group 2.”

 Last month, after a great deal of discussion and some challenging conversations and planning within our district, the DPS School Board voted for students in Durham Public Schools to remain in Plan C, remote instruction, for the safety of students and staff, for the remainder of the year, particularly due to the rate of positive COVID tests in our county.  The Durham Public Schools Board of Education is not in favor of Senate Bill 37, but our district would have to comply with the law if this bill were to fully pass.  This bill moved quickly through the Senate and passed in the Senate today.  From this point, the bill goes to the House of Representatives, and Governor Cooper.  In its first reading vote, there was enough support in the Senate to override a veto (or rejection) of the bill.

 As more information comes to us regarding the development of Senate Bill 37, we will share this information with you.  Should this bill become law, at the district level, it is likely that additional opportunities for families to make choices for their students’ learning will take place.  It is also likely that we will continue to advocate for and improve online learning.

 We hope you will join us tomorrow, February 10 at 12 noon via Zoom for our Helping with School and Homework in a Digital World session.  In this class, parents will learn how to support digital learning at home and learn more about creating an optimal atmosphere for digital learning at home.  The meeting will be held on Zoom and we will record to make sure all families have access.  Translations will be available. 

 And tomorrow evening, it’s finally here! Our Virtual Family Night: All You Need is Love is THIS Wednesday at 6 pm for all our 3-5 grade families and next Wednesday for our K-2 families.  Be sure to check SeeSaw for the Zoom link which will be shared each Wednesday morning.  If you haven't picked up your materials from Hillandale, you may want to have a piece of paper on hand for our craft. The specialists can't wait to craft, make music, move and experiment with you!

 Finally, please join me in celebrating our newly crowned Teacher of the Year and Instructional Assistant of the year, Ms. Elizabeth Lake and Ms. Nadirah Pitts!  Whether it’s visiting homes, passing out materials to families, translating, tutoring, or just uplifting, Ms. Lake and Ms. Pitts are exemplary educators, and couldn’t be more deserving of this annual celebration.  I’m honored to call these two rockstars my colleagues.  Congratulations Ms. Lake and Ms. Pitts!

 Stay up to date about what’s happening at Hillandale on our school website, hillandale.dpsnc.net and on Twitter and Instagram @HillandalePOWER.

 As always, thank you for your support, your partnership, and most of all, thank you for being part of The Hillandale Family.

 Have a marvelous week!