OFPS Reopening Decision
Our school district leadership team has worked collaboratively with parents, staff, community, and our board of education to solidify a back-to-school decision. Our students will be involved in four-days of face-to-face learning and one virtual learning day each week, which will occur on Wednesdays. The first day of school will remain as originally planned on Tuesday, September 1. As we move forward, we will continue to build capacity of our staff, students, and parents to be certain that this programming is successful. We greatly appreciate the assistance of all involved to include our parents, students, the board of education, the back-to-school advisory committee, and our staff in reaching this decision.
Click the dates at the bottom of this page to expand each district update. Additionally, we have included helpful information below from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the Department of Health Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and HSHS that we encourage families to view.
Stay safe and healthy!
Please complete the “CONTACT US” form to submit a comment, question, or concern.
|Department of Public Instruction||Department of Health Services||Additional Information|
|Information on COVID-19||COVID-19 Informational Handout||American Academy of Pediatrics: Guidance for School Re-Entry|
|Education Forward: Reopening Wisconsin Schools||DHS Outbreaks in Wisconsin||Hospital Sisters Health Systems (HSHS) Mask Information|
Superintendent, Dean Hess, and instructional coach, Jason Schmidt, participated in a podcast outlining the decisions of the board of education regarding returning to school in the fall of 2020. Please click the play button below to hear the podcast.
Two videos were shared as part of the board of education meeting on July 29. The first video outlined how students might access live (synchronous) instruction from home. Please view the video below.
The second video provided a brief overview of what parents will experience when using the district’s new learning management system, Schoology. More information regarding how to access Schoology as a parent will be provided in the upcoming weeks.
The purpose of this fully online option (Acellus) is to provide families an alternative choice for educational programming. The Acellus programming will be different from the virtual learning that students in the hybrid model (four days face to face/one day virtual) will experience. Students learning through Acellus will receive a curriculum that is similarly aligned with state standards, but instructed in a different manner and in a different sequence than students in the face to face hybrid model recently approved by our Board of Education. Acellus courses are generally self paced. An Oconto Falls staff member will be checking in and will be available to support your child with their questions.
If your child has health conditions and you have concerns about your child returning to school, please reach out to one of our school nurses, Lynette Donart (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Bobbi Jo Boomsma (email@example.com) who can provide you with more guidance specific to your child. We understand that some families are not planning to have their children return to school in our four day face to face hybrid model. To support families interested in the Acellus (fully virtual) option and to assist with our planning needs, it is important that parents intending to have their students participate in our Acellus program to apply to the Fully Virtual School Option. Click here to apply Virtual School Option Application.
If you are opting for your child(ren) for full Virtual School Option, please understand the following:
- You are committing to full online learning for the entire grading period and are not able to attend school face to face or hybrid/blended model or move between learning models until the start of the next grading period. (4K-5 – Trimester, 6-8 Quint, 9-12 Semester)
- If the outbreak requires students in the face to face or hybrid model to move into virtual learning, online learning students will continue on their same online learning course. There is no transition back to non-online learning until that grading period is complete.
- The District will ensure four core subjects (Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies) are taught in full online learning. Elective classes are available, however, some specials or encore courses may not be available.
- To select this option, you would need to have adequate internet connectivity. A device to utilize the coursework would be provided by the district.
Success as a virtual student requires that you acknowledge the need for daily engagement within courses by maintaining structured pacing where assignments and assessments are completed each day. Regular communication with Virtual School Option teachers through email and/or phone calls is expected. School Attendance rules will be followed and enforced.
Home Learning Coach
It is important you identify someone to be the Home Learning Coach. The Home Learning Coach will be the primary person for helping the student through the process of online learning. This person can be a parent, capable older sibling, grandparent, babysitter etc. The Home Learning Coach’s role is to communicate with the student on a regular basis about school. This role is especially important for the younger student(s).
Virtual School Learning Tips
- Create a learning space for your child.
- Make a consistent school schedule but be flexible.
- Reduce distractions.
- Schedule other activities such as exercise.
- See which accessibility features help your child.
- Communicate with your child’s teachers regularly.
Contact Information: Danny Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920)848-4467
July 30, 2020
As most of you know the WIAA has made a decision to change the start date to most fall sports. Last night, July 29th, the Oconto Falls School Board decided to honor the change in start dates and gave us the ok to move forward with plans at the High School to start our season on the new dates. Here are the new start dates.
Girls Golf – August 17
Boys and Girls Cross Country – August 17
Cheer – August 17 (tryouts are still scheduled for the week of August 3)
Dance – August 17
Volleyball – September 7 – this is Labor Day but we are still starting
Football – September 7 – this is Labor Day but we are still starting
The fall parent/athlete meeting that was scheduled for Monday, August 3rd has been cancelled. We are still working on how a parent meeting can happen for each sport. Those details have not been determined at this time. All parents and athletes should be in communication with their fall coach.
Attached is a video showing you how to check the status of your child’s online forms and athletic physical and alternate year cards. Please watch the video and go into your parent access for Skyward and fill out the online forms for the 2020-2021 school year. All these forms need to be filled out for your child to be eligible.
As we progress through the next month we will be working on making changes to our sports season to do our best to prevent the spread of the virus. Many things will change but keep in mind our goal is to keep your child safe while still offering them an opportunity to do something they love. We will need your help and understanding during these difficult times and decisions. Your child’s social, emotional and physical well being will be first and foremost in our mind as we progress through the upcoming months.
Please feel free to call the school or email me if you have any questions or concerns.
Athletic/Activities/Community Ed Director
Oconto Falls High School
210 N. Farm Road
Oconto Falls, Wisconsin, 54154
(920) 848-4444 (fax)
On Thursday, July 30, Governor Evers released Executive Order 82, which declared a public health emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19. Emergency Order #1 outlined the following related to face coverings in the state of Wisconsin:
Every individual, age five and older, in Wisconsin shall wear a face covering if both of the following apply:
- The individual is indoors or in an enclosed space, other than at a private residence; and;
- Another person or persons who are not members of individual’s household or living unit are present in the same room or enclosed space.
Face coverings are strongly recommended in all other settings, including outdoors when it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
Please view the following documents for more information regarding this executive order.
July 22, 2020
Oconto Falls Public Schools Parents and Guardians,
I am writing to inform you that the Oconto Falls Public Schools Board of Education considered a recommendation on Monday, July 20, regarding the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year. To begin the meeting the Board listened to more than sixty five public comments from parents, students, and community members regarding their perspective relative to the reopening of our schools. The Board then considered information that was presented to them regarding multiple different instructional models that ranged from fully face-to-face, blended hybrid models that included both face-to-face and virtual instruction, as well as a fully virtual option. Three different priorities were consistently discussed which included our focus on safety for students and staff, the desire to educate our students in as much of a face-to-face model as we believe is prudent given our circumstance, as well as our focus on how these decisions affect our families. Throughout the conversation mitigation of risk regarding the spread of COVID-19 was discussed at length and included potential changes to how we conduct day-to-day operations in our schools, the wearing of face coverings as a way to reduce risk, and the challenge of physically distancing students while transporting them on our school buses. Below are a few examples of changes that were discussed:
As part of the presentation it was recommended to the Board that both staff and students be required to wear masks in an effort to reduce the risk level and better enable us to provide face-to-face learning in the fall. It was shared that this is especially important in situations where we are unable to socially distance our students such as on our buses, in cafeterias, hallways and many classroom settings. It was also discussed that if the decision of the Board is to come back to school in a more face-to-face setting, this will result in a lesser capability to socially distance; thus, wearing a mask will be even more important as an action to mitigate the risk level for students and staff.
As part of the transportation discussion, Board members were made aware of the high number of students that ride our buses every day (more than 80% ridership). This often results in 50-60 students per bus which does not allow us to physically distance students. Parents that are able and willing to transport your child who normally would ride a bus, please call our transportation department at 920-848-4460. It was further discussed that another option for the Board to consider, if they feel the need to further reduce the number of students on the bus, would be to stop transportation services for students that live within two miles of their school. This action would reduce the number of students riding the bus by approximately 25%. To a lesser extent the Board could consider stopping transportation services for students that live within one mile of the school as a potential alternative. The result of this action would be a reduction of approximately 10%. Either of these actions would help alleviate the congestion on the bus and better enable distancing students. However, we also recognize that this action would have a negative impact on those families directly affected by the change in service. As part of this discussion the point was made that if we implement a mask requirement it would help mitigate the risk of viral spread on the bus and provide greater latitude to not initially implement a change in service for students living within the two-mile radius of their school.
The board was presented with information relative to the benefits and drawbacks related to multiple different educational models. It is important to note that families that desire to have their children involved in fully virtual education will be provided with a virtual option. Fully virtual students will be offered an option new to Oconto Falls called Acellus. More information is provided below. This link will provide you with a short video as well as other information that we hope you will find informative.
When reviewing the different educational models (fully face-to-face, hybrid, and fully virtual), the discussion focused on our priorities of safety, educational capacity, and how the models would potentially impact families. The proposal from our administrative team was for the board to consider a hybrid model that involved elementary students (4K-5) attending school face-to-face four days each week (M, T, Th, F) and learning from home each Wednesday. Secondary students (6-12) would be divided into two cohorts with approximately half of the students attending school face-to-face two days each week and then accessing their education virtually three days each week.
We Will Be Offering a New Virtual Option
For parents interested in having their student/s attend school online, the Oconto Falls Virtual Program offers a great option. Oconto Falls School District has recently partnered with Acellus to bring high-quality online education to Oconto Falls. Acellus uses video-based lessons with cutting-edge technology to accelerate learning, elevate standardized test scores, and to prepare students to transition into careers and college. The program is available to students entering kindergarten through 12th grade.
Students will have access to a list of curriculum offerings to meet their needs, with the help of an Oconto Falls educator. Stayed tuned for more information coming shortly.
Parents and students that are interested may contact Danny Smith at email@example.com.
CLICK HERE for more information about Acellus
The Board Has Not Made a Decision
We anticipated that our board members would need time to reflect on the information presented to them which is why we scheduled a special board meeting for July 29, at 6:00 p.m. We anticipate that our board will have further dialogue at this meeting regarding a back-to-school plan and may take action relative to identifying an educational model to begin the year. I anticipate that they will also be discussing the topics of face coverings and transportation given the importance of these issues relative to our programming and our ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Dean R. Hess
Superintendent of Schools
July 1, 2020
Parents and Guardians,
We Appreciate Your Feedback
Over the past four weeks we’ve been involved in many different activities related to the end of the 2019-2020 school year and planning for the 2020-2021 school year. One of these activities includes disseminating community surveys and reviewing survey feedback in order to reflect on lessons learned during the COVID-19 school closure. This information, together with feedback from our staff, has enabled us to better plan and provide focused professional development as we prepare for the future.
Back to School Planning
Back-to-school planning has been and continues to be our primary focus, and our efforts are guided by the Education Forward document developed by the Department of Public Instruction. The attached document reveals the massive level of planning in which we are involved. It is our goal to create a multifaceted educational plan that effectively meets the learning needs of our students while providing the flexibility to modify operations as needed in response to changing levels of risk. As we conduct our planning, we recognize that each instructional environment has positives as well as challenges associated with them. In the best case scenario, we will be able to reopen our schools in the fall in a more traditional, face-to-face learning environment. With that stated, we will plan for this option as well as both a physically-distanced/hybrid model and a virtual model to ensure that we are prepared to modify operations to mitigate the ever-changing level of risks posed by COVID-19.
To improve our planning, we have also enlisted the help of parents, staff, students, and community members as part of a Back-to-School Advisory Committee. We are sharing information with the members of this group and listening to their perspectives on key topics such as instructional models (face-to-face, physically-distance/hybrid, and virtual), social distancing/risk Mitigation, transportation, and personal protective equipment (PPE) just to name a few. The role of this committee is to work collaboratively to discuss the challenges that we face, provide feedback, and brainstorm ideas in our efforts to address these difficult realities.
Board Meeting to Discuss Our Back to School Plan
On July 20, 2020, we will be briefing our board of education as to a potential back-to-school plan. It will include information relative to operational changes needed to support the plan as well as what we, the district leadership team, believe are the benefits and drawbacks to the different courses of action. I anticipate that this discussion will include topics such as the different instructional models that we are considering for the fall, transportation of students, ways that we can mitigate risks, social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, and other key areas in the Education Forward document.
As part of our commitment to excellence, we are focused on the safety of our students and staff while planning for how we can conduct educational programming that meets or exceeds the needs of our students in this ever-changing environment. We will continue to review information from the CDC, state, and Oconto County Health Department, along with the Education Forward recommendations from the DPI, to guide us in our work.
As we move through this planning process, we will continue to provide you with updates which will be posted on our school district website.
We are in this together, and together we are stronger.
Dean R. Hess
Oconto Falls Public Schools
Dear Families and Staff,
You’ve most likely heard in the news that the “Safer at Home” order has been overturned by the State Supreme Court. We have received feedback that in a footnote to this 161 page decision, school closures will remain in place. Therefore, we believe that public and private schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year (June 30, 2020), for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities.
As this situation continues to develop we will provide you with updates in as timely of a manner as possible.
Dean R. Hess
Superintendent of Schools
Oconto Falls Public Schools
Jake Beschta, the principal of Oconto Falls High School, and Dr. Dean Hess, Superintendent of Schools, join the podcast this week to talk about how we are honoring the class of 2020.
Superintendent, Dean Hess, and Athletic Director, Jerry Moynihan recently participated in a podcast regarding 2020 Spring sports and activities. Please feel free to listen to the podcast below to gain more details about the current situation.
As we continue on in this virtual educational world, the Pupil Services Team wants to reach out to continue to let families and students know we are all here for you! If you reach out, team members will get back to you (parents and/or students) as soon as they can within “regular” school hours. The team also wanted to share some resources to support student and family social-emotional wellness during this time. See resources listed below.
Pupil Services Team and Their Contact Information
|Building/Staff||Role||Phone (Voice or Text)|
Abrams Elementary School
|Patrice Fick||School Counselorfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-8022|
Oconto Falls Elementary School
|Angela Parkansky||School Counseloremail@example.com||(920) 234-8018|
|Jean Eastman||School Counselorfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-8021|
|Haley Bray||School Psychologistemail@example.com||(920) 234-5892|
Washington Middle School
|Derek Johnson||School Psychologistfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 328-5418|
Oconto Falls High School
|School Counseloremail@example.com||(920) 234-8023|
|School Counselorfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-8017|
|Ruth Barnett||School Psychologistemail@example.com||(920) 234-6127|
|Lynette Donart||School Nurse – Abrams, OFES, WMSfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 373-5131|
|Bobbi Jo Boomsma||School Nurse – OFHSemail@example.com||(920) 234-6946|
Social-Emotional Wellness Resources
Local Crisis Intervention counselors provide mental health services 24 hours a day, every day. They provide telephone counseling and referral to other support services. Crisis counselors can be reached at the following numbers:
Oconto County: 8:00am – 4:00 pm (920) 834-7000
All other hours (920) 846-3444 (ask for crisis worker)
Marinette County: 1-800-273-8255
Shawano County: (920) 238-3253
Brown County: (920) 436-8888
Suicide Prevention Life Line: 1-800-273-8255
Resources for Early Childhood-1st Grade
PBS Kids Resource for Younger Children
Child Mind Institute – Talking to your child about the coronavirus
Time to Come In, Bear: A Children’s Story About Social Distancing
Millie and Suzi – Why we Stay Home Online Book
Resources for All Elem Students
Resources for Adolescent Resources
HSHS St. Clare – Nurses Nook
CDC: Caring for children while school is out
Keeping Kids Active
Cloth Face Coverings for Children
Hand Washing 101
Noah Henry (A rainbow story)
Coronavirus a book for children
My hope is this letter finds you and your family well! I wanted to reach out to the families of the students that have IEPs to share the focus of the special education support provided during this remarkable time in education. I want to share the message with families that I have been sharing with all of our special education staff and building administration.
General Considerations within Special Education
- Focus on the safety, health and welfare of students and staff members.
- Consider how to provide special education services within the context of the family’s and child’s circumstances (access, services and collaboration with families). That may look different for each family.
- Treat each student, family and situation individually.
- Continue to review both federal and state guidance as it is provided on a weekly and/or daily basis.
Specific Focus of Special Ed Staff Work:
- Recognize each student’s level of progress on IEP goals in Mid-March, when in-person services stopped.
- Provide materials (virtual and/or paper) for students to support IEP goal maintenance prior to closure.
- Document attempts to provide these materials and other supports to students with IEPs around their IEP goals to ensure we are best serving our students.
- Collaborate with regular education teachers to ensure access of materials sent by regular education teachers.
- Regularly engage with and communicate with students and families, based on each individual family’s situation.
- Continue to meet our required annual IEP meeting timelines by providing regularly scheduled annual IEP meetings via Zoom.
- Work with families to complete evaluations, seek extensions or waive reevaluations, when needed.
IEP’s and Special Education Services were not built for this amount of change, in such a short period of time. I can’t thank all of our families enough for the support and understanding during this time of change! It is an honor to serve our students with disabilities in any manner we can during this challenging time. Please reach out to your child’s special education teacher or myself with any questions. We all can’t wait to see our students when it is safe for everyone!
Director of Pupil Services/Special Education
***NEW ABRAMS PICK-UP SITE***
FREE Food Service Option During School Closure
Oconto Falls Public Schools will be expanding our FREE Grab and Go Breakfast and Lunch option to include pick-up at Abrams Elementary.
Mondays and Wednesdays, starting April 29,2020.
12:00pm until 12:30pm at Abrams Elementary Parking Lot
- On Mondays you will be provided the option to pick up two days of breakfast and lunch per student.
- Wednesdays you will be given three days of breakfast and lunch per student.
- These meals will be Free and Available for students 18 and under (no form or registration required) and disabled adults age 21 and under who are enrolled in public or private school.
- These meals will be available only on regular scheduled school days. Please refer to the 2019-2020 school calendar.
- This service will be a drive through grab and go and individuals are not allowed to leave your vehicle.
- A parent/family member may pick up without the students being present.
Menus will be shared on Facebook every Friday for both Oconto Falls High School and Abrams Pick-up sites.
If you have questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (920)848-4471. Thank you
COVID-19 Alternative Learning Grading Guidance
Grades PreK – 8
- Elementary students’ trimester grade will not be lower than earned grade as of March 13, 2020.
- Middle school students will not receive grades for quint 4 or quint 5.
- The goal for the remainder of the school year is for students to maintain and sustain skills learned through March 13, as well as to be exposed to new learning that teachers feel are key learning targets related to the standards.
- There will be no grades given after March 13, 2020.
Grading Practices for Grades PreK-8:
The district’s philosophy for grading at the elementary and middle levels reflects an “Educational Enrichment” approach, which will result in students receiving materials that both support retaining prior knowledge as well as being exposed to new learning opportunities. Elementary teachers will support students through weekly communication and feedback. Report cards for the trimester will reflect feedback based on the work completed during the last trimester, which would have been during our Covid 19 closure, involving virtual learning. This feedback would represent a student’s individual growth, level of participation and possible summer learning recommendations.
Students at the middle level will be provided with opportunities to maintain prior knowledge and continue learning with new materials. Middle school teachers will support students through daily enrichment and educational opportunities, learning activities, and communication. The focus will continue to be on feedback in lieu of grades. Middle school report cards will be sent home at the conclusion of the school year. The report card will offer feedback in the form of grades for the first 3 quints and comments from student engagement and participation during the final 2 quints.
Grades 9 – 12
- Students will receive a credit, no evidence, or no credit grade for the second semester.
- Student’s letter grades for the 3rd quarter will not be lower than their earned grade as of March 13, 2020.
- Students were allowed to redo, re-take, or complete work assigned through March 13 to improve third-quarter grade. (Students were provided this opportunity through May 1.)
- Only letter grades will be used to determine honor roll and tie-breaking for scholarship determination based on grades assigned throughout a student’s cumulative high school experience, excluding the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year.
- An alternative educational plan will be implemented for students who receive a NO EVIDENCE grade due to complete lack of engagement in learning during the high school’s virtual instruction to receive course credit.
Grading Practices for Grades 9-12:
We will be utilizing a hybrid model for grading that will allow for a Credit / No Evidence / No Credit grade in place of the normal letter grade method for measuring and recording a student’s learning progress in a specific course, completed during the final semester of the 2019-20 school year. This method of grading accomplishes the following:
- Ensures a “Do No Harm” philosophy for our students. A student’s 3rd quarter grade (of Credit / No Credit) should not be lower than what it was as of Friday, March 13, 2020. Students should be allowed to make up missed work prior to March 13, 2020 to improve their grade.
- Allows for shared responsibility between parent/guardian and District.
- The Credit / No Credit grade will be utilized for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year.
- Enables a student that was struggling prior to March 13, 2020 to bring their grade up.
- Students that do not engage in the educational learning opportunities provided to them will initially receive a “No Evidence” grade. This will stay in effect for —- weeks when if not addressed by the students will be replaced with a “No Credit” grade
- Semester II (2019-2020) grades will not be calculated into a student’s cumulative GPA.
- All courses that result in a grade of Credit will result in the awarding of high school credit as progress made towards graduation.
- Only letter grades will be counted toward honor roll status and for tie-breaking determination for scholarships, excluding the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year.
- Dual credit courses, college-credit courses, and transcribed courses would be conducted and graded as per the policies of the post-secondary institution.
Advanced Placement (AP):
- For the 2019–20 exam only, students can take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. Since some students have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will include only topics and skills most AP teachers and students covered in class through March 13. Please use this link to access free exam practice courses offered by AP on YouTube: https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates#free-ap-classes.
- Colleges support the shortened test solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked to earn. Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device including a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Submitting a photo of handwritten work will also be an option. The College Board recognizes that the digital divide could prevent some low-income and rural students from participating. Working with partners, the College Board will ensure that these students have the tools and connectivity they need to review AP content online and take the exam. If students need mobile tools or connectivity, they should reach out directly to the College Board to request assistance by completing the form at https://collegeboard.tfaforms.net/74. This general website gives additional updated information on the changes discussed in this document https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update.
Students with IEP’s or 504 Plans in the District
- Students will be provided appropriate resources and accommodations in the virtual learning or alternative learning setting through collaboration between classroom teacher, special education teacher, support staff member, the student, and parents/guardians.
- Additionally, classroom teachers, special education teachers ,support staff, the student, and parents/guardians will consider, as necessary, alternative methods to measure whether a student has met or exceeded minimum proficiency standards.
- If changes need to be made to supports or accommodations in a virtual or alternative learning setting, an IEP or 504 meeting can be scheduled to make necessary changes to support skill demonstration for a student.
- Student IEP goals will be assessed at the end of the current school year and upon the start of the following school year, which does not affect grades.
Yesterday Governor Evers announced that he has ordered our school buildings to be closed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year as part of Emergency Order #28 (Safer at Home). As we shared in a previous letter, we have been planning for this potential decision, and earlier this week, our board of education took action to approve educational plans for the remainder of the school closing. Yesterday you should have received communication from your child’s principal outlining the educational programming you can expect. Please know that the members of our team stand ready to work collaboratively with you and your child to ensure that you receive the support you need to be successful for the remainder of the year.
As part of our proactive planning, we have been brainstorming potential courses of action related to how we might conduct graduations, award/scholarship ceremonies, yearbook distribution, and other end-of-year activities. We will be reaching out to you during the next days and weeks to provide you with plans that address these challenges. In each situation we will be thoughtful that our processes keep to the forefront the safety of our students, families, and staff. During this same timeframe, we anticipate that you will have many questions and concerns. Please review your child’s school and our district website where we are regularly posting information. If further assistance is needed, please reach out to your child’s teacher, building principal, or me.
I recognize that this news may be very difficult for you and your child. As a school district we, too, are struggling with this news. However, over the past few weeks, I have been lifted up by student and parent feedback when they’ve shared examples of how this difficult situation has positively impacted their family as it relates to time together. I am thankful for the way that these challenges have brought our school staff together with our families, and have strengthened our relationships. You have my word that our school district family will continue to provide both educational and emotional support for our students and you as we navigate through these challenges.
Please accept my appreciation for the manner in which you and your family are following the stay-at-home guidance. Although tragic, the data shared by Governor Evers yesterday is also hopeful and supports the theories that our stay-at-home actions are having a positive impact to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With that understood, it is important that we stay the course and continue to support this extension of the Safer at Home order. This link to the Safer at Home FAQ document provides answers and practical feedback to many frequently asked questions. Through everyone’s willingness to make sound decisions aligned with this guidance, we can save lives during this public health emergency.
We are in this together, and together we are stronger!
Dean R. Hess
Superintendent of Schools
To our Oconto Falls School District students & families:
WE ARE STILL YOUR SCHOOL NURSES & WE CARE ABOUT YOU!
These unprecedented times may be presenting you with many challenges and leaving you with feelings of uncertainty. These concerns we share are impacting our community, nation & world in ways that we could have never imagined. The next few weeks will determine if we are having success in mitigating the spread of COVID19. This requires a complete disruption to the busy lifestyle that we all know. We are all experiencing a ‘new normal’. However, if you do your part to stay safe & stay home, we will all be back together, learning, socializing & enjoying this great community again soon. We will get through this together – while apart!
COVID19 circumstances are in constant motion of change but we want you to be assured that we are staying informed and educated so that we can best assist you now, as your health is still our priority AND so that we can prepare for how your health needs may have changed when we are able to return to school.
Your physical and emotional wellbeing are both important. Stress can have a great impact on each. Find ways to keep healthy in all aspects of your life. This is going to look very different as we all find ourselves in unique situations: working from home, stress about having to continue to work in the community, unemployment and financial concerns, new family routines, virtual learning, schooling at home, health needs other than COVID19 … the list is endless.
Keep in mind the following as we proceed with this challenge together:
- Please reach out so that we can help assist you to the best of our abilities or help direct you to the resources you need.
- Continue to stay connected to one another! There are ways to accomplish this through appropriate social distancing. Connection is more important now than ever before!
- Stay active! Make time every day to get moving, up your heart rate & clear your mind.
- Practice good hand hygiene
- Wash hands frequently, scrubbing with soap & water for at least 20 seconds
- Disinfect frequently used surfaces
- Avoid touching your face & cover your cough & sneeze
- For those that continue to work outside the home as essential workers:
- Wash hands often, specifically when leaving & entering the home and workplace
- Change your clothes when getting home
- Stay home when you are sick
- CDC is now recommending wearing face masks out in public.
- DO NOT let this become a false sense of security.
- This is intended to stop the germs you are carrying. It is not intended to directly protect you!
- Continue to practice social distancing, limit your leaving of home to essential work and needs, coming directly home after and STAY SAFE!
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. We continue to be here for your child & family. We want to make sure that your health and basic needs are being met. We have resources to assist you.
WE ARE STILL YOUR NURSES!
Stay Safe & Stay well
Lynette Donart, RN, BSN
Bobbi Jo Boomsma, RN, BSN
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Dear Oconto Falls High School Students (and Parents/Guardians):
I cannot put into words how much our staff at OFHS miss you! We cannot wait for you to return to our building. You are the energy, excitement, and personality that makes our school special and an amazing place to be. While we all work together to move past the many challenges created by COVID-19, I hope you and your family continue to experience great health, enjoy additional time spent with one another, and find time to do things you enjoy. We will be together in learning and competition again soon, I cannot wait for that day!
I would also like to thank you for your commitment to completing our enrichment learning opportunities over the last three weeks. Your efforts were critical in helping our high school identify how best to support you in virtual learning moving forward. Our teachers, school counselors, office staff, and administration have, and will continue to, work diligently to support you any way they can as we continue through our virtual learning experience.
A high school building, during our mandated closure, has different challenges to overcome and goals to meet in comparison to elementary and middle school buildings. Our high school has a 26-credit graduation requirement, student pathways for course study and credit, and many advanced courses that earn high school and college-level credits. Although enrichment opportunities provided an option for participation, our high school must now take the next step in our virtual learning journey and provide students instructional lessons and learning activities that are graded and keep them on track for graduation from OFHS. (The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provided a grid for state school districts to share what they were implementing for virtual learning programming. Of the over two hundred school districts to respond, Oconto Falls High School was one of two which was not grading academic work in some capacity.)
Below is a detailed description of our high school’s implementation of a CREDIT/NO CREDIT grading policy and instructional/learning format for Semester II of this school year, which was acted upon by our school board at a meeting on Tuesday, April 14. This implementation will continue through the duration of our state mandated school closure.
Please seek out the help of your teachers and administration if you need additional support as you work through your offsite, virtual learning experience. I am confident, based on knowing who you are, you are going to do what generations of Oconto Falls Panthers have done when faced with a challenge – you are going to thrive, be the very best you can be, and succeed in a way that makes a difficult circumstance a positive experience that makes you better! We will get through this together, grow from this together, and become stronger through this together.
Mr. Jake Beschta
Oconto Falls High School Principal
Mr. Danny Smith
Oconto Falls High School Associate Principal
OFHS Alternative School Coordinator
2019-2020 Semester II CREDIT/NO CREDIT Grading Expectations
Week Course Schedule
Monday & Wednesday: Class Periods 1, 2, 3, 4
Tuesday & Thursday: Class Periods 5, 6, 7, 8
Friday: Student Work Day, Teacher Planning, Student/Teacher Contacts
- EXCEPTION: Students enrolled in NWTC, UWGB, St. Norbert, and/or AP courses will continue with the current course schedule (daily), course work, and grading based on the institution’s expectations.
- Each lesson will be planned to require a minimum of 25 minutes and a maximum of 40 minutes of student engagement and work completion. Teachers will continue to post office hours to address student questions, support individual students, and make parent/guardian contacts. Each day’s lessons will be posted between 7 – 9 AM the day of the lessons.
- Each week’s instruction, based on each individual course, will choose an essential learning target determined by the teacher and department to focus instruction. These essential learning targets will be clearly posted and communicated, and will guide instruction each week. Learning targets will be equitable and similar regardless of instructional method. (virtual vs. packet) If you are an individual who needs paper copies, please contact the high school office at 9208484467 or email Principal Beschta at email@example.com. Arrangements can be made to have paper copies picked up at the high school office. Completed paper copies will need to be returned to the high school office by a due date determined by the classroom teacher.
- Teachers and ADMIN will support student learning by providing feedback through the use of Google Classroom, Schoology, NEO (learning management system), ZOOM video, LOOM demonstration videos, email, and phone conversation. If a student is not engaging, the classroom teacher, school counselors, support staff member, and ADMIN will be in frequent contact with the student and his/her parents/guardians to find ways to support, provide additional instruction, and/or provide additional opportunities to demonstrate proficiency toward the essential learning targets. work completion.
- Students with an IEP or 504 will be provided necessary resources and accommodations through collaboration between classroom teacher, support staff member, case manager, the student, and parents/guardians. If a change needs to be made, an IEP meeting can be scheduled to make necessary changes. Additionally, classroom teachers, support staff, case managers, the student, and parents/guardians will consider, as necessary, alternative methods to measure whether a student has met or exceeded minimum proficiency standards.
- Every effort will be made to ensure that students have received feedback and opportunities to demonstrate at least an understanding of all learning targets. (The GOAL will be, and always will be, to have students aim toward achieving a mastery understanding; however, we also know in these difficult times that realistic goals need to be set for student achievement.)
CREDIT / NO CREDIT Semester II Grading
- Third-quarter grades will be progress monitoring grades ONLY and will be determined based on what the student achieved as of March 13. Students will have the opportunity to continue to make-up/correct any assignments/assessments which were assigned and graded through March 13. (These opportunities can only improve grades.) Make-up and late work through March 13 must be completed by 3:45 PM on May 1.
- Course CREDIT/NO CREDIT will be determined by cumulative work throughout Semester II. Academic work, beginning on April 20, will be assigned a point value and graded. Work beginning April 20, the progress-monitoring grade from March 13, and a student’s daily engagement in completing work will be considered to determine the student’s Semester II CREDIT/NO CREDIT grade. Final CREDIT/NO CREDIT decision will be made by the high school principal.
- A student who receives NO CREDIT will not receive Semester II course credit, and he/she will be provided additional opportunities – summer school, Odysseyware course(s), or potentially additional time based on circumstance – to complete work.
- In order to receive CREDIT for work beginning April 20, a student must demonstrate at least a minimum proficiency of assigned learning targets through completion of assigned course work. Minimum proficiency will be determined by the classroom teacher and must meet at least a percentage score of 64% or better.
- Semester II will NOT be calculated into a student’s cumulative GPA. Class of 2020 grade point average will be finalized as of the conclusion of Semester VII of the senior classes’ high school experience. ( Each year, all scholarships are awarded based on Semester VII GPA and achievements.)
- THERE WILL BE NO SEMESTER II FINAL EXAM SCHEDULE.
To Families and Community Members:
School Board Meetings
During the COVID-19 school closure, the Oconto Falls Public Schools Board of Education will be streaming meetings LIVE on YouTube. The date and time of each meeting as well as a link to view the live stream will be available on our webpage https://ofpanthers.com/district-office/board-of-education/.
Join Board Meeting Virtually by:
Please keep in mind, the live stream is only available while the meeting is in session. This complies with State Open Meetings Law. We will not be maintaining the videos to be viewed at a later time on our webpage. Again, please understand that this option to watch the Board meetings live is only during the school closure.
Public Comment for Board Meetings
We are offering an option to the public to share comments with the Board. Please understand these submissions will be reviewed and will be subject to Board Policy 0167.3. If you would like to submit comments to the Board, please click on the following link Public Participation Submission form.
District Office Communication
We have recently added a COVID-19 Update webpage that will host our District communication throughout this closure. There are many things that are changing daily, and we are doing our best to make decisions and communicate as quickly as we possibly can.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Debbie Woods at (920) 848-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and please stay safe!