From The Superintendent’s Office

Greetings to everyone in the Bon Homme School District. This is Superintendent Brad Peters and I want to provide an update on current information relating to the District’s actions concerning the pandemic.

Since the first day of the shutdown many questions have surfaced concerning school issues. Answers have been difficult to provide for many questions. Most answers are based on information provided by our state authorities.  As with all school districts, we have been following the lead of Governor Noem, the Department of Education and the CDC in our decision making process and will continue to do so. Governor Noem announced yesterday that medical experts are expecting the peak of the pandemic to hit South Dakota in late May or early June. Today, she has closed schools through May 1st. Because of the shutdown, we must plan for long term alternative instruction for students.

Regarding student education, our district is putting a few things in place to better assist students and parents. I want to emphasize that our plans are a work in progress and will be adjusted, as needed, moving forward.

Beginning the week of March 30th, students or parents will be able to access necessary teacher information on the school website. Teachers are currently in the process of preparing their individual websites for the upcoming week.   

When you access the District website, you will need to click on the faculty tab and locate the site your child attends. Once the correct site is accessed, you will see three tabs located next to your child’s teacher. The first is the teacher’s email address. Many of you are already familiar with this. The second tab is the teacher’s website.  Lesson plans and any additional attachments related to the weekly lessons will be located there. The third tab is the teacher’s Zoom Classroom. Access has been set up so students can communicate with teachers face to face on this site. Teachers will post their office hours for accessibility to students. If a conflict prevents a student from communicating with a teacher during their listed time slot, they may work with the teacher to establish a mutually agreeable time to meet.    

I want to emphasize that each teacher’s instructional mode may vary. Instruction may be delivered electronically, in the form of hard copy materials or a combination of both. Because some instruction will be done through hard copy materials, we will continue to collect and distribute hard copy packets on a weekly basis. Teachers will be communicating their plans to students concerning their preferred format. All questions or concerns related to this should be addressed with individual teachers. We will continue to evaluate how we can improve on providing instruction moving forward.

This week students should be working on the educational materials provided in their current packets. The completed work for the week of Monday, March 23rd through Thursday, March 26th may be dropped off at a student’s respective school on Monday, March 30th from 7:00 am through 1:00 pm. In Tabor, the drop off is the elementary commons. For Springfield, it is the west entrance of the elementary school. For Tyndall Elementary and Middle/High School students, drop offs will occur in the elementary commons. At that time, students will receive packets for the week of March 30th through April 3rd. 

Middle school laptop computers have been prepared for students who currently do not have access to a home computer. These may be picked up during the packet exchange time frame. Computers will be available in the commons area. A usage agreement will need to be signed by parents before a computer is taken home. 

Any computer needing repair may also be dropped off during the packet exchange period. Computers will be repaired in an appropriate time frame. Once repairs have been completed, students will be notified. They may then pick the repaired computer up on the next packet exchange date.   
A few other items to note;

A. At this time, the Snack Pack Program is expanding from the traditional one day per week distribution to two days per week. Lunches will be distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays at each school site in Tyndall, Tabor and Springfield. If you currently are not signed up and wish to participate, please call the school at 589-3388. 

B. Questions have been presented concerning prom and graduation exercises. At this point, it is difficult to predict what we will be allowed to do. We will continue to monitor recommendations made by the governmental groups mentioned earlier and base decisions accordingly.   

C. Finally, the federal government is providing states the opportunity to apply for a waiver, regarding annual state assessments for students. South Dakota has applied for the waiver and has been formally approved. As well, we are waiting on the Department of Education’s position, concerning the mandated recess from school. The Department has informed schools that we must demonstrate that every effort is being made to move student learning forward. Regardless of whether or not students take a state assessment, it is important Bon Homme students are prepared academically to begin the next school year at appropriate learning levels. Together, we can do just that. 

I want to thank you for your support and patience during this time of uncertainty.  

For now, please stay healthy and safe.