Good Evening Warrior Students and Parents........
First, I would like to say that I hope this message finds ALL of our Warriors and their families well. I am writing this message to attempt to describe what the teachers and administrators at South Grand Prairie High School have been planning this week in an effort to keep a focus on finishing our 2019-2020 school year strong. As educators, obviously we chose the kid business because we love the day to day interaction with our students. So, know that they are missed and we wish we could be conducting school business as usual.
Since we have absolutely NO control over the global challenge of fighting the Coronavirus, we wanted to focus our attention on what we CAN do for our kids at SOUTH. While the Coronavirus has obviously created hardship, fear, anxiety, worry, and a challenge for educators to provide meaningful instruction, going forward we as high school educators are attempting to keep our focus on what is best for our kids. One might ask, “Why is it SO important to make every effort to provide instruction for the next eight weeks to our kids and concentrate on helping students focus on a strong 2019-2020 finish to their high school experience?” Simply put, we as educators STRONGLY believe that this country’s leadership and immense resources will eventually “weather this storm” and that we will ultimately prevail over this crisis.
With that said, we further believe that it is extremely important that we complete the last eight weeks of the school year with a laser focus on instruction, so that we can equip each of our students with the fundamental skills they will need to start the 2020-2021 school year. In short, we still have 25% of the instructional material for this school year that is slated to be covered. It is imperative that we do everything possible to give our high school students the necessary tools to be successful at the next level of their rigorous high school coursework. For example, we must complete the instruction in Algebra 1 so that students are prepared for the next level of either Geometry or Algebra 2 next fall.
With all that said, I want to assure you, that as educators, we are not insensitive to the hardships that this current crisis is placing on all of our households including our own families. We all share many of the same concerns, and we, too, are struggling with the impact of this crisis on our own daily lives.
The GPISD’s commitment to providing EVERY high school student an iPad several years ago could not have been more FORWARD THINKING. This resource, that every student has, will allow us to bring a virtual or on-line curriculum to you son or daughter so that we can teach the last 25% of the material left to finish what has otherwise been a very highly successful school year.
Your child’s teachers are preparing to provide the best opportunity they possibly can for our students to continue their learning and finish all of the course content expected for this school year.
Teachers are preparing lessons, establishing a virtual connection with each student, and preparing to kick off the “virtual” learning experiences first thing Monday morning, March 23, 2020. Please, keep in mind parents that these are “uncharted waters” for our teachers. We are not an on-line or virtual campus. Our teachers have vast experience with accessing tools and instructional resources from all of the many great on-line providers, but as a rule, we are classroom teachers who make face-to-face contact with each student every day and have not ever had to resort to a total virtual delivery of instruction. I am saying all of this just to reinforce that we may make improvements and tweak various aspects of our lesson delivery as we see the need. So, please just bear with us. We want to make every effort to get this right and to provide the best on-line experience possible.
I hope that I have done an adequate job of explaining and soliciting your support and your patience as our South Grand Prairie High School amazing educators do their very best to provide a quality educational experience for our WARRIORS. With your help, I am determined to provide a positive and successful experience for our Warriors. “We ARE Warriors, and We Will Prevail.”
In conclusion, I will attempt to address some concerns that are being shared with me from social media. I, by choice, am not a fan of social media, but there are a number of uses that do provide us with good, timely, and easy access to a lot of people and information. For that reason, I do have assistants who do monitor social media posts and share information with me that may be useful to understanding the needs of our students and parents.
At this point with the ever-changing and challenging dynamics of this current health crisis, I simply have no timeline for when we can return to normal life. With that said, we have not finalized an answer to the questions about senior events yet. This is a fluid situation, and how we move forward (i.e., keeping it scheduled, postponing, or cancelling) will be determined by the CDC guidelines. The district has been and will continue to monitor the CDC guidelines regarding social distancing in order to keep everyone safe. We are monitoring the regulations regularly and will notify you of any cancellations as we receive guidance from the Dallas County CDC. We realize these events are very important to you and our students, and we are committed to keeping you updated as we gather more information. If you are a senior, please stay tuned to any communication from Mr. Marco Armijo who will have more details going forward.
This is just another example of the impact of this health crisis on what was our “business as usual” lives. Nothing right now is consistent with our normal routines and daily lives. With all of that said, if we have to cancel prom, a refund will be available to all who have taken advantage of pre-sales for the event.
The focus of this communication was to bring students and parents up to date about the virtual learning set to begin on Monday morning. This communication seeks to provide relevant information about our plans to continue the 2019-2020 learning experience using an on-line approach. I hope that this information proves useful as we strive to provide our students with the tools necessary to finish this year strong and we prepare ourselves to be ready for whatever comes next.
As you might expect, all of our teachers, administrators, counselors and staff are taking the same precautions that each of you are taking with respect to limiting contact with others. At this time, the school is closed and no one is allowed access. Thus, there is no one answering phones or physically present on campus except to assist with the breakfast and lunch programs. The best way to access a teacher, administrator, counselor or support staff is through their email address. They will be happy to assist with any of your needs or concerns.
Once again, I am proud to be the Warrior Principal, and I believe that with everyone’s cooperation and commitment to a strong finish, we will indeed accomplish a productive next eight weeks.
Principal of South Grand Prairie High School