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A message from DC WEST COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
Update June 29, 2020
Hello DC West Falcons!
I know many families and staff members are getting anxious about our school district reopening plans as they are seeing area districts make announcements. I want to reassure you that we are still planning with the goal of a physical return to school on time in the Fall of 2020 with all of our staff and students every day all day. We continue to work in close communication with state and local governments, health officials, and surrounding school districts. Even though area school districts are all in the similar county health departments, each district is unique and will be adjusting their plans based upon what is best for their context and school district. We will do the same. We are relying on current research from medical organizations, advisement from government and health officials, as well as keeping a realistic approach to protocols that will focus on health and sanitation around five main pillars:
As well as protocols on health and sanitation, we feel it is appropriate to develop plans around the various levels of attendance we may find ourselves in throughout the 2020-2021 school year dependent upon the risk of virus or directives we may receive from government or health officials. As stated, our goal is to re-open with all students and staff on time every day in the 100% plan, but at any point we may be asked to implement a different level of attendance and we want to be prepared. We will create educational plans and protocols around three different scenarios:
As stated in previous communications, all three of these approaches as well as the health and sanitation protocols are being developed this summer with details. We will present a draft of our plan with specifics at the Board of Education Meeting, July 13th, with an announcement of the draft to our entire community shortly after.
Some districts in our area have selected to send surveys to their families. We have not done so at this time, as we want to be clear about what parts of the planning are by choice and what parts are directives to follow. After you are able to review our draft plan, we will be asking for your comfort level and any individual needs you may have as a family by way of a survey.
The context of this health situation is changing daily, we do not want to rush to final conclusions to soon but rather keep you informed of our real time progress along the way. If at any time you have a question or would like to share information with me, please contact me personally by email at email@example.com.
Thank you for your support and patience,
Dr. Melissa Poloncic
Update June 16, 2020
Dear DC West Parents,
The state and nation are beginning to open up cautiously over time. The same process has taken place for us at DC West. We have begun re-opening our schools slowly this summer through summer weightlifting workouts as well as driver’s education class for students. Our MEALS TO GO program continues to feed students at five locations across the district and is averaging 300 meals per day. Our plans continue for an in person Unfinished Learning Jumpstart (Summer School) for students K-12 July 27th- August 7th.
We are planning with the goal of a physical return to school on time in the Fall of 2020 with all of our staff and students. We are working in close communication with state and local governments, health officials, and surrounding school districts in order to develop protocols and procedures to keep our students and staff safe during this return. These protocols will focus on health and sanitation around four main pillars:
As well as protocols on health and sanitation, we feel it is appropriate to develop plans around the various levels of attendance we may find ourselves in throughout the 2020-2021 school year dependent upon the risk of virus or directives we may receive from government or health officials. As stated, our goal is to plan for a re-opening with all students and staff on time, but at any point we may be asked to implement a different level of attendance and we want to be prepared. We will create educational plans and protocols around three different scenarios:
All three of these approaches will be fully developed this summer as we feel we need to be adaptable to move from level to level at any given time to continue the learning for our students.
We plan to communicate the development of these plans with you throughout the summer. Our target date for the release of more specific protocols and plans is the first part of July. Once the plan is more formalized, we will create a handbook or website that families, staff, and students can access in real time. As you know, this situation changes over time with new research and science so we ask for your flexibility as plans may change over time.
Thank you for your partnership,
Dr. Melissa Poloncic, Superintendent
Update May 11, 2020
Dear DC West Staff and Families,
Important end-of-year communication with information on several items including:
Student materials pick-up and drop-off
Summer and Fall planning
Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation
As previously announced, this Friday, May 15th will be our last day of student eLearning. We have been so appreciative of the positive comments, coordination, and communication we have been able to have with our families during this difficult time. This is not the end of the school year that any of us had anticipated, yet in true DC West style, we came together and made this the very best we could for our students and communities. I thank both the teachers and parents very much for all that you have done to support and carry on learning for your students during this time.
Student Materials Pick-Up and Drop-Off
As we concluded our time at school abruptly, we know that many students still have belongings at school and we also have checked out many school items to students and families at home. In order to return these items, we have organized the following days for materials pick-up and drop-off.
Thursday, May 21st or Friday, May 22
(Pick-up) Personal Student Items will already be bagged up from their academic locker, classroom desk, and athletic locker by DC West Staff. These materials will be ready for pick-up from 9am-6pm on Thursday, May 21st or Friday, May 22.
(Drop-off) School Issued Items that need to be returned to your student’s specific school are iPads (including chargers & cords), textbooks, library books, any school-issued athletic gear, and any miscellaneous items.
The Pick-up and Drop-off areas are designated below:
(Elementary) in the Drop-off and Pick-up circle in front of the Main Elementary Entrance.
(Middle School) in the Drop-off and Pick-up Lane at the Side of the Middle School.
(High School) in the Bus Loading and Unloading Zone in Front of the High School.
We need all DC West Families at the Elementary, Middle School, and High School to plan on participating in the Pick-up and Drop-off on Thursday, May 21st or Friday, May 22nd between the hours of 9:00AM-1:00PM or 2:00PM-6:00PM.
No students or families will be allowed into the school building during this time as we are continuing to thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas of the school buildings and remain closed. In order to maintain our social distancing as a school and community, we will have staff members assist with the pick-up and drop-off process. In order to follow CDC regulations, please remain in your vehicle during pick-up and drop-off.
Students who are attending online summer school will check in their iPads after summer school concludes.
Seniors must have all school materials turned in before diplomas will be given.
DC West is committed to serving daily lunch/breakfast for our students Monday-Thursday until July 31st.
We have served approximately 500 meals daily at our five sites since the school closure began in March. Just a few reminders about the MEALS-TO-GO:
Thank you to our food service staff and paraprofessionals who have kept the MEALS-TO-GO program running to feed our students!
Summer and Fall Planning for Return to School
Our goal is to return to activities and school at the level in which it is safe for students and staff. We are waiting to see what the direct health measures will look like beyond May 31st. Myself and our administrators are a part of multiple meetings per week with state and local officials discussing plans, timelines, and options of how and when a return will happen. However we are required to do so, we will continue to support our families together or apart. We hope to be together very soon and will keep in close communication with you as this summer progresses.
Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation
Douglas County West Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation Ceremony
Sunday, May 17th, 2020
TV~ Cox Yurview Channel 13 or https://www.yurview.com
**more details will be sent via email this week
Thank you again for your support and collaboration. Together we are Falcon Strong!
Stay safe and well,
Dr. Melissa Poloncic
Update April 14, 2020
Important Announcements for
the remainder of the School Year
at DC West Community Schools
The following decisions have been made as adjustments to our district calendar in order to accommodate the end of the year learning remotely:
The last day of eLearning for the school year will be Friday, May 15.
The last workday for teachers and paraprofessionals will be Friday, May 22.
The MEALS-TO-GO program will be serving daily meals until Friday, May 22.
A Virtual Graduation Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 17. (details to come)
An In-Person Graduation Ceremony has been scheduled on Sunday, August 2, 2020
A decision regarding check-in and pick up of materials from school has not yet been made.
We will communicate this decision as we receive more guidance from local health officials regarding these activities.
Update April 2, 2020
DC West Families and Staff,
I am struggling to write you this message as I have to share the news I didn't want to have to this school year. As of last night, Governor Ricketts has ordered all schools to operate remotely through May 31, 2020. Therefore, we will not physically return to our school buildings together this school year. My heart is heavy delivering this message as I know we all hoped to return to our buildings in May for the important celebrations and closure that we have in a typical school year. At the same time, my heart is full, knowing the tremendous support we have all given one another to make this unfortunate situation the best that it can be. I am proud to be a Falcon because of all of you and I know that we will rise above this circumstance and find a way to honor and conclude our school year together, even if we are physically apart.
There are many questions and decisions that this news brings. We need some time to thoughtfully plan and then communicate the details for the remainder of the year. You can expect that we will continue with our eLearning, MEALS-TO-GO, and follow our planned school calendar. All of the remaining details will be communicated in the upcoming days.
We understand that this time has been difficult for families who are balancing their lives, work, and school at home. You are doing a tremendous job and we appreciate the partnership we have with you! Don't worry or stress about how it is going, we all need some grace during this unprecedented time. Keep the communication open and please contact your teachers, principals, or my office for any support you need.
I'd like to thank the hundreds of parents who are tirelessly teaching their children at home, the creative and inspirational teachers who are designing ways for students to engage and learn away from school, the dedicated food service employees and paraprofessionals who are serving roughly 1,800 meals a week to our students, the administrators and administrative assistants who are continuing our business and operations of the school district and the buildings and grounds crew who has been deep cleaning. We are #FalconStrong!
Dr. Melissa Poloncic
Update March 27, 2020
"A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains." ~ Kevin Rose
I begin my message with this quote as I am extremely proud of our staff, families, and communities for keeping the vision of who we are as a school district in focus during this difficult time. I believe we are not only focused on the continuation of learning remotely, but we are also focused on the importance of caring for ourselves and one another. DC West staff are fully engaged by teaching from home, assisting with the MEALS-TO-GO program each weekday, deep cleaning our schools, and facilitating and coordinating the response for families from home and school. If you need specific assistance either with eLearning or family needs, our Superintendent Office is open and staffed every day. The best hours to call the district office at 402-359-2583 are between 10am-2pm.
Although the Nebraska Commissioner of Education has recommended school closures through the end of the year, we have been collaborating with our metro Omaha and ESU3 peers and have decided to wait for more guidance from the Douglas County Health Department and the Governor before we make any decisions beyond our physical school closure through May 1st. We plan to continue with eLearning and our MEALS-TO-GO programs until further notice.
Just a reminder that our MEALS-TO-GO pick up locations every weekday at 11:30am are:
Platte Valley Apartments, Valley
The Pines bus stop, Valley
DC West Middle/High School in the bus lane, Valley
Waterloo Christian Church parking lot, Waterloo
ThriveSpace parking lot, Waterloo
Stay safe and healthy~ care for one another~ #FalconStrong
Dr. Melissa Poloncic, Superintendent
Update March 20, 2020
Good afternoon DC West Families and Staff,
Let me start by saying DC WEST ROCKS! Our staff, families, students, and community are taking this unfortunate school closure in stride and finding the opportunity to come together and support each other as a Falcon Family. I am extremely proud and honored to work with all of you!
This is a difficult time for many mixed with a variety of emotions. As a community resource, we want to be able to support our families and students in every way possible. Although we are not attending school physically, our operations and availability to serve students and families will be ongoing. We will attempt to stay in regular communication with you and would like for you to do the same. If your family has needs, please let a teacher, administrator, or the Superintendent's Office know.
We write today to share new developments with the school closure.
Government and health officials have ordered conditions that will make school closure necessary through Friday, May 1st.
We are saddened by this announcement for many reasons, yet we are in a situation where we have to follow health department guidelines and state-level directives. We will always prioritize the health and safety of our students. As the school closure continues, this also means all activities and special events are canceled as well. Our hope is that we will still be able to unite in May to honor our Class of 2020 and bring closure to our school year back in the buildings. We will be working on alternate plans if that is not possible.
Our eLearning and MEALS-TO-GO program will begin on Monday, March 23.
We will follow our regular school calendar for both of these programs.
We will still observe spring break April 10-13. No academic assignments will be assigned on those days.
eLearning is a new experience for us, yet I am so impressed with the DC West staff and what they have planned for you.
As a DC West family you can expect:
If your family is needing assistance with a device or internet at home, please contact the Superintendent's Office at 402-359-2583.
We have created MEALS-TO-GO for all DC West students each school day during the closure. You can expect:
Due to the amount of communication that we have been sending and will send in the future, we have created a link on our district webpage, dcwest.org to put important information. If you need assistance during school hours, emailing is the best method but the Superintendent's Office will be open during the closure, you may call 402-359-2583 for assistance.
Stay safe, healthy, and strong,
Dr. Melissa Poloncic
Update March 17, 2020
DC West Families,
Based on an announcement by the Nebraska Commissioner of Education, DC West Community Schools will close indefinitely with a review every two weeks. We will review again on April 3rd, the school closure may last several weeks. During the school closure, there are no activities or athletics, building use or student gatherings on campus. All of this is in an effort to help slow the community spread of COVID-19 to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our families.
On Monday, March 23rd, DC West will begin eLearning. Our staff has been working diligently to create online learning opportunities for students aligned with state standards and critical curriculum for their subject or grade level. This will allow student learning to continue remotely. We understand that all families may not have internet or a device. We have been making phone calls home to each family to determine if you need the internet or a device and we are willing to provide both if it is needed. If we haven't reached you, please email or call the school. As a DC West family you can expect:
eLearning will be very different than our normal school day routine, yet we are hopeful that this will create opportunities for students to continue learning throughout the closure. We understand that families may have circumstances or health issues that will prevent them from completing assignments or work, we ask that you communicate those barriers with us so we can support your family.
Many of our DC West families rely on school breakfast and lunch. We have created MEALS-TO-GO for all DC West students each school day during the closure. You can expect:
We are in unprecedented times. A quote we have been working from this week is, "Let the crisis push your team to think mission, not method. The methods will change. The mission does not." ~ Rich Burch We will continue to do our best work in order to serve our students and communities.
Dr. Melissa Poloncic
Douglas County West High School
Celebrate the Class of 2020
Virtual Graduation Ceremony
Congratulations Class of 2020
Mark Your Calendar Graduation Ceremony Scheduled for August 2, 2020
DC West High School is still hoping to have a face to face graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020.
That ceremony is now scheduled for August 2, 2020 at DC West High School.
We hope to know early in July if this ceremony will be allowed for health reasons or not.