School Update Banner
  • September 25, 2020

    Our students, teachers, and employees continue to overcome COVID-19 related challenges, turning them into opportunities with a positive mindset as we focus on our core business of teaching and learning. We sincerely appreciate your support and understanding throughout it all. Day-by-day, class-by-class, we are making extraordinary progress towards a brighter future together for our students. 

    Revised School Calendar

    As you are aware, schools and the School Board Office were closed for Hurricanes Laura, Marco, and Sally. As a result, revisions to the school calendar were necessary to adjust for missed instructional time. The School Board approved a revised 2020-2021 school session calendar at Wednesday night’s School Board Meeting. The approved revisions were made to provide the greatest opportunity to maximize instructional minutes while avoiding disruption to employees and families’ schedules.

    Those revisions include:

    • Extending the fall semester to January 7, 2021,
    • Eliminating the previously scheduled student holiday on January 4, 2021 (Students now return from the Christmas Break on January 4 instead of January 5.),
    • Eliminating mid-term and final exams for high school students which allows these former early-dismissal exam days for high school students to become regular/full days, and
    • Changing the high school early-dismissal day scheduled for December 2 into a regular/full day.

    A revised school calendar is available on the district’s website.

    Athletics

    The fall season brings the start of many events. We are grateful that athletics and associated auxiliary student group performances will resume for our students and their families. School administration, with district leadership, have made plans for spectator attendance at athletic events with guidance from the CDC, State Fire Marshal, and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA). Due to required safety measures and game operations, fan attendance will not be the same as in past years. There will be limited seating capacity, social distancing measures, and a mandatory face covering requirement for all spectators. Plans have been made to prioritize attendance for families of student-athletes and support groups, as well as the student body. Please check with each high school for additional information relative to attendance and ticketing. Additionally, we are excited to share that middle school volleyball, football, and basketball will soon begin as well.

    Arts

    As athletics fall under LHSAA guidance, the arts follow guidance from the Louisiana Department of Education. School arts programs are following guidelines by using proper safety measures, including rehearsing primarily outdoors and moving indoors only when absolutely necessary, such as in inclement weather. Performances in event venues are subject to the State Fire Marshal’s OpenSafely guidelines which state that indoor live entertainment is not allowed at this time. The school system is exploring performance options for students which follow state guidelines and mitigate risks while allowing for the invaluable opportunities the performing arts bring to our community.

    Census

    The deadline to complete the 2020 Census is September 30, 2020. If you have not done so already, please complete the census online at my2020census.gov. Completing the census is quick, secure, and ensures our schools and community have the resources needed for funding and community growth.

    Thank you again for your patience, support, and understanding. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your children.

    Dr. Ken Oertling
    Superintendent
    St. Charles Parish Public Schools

     

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    September 11, 2020

    Welcome to Phase 3! As you are probably aware, Governor Edwards announced yesterday that the state would enter Phase 3 today.  The school system continues to evaluate current practices, make modifications where appropriate, and keep you informed of any changes. Any decisions made will be focused upon optimizing classroom instruction while mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.  The health and safety of our students and employees remain our top priorities. We must continue minimizing potential risks and doing our part to reduce the positivity rate in our community and state.

    As outlined in our Family Reopening Guide, school and instructional schedules will remain the same (as they are now) for Phase 3 to accommodate operating both school-based and virtual learning systems. We will continue following all of the safety measures outlined in the guide such as disinfecting, maximizing social distancing, wearing face coverings, monitoring symptoms, and maintaining static groups to the greatest extent possible. 

    Although bus capacity increases to 75%, we will not make adjustments to bus routes currently established in case we need to return to Phase 2. We will use the additional capacity when necessary to address challenges and other transportation services.

    So, what changes can you expect in Phase 3?

    The transition to Phase 3 helps our enrichment and afterschool activities by increasing participation capacity with social distancing to 50 individuals.  Additionally, the performing arts are less restrictive, allowing choir, band, and theatre students to perform indoors with proper safety measures in place. In regards to athletic competitions, we are developing plans aligned to guidance from the Louisiana State Fire Marshall which reduces spectator attendance with appropriate safety measures. Participating students including those in support groups and their families will be prioritized before opening for general attendance. Additionally, we are actively pursuing guidance from state and health officials relative to indoor and outdoor performance venues for our arts programs.

    Thank you again for your patience, support, and understanding. We are excited to safely embrace the new opportunities available in Phase 3 and appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your children.

    Have a great weekend!

    Dr. Ken Oertling
    Superintendent
    St. Charles Parish Public Schools

     

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

    September 4, 2020

    We successfully completed another full week of school.  I sincerely appreciate everything our students, employees, families, and community have done to support our operations during these difficult times. While there are and continue to be challenges, we have so much for which to be thankful. Yet, we can’t help but think about our neighbors in southwest Louisiana who have been impacted by Hurricane Laura. As a way to support relief efforts in that area, we are adopting Allen Parish Schools and will collect monetary donations to give to the Allen Parish School Board. Schools who wish to participate will be sharing information with employees and families.

    As we enter this Labor Day weekend, I’d like to remind you that schools, eLearning, and the School Board Office will be closed on Monday, September 7 for the holiday. While I know many will enjoy the long weekend with family and friends, please help us keep the virus outside of our buildings by continuing to social distance, wear a face covering, and wash your hands frequently this extended weekend. By adhering to these safety measures, together we are making a difference in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community.

    The Family Reopening Guide has been updated and is available on the school system’s website. Updates to notification protocols and face coverings have been made based upon recommendations from the Louisiana Department of Health. The CDC does not recommend the use of neck gaiters as a substitute for cloth face coverings. Therefore, effective Tuesday, September 8, neck gaiters will not be allowed.

    High school eLearning students who are enrolled in a LEAP 2025 course (Algebra I, Geometry, English I, English II, Biology, U. S. History) are required by state law to take the LEAP 2025 assessment. These assessments will be administered in November and December. The LEAP 2025 assessments are required for graduation, and the student must take the assessments face-to-face. The student’s final course grade is comprised of 80% of the course work (Edgenuity) and 20% of the LEAP 2025 assessment. If a student does not take the assessment, the student will receive a zero for 20% of their final grade. More details for the assessment such as dates and locations will be announced to those eLearning students later in the semester.

    If you haven’t done so already, please complete the back-to-school paperwork online through the PowerSchool Parent Portal and remember to complete the 2020 census.

    Thank you again for your patience, support, and understanding. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your children.

    Dr. Ken Oertling
    Superintendent
    St. Charles Parish Public Schools

     

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

    August 21, 2020

    This week we officially welcomed back all of our pre-k students and completed our second full week of school. I continue to be amazed and humbled by the support we have received from our families, employees, and community. This unique school year has presented us with many challenges, but we continue to pull together to make the most of the situation while keeping our students and employees safety as top priorities.

    We ask that you help us keep the virus outside of our buildings by ensuring our students continue practicing social distancing while in the community, wearing face coverings, washing their hands frequently, staying home when sick, and reporting any positive test results to school. Together we can continue lowering the impact of this virus in our schools and community. I also know it is concerning anytime a positive notification is sent out, but please know we have health and safety protocols in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and work directly with the Region III Department of Health Medical Director on recommended actions. Almost every case we have experienced has been associated with outside school transmission. This means our safety protocols and mitigation efforts are effective. While asking students and employees to self-quarantine is also difficult, doing so minimizes the chance of spread. There are a wide-range of symptoms associated with COVID-19; therefore, we ask that you do not send your child to school even if they are exhibiting mild symptoms such as a headache or stomach ache. By doing so, you are helping us keep our students and heroic employees safe by the remote chance the symptoms are related to COVID-19.  

    As a reminder, any decision relative to schools and/or classroom closures are made in collaboration with public health officials. In the unfortunate event we must close a school or classroom temporarily or for an extended period of time, we will notify you. It is extremely important to provide your most up-to-date contact information, email address, and cell phone number by completing the online back-to-school paperwork.

    It is also important to have the latest contact information on file in the event of weather-related closures. We are monitoring the two tropical disturbances forecasted to enter the Gulf of Mexico early next week. We are in communication with the parish’s emergency operations center and will keep you updated on any potential changes to school operations. We will continue to use the Blackboard Connect messaging system to communicate directly with our families and information will be posted to our website and social media accounts.

    Thank you again for your patience, support, and understanding. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your children.

     

    Dr. Ken Oertling
    Superintendent
    St. Charles Parish Public Schools

     

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    August 14, 2020

    I am grateful to say we have completed a full week of school for most of our students, launched our eLearning Program, and welcomed back our kindergarten students. By this Tuesday all of our pre-kindergarten students will be on campus.

    I am proud of the way we have come together to navigate operating schools during a pandemic. We would not have been able to reopen our schools, launch a new eLearning Program, and start the school year on time without support, understanding, and flexibility from our parents, students, employees, School Board, and community. 

    Each of our more than 1,700 employees has worked harder these past few weeks than ever before to provide our students with high quality educational opportunities to prepare them for the future.

    As expected and planned for, there are students and employees who have reported confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. This will continue as we operate schools during a pandemic. We communicate daily with the Louisiana Department of Health, follow their guidance, and implement protocols established as outlined in our Family Reopening Guide. Anytime we are notified of a confirmed positive test result, we identify and personally contact guardians of any students and employees who were in close contact. Additionally, once close contacts have been contacted, a school-wide courtesy email is sent to all employees and parents of that school.

    Please know the safety of our employees and students are paramount, and any decision relative to schools and/or classroom closures will be made in collaboration with public health officials. In the unfortunate event we must close a school or classroom temporarily or for an extended period of time, we will notify you via phone call, email, and text. It is extremely important to provide your most up-to-date contact information, email address, and cell phone number by completing the online back-to-school paperwork. Each school is prepared to provide continued learning for students in the event of a closure through the use of district-provided technology devices.

    Family Reopening Guide Update

    Updates have been made to our Family Reopening Guide. As communicated previously, this guide is a living document updated as new information and guidance are received. An updated Family Reopening Guide is available at www.stcharles.k12.la.us/strongstart2020. Revisions are highlighted in gray in the document for easy reference.

    Face Covering Restrictions

    The CDC now does not recommend face coverings with exhalation valves or vents. Therefore, effective Monday, August 17, face coverings with valves or vents will not be allowed.

    Transportation

    Throughout our planning for reopening schools with in-class instruction, we knew transportation would be one of our biggest challenges. While we have overcome many challenges, we continue to operate with staffing limitations and 50% capacity restrictions in Phase II. Welcoming our youngest students to campus this week may result in revisions to some bus routes or numbers to enhance operations and efficiency. While everything has not been perfect, our bus operators and other Transportation Department employees are working diligently to make sure we are able to offer transportation services for our students. I appreciate everything they have done, and I appreciate our families who have been patient and understanding during this time. Please know we expect it may take several more weeks until transportation has adjusted to the new routes, school times, and protocols.

    Together, we must remain prepared and willing to adapt to possible changes in this ever evolving environment. We are committed to keeping you updated with the most relevant information.

    Finally, please help us in our efforts to keep our students and employees healthy while outside of school by practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, and reporting any positive test results to your school. We’re in this together and will help each other through these times for a brighter future.

    Thank you again for your patience, support, and understanding. Have a great evening!

     

    Dr. Ken Oertling
    Superintendent
    St. Charles Parish Public Schools

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    August 7, 2020

    Thank you for a great start to the new school year. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we implement many new protocols, routines, and practices needed for COVID-19. I am proud of the way our students, employees, parents, and community have come together to make welcoming our students back to campus a reality. We know that not everything went according to plan, and we will continue making improvements as we adjust to the new normal. I sincerely thank you for the grace, understanding, and patience you have shown us during these last four months as we prepared to welcome back students. We still have some challenges to overcome; we expect more may arise, but we will continue to work diligently to address any challenges. Monday will bring about new challenges and experiences as we welcome back all of our students in grades 1-8 while our high school students report to campus according to their hybrid schedule. We expect longer delays with bus transportation, carpool lines, and arrival and dismissal routines. Your child may be picked up earlier or later than on Thursday or Friday and may arrive home later than they did on Thursday or Friday since more students will be on campus. It will take some time for our schools and transportation department to work through the new protocols and school take-in and dismissal times. Please know we are doing our very best as we prioritize the safety of students and employees.

    We must also continue to be prepared for any potential changes which may occur due to new guidance issued and/or the prevalence of the virus in our community and/or schools. This may mean closing individual classes or schools if determined necessary in collaboration with health officials. If this occurs, schools are prepared to support students while they engage in learning from home. As we begin this new school year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I ask that you continue to be understanding, flexible, and adaptable to changing situations that may occur as a result.

    Family Reopening Guide

    Updates have been made to our Family Reopening Guide. As communicated previously, this guide is a living document which will be updated as new information and guidance are received. An updated Family Reopening Guide is available at www.stcharles.k12.la.us/strongstart2020. Revisions are highlighted in gray in the document for easy reference.

    Back-To-School Online Forms

    Back-to-School forms are available online for you to complete by accessing the PowerSchool Parent Portal on a computer; unfortunately, the forms cannot be accessed through the mobile app. It is extremely important that you input your current contact information including an email address and your cell phone number.

    eLearning Program

    As a reminder for our eLearners, the eLearning Program will be hosting an informational webinar for parents of students who registered to participate in the program. There are two dates in which parents have the option to join in the live webinar. The first date for parents is Saturday, August 8 and the second date is Monday, August 10. Important information will be reviewed during the webinar in preparation for the start of eLearning on August 12. Parents may virtually attend on either date and do not need to attend both. An email has been sent to parents of eLearning students with additional information including the link to join the webinar. The eLearning parent webinar information can also be found on the district’s website, www.stcharles.k12.la.us.

    We will continue overcoming any challenges presented with compassion and resolute determination to turn them into opportunities. Together we will get through these adverse but opportunistic circumstances to ensure every student matters and every moment counts. Thank you again for your support and understanding.

     

    Dr. Ken Oertling
    Superintendent
    St. Charles Parish Public Schools