Board Meeting Highlight (April 21) - Dr. Talisa Dixon's Superintendent's Report
A transcription of Dr. Dixon's report from the April 21 Board of Education meeting is below. To watch her full report, please see the queued-up video above.
First, as I’m sure everyone saw yesterday, Governor DeWine announced the statewide closure of school buildings for the remainder of the academic year. I agree with the Governor’s decision, as we must put the health and safety of our students, staff, and community first.
Despite our buildings being closed, please know that remote learning continues through the end of the school year for Columbus City Schools.
As we have stated over the past several weeks, we don’t have all of the answers immediately about how this unprecedented crisis affects our district, our students, and our staff, but we are working diligently on finding out the answers and the solutions to any problems that arise.
My heart goes out to our students who are missing significant life experiences and activities during this statewide closure. We have many student-athletes who are not able to compete, students who are not able to participate in important extracurricular activities, and students who are not able to attend field trips -- which can often be the highlight or capstone event of a school year.
We know that these opportunities and activities mean so much to our students and their families. Please know that we are here to help and support you in any way that we can. Our schools are a safe haven for so many of our students, and we want to be here for them in this time of great uncertainty.
Despite our buildings being closed, Columbus City Schools remains committed to providing quality educational opportunities for our students remotely through our Online Academy. We just returned from Spring Break yesterday, and our teachers and staff are engaged in remote educational activities with our students.
CCS also remains committed to helping our families find solutions to basic needs such as food, healthcare, and technology. As we continue to follow the guidance of our public health officials, who are working in our collective best interest, here is what CCS continues to do to support our students and their families during this ongoing pandemic.
After a brief hiatus for Spring Break, the CCS Online Academy continues this week with distance learning opportunities for all students. If you have not logged on or connected virtually with your teacher, I strongly encourage you to do so this week. Our school buildings may be closed, but learning is continuing virtually through our Online Academy.
Teachers are assigning required work for their students. For many of our seniors, this online coursework is important to complete in order to meet graduation requirements.
Our Academic Services and Accountability teams will be presenting the new grading system for our Online Academy later in my Superintendent’s Report for tonight. More information will be available for families and staff this week.
Access to Technology
We know that access to technology -- computers and reliable internet -- is an issue for some of our families. CCS is committed to doing all that we can to help families overcome this barrier.
Families who are still in need of a Chromebook laptop can make an appointment to get a computer at our Central Enrollment Center (430 Cleveland Ave., 43215). Families can call (614) 365-6471 between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Chromebooks will be given out by appointment Tuesday, April 21, through Saturday, April 25, and Monday, April 27, at Central Enrollment.
Though not the best option, students who cannot access the internet at home can still access our District’s WiFi network at our schools. Our Department of Technology has boosted the WiFi signals at our buildings to extend into the parking lots. Click here for an alphabetized list of all school locations that have tested and confirmed boosted WiFi strength.
We have a limited number of WiFi hotspot devices available to loan out. We are prioritizing first our class of 2020, 2019, and 2018 students who still need to complete their graduation requirements. More information will be shared directly with these families.
Roughly one in six of our students come from a home where English is not the primary language. In fact, there are more than 100 different languages and dialects spoken by families in Columbus City Schools.
The District’s ESL team is playing a vital role in translating information going out to our CCS families about academics and social emotional supports. Parents, nurses, teachers, and other school personnel in need of assistance with communication can call the District's Language Assistance Center. Click here for language-specific phone numbers.
Our Partnership in Action Team developed the “C-Bus Village” website with information geared specifically to our non-English speaking students, families and business. This website contains:
- translated health information sheets and videos from the Centers for Disease Control,
- suggestions on ways to prevent misinformation from spreading, and
- maps to food pantries and local service providers.
There’s additional information for CCS students and families on how to access the new Online Academy and other online academic platforms. For more information, visit cbusvillage.org.
We continue to distribute breakfast and lunch grab-and-go meals at 15 school sites throughout the city. Students and parents can pick up free breakfasts and lunches Monday through Friday for any children age 18 and under.
Our community partners at Mid-Ohio Foodbank and Columbus Recreation and Parks are also providing fresh fruits and vegetables at mobile produce markets at our grab-and-go sites on a bi-weekly rotation. Free bags of fresh produce are provided to adults. Click here for the dates, times, locations.
Student Health and Wellness
During the school year, many of our students have come to rely on easy access to healthcare through our school-based clinics staffed by Nationwide Children’s Hospital. To help those families, our partners at Nationwide Children’s Hospital will bring their mobile unit to:
- South High School on Tuesdays,
- East High School on Wednesdays, and
- West High School on Thursdays.
The mobile units will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Click here for more information.
Virtual Town Hall With City Council
Last week, I joined a virtual town hall with City Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown and Chief Engagement Officer Alesia Gillison. We discussed a number of education-related issues and questions including topics such as the process to reopen schools, honoring our senior class, and how to volunteer among other topics. We covered a wealth of information for our school community, so I encourage you to watch the video which is available on our social media channels and the City of Columbus YouTube channel.