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March 27, 2020 Friday Letter Volume 1, No. 29
Posted 3/27/20

#TogetherWeGrow. . . #JuntosAprendemos…#TogetherWeLead. . .

#JuntosCrecemos…#TogetherWeLearn…#JuntosLideramos!

#LeadWithResilience…#LiderarConResiliencia

 

A Personal Message to our Students, Families, Employees, and Community Members from Superintendent Dr. Martinez:

            These unprecedented times require each and every one of us to provide patience, grace, and support to each other, our educators, support providers in our schools, and especially our children. Parents are drawn into the teaching profession. Teachers are drawn into full-time parenting, while still asked to continue their teaching profession. Other support employees are asked to maintain the infrastructures of our systems, all the while being told that they should be "at-home" instead of out in public.

            These are times that are testing the hearts, minds, and souls of the strongest, and yet, educators, school employees, parents, and especially students know, like I do, that with the commitment, passion, dedication, perseverance, determination, and resilience from all, we will strive through this adversity to success!

            Our educators, our school boards, our parents, our students, our employees... we all must continue to turn to each other, rather than on each other. Again, I say, patience and grace is a must for all as we all traverse this new future for which none of us could have predicted or planned. The ingenuity, the innovation, and the human spirit will shine through even in these darkest days.

            Last night while on my evening walk my wife and I saw the picture below, looked at each other and smiled.

            She, as a teacher, is busy with connecting to children all day who are lost in a world that is unfamiliar to them and need to see her reassuring smile, hear her voice, and feel her care even through the internet. She is working to calm the fears of her fellow teachers who have not yet become skilled-up with the new technologies that they all will need to connect to children. What is more, she is also working to calm the fears of parents who feel that they cannot provide for their own children, even with the thousands of resources that the internet, social media, education institutions keep pushing out and asking them to use.

            I am working through the chaos of trying to launch a new space ship into uncharted territories with propellers and duct tape for spare parts, and trying to calm the fears of educators who are seeking answers to yesterday’s questions. I am working to quell the anxieties of so many caring, compassionate people who are all looking for the “right” answers and yet the solutions will come the more calm we become.

            Love, care, compassion, grace, more love, and belief that things will be all right, are the ingredients we need to be mixing together to support our children.

            Calm in the beliefs of #resilience#perseverance, our collective #future, are essential parts of the solution. Remember, wherever you are today, the success you have had, the goals you have achieved, were probably not because of any one week, month or even quarter of school in your life! It was because of the collective growth, over time, that you experienced, and the supports you received through it all.

            Children will succeed if we remain calm and committed to supporting them, so I choose #CALM and I ask you to do the same!  Please, join me with turning to others and offering support, rather than turning on others and adding to the load they are currently carrying.

            I offer a sincere thank you to every educator I know, our support employees, our parents, our students, and our communities for your commitment to the children of California and beyond. To all of our employees, our School Board Members, and each of you connected to our Mt. Diablo Unified School District, I see you, I value you, and I appreciate the challenged you are facing as individuals, and the ones we are facing together. Please let me know if there is anything else we can do to support you or your children as we work together to continue to provide educational opportunities for all of our students!

            My best to you and your families through these trying times as our work continues.

Closure of our Schools Continues: 

On March 25, 2020, six bay area counties and public health officials have made a unified, regional decision to extend school closures through May 1, 2020. This is a coordinated response to the continuing expansion of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the bay area, and represents a best effort to reduce the number of affected individuals and to keep our communities as safe as possible.

            Hence, we had no other recourse but to continue with our school closures through Friday, May 1, 2020. Mount Diablo Unified School District schools will remain closed through May 1, 2020.

            Pursuant to Governor’s Executive Order 26-20, the Mount Diablo Unified School District, in collaboration with Districts from across Contra Costa County and our Contra Costa County Office of Education, will continue to expand the District’s Distance Learning programs to the best of our ability. Food services will continue at 9 locations district-wide, and payments to our employees will continue through this period. Please note that there will be no meal services on Friday, April 3rd, but Thursday’s grab-n-go will include Friday’s meals.

            Our district is, like many other districts, expecting guidance from the California Department of Education to address many of our unknowns. Our administrative team is working diligently to provide the best and as much guidance as possible to our staff, and we are proud to have seen a coordinated effort to deliver continued services at a safe distance. This is a difficult and uncharted territory for all of us, and it will require patience, growth, and understanding from all of us.

            Our situation continues to evolve and we will continue to communicate updates with any new information—by phone, email, social media, and here on our district website.

            We are continuing to deploy devices to students from all District schools, and our principals have been reaching out to families to support this effort.

            We are working to further articulate the expectations for our students and educational staff post spring break through May 1, 2020. We will also be working with our various employee representative groups to communicate and collaborate on the academic design, and expectations for all employees in striving to meet student’s needs during this unprecedented time. So many of our teachers and support staff have already been reaching out to students via a variety educational platforms and services, and we will be working on more specific parameters to support them as we build out opportunities for our students during this continuing closure.

More Internet Access Opportunities:

            Because access to affordable home internet options for our families is highly critical, we are proud of a newly formed partnership with EveryoneOn through the California Emerging Technology Fund. Flyers that are specific to MDUSD are available here in English and in Spanish.

            Our team is also diligently exploring alternative provisions available to promote equitable access, such as wireless hotspots and sponsorships.

Town Hall Success and Next Date Scheduled:

            Although physical gatherings must be avoided in this unprecedented time, Mount Diablo Unified School District is committed to communicative excellence. I have called for virtual Town Hall meetings in an effort to provide clarity on current school district vision and matters. Our first virtual Town Hall found lots of success with more than 4,000 total viewers. Our next virtual Town Hall is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon: March 31, 2020, 3:00 PM. The viewing link and details on how to participate will be posted on our virtual Town Hall website.

Several Activities in My Calendar This Week

Monday, March 23, 2020

  • Met with my Cabinet regarding coronavirus response coordination
  • Conferred by proxy with County Office of Education Superintendent Lynn Mackey
  • Facilitated MDUSD’s first virtual Town Hall meeting

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

  • Met with my Cabinet regarding coronavirus response coordination
  • Met with Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) leadership

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

  • Met with my Cabinet regarding coronavirus response coordination

Thursday, March 26, 2020

  • Conferred with Superintendents in the East Bay regarding coronavirus response coordination
  • Met virtually with CSEA Union Leadership
  • Met virtually with CST Local 1 Union Leadership
  • Met virtually with MDSPA Union Leadership

Friday, March 27, 2020

  • Met virtually with Board Member Cherise Khaund
  • Met virtually with the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence

 

 

-Superintendent Dr. Rob Martinez-