March 31, 2020
Dear Hamtramck Public Schools Families,
We have missed you! As you know, last week Governor Whitmer indicated that it is “very unlikely” that students will return to school this year. While we do not have anything official as of today. we are working to ensure that we have a seamless Plan B to be better prepared if we move in that direction.
More than 3 weeks ago, I made the decision early on March 12th to close the district on March 13th. The unpredictability was too much to bear and I felt I had to make a decision that would best serve HPS. I checked with the HFT VP and board members to share the plans and soon after shared the plans with the community. Immediately after that decision, I met with my cabinet members and the Crisis Management Team from 1:00-2:30 pm on March 12th. I invited the city manager, police chief and fire marshal to join us at 2:30 pm.
We devised a contingency plan expecting school closure for two weeks. March 13th staff reported to work to create academic learning packets that will be distributed on March 17th. Late in the evening of March 15th, the governor announced the school closures from March 16th- April 13th.
On March 17th, schools distributed the packets following the guidelines of the governor. We had close to 90% of our families pick up their academic learning packets from each school. We are truly grateful to all the volunteers that assisted in the distribution of the learning packets. The volunteers consisted of teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries…indeed their efforts are noted and we are grateful for all they do.
The remaining amount of about 500 were delivered to each home by volunteers from the central team members. Incredible teamwork and determination to ensure that ALL students receive their academic learning packets.
As a board member of Detroit Friendship House, I was able to collaborate with our families regarding distribution of food by both DFH and Gleaners. Mrs. Poskovic and Mrs. Jackson, our School and Community Facilitators, have been essential in working with J & E Community Relief, Inc., and have delivered food to some of our families that are unable to get to the sites.
The Parent Engagement Team and the School and Community Facilitators have been following up with their caseloads and be of service per the needs of each building. Services like
interrupting, translations, making wellness checks are all a part of their services. They are an essential part of supporting all depts., all schools, and bridging the gap from home and school. We are truly grateful for each and every one of the team members and the ELD Director, Mr. Nagi.
The foster care and Mckinney Vento coordinators are following up with their families and making sure that they okay. Foster Care coordinator is Amra Poskovic and Mckinney Vento coordinator Laquitia Jackson are available to assist.
The Special Service Director, Mr. Aouad, is working with the SPED families, staff, and students utilizing the support of the team above. Feel free to reach out to him if you have any questions or concerns.
We have a food program scheduled from Monday-Friday with both breakfast and lunch served at various sites from 9:00 am- 12:00 pm.
As of last two weeks, we made the decision to have a Plan B and plan for the remote learning being extended for a longer period or even the remainder of the school year. So, we did the following:
1. We are working with the technology dept. to have a deployment plan of the Chromebook (one per household).
2. We are working with various teams to provide a resource for teachers to use.
3. Following this we will provide virtual trainings for all instructional staff to ensure that they are aware of using the online resources with fidelity. We are using the model of sharing PD with all, then breaking that to smaller groups or individual one on one supports.
4. Sharing the plans with our families will be the final step.
Supports will continue to be made for our families for the following:
1. HPS Communication Hotline for students and families.
2. SEL Supports from our social workers, counselors and restorative practice teams.
3. Family and Community supports for our families in need from our Parent Engagement Teams and School and Community Teams.
4. Academic supports by all instructional staff.
Class of 2020
Many seniors have already reached out to me and expressed concerns about the events during the senior year. Please know that we share your concerns and we fully realize those high school milestones are dear to you all. We will do everything possible to preserve these milestones for the Class of 2020. Last week, I attended a virtual town hall meeting and Dr. Rice indicated from that meeting that, “every senior on track to graduate will graduate.” We are looking forward to the day that we celebrate you and recognize your accomplishments. Stay tuned for developing information.
Teachers will complete the grading for the third marking period this week and all parents and students will be able to access this information on MiStar. The grades will be for the period of learning that occurred until the official date of the school closure. We are seeking more guidance for the grading should we move to the remote learning environment.
The goal ultimately is to continue the teaching and learning while it is at a supplementary level it is still important. The goal is not meant to overwhelm the parents or the students. Please exercise judgement and be mindful of any concerns parents may have.
We are resilient and will continue to cultivate positive thinking, reframe situations, and staying optimistic. Cultivating positive thinking is enjoying the new learning that is taking place during this process. Reframe situations, while this is an overwhelming experience for all, it is amazing to see everyone step up and go above and beyond the call of duty. Remaining Optimistic, let us visualize a successful year, students gaining new experiences and the HPS team growing professionally. We will RISE to the challenge!
Jaleelah Hassan Ahmed