MSA Superintendent May 2020 Video

Last Updated: 5/7/2020 1:56 PM

(Terry is standing in the MSAB conference room, in front of a large globe.)

Terry: Hello. Terry Wilding. I am standing in the MSAB conference room. I wanted to share a few updates with you. I haven't reached out to you in a while. Most of you are already aware that the governor of Minnesota has announced that all schools will remain closed till the end of the school year. Our teachers are diligently working and instructing and supporting our students and that plan will continue for another month. Our events will change, cancel, or be postponed for the month of May.


Luckily, I had the opportunity to join in on a few Zoom classrooms recently to see what teachers are doing. I'd like to show you a few examples of what I've seen so far.


(Zoom classroom with MSAB teacher and students. Terry and Nettie, interpreter, are also participating. A title appears: "MSAB - Mr. Lechtenberg's Class.") 

Mr. Lechtenberg: So for starters, I found that the Capitol was London. The population is about 67 million. Some biggest -- some big cities: Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool. And the UK is no longer part of the European Union. Voted themselves out. California is about twice the size of the UK, and the UK has their own currency, the British pound, which is worth $1.25.


(Zoom classroom with MSAD teachers and students. Terry, and Ariane, interpreter, are also participating. A title appears: "MSAD - Mrs. Paulson & Mrs. Lewis' Class.")

Mrs. Paulson: All right, Melanie's mom just texted me. They're trying to get on, but we're gonna go ahead and do a scavenger hunt. Okay.
Yostin, eyes up. Mackenzie? Everyone sign Trojans. Okay, all right. So friends, today is Earth Day. What should we do for that? Maybe we can hunt for something related to Earth Day. Yaretzi is going to join us. Okay. So, what is Earth Day? who can tell me what that is, please? Cleaning, picking up garbage, candy. Mackenzie is outside - that's fabulous! Oh Yostin, you're waving your phone by the screen. We're talking about Earth Day. What do we do with that? You can pick up.


(Video shifts back to Terry in the MSAB conference room.)


Terry: Those classes will continue. The events in May -- some have already been canceled, postponed or changed. For example, the award ceremony. The student organizations and other staff are in planning the processes on how to change that to a virtual format, or postpone until fall. We will make plans and announce that later.


As our graduation moves forward, how are we going to honor our senior class? Our student organizations and staff are figuring out a way to honor our seniors. Our seniors will receive a special yard sign that recognizes them and in their hometown for their graduating year. Those have
been distributed. They are also receiving their caps and gowns. We will be making a video collection and will release that once the graduation video is complete. We will communicate that with you as well.  The last two weeks of May, we will have individual spotlights on our seniors to explain their memories, their history of being here at our school.Those are different ways that we are trying to celebrate our seniors this year and their accomplishments and congratulations to all of our seniors. We understand this is unusual, but at least it will be memorable.

Related to summer planning, we are still in the process of collecting information for that. Our Pathways to Life transition program in June -- it has been determined it will be changed to an online digital method. Our committee is working very hard in developing plans and communicating with the people who are chosen to participate in that June program. For our summer programming that typically happens in July, we have not determined our decision at this time we're waiting for more information from the Minnesota Department of Education before we make our decision. Our highest priority is to make sure our students and staff are safe, so we are taking a look at how we can provide instruction and support in a safe manner. We will announce shortly how we are determining to do that.


At this time, I'd like to share some comments on our board meeting last week. It was the first time ever our board met through Zoom. We received special permission from the state as the rules due to the pandemic have changed. Our Zoom board meeting occurred. We met, we discussed, we passed some policies and also approved our 2020-2021 calendar. We have that posted on our website. Please take a look there for more information. Understand that our summer programming in July is tentative. Once we make a decision, we will update the calendar.


Also, I'd like to recognize our Academic Bowl team at the Deaf school. They made it to Nationals. Once they complete their first match, we will announce the results on Facebook.

The first week of May has several recognition and appreciation days or weeks. I'd like to mention three that are important for us to recognize. The first is May 1st. It is principal appreciation day. Our directors, assistant directors, our support service supervisor -- they do a lot this year plus in addition with this crisis. They have worked double time to make sure that everything is done right. Thank you for your hard work.


The first week of May is also the teacher appreciation week. Our teachers of course, as you know, have been working very hard daily to teach, design throughout the year, and now with this additional challenge of digital learning and distance connections with our students and modifying their plans. We'd like to thank all of our teachers, our support staff, counselors, mental health team. They do so much to support our students.


The third group. May 6th is interpreter appreciation day. Our interpreters work and support year round, but recently in this digital crisis, video relay interpreting, Zoom meetings, interpreting constantly. We want to thank all of our interpreters.


Those three groups play a major part in our campus, as well as all of our other staff. It just happens that these are the recognitions that happen in May. Thank you for all of your hard work.