Superintendent's Message

August 2020 Superintendent's Message

Our staff looks forward to welcoming back our students and their families for the start of another school year with our first day of classes for Gr. 1 – 12, Thursday, August 20th.  Kindergarten students will have their first day of classes Tuesday, August 25th and Pre-School will start Wednesday, August 26th.   Please note that there will be no Open House event prior to the start of school.

Part of our excitement for the start of this school year is the re-opening and return of our students to the school building following the forced closure that took place from mid-March to late May. Students will be able to attend our school and engage in-person with a structured environment centered around public health and wellness with a multitude of safety measures in place.  The planning we’ve done to get us to this point has been extensive.  Antwerp Local Schools staff have engaged in discussions with experts from the health and medical field and numerous school leaders across Ohio to gather their ideas, concerns, and best practices to safely bring students back into our school.  We plan to institute multiple layers of safeguards to protect your child’s health such as social distancing, hand-washing, use of hand sanitizers and face coverings.  We have also re-structured how students will move about in the school building and the frequency of their movement as a means of limiting contact with others.  With respect to guidelines established by the Ohio Department of Health, students in grades K – 12 and school staff are required to wear a face covering throughout most of the school day.  Students will be expected to have their own face covering with them each day.  Our school will have extra disposable masks available if a student forgets or loses one.

 In order to effectively carry out our re-opening, we will need parents to assist us with educating your child on the importance of maintaining safety routines and exhibiting healthy behaviors.  School personnel will likewise continually emphasize and reinforce student responsibility for safe and heathy behaviors that protect them and those around them.  School personnel will clean, disinfect, and sanitize our school buses after the a.m. and p.m. routes. Our custodians will likewise have a detailed time schedule to clean, disinfect, and sanitize our restrooms, playground, and high traffic areas.

While we eagerly await the return of students to our educational facility, there are several students who have significant underlying health issues or immediate family members with health issues, and the In-Person normal school day may pose too great a risk for their situation due to the ongoing COVID-19 issue.  In consideration of these situations, our school has established a Remote Learning Plan that will allow these students to receive their education at home during the 1st semester utilizing our remote learning platform known as NOVA (Northern Ohio Virtual Academy).

On the academic front, our staff will continue to receive professional development opportunities during this school year that increase their awareness and skill-set toward providing remote instruction and student acquisition with respect to academic content standards.  Furthermore, our educational partners at Discovery Education will continue to provide a systemic, comprehensive professional development program for our staff entitled STEMformation.  Our partnership with Discovery Education will also include STEM CONNECT.  STEM CONNECT provides every child with opportunities to access their greatest potential as it builds important connections that strengthens critical thinking skills, ignites exploration practices, and inspires life-long STEM habits.

During the past several months, improvements to the school building and property have included the installation of new carpet in Band and Music rooms. We have also added an astro-turf playground area for our elementary students to move about and play.  The roof over the Auditeria and Band/Music classrooms was replaced.   Additionally, exterior access doors were put in at the Field House and an extension to the storage shed at the football/track complex was completed. 

Parents are reminded that we will once again utilize the number tag system for elementary student pick-up in the large circle drive at dismissal time.  If you are unfamiliar with this system and need a number tag or forgot your family number, please call the central office at extension 2300 or elementary office at extension 2200.  

Community members are encouraged to frequently visit our school website and view happenings taking place at our school.  Additionally, parents are reminded that the ONEVIEW parent portal is located in the PARENT RESOURCE tab and QUICK LINKS tab in the upper right-hand corner of the website.  Parents may utilize the ONEVIEW parent portal to update student information such as change in address and/or contact numbers.  The ONEVIEW Portal also serves as a location for parents to complete student forms (Emergency Medical Form, Transportation Form) that in past years, had been completed with paper forms.  The ONEVIEW parent portal is also the location parents may visit to complete the registration process for new students to our district. 

We have one new employee that will work with your children during the coming school year.  Mrs. Megan Burill will serve as an Intervention Specialist and work with our Special Needs children at the elementary school level.  We have several employees who will serve in a different capacity this year in comparison to the previous school year.    Mrs. Brittni George will return to her Grade 1 teaching position following a one-year parental leave.   Mrs. Sara Schaper will move from Grade 1 to a Grade 3 teaching position. Mrs. Jenny Grant will move from a part time aide to a full-time aide position.  Mr. Kyle Kauser will assume all duties associated with the Transportation Director position following the retirement of Mrs. Chris Hounshell.  As of the writing of this article, we are working with the Western Buckeye Educational Service Center to secure the use of a Distance Learning Coach to assist our students participating in our Remote Learning program.  
As the new school year begins, please remember that the most meaningful factor in assisting students to have a successful school experience is our ongoing partnerships with parents and guardians.  In order to help your children attain their goals, we need your involvement, whether through attending conferences, extra-curricular events, volunteering in your child’s school, or, perhaps most importantly, reinforcing the importance of education and on-time school attendance.

Through the range of experiences and emotions throughout a year, from celebrations to heartbreak, we should always remember that we are all stronger – and our students’ experience better – when we work together as a team, extended family and community.
Remember to stay informed about your child’s school through our website: www.antwerpschools.org 

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation and best wishes for a successful school year.
Martin A. Miller
Superintendent – Antwerp Local Schools
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