BRUSD - HS Graduation and Distance Learning Efforts
Dear Blue Ridge Community:
The following outlines the activities planned to recognize the Class of 2020 and an overview of our distance learning efforts and preparations for the Upcoming 2020-21 School Year.
ACTIVITIES TO RECOGNIZE THE CLASS OF 2020 INCLUDE:
1. Outdoor signs bearing the graduates' names were provided to all senior students to place in the front yard of their home.
2. Handwritten, personalized letters mailed to every graduate apologizing for changes required due to the COVID pandemic.
3. 3'x 3' Vinyl portraits of each graduate displayed in the front of Blue Ridge High along White Mt. Blvd.
4. Presentation of Diplomas: Graduates will report Saturday, May 16, during their appointed time, dressed in their caps and gowns to the Auditorium, to walk across the stage, to be recognized by name individually, and receive their diploma.
Grads will also have their picture taken with the principal, superintendent, and a School Board member.
5. Family Photo: Immediately following the presentation of the diplomas, Grads will exit the auditorium stage for a family photo taken with their parents and siblings - professional service provided free of charge.
6. On May 29th at 7:30 PM, all grads will participate in a drive-in style graduation ceremony, including an invocation, brief opening remarks from the administration, talks provided by the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and a benediction.
A senior video will be played, which captures students' receiving their diploma, as well as the traditional senior video, with pictures of each graduate.
While we understand these activities cannot duplicate the experience associated with traditional commencement exercises, they do represent our best efforts to honor and recognize our amazing students of the Class of 2020.
REVIEW OF DISTANCE LEARNING EFFORTS
Foremost, we wish to thank all Blue Ridge students and parents who fully participated in our online instructional efforts. Admittedly, we were not prepared to shift overnight from a face-to-face setting to a virtual environment. However, we appreciate your patience, help, and the acknowledgment of our best efforts.
This morning, a meeting was held, including numerous teachers, staff members, and administrators to review our online learning efforts the past six weeks. While some successes were noted, many significant adjustments are still needed.
Some of the problems identified include our inability to ensure each teacher had the tools to effectively present instructional materials and communicate with their class and individual students. The quality and user-friendliness of TEAMS and the security of ZOOM must both improve to meet our needs.
Another consistent challenge was the scheduling of lessons, balancing the timing, rigor, and the sheer volume of work assigned to students each week was an issue.
While many of our students participated, some failed to engage entirely during the past six weeks.
We further acknowledge we have much work to do in advance of the Upcoming School Year.
Given we do not know when the 2020-21 School Year will begin, or what that might look like, we are preparing for a wide variety of possible scenarios, including, but not limited to the beginning as scheduled, or possibly being delayed for a period.
Further, we are preparing for school closures or intermittent disruptions to our school schedules, potentially requiring dual sessions to incorporate social distancing requirements.
Lastly, the Arizona Department of Education and the Governor's office has committed to providing more direction concerning the upcoming School Year by the end of May.
Rest assured, Blue Ridge will continue to work hard to ensure our schools and staff are well-prepared.
An essential part of our plans places the health, safety, and welfare of our students and staff as our top priorities.
Some of the steps to ensure safety for all include; daily sanitizing of our school facilities, buses, and equipment. Personal Protection Equipment will also be secured to support our efforts.
Admittedly, we are approaching a critical intersection within our efforts to restore normalcy to our daily routines as well as the economy. Working together, I am confident we are equal to the task. Please know that the Blue Ridge family remains committed to our students and community members. Working together, I am sure our team is up to what may seem to some as an impossible task. Thank you for your consideration.