Interview With Mr. Estep
Transcript: what country were streaming live at the radio bigfoot.com don’t forget to download the new Apple radio. Com and shoes radio big foot as one of your favorites in fact make it your first favorite we’d like that are the promise you a conversation and I’m about to deliver on the phone with me right now I’ve got the Mifflin County Superintendent of Schools Jimmy said good morning sir good morning honest because I am seeing so much stuff on Facebook and Twitter and all over the place Instagram people there’s all kind of rumors flying around and I figured let’s set the record straight let’s get the man who knows what’s going on the superintendent of schools and let’s talk about some things because I think it’s a good idea to maybe clear the air. sounds great I don’t think there’s any rumor Mills in Mifflin County Arthur Jeff trust me there are. all right well what’s the most worked up about the number one would be the prom then you know the kids all went and bought gowns and and rented Tuxedos and now you know I’m part of that I have a son who and a daughter who were going to go to the prom this year and you know a lot of people are saying while are they still going to have a problem I think they should have a problem and I think this should happen in that should happen and I’m hearing all kinds of rumors and I understand and you understand and we want to make everybody else understand that it’s based a whole lot of the governor has the saying what he does. it really it really is based on that but here’s what I would say simplify it and I said this last night at the virtual board meeting the administration plans to do everything within its power to have a high school graduation and a prom it’s it’s just premature right now in Arpin the formulate specific plans for graduation and prom while the states still under the stay-at-home order once that orders lifted and there are updated social protocols listed for social distancing once those are established we can very quickly create a definitive plan that’s not to say that we’re not having discussion. about the types of options we might pursue it’s very possible that in the event of having either Milestone activity occur. they may not look like what they traditionally look like and I think I think people are smart enough to know that that could be a reality that you know all that we might have them they may not look what they truly know what they have traditionally look like because we’re going to be in the new normal and I think we’re going to be in there for a while I’ll write the governor doesn’t lift all sanctions all things in the end of the protocols are back to you know a decent point is is there a point of no return that we’re looking at here as far as a date for for still being able to have the prom and still being able to have commencement and Baccalaureate services. I don’t want to stay there’s a date of no return for commencement per say we all have to realize that we have some every year we have some students to choose to enter the military service. and often there. Boot Camp starts during the summer let’s just say. Governor wolf decides to lift all the sanctions after May 8th in the CDC says yeah you can go back to large group Gatherings and everything. if they if they do that by me then our plan to commencement for June 1st would go as normal but if we need to have commencement in July. or possibly early August week we could do that okay I don’t know that we’ve decided on a drop-dead date where it becomes just completely impractical but I think the closer we would get to the start of next school year the more complicated it would become okay it is far as the prom goes do you know I don’t know if there’s an impractical practical method for that either I know that we have had some people who have offered from within the community to help coordinate with the school district on the promise you and they’ve even as far as like as far as I know they’ve even come up with a potential location off off campus to do it if we can’t put everybody in the gym. so we’re not we’re not ruling out anything for for the prom yet all right but I would die if somebody wants to get involved in these virtual meetings that you guys have started to have right last night and it’s not difficult at all to you know there are posted right on the district website is matter of fact we’re going to have a real challenging budget situation for next year when things are difficult nationally in at the state level in our state is really taking a hit that obviously trickles down to us so I would say to your audience that if they want to participate in the the virtual Zoom meeting we have a budget Workshop scheduled for April 30th. at 5:30 p.m. and then all they needed all they need to do is just keep following the announcement from the district website and there are instructions for how to dial into the zoom zoom board meeting. okay in the end we’re going to take we’re not going to penalize anybody for what they’ve done I’ll through May 3rd I’m sorry not May 13th March 13th so we’re essentially will have had three marking periods or the grading and we’re going to Simply take the grade averages and / 3. now what we’ve done in our continuity of Education plan which is also posted on the website and is being updated as a matter fact I’ll be another letter on the website later today posted by me and it’ll be in English and Spanish for English our families who have English languages of second second language there are there going to be updates with frequently asked questions being answered. one of the things we have tried to do with regard to the third marking. To help ensure kids get an extra shot to maybe bring a bring their third marking. Grades up is that some of the work that they are turning in. if it helps their grade we’re going to include it so we’ve actually we’re actually offering an opportunity. for kids who may have been struggling the third quarter to make up work or reproduce some work. to help with the overall grade average okay only to find out that school was canceled and that we find out the later on down the road that it’s canceled for a little longer and then we find out even later that it’s canceled for the entire school year a lot of those kids have belongings in the school buildings in lockers and a lot of them have jokes. Lot of them have books that they brought home as well that belong to the school district address for k-25 in my letter that’s going to go out on the website today we’re going to have opportunities for people later on to come in and pick things up the elementary teachers are going to be. elementary teachers are going to be. gathering some materials and and pulling them together for the kids and there’s going to be an opportunity for the kids to come in and collect their thing and at the same time they’re doing that they’ll be able to turn over materials their own by the district they at home with them. I would imagine you’re going to like in shifts so that everybody doesn’t show up on the way right it’ll have to be done according to the guidelines and we’ll all have a game plan for that I know that because I had to help move my son out of his college dorm here a few weeks back in and they did that so many on campus at one time so many in each dorm at one time so in the back of everybody’s mind everybody’s thinking what is this thing pops back up again in the fall or next spring or next winter what what are there. could happen we could have an unconventional start to the school year or we could start the school year a little more conventionally and within a few months have to pull back and and revert back to unconvention delivery model and the attitude that we have been taking and the discussions were having with our teaching staff who has by the way the teaching staff has just been phenomenal in my opinion in terms of developing content for for online delivery as well as learning packets and so on. we are engaged right now yesterday with day one and we have two more days of it we’re doing really intensive training we were running training yesterday on how to use these delivery platform such as Google Classroom zoom and other resources for all of our staff and they literally signed up for everything the staff and they ran training from around 8 yesterday morning till around 8 last night and they’re going to do the same thing today and the same thing tomorrow in preparation because we are going to start to deliver some new content on Monday. for elementary students along with continuing with the review and enrichment activities and then on May fourth grade 6 through 12 staff is going to be delivering new content along with continuing to offer review and enrichment activities and my attitude when I was talking to this about our leaders about this team was that. you know it’s very possible we are going to have to have an unconventional delivery next ball and because of that we need to treat what we’re doing this spring as sort of a dress rehearsal what life could look like for an extended. Of time all right so I think we have a fantastic opportunity this spring not only for staff to get accustomed to teaching this way but also for students and parents to get more accustomed to learning this way and I’ll add something Jeff there are some students with the who have difficult access to Technology Drive where they have difficulty with internet coverage I’ve done a couple of things along those lines are team wrote a grant of it was referred to as an equity Grant and we were we found out a few days ago that we were awarded almost 25,000 in additional money and we’re using that to purchase. around 28 additional laptops and 10 and iPads and those pieces of Hardware to be targeted for some of our special needs and English language learner students. do to be able to take home and use we still of course have the ability for as long as parents can get to the parking lots the various School building still have access to our networking can download material. alright so for those who who don’t have access to Internet or Wi-Fi or anything like that they can pull into the parking lot at the school in download what they need around the buildings and for that matter state if there are other places within the community that have where they were the parents can access Internet Internet they can download from wherever they want but they definitely can do it from the book The parking lots know right well I is there anything you’d like to add. Before I Let You Go just maybe a cautionary tale you know in many ways things like this when County alerts could be really helpful to finding information but I would stay two community members the same thing we try to teach our students which is that. these these platforms can be can be both good and bad in terms of getting information and. you notes if through them with. with an attitude that okay I’m going to look at this and if if this sounds a little out there and maybe I better go to the source and contact a district directly for some information are principles are really good at providing up-to-date information if parents need to contact them I know our principal to get right back to them right now I always I always say if it’s a thing on Facebook and it starts with I heard that or my cousin’s friend said that or is something along those lines. That’s red flag language when you want to say okay I don’t know how reliable that is somebody told me that yeah exactly all right well we appreciate you taking time out of your morning this morning to help us clear the air a little bit and again. the virtual budget meeting is April 30th at 5:30 p.m. and then on May 21st we have a. virtual special voting meeting to adopt the tentative budget. follow the immediately by the committee of the whole meeting for May and that one would start at 6:30 p.m. now between April 30th and May 21st I may have a need to run one final budget Workshop meeting and if I run that meeting it will likely be held on May 11th or 12 I can’t give you the definitive date yet we will post that well ahead of time all right thank you so much for good luck and all right maybe somebody will come up with a vaccine in the next couple of months and we won’t have to worry about this anymore. thanks Jeff and if you need me to do it again sometime just feel free I’ll be happy to do it sounds all right all right. thank you sir.