Please see the latest information concerning DCPS and COVID-19 at "Coronavirus Update"

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Dorchester County Public Schools

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Thursday, 12 March 2020 15:13

Coronavirus Update

April 4, 2020 - Superintendent's Message to the Class of 2020

Written Letter to Class of 2020

April 3, 2020 - Letter to Parents from Superintendent Bromwell

Good evening DCPS families,

I hope everyone is doing well and managing through this challenging time.

Please know that your DCPS staff is working hard to continue our “continuity of learning” plan.   Early next week, instructional packets will be mailed to all students in grades Pre-K through 8.  

Middle and High school staff and students will be working to close out the term 3 marking period.  

High school instruction will take place online. Our high school teachers will be using Google Classroom for distance learning and will be available to communicate with students through that platform. All high school students will be receiving directions on how to use Google Classroom. If you and your family have a connectivity issue at home, please contact your high school grade level administrator for further directions.

All teachers will be reaching out to their students to check-in on a weekly basis. If you have questions, please reach out to your teachers and administrators through email or the school phone. All emails and phone messages will be responded to as soon as possible.

I am sure that all of you have many questions about what this school closure and our new norm mean for your child’s education, especially our upperclassmen in high school. Please know that we are in constant communication with the Maryland State Department of Education to work through all the details related to graduation requirements. Decisions on requirements for graduation will be presented to the MD State Board of Education Members next week. Please stay tuned—we will keep you updated as we learn.

I want to thank everyone for your cooperation and patience as we work through this.

 

April 3, 2020 - DCPS Installs Hot Spots

Dorchester County Public Schools has established nine new external Wi-Fi “hot spots” which will allow students using DCPS devices access to the internet. These were installed to facilitate access to schoolwork to ensure continuity of learning during school closure. The hot spots are outside the following DCPS buildings:

  • Board of Education office on Glasgow St.
  • Cambridge South Dorchester High School
  • Sandy Hill Elementary 
  • Maces Lane Middle School
  • Warwick Elementary 
  • Hurlock Elementary 
  • South Dorchester K8 School
  • Vienna Elementary 
  • North Dorchester High School

Most of the school sites receive a better signal in the school’s bus loop. The Board of Education hot spot is on the High St. side of the building.

 

March 31, 2020 - Continuity of Learning Plan/3rd Term and 3rd Trimester

Dorchester County Public Schools: Continuity of Learning Plan

Dorchester County Public Schools (DCPS) is committed to providing engaging learning experiences for all students during this extended closure of our schools. Over the past three weeks, DCPS staff have been developing a Continuity of Learning plan that will engage students in learning. This plan includes three phases.

Phase 1

The afternoon of March 12, DCPS was notified during the Governor’s press conference that schools would be closed for students and staff beginning March 17-March 27. In response to this, DCPS prepared grade-level specific learning packets for both English Language Arts and mathematics. These packets were distributed to students in PreK through grade 12 prior to students leaving school on March 13.

It is important to note that the priority focus in this phase was on implementing critical supports for our students and families. This included implementing the preparation and distribution of meals, cleaning our school buildings, and mobilizing essential 12-month staff.

Initial Closure Period: March 23-March 27

During this week, DCPS expanded its meal distribution sites and implemented an extended meal service.

DCPS Leadership sought critical clarifications from the Maryland State Department of Education regarding expectations for Continuity of Learning in the event of an extended closure. Curriculum staff collaborated with state colleagues on resources and best practices. In addition, Curriculum staff:

  • identified critical standards,
  • assessed existing resources,
  • began to outline parameters for continuity of learning.

Upon notification on March 25 of the decision for an extended closure, the Division of Instruction took the lead in preparing additional learning packets to distribute to students the week of April 6th.   The plan for distribution of packets is to mail them to every student; the plan will be shared with all families through various platforms including school messenger, FB posts, newspaper and radio. These resources will also be made available online on each school’s website.

DCPS has also reached out to families to access family technology resources. An online survey as well as a paper survey through our meal distribution was put out for responses. The DCPS Instructional Technology team has mobilized to prepare technology devices to loan to our students. DCPS Leadership Teams are developing a plan for distribution of devices with a focus on High School students as the priority. In addition, the instructional technology staff developed a plan for to add wireless access points in key locations around the county to increase the availability of internet access for students.

Extended Closure: March 30-April 10

Beginning Monday, March 30, all DCPS Instructional Teams will finalize learning packets for our students. All activities will be vetted through the lens of our Special Education staff as well as through our EL Supervisor. School principals will be meeting “virtually” with their staff to set up guidelines for teachers reaching out to students and families and to share plans for on-going communication, including establishing “office hours.” School counselors and social workers will also be available to support students beginning in this phase of implementation the week of April 6th.    DCPS staff will begin professional development on “Schoology”, a learning management system. During this extended closure teachers will have the opportunity to learn about the management system and how to use it in their classrooms.

Extended Closure: April 13 - April 24

Beginning on Monday, April 13, DCPS will begin presenting opportunities for online learning experiences for students (tentative, based on meeting technology needs). Teachers will be encouraged to include additional resources for students who want to extend their learning beyond the core tasks. Teachers will continue to provide support with calls to students to maximize engagement of all learners.

Students who do not have access to the internet will receive grade specific packets with activities aligned to key grade level standards in the core content areas.

PLEASE NOTE:   All plans are subject to change per directive of the Maryland State Department of Education. DCPS are committed to supporting our students during this health crisis.

                                                    Continuity of Learning Phase One      Continuity of Learning Phase Two

 

3rd Term and 3rd Trimester

Elementary 3rd Trimester Robocall to Families:

Good afternoon school families,

This message is to provide you with important information about the continuity of learning during the third trimester.   As you are aware, schools will remain closed until April 24th. While school buildings remain closed, instructional packets are being prepared for your students.  Our plan is to mail them to your student beginning Monday, April 6th.   Each packet will have a letter explaining what your child needs to do.  Packets will be created and sent every two weeks during this extended closure.  We are committed to ensuring that key standards and essential skills are being delivered for every student. The focus will be math, reading, science and social studies.

     In the near future, your child’s teacher will be reaching out to them by phone or email.  Please know that we miss all of you and look forward to checking in with you soon.  Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.  Thank you and stay safe!  WE will get through this!  

 

Middle/High 3rd Term Robocall to Families:

Good afternoon middle and high school families,

This message is to provide you with important information about the conclusion of term 3.   As you are aware, schools will remain closed until April 24th. While school buildings remain closed, work packets are being prepared and a distribution plan put in place for next week.   Work will be available online and in printed form beginning at the start of term 4 the week of April 6th, and for every week thereafter during this extended closure.  We are committed to ensuring that key standards and essential skills are being delivered for every student. The initial focus will be math, reading, science and social studies.

The focus for the next week will be on teachers and students working together to quickly wrap up work for the 3rd marking term which was scheduled to end for secondary schools on Monday, March 30th.  Students and families are encouraged to access PowerSchool to identify any assignments that are missing.  Students will have a chance to complete any missing assignments to finish the term with the best grade they can earn.  Our students will have an opportunity to improve their grade if they wish, but no student will see their grade fall from where it was on Friday, March 13th, when classes were suspended.  Therefore, completing make-up work is an option for students and families.

Students will have until Thursday, April 9th, to request make-up work.  All grades will be completed and updated progress reports will be available by Thursday, April 16th.  It is up to the students and their families to inform their teacher what they need in order to make-up the assignments.  Students may email their teacher to request make-up work.  If a student does not have access to email, they can call the school and provide specific details of the assignment that is missing and their teacher will respond.  Assignments can be shared via email, online or mail.

Thank you for your cooperation during this time.

 

March 28, 2020

CHANGE IN FOOD DISTRIBUTION SCHEDULE 

Starting the week of Monday, March 30, Dorchester County Public Schools grab-and-go bags will be distributed Monday through Thursday only, with the Thursday bags containing both Thursday’s and Friday’s meals. This change will make the food distribution system more efficient and safer for families and staff with one fewer trip out by adults and children and less exposure for both families and DCPS Food Service staff. 

 

NEW FOOD DISTRIBUTION SITE ADDED 

 

Beginning Monday, March 30, Dorchester County Public School students will be able to pick up their grab-and-go bags at St. Paul’s Church at 205 Maryland Ave. in Cambridge. The site will be open Monday through Thursday (with Friday’s meals in Thursday’s bags) from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The complete list of county sites for students to receive bags as of March 30 is: 

 

· Choptank Elementary School

· Sandy Hill Elementary School

· Warwick Elementary School

· Hurlock Elementary School

· Vienna Elementary School

· South Dorchester PreK-8

· North Dorchester High School

· New Beginnings, Greenwood Ave., Cambridge

· Empowerment Center, Pine St., Cambridge

· Foxtail Crossing, Zachary Dr., Cambridge

· St. Paul’s Church, Maryland Ave., Cambridge

· Beside Goodwill store, Cambridge Marketplace

· Board of Education, Glasgow St., Cambridge

· Gold Rush Ave., Hurlock

 

March 25, 2020

A message from Superintendent of Schools Dave Bromwell:

We all have been navigating uncharted territory as our county, state, and nation has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. During the Governor’s Press Conference, we were notified by Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland State Superintendent, that all schools will be closed through April 24th, 2020, with the expectation for continuity of learning to continue for students during this time.  

Your Dorchester County Public School team has been preparing for this eventuality with our instructional supervisors and administrators. They are working to create plans to ensure that the learning opportunities prepared are aligned with the Maryland State Department of Education’s guidance.  More details about this instructional plan for this extended school closure will be shared with our families next week.  Our staff has been kept up to date on this process and as you would expect, have offered to help in any way possible.  We all miss our students! 
 
We will also continue to be responsive to our students' needs for meals while school buildings are closed. 

It is important that we adhere to the mandates and recommendations coming from our state and national governments. We must continue to support each other's health, safety and well-being by following preventive measures such as social distancing, proper hand-washing, and staying home when sick, as the CDC and our trusted state and local health partners have advised.

Communication is critically important during this time.  We will continue to keep our community informed as we navigate through this challenging time. I am proud of our DCPS leaders and staff who are working diligently to do whatever is necessary to see us through this challenge in the best interests of our children.

Thank you,

David Bromwell

Superintendent

 

March 25, 2020

The State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon today announced that the school closure due to COVID-19 has been extended through Friday, April 24.  The Dorchester County Health Department and partnering agencies, of which Dorchester County Public Schools is one, are holding a press conference tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, at 10:00 a.m. to share important updates regarding COVID-19.  During this time, Superintendent of Schools Dave Bromwell will share information around the extended closure, including the work on plans for instruction.  This press conference will be livestreamed at https://townhallstreams.com/towns/dorchesterboe and will be available for later viewing as well.  Dorchester County residents are encouraged to submit questions in advance by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

March 20, 2020

DCPS is working on plans to provide instructional opportunities to your children.  Part of this plan includes assessing the technology available in your homes.  For those who can access it: TECHNOLOGY SURVEY.  Spanish Version:  ENCUESTA TECNOLÓGICA . For those who can’t, please call your school and leave a message with your name, phone number and whether or not you have a computer available for use in your home.  

      Once we have gathered this information, we will reach out via social media and phone to update you on our next steps.  Thank you for your support and cooperation as we work through this situation. 

 

March 20, 2020

Effective Monday, March 23, there will be four additional locations where students can pick up their grab-and-go bags of food items each day, Monday through Friday. The new locations are Warwick Elementary, South Dorchester School, 1243 Zachary Drive in Foxtail Crossing, and Dorchester County Public Schools Central Office at 700 Glasgow St. in Cambridge. Pick-up times are the same as other sites, 11:00 to 12:30. As a reminder, other sites for pick-up are Choptank, Sandy Hill, Hurlock, and Vienna Elementary Schools, North Dorchester High School, the Empowerment Center on Pine St., New Beginnings on Greenwood Ave., and the parking lot of the Goodwill Store at Cambridge Marketplace. Children must be present to receive the meals; adults cannot accept meals on their behalf. Children age 4 to 18 are eligible to receive the bags. Our partner Meals till Monday will also be distributing weekend food through most of these locations at the end of next week.

March 17, 2020

Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, free meals for Dorchester County Public Schools students will be available five days a week, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. during the school closure.  Grab-and-go bags will be available for pickup in the parking lots of the following locations:  Choptank Elementary, Hurlock Elementary, Vienna Elementary, Sandy Hill Elementary, New Beginnings Outreach on Greenwood Ave., the Empowerment Center on Pine St., North Dorchester High School, and in the parking area adjacent to the Goodwill store in Cambridge Marketplace.  Children must be present to receive the meals; adults cannot accept meals on behalf of children.  Children age 4 to 18 are eligible.  Meals till Monday will also provide extra food for the weekends on Thursday and Friday.
Thank you.

March 15, 2020

Dorchester County Public Schools will be providing a free meal service to students during the two-week school closure at several locations throughout the county. Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, grab-and-go bag breakfast and lunches will be available for pick-up in the parking lots of the following locations:


• Choptank Elementary
• Sandy Hill Elementary
• Hurlock Elementary
• Vienna Elementary
• North Dorchester High School
• New Beginnings on Greenwood Ave., Cambridge
• Empowerment Center on Pine St., Cambridge
• Parking area adjacent to the Goodwill store at Cambridge Marketplace


Pick-up times are from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for each of the two weeks. The grab-and-go bags are for children between the ages of 4 and 18, and adults cannot accept bags on behalf of children. Our good friends at Meals till Monday will also provide supplemental food for weekend meals on Thursdays at Choptank, Sandy Hill, Empowerment Center, and New Beginnings and on Fridays at Hurlock, Vienna, North Dorchester High, and Cambridge Marketplace.

 

March 13, 2020

NOTICE OF BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

DATE:        Thursday, March 19, 2020                

TIME:         4:00 p.m.

PLACE:      The Board Room

                   Central Office of the Board of Education

                   700 Glasgow Street

                   Cambridge, MD 21613

Due to COVID-19 the Board of Education of Dorchester County will still be having their regular monthly Board meeting at the date, time, and location indicated above to address business as indicated on the agenda. The meeting will be open to the public by livestreaming only:

https://townhallstreams.com/towns/dorchesterboe

After the start of the Open session, the Board will meet in closed Session in accordance with Section 3-305 of the General Provisions of the Annotated Code of Maryland. At the conclusion of the Closed Session, the Board will reconvene at 6:00 p.m. in Open Session by livestreaming only.

All Board of Education Meetings will be livestreamed: https://townhallstreams.com/towns/dorchesterboe

 

March 12, 2020 7:00pm

I want to thank parents and students for your understanding during the most difficult situation I have seen in my 31 years in Dorchester County schools.  As Gov. Hogan said in today’s press conference, we are now experiencing a global pandemic.   Please take the time to listen to this message in its entirety.

Schools will be closed beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27th, as directed by the State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen Salmon.  All events and activities on school property are suspended until further notice.  During this time, deep cleaning of our schools and buses will be our highest priority.

Tomorrow, schools will operate on a normal schedule.  Our focus for tomorrow is to provide students with learning materials to be used during the time schools are closed.  We want to see all of our students tomorrow but we do recognize that parents do have the right to keep your children at home if you believe it to be appropriate.

DCPS will be working through a plan to provide meals to our students during this closure and there will be more information about this to come. 

Finally, I would encourage anyone experiencing any form of sickness to seek medical advice from health providers or the health department.

There will be many questions over the next few days and we will continue to communicate to all DCPS stakeholders as further events unfold.

W. David Bromwell

Interim Superintendent 

 

 

March 12, 2020 2:30pm

Good afternoon,

Dorchester County Public Schools, after conferring with the Dorchester County Health Department, have decided to cancel public events, including the senior class play at C-SDHS, award ceremonies, athletic events, practices and any school-visit events that are open to parents and community members, such as Donuts for Dads, until further notice.

Dorchester County Public Schools has learned several staff members and students have recently traveled in an area outside of the country and experienced possible exposure to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Presently these Dorchester County citizens are not exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. Please follow Governor Hogan's press conference today at 4:00 pm regarding further actions by our State Government.  All Maryland county school superintendents will be participating in a statewide conference call with State School Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon, at 5:00 pm today. Updates will be shared as soon as possible.

This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation, and we will continue to share updates as they become available. We are committed to operating a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff and must be cautious in our approach.

Thank you.

W. David Bromwell

Interim Superintendent

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