Superintendent's Letter

Superintendent's Letter 09/14/21
Posted on 09/14/2021
September 14, 2021

Welcome back!

The past two weeks at BR-H have been so amazing. This morning, as I walked into the building, music was playing while staff greeted students as they got off the bus. Many students couldn’t help but smile and some students even started dancing. This type of interaction between our students and staff is not unique. Recently, our administrative team examined data from four different BR-H student and staff surveys and we found that 90% of our junior high students and 84.8% of our high school students reported feeling safe at school. Additionally, 90.2% of our junior high and 75.6% of our high school students reported having lots of chances to have one-on-one conversations with their teachers (MiPHY Survey, 2020). We don’t get everything right, but the one thing we will always strive to do is be there for our students!

Yes, the year is off to a great start, but I’d like to take a moment to report our student achievement data from last school year. The press release out of Lansing stated, “Disrupted Learning During the Pandemic Causes Dip in State Assessment Scores” (Martin, 2021). However, that was not the case for Bark River-Harris. Our elementary school outperformed the State and ISD averages in every grade level and subject area! The chart below compares our scores to that of the State and ISD:

Image of Standardized Testing Scores

I am very proud of our students and staff for all their hard work. Though we are very excited about these results, we’ve set new academic goals for this school year that will again make BR-H leaders in education.

Along with a great start to academics, our athletic department is having an equally amazing start. Both our football program and volleyball program are off to very strong starts and our cheer squad has helped make our facilities ‘electric’ during junior high girls’ basketball games. We’ve had some very exciting moments thus far, including an overtime win for our 7th grade girls and a big rivalry win in volleyball against the Munising Mustangs. We are gearing up to send our undefeated varsity football team off to play downstate on Saturday and anticipate another excellent performance. 

Over the past month, there have been several changes to COVID-19 protocols for schools. BR-H continues to make masks optional, but there have been some changes by MDHSS regarding quarantining that have recently occurred. Our Covid-19 Plans are listed below:

*Masks – Masks will not be required. We will support any parent that desires to have his/her child wear a mask and we will have plenty of extra masks on hand, but this will be a parental decision. In the event a mask mandate is issued by the MDHHS or local health department, the Board will reconvene to review and revise if necessary.

*Close Contact Reporting – If mandated, school districts are expected to report to the local health department close contacts of positive students. Because BR-H is not universally masking students, the close contact standard is 6 feet.

*Quarantine – Individuals that test positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined from school. Additionally, family members of students that test positive for COVID-19 and close contacts will also be quarantined from school. If the COVID-19 positive student was not masked and/or the close contact was not masked, then the quarantine length is either 10 days or 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test taken on day 7 or 8 (If test taken at school). The negative test can be either a PCR or antigen test. PHDM will need a copy of the negative test result in order to release the student from quarantine. Students and staff that are vaccinated or that have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days will be exempt from quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic.

*Vaccinations – There is no order requiring students or staff to be vaccinated.

*Athletics – Testing of athletes will not be required to participate in athletics.

*School districts have been given this guidance from MDHHS regarding the return to school and we want to continue many of the practices listed in this document (MDHHS COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Schools Safely), such as:
  • Disinfection/Cleaning Protocols
  • Promoting Vaccinations
  • Improving Ventilation
  • Providing masks for students if requested
Lastly, I’d like to close by thanking our parents for being such an integral part in our successful return to school. I’m very excited about the future of our district and believe BR-H is headed in a very positive direction. We couldn’t do this without you.

Cordially,

Jason Lockwood, Ed.S

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