This Week in Bethel

  • Fall 2020 Reopening Update 8-7-20

    Posted by Bethel School District on 8/7/2020 5:50:00 PM

    Because we will be starting the school year 100% online, with no return to face-to-face learning currently forecast, our calendar is more uncertain than in previous years. Here are the only key dates that parents and students need to be aware of right now. Please note, these dates are subject to change, with the exception of the Federal Holidays.

    First Days of School
    Grades 1-12, Sept. 3, 2020
    Kindergarten, Sept. 9, 2020
    Preschool, Sept. 9, 2020

    Holidays
    Labor Day: September 7, 2020
    Veterans Day: November 11, 2020
    Thanksgiving Break: November 25 - 27, 2020
    Winter Break: December 21, 2020 - January 1, 2021
    Martin Luther King Jr. Day: January 18, 2021
    Mid-Winter Break: February 12 -15, 2021
    Spring Break: April 5 - 9, 2021
    Memorial Day: May 31, 2021

    Last Day of School
    June 22, 2021 

    When will students go back to school in-person?
    A date to return to face-to-face learning is unknown at this time. We will continue to follow the recommendations and direction of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

    Special Services (Special Education, English Learners, Preschool, and Section 504)
    We recognize that distance learning may not fully meet the unique needs of some of our students, and we are evaluating the extent to which we can safely provide individualized educational and related services to students who require these services in an in-person setting. As more information is developed, our Special Services team is committed to providing timely updates and communication.

    Bethel Virtual Academy: Deadline Aug. 11
    The deadline for enrollment in the Bethel Virtual Academy (BVA) has been extended to August 11th. Students registered by August 11th will be given priority status. Enrollment after the 11th will be subject to space availability.

    All 27 Bethel schools will begin this fall online. When the health department recommends we return to in-person learning, schools will transition to a hybrid model. Students enrolled in BVA would have the option to remain online for the entire year.

    Please note: Students attending their resident school in the fall do not need to register for BVA.

    If you have questions about the Bethel Virtual Academy, we have created an FAQ to help you make your decision. You can find it at bethelsd.org/BVA.

    ParentVUE: Don’t forget to register your account
    ParentVUE is the main portal to enroll new students and to complete the required annual information updates. Parents will receive an email to the address we have on file that describes the process for activating your ParentVUE account. Please follow the instructions within that email to activate your account. More information can be found at https://www.bethelsd.org/Domain/4973

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  • Stories of the Week: Aug. 5, 2020

    Posted by Bethel School District on 8/5/2020

    Fall Planning
    Be sure to check bethelsd.org/news regularly for the latest information about the start of the school year.
     
    BVA Enrollment Deadline extended to Aug. 11
    The deadline for enrollment in the Bethel Virtual Academy (BVA) has been extended to August 11th. Enrollment after the 11th will be subject to space availability. Learn more at bethelsd.org/BVA.
     
    Elementary #18 named after “Hidden Figure” Katherine Johnson
    We are thrilled to announce that our newest school will be named after Katherine G. Johnson, an American mathematician whose groundbreaking work helped send astronauts to the moon! Her life and work were celebrated in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.” Read more at: https://medium.com/@BethelSD/katherine-johnson-elementary-fde95337377f
     
    BHS hosts COVID-19 Testing
    Bethel High School will be hosting the Pierce County COVID-19 mobile testing trailer on August 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The test is free. Learn more at https://piercecountywa.gov/6758/Covid-19-Mobile-Testing
     
    Free Summer Meals available through Aug. 14
    Meals are available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Graham-Kapowsin High School, Shining Mountain Elementary School, and Spanaway Lake High School. Summer meal service will run Monday to Friday through August 14th. Details at www.bethelsd.org/meals
     
    BHS Student on Q13
    Q13 recently spoke with Bethel High School senior Airon Alexander about how he’s coping with life during the pandemic. https://www.q13fox.com/news/a-generation-of-students-reinventing-how-they-learn-and-socialize

     
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  • New school named for “Hidden Figure” Katherine G. Johnson

    Posted by Bethel School District on 8/4/2020
    We are thrilled to announce that our newest school will honor a true American hero who represents the passion, knowledge, and bravery we strive to instill in all Bethel students. The Bethel School Board voted unanimously to christen our eighteenth elementary school Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.

    Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program. Among many other accomplishments, her groundbreaking work helped send astronauts to the moon as part of 1969’s Apollo 11 mission.

    Her life and work were celebrated in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.”

    “She was a trailblazer in her own right for so many people,” said Bethel School Board President Marcus Young. “What she was able to accomplish with her God given ability as well as everything she overcame, affected so many lives on so many different levels. It is our hope that as our students walk the halls of this new school they will be filled with the same drive to be the best at what they do, the same determination to overcome obstacles set before them and the same focus to make this world better, just like Katherine Johnson.”

    Johnson passed away earlier this year at the age of 101.

    The district’s official naming committee was made up of parents, community members, district administrators, and principals. They considered a number of local and national figures, but in the end decided that Katherine Johnson best represented the spirit of the new school. They presented the name to the School Board in March. District officials then worked with Johnson’s family to get permission to use her name.

    Katherine G. Johnson Elementary is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.

    We are posting regular video updates of the construction site at youtube.com/BethelSchools.
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  • Bethel Virtual Academy enrollment deadline extended to Aug. 11

    Posted by Bethel School District on 8/3/2020 5:50:00 PM

    The deadline for enrollment in the Bethel Virtual Academy (BVA) has been extended to August 11th.

    Getting an accurate count of interested families is essential for us to determine the number of staff needed to support BVA this fall.

    Students registered by August 11th will be given priority status. Enrollment after the 11th will be subject to space availability.

    All 27 Bethel schools will begin this fall online. When the health department recommends we return to in-person learning, schools will transition to a hybrid model. Students enrolled in BVA would have the option to remain online for the entire year.

    Please note: Students attending their home school in the fall do not need to register for BVA.

    If you have questions about the Bethel Virtual Academy, we have created an FAQ to help you make your decision. You can find it at bethelsd.org/BVA.

    You can also contact:

    Elementary Students

    Chris Brauer, Elementary BVA administrator

    Middle and High School Students

    Sara Nollette, Secondary BVA administrator



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  • BHS hosts COVID-19 Mobile Test Trailer on 8/22

    Posted by Bethel School District on 8/3/2020

    Bethel High School will be hosting the Pierce County COVID-19 mobile testing trailer on August 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The test is free. Learn more at https://piercecountywa.gov/6758/Covid-19-Mobile-Testing

    COVID-19 Testing at BHS August 22

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  • Fall 2020 Reopening Update 7-31-20

    Posted by Bethel School District on 7/31/2020 5:50:00 PM

    As we announced last week, our district, along with all other school districts in Pierce County, will be returning to school via 100% online learning to begin the 2020/21 school year. This decision was made following the recommendation of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to help ensure the health and safety of students, staff and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Goodbye, Family Access ... Hello, ParentVUE!

    Family Access, where you’ve always gone to view class schedules, test scores, and health records, has been discontinued. Our replacement system is called ParentVUE.

    Using ParentVUE, you’ll be able to enroll new students, submit attendance, check grades, update information and review information about your student(s). 

    Students who are already enrolled in our schools will not be required to complete new enrollment applications, however there is a process to activate your new ParentVUE account. This week, an email was sent to you with instructions.

    Click here for more information about ParentVUE.

    Online curriculum chosen for secondary students and Bethel Virtual Academy

    At this week’s School Board meeting, the Board adopted Edgenuity as the online platform for the Bethel Virtual Academy and all secondary students. Teachers, administrators, parents and students provided input into the selection.

    We have used Edgenuity for credit retrieval in the past, but that didn’t give it a free pass. Six major online curriculums were vetted by before the decision was made. The curriculum was discussed at length during the Board meeting. You can hear the full presentation by clicking here.

    The deadline to apply for the Bethel Virtual Academy is this Monday, August 3.

    Students enrolled in BVA will need to complete the entire quarter (elementary) or trimester (secondary) of learning. If at the end of a quarter/trimester a parent wants to return their student to their home school, space availability will determine when they may transition back. As soon as space is available, a student would be allowed to return to their home school. 

    If you have questions about the Bethel Virtual Academy, we have created an FAQ to help you make your decision. You can find it at bethelsd.org/BVA.

    How will the Bethel Virtual Academy work for elementary students?

    The Bethel Elementary Virtual Academy is designed for any family seeking a self-paced and highly independent learning experience. BVA students access learning through recorded lessons, learning support materials, and an instructional schedule set by the teacher.The BVA uses our adopted elementary curricula to guide the independent learning progression for each student.

    Parents play a critical role and must commit through a formal agreement to provide continuous support as their student’s BVA learning coach. Students are asked to maintain enrollment; however, there will be pre-established transition dates for families that wish to re-enroll at their home school.

    The BVA schedule follows Washington State’s Alternative Learning Experience guidelines, including a requirement for 333 minutes of daily student engagement. Students will have an assigned certified teacher to manage and monitor their independent learning plan.

    If the Bethel Virtual Academy’s unique and highly independent design is not a fit for your student or family, your home school will be offering a remote program with more teacher guidance. Please reach out to Chris Brauer, Elementary BVA administrator at cbrauer@bethelsd.org, for more information.

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  • School Board Meeting Recap 7-28-20

    Posted by Bethel School District on 7/28/2020

    This week the School Board voted unanimously to name Elementary #18 after Katherine Johnson. Johnson was an American mathematician who worked on high-level NASA programs, including the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that sent the first three men to the moon. Elementary #18 is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.

    Budget

    Billy Wessell, Chief Financial Officer, presented a budget update with a list of proposed reductions for the 2020/21 school year due to the negative impacts COVID-19 has had on the budget. 

    Curriculum Adoptions

    At the meeting the Board adopted four new curriculums, including Edgenuity, the online platform for the Bethel Virtual Academy and all secondary students this fall. Teachers, administrators, parents and students provided input into the selection.

    The other curriculums adopted at the meeting were:

    Advanced Placement Human Geography

    High School Criminal Law Course

    9th Grade Seminar

    In August teachers will get professional learning opportunities to prepare them for the new curriculums and the online learning platform. Ongoing learning for teachers will be provided throughout the 2020/21 school year. 

    Policies

    The Board accepted seven policies for second reading.

    http://go.boarddocs.com/wa/bethel/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BR5Q9L6730E1

    Construction

    The Board authorized the bidding process for the Bethel Early Learning Center project. They also awarded the pre-construction phase of the Graham-Kapowsin High School expansion and renovation project to Korsmo Construction.

    The next School Board meeting will be held on August 11 at 7 p.m.

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  • Fall 2020 Reopening Update 7-23-20

    Posted by Bethel School District on 7/23/2020 7:30:00 PM

    To begin the 2020-21 school year, the Bethel School District will return to school via 100% online learning in order to ensure the health and safety of students, staff and families. Staff have been preparing for an improved digital learning experience and will be prepared to provide quality online instruction to students as we begin the year. 

    When we began drafting this update earlier this week, we had planned to announce the selection of a hybrid model for September.  The model was an AM-PM program where students would be in school every day for a half a day, 4-days per week. This was the model selected based on community feedback and input from our staff. When we are able to move back to a hybrid learning model, we will use the AM-PM model. 

    Today, Dr. Anthony Chen, the Director of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, sent all superintendents in Pierce County a letter advising against a return to onsite instruction in the fall. In his letter he states, “We all understand the importance of quality education, social-emotional learning, addressing food and special needs, parents’ need to work, and so many other critical issues. However, it is of utmost importance that we protect the health of our students, education professionals and school support staff. At this time, I do not feel we can do so if we open schools for onsite instruction in September.”  

    A link to the related press release from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is available here. The safety of students and staff is our paramount concern and priority, and therefore we will follow the counsel of the health department.

    We know you will have many questions based on this announcement and we will share answers as they become available. As you are aware, the situation can and will change, and we are working to ensure that students will have the most rigorous, equitable education possible, no matter the circumstances.

    Update: Bethel Virtual Academy (Registration Deadline is August 3)

    While all students will begin the 2020-21 school year in an online learning model, students enrolled at the Bethel Virtual Academy (BVA) will not move to the face-to-face AM-PM model when the health department indicates large numbers of students may return to school buildings to learn.

    BVA will provide 100% of a student’s education online all year. Students in the school will be taught by Bethel School District certificated teachers using a newly purchased online learning platform. The school will operate like the other online schools in the state, however students will enjoy all the benefits of being a Bethel student. They will have an easier transition back to their home school when the family chooses to request that move, will be able to partner with the Pierce County Skills Center, access Running Start and have opportunities to take some courses in person at their home school and others at BVA. BVA students will also be able to participate in any sports available at their home school. More about BVA can be found by clicking here.

    Families who want their children to remain in an online learning format all year should complete the BVA Registration Form by clicking here. This will inform us of your intent to register for BVA. Our full BVA registration process will start in August, at which time we contact everyone who filled out this form to provide detailed registration information. The deadline for BVA registration is August 3. 

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  • Fall 2020 Reopening Update 7-17-20

    Posted by Bethel School District on 7/17/2020 5:50:00 PM

    This week our certificated and classified staff members weighed in on both models for reopening school that we emailed about in last week's update. We are reviewing their input and hope to have a decision made early next week.

    The model we choose will be designed so we can change quickly based on the Health Department’s recommendations. It will also allow for a move to 100% remote learning again, if there is a virus breakout in one or all Bethel buildings. 

    Special Services Update
    Our Special Services Department is working as an integral part of the district’s Reopening Task Force. They are developing ways to best meet the needs of the nearly 3,000 special education students and more than 1,000 English Learner (EL) students with varying degrees of needs. This team has representation from staff who serve these students from birth up to 21 years of age. Additionally, they are utilizing feedback that our families provided to the district in the recent parent survey.

    The Special Services team is committed to the following:

    • Keeping students at the center with intentional outreach to continue building relationships and maintaining connections. This will help students feel safe and valued.
    • Design learning for equity and access by planning and delivering content in multiple ways, so all students can access learning. 
    • Manage and monitor student learning and plan what’s next for them. 
    • Use a variety of strategies to monitor, assess, and provide feedback to students about their learning. 
    • Use formative assessment results to guide our reflection on the effectiveness of instruction and to determine the next steps for student learning.
    • Communicate with and seek input from families about assessment results in order to inform our next steps. Provide translations as necessary.

    Childcare
    Right now, the only child care we will be able to provide this fall will be Right at School’s before and after school care. You can learn more about this program by clicking here.

    Bethel Virtual Academy
    If you do not feel comfortable with a face-to-face return to school in the fall, complete the BVA Registration Form by clicking here. We want to be clear that this form is to inform us of your intent to register for BVA. It is helping us get a student count, and from what grade level/buildings students may be moving from. Our full registration process will happen in August, and we will reach out to everyone who filled out this form to get detailed registration information.

    Students enrolled in BVA will need to complete the entire quarter (elementary) or trimester (secondary) of learning. If at the end of a quarter/trimester a parent wants to return their student to their home school, space availability will determine when they may transition back. As soon as space is available, a student would be allowed to return to their home school. 

    FAQ
    As we get more questions answered, we are posting them in our FAQ at bethelsd.org/news. You’ll find the latest updates about reopening schools there as well.

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  • School Board Meeting Recap 7-14-20

    Posted by Bethel School District on 7/15/2020

    During the School Board meeting, Charlie Brown from Cascade Government Affairs provided a legislative update and a look at the upcoming legislative session.

    The Board also held a public meeting about the proposed revision to the boundary between the Bethel School District and the Puyallup School District in the Lipoma Communities. You can see the presentation by clicking here.

    During the School Board Study Session, the Board reviewed changes to several policies and procedures, along with five new policies.

    NEW

    INTERVIEWS AND INTERROGATIONS OF STUDENTS ON SCHOOL PREMISES

    OPIOID-RELATED OVERDOSE REVERSAL

    SCHOOL-BASED THREAT ASSESSMENT

    SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER

    USE OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE

    REVIEW

    STUDENT DISCIPLINE

    CHANGES

    STUDENT IMMUNIZATION AND LIFE THREATENING HEALTH CONDITIONS

    PEDICULOSIS INFESTATION

    You can find links to the policies and procedures reviewed by clicking here. During the Board meeting, the Board accepted the policies for first reading and further study.

    The next School Board Meeting is scheduled for July 28, 2020 at 7 p.m.

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