W-G school board confirms no make-up dates needed, senior graduation

Sean Cordy - Correspondent
The Woodward-Granger School Board held its meeting virtually through Zoom on Monday, April 6.

COVID-19 continues to dominate the conversation.

As Woodward-Granger’s school board meeting Monday — virtually hosted on Zoom — began, the members quickly pushed a couple to-do items for next month’s conference as to discuss strategy regarding the latest school closure through April 30 under the state’s response to the coronavirus.

Of the items addressed, superintendent Dr. Matt Adams was adamant in his proposal regarding at-home schooling, graduation and continued employee coverage.

The state board of education has presented two options for districts to carry on with their years without the need to make up the lost school days. That is to either offer students voluntary opportunities or required education services. Woodward-Granger has opted to continue its voluntary opportunities programming.

Teachers have been providing voluntary opportunities for students since March 23. These do not require assessments or grades.

Speaking as a parent, board member Ashley Brandt said in appreciation of the teachers that “We can feel that you guys are connected, that we’re operating as one well-oiled machine.”

Notably throughout the weeks since school was initially canceled in mid-March, the district has engaged with students through social media challenges to encourage interaction while in isolation. The school also held a teacher parade to connect with students.

In an email to the Perry Chief following the meeting, Adams wrote that families had provided him feedback that they “were overwhelmed with the amount of information coming from the school” and hopes that the voluntary structure will help ease that as families continue to adjust to the current situation.

“Many [families] are working from home while trying to care for their children and engage them in learning. It’s not an easy task,” Adams wrote.

Speaking during the meeting on the current level of participation, Adams said he felt that “half would be fair,” adding that “it’s clear that they’re ready to take it up another level.”

Part of that next level includes issuing ChromeBooks to grades 2-5 over the coming week. Reiterating the matter of access and equity as not every family has readily available time or resources, Adams said these are not required materials.

Additionally, Adams said that the senior class can rest easy knowing graduation will be held somehow.

“They’re gonna graduate,” Adams said during the call. “They’re going to graduate on time. I want to make that very clear. And they will be celebrated. We may need to get a little creative.”

Graduation is currently scheduled for Sunday, May 17 at the high school gym. But as with the rest of school events moving forward, Adams said any discussion of dates beyond April 30 would “pure speculation.”

Of no speculation, however, Adams confirmed that hourly school employees will continue to be paid through the end of the month, extending beyond the initial term that would end April 10.