Alex Public School Stakeholders,
I would like to take a few moments to provide you with information regarding Early Release and Virtual days for this school year. Both of these calendar events are a direct result of Alex Public Schools trying to fulfill our main purpose as an education organization. Our main purpose is to be exceptional at 1) the safety and security of your children and 2) maximizing student learning. We take our responsibility seriously and dedicate a tremendous amount of time and resources to this purpose.
Virtual Days are days in which an event such as hazardous weather or power outage makes it unsafe or unwise to open school for the day. A virtual day is designed to allow students to continue to work on lessons, which are directly related to their regularly scheduled classwork, at the convenience of the parent or guardian. We know the inconvenience for parents who work to arrange day care for their children when school is cancelled. We also know not everyone has access to reliable internet at home. So keeping this in mind, each virtual day lesson will have a paper/pencil option and a digital option. Also, many of our lessons have been designed to where the student work product is done by paper/pencil but transmitted to the teacher by simple photo and a text message or email. Our teachers will be available on virtual days to help students and will be accessible by email. You can view each teacher’s email address and lesson plans on our school website at www.alex.k12.ok.us. The first Virtual Day is scheduled for Oct. 9th. This date was selected as the perfect day to practice for a school cancelation due to Alex hosting a Senior Conference day in which seniors throughout the region will be at AHS learning about post high school life and responsibilities. Our hope is we practice a Virtual Day one time and never have to use it this school year. However, just like the fire drills we conduct twice a semester, if necessary we have a plan in place to maximize the safety and security of your children.
Early Release days are highlighted on the Master Calendar with an orange background. Early Release days are designed for our staff to continue to train to be better at teaching which fulfills the second part of our purpose: maximizing student learning. Again we realize the inconvenience this places on families. However, this school year, our elementary was selected by Oklahoma University’s K20 center for the $65,000.00 technology OETT grant. This grant comes with money to purchase technology and professional training on how to incorporate the technology into our teacher’s lesson plans.
In closing, please understand APS has the best interests of your children in mind when we make calendar decisions. We do not take our responsibilities lightly regarding the safety and security or the academic achievement of our students. Virtual Days will allow us to plan ahead and reduce the last minute school closing decisions whenever the weather is a concern. Virtual Days allow students to complete instructional hour requirements without having to make up cancelled school days. Early release days allow our teachers and staff to continue to seek the most relevant training and educational strategies that have the greatest impact on student achievement. Early release days allow APS to continue to be eligible for educational grants directly benefiting our students.
It is my sincere hope that this letter has shed better light on why our Master Calendar looks different than it has in year’s past. It is not lost on me the sacrifices parents and other APS stakeholders make to ensure today’s students have a brighter tomorrow. Thank you for all you do and, as always, if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas in which we can better achieve our purpose of student safety and academic achievement please don’t hesitate to contact the school. I may be reached in person at my office, by school phone 405-785-2605, by cell 580-678-0240, or by email at email@example.com.
Dr. Jason James, Superintendent
Alex Public Schools