End-of-Year Message and Have a Great Summer from the Superintendent
June 7, 2020
Dear Radnor Township School District Families,
We have reached the end of the 2019-20 school year, and I think it’s safe to say it wasn’t quite what we expected. Just think, we started back in September with a commitment to “see with 20/20 vision” as we asked our staff, students and families to consider “What is your focus?” for this school year.
Then March came, and our original sightlines were obscured. I am reminded of the John Lennon lyric, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Life happened to all of us, and yet amid the many challenges and changes, our focus remained on our students.
I appreciate each student and every family for your patience, flexibility and making the most of this school year despite the hurdles. Thanks to three months of experience and very helpful feedback from all stakeholders, we will continue to work together to build on our successes and improve our programming for any fall scenario that will be in place for our students.
With that said, we have a busy summer ahead, and we look forward to engaging our community in our work soon as a district in developing plans to come back better than ever. Until then, here are some updates as we say goodbye and wish you a great summer.
Five Scenarios for Reopening Radnor
At the May 26 School Board business meeting, we shared a first look at the five scenarios we’re considering as we investigate what school might look like heading into next year. You can view these scenarios by clicking here, along with information on the two district task forces we have created to examine logistics related to these options and the various guiding questions we will be considering.
Guidance from the State and Health Experts
It is important to note that each of the five scenarios, and the re-opening of school in general, will be heavily influenced by guidance and requirements from the Governor, as well as federal, state and local health and education agencies. For example, on June 3, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released “Preliminary Guidance for Phase Reopening of Schools” (click here), which we are examining closely. Governor Wolf also lifted the stay-at-home order statewide effective June 5, and moved our region into the “yellow phase,” which also informs our plans (click here).
These resources and developments, as well as those to come, will be major factors in our decision-making. We will continue to provide you updates. Please note that for now, our buildings remain closed and no group activities are permitted on campus as we analyze the safest next steps.
As we further review the five scenarios and begin the process of planning for 2020-21, we are eager to hear your thoughts. We will soon release a survey to gather your final thoughts on our online learning program this past spring. We also want to seek your input on the fall and offer an opportunity for you to share any suggestions. Lastly, we will be seeking parent participation in an advisory committee to discuss plans for the fall. The survey will be shared in the next few weeks.
Summer Programming for Students
In response to our recent closure, we have created a new and expanded online academic summer program available to Radnor students. We hope this supplemental online programming will further support our students through the summer months. We are excited to invite you to view these course offerings on our newly published Summer Programming webpage by clicking here. Aside from RHS Summer School, all of these new offerings are free of charge. I thank the staff members responsible for putting these innovative and enriching programs together for our students and families and hope you will take advantage of what’s available!
Proposed Final Budget Passes
Also at the May 26 Board meeting, the Board approved our proposed final 2020-21 budget by a 5-4 vote at $102,736,553. After an extensive and very thoughtful discussion that recognized the economic impact of the pandemic on school operations and the many uncertainties in our economy at large, the proposed final budget assumes a 2.6% real estate tax increase. We will be finalizing the budget at the June 23 Board business meeting. I wanted to make sure you were aware of our progress and deliberations in this regard. More details regarding the proposed final budget can be found by clicking here. You can watch the video of the meeting by clicking here.
End-of-Year “Virtual” Celebrations
Lastly, I invite you to celebrate our 5th, 8th and 12th graders via video ceremonies. We have released or will release virtual ceremonies honoring all the students in these grade levels on our YouTube channel here. You can see the full schedule of videos in our May 31 Radnor Reader here.
Again, I thank everyone for your incredible efforts over these last few months to engage with and support our adapted educational program while you contended with your own professional and personal challenges and responsibilities. We will continue to adapt and adjust as needed to ensure our students always receive the best Radnor educational experience possible. I look forward to our collaborative work and your support as we navigate the summer and plan for a new Radnor school year this fall.
I hope this time between one school year ending and another one beginning provides respite, reflection, and renewal. And as always, thank you for supporting our schools and making us #RadnorProud!
Kenneth E. Batchelor