Hello colleagues, students, families, and staff in Jackson County Public Schools: I have never been more proud to serve Jackson County Public Schools as your superintendent.
This past week I have witnessed acts of courage, love and kindness in an effort to help our students be fed both physically and mentally. Our food service deliveries have been a miracle in and of themselves. I commend Laura Cabe, our school nutrition director, Ashley Taylor, our coordinator of student support volunteers, Josh Francis, transportation director, bus drivers, Jason Watson and the maintenance staff, cafeteria staff (our heroes and heroines) and the host of school and community volunteers.
I have been a part of the wonderfully collaborative effort to create remote learning opportunities with Angie Dills, CAO, and Laura Dills, Federal and Elementary director, along with Kelly Doppke, Student Support Services director; Adam Holt, testing; and Brent Speckhardt, Curriculum. Our IT staff with Jeremiah Jackson, chief technology officer, and our IT facilitator staff, Pam Cabe and April DeBord, have worked long hours to ensure we are as ready as possible for online platform use and other remote modalities.
Opportunities for remote learning include more than an online course. We will be using the telephone, USPS, email, Remind 101, videos both recorded and live and online web pages and platforms to stay connected to our students. I am so pleased that on Day 1 the teachers and staff in our district began calling each of their students.
We have been spotlighted statewide for this effort. Teachers and staff on the call created a “well check” of sorts to find out if everyone in the household was well, what the family needed: food delivery, instructional assistance, internet capability and student support assistance. It is our intent to come out of this crisis with stronger relationships with our students and families than ever before.
Our principals and all school staff have been available to plan, problem solve and counsel for all situations. We have been delivering food, school supplies, at home activities, smiles and hope on those yellow school buses.
David Proffitt, our communications officer, and Cora Fields, executive assistant, along with Jake Buchanan, assistant superintendent, and Kevin Bailey our executive director of personnel, and his staff have delivered multiple communications and phone calls, and worked to ensure everyone who wants to work is able to work and receive their regular pay. Kristy Walker and the entire finance team have worked tirelessly to ensure our bills are paid because we know for small business owners and all business owners it is imperative invoices are paid on time. It is also crucial that our staff receives their paycheck on schedule.
Jackson County Public Schools will continue to work to support each student, family and staff member as we move through the days and weeks ahead. We maintain our focus on student health and safety, as well as teaching and learning in unique new ways. If you are in need of a food delivery, help with a learning activity, emotional or mental health support or simply have a question, please reach out to your principal, central staff or me. We are maintaining hope that we will return to school on May 18 so that our students may have end of year activities and celebrations of all kinds. I truly believe this can occur if we band together and follow the advice of our local Health Department, state and federal agencies and the CDC.
Take care of yourselves and each other. Please let me know how I can help you. We will get through this together with hope, care and love.
Thank you for continuing to engage in education.
Kim Elliott is the superintendent of Jackson County Public Schools.