807 East Avenue South | La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 | 608.789.7600

May 1, 2020 district communication

LA CROSSE, Wis., (May 1, 2020) – I want to thank you again for your continued support and understanding during these times. If ever the phrase ‘We’re all in this together,” were appropriate, it’s right now, during these challenging times. Despite the fact that our delivery of school has abruptly changed from a face-to-face environment to a remote learning environment, great things continue to happen across our district. As I reflect on this year, my last as your superintendent, I could not be more proud of the educators and staff who are putting their best efforts forward every day in support of the community’s families and our students.

Would you like to thank your child’s teacher(s)? Our La Crosse Public Education Foundation is holding its annual ’Thank-a-Teacher’ celebration during the week of May 4-May 8. Perhaps you’d be interested in honoring a teacher by posting a comment or two. Read more about how to do that on the La Crosse Public Education Foundation website.

Over the last few weeks, we have been working hard to identify students who do not have Internet access, and we have virtually closed those access gaps by providing mobile access points for students in need. In addition, over the last few days, we have provided iPads for our third-grade students so that they can participate digitally as well. This week, we ‘switched on’ video capacity so that our teachers and students and even parents can have virtual, face-to-face conversations. As of today, our nutrition services staff, in partnership with our transportation provider, GoRiteway, have distributed more than 70,000 meals to students.

Administration continues to discuss how best to bring closure to the end of the current school year. By now you know that our face-to-face high school graduations will not proceed as scheduled. Our summer school plans for June will include only remote learning for original credit and credit recovery courses at the high school level. This means that our very popular Science Adventure courses for our English Language Learners have been canceled as well. We have designated May 25-June 5 as the window for parents and students to collect personal belongings at the school and return devices. School principals will communicate to you a detailed schedule and process for each building.

While we are working to address closure to the current school year, we are also working to develop our back-to-school protocols once we are allowed to move back to a face-to-face setting. We are reviewing expectations from the Governor’s Badger Bounce Plan at the same time that we are reviewing recommendations from the Center for Disease Control. There are many facets to consider. At this time, we plan to organize our local return-to-school efforts around four areas: 1) preventing disease spread, 2) addressing staff and student illnesses when they occur, 3) continuing instruction, and 4) addressing social and emotional needs of children. When it is time to move back to a face-to-face setting, we will be ready to do so.

In reflection, my family moved to La Crosse in 2009, and in my eleven years as a resident here and my nine years as your superintendent, I have witnessed and experienced a community that is resilient. It’s a community that cares about its schools, and it’s a community that cares about its children. It is clear as we navigate through this challenging time, that a new normal will emerge for our schools. On behalf of our staff, I pledge to you that we will be ready!

With our students at the forefront,

Randy Nelson

Superintendent of Schools