Message from Mr. Benedick
May 18, 2021
Dear TSD Families and Community Members,
Happy May! As we near the conclusion of this unique and very challenging school year, I wanted to share a few reflections and also provide some updates on our future here in the Tuscarora School District. Additionally, I want to thank our school community for your flexibility and support throughout this pandemic.
- Since the start of the pandemic, the Tuscarora School District has served approximately 350,000 free meals to our students. In addition to free breakfasts and lunches for all TSD students, we have increased our food services to include meals over school breaks and take home meals on weekends. Recently, the USDA approved an extension of the universal free meal program for all students through June of 2022.
- Because of the need for remote learning, the pandemic forced TSD to “fast-track” the purchase of additional technology items and provide a device for all students, grades K-12. The district was also able to assist families, as needed, with internet access and connectivity issues. While the planning for future technology usage will have a much more planned and blended nature, the level of student access to technology has increased significantly because of the pandemic.
- As the school year concludes and mitigation requirements decrease, we have been able to hold many of the traditional and very important events that occur in a school year. We have completed all 3 athletic seasons and have hosted TSD Olympics for our students with special needs, we are now holding concerts and ceremonies, and we are planning for Commencement and other traditional end of the year activities. After May 31st, Pennsylvania’s mitigation requirements, except for masks, are removed. While I can make no promises, we are very hopeful that we’ll keep moving in a positive direction as we enter summer and plan for relative “normal” operations in the fall.
- Due to learning challenges some students have faced this past year, we have enhanced our summer programming starting in June. We plan to have a six week elementary program and a credit recovery program for our high school students who need it.
- Also, we are happy to introduce our optional “grid learning” program for the summer of 2021! This was an initiative in development prior to COVID, but feels even more important and timely that we roll it out this summer. TSD faculty members have developed weekly theme-based learning activities that will be published and printed each week this summer. Students and families are invited to participate in these activities and those students who participate will be entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes.
- We are currently moving from Rocket Edge to designing next year’s version of our Online Learning program (which will be called TSD Online Academy) for students and families who opt for cyber programming rather than “in person” instruction. The program will be managed by TSD staff and taught by dedicated faculty assigned solely to cyber education. We expect and hope that many of our current RocketEdge students are anxious to return to “in person, 5 days/week” instruction with our TSD faculty and staff. For students who wish to enroll in the TSD Online Academy for 2021-22, the application process and timelines will be made available during the summer.
- TSD is currently transitioning to a new student information system (SIS) called Powerschool. Our high school students have already scheduled for 2021-22 using this new system. For all TSD families, PowerSchool will replace Sapphire and will require families and students to create a new portal account to access/update student demographics and records.
Finally, I want to wish our TSD students and families a wonderful summer. Be well.
My TSD best,