TCSD 2021-2022 Update

Weekly Absence Data

Update #24, May 13, 2022
In spite of today being Friday the 13th and the snow/rain, it is a great day in our schools.  This weekend we are hosting regional soccer and the high school edition of the musical “Chicago”. School Nurse’s Day was Wednesday May 11 and we are VERY thankful for our awesome team.  On Tuesday, the Lunch Rotary Club honored our nurse’s as Citizens of the Month, along with the Students of the Season.  Congratulations to our nursing team!

Next week we will serve as the host location for the Wyoming State Board of Education’s Profile of a Graduate Community Session.  The event will take place at the District Office, 1235 Gregory Lane on Thursday, May 19th from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. This will be an opportunity to hear more about the State Board of Education’s efforts to define what it means to be a graduate by creating the Wyoming Profile of a Graduate; an ideal vision of a Wyoming graduate that can guide the board and the state in matters of education policy. Spanish Interpretation will be provided.  For more information, visit their website. Please join us for this event and bring your student with you.  It is a great way to impact the future of education in Wyoming.  

The District is currently hiring for many positions, if you are interested in learning more about the career opportunities at TCSD, please visit the employment section of our website. 

With four weeks remaining in the 2021-2022 school this is an exciting time for everyone as we all will be experiencing a little spring fever and engaging in a variety of academic and extracurricular activities.  Enjoy these next few weeks- summer will be here before you know it! 

Update #23, April 29, 2022

Happy almost May Day.  I am proud to announce that US News named JHHS the #1 public high school in Wyoming.  While there are many ways to rank a school, this recognition celebrates the achievements of our high school and all TCSD schools that develop elementary and middle school aged children to become successful high school students.  

I am also excited to report that our own Trustee Janine Bay Teske was honored by the Wyoming Association of School Administrators (WASA) for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of all Wyoming public schools.  Her efforts have forged the way for partnerships focused on doing what is best for students everyday.  Thank you Trustee Bay Teske for your years of service to the students of Teton County and Wyoming.  

April 20th, TCSD and the Cook Center for Human Connection hosted a free virtual seminar for parents. If you were unable to attend but are interested in this information, the recording of the webinar is available here:     https://CookCenter.info/April20MentalHealthNightReplay (Case Sensitive)

You may have seen that the Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners have posted the applications for the 2022 the Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) ballot.  Here is a brief summary explaining why TCSD is asking to include not only funding for employee housing on the SPET, but also the Bronc Achievement Center.  

With six weeks remaining in the 2021-2022 school this is an exciting time for everyone as we all will be experiencing a little spring fever and engaging in a variety of academic and extracurricular activities.  Enjoy these next few weeks- summer will be here before you know it! 

 

Update #22, April 15, 2022

Welcome back, I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break and have a good week back.  As we transition into the home stretch of the 2021-2022 school year things are maybe busier than ever with musical and theater performances, dances, spring athletics and activities and all those end of year celebrations just around the corner.  Please be sure to read all teacher and principal newsletters over the next few weeks so you are sure not to miss anything.

Congratulations to the RoboBronc for their efforts in Salt Lake City as winners of the 2022 Quality Awards for the Utah region.  Now they head to the World Championship in Houston next week.  We wish them luck!  

The top 10 ranked culinary team crushed their competition at NASA where they were taxed with preparing a pre-flight meal.  Students learned about the physiological changes that take place in space and how food can minimize the effect of long term space flight.  They also learned about food preservation in space and to design a meal low in fat, sodium and sugar but high in calories, fiber, vitamins  and minerals.  If their meal is selected, students will receive a full ride to culinary school and their meal will be used in the pre-flight program.  Congratulations Astro-Broncs!

On April 20th we will be hosting an Open House at Jackson Hole Middle School to share the renovations and improvements.  While it has taken several months, we think the remodel has been a success in providing a much better learning environment for students.  We are looking forward to completing the additional classrooms in the next few months and opening the new school year with a lot more space for students.   Please join us from 4:30-5:30!

Also on April 20 from 6:00-7:00, TCSD and the Cook Center for Human Connection are hosting a free virtual seminar for parents.  The Cook Center for Human Connection is a non-profit focused on providing families with access to mental health and suicide prevention resources. Through their website ParentGuidance.org, there are over fifty e-courses created by a team of licensed mental health professionals and it has access to a team with an 'Ask a Therapist Feature.' And, there is an introductory Mental Health Night with Dr. Skinner. All of these resources are free. Parents can seek free resources anonymously at any time to help with parenting children of any age. A link to their website is also on our homepage at www.tcsd.org. 

You may have seen that the Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners have released the application to propose projects for inclusion on the 2022 the Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) ballot.  TCSD is preparing our application and hope we can count on your support for including the much needed 24 housing units near JHMS and the Bronc Achievement Center.  While state funding has been used to pay for school facilities in the past, such funding has been cut and we do not anticipate state funding to be available again in the near future so now we must look to our community to meet the needs of the students of Teton County. Please let the Commissioners and Council Members know you support these projects on the upcoming SPET ballot.  


Update #21, March 18, 2022

It has been another exciting week for our JHHS Broncs with the Culinary Team finishing first and second at the state competition.  Robotics will be traveling to Denver next week  after a successful showing in California and the Alpine Team brought home the State Championship and the Speech and Debate Team is competing in Rock Springs this weekend.  Many of our spring sports are underway and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments in the coming weeks. 

We are proud to provide the Jackson Hole High School Auditorium for a presentation by Holocaust suvivor, Estelle Nadel on Monday, March 21st at 6pm.  This presentation is appropriate for adults and middle and high school aged children.   

At their Regular Meeting on March 9th the Board of Trustees approved updates to the 2022-2023 School Year Calendar.  To make it a little easier for families to understand the school calendar, we have created three versions- an All Schools Calendar, an Elementary Calendar and a Secondary Calendar.  These calendars contain a lot of information about school schedules so please review carefully, including the “Notes” section listed next to each month of the calendar. The calendars are also posted and available on our website.  

The board also approved the 2023-2024 school year calendar.  The Board will consider the addition of In-service and Flex days in early 2023, after evaluating outcomes from the professional development being offered on those days during the 2022-2023 school year.  If you have any questions about the school year calendars please contact Charlotte Reynolds at 307.732.9409 or creynolds@tcsd.org or your student’s school.  

You may have seen that the Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners have released the application to propose projects for inclusion on the 2022 the Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) ballot.  TCSD is preparing our application and hope we can count on your support for including the much needed 24 housing units near JHMS and the Bronc Achievement Center.  While state funding has been used to pay for school facilities in the past, such funding has been cut and we do not anticipate state funding to be available again in the near future so now we must look to our community to meet the needs of the students of Teton County. 

Spring break begins March 28th.  I hope you have a wonderful break and we look forward to seeing students and staff on Monday, April 11th.

Update #20, March 4, 2022

In last week’s update I mentioned the much anticipated spring break, I wasn't quite expecting spring to arrive this week!  Congratulations to the boys and girls Nordic teams for winning the state championship and to the Moose Hockey team for their win.  We wish our alpine teams good luck as they compete for the state championship this weekend. 

At their Regular Meeting next Wednesday, the Board of Trustees will consider updates to the 2022-2023 School Year Calendar.  The proposed calendar includes two inservice days for all schools.  Additionally staff is proposing 10 Flex Fridays for high school, five Flex Fridays for the middle school and five  in service days for all our elementary schools.  CREST (the elementary enrichment program offered during teacher in service) will be provided on those days. 

The board will also consider the start and end date, graduation dates and school holidays for the 2023-2024 school year calendar.  The inservice days will be added at a later date after we gather data in the winter of 2023 on the effectiveness of the requested inservice days.  

As I announced to you in last week’s communication, TCSD has sent a request to the Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners to be included on the Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) ballot for 24 housing units near JHMS and the Bronc Achievement Center.  As a reminder, the BAC is a cost efficient and effective way to increase classroom space inside JHHS and create custom designed large spaces for our specialized classrooms.  The facility would also include multi-purpose athletic spaces.  While state funding has been used to pay for such facilities in the past, such funding has been cut and we do not anticipate those funds to be available again in the near future. 

Having adequate and appropriate school facilities and housing for our staff are essential for our district moving forward so we are asking our local community to support these needs.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and our district.

 

Update #19, February 25, 2022

It has been a busy week at TCSD.  One of the highlights was the First Generation College Night.  The information night was hosted by Jackson Hole High School, Central Wyoming College, First in Family Scholarship, Teton Literacy Center, and Coombs Outdoors for students who will be the first in their families to attend college.  The event was attended by approximately 70 people and included a panel discussion and breakout sessions.  As superintendent it is exciting to see so many students and their families exploring new opportunities for their futures.    

I am pleased to report that the number of COVID positive cases in our schools continue to decline, which aligns with what is happening in our community.  If your student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, you may schedule an appointment for a Cue rapid test using this appointment scheduler.  Please do not come to the TCSD District Office for a test without an appointment. There are also testing options through each school nurse’s office for any asymptomatic student or staff member who would like to get tested. 

TCSD is asking the Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners to consider including two district projects on the November Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) ballot.  We are requesting funding for district teacher and staff housing and a new Bronc Achievement Center.  

The proposed housing project next to Jackson Hole Middle School will provide a starting point for what is contemplated to be a three building (72 units) housing project.  Each building will have 24 units.  If funded, this project will be the first step in alleviating the serious housing shortage that is preventing the district from recruiting and retaining school district teachers and staff.  

A new Bronc Achievement Center is our other high-priority project for SPET.  The new facility will provide a cost effective and efficient solution to the capacity issues and programmatic needs at the high school.  The new facility envisions a customized prefabricated building that will create appropriately sized labs for culinary arts, media arts, fabrication, engineering, robotics, and health and expand athletic and recreational opportunities for the children of this community.  This approach will also allow the district to repurpose space within the existing high school to ease overcrowding. 

These two projects are critical to the future of our district as they ensure we are able to recruit and retain employees who work directly with and support students and so we can provide adequate and appropriate learning spaces for our students and facilities for district and community recreation.   Please consider contacting the Town Council and Board of County Commissioners by March 7th to let them know you support these requests being presented to the community for consideration at the November election.  

 I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  We look forward to seeing everyone next week as we head into the month of March and the rapidly approaching and much anticipated spring break.

 

Update # 18, February 11, 2022

At the February 9th Regular Board meeting, the Trustees reviewed the TCSD Smart Start Plan and made several updates.  The changes include:

 

  • Masks will be optional for students and staff.  

  • Masks will continue to be required on school buses, per federal regulations.

  • Masks will continue to be required at the Cubs and Grizzlies early childhood education  programs.  

  • TCSD will provide various testing options, including rapid antigen tests, molecular Cue tests and Vault PCR tests, for students and staff.

  • Traditional contact tracing efforts will be limited but notice will be provided to all elementary families if there is an exposure in their student’s class

  • Traditional contact tracing efforts will be limited but notice will be provided to all secondary families if there are two or more exposures in their student’s class(es).

 

The complete updated plan, which goes into effect tomorrow, February 12th was posted on the TCSD website on Thursday morning and is available for review.  

Teachers and school staff have been communicating these changes to students so they are prepared when they arrive at school on Monday. 

We continue to receive questions about vaccine clinic options.  Here is information from the Teton County Health Department  regarding their vaccination schedules.  They have available appointment times.  TCSD does not run these clinics and we encourage families to speak with your physician to discuss whether or not to vaccinate your child. 

 Also during the February 9th meeting, the Trustees discussed the 2022-2023 school year calendars.  Staff provided an explanation of the different categories of non-traditional student days including Flex Fridays, Virtual Days and Teacher Inservice/CREST days.  Staff is proposing a similar calendar for next year that was implemented this year with no elementary virtual days, an increase to the number of CREST day (the no-school day enrichment program) offerings and a slight adjustment to the number of Flex Fridays offered at the secondary level.  

The purpose of these days is to provide support for students individually or in small groups, and provide essential professional development for staff.  The Trustees voted to continue the discussion to their March 9th Regular Meeting where they will consider approving a new version of the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 calendars.   We will share the draft calendars with families in the coming weeks to provide you an opportunity to review the drafts and provide input.  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the sunshine.

Update # 17, February 4, 2022

In spite of these cold temperatures, it has been a good week at TCSD schools. Our students have been participating in the mid-year WYTOPP testing and participating in various activities and events.  I am proud to report that three of our high school seniors have qualified to apply for the Presidential Scholar Award.  This is a tremendous honor for the students, their families and our schools.  Additionally, our graduation rates are the third highest in the state 97.6% for both Summit Innovations and Jackson Hole High School.  We are the only large district in the state with above 90% graduation rate.  

 

At the February 9 Board meeting, the Board will review the District’s Smart Start Plan and possibly make revisions.  The current version of the plan is linked here and is posted on the on the TCSD website (www.tcsd.org)

 

We are pleased to see the number of COVID postivtie individuals decrease which aligns with what is happening in our community.  If your student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, you may schedule an appointment for a Cue rapid test using this appointment scheduler.  Please do not come to the TCSD District Office for a test without an appointment. 

 

We continue to receive questions about vaccine clinic options.  Here is information from the Teton County Health Department  regarding their vaccination schedules.  TCSD does not run these clinics and we encourage families to speak with your physician to discuss whether or not to vaccinate your child. They have available appointment times.  We also encourage 12-18 year olds to get the booster so students are up to date on vaccinations.  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the fresh snow and slightly warmer temperatures.

Update #16

Earlier this week the Wyoming Department of Education released the graduation rates for high schools throughout the state.  I am proud to report that the 2021 graduation rate at Jackson Hole High School was 98.03% and 91.67% at Summit Innovations School.  While this is one data point that demonstrates the success of our high school students, it celebrates the educational accomplishments and work of all TCSD students and staff as they progress through our schools.  

Governor Mark Gordon’s K-12 Education advisory group has released a short survey seeking input and ideas from Wyoming residents on how to create the ideal education system for the future of the state.  TCSD encourages families to take a moment to provide input.  To take the survey, please visit http://wysac.uwyo.edu/RIDE

If your student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, you may schedule an appointment for a Cue rapid test using this appointment scheduler.  Please do not come to the TCSD District Office for a test without an appointment. Participation in the Test to Stay program is available to unvaccinated individuals who have experienced an in-school exposure.  You will receive information about this testing option if your student is eligible to participate.  No appointments are necessary for that testing option but testing is only available before the start of each school day.  

Since the January 12th Board of Trustees meeting several families have inquired about vaccine clinic options.  Here is information from the Teton County Health Department  regarding their upcoming vaccination clinics.   TCSD does not lead these clinics and we encourage families to speak with their physician to discuss whether or not to vaccinate your child.

The district has KN95 adult sized masks available in the school offices should your student prefer that option.  

As a reminder, the Board of Trustees is holding a Special Meeting on January 26th to revisit the Smart Start Plan and the mask mandate they implemented starting January 13th.  This meeting will be live streamed and recorded.  If you are interested in tuning in rather than attending the meeting in person please visit the homepage of our website at www.tcsd.org to access the meeting link from the TCSD calendar.  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the fresh snow and slightly warmer temperatures.

 

Update #15, January 7, 2022

It has been a busy week at TCSD as we returned from the winter break and have been responding to the increased number of COVID cases in our community and the non-stop snow that is blanketing our valley.   

I have received several messages from parents and staff about the Board’s decision to proceed with the Smart Start Plan as approved during their November 10th meeting.  As you know, the plan indicated that the District would follow local and state health orders, including those pertaining to mask requirements.  Each Board member has their own individual reasons for their vote which they expressed during the January 1st meeting.  You may listen to the meeting recording here.  While masks are optional, staff and students are strongly encouraged to wear masks when at school.  

My job as superintendent, and that of our administrators, teachers and support staff is to implement the board’s decisions and to provide high quality education to our students.  Our entire District team remains focused on carrying out those responsibilities.  

For those who have inquired, today the Teton County Health Department issued updated information about vaccination clinics for school aged children.  Please visit their website for more information.   I have also received some questions about the current quarantine guidelines and the newly state-approved Test to Stay program.  As a District, we follow guidance from the Teton County Health Department and the Wyoming Department of Health in regards to issuing quarantine orders.  The new guidance from the CDC and is followed by our local health departments now state that unvaccinated individuals who have had an unmasked close contact exposure should quarantine for five (5) days with the option to return on the sixth day.  With the state’s recent approval of the Test to Stay program, we are able to provide daily testing for the quarantine period.  The Test to Stay program allows unvaccinated quarantined students and staff to take a COVID-19 test each morning.  If a negative result is received the individual may attend school for that day.  If at any time during the five-day quarantine period the exposed individual becomes symptomatic or tests positive they may not attend school.  Those choosing to participate in the Test to Stay will receive details including time and location for testing when needed. Here is additional guidance about the Test to Stay program. 

TCSD does not determine the appropriateness of vaccination status in determining quarantine or Test to Stay eligibility, we are following guidance from public health professionals for these decisions.

We understand that the changing guidance and process can be confusing and it may appear that we are constantly changing the rules, we apologize for this but I can assure you our team is working diligently to keep up with the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.  

As I have said numerous times over the past two years, these are challenging times but I am grateful for our community’s support, for the hard work of our teachers and staff, and for our volunteer board members.  While we may not all agree on every step taken or decision made, I know we are all doing our best to continue to provide the best education possible because that is what our students deserve.  During these difficult time we are reinforcing our TCSD core values that state we value: Students; Trust, Kindness and Respect; Challenging Standards; Fairness and Equity; Resilience and Perseverance; Personal Achievement.  

I hope you have an enjoyable weekend

Update #14, January 1, 2022
The Board of Trustees met for nearly two hours today, January 1, 2022 and gathered feedback on extending a universal mask mandate for schools.  After much consideration, the Board determined that masks would be encouraged yet optional for all students, staff and visitors to schools.  Federal regulations continue to require masks to be worn on all school buses.We look forward to school resuming on January 3, 2022.  

 

Update #13, December 17, 2021

2021 has been a unique year but we have found many things for which to be thankful.  I am thankful for the health and wellbeing of my family, the arrival of winter and the student growth and successes I have seen in all of our schools.

I have received a few questions about yesterday’s communication about the TikTok challenge that is circulating on the social media platform.  I am pleased to report that our schools were quiet, with students and staff eagerly awaiting the start of winter break.  A special thank you to the Jackson Police Department, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Teton National Park Service Law Enforcement for their increased presence at our schools today.  Be assured we take all threats or rumors of violence seriously and work with staff and local law enforcement to provide the safest school environment possible.  Please take a moment to speak with your student about their use of social media and the need to be responsible users and if they see or hear something, say something to a trusted adult.   

In anticipation of the Mask Mandate being lifted December 31, 2021, we are making preparations to streamline our contact tracing efforts to ensure efficiency and accuracy. Under certain circumstances, student’s that are fully vaccinated may be exempt from quarantine.  For this reason we are asking for parents to voluntarily submit a photocopy of your student's Covid vaccine card via email to your student's school nurse or to Nurse Esther eellis@tcsd.org once they have completed both shots in the series. Our school nurses can save a copy of your child’s Covid vaccination card in our secure and confidential healthcare software system.  Having vaccination status on file will help prevent disruption to your child’s education and prevent unnecessary quarantines.  

Upon return to school in January, we will continue to follow CDC guidance for K-12 schools. 

In the event there is an unmasked exposure in a classroom, exposed students may be required to quarantine based on a number of factors: proximity, duration, and the number of cases and/or symptomatic individuals in the classroom.  Each case is looked at individually, and the healthiest/safest decision is made by a team of District employees.  

Students will not be required to quarantine if they are symptom free and have proof of:

  • being fully vaccinated (2 complete weeks after second vaccine)  or

  • antibody test within the last 90 days (available at Smith’s Pharmacy) or

  • positive test result within the last 90 days

If symptoms are present after an exposure your student will be required to stay home and test or stay home and wait for symptoms to resolve.  

Please note: regardless of masks not being required in school, masks will be required while riding the bus per CDC guidance.

I hope all of our students and staff have a safe and relaxing winter break and we will see you on Monday, January 3, 2022.

 

Update #11, December 3, 2021

Welcome back, I hope your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are getting ready for the forecasted arrival of winter next week. 

Our district is continuing our efforts to proactively respond to the impacts of COVID in our schools.  While we do everything possible to avoid issuing quarantine orders, if there is an unmasked exposure in a classroom, students may be required to quarantine based on a number of factors including proximity, duration, and the number of cases and/or symptomatic individuals in the classroom.  Each case is looked at individually, and the healthiest/safest decision is made by a team of District employees.  This is the same approach we have been taking all year but we wanted to share this information in preparation for the anticipated expiration of the mask requirement in our schools and community.  

Students will not be required to quarantine if they are symptom free and have proof of:

  • being fully vaccinated (2 complete weeks after second vaccine)

  • antibody test within the last 90 days

  • positive test result within the last 90 days

If symptoms are present, after an exposure, they will be required to stay home and test or stay home and wait for symptoms to resolve.  

In an effort to prevent unnecessary quarantines, the school nurses are beginning to upload Covid vaccinations into our system.  Please submit your student's Covid vaccine card to your student's school nurse or to Nurse Esther once they have completed both shots in the series.  

I encourage you to stop by the National Museum of Wildlife Art on Sunday, December 5th between 11am-2pm to check out the JHHS student curated art show, The Infectious Culture of Wyoming Wildlife.  

I anticipate the month of December will go by quickly as we have just two more weeks in school before the winter break begins on December 20th.  As I look to the end of 2021 I am reminded of all I have to be grateful for, including the hard work of our students and staff and the support of our families and the community.  I hope you are able to enjoy this special time of year and find even the smallest things for which to be thankful and ways to spread kindness in our community.

Update #10, November 19, 2021

As our students and staff prepare for next week's Thanksgiving holiday I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a safe and enjoyable break from the daily routine of school.  This is a good time to take a moment to find something to be thankful for even during these stressful and challenges times.  

Our entire District expresses our heartfelt sympathies and support for those affected by the recent fire at Blair Place Apartments.  I am sure many of us know someone affect by this tragic incident.  I have been asked how the community can contribute to those affected by this tragic incident, including some of our own families.  In response I have been suggesting that anyone wishing to help reach out to local community organizations that support victims of disasters including One 22 and/or the American Red Cross. Both of these agencies are actively assisting those affected by the fire.  

I hope you and your families are able to take a little time next week to rest and relax and we will see you on November 29th.

Update #9 November 12, 2021

As we close out another week, we wait with excitement for the results of the State Football Championship game being played at the University of Wyoming today.  We also welcome the first signs of winter and remind elementary school families to send their students to school with the “Big 5” including a coat, snow pants, snow boots, hat, gloves, when there is snow on the ground. We also encourage families to have an emergency plan in the rare event that we are unable to transport students due to road closures or severe weather that keeps our busses off the roads.  This is especially important for students who live in remote areas of the county.

During their regular meeting on November 10th, the Board of Trustees updated the District’s Smart Start Plan.  The revised plan will take effect January 1, 2022 and includes updates regarding the factors considered when issuing quarantine orders and the removal of district specific mask requirements while also noting that we follow town/county/state issued health orders, including those for required mask/face coverings. This means that starting January 1st masks will be optional for all students and staff unless town/county/state health orders indicate otherwise.  

In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) act was signed into law, dedicating funds for K-12 schools through Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief (ESSER) III funds. As a result, Teton County School District #1 is eligible to receive $3.9 million in one-time federal funds. The purpose of these funds is to help maintain safe and effective operations of our schools and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning and students social-emotional well being with at least 20% of the funds used to address learning loss, mental health, and student well-being.

Teton County School District #1  is seeking feedback on how we spend the funds.  Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey to provide input on this important topic.  Additionally, TCSD is required to obtain feedback on our Safe Return to School/Smart Start Plan.  The plan has been presented to the Board each month, with opportunity for public comment on the plan.  In addition to those opportunities we are asking for additional feedback on this short surveyThe Safe Return to School/Smart Start Plan is linked here for reference.  

This week the Board of Trustees held a public listening session to gain feedback on the projects being considered as we develop a Strategic Facilities Plan that will guide our capital construction efforts for the next decade and beyond.  If you have not had a chance to provide input, there is still time.  Linked here are the projects currently being considered, which are in addition to employee housing for district employees.  At their meeting on December 8th the Board of Trustees are expected to determine which projects they would like to move forward and to identify which projects are their highest priority projects.  

As the superintendent of schools I am proud of the continued commitment our students and staff make to learning.  These continue to be stressful times but our educators and support staff go above and beyond to serve our students.  I appreciate their efforts and those of TCSD families.  Thank you for your continued support.  

 

Updated #8 November 3, 2021

As you have likely heard, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children 5-11 years old.  Below is information from the Teton County Health Department regarding their upcoming vaccination clinics.  Please note- vaccination clinics will not be offered at school for this age group as the requirement that parents/guardians accompany their children to the vaccination appointment.   

Current dates for COVID-19 Vaccine clinics for children 5-11 years old are:

·       Thursday, November 11, 2021 – 10:00 AM to 6:45 PM

·       Saturday, November 13, 2021 – 8:30 AM to 3:45 PM

·       Thursday, November 18, 2021 – 10:00 AM to 6:45 PM

Appointments can be made by visiting https://hipaa.jotform.com/TCHD/kidscovidvax or by calling our Call Center at 307-732-8628. More information on additional clinics and options for children 5–11 years old to receive a COVID-19 vaccination will be communicated once finalized.

Parents and guardians are required to accompany the child to their vaccine appointment. If you are scheduling multiple children for vaccine appointments, each child needs their own appointment time. TCHD will not be able to accommodate any other COVID-19 vaccine appointments during the clinics for children 5-11 years old. A dose of Pfizer for young children contains one-third the amount of active ingredient compared to the adult dose. Parents and guardians should consult their healthcare provider or family physician for additional guidance or questions they have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 years old.

Also, a reminder that daylight savings time ends this weekend, November 7th at 2:00am so be sure to set your clocks back by one hour.  

 

Update #7 October 29, 2021

What a beautiful day for the first Bronc’s playoff game...I hope to see many of you at the stadium to cheer on the team!  Also a note of congratulations to the girl’s and boy’s cross country team in placing second in State cross country.

TCSD has been working to address long term facilities needs to address capacity issues at Jackson Hole High School as well as condition of some of our older facilities.  Please join the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, November 10th from 5:00-6:00pm at the District Office, 1235 Gregory Lane, to provide feedback on the projects we are considering. 

Employee Housing Housing

TCSD is currently working with a consultant to identify the number, types and locations where the District could construct housing to ensure our staff have affordable and stable housing in our community so that we can provide the education and services our students need.

 The Bronc Achievement Center

 

The proposed “Bronc Achievement Center” will be situated east of the tennis courts on the south side of JHHS and will provide additional space for several classrooms including Fabrication Lab, Robotics, Health, Wellness, PE, CNA/Training, Engineering, Culinary, and Media Arts.  The facility would also include basketball courts, volleyball courts, soccer, an indoor track, space for wrestling, a climbing wall, weight room, and locker rooms.  A primary focus of this facility is to move our space-intensive programs from the high school into a new space which will provide additional classroom space to accommodate the growing population of students at JHHS.  

Site Improvements at the McIntosh Stadium

 

The site improvements include moving the existing bleachers and press box from the east side of McIntosh Stadium to the west side.  When those bleachers were built, they were designed for a high school with approximately 400 students.  Currently the high school has more than double that for enrollment.  This would also change the orientation of the site where home spectators would enter on the east side of the field and have access to parking at other schools nearby.  Visitors and bus drop off would be in the current parking area for visitors.  

Bus Barn/Maintenance Facility 

 

 The State has ranked the current bus barn facility as the number one priority for ancillary school facilities.  The current facility is undersized and in poor condition.  Additionally, the District’s maintenance shop, located by Jackson Hole Middle School, is inadequate to support the facility needs of our growing district.  By combining the bus barn and maintenance facility we would gain efficiencies as well as creating opportunities to use the current maintenance facility for middle school career tech education (CTE) programming in the future.  

 I hope you will join us on November 10th to provide feedback on these projects. 

As your trick or treaters head out in their costumes, remember to follow the safety precautions recommended by the Town of Jackson Police Department.  Lastly, with the number of reports of bears in the more developed areas of town, please dispose of your jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins on November 1st to avoid attracting bears into your neighborhood which puts people and bears in jeopardy.  

 

Update #5

Homecoming week has been a lot of fun for our community.  This weekend we are hosting the football game tonight, volleyball games and the cross country meet Saturday.  Come on out and support the Broncs! I hope you all join us in celebrating the State Boys Golf Champions after a fantastic and exciting season!   

Our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID within schools has worked well thus far.  While we know there have been a lot of emails about potential exposure and quarantines, our district is managing relatively well.  Out of nearly 350 classrooms, we have only had to quarantine six elementary classes this whole year.  This is remarkable, especially when you consider communities like Victor and Thermpolis who have had to close entire buildings or their entire district due to COVID spread.  

Quarantining a class is our last resort as we recognize that quarantining a class is a tremendous imposition for families and we know that the best place for students is in the classroom.  The decision to quarantine student(s) or a class is based on many factors including appropriate mask wearing, duration of exposure, proximity of students to each other, and the number of cases and/or symptomatic individuals in the classroom. Each case is evaluated individually, and the healthiest/safest decision is made by a team of District employees.

We know there is frustration for families when there are frequent emails indicating potential exposures. We are re-evaluating our protocols to reduce the amount of communications, while also ensuring that students who were exposed can test.  We want to make sure families watch for symptoms, especially after an exposure and to remind parents to keep their children home if symptomatic.  We will continue to evaluate our protocols and seek options in conjunction with the State Department of Health and the Teton County Health Department.  

TCSD is offering surveillance testing for all students and staff.  To participate in surveillance testing, please email the school nurse to obtain a free test for home use.  

Vaccine clinics are available for students 12 and older.  Please visit the Teton County Health Department website to schedule an appointment. Times and days of the week are posted below.  

https://www.tetoncountywy.gov/2251/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information

The Health Department is also offering flu vaccines. They are offering a Flu-a-palooza at their office on October 22.  You may sign up on their website.   with a special jot form sign up under the flu banner on the website. If you are unable to attend the flu clinic on the 22nd, you may call their office at 733-6401 to schedule an appointment. 

If you have not already completed the Free and Reduced meal forms, please take a moment to do so now.  Federal and state grants are made available to school districts based on the number of students who qualify for free or reduced meals.  While we are pleased to be able to provide free meals to students again this school year, we are seeing a dramatic decrease in the number of applications being submitted, impacting our ability to qualify for additional funding.  Families may apply for the Free and Reduced meal program online here: 

English Application 

Spanish Application

French Application

Applications are also available at the main office at each school or you may download, print and complete the form here. 

English Application

Spanish Application

The information shared on the forms is not used for any purpose other than determining eligibility for the Free and Reduced meals program, nor is it shared with any other entity.  It is strictly confidential and used to determine grant qualifications.  All families who submit the form by November 30th will be entered into a drawing for a free XBox.  

If you have not already signed up for student device (iPad or laptop) insurance please sign up today.  To purchase insurance, select the link below associated with the grade level of your student.  Note- the school district ID is highlighted at the top of the flyer.  The device serial number is on the label on the back of the student device. Please complete this form if you need your student’s device serial number.  

The deadline to register for insurance is October 5th.

Insurance links

Device

Jackson Hole Middle School 

iPad Gen 7

Note: middle school iPads include Applecare for damage so the only coverage available/needed is theft insurance.  

Jackson Hole High School and Summit Innovations School

MacBook Air 

Elementary Schools

iPad Gen 6

Update # 4

Fall is arriving and the blue, smokeless skies are returning.  I hope you are able to get outside this weekend to enjoy this wonderful weather. 

Not surprisingly, we have seen some COVID-19 cases in our schools.  Masks have been an important layer of protection against spread within the schools.  I am pleased to report that nearly all students are doing a terrific job of wearing masks throughout the school day.  As a reminder, we alert parents and families when students have had a potential close contact with a COVID positive individual.  We do not alert the entire school, only those potentially impacted. This is the same protocol we followed last year and will continue to follow this school year.  

Students are asked to stay home if they have any COVID-like symptoms.  Students should also remain home if a member of the family has tested positive for COVID unless they have met the quarantine requirements.

Our nursing team has been working with the Wyoming Department of Health to secure surveillance testing options.  For the general school population participation in testing is optional.  If you are interested in having your student participate in this testing, please complete the Curative and Cue Opt In Form.  

Testing for school activities will again be required.  Nurses will randomly select 10% of each team to be tested each week.  Tests will be provided to the students at practice and they will be expected to complete the test within the week.  Any student participating in the activity who does not take the test by their testing deadline will not be allowed to participate until a test is taken.  

Vaccine clinics are available for students 12 and older.  Please visit the Teton County Health Department website to schedule an appointment. Times and days of the week are posted below.  

https://www.tetoncountywy.gov/2251/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information

If you have not already signed up for student device (iPad or laptop) insurance please sign up today.  To purchase insurance, select the link below associated with the grade level of your student.  The deadline to register for insurance is October 5th.

Insurance links

Device

Jackson Hole Middle School 

iPad Gen 7

Note: middle school iPads include Applecare for damage so the only coverage available/needed is theft insurance.  

Jackson Hole High School and Summit Innovations School

MacBook Air 

Elementary Schools

iPad Gen 6

Update #3

Congratulations, you made it through the first week of the 2021-2022 school year.

It was an exciting week and I hope students had fun, got to know their new teachers, connected with old friends and started making new friends.  

As you are likely aware, this week the Teton County Board of Commissioners and the Jackson Town Council approved the extension of the temporary health orders requiring masks be worn indoors through December 31, 2021 unless the community drops below the “orange” risk level.  This order applies to all schools so our district will be requiring masks for all staff and students as required under this order.  

Last week our country suffered a tragic loss of 13 members of our military in Kabul Afghanistan.  One of those service members was a TCSD student and 2019 Summit Innovations School graduate, Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum.  Our deepest condolences go out to Rylee’s wife, father and sisters.  We know our entire community joins us in recognition and support of his family and honoring his service and his sacrifice.  

If you have not yet signed up for insurance for your district issued devices (Macbook or iPad), and you would like to do so, please use the appropriate school link to sign up:  

All TCSD Elementary Schools

Jackson Hole Middle School

Jackson Hole High School

Summit Innovations School

Update #2

On Wednesday, August 25th the Board of Trustees approved the Smart Start & In-person Learning Plan with slight adjustments from the previous versions posted below.  This version of the plan outlines that masks are required for all students and staff while Teton County is in the "red" or "orange" risk category, regardless of vaccination status.  The risk categories are determined by the Teton County Department of Health, using CDC metrics. The Board will review the Plan at their Regular Meeting on Wednesday, September 8th. 
 

Update #1

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful and relaxing summer.  The visitors in Jackson seem to be loving our small town and the wonderful mountain scape we are fortunate to call home.  While it is a massive inconvenience at times, I am grateful to call Teton County my home and the benefits surely outweigh the inconveniences.  

We are finalizing plans and preparing to welcome students on Monday, August 30th for the first day of the 2021-2022 school year. 

As you are likely aware, the county is experiencing an uptick in COVID cases.  If you are not vaccinated, we join the health care community in encouraging eligible individuals to get vaccinated.  The CDC and the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new guidelines which we are reviewing with our county and state health officials.  We are also updating the district’s Smart Start & In-person Learning Plan which is linked here for your  review.  At this time, the question we receive most frequently is “Will masks be required this school year?” What we know right now is that per federal regulations masks are required while riding on a school bus, so we know that part of the day, bus riders and activities participants will be wearing masks.  A determination regarding mask wearing at school will be made in the next couple of weeks. 

Data from standardized assessments is coming in and we are analyzing the data and developing plans to focus on areas where students may have some learning loss.  Over the summer, please encourage your student to read every day.  This is a major factor in helping students learn to love reading and improve comprehension and fluency.  Listening to a book while driving, reading a book as a family and chatting about it while hiking are a few tips that will help students improve reading.  Summer school is in the second week and we are grateful to the entire team, including facilities staff, food service, teachers, paras, aides, office staff, and drivers for ensuring our students have opportunities to close learning gaps and have a great time while doing it.  

During the upcoming 2021-2022 year our schools will have modified schedules on some Fridays (see the table below with dates) throughout the year. These modified Fridays are full instructional days, but student learning may include in-person instruction, virtual instruction or some combination of in-person/virtual instruction targeted towards individual student learning needs. 

Elementary 

Grades K-5

Middle School

Grades 6-8

High School

Grades 9-12

Dates

Sept 24

Oct 8

Nov 12

March 4

May 6

Dates

Sept 24

Oct. 8

Nov 12

Feb 4

March 4

May 6

Dates

Sept 10

Sept 24

Oct 8

Nov 5

Nov 12

Jan 7

Jan 28

Feb 4

March 4

April 22

May 6

May 20


 

In addition to providing students with intervention and enrichment opportunities, these Fridays will provide additional opportunities for teacher in-service/professional development that are part of every school year calendar.  

Additional programming and transportation information will be provided by your child’s school closer to the start of the school year.  

We are excited that meals will be offered for students in the 2021-2022 school year free of charge.  Please take time to complete the free and reduced lunch application as the data are used to qualify the district for federal and state grants.  All personal information provided is confidential and not distributed to any one outside the district. 

The district is working on a long range strategic facility plan as we monitor enrollment in all schools and associated district needs.  We are expecting an increase in students, especially at the high school which is predicted to have about 850 students.  A long range facility plan to update, rebuild, or build new facilities is important as we look to the future of the district and use the limited funding available to ensure the physical structures are safe and conducive to learning.  

You may have noticed that we currently have several projects underway including a remodel and addition to Jackson Hole Middle School that includes a new secure entrance, removal of pinch points in the hallways, expansion of the kitchen and cafeteria and new classrooms.  The newly installed synthetic turf at the two fields by JHHS and McIntosh Stadium looks terrific.  Work is underway on the track to repair the damage done by roots from the nearby cottonwood trees.  The trees had to be removed so the view of the scoreboard looks a little different than before.  While work is being done on the track we implore the community to avoid the area to ensure safety and avoid any impacts to the track while it is being repaired.  The trailers at CES are being removed to make way for a new playground.  All elementary school playgrounds will be evaluated during the 2021-2022 school year.  

Please mark your calendars to come have some fun at the Fund for Public Education’s Fall Fest on  August 28 from 11am - 2pm in the parking lot and field areas of the District Office.  District programs will have booths, school supplies will be handed out, in addition to great prizes, fun games, and food.  Admission is free so invite your friends, family and neighborhood to come out for this fun event.  We are thankful to our community groups who are supporting us and the Fund for Public Education for putting this event together.  

We look forward to everyone returning for the first day of school on August 30.  Should you have any questions in the meantime, you are welcome to contact me and I will be sure your questions are answered.  All the best for a continued safe and relaxing summer.  

Gillian Chapman, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

TCSD District Office        307.733.2704

Jackson Hole High School    307.732.3700

Summit Innovations School    307.733.9116

Jackson Hole Middle School    307.733.4234

Alta Elementary        307.353.2472

Colter Elementary        307.733.9651

Jackson Elementary        307.733.5302

Kelly Elementary        307.733.2955

Moran Elementary        307.543.2438

Munger Mountain Elementary    307.733.3020    

Wilson Elementary School    307.733.3077





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