TCSD 2021-2022 Update

Weekly Absence Data

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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