These are unprecedented times for education, and as a school district responsible for educating and supporting over 35,000 students, Gilbert Public Schools (GPS) takes its role within the Town of Gilbert and the City of Mesa very seriously.
Responding to COVID-19 has called for thoughtful and informed decision making, strong connections with the community, and innovative approaches to learning.
As GPS students, families and employees prepare for the beginning of the 2020/21 school year, Gilbert Public Schools remains committed to delivering academic excellence and an inspiring learning experience for all. The district has developed a reopening plan that places the health and wellbeing of students, families and employees at the forefront, with choice and flexibility built in.
We are extremely grateful to our parents and families who completed the survey in June and the continued interactions with all of our stakeholders. All feedback, questions and conversations have been welcomed, and have directly contributed to the development of the plan.
The fact that GPS is offering three learning models simultaneously is a direct response to the wide range of needs identified within our community.
At this time, we do not know exactly what the school year will bring, but we do know that our schools are fully prepared to deliver an exceptional education for all of our students, with on campus and online options.
As all students will begin the school year online it is important to highlight that this experience will not be the same as remote learning or online summer school.
In fact, the district’s online platform, GPS Global Academy, is being extensively enhanced and improved to meet the education and support needs of our students during this time, Kindergarten - 12th grade. The new and improved GPS Global Academy will deliver interactive, supported learning led by our very own Gilbert Public Schools teachers, utilizing a robust and accredited platform and district approved curriculum.
Gilbert Public Schools teachers are being trained and supported to ensure the online learning experience for students will be interactive and supportive, while delivering academic excellence. Teachers will be able to enhance online learning with additional curriculum elements and frequent opportunities for interactions between students, teachers and classmates.
Advanced Placement, honors courses, world languages, physical education and more will all be available online. For our special education students, support will be provided both in all three learning models.
Students that select full-time on campus or Flex will begin the year learning online with their classroom teacher(s) and classmates and on their return to our campuses we will be ready to welcome them safely with enhanced cleaning practices, extensive health and safety protocols, procedures and modifications.
GPS students and parents, please be assured that our district, our schools and our educators will continue to work thoughtfully and diligently to ensure that all decisions made are in support of high quality, accessible education for all of our students, while supporting efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Ultimately all three learning models are designed to be flexible so our students can be confident that they will enjoy a productive, high-quality learning experience throughout the entire school year, no matter what.
Thank you for your support of Gilbert Public Schools. Please continue to visit our website for up to date information gilbertschools.net/families and we look forward to welcoming you back to learning Aug. 5.
Shane McCord, Ed. D. is Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools.