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The Valier School Board has been busy the past few weeks in preparation to continue to educate its students under Governor Bullock’s order to close all schools through April 10–at least.

Last week the board approved its “Plan of Action” covering students in Valier Elementary School, Valier Junior High (grades 7-8), Valier High School and the Kingsbury Hutterite Colony. The plan has been forwarded to the Governor’s Office and the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) for formal approval.

Superintendent Julie Gaffney and the local board of trustees know Valier Schools “do not have the resources to ensure continuity of the technology systems that provide the infrastructure for remote learning.” 

Plans to ensure continuity of technical and other school services, are being developed in alignment with CDC guidelines to ensure health and safety to all on-site and contracted personnel, students, staff, and other stakeholders. 

The district, is however, confident in the ability of the certified and classified staff to provide off-site or teleworking instruction to students through:

•Google Classroom

•Google Meet

•Google Mail

•Google Calendar

•Google Drive

•On-line courses, including the Montana Digital Academy and Dual Credit Courses

•Video chats/tutoring

•Phone conference calls

•Hard copy packets of materials

•Textbook guides

•Online textbooks

The Valier School District will also be providing all students in Grades 4-12 with student laptops; assessing student/parent internet and device ability; contacting Internet provider  and arranging installment in homes lacking internet; contacting each student/family to confirm they have some form of electronic  communication with all school staff in one form or another (cell phone, email, Google tools, work email and access, etc.) and providing direct access to tech support via phone call, email, Google Meet, access to helpdesk.

As for meals, District officials contacted families to determine if there is a need for school-provided meals during the shutdown. According the plan, “There were no families in the school district that wanted “Grab and Go” or delivered meals at this time; this need will be assessed regularly.” When school resumes, the district will implement its normal School Nutrition Program.

The Valier Schools will make sure each student with a disability and who is on an IEP or 504 Plan will continue to receive the educational and related services to make progress towards their individual goals. 

The District is providing educational and related services, in collaboration with parents and staff, through all means available, providing technical services and support are provided. These services include: 

•On-line learning 

•Video chats/tutoring

•Phone conference calls 

•Hard copy packets of materials 

•Textbook guides

• Internet access if lacking 

•Audio support via headphones 

•Manipulative support via external mouse 

•Direct contact with students and/or guardians by certified and classified staff  who provide accommodations per the student’s individualized plan 

The District will also be coordinating closely with Big Sky Co-op to maintain the highest level of support for students served through IDEA and 504.

Students and staff will still receive guidance counseling, social and emotional support services under the proposed plan. Referrals to outside resources such as Youth Dynamics, DPHHS, Family Services, counseling services will be available.

Also available will be:

 •Continued tech training when new teaching tools are introduced 

•One to one video/audio tutoring by staff to students 

•Google Meet remote meetings with staff and trustees, as needed or mandated, so that a plan to provide continuity of all services can be obtained.

Please feel free to contact Supt. Gaffney at gaffneyj@valier.k12.mt.us if you have any questions or concerns about the plan. 

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