Salem-Keizer Students and Families,

It’s hard to believe it has been one year since the initial closure of schools.  Educators and families together have worked incredibly hard to make Comprehensive Distance Learning a successful and positive experience for students, and we continue to be grateful for the partnership and support from our community.  Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that the closure of schools since March 2020 has disproportionately impacted some students and families more than others.  This is especially true for our students who experience a disability.

As we enter our fourth week of hybrid learning for elementary schools and prepare for the upcoming transition to hybrid for our secondary schools, it is time we begin planning for the steps we may need to take to address the long term impacts the pandemic may have on students receiving special education services.  It’s time we talk about recovery.

Recovery services are a means by which an IEP team determines how to address any loss of progress related to the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic.  With close to 7000 students receiving special education services, we understand this will need to look different from student to student, and we would like your help in planning for future possibilities.

During the month of April, we are setting up a series of listening sessions, where we can hear directly from students with disabilities and their families, specific to what you feel is needed to transition out of the pandemic life, and back into a new normal.  We will share some ideas with you about possible recovery options, and get your feedback on these ideas.  While we know recovery will not happen overnight, and could truly be a multi-year process, the sooner we begin addressing the needs of those most impacted, the sooner we can once again refocus our attention to the greater social, emotional, and educational needs of students.

Equity continues to live at the heart of every decision and every action we take in the service of students, but it is not enough to make statements about equity without following those statements with concrete actions.  This is the first of many steps we hope to take to demonstrate our commitment to equity for students experiencing disabilities within Salem-Keizer.

If you are interested in helping us to begin planning recovery services for the future, please register for one of our virtual listening sessions below:

Students walking to school in crosswalk