In the Loop with the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education
By Jodee Riordan, Board of Education President
As we head into the third week of this school closure, we hope you are doing well – physically, mentally, spiritually. In these challenging and uncertain times, I am very grateful for the dedication, leadership and unity of our administrators, faculty, staff and families. I am inspired by the incredible outpouring of support and kindness throughout our community, coming together in such creative and thoughtful ways. While we wait for the worst to arrive, we find strength knowing we will get through it together.
Superintendent Paul Casseri continues to communicate on a regular basis directly with our school community using all our established communication channels. Please read his emails and follow his updates. His leadership and clear, decisive and sincere communications – like that of Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the state level – are keeping us calm and focused, keeping us grounded as we steer into these uncertain days ahead. Our website, www.lew-port.com, offers links to crucial information and district contact info.
On Friday, the governor officially continued closure of all schools through Wednesday, April 15. This will be reassessed in two weeks. Per his Executive Order 202.4, schools are required “to continue to maintain student learning, maintain food service and maintain child care for essential workers.”
Here is what this looks like at Lewiston-Porter:
•Education: In terms of student work, most of our teachers are up and running through Seesaw, Google classroom and Zoom conferencing. Please watch for communication from your child's teacher regarding the next step in the student learning process. Next week, some teachers will have additional hard-copy packets available for their students to pick up.
These teachers will communicate directly with their students/families, and if packet/material pick-up is needed, parents will do so on Thursday, April 2, 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at district office. Proper social distancing protocols will be in place: Parents will come in to the district office lobby and go directly to clearly labeled box with the teacher's name, take a packet, and exit.
Casseri and Dr. Patti Grupka will be at the district office to facilitate pickup. Teachers will try to minimize packet pick-up and post as much material online as possible.
•Food Service: Lew-Port continues to provide meals for all students under the age of 18, currently feeding approximately 200 students per day. The grab-and-go bags consist of two meals (breakfast and lunch), as long as we have the resources to provide for both meals. Meals are available at the Lewiston-Porter High School main entrance Monday through Friday.
We ask that families follow these time guidelines (when possible) to avoid crowding and traffic issues: Last names A-M 9-10 a.m. and last names N-Z 10-11 a.m.
Families who do not have a way to pick up meals should email Grupka ([email protected]) to make arrangements to have meals delivered.
We encourage all families who have had a change in employment status to apply for free and reduced lunch. The application can be found on our website: Go to home page, then menus, and the “Free & Reduced Lunch Application” link is in the “Food Service” column (to the left). Once approved, students qualify for the remainder of the school year. All students who qualify for free and reduced lunches are also eligible for the breakfast program.
•Child Care: Lewiston-Porter Central School District is partnering with the Buffalo Niagara YMCA to provide free child care for all essential workers while schools are closed due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Childcare is provided from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays for children of eligible workers ages 3-12 at the Lewiston-Porter Primary Education Center. To register for the service please contact the Lockport Family Branch YMCA at 716-434-8887 or email Brigid Dillman, office manager, at [email protected] between the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
Per the executive order, eligible workers include: Essential health care workers (may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel); direct support professionals (may include clinicians and support staff serving the behavioral health, intellectual/developmental disabilities and child welfare communities in residential and community-based care settings); first responders (may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, and firefighters, correctional officers or related support personnel necessary to execute these duties); food manufacturing, production, distribution and supply including supermarket workers and food preparation; transportation, including commercial truck driver of necessary supplies and equipment, transit workers, air and rail and carriers of critical and essential materials; construction and manufacturing, including specialized equipment related to health or safety of the public; nonprofit and social service agencies providing support to families and employees in related fields.
The Board of Education will meet next at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 2, to conduct a budget workshop via Zoom conferencing to finalize the 2020-21 school budget. We have not yet been able to provide the level of budget detail as in past years, as so much of the New York state budget, due by April 1, and federal educational support are currently up in the air.
Cuomo announced this week that, during the 2020-21 budget year, his administration plans to use an unprecedented form of budgeting in which school aid and other forms of local government aid will be revised downward quarterly based on state-level revenues. This will create new (and frightening) economic reality for school districts and local governments. We hope to know more by April 2. The public is invited to attend by joining the Zoom meeting: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/201769301; meeting ID: 201 769 301.
•Lift Your Spirits Week: As we all need as much positive energy as possible, this week our principals – Mrs. Larson (PEC), Mrs. Rodriguez (IEC), Mr. Auer (MS) and Mr. Rowles (HS) – want to “LIFT Your SPIRITS” with a districtwide, pre-K-12 “Spirit Week” (March 30 to April 3). Theme days are as follows:
Families are asked to post your pics: @LewPortHS @LewPortMS @LewPortCSD @LewPortPEC @LewPortIEC or on any of your favorite social media sites. From our principals, “Be creative! Be unique! Be Happy! We miss all of you. Stay safe! Keep the faith LP! #LewportSpirit.”
Stay well and stay strong, Lewiston-Porter. If you or your family is in need, please reach out. We will get through this together.