September 4 Superintendent Update

September 4 Superintendent Update
Posted on 09/04/2020

Dear D51 Staff & Families,

We are wrapping up our third week of in-person learning, our second week of online learning, and looking ahead to our first long weekend of the school year. 

I want to take this moment to address a few things that happened during this busy week. Firstly, you may have seen a few photos on social media about signs that appeared in one of our high schools regarding not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. This sign did not go through the approval process and was promptly taken down by the school administration. We are committed to creating safe, productive places of learning for our many unique students and facilitating respectful conversations that include different perspectives. Unfortunately, some of these conversations are divisive by nature, and can be potentially disruptive to student learning. We want students to feel comfortable expressing their opinions, but that expression must be done respectfully. We draw the line at anything that could be disruptive, aggressive, or hateful. 

Secondly, as we continue to make adjustments to this unique start to learning, we are faced with the challenge of balancing staffing positions between our in-person schools and the online program. The participation in the D51 Online program went far beyond what was projected in our survey data, creating a discrepancy between class sizes across the district, as well as the need for more online teachers. This is a difficult conversation as we finish our third week of in-person teaching and teachers have worked hard to establish their classrooms, and not one that we take lightly. At this time, we estimate about half of our schools will be affected by staffing shifts. Conversations with principals began this week, and we are starting the process of identifying staff so those transitions can begin soon. This can be a difficult adjustment for many, so I encourage students to reach out to their school counselors if they need to talk. 

I’m excited to share that the US Department of Agriculture recently announced that they are extending their grant which makes school breakfast and lunch available to all students, regardless of their free or reduced meal eligibility. This means that all D51 students can have a healthy, nutritious breakfast and lunch at school for no additional cost! As our community continues to navigate these unusual times, this is certainly good news for everyone! I just want to remind you that this grant is only available through the end of December, so families should still take this opportunity to fill out an application for free or reduced meals to receive those benefits in January. 

I wish you all a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. All district schools and offices will be closed on Monday, September 7. High school will resume on Tuesday, and elementary and middle school will resume on Wednesday. We’re looking forward to seeing you then. 





Dr. Diana Sirko

Superintendent of Schools

Mesa County Valley School District 51

(970) 254-5193

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