The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Tracy Thompson
The Times 

Prescott School District plans for in-person instruction

New Superintendent Justin Bradford listening to community input

 

Courtesy photo

Justin Bradford, the new Superintendent of Prescott School District, is working with parents, teachers, and the community in preparation for the new school year.

Justin Bradford is excited to get underway as the new Superintendent of Prescott School District. Most recently, he was the Director of College Place School District's Special Education Department, and before that, he was Superintendent/Principal in Harrington, WA.

As of Friday, July 24, Bradford has plans to open on-site when school begins August 31. Bradford has received survey responses from approximately 20 parents to date, who are supportive of in-person learning. He is working to encourage more survey responses by providing hard copies to those without computer access, posting a print-out form online, and as a Google survey located here: https://tinyurl.com/yxz2d8zl. The survey is also available in Spanish.

Due to the District's small class sizes, Bradford feels that he can safely 'physically distance' (the term he prefers to 'socially distance,') his students.

"Based on the square footage we have. We have different sized rooms, obviously, and we are going to have to do a lot of reconfiguration. We may have to use some spaces that we haven't used before, but overall, I believe we can meet all those safety protocols."

Bradford is also preparing to provide instruction to residents of Master's Ranch, a residential school in the District that closed abruptly last spring. He has an upcoming meeting with Master's Ranch Education Director Jonathan Alsup, to find out what that residential school's plans are for reopening.

"Whatever the case is, whoever you have, if they are at Master's Ranch, we will serve them," Bradford said.

This spring's experience with distance learning provided a steep learning curve for students and teachers.

"The feeling here was that online learning this past spring was not as successful as it could have been."

Bradford would like to introduce a new online format and is considering one called Apex. He is leaning towards working with a professional development provider Jeff Utecht, whose program provides teachers structure and guidance. In addition, he is working with the 'rockstars' on his staff who are most proficient with the various computer applications and programs.

Online learning will be an option for all students, and Bradford feels fortunate that Prescott is already a 1:1 district, providing a computer to each student.

He will be providing laptops to teachers who need them and wants his paraeducators to have tablets as they will be doing health screenings of students as they board busses to school.

"A big chunk of our kids come on the bus, and we don't want them on campus if they don't pass the screening, as then parents will have to come to get them," he said.

The paraeducators will take a child's temperature, ask a couple of questions, and add the information to a database.

Bradford is planning a reasonably expedited screening process at school for students who arrive on foot, bike, or car. His summer school staff are already familiar with the process and are working out the details.

An active support network has developed between administrators of small Eastern Washington school districts, including those in Touchet, Waitsburg, and Dayton, and he has been relying on that input as he makes plans.

He has taken note of the many changes that have taken place in the Prescott area and is hoping that he can develop that "Tiger Pride" for all his students.

"I don't know if everyone in the Prescott School District feels as if they are part of the Prescott community," he said. "I really want people to connect with me and see this as a truly open-door place. I can be reached virtually by phone, by email, my cell phone number is public, people can text me, and call me. I live in the community, so I'm available as much as people need me to be. I can't solve problems if I don't know about them."

At the District's most recent board meeting, Jacob Stueckle was selected from four applicants to be sworn in as a new Board Member, replacing Sara Fletcher, who stepped down as board chair in May and resigned her position.

 

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