October 1, 2021
Dear Scottsdale Unified Families,
As we prepare to close out our first quarter of learning, several of our middle school and high school chorus, orchestra and band students are looking forward to sharing performances next week with their families and learning communities.
It is also that time of year that the prospect of graduating from high school in May starts getting more 'real' for our senior class. Today marks the annual opening of the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), as well as the College Board's CSS Profile, used by many of the nation's more selective public or private colleges to determine tuition aid. Seniors' families are encouraged to apply early to be first in line for grants, loans and work study programs to help offset the cost of a college education. This is also a time when we are reminded of the year-round work of our high school guidance counselors and College and Career Center staff who support students throughout their high school careers, not just during their senior year. These future-inspiring staff give students the confidence to dream big as they contemplate life after high school. We look forward to reporting to you in eight months what is next for the SUSD Class of 2022!
As you know, we continue to follow the guidance of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and require masks for students and staff while inside on school property. Also, per federal rule, students who choose to ride an SUSD bus continue to be required to wear masks while on the bus.
Mask Accommodation Requests
SUSD will provide appropriate and reasonable accommodation to the indoor mask requirement for those students who have a demonstrated need. Requests for accommodation by parents, guardians or students over the age of 18 must be made no later than 5:00 p.m., October 8, 2021, which is a week from today. The online request in English can be found here; this is the link to complete the form in Spanish.
COVID transmission in the SUSD 15 zip codes remains at a high level, with case counts per 100,000 increasing this week, while the % positivity dipped back into the substantial transmission level, at 9.9%. There was a small uptick in campus cases this past week.
SUSD Quarantine Learning Support Website
The SUSD Teaching and Learning Department has created a 'one-stop shop' to simplify and expedite academic support for students who are learning from home due to COVID, COVID-like illness or quarantine. The SUSD Quarantine Learning Support website, launched this week, gives parents and students immediate access to learning resources and keeps learners connected with their classes and schools while they are away from the classroom and after they return.
We know that many of you have been itching to resume volunteering at your students' schools and in their classrooms. We are happy to announce that following Fall Break, we will be able to welcome parents back to our campuses in this role for the first time in 19 months! The number of volunteers will be determined by each school's principal, based on need. In an effort to maintain the safety of all students and staff, volunteers will be required to be masked while indoors and must register in advance with the SUSD Human Resources Department. At this time, proof of COVID vaccination is required, but we are considering other possible criteria, as well, that would also protect the health of our students and staff. Please visit the Human Resources Volunteer page of the SUSD website for more information, or call 480-484-6224.
Bullying Prevention Month
October is national Bullying Prevention Month. Regardless of the month, Scottsdale Unified School District and its Governing Board are committed to providing a learning environment that is free from harassment or bullying in any form. A plethora of anti-bullying information and resources is available for your reference anytime on SUSD Support Services' Bullying page, www.susd.org/BullyPrevention. We also encourage you to take part in a virtual presentation next Wednesday, October 6, at 6 p.m., sponsored by SUSD, the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family, on how to stop bullying. The hour-long presentation will cover the various types of bullying, including cyberbullying; the terrible, negative impacts of bullying; and what we can do about it. Sign up for the presentation here.
This Week's Governing Board Meeting
We feel it necessary to comment on something that happened during the Governing Board's regular monthly meeting Tuesday. Members of Student Advisory Board (SAB), a group of SUSD high school students that meets monthly to discuss and report student concerns and issues to district leadership, reported the results of a recent student survey about the new school year to the Board. At one point, the students' presentation was disrupted by dismissive laughter from some members of the audience. That type of behavior and complete lack of respect for our students is unacceptable anywhere, anytime. As adults, it falls on us to model for our students how differences of opinion and perspective can be debated respectfully and civilly. We hope you will join us in that ongoing effort.
SUSD Foundation Event Next Week
One of our school district's most ardent community supporters, the Scottsdale Unified School District Foundation (SUSDF), hosts its second annual, virtual, "It's All Fun and Games Night" next Thursday evening, October 7. In addition to showing off the skills and talents of SUSD students, this SUSDF event brings a ton of fun directly to your living room, all in a community-minded effort to support a variety of district programs, teacher National Board Certification and student scholarships. Find out how to join in the fun here.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Scottsdale Unified School District Cabinet and Leadership Team
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Community COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Resources
SUSD continues to partner with Embry Health, which operates three, convenient COVID testing sites in the SUSD community:
Ranch Pharmacy: 10769 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale
Other community vaccination resources:
NOAH - Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health: https://noahhelps.org/covid-vaccine/
Maricopa County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Locations:
Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 Vaccine Locations:
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