Banks School District shares updates for district, high school

An April 9, 2017 photo of the Banks High School and Middle School. Photo: Chas Hundley

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BANKS – The only thing certain right now is that things will change.

That’s part of the message that Banks School District superintendent Jeff Leo shared in a letter to district families on Tuesday evening

 “Over the past couple of weeks, we have all experienced just how rapidly things can change in this uncertain time. It happened again, last night we received new guidance from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) regarding instruction for our students,” wrote Leo.

With the new guidance in hand, the district will move forward with their original plans to begin supplementary distance learning via the internet and physical packets beginning Friday, April 3.

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If parents need or want a physical supplemental learning packet rather than online, they will be available to pick up at each school every Friday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning Friday, April 3. 

To pick up a packet for a high school student, head toward the Banks High School Cafeteria. 

Middle school packets can be picked up in front of the Banks Middle School, and elementary school packets can be picked up at the front entrance.

The plan beyond

On April 13, the district will shift to a more concrete distance learning program for Banks School District students with the potential to earn high school credit toward graduation requirements and graded assignments for students at all grade levels. 

“As we work through the many details on how this will work, we ask for your grace and patience,” wrote Leo. 

While still awaiting guidance on what will happen to the senior class of 2020, the district promised that more information would be shared as plans were firmed up and guidance from the Oregon Department of Education rolled in. 

Banks High School Principal Jacob Pence gives video update

In a seven minute video (below), Banks High School Principal Jacob Pence reiterated some of the news about distance learning from the state, and drilled down on some specifics for Banks High School students, covering how students can get items left behind in lockers, get access to supplementary learning packets online and offline, and noted that for juniors, state testing had been canceled, though AP testing will continue with at-home tests. 

As for the seniors, Pence shared his hopes that the district would know more soon as to how the class will move forward. 

“We’re thinking about you, you’re on the top of our mind. And we’re really focused on how our class of 2020 is going to graduate from high school. There is some talk from the state that there is going to be new graduation requirements forthcoming. And I don’t know what that means at this point,” Pence said.

He closed the video with a heartfelt message to his students.

“This has been an unprecedented event across our country, and our world, and especially here in Oregon, something that we definitely weren’t prepared for or expected. 

We’re trying to roll with the punches here and make sure that we do our best for our students. Make sure that you take care of yourselves, stay healthy and students: make sure that you listen to your parents, you’re kind to your siblings, go clean your rooms, do all the things that you’re supposed to do. And please reach out to your friends. Check in I know a lot of you are frustrated, scared, nervous, anxious and we want to make sure that we do everything we can do to support you guys.” 

Contact information for the Banks High School staff members can be found here.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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