Update from the Superintendent: April 3, 2020

Mentor Schools community,


Good afternoon. I hope you all are staying healthy and doing well at home. We’ve come to the end of two weeks of online distance learning in Mentor Schools and I applaud you all for working with us to do the best we can for our students during this time of national crisis. The next two weeks are both four-day school weeks, so we hope you find some relief with fewer assignments.


It came as no surprise that remote learning is extended through at least May 1, 2020. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his team continue to take aggressive actions, like ordering statewide school closures and stay at home orders, to ensure we work together to limit the spread of Coronavirus and not overwhelm our hospital systems as more people become ill. Just like many other organizations, in Mentor Schools we are committed to doing our part to help. So, for now, we’ll plan on continuing the distance learning through May 1.  It is likely this will last longer, however, potentially even through the end of the school year.


I would like to take a moment to say how proud I am of our teaching staff and the way they immediately rallied together to take this educational challenge head-on! Our team is working hard to support students and help get them through these difficult times and we will continue to do so. This includes our Nutrition Services professionals who are hard at work making sure all of our students who typically rely on us for meals are able to get breakfast and lunch each day. Our IT team is working remotely to support students and parents through technology issues as they arise. Many more staff members have volunteered to help wherever needed… this has been a real community effort. 


Please approach this next month as patiently as possible so we can get through this together. We know this learning situation is not ideal and almost all of us are being pushed out of our comfort zone. Even some of the online platforms we’ve been using smoothly for years, like Schoology and Seesaw, are now struggling with the addition of thousands of new-users. We’re going to continue to work hard for solutions to make this easier for everyone. But, when it comes to the online lessons, please just try to get through them the best you can for your family. The most important focus right now for everyone should be staying healthy - both physically and mentally. We understand many are facing the burden of new economic challenges due to the crisis response, and it’s possible some of our community members will be impacted by sickness or loss from Coronavirus. Many of us have the extra worry about loved ones going off to work in the medical field or at essential businesses each day. There is certainly a lot going on for everyone. And, our children’s education is of course important, but we can work hard to catch students up once we get through this national emergency… together. 


Online Distance Learning Continues

We’ve reached out to our staff and students for feedback about remote learning and will continue to make adjustments as needed. Here are some of the basics: 

  • Students will receive information about their lessons directly from their teachers, via typical mediums, such as email, Schoology, Google Classroom, SeeSaw, etc...
  • The Online School Day is from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Students may work on assignments outside of those hours; this is simply the time teachers will be most available for questions and interaction. 
  • Teachers will be unrolling new content for students during this time, with fewer assessments than normal. We will be careful to not overload students with work. 
  • If children need support with their online learning or a specific assignment, please first contact the teacher and then a building administrator, if needed.
  • If children need support from our IT Department for help with their devices, please contact it-support@mentorschools.org

District Devices & Repairs

Our buildings are closed and we are no longer able to enter them to retrieve devices or personal belongings. Please know, assignments do not need to be done on a district device; they can be completed on any device. Also, please be extra careful with your devices. We are not able to offer loaners or repairs at this time in the interest of safety. Please reach out to our IT staff at it-support@mentorschools.net if you are having an issue they may be able to assist with.


Free & Reduced Lunch Program 

For our families who are approved for our Free & Reduced lunch program, our Nutrition Services department will continue to prepare grab-and-go style breakfast and lunch meals for you. 


  • Families may pick up meals on the North side of MHS (by the Fine Art Center) between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Mondays & Wednesdays.
  • Meals may be picked up for other families who are qualified for Free & Reduced lunches.  If you cannot make it, then ask a friend or neighbor to pick up for you. You will simply need to provide the qualifying child(ren)’s name(s). 
  • It is not too late to submit an application for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.  If you feel your family may now qualify, please log into the Parent Portal and go to “more” then “meal benefits” to fill out the application. 

Please contact Ginni Vaccaro at Vaccaro@mentorschools.org or (440)974-5227 with any questions. Also, this link is to a list of local food pantries on the United Way’s website


Call 211 Service

211 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people of all ages and from all communities to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 211 can be accessed by phone or computer.


mentorschools.net/coronavirus

We are keeping our website updated with information daily. This includes a frequently asked question section that you may find helpful. The website is mentorschools.net/coronavirus.


Thank you for your continued support of our students, staff and schools. 


Sincerely,

Bill Porter

Superintendent

Mentor Public Schools