Barker Central School DistrictBarker, NY 14012
Dear Barker Community,
The last 10 months have been extremely challenging for the school and larger community. What started and progressed as a normal school year very quickly took a turn on March 16th, 2020 and became something never seen before.
Regardless of the challenges that continually came before us beginning in March, our amazing learning community truly stepped up in every way possible to do whatever we could to meet the needs of our community. While food services and instruction were two of the major focuses during the closure, many other student and community needs were met through services provided by the school. To give you an idea of a couple of these services, between March 16th and June 17th, 2020, nearly 28,000 meals were prepared and distributed by our food service staff. Additionally, nearly 300 computers and almost 150 wireless access devices were distributed to community members who did not have access to the technology needed to continue learning.
In a matter of 3 weeks, the Barker Central School District moved from a traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ learning environment to a fully digital/distance learning model. Even though it seemed that we were designing and building the plane as we were flying it, the collective efforts of our entire community, not just those based within the school, helped us rise to the challenge and provide the best instruction we could possibly give under the circumstances.
Now that the school year is officially over, we will be continuing our planning for reopening school this fall. Discussions relating to the reopening of school have been ongoing since early May with a select team that is looking at all options available to us for a safe return to school. While much of what we will be able to do will be dictated by Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Education, we have been digging deep into what is viable for us here in Barker well in advance of receiving any guidance to move forward. In reality, there are likely only three distinct models, each with many variations of finer details, available to us this fall. We could see a full return to school, within person-to-person instruction. We could see full distance learning again, much like was done this spring, especially if cases of the virus resurge. Alternatively, we could see a hybrid or blended model, which would include both in-person and distance learning. For each of these concepts we are looking at all of the limitations, restrictions, pros, and cons that could affect our implementation of whichever model is chosen.
No matter what, school will likely look different when we return. As we continue to progress in our planning process, we will be reaching out to the community for input as that information will be imperative in our final decision making for what we will do this fall.
Ultimately, our goal is to find a solution that will have as little impact as possible on our students and all areas of our school community including instruction, summer programs, athletics, extra-curriculars, food service, transportation, cleaning, and more. However, please be assured that no matter what solution is chosen, the health and safety of all of our students, staff, and the greater community will be at the forefront of our decision-making.
I know the amazing staff we have here in the Barker School Community are dedicated to doing whatever is needed to make sure we provide the best possible instruction and needed services for our students and families in the safest manner possible.
We will overcome any challenge that may present itself by continuing to work together. It is only through collaborative efforts that we will be able to get ourselves back to school, in the most normal manner possible, and as soon as we can.
While we will have limited summer programming this year, please do not hesitate to reach out to the District if you have any questions, concerns, or needs. Various staff will be working over the summer and we would be happy to help you with any issues you may have to the best of our ability.
On a final note, we want to thank the entire community again for your support of the 2020-21 school budget. Having a sound budget approved by the voters really helps us with our planning and ability to provide for all of our students and the greater Barker Learning Community. We would also like to congratulate John Sweeney Jr. on his re-election to another term for the Board of Education and Emily Gow on being elected to her first term for the Board of Education. Both of these terms start this July 1st, 2020 and run through June 30th, 2023. We would also like to thank Lou Mead, who has provided the District with 15 years of service on the Board of Education, for his dedicated service to the community. He will be greatly missed.
I truly hope that all of you continue to stay safe and healthy throughout the entire summer.
I can’t wait to see everyone this fall when we come back...stronger than we have ever been…and ready to meet any challenge that we may face.
Jacob L. Reimer, Superintendent of Schools