From Our Superintendent

Dr. Kenneth C. Somers

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Dr. Kenneth C. Somers

D38 provides relevant education and services in spite of shifts

Prior to Thanksgiving, Lewis-Palmer School District 38 made the difficult, but necessary, decision to suspend in-person classes Lewis-Palmer Middle School, Lewis-Palmer High School, and Palmer Ridge High School for the remainder of first semester. The shift to 100% distance learning at our secondary schools was due to large-scale quarantines and isolations. Quarantines greatly impact our ability to staff our schools and provide stability and consistency in our in-person learning environments. Moreover, they take a significant mental, emotional, and physical toll on our students, staff, and families. We have not made a decision about the second semester at this time. D38 maintains a Covid dashboard at lewispalmer.org/covid.

After extensive consideration, we are working to maintain in-person instruction at our elementary schools and at our Home School Enrichment Academy. In the event that we encounter staffing challenges at the elementary schools, we will make a school-by-school decision about moving toward 100% distance learning. We will stay open as long as we are able to maintain appropriate safety protocols.

In the middle of all of the in-person versus distance learning decisions, D38 has provided free meals to online and in-person students, regardless of eligibility, since Monday, September 21, 2020. The USDA is financing these free meals with congressionally appropriated funding. The USDA anticipates this funding will last through June 2021. Between September 21 and October 31, 2020, D38 served a total of 42,132 meals to area students. As of December 1, we began sending buses to specific locations for families to pick up these free student meals. More information is available at lewispalmer.org/nutrition.

Important fiscal decisions have also been made resulting in savings for area homeowners. At the November Board of Education meeting, the Board unanimously decided to refund (refinance) the 2012B series bonds (includes funding for building Palmer Ridge High School). This results in a cumulative tax reduction of approximately $1.7 - $3.3 million in reduced mills annually for all homeowners in the Tri-Lakes area beginning with the 2021 tax bill. A home valued at $500K will see a reduction of about $12 per year. This action demonstrates an ongoing commitment to fiscal stewardship consistent with D38’s strategic plan. 

These are not easy times, but learning continues. Connecting with students continues. The business of education continues. D38 has carefully utilized our resources in order to best maximize educational opportunities for every student. Doing what is best for our students, staff, families, and community requires our collective efforts. When each of us diligently follows the protocols of masking, distancing, washing hands, limiting gatherings, etc., we best facilitate getting back to a normal way of educating our youth, conducting business, and simply living our lives. 

In light of everything we have gone through since this pandemic began, I appreciate your continued support of D38. This community takes care of one another. I see it every day fleshed out in our classrooms (online and in-person).