Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is school really closed?
Governor Laura Kelly announced all school facilities will close for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. We are working with the Kansas State Department of Education to develop “Continuous Learning” opportunities for all students and will share more information soon.
We understand the hardship a school closure places on our families as well as the social and
emotional impact it may have on our students. Our district leadership team and Board of
Education have been developing a contingency plan since mid-March, including how to provide
breakfast and lunch for our students.
To receive the waiver from the state on the 1,116 hour school year requirement, we are required to implement a “Continuous Learning” instructional program.
School facilities are closed for learning as we presently know it.
Q. Are you able to feed kids during this crisis?
Our food service director, Mike Adkins, has been working hard writing a waiver so that we can provide free meals to anyone ages 1-18 beginning tomorrow, March 18, 2020, between the hours of 11 am and 1 pm. This will be available weekdays until school resumes or until further notice. Meals will be available for curbside pick-up at two locations:
Holton Elementary School, 812 West 5th Street in Holton
Denison Community Center/Library at 111 Central Avenue in downtown Denison.
We will provide each child, age 1-18, that is present with a free lunch and breakfast at the same time. We are not able to sell meals to any adults at this time nor are we able to give meals to an adult without the children present. We ask that no one enter the facilities, as our staff will bring the meals to the vehicle with curb-side service or to any pedestrians who walk up to the facility. These procedures are designed to help keep everyone as safe as possible. We look forward to serving our kids and we thank the Denison community for offering their assistance.
There was no school planned for Friday, April 10, so we will provide two breakfasts and two lunches on Thursday, April 11.
Q. When can students have access to school buildings to acquire school materials?
At present we are not allowing the public access to the inside of any district facilities. If you need something please call the building with your request and someone will meet you outside the doors to deliver the item to you or receive an item. We did have two days where we handed off student items and digital devices on Thursday and Friday, March 26, and 27. The staff who did this were so happy to see their students.
Q. How and when will Holton families receive refunds on paid programming?
The Holton School District understands the financial burden that families are experiencing. In light of this, the school will be bringing in staff to expedite refunds of applicable fees. As more information becomes available, we will continue to update the answer to this question.
Q. Will Driver’s Ed be affected by the change to school routine?
Holton Schools will continue with the online classroom portion of the curriculum as part of our “Continuous Learning” opportunities. At this time, no decision has been made about the driving portion of the curriculum. If, at a later time, the driving portion is canceled, Holton Schools will make the appropriate refunds.
Q. How will my child meet the requirements to move to the next grade level?
Holton staff has developed the Holton “Continuous Learning” Plan that is based on state educational standards to ensure that students meet the appropriate competencies for course or grade level advancement. The staff has developed minimal criteria to bridge the gap into the next school year. The staff also has developed other material for those who want to extend their learning so that they are not just completing the minimums. This will allow parents the flexibility to guide their child toward the learning that they expect from their child during these times in our history.
Q. Will my senior student graduate?
The board of education, On March 27 in a special board of education meeting, passed a resolution that lowered the Holton graduation requirements from 27 credits to the state minimum of 21 for the class of 2020. This was done in an effort to make sure the students had an opportunity to graduate and take some pressure off the students; However, some classes are still required for graduation that many students must complete and the other classes, while not as necessary for graduation now, will still count toward the students Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) and class ranking.
Q. What if we do not have internet access at home for online learning?
The Holton Tech Department is working to address any internet issues or gaps that may affect instructional practices. Our school staff, while in the buildings, will be working on ways to address these issues and gaps through different approaches that may not require internet access. The fact is, that there are just some places in our district where internet access will not be achievable in every child's home or the speed of the access will not allow user friendly experiences. We have set up “hotspot” around the schools but we also have developed paper packets for those who do not or can not take the time to do this. We understand your time is valuable too and hope we can find ways to make this process easier.
Q. Are spring sports canceled?
The KSHSAA announced on March 18, that it has canceled all spring championships, competitions, and festivals for the remainder of this school year.
Q. Will Holton be completing Pre-K and kindergarten screening/orientation this spring? If not, how do I hold a spot/pre-enroll my child?
Preschool screening and kindergarten orientation are postponed indefinitely at this time. Our current preschool students who are returning, and the students who were already signed up for our preschool screening that was to occur this week, will be receiving a phone call for how to proceed. If you have not signed up for a screening, and are interested in preschool, we are on waitlist status at this time. You may send an email to Katie Dodd at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the waitlist for preschool.
We are still collecting a list of students who will be attending kindergarten next year. If your child will be turning five before August 31, 2020, and you have not already signed up for kindergarten orientation, please email Katie Dodd at email@example.com and we will add you to the list. Please provide your child’s name and date of birth, your name, a phone number and address.
Q. Will yearbooks be available for all grade levels?
Yes. All students will have the opportunity to purchase a yearbook, if desired. We plan to honor all pre-purchased yearbook orders.
Q. Will the school be hosting any large group events such as prom, graduation, concerts, etc.?
No. At this time ALL school facilities are subject to Governor Kelly’s Covid-19 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 20-07, that prohibits gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Until new directives become available, all events are postponed. These guidelines are changing on a daily basis, so please be flexible. The newest “Stay at Home” executive order is now in effect until Sunday, April 19.
Q. Will students be required to complete state assessments?
The Kansas State Department of Education does not expect schools to administer state assessments when schools are closed. Even though the Kansas state assessments are administered online, the tests can’t be given to students in a remote location. The federal government has suspended state assessments for this school year.
Q. What are learning expectations for the remaining weeks of school?
The recommendation is to focus on the critical standards or competencies. The staff has developed minimal criteria to bridge the gap into the next school year. The staff also has developed other material for those who want to extend their learning so that they are not just completing the minimums. This will allow parents the flexibility to guide their child toward the learning that they expect from their child during these times in our history.
Q. How are students held accountable for learning?
Having weekly assignments, projects, video check-ins, and projects are all ways to assess learning. Once again, focus is on the critical standards or competencies.
Q. Will the College Board still administer AP Exams?
“The AP program is finalizing streamlined AP exam options that would allow students to test at home depending on the situation in May. We’re working to give every AP student the opportunity to claim the credit they’ve earned. The AP Program will communicate the details of these additional solutions to educators and students by March 20.”
Q. What if we don’t have the internet?
A. 1. We know internet access is an issue for many families in Kansas
2. Staff and students may lack the resources to connect remotely.
3. We are reaching out to local internet service providers to see what options are available for community members. Giant Communications has reached out to our technology director with some solutions in Giant’s service area.
4. Many cell phone providers are removing the data usage cap for current subscribers. We recommend reaching out to local cell phone providers for instructions on how to utilize cell phones as hotspots.
5. If you do not have internet access or reliable internet access at your home, we have set up “hotspot” around the schools but we also have developed paper packets for those who do not or can not take the time to do this. We understand your time is valuable too and hope we can find ways to make this process easier.
Q. How is the school conducting Board or Education meetings and will I still be able to attend the meetings?
The Kansas State Attorney General has not suspended the Kansas Open Meeting Act (KOMA), yet the board of education has to abide by the executive orders that no more than 10 people can be at a gathering. The Kansas State Attorney General has given guidance during this crisis and stated that the board meetings have to be accessible to the public by the public being able to hear what is going on in the meeting but there is no regulation stating the public must be allowed to participate in the meeting. The Holton board was able to abide by the rules established and had their first distance Special Board meeting on Friday, March 27, 2020. The board utilized “Zoom” and then broadcast the meeting on the school districts new, Holton USD 336 Board of Education Facebook page. At present, this is what the board plans to do until their regular meetings can be achieved when the threat of everyone’s safety is gone.
Q. Will special education services continue to be provided?
Yes. Special education services will continue when the “Continuous Learning” program resumes for all students. The format for delivery of services will be based on the individual needs of each student to ensure a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). We are expecting guidance from the US Department of Education and Kansas State Department of Education regarding any compliance challenges with IDEA.
Q. What will my child’s special education services look like?
The student’s IEP Team, or the personnel responsible for ensuring FAPE to a student for the purposes of Section 504, can be utilized to assist with the effort to determine if some, or all, of the identified services can be provided through alternate or additional methods.
Q. What if the school cannot provide all special education services in my child’s IEP?
The US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, understands there may be exceptional circumstances that could affect how a particular service is provided. If a student does not receive services after an extended period of time, the student’s IEP Team, or appropriate personnel under Section 504, must make an individualized determination whether, and to what extent, compensatory services are needed consistent with the respective applicable requirements, including to make up for any skills that may have been lost.
Q. What if my child’s IEP is due for review, or my child is currently being evaluated or reevaluated for special education?
IEP Teams are not required to meet in person while schools are closed. If an evaluation of a student with a disability requires a face-to-face assessment or observation, the team may need to extend the timeline of the evaluation, with parent consent. Evaluations and reevaluations that do not require face-to-face assessments or observations may take place while schools are closed, so long as a student’s parent or legal guardian consents.