We hope this message finds everyone safe and recovering from the recent storm. Given the recent storm damage and continued COVID concerns, Tribal Council has elected to delay the start of school until Sept. 8th. Between now and then, we will adjust delivery of professional development for staff and will determine the best delivery model for providing education to our students. Please know that we are thinking of our students, staff, families, and community during this difficult time.
On-Line Learning Links:
Good afternoon MSS Families,
We know how challenging this time has been for our communities, our state, and our country. Please know, we are working hard to prepare for the start of the school year and to determine the best actions to support our students and staff. With each day, we learn more and identify something else to be considered. We recognize as we move forward there will be more questions to be answered. Thank you for patiently working with us through these uncertain times.
Last week, members of the MSS leadership team had the opportunity to meet with the Tribal Council to review our options noted in the attached Return to Learning Plan. The following information is a brief summary of our work. As we’ve discussed and shared previously, we have been preparing for three options:
A safe and effective reopening of the Meskwaki Settlement School in the fall requires the commitment of our Meskwaki Settlement School family members- staff, students, families, and community- to do our part. Our mission is to prepare students to be responsible, independent life-long learners, preserving the language and culture of the Meskwaki Tribe. By working together in a safe environment, students will grow culturally, intellectually, emotionally, physically, and socially.
The following principles guided the work of the reopening leadership team:
Federal, State, and Local Guidance
The district has relied on federal, state, and local guidance in developing its plans, policies, and procedures for a safe reopening this fall. In developing this plan, the Meskwaki Settlement School re-entry teamed reviewed guidance from the Iowa Departments of Education and Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Tama County Department of Public Health, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), Meskwaki Health Clinic, area educational leaders, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We have also reviewed guidance from additional professional organizations, including the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU), and Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA).
Throughout the summer, fall, and if necessary-the whole 2020-21 academic year- the district will continue to work closely on its COVID-19 health and safety protocols with the Tama County Department of Public Health and our Tribal Health Department in order to best respond to the specific needs of our school community.
Here is a summary of the work from our Return to Learn plan:
Beginning of the School Year
At this time, the District plans to start staff PD on August 10th and students will start August 17th. Given our current information, we are planning to begin the school year with the Hybrid Model.
We will adjust our instructional delivery to less or more restrictions based on the information that we have available.
We know there are families ready for their students to return to school for direct instruction for educational and social benefits while there are others who do not feel comfortable with their child(ren) returning for direct instruction at this time. While virtual learning is not the recommended return to learning approach, parents may elect this option for their students by completing a Virtual Learning Application. Every student will automatically be scheduled into the hybrid learning model unless the family completes the application in early August. Virtual Learning Application link
Health and Safety Guidelines
The following Health and Safety Guidelines are being implemented and will continue to be adjusted as needed:
Families who are able to transport their own students to school and from school will be asked to do so temporarily, but bussing will be provided to families that need the bus. Masks, social distancing, and symptom screening will be required each morning for students riding the bus.
Band, Choir, PE, Athletics & Extra Curricular Activities
Increased space, utilizing outdoor space, and other modifications are continuing to be identified. More updates will be forthcoming in August.
The whole Return to Learn Plan is attached to this email and will be posted on the district website. Although the whole plan has significantly more details, please know we will continue to modify and adjust the plan based on the best available information in order to support the needs of our students and staff.
Willie Barney, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Meskwaki Settlement School
The Meskwaki Settlement School is located in the Meskwaki Nation (about four miles west of Tama) and is a property of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. As the only federally recognized Indian tribe in Iowa, we are committed to ensuring that our students have the best educational opportunities possible, including access to a quality education system that respects and addresses the unique cultural and linguistic needs of the Meskwaki Tribe.
To learn more about
Meskwakiatoweni (Meskwaki Language and Culture Program)