Important Letter to GAMS Students and Families

Welcome to GAMS Important Letter to GAMS Students and Families


July 1, 2020

Dear GAMS Families,

It seems unbelievable that a month has passed since my last letter to you.  I trust that you and your families are well and that you are enjoying all that summer has to offer.  For us at GASD, summer is providing us with time to review all the guidance and directives from “above,” process this wealth of information with respect to our school operations; and, develop the best possible plan for our students and community.  What do we mean by “the best possible plan?”  The best possible plan keeps safety, social & emotional needs, as well as teaching & learning as our top priority! 

Here is what is currently happening to meet priority one.  Our District Superintendent, past and present, CEO, CFO, Principals and Supervisors, have assembled a District School Reopening Task Force (DSRTF) which is comprised of a vast array of stakeholders including:  students, parents, community members, medical personnel, faculty, staff, etc.  The DSRTF continues to review all the mandates and guidance pouring out from national, state and regional organizations.  The DSRTF is comprised of smaller sub-committees including:  Health & Safety, Facilities, Food Services, Transportation, Social/Emotional Learning, Teaching & Learning, and Special Education.  The work of the sub-committees is to process all of the information and make recommendations to the DSRTF for the development of GASD’s School Reopening Plan proposal which must be approved by our GASD Board of Directors and subsequently be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  The goal is for our Superintendent, Dr. Hanks, to release information regarding the proposed plan Friday, July 17th. 

Mrs. Martin, Mr. McManus and I are currently working with GAMS Faculty and Department Chairs on the development of our Master Schedule for the 2020-2021 school year.  Our schedule keeps safety, social & emotional needs, as well as teaching & learning at the forefront.  Our schedule integrates DOH, PDE, LIU and Parent Survey guidance within its design and operation.  Our schedule has been structured to be flexible, adaptable and fluid to changing classifications, conditions and needs.  Our schedule keeps students in “family groups,” limiting movement and numbers of students with whom students interact.  Our schedule capitalizes on collaborative professional work, digital tools and resources, targeted curriculum and instruction informed by personalized assessment data with the goal of empowering students to experience personal success now and in the future. 

I hope you sense the incredible excitement we are feeling about the plans that are unfolding!   The crisis of COVID-19 has presented our GA community with the opportunity to show what we can create and accomplish working together.  After thirty-five years in education, more than twenty-five years in administration and eight child graduates of GASD, I believe we are standing on the threshold of the most innovative, versatile, technologically-based, flexible, fluid and cost-effective instructional plans yet to be provided to students here at GA. 

Rest, knowing that tremendous team effort is being poured into planning for and providing the best educational program possible for our students.  Expect to hear more mid-July.

Sincerely,

Mark W. Herman   
Principal, GAMS