July 31, 2020
Greetings Panther families,
I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and let you know that I am extremely excited to be a part of District OR-1, and I look forward to getting to know our students and families and serving our community. With your support and the support of our school and community, we will continue to maximize each child’s unique potential. I am excited to get to meet all of you and hope to see many of you throughout the school year at school events, academic celebrations, and other activities.
My name is Michael Hart, and I am originally from Lincoln. After graduating from UNL, I taught in Omaha Public Schools (Morton Middle School) and Lincoln Public Schools (Dawes Middle School). For the past nineteen years, I was a school administrator for Norfolk Public Schools. On a personal note, I have been married to my wife Sharon for 24 years, and we have two boys (Austin and Brandon) who are both out of high school. I am very blessed to also have extended family in the area, and it has been great to get to see them on a more frequent basis.
Even though I haven’t “officially” met all of our staff yet, I can tell you that our district has amazing teachers and support staff. The ones I have been fortunate enough to meet have been great at helping me adjust to this new role, and I am confident they will continue to work diligently to provide your child with the best educational experience possible.
School operations this year will be different to be sure, but together we can weather these challenges, and I am confident that, in the end, these challenges will strengthen our foundation and solidify our community values. This pandemic is unlike anything we have ever experienced before, and the fluidity of the ever-changing conditions and ambiguity surrounding it may continue to frustrate us and make us anxious and fearful. Our concerns are real, but we still must collectively find the resolve to move forward. Thinking back, we have been out of school since the second week of March. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that was a possibility.
Fast forward six months and we still find ourselves with plenty of uncertainty, and many of us are still dealing with the very real trauma of sudden change and the ever-present shadow of fear. Although the threat of Covid-19 still exists, we are committed to providing the best possible instructional environment for students regardless of the circumstances the virus presents.
Communication is key, and one of the best ways to stay connected to school information throughout the school year is to bookmark our school website at www.districtor1.org. Please use this site and follow our social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to stay informed about the news and daily happenings in the district.
Throughout the rest of this document, I want to briefly summarize some areas of our “Back to School” plan. More specific details are contained in the full “Return to School” plan that will be posed on our school website at this link: www.districtor1.org/.
The first day of school for the 2020/2021 school year is Thursday, August 13th. Prior to school starting, we will be distributing masks for students on Monday, August 10th from 5-7 p.m. at both buildings. To begin school this year, we will be using the Lancaster County and Southeast District Health Department “Risk Dials” to assist us with decisions about how to operate during the pandemic. The “Risk Dials” for our communities can be accessed at the following sites:
Screenings for Students:
Pick-up / Drop-Off of Students
Hand Washing /Hand Sanitizing:
Cafeteria / Meals:
Exiting the Building:
Visitors to School:
In summary, I want to say “thank you”. Thank you for choosing District OR1 Schools, and thank you in advance for your flexibility, patience, and support as we navigate these uncharted waters. Our district remains tremendously appreciative of the support of our families and community members, and it is our hope to return to and keep students on “on-site learning” experiences to the maximum extent possible. Whether you have children at the elementary or the high school, I also want to say thank you in advance for your support of our district and our staff. Through our strong collaborative efforts and a positive school-and-home connection, great growth and success will continue to take place for our kids.
If you do need assistance before school starts, please feel free to stop by or call the school offices at 402-780-5327.
We look forward to seeing all of you very soon!
BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL RECREATION PROGRAM:
Bennet Elementary will continue to offer a before and after school recreation program. Starting on Thursday, August 13th, for a fee, school age children attending Bennet Elementary may take part in this program. An evening registration will be held on Wednesday, August 5th at the Bennet Rec Room from 6:00-7:00 PM and again Friday, August 7th from 8:00 AM-10:00 AM at Bennet Elementary. If your child will be attending the before or after school care program, please stop by the school to register your child.
CLASS LISTS POSTED:
Class lists will be posted on the windows of the Bennet Elementary main door and the front doors at Palmyra High School entryway on Monday, August 10th after 3:00 p.m. Students and parents may come up to the school and check to see whom their child's teacher will be. On the first day of school, staff members will be at the front entry to help direct students to their correct class.
BENNET ELEMENTARY OPEN HOUSE:
Bennet Elementary will NOT be hosting an Open House before school starts this year due to safety precautions with COVID 19.
To Parents of School Bus Route Children:
School will be starting on Thursday, August 13, and we have been busy working on bus routes for this year. Your bus driver will contact you before school starts with your pick-up time. If you wish to continue service this year or if you are new to the district and requesting bus service, please contact Cathy Fick right away, so that your name can be added to the routes.
Thank you for your help and patience.
Cathy Fick home: 780-5636 cell: 540-2879 (call or text)
Good evening Panther families,
My name is Michael Hart, and I am the new District OR1 Superintendent. I am excited to join the district, and I look forward to getting to know our students and families. As we continue to deal with the ever-changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, I just wanted to reach out to all of you to let you know our district “Return to School” planning committee has been meeting and are continuing the process of developing a comprehensive “return to school” plan that effectively meets the needs of our students and families.
I greatly appreciate the work of the members on this planning team, and I am confident that the final plan (although not fully developed at this point) will be one that prioritizes student, staff, and community safety. The plan will also focus on maximizing student learning in a variety of school scenarios (digital, hybrid, in-person, etc.).
In order to keep you as updated as possible, here are a few details from our planning to this point:
Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility as we work through navigating these uncharted waters. When our plan is ready to be finalized, we will be in contact with another update.
Stay safe and have a great rest of your night
District OR1 is seeking applicants for bus drivers, substitute teachers and paraprofessionals for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. Please contact the District Office for an application at 782-3535.
As we continue to battle COVID-19, we understand the financial effect it has taken on Nebraska's economy and Nebraska's families. If your financial circumstances have changed due to COVID-19, please take a few moments to print and fill out the following CONFIDENTIAL document for Free/Reduced meals for District OR1 students. Please consider snapping a picture of each side of the completed document and e-mailing the pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: this will not affect your status regarding our current food program.