Jeff Kermode

On behalf of the TUSD Board of Trustees, I would like you to know that our thoughts have constantly been with you during these past weeks. These are truly extraordinary and challenging times for our district, our community, our state, our country, and even our world. We know that on top of the uncertainty about your health, your schools, and the future of education, many of you are also suffering financial challenges because of the ongoing shutdown.

The TUSD staff, especially food services and facilities staff, have continued to do an amazing job since the beginning of the state-mandated shutdown. Their ability to maintain clean and safe facilities and provide more than 1,000 meals a day in several locations throughout the greater Tehachapi area has hopefully helped to provide some sense of reassurance and eliminated at least one burden for many of your families.

Although the teaching and learning methods being implemented to overcome the shutdown look different and present new challenges, we can assure you that your children’s academic growth and learning needs are the primary concern of the TUSD Board, teachers, administrators and staff. It has been our goal to create effective ways for your teachers to have meaningful engagement with their students. To that end, as of last week, hundreds of Chromebooks have been issued to students in need, Wi-Fi access points have been activated in school parking lots and meal distribution locations, and TUSD students now have access to the new “Canvas” online learning platform.

Throughout the shutdown, your TUSD teachers have been simply amazing. While dealing with their own personal and family challenges, they have continued to make their students a priority. They have used any available method to try and maintain contact with their students and have had to quickly adapt to an entirely new way of teaching. They continue to be engaged as we develop temporary grading policies, all with the best interests of the students as the priority.

Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson and the district administrators continue to face the ongoing challenge of keeping up to date on an ever-changing set of regulations and expectations, and then adapting to those changes and communicating our plans to students, parents, and staff. While the district has used a variety of methods to share information, we know that many of you still have questions. We encourage you to frequently check the TUSD website for updated information and to contact district staff with your questions.

As we move forward through the coming weeks and months, the only certainty is that education will continue to change. We know that your schools will re-open when it has been determined safe to do so and that when they do, the “school experience” will be different than what everyone has been used to. There are definitely more challenging times ahead, but working together — students, parents, teachers, and staff — we can ensure the best possible future for our students.

In closing, the Board would like to thank parents for their patience as TUSD continues to work toward solutions, especially those parents who have engaged with their children to assist with distance learning. The Board would also like to share its appreciation and respect for all TUSD teachers, staff, and administrators, as well as for our students and their families. Please stay healthy, safe, and creatively engaged with the children of Tehachapi.

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