Check for updated information about COVID 19. Read emails from Vail School District Superintendent, John Carruth and Old Vail Middle School Principal, Michael Fester.
Click here to learn about OVMS School Day
Click here to learn about OVMS Hybrid Learning
Letter from Principal Michael Fester September 18
September 18, 2020
OVMS Parents and Guardians:
Next Monday begins another BIG shift in our instructional practices at OVMS and throughout the district! Some students will be returning to school next week (HYBRID LEARNING) and some of our students will be shifting to the BRICK-TO-CLICK LEARNING model.
Students that have chosen Hybrid Learning will start coming to school on Monday, September 21 (Students with last names of A-K) and Tuesday, September 22 (Students with last names of L-Z). Busses will be running and we will be ready for students each day!
We will be prepared to receive your child on Monday or Tuesday for their first day of in-person school. We will have staff members around campus to ensure students make it safely (and promptly) to their first class (Advisory Base).
A couple important reminders as your child returns to school…
- Parent drop-off can occur anytime between the 7:30am – 7:55am. There will be one entrance for students at the south end of campus (near the parent drop off/pick up area).
- Students will get their temperature checked at one of three entrances on campus.
- Bus bay entrance (for bus riders)
- North gate entrance on to campus (for walking students from the north of the school).
- South gate entrance (for parent drop off and walking students from the south of the school.
- Once on campus, students will either eat breakfast in the MPR or go directly to their ADVISORY BASE class. There will be no loitering in common areas prior to the start of school at 7:55am. Students need to go directly to their first class.
- All students must wear a face covering while on campus. See the face covering district regulations.
- Students must bring their district-issued CHROMEBOOK and CHARGER with them to school every day. It is advised that students use a padded sleeve for the Chromebook and it should be kept in their backpack for safe keeping.
For those students that will not be returning to physical school and are joining us for Brick-to-Click learning, those students will begin this new phase in learning starting on September 21, as well.
- Schoology pages will be loaded and ready for your student on Monday. Your student will not be able to receive live session support during the school day (7:55am to 1:55pm).
- I recommend that students log in to their classes at the usual time (see schedule HERE).
- There will be opportunities to connect with teachers for our Brick to Click kids after 2pm every day for at least one hour a day (Monday to Thursday). There will also be an hour of teacher support offered to Brick to Click students during the day on Friday.
Here are some other important items that you might find relevant to the start of school…
Riding the bus? Find your route and time here…
- Transportation Information (Link to Infofinder – Vail School District Transportation Route Finder)
Questions about hybrid learning? Check out this information…
- What will hybrid learning look like at Old Vail Middle School? (Link to OVMS Website)
Questions about what the school day will look like for your child?
- What will the school day look like at Old Vail Middle School? (Link to OVMS Website)
Interested in supporting the OVMS PTSA?
- Parent involvement is key to a child’s success in middle school. We have a very active and AMAZING PTSA. Sign up now for next year… we will collect registration fees later. (Google Form)
Interested in volunteering at OVMS?
- We thrive off of the energy from our OVMS Volunteers! It is never too early to start considering becoming one of our regular (or occasional) volunteers. (Link to OVMS Website)
We can not wait to have kids back on campus and are excited to offer additional support to all of our students.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Letter from Principal Michael Fester September 9
September 9, 2020
Dear OVMS Parents and Guardians:
Just checking in today to get your help. We are gearing up for the next phase in your child’s education – hybrid learning.
I am putting this link up front so that you can complete the survey as soon as possible.
PARENT SURVEY ← Click on this survey link!
I need this information to fully prepare for the hybrid plan for our campus. Mr. Carruth sent an email to you last week with this survey embedded. At this time, I have only received information about a quarter of our student population.
What does the HYBRID LEARNING model look like here at Old Vail Middle School?
Students will attend school on campus two days a week.
Students with last names beginning with A to K will attend school (in-person) on Monday and Wednesday from 7:55am – 1:55pm.
Students with last names beginning with L to Z will attend school (in-person) on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:55am – 1:55pm.
School day will be shortened by one hour – school will end at 1:55pm.
One hour of at home learning each day
ALL STUDENTS will work from home on Friday, as that day will remain as our “Asynchronous Friday.”
When your child is not scheduled for in-person school, they will need to go to all their teachers’ Schoology pages and complete the lessons for that day. There will be video instruction and activities that support the learning objectives for the week in each class on each day. I am strongly recommending that your student try to complete that work from home at or near when the actual class would occur.
If you are making the choice to have your child to return to school during this hybrid option, parents will be required to sign an acknowledgement form. The district will be sending out the form for you to review and sign electronically later this week.
If you have children with different last names and would like for them to be in the same group (attending school on the same days), please email me and we will try to accommodate that request.
What does the BRICK TO CLICK LEARNING model look like here at Old Vail Middle School?
Students will not come on the school campus and will commit to remaining in the Brick to Click model for the entire time OVMS is in hybrid learning.
Students will remain on their current schedule with their same teachers.
Students will NOT have live sessions during the normal school day. They will go to their teachers’ Schoology pages and complete lessons for each class and each day. There will be video instruction and activities that support the learning objectives for the week in each class.
Brick to Click students will have opportunities to receive additional help and support from their teachers from 2pm to 3pm on Monday through Thursday. And there will be an hour of support offered on Asynchronous Friday just for our Brick to Click students.
It is very important to know that this Brick to Click model does not include live sessions with teachers during the normal class times, as they may be accustomed to with the current remote learning model.
We are taking great care in making sure that our site is ready for students. We have completely transformed classrooms to accommodate half of our students at a time. We have cleaning stations with hospital grade cleaning products. We have multiple hand sanitizing stations on campus… in fact, it is hard to walk 10 feet without walking into one. Each classroom at least has a hand washing station or multiple hand sanitizing stations. We are working on signage for the flow of student traffic to mitigate loitering and cross traffic. We have a new plan for lunches to mitigate the number of students in one place but still allow the freedom and playtime that lunch affords our students. You can find more information about the OVMS school day HERE on the OVMS website.
And, as always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth September 4
September 4, 2020
Last week we were excited to announce that the health metrics surrounding COVID-19 in Pima County are improving. Assuming the metrics continue to improve, we are still targeting September 21st as the date when we will move to the next phase of opening schools – the hybrid phase.
The purpose of the hybrid phase is to welcome students on campus, but physically distanced as much as possible and/or keep them in the same groups throughout the day. This is made possible by the reassigning and restructuring of classes and teachers,.
Under the hybrid phase, parents who did NOT choose the Vail Innovation Center for the first semester will have two choices for their students:
Hybrid – Partially In-Person/Partially Remote (with modified schedules)
Brick to Click* – Remote Instruction Connected to Your School
These two options will look a little different at each level.
Vail Inclusive Preschool: See note below**
Hybrid: 4 days of on campus learning, a shortened school day, one hour of at-home learning each of the 4 days, and independent learning on Fridays
Brick to Click: teacher contact 3 days a week, including live lessons for Language Arts and Math on Fridays. Brick to Click is ideal for families who are not yet ready to come back to school on campus or who have the support at home to continue learning remotely.
Hybrid: 2 days of on campus learning, a shortened in-person school day, and one hour of at home learning each day. Students will follow their class schedule from home on the at-home learning days with Friday serving as an independent learning and office hours day.
Brick to Click: students will follow their class schedule from home 4 days a week with Friday serving as an independent learning and office hours day.
Hybrid: 2 days of on campus learning for a full day with 3 days of at-home learning.
Brick to Click: students will follow the same daily schedule as their peers. Fridays will serve as an independent learning and office hours day for all students.
Smaller schools of choice like Civano, Esmond Station, Pantano, VAHS, and Vail Blended may have different scenarios.
We will make every effort to keep students in the same family on the same schedule.
You will be receiving further communication about the specifics of each option from your students’ principals on Wednesday, September 9th. If you are ready to make your choice for the hybrid learning phase now, please feel free to do so here.
You will be able to make and/or change your selection through Sunday, September 13th when the survey closes. Please also visit School Opening – Hybrid Learning Information on our District website for more information.
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, thank you for your patience and support as we work to develop sustainable plans for each phase of learning. We are grateful for our community.
*During the hybrid phase students will not be able to move between Brick to Click and in-person learning unless in the case of illness or the need to quarantine. Further, students who choose Brick to Click will be asked to remain in Brick to Click for the duration of the hybrid phase.
**This survey does not apply to students at Vail Inclusive Preschool. If you have not received a call from your child’s VIP teacher, please call the VIP office.
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Letter from Superintendent John Carruth August 28
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth August 9
August 9, 2020
There is nothing more exciting or anticipated than the first day of school. Possibility, growth, friendship, and hope are all on the horizon as the journey of a new school year begins. For all of us, that journey will start a little differently Monday via remote instruction.
If there has been one constant since schools were closed by executive order this past March it has been frequent change. The past five months have taught us that adaptation, perseverance, sacrifice, and grace are necessary pursuits to navigate the ever changing dynamics of life in a pandemic.
This past Thursday brought more change. Under the direction of an executive order by Governor Ducey, the Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) released public health benchmarks that are intended to guide the safe return to in-person instruction. ADHS has created an online dashboard explaining these benchmarks and tracking progress toward meeting them. It can be viewed HERE.
The good news is that the benchmarks are trending in the right direction. The bad news is that they are currently above what will be required to open schools for in-person instruction on August 17th.
Further, Pima County issued a statement to school districts on July 28th, that included recommendations from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia and Public Health Director Dr. Teresa Cullen. In short, the guidance stated that the earliest in-person instruction could safely be anticipated to resume would be after Labor Day, September 7th.
I will recommend to the Vail Governing Board that our district follow the public health data provided by ADHS and Pima County Health in determining when it is reasonably safe to resume in-person instruction.
Following these data points will likely mean that in-person instruction won’t be an option through at least Labor Day.
The Vail Governing Board will be meeting on Tuesday, August 11th at 7 p.m. to review the ADHS benchmarks and the Pima County Health data. They will also review adjustments to instructional options that may need to be put in place in order to reopen schools.
We recognize that COVID-19 is creating challenges beyond just the physical safe return to school. The social, emotional, and academic well-being of our children is of utmost importance to all of us. As we plan to open schools as soon as possible, we are also dedicated to connecting with your children, welcoming them back to learning, and providing them with the best learning experience possible starting Monday, August 10th.
As we start this school year, we will likely make some mistakes along the way. Operating in a pandemic is historic and unfamiliar for all of us. When we fall, we will do so with every intent of falling forward in the pursuit of creating high quality, safe learning environments for your children. We will get up together. We will adapt. We will persevere. We will sacrifice. And, we will offer grace. Perhaps these are the most important lessons presented to all of us this year.
I wish everyone a safe and blessed school year.
Letter from Principal Fester July 24, 2020
Dear OVMS Parents and Guardians:
Although things are constantly changing and evolving as we move towards the start of another school year here at Old Vail Middle School… one thing is not changing… I am super excited about another school year as the Principal at OVMS. I love our school and I love our community… and most importantly… I look forward to getting our staff and students back to school… remotely or in-person. I want to get back to the “business” of educating your kids and providing a safe and nurturing environment for them to learn and grow. This year is going to be different… no doubt about it… but we pride ourselves at OVMS for making “different”… great!
This week, we have had lots of families sign the Responsible Use Policy and Chromebook Insurance documents for OVMS 1:1 6-8 grade! There are still slots available if you would like to pay over the phone! We have had great feedback from families who love how quick, safe, and easy this process is working! Click here to sign up to pay over the phone!
Also, if you still need to fill out the Responsible Use Policy and OVMS Self Insurance Policy, click on the links and get that done as soon as possible. All families must fill out these forms for their students to receive their chromebooks!
As a reminder, ALL OVMS STUDENTS will be provided a chromebook for this school year. This will help provide consistency throughout the school year as we move from remote learning to in-person learning and will allow for students to remain connected if they are out of school for an extended period of time throughout the school year.
There will be more information sent out from me next week about the specific look of your child’s school day during remote learning. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Michael C. Fester
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 24, 2020
July 24, 2020
Dear Vail Families and Staff,
We have wrapped up our virtual town halls this week. It was wonderful to connect with so many families. We miss you and your children and look forward to the time when we can be together again. I was again reminded just how strong our community is. Vail is most certainly a place where education is a community effort. I know that we will get through every challenge we face in the coming months together.
So, what’s the update for this week?
Yesterday, Governor Ducey held a press conference and issued a new executive order regarding the opening of schools. We are working to unwrap what the order means for the Vail School District and will inform you once we have a clear understanding. This morning a small group of superintendents met with Pima County and Pima County Health Department leaders to determine what metrics should be used to determine when schools can safely re-open, as referenced in the Governor’s order and press conference.
As we anticipated the executive order would make changes to reopening schools, we have delayed sending out the survey for parents to choose an educational option for their child(ren). Our intent is to open up the survey for parents in the next week after ensuring that our plans are in compliance with the new instruction from the State.
In the meantime, please review the graphic below to see what our options currently look like, and get more details around each educational option on the district website at vailschooldistrict.org.
Thank you again for your continued patience and support as we work to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information. Please let us know if you have any further questions at email@example.com.
Vail Unified School District
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 17, 2020
Letter from Principal Michael Fester July 13, 2020
July 13, 2020
OVMS Parents and Guardians:
Almost six months ago, I said goodbye to our OVMS students prior to Spring Break. Plenty of hugs, high-fives, and “see you in a couple weeks” were shared.
Little did I know way back then that nearly six months later, we have yet to have students back on our big middle school campus. If you know me, you know that this is driving me crazy. If you don’t know me yet and this is the first correspondence that you are receiving from me, you will soon know how much I appreciate our students and love being the Principal at Old Vail Middle School. In spite of all that is going on in our world and whether or not there are kids physically on campus or learning from home… We believe that our OVMS Family is strong and we will do more than simply “get through” this year. We will thrive. Students will learn. All of those that come on to our campus will be safe and cared for. And we will find ways throughout the year to laugh, have fun, and celebrate our successes.
I have had this email started for weeks… but with constant changes and shifts in plans… it has been written and re-written dozens of times at this point. And although there may be more changes forthcoming, I am (finally) able to share with you some details and welcome you to the 2020-2021 school year. The theme for my staff and our students (and our community) will be… GRIT. GRACE. GRATITUDE. This year will take a lot of perseverance, patience, compassion, and empathy.
A couple updates…
The new library and front office is nearly complete. A couple technology issues must be addressed but we have already started moving in! The “old library” (the new 700 building) had walls constructed and new flooring installed and, as a result, two new classrooms have been added to our campus. A beautiful, new sun shade was installed in the bus bay thanks to the OVMS PTSA and Student Council!
Schedules will be made available to view in Powerschool soon. When the district makes Powerschool available to the public, you will receive an email from the school.
School Start Date:
School officially begins on Monday, August 10 with remote learning. We will begin with remote instruction until Governor Ducey says students can return to school. Tentatively, the date given to return is Monday, August 17.
Meet the Teacher/Open House:
Arrangements are being made for a virtual “Meet the Teacher” Event during the week of August 3. More information will be forthcoming.
Students are expected to attend class remotely for each of their four content areas (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies) following their in-person schedule. A copy of the daily schedule for each grade will be sent home prior to the start of school. For the week of August 10, we will expect students to attend core content classes only. If remote learning continues past the week of August 10, we will phase in specialist classes.
Elements of Remote Learning:
- Direct instruction is archived for viewing (and reviewing) on Schoology, our instructional delivery platform.
- Student feedback is given regularly throughout the week.
- The structure of instruction parallels typical in-person instruction with direct instruction, guided practice, independent practice, checks for understanding, and student feedback as the framework components.
- Formative assessments are administered.
- Grades based on mastery of the standards are assigned beginning with the first week.
Using Schoology, teachers will provide direct instruction every day.
- Students will be expected to join their class for instruction; for students unable to do so, the day’s direct instruction will be recorded and uploaded to Schoology.
- Students will be able to engage with the teacher during their scheduled class period, and throughout the instructional day.
Due to remote learning expectations for our students, we will be issuing Chromebooks to all of our OVMS students (grades 6-8). Chromebook distribution will occur during the week of August 3. Details on the distribution of chromebooks will be sent out later this week.
Thank you for partnering with us this year. I look forward to working with you and your student in what will surely be a remarkable school year.
Michael C. Fester
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 10th, 2020
On Campus Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
Brick to Click Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
Full Time Digital Learning through the Vail Innovation Center (begins August 10th)
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 3rd, 2020
July 3, 2020
Dear Parents and Staff,
Earlier this week I sent an email explaining what Governor Ducey’s June 29th Executive Order means for the Vail School District.
During the press conference Governor Ducey reviewed the upward trajectory of COVID-19 in Arizona. “Our numbers continue to increase. They are going in the wrong direction. We are going to take additional actions to contain this virus and get back on track.”- Governor Doug Ducey.
For this reason the Governor ordered that in- person learning cannot begin until August 17, 2020. The Governor also said that Arizona will, “continuously re-evaluate this target date.” So, we want to acknowledge the possibility that the order to delay could be extended.
The executive order allows schools to open remotely prior to August 17th. Last week the Vail Governing Board voted to delay the start of school until August 10th. In light of the executive order, we are planning for schools to open remotely on August 10th and starting in-person learning on August 17th, or when the order is lifted. Information on what a remote start will look like is currently being developed and will be shared with you as soon as it is available.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), which governs all high school athletics, has also made a decision to delay the start of fall sports. The fall sports season, which was scheduled to begin on August 21st, has been postponed. The AIA Board will be meeting to determine the start date for the fall season. More information about AIA can be found here.
In the meantime please take some time to familiarize yourself with the information in the School Opening section of the VUSD website. School Opening and COVID-19 Information
New information is being added daily. As we receive questions from parents, staff, and students, we are adding the answers to the FAQ section of the website. You can also expect regular email updates from me as the situation evolves between now and the start of the school year.
Please be safe and enjoy the holiday weekend!
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 29th, 2020
• Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing record rates of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additional time will allow for statewide measures, including the Pima County Resolution requiring the use of face coverings, to take effect to help slow the spread.
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth June 25, 2020
June 25, 2020
It has been a little less than two weeks since I last wrote to you. At that time, I indicated that we were working hard on plans to open school on time in July. In the same email, I also noted that the conditions around COVID-19 remain very fluid.
As of this writing it has become apparent that additional time before the start of the new school year would be very helpful to address the following issues:
1) Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing a record spike of COVID-19 cases. According to Governor Ducey’s news conference today, this spike is expected to last into July.
2) Additional planning time is needed to ensure that details around the three instructional choices and safety precautions for schools are fully developed and in place before the start of the school year.
As such, our Governing Board is meeting tomorrow evening at 6:00PM to discuss the possibility of moving the start of the school year to August 10 for all K-8 schools and high schools.
The Governing Board will also review three instructional choices for your family that will be made available next year along with health and safety plans for school sites. The instructional choices include:
- On Campus Learning where school will be as close to normal as possible with enhanced health and safety precautions in place.
- “Brick to Click” Learning that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools.
- Full-Time Digital Learning with the Vail Innovation Center (VIC) delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.
The board meeting will be streamed live for those who would like to view it. A link to the livestream video will be made available on our website at www.vailschooldistrict.org.
If you have questions or comments regarding the new school year, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support and understanding.
Letter from Superintendent John Carruth June 12, 2020
June 12, 2020
I hope that you and your family are healthy and are enjoying your summer. I’d like to provide you with an update on plans for next school year.
Our primary focus since the end of the school year has been planning for our return to school. Thank you for your feedback through the parent survey and other correspondence. It has helped shape the decision making.
We are planning to open schools on-time in July.
We are working closely with Governor Ducey’s office, the Arizona Department of Education, and state and county health officials. As of this writing, Governor Ducey has stated that schools will be allowed to open on time.
The reality is that conditions around COVID-19 are fluid and will likely remain so through much of this next school year. As such we are planning for flexibility and parent choice.
We are developing three primary choices for you and your family.
1. School as close to normal as possible with reasonable health and safety precautions in place.
A list of logistics and safety precautions being considered is attached to this letter.
2. A “Brick to Click” option that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools.
A student or group of students may want to remain connected to their regular school but may need to learn remotely due to health concerns, illness, or personal reasons.
3. On-line school with the Vail Innovation Center delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.
For over 15 years, Vail has offered on-line learning to support parents who choose to home school their children or need them to learn remotely. This program is offered through our Vail Innovation Center. Information about this program can be found here.
Our desire is to provide you with information about your family’s options for the start of the new school year. We are not asking you to choose right now. As more details develop around each plan, we will share them with you and let you know how to indicate your choice. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com or me directly.
Vail’s Mission Statement reads: We seek to provide parents with safe and nurturing school communities, where their children can obtain a quality education. As we plan for next school year, it is our deep desire to execute all three of these core values.
Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this uncharted territory together.
- March 30, 2020 12:00 p.m.
- March 23, 2020 4:00 p.m.
- March 20, 2020 5:03 p.m.
- March 18, 2020 8:45 p.m.
- March 18, 2020 7:00 p.m.