Questions & Answers

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  • How can I get help with PowerSchool?

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    Please review the guidance and helpful information on the PowerSchool webpage. If you still need assistance, please call the Help Desk, 785-330-4357, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. or email ITWorkOrder@usd497.org.

     

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  • Do the high schools offer summer school?

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    • Both high schools will host summer school June 1-26 for the purpose of credit recovery.

    • Content will be delivered online. There will be no in-person instruction.

    • Counselors have identified students who qualify for summer school, and those students/families have already been contacted.

    • Summer school will focus on credit recovery, connecting with students, and providing mental health support for students.

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  • When are Class of 2020 Graduations?

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    ◾Lawrence Virtual School Graduation, 1 p.m., July 11, Free State High auditorium
    ◾Free State & Lawrence High Celebrations, No-Contact Special Activities to be Announced by Schools, May 19 & May 20
    ◾Free State High Graduation, 8:00 a.m., July 18, FSHS stadium
    ◾Lawrence High Graduation, 10:30 a.m., July 18, LHS stadium
    ◾July 18 Rain Plan: Drive-through Graduation Parades


    (All plans will meet health and safety requirements and are subject to change.)

    Congratulations to all graduating seniors, their families, and their school communities!

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  • When does school start in the fall?

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    The school board in April approved a change in the 2020-2021 School Calendar to align it with dates in the Lawrence High construction contract. The changes only affect the high school start dates. 

    2020-2021 Student and Parent Calendar

    2020-2021 Staff Calendar 

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  • What's your plan to provide an education to my child?

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    Following the guidance of the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and its Continuous Learning Task Force, our schools are providing continuous learning opportunities for students. This new educational deliver will flexible and sensitive to students' and families' needs and schedules.   

    If you have not heard from your child's teacher or school, please email the teacher or principal. 

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  • What if my child doesn't have technology at home?

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    No problem! We have it covered. The district provides MacBooks for high school students and iPads for middle schoolers. We assign iPads to elementary students at school, they just have not taken them home in the past. Our elementary schools will be distributing iPads to elementary students who do not have a device at home.

    Please encourage your children to treat these devices with care. We do need them back, and will let you know when. A fee may be assessed for lost devices and charging cords.

    Here's a tip: set up a charging station in your home. Keep the chargers there. Plug the devices into the charging station every night to charge while you sleep. You will always know where to find your charging cords and your devices will always be charged and ready to go the next day.

    If you need technology assistance or have a broken or non-working district device, please call our Help Desk between 8 a.m.-8p.m. weekdays/nights at 785-330-4357 (HELP) or email ITWorkOrder@usd497.org.

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  • How can I support my child's at-home learning?

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    Confident Parents, Confident Kids has created resources for families, including:

    • Setting Up for Success While at Home Together
    • Setting Up for Homework Success
    • Create a Family "Coping Kit" to Deal with Anxiety
    • How to Promote Sibling Kindness
    • Sticking to a Consistent Routine

    As you can see from this list, your child's safety, health, and well-being come first!

    Review this resource from University of Kansas researchers, including Dr. Kathleen Lane, who developed and has supported Lawrence Public Schools' student-centered support system (Ci3T). More resources for families may be found here.

     

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  • What if we don't have internet service at home?

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    No problem! Our schools will be asking families questions about what support and services they need to facilitate student learning at home. Let us know about your needs.

    Midco has just announced free internet service for families who need it to support student learning. For families who are outside the Midco service area, we will provide an internet hotspot.

    We will also provide paper packets as needed. Please remember that learning opportunities surround us! There are plenty of things about which students can learn when they are not online. Your school staff stands ready to assist you with your needs.

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  • Should my child be creating a Zoom account?

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    Students under the age of 18 should not create Zoom accounts. Minors are not permitted to create an account per Zoom’s Terms of Service. Students should only be joining Zoom meeting sessions as participants (not separate account holders) through the teacher's/school subscriber’s account.

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  • Who can I call with a tech support question?

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    Contact your child's teacher first. If they are unable to assist you, they may ask that you call the district's Help Desk at 785-330-4357 (HELP) or email ITWorkOrder@usd497.org. Our technology support specialists will assist with technology needs from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday. Thank you for your patience, as they may be assisting someone else when you call. They will get back to you as soon as possible.

    If your device is not working or is broken, call the Help Desk to make an appointment to pick up a replacement device. Appointments will be scheduled at the Educational Support Center, 110 McDonald Drive.

    Please review the PowerSchool help information on the PowerSchool webpage.

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  • Will you provide parents some educational resources?

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    Yes! Keep in mind that learning opportunities surround us! Cook with your child! Watch a movie together and talk about characters and plot. Ask your child to write a letter to a friend. Play card or board games. Put a puzzle together. Read! Read! Read!

    You will find a Parent Resource Page in the left menu of this webpage with more ideas, some online and some offline. You may also check out the links to Online Elementary Educational Resources and Online Educational Resources in the left menu of this webpage for more ideas.

    Have fun spending quality time with your children! The quarantine will end; Those happy memories will last a lifetime!

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  • What suggestions do you have for offline learning?

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    Learning surrounds us! Lucinda Crenshaw, West Middle School science teacher and member of the Kansas Continuous Learning Task Force, provided these suggestions

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  • How can I get meals for my children?

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    Free Curbside Pickup of Meals for Children 18 and Under Through May 29:
    • 11:00 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesday-Friday (Friday's distribution includes weekend meals.)
    • Hillcrest Elementary, 1045 Hilltop Drive
    • Schwegler Elementary, 2201 Ousdahl
    • Billy Mills Middle School, 2734 Louisiana
    • Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, 1400 Massachusetts

    The Lawrence Public Schools Summer Food Service Program begins June 1. See this flyer for details.

    Please also see the Community Food Resources list in the left menu of this webpage.

     

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  • I'm a senior. How do I decide if I can graduate early?

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    Please contact your school counselor to discuss your senior status.

    Lawrence High Counselors:

    Jennifer Hare  (Students last names A-E)   785-330-4548 

    Amy Brown  (Students last names F-K)   785-330-2146

    Lori Stussie (Students last names L-R)   (785) 330-4607

    Kelsey Buek (Students last names S-Z)   (785) 330-4903

     

    Free State High Counselors:

    Sarah Leeser  (9th Grade) 785-330-2254
     
    Bryan Duncan (Counselor A-G) 785-330-1908
     
    Marc Conover (Counselor H-O) 785-330-1801
     
    Ken Hile (Counselor P-Z) 785-330-2274

     

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  • How can I access books for my child?

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    Get your library card through the Lawrence Pubic Library and enjoy free access to books, movies, and more! Click this link: https://lplks.org/blogs/post/top-digital-book-and-movie-resources-for-students/. They wll also help you get a State of Kansas library card. Readers are leaders!

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  • What can I do if I need mental health support for my child?

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    School mental health teams stand at the ready to assist students. You may contact your school's counselor or Student Services staff for assistance:

    Lawrence High Student Services

    Free State High Student Services

    Douglas County provides an online tool called myStrength. For those who are feeling anxious, fearful, stressed or depressed, know you are not alone—and myStrength can help. It’s free and available 24/7. Visit www.myStrength.com and use the access code: DouglasCounty.

    Families may also want to review the list of community Mental Health Resources in the left menu of this webpage.

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  • Did the school board reduce graduation requirements?

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    Yes. To assist 2020 high school seniors during the school closure, the school board approved a proposal to reduce the current graduation requirements. The change reduces the district’s required 23 credits to the 21 credits required by the Kansas State Department of Education for graduation. The change does not alter the number of core course requirements – English language arts (4), social studies (3), science (3), math (3), physical education (1), and fine arts (1). The difference is in two fewer electives required for graduation. The board unanimously approved the change, which sunsets at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

    “There are a handful of juniors who have already completed 23 or more credits,” said Dr. Anna Stubblefield, deputy superintendent. "The district will consult with their families individually."

     

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  • Have assessments been canceled?

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    As of March 25, 2020,

    1. ACT has canceled all state contract spring testing. This means no make-up dates are available in April. KSDE is currently working with ACT to allow make-up tests next fall for all juniors who were not able to take the test on February 25. At this time, ACT is still planning to offer national testing in June and July. 

    2. All DLM testing has been suspended for the remainder of the year.

    3. All ELA, math, and science general assessments were suspended on March 17.

    4. Students who already took the KELPA assessment will receive score reports when they return to school in the fall. Unscored tests (speaking and writing) will be indicated on the student score reports. 

    5. Kansas has requested a 2019-2020 federal waiver from required assessments and accountability.

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  • What if I need to complete enrollment for a middle schooler?

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    Our middle schools will be sending out an email by April 3 to the families of students in grades 5-7 about enrollment for next school year. All necessary information will be in the email. If parents/students do not receive an email by April 10, please check your Spam/Junk folders first, and then contact your respective middle school assistant principals:

    Billy Mills Middle School - Dr. Carissa Miles, MilesC@usd497.org

    Liberty Memorial Central Middle School - Mr. Timothy Leffert, Timothy.Leffert@usd497.org

    Southwest Middle School - Ms. Susan Cooper, Mary.Cooper@usd497.org

    West Middle School - Mrs. Kathryn Branson, KBranson@usd497.org

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  • Can I still take driver education?

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    The district has canceled its driver education course this summer.

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  • How can I donate or volunteer to support the schools?

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    Thank you for asking! Please go to www.lawrenceschoolsfoundation.org to donate to the Lawrence Schools Foundation. Contact Foundation Executive Director Dena Johnston at djohnsto@usd497.org if you'd like to volunteer or offer good and services to support our efforts to meet staff, student, and family needs.

    You may also donate directly to a school or the district: "Attention: Insert School or Program Name Here" at Lawrence USD 497, 110 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS 66044.

    All donations are tax deductible and appreciated!

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  • Will USD 497 employees be paid?

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    All contracted and at-will employees will be paid for the remainder of the school year, according to their regular payroll schedule. 

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  • Will there be an extension for payment of school fees?

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    Yes, we will be extending time to pay school fees for 2019-2020.

    Families who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals may complete the Child Nutrition Benefits application at www.usd497.org/FoodService. The supplemental form on that application triggers fee waivers. If you qualify and are approved, fees will be waived for 2019-2020 school year.

    If you don't qualify or don't want to apply for a waiver at this time and find that you are unable to pay fees later, there is a Hardship Waiver for Fees application you may submit. Request this form by emailing myfees@usd497.org.

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  • Will you be refunding the Books, Materials, and Technology Fee?

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    The Books, Material, and Technology (BMT) fee will not be prorated for 2019-2020. This fee covers online resources, textbooks, e-books, workbooks, videos, apps, access to technology, other materials and consumables supplemental to textbooks. The same resources used in the classroom are being used in the online learning environment. They are just being accessed from home instead of from school. Examples include, but are not limited to, technology and data plans, apps and instructional software, the SeeSaw communication platform, Think Central math platform, Realize reading platform, Mystery Science platform, and Google Classroom.

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  • What about the senior prom and graduation?

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    Superintendent Dr. Anthony Lewis announces Class of 2020 graduation plans:
    ◾Lawrence Virtual School Graduation, 1 p.m., July 11, Free State High auditorium
    ◾Free State High Graduation, 8:00 a.m., July 18, FSHS stadium
    ◾Lawrence High Graduation, 10:30 a.m., July 18, LHS stadium
    ◾July 18 Rain Plan: Drive-through Graduation Parades


    (All plans will meet health & safety requirements & are subject to change.)

    Congratulations to all graduating seniors, their families, & their school communities!

    Decisions about prom have not been announced.

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  • Will we get a high school yearbook?

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    Both LHS and FSHS WILL have a yearbook. We've been turning in pages throughout the year. While the books may not be published in time to release them in May, we will distribute them as soon as the Herff Jones plant is back up and running. We won't be issuing refunds.

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  • Is Kindergarten Orientation canceled?

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    Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our Kindergarten Orientation plans. We are working now to adapt those plans and find other ways to welcome kindergarten students and families to Lawrence Public Schools.

    Please go ahead and enroll your kindergarten student at www.usd497.org/NewStudentRegistration.

    Stay tuned! We'll be in touch.

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  • Can I still register my child for the 2019-2020 school year?

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    Yes! Join us! Start the registration process at www.usd497.org/NewStudentRegistration. Please be sure to click the link for the appropriate school year, 2019-2020. When you complete the online form, you will be informed of the required documentation needed to finalize your enrollment. You will provide the required documentation electronically to our Enrollment Center. Contact 785-330-1921 if you have questions.

    Thank you for your patience. During the building closures, staff may be workin remotely. 

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  • How do I register my child for the 2020-2021 school year?

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    Welcome! Go to www.usd497.org/NewStudentRegistration. Please be sure to click on the link for the correct school year, 2020-2021. You will be prompted to create an account. Once you complete the online form, you will receive a list of required documentation to provide our Enrollment Center. Please provide these documents electronically. You may contact the Enrollment Center at 785-330-1921 with any questions.

    Thank you for your patience. Due to our building closures, staff may be working remotely. 

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  • Is there a district code for ABCMouse.com?

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    Follow the prompts and you can generate your own parent code. The school code you may use is "SCHOOL3057." Click here to download your district's Family Letter with Redeem Code. If parents need assistance redeeming this code or have questions about any of the products, please access the ABCMouse.com Customer Support team at support@aofl.com for assistance.
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  • How do I get a copy of my transcript?

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    Go to the website of your high school. Click on Student Services in the main menu. Look for Transcripts in the page menu and follow the instructions to order your transcript online.

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  • How do I get a refund for the high school choir or band trip?

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    We are sorry about the cancellation of these trips. We are coordinating with the high school choir and band directors and the travel agency about the cancelation, costs, refunds, etc. We hope to be able to get refunds to families as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience as we work through the refund process during this challenging time.

    Email myfees@usd497.org with any additional questions.

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  • How are supply donations being collected/distributed?

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    The United Way of Douglas County is coordinating the collection and distribution of in-kind goods and supplies. Please click here for more information.

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  • How do I talk to my child about Coronavirus?

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    The Child Mind Institue has some tips for talking to children about COVID-19. Or see this Kids' Guide to COVID-19.

    Watch this video with your primary-level students.

    Watch this video with intermediate-level students.

    Here is a comic for older children.

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  • What do I do if I need childcare?

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    Child care professionals provide a critical service in our state. They allow parents who are doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, grocery store staff, and more to respond to this pandemic. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) shares this press release: Guidance for Supporting Families in Accessing Healthy and Safe Child Care During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

    KDHE is recommending continuity of operations for licensed child care facilities at this time (centers, preschools, day care homes and school age programs). However, depending on the unique and changing situations of each community, local public health officers may implement more restrictive guidance and provisions for child care facilities, up to and including closure within their authority and jurisdiction.
     

    FAQs and guidance regarding child care operations during the pandemic are available at the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center website including guidance regarding licensed child care facilities located in schools.
     

    Options for families in need of child care: 

    Child Care Aware of Kansas provides assistance to families searching for licensed child care. They can be reached toll free at 877-678-2548.

    KDHE has an online information system that serves as a tool to support families in making informed child care choices and can be used to review compliance history of a current licensed provider.

    Families that need flexible options or irregular care might consider having someone come into the home. Relatives, older siblings, and friends or neighbors currently not working due to COVID-19 related business closures might be available to help.

    Other options for families that need limited care include informal care arranged between friends/neighbors on an irregular basis or someone to provide care in their own home for no more than two children for not more than 20 hours a week. None of these options require a license from KDHE.

     

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  • How can I learn more about Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

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    The World Health Organization has a Frequently Asked Questions webpage. You may also want to review the WHO's webpage that addresses COVID-19 myths.

    KDHE provides this infographic about symptoms of the coronavirus versus a cold, flu, and allergies.

    Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health shares this video about being tested for COVID-19.

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  • What does the 'Stay at Home' order mean?

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    The Kansas League of Municipalities created this poster (Spanish poster) to share what the 'Stay at Home' order means, including definining essential businesses.

    The Chamber created this video to explain the 'Stay at Home' order.

    The CDC recommends people wear cloth coverings over their nose and mouth when visiting essential businesses. This video from the U.S. Surgeon General shows how you can make a no-sew mask at home.

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