Superintendent Messages

Superintendents Messages

May 6, 2020 (Video & Robocall Message)

Good evening,

 

This is your Superintendent of Schools, Lou Taylor.  

 

It’s unfortunate that today our state Superintendent of Schools and our Governor announced that school would be closed for the remainder of the academic year. I am so disappointed because I wanted to see all of you back, but in light of what's happening with the pandemic, we must think of safety first, and the health and welfare of each of you is the most important part of our lives. 

 

I'm going to miss every single one of you. There is nothing more fun than coming to school with your friends, seeing your teachers, and enjoying all the things at school has to offer. Whether it be through the learning process, through the arts, through extracurricular activities, all of it makes each of us complete in our school life. I can remember as a former student, I enjoyed walking the halls of my school; I enjoyed talking to my friends; and I enjoyed those hugs and those smiles from every one of my teachers each and every day. 

 

Now that school has been closed for the remainder of the academic year, let me remind each of you that we will continue with our continuity of learning. We will also continue to make sure that we have remote counseling and mental health services for those in need, and we will also make sure that our feeding sites throughout our county are open and available to those who need them. 

 

I also want to take just a minute to address our seniors. I am as a disappointed about this ending of our school year as you are. I vividly remember the night I graduated from high school, but I want to assure you that we are going to do everything we can to make sure that we hold a celebration for you. Our graduation committee, which includes your principal, is planning a virtual celebration that will take place before the end of the school year. I assure you that we will hold in person graduation ceremonies as soon as time safely permits. 

 

So tonight, I close by saying this: you are important to us; you are special people; we love and appreciate each and every one of you. As Superintendent of Schools, I'm in this business because of the 6,900 students that walk through the 14 doors of our school buildings. Each and every day, I'm going to miss your faces; I'm going to miss seeing you smile; I'm also going to miss seeing you cry at times, because that can be an important part of growing and learning. But I assure you as we move forward, we will be better people for it, and we will be prepared for the opening of school next year.

 

Please take care of yourself. Please stay healthy. Please keep smiling, and know that we will all be together again soon. Goodnight, and God bless you.


Sincerely,
Lou Taylor
Superintendent of Schools





April 17, 2020 (Video & Robocall Message)

Good evening, Worcester families,

This is your Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor. As you have likely heard, our Governor and State Superintendent of Schools have extended the closure of our schools through May 15th, to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease.

With this announcement, I want to reassure you that the key components of our strategy to support our students remains unchanged.

We remain committed to ensuring every child in Worcester County has access to nutritious meals through our Feeding Program.

 We remain committed to supporting our students socially and emotionally through remote counseling services.

And, of course, we remain committed to engaging our students with Continuity of Learning. 

In light of today’s announcement, my message to the senior class that was originally scheduled for today will be released early next week, but I want to reassure our Class of 2020 that we are committed to honoring you and all of your hard-earned accomplishments in a meaningful way.

To our entire school system community, we will stay the course, and we will continue to do it together. We look forward to seeing our students virtually on Monday. Take care of yourself and each other, and God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Lou Taylor
Superintendent of Schools





April 9, 2020 (Video & Robocall Message)

Good evening, Worcester families,

This is your Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor. 

This week marks the first week of all of our students participating in Continuity of Learning. We are very proud of the work our teachers and instructional leaders have done to craft creative and engaging lessons for our students, and I have enjoyed seeing that engagement in real time through photos and posts from both our families and our teachers. 

This week alone, we have had nearly 5,700 students log-in to the platform to complete their learning. And our teachers have created a whopping nearly 30,000 course materials for that learning, not to mention the over 21,000 discussion posts happening in classroom threads. 

These numbers are amazing. It truly demonstrates that our students have been anxiously waiting to get back to school to connect with their teachers and their fellow students. 

These numbers also shine a light on a challenge our school system and the entire State of Maryland still wrestle with: availability of internet connectivity. While we have deployed 280 hotspots to students at our high schools, we are still awaiting the arrival of another 380 hotspots to be deployed to elementary and middle school families as soon as they arrive. 

In the meantime, we have identified community internet access points and drive-up access points at our schools to help bridge this gap. You can find more information about these access points at our website, www.worcesterk12.org.  

I also want to let our seniors and their families know that in the next week, I plan to send them a direct message to address the concerns that I have received about those special milestones that they and their families are looking forward to: in particular, graduations. So be on the lookout for that next week. 

As you know, our school system is closed tomorrow and Monday for Spring Break, and Tuesday is a professional day for teachers, which means we have provided additional assistance at our feeding sites today to cover the closures. 

So as I close this message, I want to wish each of you a very happy Easter if you celebrate it, and may God bless each and every one of our families.  We look forward to seeing all of our students virtually on Wednesday! 

Take care and good night. 

Sincerely,
Louis H. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools






April 3, 2020 (Video Message)


Good evening, Worcester families,

 

This is your Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor. As we come to the end of the third week of our school facilities remaining closed, I am proud to share with you that learning has resumed for our high school students this week, and I am excited for the rest of our students to join them in distance learning on Monday. 

Being able to begin continuity of learning so quickly is a testament to the incredible work of our teachers, instructional and school leaders, and our staff, who truly mobilized our plans to launch us forward with device and hotspot distribution, trainings, and more. 

As we stand ready to welcome all students back to this new learning model, I want to ask our families to please be patient and understanding both with our teachers and with yourselves. Distance learning is new for all of us, and while our educators have been working hard to learn new techniques to provide ongoing, engaging learning experiences for your child, we also understand that many of you are navigating how to be facilitators of learning in your own homes. There will undoubtedly be challenges along this journey, but we will persevere through them – together

Togetherness. Family. These are words that, for me, get to the heart of what makes Worcester County and our schools so special. We are not just a network of strangers, but a family – connected and committed to doing what’s right for our young people during this time – whether through our ongoing efforts to feed our children, or providing them with social emotional support, each and every one of us has come together during this crisis.

So before I close tonight, I would like to take this opportunity to shine a light of thanks on several groups who have made a difference for our school system during this challenging time.

  • Thank you to our Board of Education, our County Commissioners, the dozens of community volunteers, and our local businesses and organizations, including those that are faith-based, that have all reached out to lend a helping hand or pledge their support. We are grateful to you.
  • Thank you to our associations, our instructional and school leaders, and most especially – our teachers. Your love for and commitment to our kids is awe inspiring. I am humbled every day by your willingness to go above and beyond for the children of Worcester County. 
  • And thank you to our parents for your support and trust. It is easy to become disillusioned during times like this, but each one of you continue to reach out, connect with us, and support our efforts to continue your child’s learning. 
  • And of course, I am so thankful for our students. Thankful that they are still pursuing their own learning, still reaching out and forging connections to lift each other up, and still choosing joy in a time where darkness and negativity could be even easier to choose.

With that, take care of yourself and each other, and when the opportunity arises, take a lesson from our students, and choose joy. 

May God continue to bless every one of you with safety and good health during this time.

Good night. 

Sincerely,
Louis H. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools






March 25, 2020 (Via Robocall & Video Message)


Good evening, Worcester families,
 

 

This is your Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor. As you have likely heard, our Governor and State Superintendent of Schools have extended the closure of our schools through April 24, to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease.  

 

We know that this news is disappointing to our students, staff and faculty who have been anxious to get back to the normalcy of everyday life, but we wholeheartedly agree that keeping our students, staff, and the families of Worcester County safe and healthy must be the priority at this time.  While we all take time to adjust to what will be a “new normal” for the next four weeks, I want to reassure you that our school system leaders have been hard at work to prepare in the case of a continued closure, and I would like to share some of those plans with you today. 

 

First, I am happy to assure you that our feeding sites will continue without disruption, and our school counseling remote services will expand throughout the next phase of this closure. I hope you will join me in thanking those food service workers and school counselors whose hard work have made these services so successful in meeting our students’ needs. 

 

And of course, I want to address what student learning will look like over the next few weeks. Throughout the past two weeks, we have developed plans in the event that an announcement like today’s occurred. That being said, our school system plans to shift from enrichment and extension activities to a more structured learning program using our online learning management system, Schoology 

 

Dependent upon a modification to our current school year calendar by the Board of Education, we anticipate students beginning online learning in the following phases: dual enrollment and advanced placement students will begin those classes on Monday, March 30; high school students will begin on Wednesday, April 1, and both elementary and middle school students will begin on Monday, April 6.  

 

Additionally, we want you to know that we also have plans to address the inequities in our county related to access to digital devices and internet connectivity. Your child’s school principal will be communicating with you soon about this, and we are asking our high school students who may have left their laptops at school to call the school main office to make arrangements to retrieve it. 

 

In the meantime, please know that even though our school buildings remain closed at this time, each and every one of you are in our hearts and minds. That fact is very clear to me when I see our teachers, our principals, coordinators and so many others reaching out through RemindClassDojo, or even through social media to show our students how much they are loved and missed.   

 

We are truly a family here in Worcester County, and this crisis has only made our connections more meaningful. So as we move forward today, know that we are thankful for your patience and understanding as we all embark on this journey of digital learning together.  

 

And I’ll close with the same sentiment I have shared before: take care of yourself and each other, and we look forward to seeing you in late April. 

Sincerely,
Louis H. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools





 
March 20, 2020 (Via Robocall & Video Message)

Good evening, Worcester County Public Schools’ family,

This is your Superintendent Lou Taylor. As we come to the end of this first week of our mandated closure, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to our incredible community for your continued support throughout this health crisis.  

I have seen such incredible acts of heroism from the far reaches of our county throughout this time: from our Board of Education, the County Commissioners, the County Health Department, and other government partners sharing their resources to local restaurants, businesses and organizations supporting our efforts to feed our students to our instructional staff and educators sharing resources and learning tools to help our families. It is during times of crisis that we see the true character of people, and I am honored and humbled by the incredible character I have seen from the people of Worcester County.  

Now, as we move forward into the second week of this closure, I know many questions have been brewing in our community. While many unknowns still surround how this health crisis will ultimately impact our schools, I want to assure you that we are working on contingency plans to ensure we have continuity of learning should this closure extend past next week. 

Additionally, many of our families have expressed their worry about those important rites of passage that are part of a child’s educational experience outside of learning. We want to reassure you that we have every intention of celebrating our students; we may not know what those celebrations may look like, but please know that we will not let these moments of life just pass by.  

We want to encourage you all to take to heart the recommendations for your own personal health and safety. Please adhere to social distancing guidelines and disease prevention practices. We will be sharing through our social media some graphics to help remind you of these important practices over the next week. 

We also know that these times can be scary for our young people; we want you to know that it is normal to experience feelings of stress, anger or fear at this time. If you need support for your child’s social-emotional needs, our school counselors are available. Please visit our website, www.worcesterk12.org to learn more about this important resource. 

Lastly, I want to extend my thanks again for your continued support and partnership as we weather this crisis. We will make it through this, together. Take care of yourself and each other, and God bless you all. 

Sincerely,
Louis H. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools







 

March 12, 2020

To Our Worcester County Public Schools family,


Earlier this evening, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon joined Governor Larry Hogan for a press conference to update our state on the latest developments with coronavirus disease. During this press conference, he announced that Maryland has had its first case of community transmission of the coronavirus, indicating that this health crisis has moved into a new phase. 

In light of this information, Dr. Salmon announced that all public schools in Maryland – including Worcester County Public Schools – are mandated to be closed beginning Monday, March 16 and lasting through Friday, March 27. As both the Governor and Dr. Salmon said today, we know this closure will be an inconvenience for our families, but a necessary step to mitigate the spread of the disease.

Tomorrow, students should report to school for the early dismissal day as normal. Upon leaving, each child will be provided with educational activities that can be completed at home to support student learning; however, we want to stress to you that students’ completion of these activities has no bearing on their grades, but can help with retention of what they have learned.

Again, we thank you for your continued partnership during this time, and please explore our resources here on our website for more information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Sincerely,
Louis H. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools


View the MSDE press release from today's announcement