July 6, 2020
Last March, Governor Burgum closed schools for in-person instruction due to concerns about COVID-19. He directed schools to serve their students via distance learning “until further notice”.
The Governor amended his order on June 1st to allow schools to have summer school and to provide daycare as long as it was in groups of 15 or less. Under the guidance of the Governor, we did offer summer school in-person for remedial reading, special education, beginners’ music, school-based mental health services, and behind the wheel, which was also approved by Ransom County Public Health.
We are in frequent contact with the ND Department of Public Instruction, Ransom County Public Health and the Governor’s Office trying to find out what schools will be allowed to do in August.
- At this time, we do not know if students will be allowed to return.
- If they are allowed to return, will class-size caps and social distancing guidelines be in place?
- If so, that may force us to limit the number of students who can attend school each day.
- Will schools still have the authority to offer distance-learning classes to our students who have been identified as high risk by a medical-professional?
It is our hope that the Guidelines we need to follow will be released by mid-July. Once those guidelines are released, we will share the educational plan for this fall.
We know how difficult this uncertainty is for many of you. Rest assured that as soon as we have guidance from the state, we would communicate our plan. If you have specific questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Dr. Steven L. Johnson, Superintendent of Schools
May 22 Update
Today marks the last day of the 2019-2020 academic school year. Thanks to all who have made this year possible. We will hold graduation on Sunday starting at 2:00 pm at the Outdoor Sports Complex weather permits. Mr. Adair will watch the weather very closely. We have some chances of rain so he might need to call a “Rain Delay” much like a umpire during a baseball game. Plans can also change due to public health concerns. I know of one school district that had some graduates and families members test positive for COVID so they had to change their ceremony format just two days before graduation. Please remember the graduation rules – people who are sick should not attend; members of vulnerable populations should not attend; masks are strongly encouraged; and please do not be selfish by violating the rules. I will be announcing scholarship winners during the graduation ceremony with 25 seniors receiving $62,600 in locally generated scholarships. Dollars for Scholars awarded $35,000 while another $27,600 was awarded by others. Nearly 39% of our graduates will receive ND Academic and CTE Scholarships worth $750 per semester for four years as long as they are a full time student and hold a 2.75 GPA. Winners of the CTE were – Kasen Anderson, Jacie Baarson, Colton Bergemann, Brady Carlson, Kaylee Dickerman, Logan Fellows, Chynna Langhoff, Ethan Lyons, Caleb Nielsen, Brooklyn Person, Jacob Reinke, Mandy Saxerud, and Keaten Shelton. Winners of the Academic Scholarships were – Jacob Bear, Isac Bentten, Peyton McNea, and Cassidy Rostock. We also had 14 graduating seniors receive University and College Scholarships from ten different institutions of Higher Education. Congratulations to the Class of 2020!!!! This week included planning for summer school. We started ordering PPE materials so that we can meet the guidelines as set forth for re-entry. Most of those guidelines are changing week by week as we learn more about the pandemic. My Wednesday ended late in the day with my email being compromised. I worked with the state IT personnel to get things straighten out but by Thursday morning the problems go worse making for a long day. The hackers are getting better at what they do as they did use my signature, picture, and my correct email address. However, they made some mistakes like our school phone number and other small mistakes. It took us a while to find what they did but once we found it we were able to get my email back on track. We have offered contracts for elementary special education and elementary music. We believe the candidates will fit in nicely with the Lisbon Public Schools. Once I received signed contracts, I will make those individuals names public.
Last week, I reported on the asbestos insulation that was found wrapped around the steam line pipes encased in cement in the elementary. Wednesday, we were able to get an abatement company to our campus to start the removal process. The removal and the air monitoring during the abatement should take another three days. Mark Qual and Lori Lyons were able to sign the closing papers on the Bond sale on Wednesday. We will have closing papers on the bond sale completed on Thursday May 28, 2020. I really hated to end my 43rd year of education like this. I did not get a chance to say proper goodbyes to staff who are leaving us and brag up the seniors during our Annual Awards Night! I will miss you all. My hope will be to see you all back her in August. Thanks for everyone’s support and hard work over the past ten weeks. Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend. SLJ
May 15 Update
On Wednesday, I had our grant awarding meeting for the Lisbon Community Endowment. The announcement of grant winners will be out later as letters with checks are coming in the mail. Wednesday afternoon I had a South Valley school board meeting via Zoom. We also had a construction meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Things were going pretty well on the construction until we found that all of our steam line pipe going into our classrooms and other areas was wrapped with asbestos insulation. Because it was contained it causes no risk until you try to remove it, which must be done as we are changing our heating system from steam to hot water. Therefore, we will need to get an abatement company down to remove the asbestos and the pipe according to the EPA guidelines. This delay will only affect the elementary school and the mechanical contractor. While we are abating the elementary pipes, we will have the mechanical contractor concentrate on the sprinkler system in the middle school.
During our $3 million dollar bond sale on Monday we were very happy as our bonds sold for 1.95% with a premium payment of over $93,000. That is lower than the state interest rate on voter passed bonds. The closing on the bond sale will be on Thursday May 28.
On Thursday, we received word that Mrs. Emma Waloch and her 4th graders were recognized by the Rural Schools Collaborative for their work with Parkside Nursing home. We are so proud of Emma and her students.
The calendar year is coming to a close and next Friday will be the last day of our 2019-2020 school year. We have a lot of things to finish before we say goodbye to the year. For Seniors of the Class of 2020, this week will be very special for them and their families. Although we have new rules we must pay by including social distancing, we know that the school, parents, staff and community will make graduation one to remember. I know I am going all out for this year’s Senior Class. Let’s hope for some great weather. When new information becomes available, I will forward it to you.
Thanks for everyone’s support and hard work over the past nine weeks.
Have a wonderful and safe weekend. SLJ
May 8, 2020 Update
Good Afternoon: We started this week with a state-wide superintendents meeting, Ransom County Public Health and a meeting with music instructors to discuss summer band.
On Tuesday, I was able to sit in on Mr. Adair’s Zoom meeting with the Class of 2020 as he reviewed graduation options, answered questions, and received suggestions from our seniors. I am confident that Mr. Adair and the Seniors will put on a great graduation within the guidance and rules we have been given to follow. On Wednesday, the Department of Public Instruction and the Governor’s office came out with graduation guidance.
Our property is still off limits for students and non-essential personnel except for graduation ceremony. Guidelines are attached. We are expecting re-entry guidelines to come out soon so that we can do more planning for summer school and the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
On Wednesday night, I was able to celebrate with the 4th graders in Mrs. Waloch’s class as they were chosen as the 2020 Volunteer Group of the Year by the Long-term Care Organization. They were supposed to be at a banquet in Bismarck but because of the pandemic they celebrated on Zoom! Congratulations Parkside Buddies!
Today we had our first meeting of the Department of Public Instruction’s pk12 Alliance Team. I was chosen to represent the Lisbon Public Schools on this team whose mission will be to create and provide unified messaging and support for family educators and students during this unprecedented time. The team consists of 25 members from across the state including students. Many of the team members are part of the family engagement team.
Construction was delayed because of the rain earlier this week. They did get the walls poured and plans are to get the floors formed up and cemented next year. It appears that we are three-weeks ahead of schedule.
Next week, we have a school board meeting via Zoom for Fort Ransom on Monday night and on Tuesday night Lisbon. Everybody should have received the meeting ID and
Password. I also have a South Valley Special Education board meeting on Wednesday, May 13. According to our approved distance-learning plan our last day of school will be May 22, 2020. I want to be as transparent as possible while giving you honest and
truthful information to the best of my ability. I am on three state-wide administrative committees, which help me stay informed. When new information becomes available, I will forward it to you.
Thanks for everyone’s support and hard work over the past eight weeks. Have a wonderful and safe weekend. If you have time check out the Drive-In Movie night and curbside popcorn from the Scenic Theater.
Dr. Steven L. Johnson
“No Tech Day” Monday, April 13, 2020
Monday, April 13, 2020, has been declared No Tech Day by Dr. Steven L. Johnson, Superintendent of the Fort Ransom and Lisbon Public Schools. Teachers in Fort Ransom and Lisbon will not be available for contact with their students or parents on that day. We encourage teachers, students and families to take the day off from technology including cell phones, television, iPad, computers, etc. and stay off social media for at least TWO HOURS.
Write two letters to a loved one you have not been able to see since the COVID-19 School closure began.
Do two additional chores around your house or farm to assist your parents.
Spend two hour outside, not in groups, enjoying the weather.
Create a hands-on project using materials found in your home. (Ex. Build a rocket out of Legos, art project, sewing project, paint, draw, build a fort, design a medical facemask, possibilities are unlimited)
Go for a walk, ride your bike, rollerblade, etc…. for two hours
Help make or make a family meal for all to enjoy with all family members sitting at the table together.
I would like thank our staff, students and community while we flipped our delivery of educational services to Distance-Learning in one short week for all your work and understanding. You all deserve a break. We live in a wonderful community. Enjoy!
Dr. Steven L. Johnson, Superintendent