September 14, 2020

Our first three weeks of school have been a success considering the many challenges we have encountered thus far. If the planning and preparations of the health and safety concerns of COVID were not enough, we have also navigated through the additional challenges associated with the high school roof situation and the completion of all building projects. When this article is published, hopefully we will be wrapping up our fourth excellent week of school. As of Monday, September 14, we only have two staff members and eight students in quarantine with no present positive cases for either. Those numbers are remarkable. I would like to personally thank every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, and community member who is making an effort to keep our students and staff safe by practicing good public health protocols. Although Missouri COVID-19 numbers are on the rise, at St. James we have been fortunate thus far with a low positivity rate in school and community numbers which is allowing our community to have open schools and activities for our students.

Our educational staff did an excellent job preparing for the return to school by appropriately developing plans to teach both seated and virtual students. As with all new things, we will continue to learn, fine-tune and improve our virtual learning format. I have been fortunate enough to visit with many of our outstanding classroom teachers about the virtual education realities. They have expressed how much they miss having all of their students in the classroom, but they are no less enthusiastic about the work they are doing for their virtual students. We have some of our best educational staff working with our elementary virtual students who have chosen to learn at home. At the middle school and high school, our teachers are teaching seated and virtual students simultaneously. In our fourth week of virtual instruction, we continue to look for ways to keep making improvements with this new learning format. Due to our advanced level of technology over the years and our proactiveness in being prepared for virtual instruction, we are being watched by other districts throughout mid-Missouri about how we are providing virtual instruction. We will embrace this opportunity to lead the way as a progressive technology and virtual district. Many other schools are providing packaged computer software programs for all of their virtual students. As many legislators continue to attack public education and ask that public school districts pay for whatever education platform a parent wants to pursue for their children, we have challenged our educational staff to make St. James R-I Schools the best seated and virtual choice for parents. I am proud of the work our teachers are doing to accomplish this challenge.

We currently have 208 students learning remotely. Below is a breakdown of the number of virtual students per grade level as of September 14:

  • Tiger Cubs – 5
  • Kindergarten – 3
  • 1st grade – 7
  • 2nd grade – 9
  • 3rd grade – 12
  • 4th grade – 10
  • 5th grade – 15
  • 6th grade – 22
  • 7th grade – 20
  • 8th grade – 21
  • 9th grade – 15
  • 10th grade – 23
  • 11th grade – 26
  • 12th grade – 20

As we have returned to somewhat of a normal schedule, we are also beginning to host student activities. Thank you to those who are attending and being respectful of social distancing and wearing face coverings. This will help us keep our students safe and able to participate in the things they enjoy. For those who are not comfortable attending events, the high school Tiger TV team will be providing live video and audio streaming for many of our events. Please check STJ Tiger TV’s channel on Youtube for the current week’s coverage and Facebook @stjschools for upcoming events.

Thank you for your support of St. James R-I Schools!