A Message from the Superintendent
From the Office of the Superintendent
June 26, 2020
First, I’d like to let our students, families, faculty, and staff know how honored I am to serve as the next Superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System. As we begin to take on the challenges and opportunities of this upcoming school year, I look forward to getting to know you and work alongside you. Although I officially will become Superintendent July 1, I have been on the job and getting to know our administrators and school communities for the past couple of weeks. I look forward to the chance to introduce myself more fully to you soon, but I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a brief look at where our school system stands, as we move toward August.
This morning, Alabama State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey, along with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, outlined key points of Alabama’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools. This Roadmap is a guide to help the Tuscaloosa County School System, as well as others across the state, create plans for reopening schools as safely as possible, and in a way that makes the most sense for each individual system.
In mid-July, the Tuscaloosa County School System will introduce our plans for the 2020-2021 school year to our families. Although our plans are still in development, there are some important points to share now with our students, families, faculty, and staff.
- It is our expectation and intention that the Tuscaloosa County School System will be physically open for in-person instruction throughout the year.
- There will be high-quality remote learning available for families who choose this option for their students. In the Spring, TCSS put together a committee of system leaders and educators, to develop remote learning options for our students, as well as the necessary professional development for our teachers. In mid-July, TCSS will share much more information with our families about the specifics of our remote learning options, so you can make an informed decision about what is best for your student.
- TCSS will also incorporate a blended learning model into our schools. Therefore, if a student must leave school due to illness, or if our schools experience a temporary closure, remote learning will continue, until in-person instruction can resume.
- As Dr. Mackey stated in this morning’s press conference, teachers “are the most important link in everything we do.” In the Tuscaloosa County School System, this is absolutely true. We realize the challenges that lie ahead in the upcoming school year, and what they will mean for our faculty and staff, especially for our teachers. Faculty and staff, as we move toward the start of school, TCSS will keep you well-informed of plans for the new year, and what our “new normal” means for how you serve students in your specific role.
- We are still awaiting information from the Alabama High School Athletic Association, regarding guidelines for athletics in the upcoming school year. We expect to receive this guidance by the end of July.
Again, TCSS will provide much more detailed information to our families, by mid-July, regarding plans for our return to school. This section of our web site includes a full copy of Alabama’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools and a Parent’s Guide to Alabama’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools. It also includes a link to our updated school calendar for the 2020 - 2021 school year. Under the recommendation of the Alabama State Department of Education, TCSS has pushed the start of school to August 20.
We know the upcoming school year will look different than what we have known before. But we also know that in many important ways, it will be the same. And through these challenges, we will find new and better ways of serving our students. Whether it’s in-person or remotely, the educators of the Tuscaloosa County School System look forward to seeing our students back in school in August.
Keri C. Johnson, Ed.D.