Monday, May 11, 2020
At the start of the year, nobody would have predicted all the schools in Bakersfield would be shut down to student attendance for 4th quarter and summer school, but here we are. My heart is with our school community families, our students, and especially our seniors. With changes to normal activities like graduation, sporting events, freshman registration, classroom instruction and grading, senior scholarships and awards, and checking in textbooks and other school items, many questions are being asked, and not all can be immediately answered.
The most important thing we can do during this time is provide regular information to students and parents. Sending out phone messages for important information and postcards for critical announcements do help, but we want to make sure there is ONE location for all updates that everyone can rely on for the most up-to-date information available. For our school, it is at: https://independence.kernhigh.org/ The district’s update always remains the first item on the page but continue to scroll down past that for the most recent Independence High School news.
California public schools are still subject to the governor’s executive order, along with Public Health’s shelter-in-place guidelines regarding gatherings of people. Larger high school graduations across the country fill entire stadiums to capacity and bring in spectators from the whole school community, and this is incompatible with this order. At the May 4th KHSD school board meeting, our trustees confirmed their commitment to monitor any changes in the executive order that would allow graduation ceremonies to take place, whether at a later date, in multiple smaller groups, as a drive-through process, or otherwise. They haven’t determined a ‘drop dead’ date, after which we would no longer be able to hold a ceremony, but as part of the monitoring they added a special board meeting on May 20th in addition to their next regular meetings on June 1st and 29th. Separately, each school is working to develop a celebration video that will recognize seniors and their achievements, which should be ready by mid-June.
The link for online freshman registration goes live today (big white box on the upper left part of the main page). For those not able to scan or upload the required documents, the school is open between 7:30am – 1:30pm Monday through Friday to submit them in person. Note that we’re on a minimal-staffing schedule right now and that submitted papers are required to sit for three days before we handle them, so expect a delay in processing. Questions to staff and counselors can be made through their school email address, found on ParentVue or StudentVue, but also found on our website under the “ABOUT” tab on the gray horizontal bar.
I appreciate everyone’s flexibility through the chaos as we all continue to attack each new challenge brought on by the school closure. Check the Independence High School webpage regularly for updates and information from the district and school – it’s the best location to find news that affects the school community, whether during a traditional school year or during an emergency such as this.
Dean Juola, Principal