Highland Magnet at Kenwood School


Principal Letter

Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year!

Article Date: Aug 21, 2020

August 2020

Dear Highland Students and Parents,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to another school year here at Highland. I hope you enjoyed your summer as much as possible and I am really excited to welcome you back to school! Yes, that’s right, I am excited. I know this will not be like any school year we have experienced, but it will be several steps in the right direction toward students returning to campus.

You should have received a letter and survey last Friday regarding the two Bend - La Pine School Options. The survey is due today Friday, August 21. When you complete the survey, you are providing valuable information for planning an optimal experience for all children. Thank you for participating.

I understand this is a big decision and some families may be struggling to decide what to do. If you are one of those families, please CLICK for a comparison between the two options. Also, I have listed (below) how we plan to improve Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) based on the spring feedback. Please call me if you need to talk this through. I will do my best to get back to everyone who needs a conversation.

Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL)

We will be applying lessons learned from the spring to our Fall CDL. We experienced a lot of successes and we are aware of many short-comings as well. We will continue to do our best to apply this learning to improve the overall experience for all students.

Some immediate differences from the experience in the spring include the following:

  • More predictable routine and structure, with grade-level teams following the same (or at least a very similar) daily schedule. As an entire district and school, we have every intention to level up and create as consistent as possible experience for everyone.
  • Attendance will be taken and participation will be required.
  • Students will be receiving grades and feedback.
  • We look forward to sharing more specific schedules soon!

WebEx will still be a primary way to connect for video conferencing. For Kindergarten and 1st-grade students, we will be using SeeSaw as the primary learning platform. 2nd-grade through 5th-grade students will be using Google Classroom. We will be providing instructional videos to support families as they get familiar with these platforms. We are excited to share some music content and PE on daily rotation with all students as well!

Bend-La Pine Schools Online (BLPO)

If we choose BLPO what happens to our space at Highland? For the 2020-2021 school year, your child’s space will be held and we will not be replacing them with a student from the waitlist so long as your child remains enrolled and completes the coursework. This policy does not extend to any other form of homeschool and your child’s space will be lost if you enroll in another school outside Bend-La Pine or in your neighborhood school.

CDL to Hybrid

At some point we hope to move toward a balanced Hybrid model with students returning to the building for in-person learning. More information on what this will look like will be provided, but you can be assured that we put into place all the social distancing requirements, cleaning and other practices necessary to do this in the safest way possible. If that time comes and you are still not comfortable returning to the classroom, we will find a way to work with you continuing the CDL. The expectations will need to change as your teacher will be working with kids in the building, but we can work on mutually beneficial solutions to this problem.

Returning to School Frequently Asked Questions

Please CLICK for frequently asked questions.

Return to School District Information

Please CLICK for information from Bend La Pine School District

Staffing Changes

Please join me in congratulating Linda Gross who reached the difficult decision to retire this summer, so she will not be returning in the fall. Becky Hildebrand will be moving into her 1st-grade place and she is excited about the new adventure. Anna Park, who was teaching abroad for the past two years, is returning to Kindergarten. Ukiah Yeager-Woock is returning from her year-long leave of absence to rejoin the 4th/5th grade team. Lorin Page, our former Student Services Coordinator, will be missed as she moves up to the new Assistant Principal position at Three Rivers. Heidi Thomas will be taking on a part-time role as the Student Success Coordinator, a position focused on School-wide Social and Emotional Learning. We are currently in the process of hiring our new team member and look forward to that announcement really soon! You may also remember that we said goodbye to Elizabeth Meskill in the front office secretary position at the end of the school year and we hope to restart the hiring process for that position soon.

Class Assignments

Class assignments are scheduled to be posted in ParentVUE on Wednesday, September 9th. If we can move this date up we will. However, with staffing changes and potential student number changes (due to BLPO enrollment) we will need to spend even more time than usual on rechecking placements. I have received quite a few requests for placements based on the various day-care and pod arrangements and, unfortunately, we cannot accommodate all these requests. A priority for our placement process is ensuring equitable access for all students. Concentrating students with strong support into selected classes negatively impacts this important process. I also want to apologize for not responding to your messages; there were just too many to provide individual responses.

Ice Cream Social

Unfortunately, due to COVID 19, our Ice Cream Social has been cancelled.

First Day of School

The first day of school is Monday, September 14th. More details will be provided soon.

School Hours

School will begin at 8:00 and end at 2:30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesdays, teachers will participate in valuable professional development and students will be in school from 8:00 until 1:00. While students will not be online the entire time, students should be available for instruction during normal school hours.

Visiting or Volunteering on Campus

We appreciate the tremendous support from our visitors and volunteers. At this point, we are not able to have visitors and volunteers on campus, but classroom teachers may have volunteer opportunities that can be done from home. Your classroom teacher will reach out after the school year has started, if volunteer work is available.

This year will be like none other, but a memorable one. After today, you can expect the communication from our office each week with our weekly Newsletter. It’s a little earlier than usual but I am fairly certain you want the information we are providing. I encourage you to call or email with any questions or concerns.


Brian Kissell

[email protected]

(541) 355-1902