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    Principal Wynkoop | Nov 18 Letter To Families and Staff
    Posted on 11/12/2020
    Principal Wynkoop at desk | Letters To Families

    Letter From Keven Wynkoop,
    Ballard High School Principal

    Ballard Families and Staff,

    In many ways these are discouraging times. Infection rates are through the roof, school is not going to return in person anytime soon, we are all having to make difficult decisions for the holidays and we are seeing the results in the academic and other struggles of our students.

    For me, I am trying to stay focused on the unexpected positives, like the way that our students support each other through the chat in classrooms, the way that our staff has come together to help each other grow their remote teaching and the reality that this pandemic has given all of us unexpected quality time with our teenagers. I am sure that for some this has been entirely too much “quality time,” but our young adults are so close to leaving that we have to appreciate this time together.


    Grading Policies

    As you should know, as a building we implemented new grading policies to start 2nd quarter to address the challenges that students have been facing in remote learning. Students will no longer be penalized for turning work in late and missing work will be entered at 50% into the gradebook. These policies are based on the idea that remote learning has made school really challenging for a lot of students and that it is not nearly as important as whether they do the work at all and giving zeros is too much of a penalty for missing an assignment in this environment. We are working through some of the details with teachers, but I expect these policies to be fully implemented for all new work at this point. If this is not the case for work assigned on or after 11/6, please let me or your Assistant Principal know and we will work on it.

    As our staff works through reaching out to and intervening with the much too large number of students that are currently below a C- grade, we are looking for new communication tools that will help us connect with parents.

    SPS Communication Tool | TalkingPoints Update

    One great new tool that SPS has added is called TalkingPoints. TalkingPoints sends a text message to all student contacts (it shows up as an out of state number) and allows families to immediately translate the text into their preferred language. It also allows family members to send a message back in their preferred language that will be automatically translated. We think that this will be a great tool for us, but we have already learned how we are not going to use it. Ms. Chambers tested the system last week and some families were not happy about their phones being used for a general announcement text.

    We have decided that we will use TalkingPoints for targeted communications and not general announcements, unless they are an emergency of some kind. I am cognizant of the large number of communications that come home from the school and district, so we are trying hard to balance all of that.

    School Year 2019-20 Yearbook Distribution

    With 2019-20 pre-purchased yearbook distribution scheduled for next week on Nov 24 & 25 (Refer to Grades 10-12 Yearbook Pickup Schedule) and the continued rise in Covid rates, we are really concentrating on creating an experience that will be safe. That means that strict spacing will be enforced, shared pens will be sanitized between uses and we have spread out students over three days. Please consult the schedule on the news posts and I will send home a detailed plan by Monday.

    I miss your kids. I miss the energy and excitement that comes from a full school. I miss seeing our teachers in action in the building prodding more out of students than they knew they were capable of, but nothing is as important as our health

    Please keep taking precautions. Please keep talking to your students about the choices they are making. I look forward to the day when we can all be together again and I don’t want to lose anyone in our community. The thanks that I am giving is for being part of this great community and knowing that we will get the chance to be together again.

    Keven Wynkoop

    The following message was sent via SchoolMessenger to Ballard High School Families on Wed, Nov 18, 2020. If you did not receive this email please check your profile in SchoolMessenger as well as your spam folder and email the BHS Administrative Secretary Cindy Peterson at if you have any questions.