Communication from Superintendent Fish

Communication from Superintendent Fish
Posted on 09/03/2020

Good afternoon,

As we finish our first week of school, I want to thank our families for your patience and understanding.   By any measure, it has been a successful reopening of our schools for in-person and virtual learning.   Our administrators, teachers, and staff are extremely grateful for the positive feedback and kind words as we work through a myriad of challenges.   

I have talked with several community members and our goal is to always be transparent with our community.   Like most other districts in the state, North Branch Area Schools is now operating a face-to-face school and a virtual academy at the same time.   We are doing this while following the Return to School Roadmap as well as doing everything possible to ensure all students are getting a quality education whether in-person or virtual.   

I choose to see the positivity in what has been accomplished while also acknowledging we will get better in areas such as transportation, cleaning of facilities, virtual learning issues, maintaining small class sizes, addressing student learning issues, etc.   

Please allow me to share some of the many positive experiences this week:

  • Our students have been awesome.  The vast majority have followed safety guidelines and they are genuinely excited to be back in school.   It is a joy to see our students back in an environment where they are collaborating and learning from each other.   
  • Our parents have shown so much patience and understanding.   We had some glitches in our elementary dismissal plan where many parents were forced to wait 30-40 minutes on day one when they picked up their children or when their buses were late getting children home.    I was expecting our hard-working administrators and staff to get brutalized on social media.   Instead, the overwhelming responses were of appreciation for all of our employees.   The grace you showed our school district that first day was fuel for the rest of the week.   
  • Our administrators, teachers, and staff are unbelievable!   I am so proud of all of our employees.    First, they are absolutely great at their jobs.   But, most importantly, they truly care about your children and continually go above what is expected to teach, clean, cook, transport and show love and concern for your children.   

As I mentioned earlier in this communication, we have areas we need to continue to improve in as the school year progresses.   We will be meeting as an administrative staff throughout the day tomorrow to continue to address those issues.   

I do have a specific request for every family in our district.  The Michigan Department of Education just released guidance yesterday and every child ages 18 and under will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch through December or until federal program dollars are exhausted.   Starting Tuesday, all students will get free breakfast and lunch.   

It is very important that all families complete the  Household Application for Free and Reduced Price School meals  .   This application needs to be completed even if your child is not eligible as school funding is impacted by the number of applications that are submitted.   Paper copies have been sent home with your child or you may complete the application online by signing in to your family access at this link - family access.

If you need assistance in completing this application, please call our food service department at 810-688-2226

Again, thank you for your continued support during these most unusual times.   Together, we will continue to do the very best for our children!



James D. Fish, Superintendent
North Branch Area Schools
PO Box 3620
6655 Jefferson Rd.
North Branch MI  48461
810.688.3570 office
810.688.7010 fax
[email protected]