SDoL Back to School 2020 Plan

View our back to school information. You can read the school board-approved plan, along with supplemental documents at the link below.

Back to School Plan
Together we can
Superintendent's Blog

The View From Here

Welcome to The View From Here, a blog by School District of Lancaster Superintendent Dr. Damaris Rau. She publishes about once a week on a range of issues, from topics local to international. Rau is a veteran of 35+ years in education, including stints as teacher and principal in urban and suburban school districts. She has been superintendent of the School District of Lancaster since 2015.

On COVID reporting, it is in our best interest to isolate cases

As small groups of students begin returning to our school buildings, I am sure many of you are thinking about how—and when—we will report COVID-19 in our school community. It does us no good to “hide” cases with the potential for exposure, as that risks spread that will shut down our schools. In every case, […]

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On our first day of at home remote learning

Today was an unprecedented first day of school in the School District of Lancaster. All 11,000+ students and about 1,500 teachers and staff opened the 2020-2021 school year teaching and learning online, and not together in our classrooms. It’s the first time that has happened since we became a school district—in 1836. We know today […]

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Reach for the light: My address to SDoL at our annual all-staff meeting

Every August, we kick off a new school year with a meeting involving everyone of our staff members. Due to COVID-19, this year’s all-staff meeting looked different, and had to be held virtually. Below is my address to the staff. There is still much light in our world! Welcome back. Whether at home or in […]

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My remarks to the Class of 2020

Congratulations to the McCaskey Class of 2020, and hats off to the many people behind the scenes who helped make the broadcast of our commencement ceremony on WGAL go off without a hitch. I’m happy to share my remarks from that beautiful event below. Always McCaskey Proud! Greetings families, friends, educators, members of the McCaskey […]

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On the searing symbolism of George Floyd

Like so many of you, I am outraged at the sight, on national television, of the senseless killing of George Floyd. Losing his breath under the knee of a police officer, his death is searingly symbolic of how members of our black community are held down by the very institutions meant to raise us up. […]

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Principles for reopening schools in the fall

As our students and staff wrap up the unprecedented 2019-2020 school year, it is time to turn our eyes to the upcoming school year and the “new normal.” We have already begun our work to ensure that we are ready to reopen schools. Children and their families rely on schools for academic, social-emotional, health and […]

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Op-Ed: Going through the obstacles

This post was originally published as a joint op-ed in LNP | LancasterOnline signed by me, school board president Dr. Edith Gallagher and Lancaster Education Association president Mr. Jason Molloy, a Price Elementary teacher. Between us, we have nearly a century of experience as educators. The 2019-2020 academic year presented challenges to our profession unlike […]

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Furloughs are a last resort—now and always

Viewers of our recent school board meetings know that the board considered and approved a resolution authorizing the board to furlough employees for economic reasons, as LNP + LancasterOnline reported on Thursday. I want to provide some context on what this does—and does not—mean for our staff. The Pennsylvania school code requires school boards to […]

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Let local school boards decide what to do about taxes

The state Legislature recently considered an amended bill that would freeze local real estate taxes for the upcoming year in response to the COVID-19 emergency. We join PSBA, PASBO and PSEA in opposing this measure, a heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all policy move that makes a challenging financial picture even worse. Our school board is one of many […]

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An Open Letter to the McCaskey Class of 2020

Dear McCaskey seniors and parents, Many of you have written and called to ask, have we thought about what will happen to commencement and prom? My answer: Every day. Every day I think about how we can make it up to you. We aren’t exactly sure how, but we are committed to making the end […]

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Our equity work is necessary and meaningful

On Saturday, February 29, about 150 of my colleagues at SDoL gathered for the second day of training to improve equity, inclusion and excellence in our schools. I shared some comments at the beginning of that session, reflecting on why this work is important to me. I thought I would share them with our readers […]

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On Preparing for Coronavirus

Due to the extensive media coverage of the Coronavirus, we want to reassure our students, families and staff that the School District of Lancaster is diligently monitoring the situation and remains in daily contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Please know that there are NO reported cases […]

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Our School Board calls for charter school reform

On February 19, our school directors unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the General Assembly to enact meaningful charter school funding reform. As I have written before, our biggest financial burden from charter schools comes from cyber charter tuition, on which we spend $2.5 million a year. I join our directors in advocating for reform […]

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State budget update

The first piece of our budget puzzle has fallen into place. Gov. Wolf unveiled his proposed state budget on Tuesday, including his proposals for education funding. For the School District of Lancaster, the results are mixed. First, the good news. The governor’s proposed budget provides savings to school districts by setting charter payments for cyber […]

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Our budget outlook is challenging

Last week, our school board approved a preliminary budget for the 2020-2021 school year with a projected deficit of more than $10 million. It appears that this will be a budget year as challenging as those SDoL faced in the early 2010s. You may have read in LNP + LancasterOnline that it would take a […]

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2020