Social Distance Make a Difference and Virtual Learning Reminders

March 24, 2020

Dear Families:

From the New York Times article below:

“Every individual acting preemptively can make a huge difference.”  

You Can Help Break the Chain of Transmission (New York Times)

Thank you to the many of you who are so diligently cooperating.  At the same time, please remember that this means kids should not get together, not play with each other, and not invite others to the house.  You can make a huge difference.

The next Virtual Coffee with the Superintendent will be on Friday at 3 p.m.  Please watch for Zoom login information to come soon.

Thank you for a successful first week of virtual learning activities!   I know there may be questions.  I’m offering additional feedback and reminders that I will then post to the FAQ document.

Can all teachers integrate Zoom or another live virtual opportunity for students?

As outlined in the letter provided on March 15, teachers are providing learning opportunities through various means.  We have not mandated Zoom or other live activities as part of this process.  We believe there are many means to connect with students that does not require live video transmission.  Please contact me or the building principal if you have any questions.

Can my child receive special education services as outlined in the IEP?

Last week, we provided an overview of special education services during the school closure.  Since school is not in session and we are not replicating the school day virtually, we are not offering special education services.  Special education teachers are supporting students.  Please reach out to the building principals or Director of Student Services, Ruth Grube, with questions.

Can we teach new material and provide more rigorous learning opportunities?

In the letter dated March 15, we presented the goals of the educational activities we are providing:

The goal in assigning students thoughtful activities is to give some structure to their days at home and offer continuity and connection for their return to school, not to replicate the learning that happens in a school day.

Through the Governor’s closure of school through April 7, that remains the focus.  Equity and access are issues that must be considered and addressed before we can take on more.  We also must work under the umbrella of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s advisories.  Discussions of possible next steps will begin this week as we await word of plans for after April 7.  We are actively gaining feedback from all stakeholders simultaneously.  Extensive supplemental and enrichment activities are posted on the webpage.

Finally, I want to recognize the many, varied, creative things that are happening at every level.  Virtual art galleries, radio shows, mystery readers, and Boston Celtic messages are a very short list of examples.  My deep gratitude to everyone for the energy and effort to engage students despite the physical distance.