Dear Braintree Elementary Parents/Guardians & Students,
We hope this communication finds you and your families healthy and, with any luck, taking some time to strengthen your connections to friends, families, and to what is most important in life. This letter is a follow up to the communications we sent to you on March 18 , March 22, and March 27, 2020.
As you know, Governor Baker issued an order to extend school closure through the month of April, with a planned return date of Monday, May 4th. Our last day of school will still be Thursday, June 25th, regardless of how many more days we are out due to mandated COVID-19 shutdown. In response to the Governor’s extended school closure, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued new guidance to all school departments regarding remote learning.
In our March 27th letter, we shared that we would be transitioning to a more formal structure for remote learning given the new DESE guidance. The purpose of this letter is to provide you with details about our Remote Learning Plan (RLP). The RLP was presented to the Braintree School Committee at their April 2nd meeting, which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2MiNw3gr5U
Starting Monday, April 6th, teachers and principals will be reaching out to your family to make sure you are connected with your school and class community. Please be sure to respond to this outreach to ensure your child is able to access the appropriate platform. The Elementary RLP will officially begin on Wednesday, April 15th. Students should continue accessing assignments and resources on our website at: https://braintreeschools.org/dailylearning from April 6-14, 2020, while elementary teachers establish communication with families, co-plan lessons with their colleagues, and ensure that learning platforms are fully ready.
The RLP goes beyond the enrichment activities we have been providing to a model that emphasizes academic assignments, student and teacher engagement, and deeper learning.
Each school will organize by grade level teams to present activities that reinforce previously taught skills.
Staff will communicate with students/families at least once a week to support learning and ensure engagement.
The RLP utilizes asynchronous learning, allowing for work to be completed on a flexible schedule that respects the time constraints and challenges many of our families are facing.
Lessons will focus on those Massachusetts Curriculum Framework Standards that we have identified as most important for students to cover during the school closure.
Our educational resources page will continue to be available for student use and will be updated regularly: https://braintreeschools.org/dailylearning.
Assignments will be issued each Wednesday, and will include five days’ worth of activities for each grade level that can be completed over a 7 day period.
Among the 5 weekly assignments, certain ones will be designated as “targeted” and be submitted weekly for feedback from teachers.
Activities will allow students to work at their ability level, and may also include certain advanced options for those students who are academically motivated.
No lessons will be conducted via interactive video conferencing. Platforms including Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, and others have security and safety flaws that create an unacceptable risk, especially for our youngest learners. In some cases, teachers (and principals!) will be providing videos to help keep our community connected.
Teachers at each school will utilize one of three technology learning platforms based on prior use with student and/or developmental complexity: 1. Class Dojo, 2. Bloomz, and 3. Google Classroom.
Special education case managers and related service providers will make contact with parents weekly by emailing a service delivery template with a weekly plan for how students will access and receive their services.
English Language Learners (ELL) will complete lessons from classroom teachers, supplemented by work provided by ELL teachers based on students’ proficiency levels.
ELL staff will communicate with families to support learning and ensure engagement, including the utilization of translation services available for phone communications.
Support Services Staff will be in online collaborative sessions with regular education, and will modify work, will supplement lessons, and will support their students during this unique learning experience.
So next steps would be: April 6th - 14th utilize the updated resources from the BPS site. Your child will be able to continue accessing grade level lessons at braintreeschools.org/dailylearning for the coming week. During that time, teachers will reach out to your family through Google Classroom, Class Dojo, Bloomz, or email to make sure you are connected with your school and class community. Please be sure to respond to this outreach to ensure your child is able to access the appropriate platform.
If your student needs help with a username or password for Google Classroom, or assistance using a BPS Chromebook, please contact your child’s teacher.
By most accounts, the days and weeks ahead are going to be tough. Many of you, and some of our BPS family, may be personally affected by this health crisis. With its asynchronous delivery model, our RLP provides for the flexibility we believe will be needed to maintain continuity of educational services to our families. Once again, thank you for your continued support and patience as we work to ensure a plan that is in the best interest of students, staff, and parents. Wishing you peace and health in the days ahead.
Frank Hackett, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools