April 3, 2020
Dear Braintree 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), which will begin on Wednesday, April 8th.
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.
Staff will communicate with students/families at least once a week to ensure 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.
BRAINTREE HIGH SCHOOL
Lessons will be provided to students utilizing Google Classroom.
Lessons will be sent by each Wednesday morning (beginning on April 8th) by 8:00am.
The lessons will reflect activities for a 5-day period and 125 minutes/course per week, 60 minutes/course per week for half-cycle/semester courses. Teachers will expect to collect one assignment per week for assessment and student feedback.
Deadlines will be open, with a minimum of 5 days to submit work from the date assigned (Wednesdays). We feel this is critical, as we acknowledge that current family and staff personal schedules require flexibility and understanding of constraints.
Work assigned before the school’s closure, March 13th, but due after the closure, will not be graded.
Grading at BHS will be viewed in the context of “Credit or No Credit”. The BHS administration will send families more information about marking terms and course credit in the coming days.
Staff may use email and phone to communicate with families. You should contact your teachers with any questions about classwork.
The lessons will reflect activities for a 5-day period, and 90 minutes/course per week, and 45 minutes/course per week for half-cycle courses. Teachers will expect to collect one assignment per week for assessment and student feedback.
Deadlines will be open, with a minimum of 5 days to submit work from the date assigned (Wednesdays). We feel this is critical, as we recognize that the personal schedules of families and staff alike require flexibility and understanding of constraints in these trying circumstances.
Feedback will be provided at the middle school level with the intention of (a) correcting any misapprehensions, (b) helping students build/improve specific skills, and (c) pushing students’ thinking to support the growth of all learners.
Lessons will be posted online, using Google Classroom or a previously established platform (Moodle, AP Central)
Staff will not use video conferencing applications to communicate with students, including Zoom and Google Hangouts. These platforms are not secure and put students and teachers at risk. Some teachers may make videos on platforms such as YouTube and send them to students to demonstrate skills or to present lessons, but students will not be expected to participate “live” in classes.
SPECIAL SERVICES AND STUDENT SUPPORTS
Special education case managers and related service providers will make contact with parents/guardians weekly.
ELL students 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.
Special Education teachers and specialists will be collaborating with regular education faculty, so that they may best support their students within this unique format of remote learning.
Teachers will attempt to contact households whose children are not completing work. If contact is unsuccessful, teachers will alert building administrators and guidance, as student participation in the remote learning assignments will be required to count for “attendance” during the school closure.
Finally, parents and students will be hearing from teachers through Google Classroom on or before April 8th. All students should log into each of their Classrooms and reply to teacher messages to confirm that they have access to the material. By April 8th, the weekly materials described above will be available in Classrooms. Students and families who need help with a username or password for Google Classroom, or assistance using a loaned BPS Chromebook may contact teachers via email.
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