Good evening Parents, Guardians, and Students,
We hope that this message finds you healthy and safe. We want to provide you with an update on our Remote Learning Plan.
On Friday, April 24, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) released "Strengthening our Remote Learning Experience: Guidance for MA Districts and Schools." Upon review of the new guidance, the Braintree Public Schools (BPS) continue to be very well-aligned to the DESE Guidance for MA Districts and Schools. For example:
MA DESE has now released recommended prerequisite content standards for K-5 and 6-12. From the outset of the development of our Remote Learning Plan (RLP), our Leadership Team has focused on creating high-quality learning materials built to support the Standards we identified as being most critical to student success for the current year, and for transitioning students to the next grade level. The new DESE guidance includes “Power Standards” that align well with the ones previously developed by the BPS.
The new DESE guidance recommends that districts and schools “develop a system for identifying and supporting students not effectively engaged in remote learning.” The BPS began this process in late March, as school and district leaders developed clear protocols for the identification and support of non-engaged learners. Through this process, approximately 99% of our students district-wide are actively involved in remote learning. There has been no more important goal for us than ensuring ALL of our students are engaged, and at the heart of this goal is the multiple ways in which we ensure student access to the curriculum. We continue to monitor student involvement, including the completion and quality of student submitted work.
MA DESE recommends that districts “provide meaningful connections with educators and peers.” Further, they recommend that schools and educators deliver instructional lessons intended for all students in an asynchronous format, which is how the BPS has been providing learning since the inception of our RLP. With its asynchronous delivery model, our RLP provides the flexibility that is needed to maintain continuity of educational services to our families.
The new MA DESE recommends that districts “ensure programming is accessible and secure and communication is streamlined.” The BPS has taken great strides to ensure that our Remote Learning materials are accessible to all students, and to protect the safety and security of student data.
Later this week, our schools will be reaching out to their students and families around interactive conferencing opportunities using Google Meet, which is an application within Google Classroom. The use of Meet will not be for the delivery of primary instruction, or to replace our asynchronous remote learning model; rather it will allow opportunities to engage with our students in large or small groups, or individually. Meet will be used to connect with students in ways that support their social-emotional wellness, and to provide academic support on the remote learning materials that have been provided for the week.
We recognize that your student may not be able to participate in every Meet session to which they are invited, and we explicitly state that participation in Meet sessions is voluntary for students and families. Because families may be in different circumstances, whether due to technology within the home, work schedules, health, or other factors, Meet sessions will be an optional enhancement to our Remote Learning materials.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6, we will provide students and families with information on how to use Meet, including a training video with written expectations and permissions. It is important to note that students and families who choose to participate in Meet sessions are agreeing to the terms and conditions in the permission forms provided. Please be attentive to the expectations and permissions, as effective use of Google Meet requires support from both home and school.
It is appropriate during this week of Teacher Appreciation that we offer our sincere thanks to our talented BPS staff, who have done an incredible job of transforming our educational system in a matter of weeks: their hard work is very much appreciated. To all of our families who are juggling so many new responsibilities, but who still find time to send words of encouragement and support for our schools and staff, we are grateful for your kindness and support. To the almost 6,000 amazing students we serve—you continue to amaze us with your creativity and compassion.
We miss our Braintree Schools family, and while there is nothing that can replace our students being in our schools with our teachers and staff, please know that the work they are doing will provide them with the content and skills needed through the remainder of this school year in preparation for next year. Finally, if you, your child, or anyone you know needs some additional support, please reference our new Family and Community Resources page at: https://braintreeschools.org/dailylearning/home/family-resources
Wishing you all good health in these challenging times.