News from Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley & the
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Following the Governor’s announcement that schools will not re-open before May 4, 2020, we are issuing additional guidance regarding district and school remote learning plans.
Some guidance about remote learning
Districts and schools must continue to focus on the holistic needs of the educational community
At this time, districts and schools must also work to adopt a remote learning model
The South Hadley Public Schools is working collaboratively to define guidelines and expectations regarding these recommendations from the Commissioner of Education.
Info on MCAS and MCAS-ALT
MCAS testing and competency determination
We are exploring all of our options and working with the Governor’s office to file legislation that would allow flexibility around this year’s testing requirements. To date, we have postponed both the Grade 10 ELA assessment scheduled for March 24-25 and the opening of the grades 3-8 ELA assessment window scheduled for March 30th. We will keep you informed on decisions related to the spring 2020 assessment schedule and the competency determination in the coming days.
Please be advised that MCAS-Alt portfolios do not need to be submitted by April 3, nor is it necessary to obtain a parent’s signature that they have reviewed the portfolio prior to submission. We will contact schools at a later date regarding a new submission deadline.
The Commissioner of Education has asked Massachusetts schools to provide educational support and enrichment. We are not providing the equivalent of a full school day or a distance learning program, and are not expecting students to complete work and turn it in to school staff. We know that nothing can replicate the experience of being in a classroom community led by a caring and responsive teacher. During these days in which we cannot welcome your children into our classrooms, we would like to offer some resources and suggestions to help you keep your children’s time at home enriching. All students at Mosier who have a computer and internet access should be able to get to the CLEVER portal for educational programs that they have used all year at school. Please contact me if your child is having any difficultly accessing the portal. The CLEVER app can also be downloaded to your phone.
We understand that this is a global emergency and you have many responsibilities to manage. We want to provide a menu of meaningful resources, but not overwhelm you. All we are asking is that you do what feels comfortable to you during this unprecedented and extraordinary moment in time. What is most important is that you and your children feel safe and at ease. Please do not feel pressure to live up to any standard other than what you can manage. Give yourself permission to rest, play, and find joy in each other. Even in our time apart we are all in this together.
With warmest regards,
The Mindful Teen: Powerful skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time, by Dzung Vo, MD (New Harbinger, 2015), is a mindfulness book for teens, with mindfulness instructions, guided meditations, examples and youth voices.
The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens: Mindfulness and Compassion Skills to Overcome Self-Criticism and Embrace Who You Are, K. Bluth (Instant Help Books, 2017)
Growing Mindful: A Deck of Mindfulness Practices for All Ages (Growing Mindful Games, 2015) A deck of cards with short mindfulness practices to “cultivate mindfulness on the go” available at Amazon.com.
Talking about the virus with children
FROM THE SPECIAL EDUCATION DIRECTOR
At this time MCAS has been extended, not canceled. There will be additional information from DESE coming in the next week or so. MCAS-Alt is still due next week. No word on an extension yet.
Starting this Thursday, March 19th, and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, all SHPS students who qualify for free/reduced lunch will be able to get a to go breakfast and lunch!
From the SUPERINTENDENT
Dear SHPS Students and Families,
Last night, the Governor ordered a three week shut down of all public and private K-12 schools in the state (not including residential and day schools for Special Ed. Students), given the evolving data regarding COVI-19 cases and out of the abundance of caution for students and staff. All SHPS will be closed until April 7th. The suspension of educational programming will not necessarily affect the availability of school buildings for the provision of food or other essential non-educational services. The administrative team, Matt Hoagland and the cafeteria staff, will work together with the School Committee to determine the best way to distribute meals to our students in need. More information to follow once details have been ironed out.
During this period, it is critical that students and their families, as well as school staff, stay home as much as possible. If you leave your home, it is essential to strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others. Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.
Although schools must suspend in-person educational operations, staff are planning for how best to equitably provide alternative access to student learning opportunities during this period and potentially beyond. Teachers have been asked to provide activities and resources on their websites by Wednesday, March 18th. While these activities are not mandatory, it is strongly suggested that students follow routines as much as possible to provide normalcy in their lives. I will keep you posted as I receive updates.