Friday, April 17, 2020

Franklin Public Schools: Remote Learning Plan Update for Week 2

April 15, 2020

Dear Families,

I hope that this communication finds you and your family well. As we continue with Week 2 of our Remote Learning Plan (RLP) we wanted to provide you with information on several topics: MCAS Testing, Deepening Learning, and Grading Practices. If you have questions, please be in touch with your child(ren)’s teacher(s) or the school principal. I am also happy to answer questions as needed. We miss your children and hope that you are all staying safe.

MCAS Testing Spring 2020

As you likely have heard in the news, MCAS testing for this spring has been
canceled for Grades 3-10 due to the extended closure of schools. For high school students, there are still unresolved topics related to the MCAS competency determination that is required for high school graduation. As soon as we get more information pertaining to high school students from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, we will pass this along to you.

What does it mean to deepen learning for elementary school students?

For our youngest learners, this can mean a variety of things during this period of remote learning. Opportunities must be provided for all learners to continue, reinforce, enrich, extend, deepen, and advance their learning. Teachers must be aware of all equity concerns in providing access to all students for technology, support, alternative assignments, accommodations, and modification as needed. This means that assignments and activities might look different for each child. In the context of remote learning, we want all students to be successful and independent learners with the content provided. The content that one child is successful and independent with may be different than that of a classmate.

While the core content for each classroom will be the same for all students, in future weeks, teachers will provide a range of activities that allow students to actively participate in skill development and content acquisition in meaningful ways for each student. Reinforcing, deepening, enriching and extending, or advancing knowledge and skills is the heart of the Remote Learning Plan (RLP). We also know and fully understand that there will be impacts on our work when we return to school and into the next school year as some students will excel in learning at home and others may not.  Our job as a district and within each school will be to meet each student where they are and to work toward success for each child.

Family partnerships are an integral part of the work for our elementary children, yet the Remote Learning Plan specifically states that parents should not be put in the position of needing to be the teacher. That said, supporting your child’s independent work is key.  Families can assist students by creating a schedule and routines that support the learning during the facetime with teachers and classmates and the at-home expectations. If your child is struggling to meet the academic expectations or needs more challenging work, reach out to the teacher. This is no different than if we were physically in school. Communication is essential as the teachers no longer see your child for many hours a day.

We are just beginning week 2 of the Remote Learning Plan and there is a learning curve for both teachers and students. Please be patient with us and let us know where we have hit the mark and been successful for your family and where we may need to adjust our practice. We know that we won’t be perfect, but we all want the very best for each of our students. We will be seeking formal feedback about the student experience from families soon.

Grading Within the Remote Learning Environment

For our elementary school students, the primary approach in our Remote Learning Plan calls for an emphasis on learning to the fullest potential and providing access for all students. Many staff, students, and families have ongoing concerns related to Covid-19 which may hamper their ability to “do school” as usual. Minimizing the emphasis on grading is a deliberate effort to reduce the anxiety about grades, and hopefully overall anxiety, during a very stressful time in our lives. We respectfully ask that you encourage and support your child(ren) to participate in all learning activities, either with their class or independently, to the fullest extent possible.

Therefore, for students at the elementary level, we will be using a Complete/Incomplete grading system. This will include any specific assignments that students are asked to do during this time of closure. We fully recognize that there may be times that students cannot complete an assignment and we have directed teachers to be flexible about this.

With a May 4 return to school, these grades will then be used to inform our typical grading practices through to the end of the year. However, should we not return to school as planned, grading practices will be reviewed at that time for the trimester. We encourage you to speak with your child’s teacher if you have any specific questions or concerns.

You can find a copy of the PDF file here

Franklin Public Schools: Remote Learning Pan Update for Week 2
Franklin Public Schools: Remote Learning Pan Update for Week 2

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