May 15, 2020
Dear Parents and School Community Members,
This warm weather is a welcome reminder that the weeks are starting to move faster and the end of the year is in sight. In fact, at its meeting this past Monday, as you may know, the board of education approved a revised district calendar, which takes into account our four unused snow days and makes Wednesday, June 17, the final day of school. With that in mind, we want you to know that we are planning an efficient, socially distant process for collecting materials and returning student belongings. We will have more information for you soon.
We likewise continue to plan our promotion ceremonies to honor our eighth and fourth graders. As many of you are aware, there has been changing guidance from the state about social gatherings, which include graduation and promotion ceremonies. At the board meeting, I reported on the latest guidance available at the time, which clearly stated that only virtual ceremonies could be planned. On Wednesday, more news about potential car parades surfaced, but we are still waiting for definitive guidance. We hope to have more information for you next week.
During the board meeting, I chronicled the evolution of the distance learning program over the last seven weeks and charted the course for the next five, noting that we will continue with the current framework and make adjustments based on the needs of our students. I also provided a summary of the parent survey results, which were very positive overall and revealed a trend toward fewer negative comments as the plan evolved, particularly after the changes implemented in the fifth week had taken hold. The opinions were quite varied, and though some parents indicated a desire for more synchronous online instruction, others asked for a decrease.
We also have learned through feedback from the teachers that a relatively modest number of students and families are able to take advantage of the live classes consistently, which complicates the teaching process. We certainly understand the obstacles to participation at home and recognize that this new world of virtual learning is a challenge for everyone. So we will continue to work toward the most effective instructional balance, including the afternoon extra help sessions, which offer live interaction with teachers, and upcoming virtual field trips. We value your feedback and plan to send a follow-up survey next week.
I remain extremely proud of our teachers and staff members for their tireless efforts to provide the best possible experience for our students. As I have said before, their openness to new ideas, their collaborative spirit, and their commitment to learning provide the foundation for success. With that kind of resilient attitude and the support of the community, there is little we cannot accomplish together.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Have a wonderful weekend.
Very truly yours,
George P. Alexis