Weston’s Elementary School from Home:
Updated Guidance for Families — April 6, 2020
Based on the March 26th, 2020, guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Families, thank you so much for your support, partnership, and feedback when we launched our School from Home program for the elementary schools. We were one of the first districts in the Commonwealth to go to remote learning. Whereas many other districts waited for guidance from the Department of Education, we just started. Now, with DESE guidance in place, the lessons we learned during our first days of implementation, and the good feedback we received from administrators, teachers, students, and families, we are making adjustments and improvements to School from Home. Below are our points of emphasis and guidance for families. As you read this document, please keep in mind that we have kept the ethic of care — care for ourselves, care for others, and care for our community — as the basis for why we are making these important School from Home changes:
The social-emotional safety, mental health, and overall well-being of students, families and staff is our priority at this time.
- Parents/guardians, you can have your child stop participating in any learning activity offered in the School from Home program if you feel that your child’s physical, social, emotional, or mental health could be compromised. Your child’s well-being is paramount.
- These are stressful times. School from Home is intended to provide recommendations for learning at home. However, if your child would rather spend more time reading than practicing math, please pick your battles. As long as your child is engaged in learning and is connecting with educators, we all need to be flexible at this time.
- If a teacher sees that your child is disengaged altogether from remote learning, the teacher or counselor will follow up with you. We will work collaboratively to come up with a good plan to promote re-engagement and learning.
We are scaling back work expectations, particularly for younger students.
- We are supporting students to engage in meaningful, productive learning (both online and offline) for approximately 2 hours per day for grades K-2 and 2.5 hours per day for grades 3-5.
- We are focusing on reinforcing, applying, and deepening skills already taught this school year.
- We are creating more opportunities for independent learning, including reading and math practice everyday.
- Grade level teams are developing weekly schedules for students. Different subjects will be emphasized on different days.
We aim to offer students choice, agency, easy access to the curriculum, and optional challenge opportunities.
- We are providing a variety of learning experiences, both online and offline, to balance learning through technology with offline learning. In both cases, we are designing our curriculum to support students’ genuine curiosity and joy of learning.
- We are designing lessons that can be modified and expectations to be adjusted so that all learners can access the curriculum. Much of the curriculum will have easy entry points that facilitate independent access, then ramp up in stages. We will be providing optional extensions as well. This way students can better independently engage in learning at their own level.
- We are providing unique opportunities to further engage students in art, music, wellness, Spanish, and other interdisciplinary work.
- We are developing an online library of optional challenge opportunities in all subjects for students and families who want to do more.
We are increasing opportunities for video conferencing so that students can stay connected to their teachers and school.
- We are giving more opportunity for all students to connect and directly communicate with their teachers through video conferencing. It could be in a morning meeting (2-5 times a week), receiving direct instruction, working in a small group, or an individual conversation.
- Special educators, ELE teachers, counselors, interventionists, learning assistants, and related service providers are working to provide services and support to individual students using videoconferencing tools, facetime, or phone calls, based on individual need. Parents of children on 504 or IEP plans, please expect a more detailed communication from the Office of Student Services coming out today.
- We are safeguarding our online technologies to protect privacy and maintain appropriate content and interaction.
We are communicating regularly with students and families.
- You can expect regular communication from teachers, principals, and central office administration. In this time when we are all isolated from one another, we are over-communicating.
- Your feedback is very important to us. We are continually making adjustments based on feedback to enhance the remote learning experience for all students.
- Finally, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us:
|Classroom-related||Your child’s teacher|
|Social Emotional||Your child’s guidance counselor|
|School-related||Your child’s principal|
|Overall School from Home program||Dr. Kimo Carter, Assistant. Superintendent|
|Student Services||Jennifer Truslow, Director of Student Services|
|Technology||Dr. Lee McCanne, Director of Technology and Libraries|
Thank you again for your feedback and support as we continue to make improvements and we are looking forward to our continued collaboration with you. You will be getting more communications. Today the Office of Student Services will be sending a communication to families of students with IEPs or 504s about how we are planning to deliver specialized instruction to students remotely. Midweek, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be providing enrichment resources and other suggestions for students and families who want to extend their learning. Finally, we will be presenting School from Home updates at tonight’s School Committee and holding a virtual Case House “Coffee” about School from Home with parents and guardians next Monday, April 13th from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. We hope to see you!
Please take care and be well,
Dr. Midge Connolly, Superintendent
Dr. Kimo Carter, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Amy Kelly, Director of District Advancement
Jennifer Truslow, Director of Student Services
Dr. Lee McCanne, Director of Technology and Libraries