SAU News

Notice of Pelham School Board Non-Public Meeting

PELHAM SCHOOL BOARD NON-MEETING
April 7th, 2020
Virtual Meeting
4:00 PM

Superintendent Message

We are completing our third week of remote learning. We implemented remote learning with just one day of preparation. This is an amazing accomplishment and I believe we have exceeded all expectations given this short time frame. There have been many challenges and successes along the way. We continue to learn, grow, and improve on our ability to meet the daily challenges of remote learning. No matter what the challenges are, our students, staff, and parents continue to meet those challenges and crush it!

Thank you all for the over 800 responses to our survey. The feedback was extremely positive and it has given us a great deal of information to continue to improve remote instruction and learning. We continue to explore modifying the current instructional schedule in order to better meet our students and staff needs. As we get used to the current schedule, it becomes easier to identify what our needs are going forward. More on this possibility will be forthcoming.

Below are some updates that I wish to share with you.

April Vacation Week – 4/27 thru 5/1 – No School

We have decided to maintain our traditional April vacation week. In discussions with staff, administration, parents, and students, it was clear that we need some time off to recharge and reflect on the work we have been doing.

Use of School Facilities

Next week we will be moving to one day of tech support for our teachers and students. On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, our tech support personnel will be available (by appointment only) to assist with tech tickets that could not be solved remotely. Buildings will be open on a more limited basis for staff. Please look for communication from your principal on the hours and instructions to access the buildings.

School playgrounds, fields, and tennis courts are not to be used at this time. We wish to help do our part and promote social distancing. Police will be patrolling school grounds and ask anyone in these areas to leave. We do however wish people to remain healthy and active. For this reason, Harris Track will be the one exception and be available for public use. Please remember to remain six feet away from others and remember the track is for walking, or jogging. No bicycles, roller blades, or cleats, are permitted. We wish to have this track for a long time and encourage all to do their part to protect it.

Recording Online Teaching Sessions

On a separate matter, it’s come to our attention that some students may be recording online teaching sessions or taking pictures without disclosing this to others in the remote classroom. This isn’t appropriate but more importantly, in New Hampshire it’s illegal to record a conversation or discussion without others agreeing to be recorded. New Hampshire is a two party consent state and we do not wish for our students to get in trouble if they are unaware of this law. We also do not want students posting pictures of minors (fellow students) without parental consent. Very few concerns have been raised, but it is important to encourage our children to be respectful of everyone involved and aware of the expectations.

I continue to be proud of all the work our staff, students, parents, administrators, and School Board are doing to support remote learning and the success of our students during this crisis. We continue to meet all challenges before us and are reminded daily we are all in this together. Thank you and enjoy the weekend.

Sincerely,
Bill Furbush
Superintendent of Schools

School Board Meeting on April 1

This week's School Board meeting will be recorded remotely at Sherburne Hall tonight, Wednesday, April 1st, starting at 6:30pm. It will air on PTV and on the Youtube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/PelhamNHTV). Due to the Stay at Home order, we will be giving the public the option to call in if they have any questions or concerns. Starting at 6:30pm, you may dial in at 603-508-3089. You may encounter a busy signal as this is a single dedicated line and it is not set up for multiple callers. If this does happen, please hang up your phone and call again in a few minutes.

We thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,
The Pelham School Board

Remote Learning Update

A new week begins. I hope everyone had an opportunity to enjoy the weekend and disconnect for a little bit. Thank you all for your response to our recent survey to help us plan and improve remote learning opportunities for our students and staff. So far we have had over 700 responses. I have included the link here to give anyone who has not filled out the survey yet one last opportunity to do so. This information is very valuable to us to help us provide the best possible remote learning opportunities for our students. We have extended the survey to remain open until 2:00 p.m. today. 

As things continue to change we reflect on our current practices in this remote learning environment. The administrative team and I met last week and I wish to inform you of our plan for this week and what we are working on going forward. 

This week our buildings are open from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. This time has been extremely valuable for staff and students. A reminder that you need to set up an appointment with the tech team if they could not support your need remotely and that you cannot just show up to the buildings for support. Also, the staff needs to inform their front office when they come into the building. We need to track what rooms teachers may go into to get supplies as our custodians need to go back to those areas and disinfect them once again. These days are important to allow students to always have the necessary materials to learn and give staff the opportunity to plan and use all their available resources. 

Going forward we continue to work on decisions regarding April break, end of year date, graduation, and grading. I can share with you where we are at with these but they are all still a work in progress and can change due to things beyond our control.

At this time speaking to the teacher’s association, administration, and others, it was clear we all need a break! We are planning to still hold April break as scheduled to allow families and staff that much needed disconnect time. An opportunity to enjoy the weather and time with family without the added stress of remote learning or planning lessons. 

I had the opportunity the other day to speak to a student in the class of 2020. It reminded me of the importance of having a student voice, especially in these strange times. Being a Senior is a special year, especially during springtime of their senior year. We will continue to plan for things like prom, senior celebrations, and even graduation. We do not want our seniors to miss out on these events. Since school is operating under remote learning until May 4, we will hope for the best and still prepare for these special events. Ms. Mead will be working with staff and students to find the best solutions to this challenging dilemma. 

Grading in these strange times is a topic that we are working on. As you can imagine it is not a simple answer of moving everyone to Pass/Fail. Currently, the NCAA calculates a Pass grade as the lowest passing grade (usually a D). So if we were to move to a Pass/Fail system during remote learning it could jeopardize our student athletes in how they are compared to other students in the future. The NCAA is reviewing this practice and is considering changing this practice. So for now our teachers will continue to grade the work and summatives as they have always done so and with no changes for remote learning. 

Lastly, I continue working with staff, administration, and the School Board for a plan if we are to remain in remote learning for the rest of the year. If we are to remain in remote learning for the rest of the year I anticipate a possible change to the last day of school. Many districts are working on this contingency plan and it is within a superintendent's authority to forgive days as long as we have met the state minimum standards for student instructional hours. I just wished to inform you that this is a strong consideration and possibility. Prior to the May 4 re-evaluation date I will share with you our plans if we are to remain in remote learning.

Thank you all for your continued support during this remote learning time. I can’t say it enough how proud I am of our students, staff, parents, and the community. Everyone is working twice as hard with so many added responsibilities in this scary time. Pelham Proud Everyday! 

Sincerely,
Bill Furbush
Superintendent of Schools

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2019 8:30AM

 

There will be a 2 hour delay on Wednesday, January 30.
No AM kindergarten or preschool.