SAU News

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